Tag Archive: animals



The Litter of the Law (Mrs. Murphy, #22)The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was given this book by a friend who read it on her vacation and left it with me when she visited. It took me so long as the font is rather small so I could only take it in bits and pieces. There was enough dialogue to break up the page so I could read it in tiny doses.

The book kept my interest. I did want to find out more about the farming and life of these farm people. I loved reading about the characters. I found the Native American research interesting though it added to the shame of how our founders dealt with the original inhabitants of our country.

I absolutely loved the drawings. Yay for adult books that have pictures!

What I found annoying and distracting from the story: talking animals. But I suppose that is where the ‘cozy’ comes in for this mystery.

I love Halloween but I never go to ‘haunted house’ features because I worry that real blood could be involved with no one knowing. And I hate things jumping out at me to make me scream or be startled. This book just reinforced those fears. It is what made this a gruesome mystery rather than cozy. But others of you may love it and can read it with the grain of salt that is implied. I’m glad to finally be finished and to pass it to the friends of the library.

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The Night WorldThe Night World by Mordicai Gerstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This won’t go down as a favorite for me. But I think it would have been a good one for my young children. We aren’t good sleepers in my family. We like to stay awake forever. Darkness does not mean the end of the day. It just means you need other sources of light.

Pages and pages of dark pictures are annoying to me, like a lack of color. Still, if you live in the country like we did back then, and how I live now, knowing what lives in the darkness, as far as the animal life you don’t see in the daytime, that might be outside is a great way to teach about nocturnal animals.

If a child is having problems with fear of the dark, this might be a fun book to bring about that discussion.

As for me, I read it late at night it stayed with me through my insomnia. When I just can’t handle that darkness staring at me, I find I need the colorful pages at the end of the book. So I will pull up a nature show on Netflix. A soothing narrator keeps me away from the millions of thoughts, the colors and life help me relax and soon I am ready to sleep. Too bad we didn’t have such things when my kids were young. Meanwhile, a book with the promise of sunrise could help all of us. And for that, it is worth buying for some families.

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Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War IIElephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love elephants. Such smart sensitive beings. And this book is by a woman so it sort of fit my requirements of reading diet. The guy was a human being who cared, so I dismissed my final mission of female main character. Besides, it is about WWII so the chances of the main character being female was diminished as women were back then.

The writing was dry, historic. I wish there was a way to get into it all more deeply. It seemed to be a his-story. Bits about elephants were interesting but I wanted more. I wanted to know more about his wife who seemed very much of kindred spirit.

Still, had I not read the book, I wouldn’t have known about how the elephants helped in the second world war.

Many people have given this book high ratings. Maybe you will, too.

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Children's book: Poochy: Adventure Rhyming Story for all dogs lovers with a surprising endChildren’s book: Poochy: Adventure Rhyming Story for all dogs lovers with a surprising end by Noa Geyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, how I love getting to read books like this! Thank you, Noa Geyer!

I picture every pet store, animal shelter, and other animal care facilities carrying it. Teacher and parents could have as much fun as their young students sharing this treasure. Just reading it aloud would be fun, but the pictures of this scruffy little dog and his attempts to help humans will keep conversations going about how we can help strays or our own puppies have better lives. And how they can help us.

Maybe this is a good book to read prior to getting a new pup from the animal shelter. I love that the author tried to show that the shelter was helping the dog even though the dogs looked uncomfortable in the cages. I loved how the scruffy looking dude was the one chosen by the family. Maybe showing that the cutest ones may not be the ones best for your family and the not so attractive could be smarter or more fun.

So if you are an animal lover, pick this one up. It’s only $.99 You will be as delighted with it as I was!

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Animal Books: Hummingbirds: All About Hummingbirds, A Kids Introduction - Fun Facts & Pictures About the Smallest Birds: Children's Picture Book,Perfect for Bedtime & Young Readers, 6-12 Years OldAnimal Books: Hummingbirds: All About Hummingbirds, A Kids Introduction – Fun Facts & Pictures About the Smallest Birds: Children’s Picture Book,Perfect for Bedtime & Young Readers, 6-12 Years Old by Susan G. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun little book. I have to admit to not reading it word for word but rather a intense skimming. I think I wanted more photos of the little beauties. I had a hard time with the labels of each bird, not sure they lined up right. I think the label belonged to the previous picture. That is the problem of reading on Kindle. This might be a nice tree book for kids.

As for it being a bedtime read aloud–no. Much better for daytime when you can go out and look for your own hummers.

Once again, the pictures made it worth all those many words! I’d recommend it for middle grade readers. Homeschooled and younger readers or non-readers will still enjoy the book.

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Today Is MondayToday Is Monday by Eric Carle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? It’s Eric Carle!

I picked this up at the library because I wanted art inspiration. I have always thought Mr. Carle’s work visually exciting. From the Hungry Caterpillar and Angry Ladybug, I was in awe of the way Eric could make his own prints and cut them into amazing pictures. The other side of that is his books are so much fun to read aloud to kids.

Having had a few accidents where crepe paper got wet and left an interesting stain behind. (Cleaning said stain wasn’t fun but I loved how the stain looked–though it didn’t belong there.) I realized when I read the first Eric Carle books to my kids that this was crepe paper stains cut and reformed into fantastic illustrations. I have learned since that he uses tissue paper to make his own prints. Makes me want to play with this method.

This book had pictures that looked less like crepe or tissue paper but the visuals didn’t disappoint. The story was rhythmically satisfying. And at the end of the book, the words are placed into a song. I think it would be a fun way to teach a little songwriting or other musical lessons. So with this book, we get so many things to learn.

I didn’t miss how inclusive the author was to minorities and the handicapped. All done in a sneaky way that most children or adults might not notice. But on each reading of this book, the onion can be peeled back to show children new lessons.

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One GorillaOne Gorilla by Anthony Browne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another I picked up at the library to beef up my lagging reading goal. So glad I did!

The artwork grabbed me even before I lifted it off the shelf. It reminds me of Eric Carle’s illustrations. Maybe a little more detailed?

I had to laugh out loud as I was selecting the tags for this book. You see I read the pictures, the names of the animals and oooo the pictures. In tagging I realized: THIS IS A COUNTING BOOK!

A teacher or parent could have loads of fun presenting new information each time this book is read aloud. Even beyond young children the science presented about primates could launch several discussions about the different classifications. Field trip to the zoo! An art class using water colors. Oh… and we can learn our numbers. I suppose that would be the place to start. But again–The pictures!!! They inspire me to get out my brushes and paints. I need to learn how someday. I must grow beyond drawing!

Check it out, read it aloud to a small child. Smuggle it into your room and enjoy the illustration!

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Help Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People ProblemsHelp Me, Mr. Mutt!: Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems by Janet Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve fallen behind in my reading goal for this year so I decided to include a few picture books or other short books to catch up. Most of the books I’m reading lately are quite long. So these are a bit of a relief for my eyes and energies.

Help Me, Mr. Mutt! Jumped out at me when I visited the library last. I loved the cute dog on the cover and decided that would be a good one to try.

The idea of a dog answering letters for other dogs with people problems was delightful. I loved the sneaky letters after Mr. Mutt’s reply from Queen the cat were hilarious. I loved that Mr. Mutt was able to give charts to prove his answers (though I wonder at his fact finding abilities–seems rather fake news to me). Still, the dogs reading said letters would be grateful to see their desires as proven fact. A great introduction to charts and how they work!

And while I think this was all fun and games, I think a good pet owner would insert proper care for said pets when reading this book aloud to a child. After all, if a child were to read this to his or herself, he might think it okay to give pets people food or sugary foods, or follow other advice not so good for a dog or cat. Still, read with a sense of humor it could be a fun book for parent and child or teacher and students to share.

And did I mention the illustrations? They were awesome! Fun read!

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Loom Knit Safari CollectionLoom Knit Safari Collection by Scarlett Royal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can finally give a review of this book! I made each and every animal featured in this book. Yet I have to take responsibility for the less than 5 stars here. That makes me a little sad. You see, I am not as good at reading patterns as I would like. I have been loom knitting since about February of last year. Mostly I feel I have learned to watch YouTube instructions better and better. In the process, I am gaining the ability to read patterns, but still not there.

What does this have to do with the book? Well, each of the patterns in this book has a corresponding tutorial on YouTube. Except for the giraffe. That one leads you to a Ravelry page with a picture of the giraffe but nothing else. So there was my problem. I only had the pattern and did my best to help the giraffe come to be. I think I did okay. If you follow my blog you will see my nearly finished giraffe and a hat to go with it. I need to add eyes. I want to make the long lashes I love so much on giraffes so for now, the baby is sightless.

Oh, the other problem I have to own is my inability to count. The poor lion had a few curls that were a bit too long. But that is not the fault of the author. She did a fantastic job writing the instructions and filming the tutorials. Maybe she could teach us some hints as to how she keeps track of small rows and the like?

Anyway if you go to darsword on wordpress you will see my results. (I can’t put an URL on here. Hope you can find me.) This book was reasonably priced. I just wish I could afford Scarlett Royals other books. She is a great designer of loom knitting items. I can’t wait to learn more from her.

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Here are pictures of what I have made:

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I made the elephant first. Since the yarn is donated I often don’t have the right colors or enough of said colors. Hence the psychedelic elephant.

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I didn’t like how the monkey’s muzzle turned out so I added lips. I don’t have glass eyes that Scarlett Royal suggests. So I made these on the spool knitter. The lips I did that way, too. The hat is Tuteate’s pattern. I followed her tutorial on YouTube as I do most of my knitted things. The reason I made a hat with ears is I made most things with the donated yarn for charity and my group said that they gave my things to the local clinic. I thought that the hat and monkey would be fun together.

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See what happens when I run out of the right color yarn? Colorful arms! I still haven’t made the eyes for this guy. Again, I don’t think the glass eyes would be good if the recipient of the gift might put them in their mouths and choke. My brother suggested whiskers. You can’t see them very well here but they are there. The nose was done on the spool knitter.

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The giraffe was the hardest as I had to use just a pattern. Still, I think he turned out okay. I still need to make the eyes. I hope I can make eyes with long lashes like real giraffes have. The hat was the Tuteate patter except I used the ear pattern from Scarlett Royal’s animal patterns so I didn’t have to sew it on. And I didn’t close the way Tuteate does hers. I used Scarlett Royal’s Kitchener stitch to close. I think it worked out quite well. Oops, I just noticed I need to sew close the ears. Well, I wasn’t finished when I finished the book. If I think it makes a big difference I will post the finished products here.

And though he isn’t in the book here is another stuffed animal using Scarlett Royal’s YouTube:

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My friend suggested steam or flame from the nostrils so I added a those bits.

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Eyes are done on the spool knitter. Since this is going to an adult I will get the glass eyes instead.

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I love how the spike knit up. I added the wings from Scarlett Royal’s bat pattern. I will add pipe cleaners to these so they can stand out. I made this dragon with my own materials is for one of my best friends who is crazy for dragons.

20170715_13272820170715_13275120170715_132803I love him! I can’t wait to make more of him for me and my other friends who are dragonphiles.

But will this next one has nothing to do with the book it is the latest of my tiny dolls. This pattern is by Denise of LoomAHat. This is the cupcake doll. I added the ears–just because I wanted to! These are so fun and easy and versatile. This will go to the clinic.

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Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban CrisesChasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Less than a decade ago my husband and I were delivering newspapers in Corona California. We were quite surprised by how many coyotes we saw out in these beautiful neighborhoods. We didn’t think of them as more than just nuisances who got into the trash. Turns out this book tell accounts of coyotes in the even bigger cities of Orange County that were around when we lived there and got worse in years since we left.

I think when I saw this book’s description that I was getting some Urban Fantasy about Native American tales of coyotes, the tricksters. At first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I was pleasantly surprised at where these stories took place. Then the book inspired in me a healthier fear that I never had before.

If you live in big cities in Orange County or L.A. County or Riverside County in California, you should read this book. I suggest you get the hardback or paperback so that you can keep the guidelines of how to get rid of coyotes, that could kill your toddlers or grandparents or cat or dog. Use it to get in touch with the people, like the author, who are trying to make your neighborhoods safer.

Look, where I live coyotes walk brazenly down our dirt roads. I live in the country. There are wild rabbits and other creatures that coyotes like to eat. But now I know another reason why my cats and dog are not allowed outside alone in our yard, besides the threat of hawks and eagles, that like small pets. We are trying to find a way to fence in our yard better to keep out coyotes or bigger predators. (The first winter we were here we found antelope footprints right next to our bedroom window. So imagine what could come in.) But we expect these beasts out here. In the cities, I thought our biggest problem were mice, rats, and opossums. But I was wrong.

Please read this book. Be aware so that you can be prepared.

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