“The Little Red Hen”

Does this title spark any recognition? 

I spotted “The Little Red Hen” by Paul Galdone, at an Antique Market that my husband were browsing through this past weekend and I couldn’t resist buying the book for one dollar. I didn’t let myself think too long about how a book that I read in my childhood is now in an antique market, along with other things that I remembered from my childhood. Holly Hobby glasses, etc. Oh yes, time just keeps passing, doesn’t it! 

Back to the book, it brought back memories of my Mom reading it to me and then how I was so proud when I could read it to myself! I remembered the story well and how I loved the ending. 

For those of you who might not be familiar with the story, let me give you a little summary of it. I may be grown now, but I continue to love children’s stories and the lessons they can teach. Lessons that are good for adults as well. 

A little red hen lives with a cat, a dog and a mouse. Its a wonder the mouse stayed alive, but I didn’t think about that as a child. The cat, dog and mouse were all very lazy. Kind of reminds me of a cat named Dewey that I know very well.  The little red hen did all the housework and made all the meals. 

One day she decided to plant some wheat and she asked who would help, “Not I”, said the cat, “Not I”, said the dog, “Not I”, said the mouse.  So the little red hen planted it herself. She asked who would water it and pull the weeds from around it, “Not I”, said the cat, “Not I”, said the dog, “Not I”, said the mouse.  And so she did it by herself. This pattern kept repeating itself as she asked for help cutting the wheat and taking it to the mill and grounding it into flour and making a cake from the flour. The cat,dog and mouse, were too busy soaking up the sun, or laying by the fireplace, they didn’t have time for work! 

Then the dog smelled the delicious smell coming from the oven and the cat perked up its ears, (yes, that would be Dewey!) and they came into the kitchen just as the little red hen was pulling the beautiful looking cake out of the oven. Oh the faces of the cat, dog and mouse were shining with delight, as they started salivating! 

The little red hen looked at them all with their eyes shining with eagerness to taste the cake. She once again asked a question, “Who will help me eat this cake?”  “I will!”, said the cat, “I will!” said the dog, “I will!” said the mouse. 

BUT … the little red hen said, ” All by myself I planted the wheat, cut the wheat, gathered the wheat.”   ” All by myself, I gathered the sticks, built the fire, made the cake..” and “All by myself I am going to eat it!”  and here is my favorite line. “and so she did, down to the very last crumb!” 

Yes, I still laugh, and say, “Good for you! You show them!” 

See the delight you can still get from children’s books and the important messages they pass along. Delighting in children’s books is why I had so much fun writing “The Odessa Chronicles” with Colin and I hope those who read it can pick up lessons from it as well, just like the lessons I learned from the books I enjoyed as a child. 

What messages do you remember from some children’s stories? 

 

 

 

 

Power of Words

Words can mean so much and I am not talking about the big, elaborate ones. I am referring to simple words .. words from the heart. They really are powerful and we all walk around with that power in our grasp every second of the day. Who will be touched by your words today?

Writing words for a story is fun, to see the story come more and more alive right in front of you. Working on “The Odessa Chronicles” was quite the adventure, as Colin and I saw the personalities of the characters emerge.  We didn’t expect them to grab hold of our hearts the way they did, stirring our hearts with emotion.  The power of words is strong.

My Mom shared words with me this past weekend that stirred my heart and I wanted to pass it on. A friend of hers that she hadn’t seen in a while stopped her in the grocery store. Her face was shining and she was all excited. She proceeded to tell my Mom about how much she loved “The Odessa Chronicles” , how fun the characters are and how she so wants Colin and I to write a sequel. That she has enjoyed the book so much that she read it the whole way through twice now!

Those words didn’t take long for her to say, but oh the the power that was in them. They made my heart soar! We have said that “The Odessa Chronicles” is for children of all ages, and she has proved the truth behind that.

When I shared about the “little giant” in my blog post yesterday, I was talking about one of our youngest fans of “The Odessa Chronicles.” He may be little, but his words have  touched the hearts of Colin and I over and over again! Jaxon is his favorite character and he has excitedly told us about his love for our book many times. His sincerity comes through and he is just so sweet as he has thanked us for writing. Words have power.

Now we have heard from one of our oldest fans. She may be 80 years old, but my Mom said how her eyes just danced when sharing about her love for the book.

“For children of all ages”, it definitely is! You are never too old to let your imagination go and to take a visit to Moonbeam Farm!

Don’t take my word for it, take it from the the lady with the dancing eyes!

 

The Fishy Negotiation

Who is your favorite cat?  Hands down, mine is Dewey! He has always been a special cat and the only cat I have ever known. We have enjoyed many conversations together, or at least partial conversations, he usually ends up falling asleep.

For those of you who are new readers to my blog and may be curious as to who Dewey is, he is the fun loving cat from the book that Colin and I wrote together, “The Odessa Chronicles”. A book not only about Dewey, but also a sassy owl, a magical Jackalope and a witty man-servant. It contains stories of all the crazy adventures  that these best friends end up sharing together! A book to warm your heart and make you feel like a child again.

I would like to share a story excerpt from the book that Colin shared about a month ago on his blog.  For those of you who follow Colin’s blog too I know that means reading this story twice now, but good stories can always be read over again, right?  Plus now you don’t have to be in suspense for Part 2!  Yes, this is Part 1 of the story and Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

How good are you at negotiating?  In this excerpt Dewey has something in mind that he wants and when he wants something he believes that by all means he should get it! He is a cat after all! But when up against the witty man-servant …. he could be in for a surprise! Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

 

The Fishy Negotiation! (Part 1)

Dewey opened his eyes, and stretched. It was morning, and the sun was coming through the windows. He would have preferred to still be asleep, but Jaxon had prodded him to wake him up. As he turned to get off his cushion, he saw Jaxon with a big smile on his face. “It’s time to get up, my sleepyhead friend.” he said. “The world has woken up to a wonderful new day, and you are laying here missing it all.”

Dewey gave him his best look of disapproval, but then noticed the smell of fish being cooked! Now he had a reason to get up.

“Hey, Man-Servant!” called Dewey. “When will my fish be ready?”

The man-servant called back, “This is my fish! You’re getting your regular breakfast!”

Jaxon was trying to stop himself from laughing, as he watched Dewey’s expression change from excitement to obvious disappointment. “Wait a minute,” said Dewey. “You know that fish is my favorite food, right?”

“I do know that.” said the man-servant, “but this is my breakfast that I am cooking.”

Dewey did not know what to say in response to that, so he turned to Jaxon. “Does that seem fair to you?”

Jaxon was still grinning. “Well, Dewey, the man-servant does like fish, and he is the one doing the work in the kitchen.”

Dewey then spoke very loudly, so that the man-servant would hear. “Well, Jaxon, I think we need to get a new man-servant around here, because this one is simply not working out.” The man-servant heard Dewey, but did not respond.

Dewey went over to his bowl and ate everything in it, and then went up to the man-servant. “When you have finished eating that wonderful piece of fish, my cushion needs fluffing up a bit. The sofa cushions are getting a little flat, and the sofa covers need some minor repairs, where my claws have gone through, and perhaps you should vacuum my rug.”

The man-servant nodded and continued eating his fish. When he had finished, he got up and put the plate and cutlery into the sink, which was full of hot, soapy water.

Dewey was quite exasperated. “Hey, Man-Servant! Why are you ignoring me? Why didn’t I get fish for breakfast?”

“Well, it’s like this,” said the man-servant. “You didn’t ask me for fish this morning.”

Dewey looked puzzled. “Yes, I did!” he said. “I said, ‘When will my fish be ready?’”

The man-servant was not smiling any more. “That’s my whole point, Dewey. You expected that fish to be yours, without even asking if it was.”

Dewey walked over to his cushion and lay down, just as Odessa arrived. She looked at Dewey, and then at the man-servant. “Have I come at a bad time?” she asked.

Dewey looked up at her. “The man-servant ate my fish this morning.”

Odessa tilted her head to one side. “Really? The man-servant did that? That sounds a little out of character to me.”

“Well, he did!” said Dewey.

Odessa flew up and landed on the man-servant’s shoulder. “So, Man-Servant, what’s up? What’s all this about you eating Dewey’s fish?”

The man-servant turned his head to look at her. “Odessa,” he said, “Dewey really needs a lesson in good manners.”

Odessa stared in disbelief. “But he’s a cat! Cats don’t have manners.”

“That may well be,” said the man-servant, “but I see no reason why he can’t learn some.”

Odessa was shaking her head as she called to Dewey. “Come here, you troubled feline. I will volunteer to act as intermediary between you and the man-servant, while you two sort this fishy mess out.”

Dewey wandered over to where Odessa and the man-servant were standing. “I want my fish.” he said.

Odessa rolled her eyes. “Dewey! That is not the way to get anything. You should be politely asking, and not demanding.”

The man-servant interrupted. “Thank you, Odessa, and Dewey … you would do well to listen to her.”

“Okay,” said Dewey to the man-servant, “how was I supposed to ask for my fish?”

Odessa was jumping up and down at this. “You shouldn’t ask the man-servant such a question. His knowledge of English is close to pitiful. You need to be coached by someone who understands the finer points of the language.”

“But I don’t know anybody like that,” said Dewey.

The man-servant was now looking at Odessa. “Who do you think Dewey should get help from, Odessa?”

Odessa had a big grin on her face. “You said it, Man-Servant. Get help from Odessa!”

The man-servant shook his head. “I shall leave you two alone, so that you can work together without interruptions.”

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