‘La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Niños’

madre goose

Rating: 5 stars

With “La Madre Goose” Susan Middleton Elya crowns herself as the queen of bilingual books. Some bilingual books have an English page facing a translation of the page in Spanish (or some other language). What Middleton Elya does is much more creative — and much more difficult. In this book, for example, she takes familiar Mother Goose nursery rhymes and adds a soupçon of Spanish.

For example, Little Miss Muffet becomes “Little Miss Amarilla.” Instead of rhyming “spider” with “beside her,” the rhyme becomes “big araña” and “very extraña.” They are all clever and culturally appropriate. Instead of putting his thumb in a pie, young Juan Ramón puts his dedo into green guacamole.

Kids who speak English and Spanish or just English will enjoy the combinations of the languages. The rhyme and meter remain true to the original versions of the rhymes. Middleton Elya is also the author of the fabulous “Little Roja Riding Hood,” which is a favorite in dual language classrooms.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Putnam for review purposes.

A puppy who had a litter of puppies; sweet loving pittie urgently needs rescue


Jackie is a once-in-a-lifetime puppy. She is mature beyond her years — especially since she’s not even one year old yet. She’s already had a litter of puppies when she’s just a puppy herself.When she was found as a stray, there were no puppies in sight. Did her owner sell the puppies and then dump her? Did she have them in the scrub where they died? Were they waiting for her return when she was picked up? We will never kno.

jackie breasts

Evidence of having a litter of puppies at her young age

If you watch her video, you see a dog desperate to get out of the cage and be close to people. She loves being touched. She adores people. This is a super loving dog. While she is still a puppy, Jackie is calm and gentle for a pup of seven months. She loves attention and petting. She gives kisses and takes treats very gently. Volunteers are very worried that sweet Jackie will have a hard time getting adopted in Dade County because of the BSL (breed specific legislation that prohibits pit bulls from living in the county). There is also the possibility that Jackie will be adopted by a family who will keep her in the back yard. Jackie is a dog who deserves to be indoors, sharing all the love she has to offer! And that’s a lot.

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Heartless owner dumped senior chow chow in Tampa; he dies tomorrow


Update: Sammy was pulled and rescued.

Sammie gave his owner 13 years of loyalty and attention. But now, he’s old, his fur is thin, he has thyroid issues, and his anal sacs seem to be impacted. Instead of getting this faithful pet the medical care that he needs, his heartless owner dumped him at a kill shelter to swelter in a hot, airless kennel before he is killed. 13 years of loyalty and this is the end for Sammie.

The volunteers love Sammie and are begging for a rescue to pull him. He does need some medical care, but he could live the rest of his life in comfort and dignity. Sammie is sweet and still has lots of love to offer. If a foster offered to keep him, a rescue might step up and pull him! But his case is urgent! He will be killed tomorrow if the shelter does not receive an email before 9:00 am tomorrow!

The shelter email said:

“A1649676: Sammie is a 13 year old neutered male Chow Chow. He is an owner surrender. His owner reported thyroid issues but didn’t provide us any medical records. Testing would definitely be recommended based on his appearance. He has marked dental tartar and would need a dental cleaning. He has thinning hair and lesions on the lenses of both of his eyes. He has two masses associated with his anal sacs (possible impacted anal glands vs. anal sac tumor). He is heartworm negative. He is very friendly.”


There is more information on his Facebook thread. Sammie is ID#A1649676. He is urgently in need of an adopter or rescue. He is at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center, 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa, FL 33619. The phone number is 813-744-5660. The shelter is open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

If someone is interested in Sammie, they must email rescuepets@hillsboroughcounty.org and rescuemetampa@yahoo.com as soon as possible. In the subject line of the email, write: Do Not Euth Sammie ID#A1649676. In the body of the email, include your contact information. You must be willing to pick Sammie up tomorrow by 3:00 pm.

Please note: Only comments that are respectful and profanity-free will be published.

Volunteers and former foster begging for help for this overlooked dog


Mater when he arrived as a stray — note patchy fur and skinny body

Update: William/Mater was adopted! Cross fingers for a permanent home for this poor dog who has been in and out of the shelter for too long. Maybe if the shelter counseled adopters on proper introductions and how to ease a new dog into a household there wouldn’t be as many returned dogs…

Mater is a dog who is confused. He has been in and out of the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center (shelter) since the beginning of March. At first, luck seemed to be with this handsome and goofy guy. When he got an upper respiratory infection and was going to be killed, he got a temporary foster with Melissa. She couldn’t say enough wonderful things about him, except that he was way too interested in her cats. And not interested in a good way. He wasn’t offering to share his dinner with them. He might have been thinking that he would like them for dinner. He didn’t share his exact thoughts with Melissa, but she said he shouldn’t be in a home with cats. (Note: all her cats made it through the foster unscathed.)

Dog, however, are a different story. Mater seems to love dogs of all sizes. While one note stated that Mater didn’t get along with intact neutered males, all the other shelter notes seem to indicate that he is good with all dogs. In fact, one note says he was used as a greeter dog. Watch the video of him in the play yard with another dog.


By April, Mater was urgently in need of adoption or rescue. Everyone loved him but he was getting passed over. Finally, he was fostered to adopt and he was treated for heartworm. However, two months later he was back at the shelter. The owner returned him for being aggressive with her daughter. She believe that Mater was trying to protect her, but it was unprovoked. There was no puncture or injury.

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Sweet rottie abandoned because of illness, shelter is begging for rescue


Update: She was rescued!!

A beautiful young Rottweiler’s life may be tragically ended tomorrow unless a rescue steps up. Dana is only two years old, but she was surrendered to the shelter by her owner. According to a volunteer, her owner requested that Dana be killed, but the shelter declined to kill her. They have asked for a rescue to step up and save Dana. However, they will not keep her very long if there is no rescue. She may only have tonight and tomorrow to find rescue before the shelter kills her.


Dana walks nicely on a leash. A volunteer petted her and she was very responsive and sweet. Dana was calm and did not react to other dogs when walking through the kennel. Watch her in this video — note her tail wag, wag, wagging. She’s adorable!

Her medical notes from the shelter indicate they think she might have kidney problems. That’s unusual in a dog as young as Dana. The notes say that she needs rescue so she can be diagnosed and treated.

dana medical

A post by Urgent Dogs of Miami (UDOM) on Facebook says:

URGENT!! Super sweet young rottweiler, A1612413, needs rescue by 6:30pm tomorrow for workup of distended abdomen!!!

The shelter veterinarian told a volunteer that as long as Dana is stable, she will have time to find rescue. But no one knows how long she will stay stable, and volunteers worry that if a rescue is not found by tomorrow evening, Dana may not be given more time.  There may be more information on her Facebook thread.
Dana is ID#A1612413. Please share her story. There may be more information on her Urgent Dogs of Miami Facebook thread.  She is at the Miami Dade Animal Services, 3599 NW 79 Avenue, Doral, Florida 33166. The phone number is (305) 884-1101. The shelter is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Email: pets@miamidade.gov for more information.
Please note: Comments will only be published if they are respectful and profanity-free.

Diamond of a dog dies tomorrow in overcrowded shelter


Diamond has been overlooked because of her color and breed. She is a four-year-old black pit bull mix, and one post says she has been at the shelter for almost two months. The volunteers describe her as sweet and loving. Watch her video and see how attentive she is. She sits for treats and takes them gently as her tail wags. While waiting for the next treat, she sits calmly, watching, waiting. She’s very gentle and affectionate.
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Three picture books with animal duos

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Three recently published picture books offer children charming animal duos with sparkling repartee and shared adventures. These are books for young readers — aged three to eight.

“Hog in the Fog” is the charmingly British story of Harry and Lil by Julia Copus and beautifully illustrated by Eunyoung Seo (Faber & Faber). Written in triple meter (a very pleasing rhythm), it’s the story of Lil and her friend, Harry the Hog. Harry has been invited over for tea, and when he doesn’t show up, Lil becomes worried. She sets out to look for him, and along the way she encounters several animals who haven’t exactly seen Harry, but have seen something unusual. So they all set out to look. And together, they have an adventure with a very satisfying (and tasty) conclusion. Young children will be delighted (and appalled) at what those two consider tasty treats: southern-fried lizard, earwig fudge and barnacle sludge. Yum! The illustrations are delicate and filled with the green of an English countryside.

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Cover-up in Corpus Christi? Dog killed before hold time up

geralt injured

Update by Stacey Palacios on Facebook:

Today, I went downtown to CCPD and spoke with Commander Houston with my two kids in tow. We spoke about the dog named Geralt. He played for me the call to police that was made on July 4th. The caller explained that a gray pitbull that had been chasing children earlier was attacking another dog, you could hear another person come up and say it was their dog being attacked by the gray one. You could hear the dogs fighting on the tape and the location of the call matched the location were Geralt was picked up. He also showed me the report of investigation of Geralt running loose in his neighborhood were neighbors stated he was constantly loose and aggressively chasing neighbors to where they couldn’t leave their houses at times. He stated the owners were cited at that time and the owner was cited again when surrendering Geralt before he was EU.

Commander Houston told me he wondered why Geralt had been photographed and advertised and I told him that if I had been told any of that information, I would have never photographed or posted him.

I’m grateful the owners were cited multiple times and had I known any of this information at anytime leading up until this point, several things would have played out differently.

I hope in the future the communication between employees and volunteers that give their valuable time freely becomes clearer to avoid frustrating situations like this one.

Geralt never showed any signs of aggression with me the several times I was with him, so reading CCACS statement appeared very contradictory to me and at no time did any employee take the time to speak to me about this issue until today with Commander Houston. Geralt had always clearly been dog aggressive and now hearing the call and knowing there had been an investigation into him and his owners before ending up at CCACS again assured me that this dog sadly did not belong in general population.

Additionally, Commander Houston said that CCACS is currently working on an ordinance similar to Austin’s that would allow rescues to immediately take possession of dogs and become theirs after the three day hold period.

A dog arrived at the Corpus Christi shelter on July 4th with clear signs of having been in dog fights. This poor dog’s nose had been torn and a piece was hanging down. One eye was injured and swollen shut. He was covered in scars from old wounds and bloody new wounds on his legs. His back was missing huge patches of fur. And this dog, Geralt, was microchipped. He had been adopted from the shelter almost exactly one year ago. A picture shows the difference in Geralt’s condition in just over 12 months.


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‘Troublemaker’ by Linda Howard: Great light summer read


Rating: 4 1/2 stars

“Troublemaker” by Linda Howard is another well-written romantic suspense by someone who knows how to write and keep the action (and romantic tension) moving. In “Troublemaker,” the action begins in the first chapter when after an afternoon on his boat, Morgan Yancy, a paramilitary operative is shot and almost killed. And the shooting is intentional and in front of his home.

The problem is that neither he nor his supervisors know why someone wanted to kill him. So while he is in a weakened state, they need a safe place to keep him. That safe place will also double as a trap to find out who wants to kill him and why. His boss, a workaholic, decides to play a kind of joke and have Yancy stay with his former stepsister. Relations between the two of them went from mutual strong dislike to a mutual hate-hate feeling.

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Dog whimpers and shakes in shelter; he’s terrified


Update: Andy was pulled from the shelter and is safe. Here is a link to his Freedom Ride, his ride away from the shelter.

Andy was picked up by a good Samaritan who couldn’t keep him. He happily jumped into their car and they took him to the county shelter, hoping that he would be reunited with his owner or adopted.

Unfortunately, Andy is terrified at the shelter. When a volunteer visited him, his video shows that he just whined pitifully. His back legs quiver either from cold or fright. While the shelter is air conditioned, he is probably scared. Watch his video and you can see he is sweet and friendly. His tail wags when the visitor interacts with him and he gently kisses her fingers. But his whining and obvious fear are heartbreaking.

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Four nonfiction picture books for older readers

Just because it’s a picture book doesn’t mean it’s for babies!

Many picture books are really aimed at older children, including these three picture books about history and important events. Each one is unique, beautifully illustrated, and perfect for the middle grade classroom.

fammiehamer.jpgIn “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer (Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement),” author Carole Boston Weatherford (Candlewick Press) shares the story of a woman who was born to sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. From such poor beginnings, she became one of the most important women in the civil rights movement. Malcolm X called her “the country’s number one freedom-fighting woman.” Weatherford carefully researched Hamer, and the story, in first person narrative, has some lines of actual quotes in italics. Each page has a different heading. For example, under “Delta Blues” it says, “I was just six when I dragged my first bag down a row of cotton. My family — all twenty-two of us — worked in the field.” She described in painful detail what it was like to pick cotton in hundred-degree heat. The plight of the sharecropper — to be always indebted to the owner of the land — is explained. That page ends with “Sharecropping was just slavery by a gentler name.” On the page headed “Literacy Test,” she explains how a group of African-Americans went on a bus to all register to vote together. It was 1962, and during a church meeting, some young men from out of town had explained their rights. She had not even known that blacks could vote. She was not able to register, and she lost her job as a result of the effort. She describes how when blacks finally passed the test to vote, their names were published in the local paper, thereby subjecting them to further intimidation and danger.

It’s a very inspiring story, made more so by the fact that it’s real and in Fannie Lou Hamer’s own voice. It’s a perfect companion to “Steamboat School” (below).

colfax light.jpg“Miss Colfax’s Light” by Aimée Bissonette (Sleeping Bear Press) is a story of Harriet Colfax, who became a lighthouse keeper in 1861. She had moved with her brother to Indiana, and when his business folded, she was determined to stay in Indiana, where, according the author, “women could do nearly anything men could do.” Her best friend, Ann, was a schoolteacher there. The book tells how Harriet tended the lantern (first with whale oil, then with lard) each and every night. Every morning she climbed the stairs to put out the light. There were also other lanterns she had to tend — in all kinds of weather. Harriet kept a journal, and excerpts from that journal are included on the pages. She didn’t retire until the age of 80! Talk about perseverance. She is truly an example of determination for all students.

“Thetreeincourtyard Tree in the Courtyard” by Jeff Gottesfeld and illustrated by Peter McCarty (Knopf Books for Young Readers) is an example of a picture book that crosses the line between nonfiction and fiction because of the way the story is told. The tree in the story is the horse chestnut tree that stood outside Anne Frank’s window. It’s mentioned in Anne’s diary. This story is told in third person narrative from the tree’s perspective. “The tree loved the sight of her,” and “Once, through the curtains, the tree watched the people light candles and sing.” The ending is beautiful — the tree finally dies, but “Just like the girl, she lives on.” The horse chestnut tree that animated Anne Frank had given seeds and saplings that were planted all over the world. This is a perfect book to use as an introduction to the Holocaust or a study of WWII.
steamboat“Steamboat School” by Deborah Hopkinson, a prolific writer of children’s books, and illustrated by Ron Husband, a legendary animator at Walt Disney (Disney – Hyperion), is inspired by a true story that illustrates how, in spite of discrimination and roadblocks, former slaves and freedmen were determined to get an education at any cost. It takes place in 1847, and is told from the point of view of a young boy who does not want to attend school. The school, run by Reverend John Berry Meachum, is in the basement of a church and is called the Tallow Candle School. He and the other students learned that their teacher had been a slave who worked to buy his own freedom and then bought the freedom of his parents and his wife and children. When Missouri passed a law stating that “No person shall keep any school for the instruction of negroes or mulattoes, reading or writing, in this State,” their school was closed.  Determined to continue to educate the students, the Reverend Meachum moved his school to a steamboat in the middle of the Mississippi River, which was considered federal property; thus the laws of Missouri didn’t apply. Hopkinson imagines that those who attended this school had to sneak out there since there might have been repercussions for those attending. She also notes in “Author’s Note” that Meachum’s wife was arrested after five runaway slaves who had left her home were caught crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois. Meachum himself purchased slaves and freed them, allowing them to work for him to pay him back.

All of these picture books are perfect for children from ages six through eleven. They all would be a great addition to any school or classroom library.

Black dog hit by car; she’s badly injured and urgently needs rescue


injured girl

Look at the plea in her eyes. She’s in pain, she has a horribly broken leg, and one of her eyes was destroyed by her accident. This young dog is begging for help.

A sweet black terrier mix is in urgent need of a foster home and rescue. She was hit by a car and is in the Clayton County shelter in Georgia. The vet’s office diagnosed her with a fractured front left leg and severely injured eye. They believe the eye will need to be removed. She has what must be painful road rash on the right side of her face and on her leg.

injured dogIn spite of her pain, she has been sweet and gentle. Look at her picture — all she wants is to be held and loved and feel safe. She urgently needs to be with a rescue so that she can get the medical care that she needs immediately! Her leg and eye need to be treated. The shelter cannot provide the care she needs.

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