Posts Tagged elderly

Zen Ties by Jon Muth

I love all the Stillwater books. I love how beautifully they are illustrated. I love how quiet they are. I love how they teach subtle messages and how you feel good after you read them. I love that each one screams QUALITY.

Zen Ties

Zen Ties

But more than all of the others, I love Zen Ties by Jon Muth, the newest installment in the adventures of Stillwater the panda, Addie, Michael and Karl. In Zen Ties, Stillwater brings the children to visit Miss Whitaker, the cranky old lady who lives on their block. The children don’t want to visit her — she doesn’t seem to like them and yells a lot. But Stillwater insists and while they are there, they learn that under a cranky person is often a lonely person. And they learn that spending a little time can make the difference in someone’s life. And finally they learn that old people have a lot to offer — in this case, a superb understanding of spelling that assists Michael in his spelling bee.

The Zen series is always wonderful but this book goes above and beyond the usual quiet lessons to teach a powerful message about our responsibilities in our community. More than that, it provides an opportunity for an important discussion with your children.

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Mr. Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant

I heart Mr. Putter and Tabby.

My author crush on Cynthia Rylant continues. Thank God, my local library updated its collection of The High-Rise Private Eyes stories on CD because I could not cope with my carpool kids without something that engrosses them for the entire ride. But I’ve written about these silly and blessed mysteries for kids. So, here are my thoughts about another Cynthia Rylant series: Mr. Putter and Tabby.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn

Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn

Sigh. If I love High-Rise because it keeps the kids entertained I adore Mr. Putter and Tabby on its own merits. Educators like to say that stories need child protagonists to entertain children but this is a perfect example of a series that breaks all the rules. It’s an easy reader series about an older man, Mr. Putter, and his cat, Tabby, who live next to elderly Mrs. Teaberry and her dog, Zeke. Each book contains a very calm little adventure which contains no light-sabers or pink cupcakes — it’s always a decidedly old-fashioned story. Last night, the 5 year old munchkin and I read Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn in which Mrs. Teaberry decides to have a knitting party and Mr. Putter, feeling like Mrs. Teaberry is always cooking him food and all he does is eats it, wants to serve tea at the party for Mrs. Teaberry’s guests. You might think that Mr. Putter would create a huge mess but in fact, it’s Zeke, Mrs. Teaberry’s wild dog, and Tabby, the cat who shouldn’t be near so much yarn, that create all the problems and Mr. Putter does a lovely job of keeping everyone calm and cleaning up.

One thing I will say is that they are stories filled with people doing kind things. Whether Mr. Putter is worrying that he doesn’t do as much for Mrs. Teaberry as she does for him, or Mr. Putter is offering to walk Mrs. Teaberry’s crazy dog Zeke when she hurts her foot in Mr. Putter and Tabby Walk the Dog, it’s nice to read about people who take care of neighbors and are just plain nice.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book

Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book

Last week, we read about the time that Mr. Putter decided to write a novel, which took a lot of thinking and a lot of naps and snacks, in Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book. Truly, nothing happens but it’s such a nice change from all these stories out there where there’s much too much that does happen.

I think I’m becoming a fuddy duddy, but I do love Mr. Putter and Tabby. Luckily, there are many books in the series so I won’t be stuck without a good Mr. Putter and Tabby to curl up with.

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