Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bingo's Big Words - Yes, I have a large vocabulary! And The Tall Lady is Not Dead.

Good day humans!

The Tall Lady had been quite ill, but I decided to help her out and write a post while she is recovering. Tonight she looks the best she has in about a eight days. She has a hop in her step and a certain gleam in her eye. It's a good thing, since for a few days I thought she looked a little like something the cat dragged in... heh heh... (see I can make a joke too.) I predict she will be full strength within a day or so. That medicine she took was some pretty strong stuff! It knocked those germs right out of her. I heard her talking about walking pneumonia to the other humans . . . But enough about HER.

Since I am Bingo, the Mighty Adventurer, I wanted to propose a topic for debate.

It has come to my attention that I may write "too big" for some kids in my book Bingo's Big Adventure
. There have not been many humans complaining, but I still wanted to talk about this subject since it is on the top of my feline mind. The Tall Lady has mentioned to me that a very small number of reviews wrote about this fact.

Just for the record, I am a smart cat! I like words. And if you want your kids to learn new words, let them hang out with me. There is an excellent study you could also read about how important new words are to kids HERE.

While I appear casual and relaxed for my daily grooming, I am really thinking of new words that should be introduced to children. I want kids to have a BIG vocabulary. It makes their minds grow!

As I lay between the corn rows contemplating what new words I could use, I reflect upon the new growth on these plants as they rocket to the sky. It was not long ago that I was taller than the corn . . . but I digress.

I was thinking about the fact that the famous children's book writer, Bill Peet used HUGE words in his books, and I have not heard criticism of his work. Heck there are many, many, many other authors who include vocabulary enriching text in their works.

So what's the big deal about ME using some good words mixed with those kids already know?

I think kids get bored after a while with the same "ole" word set. For most kids my book will seamlessly merge into the family library. For other kids who are not quite ready for my word empowerment, then the adult humans should wait until those kids are a little bigger before letting them to dig into my thoughts!

It's possible that a 3 year old may not be able to sit through my book, but I know MANY who already do! So as a human parent, your job is to gauge when the time is appropriate to introduce the bigger worded books to your little humans. On the other end of the spectrum, I have watched some 7 and 8 year old medium sized humans tear through my book and absorb the new words with fervor!

So with all things, parents are crucial in implementing a reading program that broadens children's exposure to new words. The sooner the better is what the Tall Lady always says.

I guess my parting thought is if you want your kids to grow their minds, read books like Bingo's Big Adventure
to them. If you like the comfort zone, my book may not be right for you. But I still hold the hope that you change your mind . . .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Again

Yep. Still sick. I am down for the count... Pneumonia. My weekly post is only going to be about a sentence. See ya on the other end of this.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Different Kind of Bread at the Farmer's Market

This morning started foggy and wonderfully crisp as a light drizzle misted down upon our town. This summer I have been spared the sizzling heat that normally bakes me dry and makes me feel like a crispy weed that will snap with the next passing foot fall. Today began with gray clouds hovering low across the green oak mountains. The dense clouds framed the heaven while the gray pavement under my feet blocked me from hell. The cool space in between was mine. And for that I was thankful.

Today, I had a new venture to begin.

Today, I went to our local farmer's market, but not to buy fruits and vegetables.

Today, I went to sell books. Bingo books. Bingo's Big Adventure that is.

Our farmer's market just opened up for "crafts" and I dragged my folding tables and my big green umbrella and my boxes of books and my wrinkled cotton table cloths and my framed photos and my laminated sheets of literature downtown to set up a Bingo booth with aspirations of greatness.

My goals were to sell books, meet members of my community and get some exposure . . . in any order they would come. I am not picky about this.

Marketing as an independent author and publisher is not easy and you have to proceed by your own merits. There is no overnight stardom. There are no big guys who have your back or who's words alone will sell your work. It's the real deal. If people like it they buy it. Plain and simple.

People began filtering through the market. Singly and in pairs. Mothers with stroller. Dads with stroller. Families walking in staggering lines among the booths. Families in tight clusters touching shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand. All shapes. All sizes. All colors. They were all out to see the offerings from the vendors who were trying hard to attract customers to their fresh foods.

Placed at the end of the market, the crafts were the last in the line. But I did not mind. I was a little nervous, but confident that some one or many some ones would like to buy my book.

The first book that sold was a paperback. Phew. . . One down. Then another paperback. And then a hardback. And another paperback. And so it went. In total, I managed to sell 25 books to total strangers in four hours.

I was relieved.

The best part of the day was seeing the reaction of the kids who were looking at the Bingo book without their parents. There was one special boy who I will never forget. He was a spiky haired blond, about 8 years old, with blue eyes and a white sugar mustache. He'd definitely been eating some cinnamon rolls with frosting!

The blond boy carefully leafed through each page of the Bingo book right before me. I could quietly study him. This was a total stranger child who I could look at and judge for reactions. Uninfluenced by parents or any other adult, I could see a raw opinion from this little guy.

He never looked up at me as he inspected the book, but I could see the gears and wheels moving steadily in his mind. He did not rush to turn pages. He was thinking about what he was seeing and reading, then processing the information.

When this little boy turned the page to reveal Jimmy the Cat with his arched yellow fur and slanted eyes, his child's mouth made a long vertical "O" and his voice did the same. His eyes perked up and he studied while skimming the words.

And his expression of wonder and awe was once again displayed to me when he viewed the picture of Bingo climbing the tree... After a short time, his parents who were nearby came to him. His mother asked him softly if he wanted the book. He said yes. And they got it for him.

Goal Achieved.

Finally, with the sun reaching it's highest point in the sky and the fog's disappearance, the ground did not open up and swallow me whole, cooking me within a searing oven. The day broke open slowly and a evenly baked loaf of bread emerged. It appeared to be just right for eating. And I was glad to have been able to serve a few slices. I think it might just be good bread.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Birthday Party! The Birthday Boy! The Birthday Fun!

We celebrated my son's birthday today and I just HAD to share the cupcakes I made. I love the pirate cupcake liners I found in the grocery store. They really saved me and provided a great base on which to plan the colors of the frosting. (And yes I am mostly healthy again. It took a while.)

I went all out and did a chocolate and vanilla cupcake, filling part of the liner with each mix. Then I did a cream cheese frosting and mixed orange and white frosting to get a swirl effect.

Those frosting sleeves (frosting applicator tubes) are not as easy to use as you'd think. I made quite a mess, but I persevered. And I think Wyatt loved his cupcakes. Maybe his friends too! Cupcake envy? Well they all got to eat at least one of these tasty treats.

What else do we do at our house during a party?

Well, it pretty much comes down to John Deere.

The John Deere lawn mower that is.

Wyatt will actually come to blows with his cousin Luke (Boy in back of wagon) over driving privileges. It's sad but true. Wyatt took the helm for a period of time and then gave his driver's seat up to his friends.

We let all of the kids take turns driving around our property towing the other kids in a little wagon. Some of the kids had never driven any thing before. . .

I think every kid got a chance to drive. They all get to cruise the big loop around our five-acre property. I like that kids get a new experience at our house.

I think everyone had a fun time.

Well that's what I like to think! I liked this photo because if you knew nothing else, based only on the teeth it's easy to age these little women! They've got the six year old smile!

That's it for now!

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...