Friday, January 23, 2015

Wisdom from a Cow: Courage, Acceptance, and Diversity

This is the way it had always been.  There were two kinds of cows and one really lush pasture. Every year, the cows had a wrestling match to see who would control the pasture.  The problem?  The cows who grazed on the really lush pasture grew larger and stronger than the other kind.  So one kind always won.  Until Clancy came along.

How can one little cow change the way of the world?  He didn't set out to be a hero.  He wanted to be like everyone else. However, he looked different than the other cows of his kind.  They teased him. He didn't like it. He tried to make himself look like the others.  It didn't work. But sometimes, different is good.

Because he looked different, Clancy could graze on the really lush pasture without being noticed.  He grew big and strong like the other kind of cows that grazed there regularly. Now instead of being teased, Clancy was promoted to lead wrestler for the contest!  And, he won!  His kind could take over the really lush pasture for the first time ever!  Hooray!  Or.... not?

It turns out Clancy wasn't just different on the outside.  He had new ideas on the inside. He didn't want to go back to the way things were.  He bravely yelled, "STOP!" and changed his world.  His new popularity and life experience gave him courage.  And the others listened.  It took a little while, but soon both cows were grazing peaceably together.

Hmm... does this story remind you of another told in late January every year?  I find Lachie Hume's, "Clancy the Courageous Cow" to be such a wonderful story for young people learning about Martin Luther King Jr. Even better, the author was 12 when he wrote it! What an inspiration!

Of course, I had to make some cow finger puppets to go with it.

Unfortunately, the book is out of print. I picked up an ex-library copy from, though it pains me to think a library wouldn't want to keep this fabulous story on its shelves.  I know my copy is a keeper.

P.S. The author's note on the title page explains that he got a 9/10 on the project from his teacher. He thinks it was because Clancy is technically a bull, not a cow.  I think there's another lesson right there.  ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mummy Madness! Felt Finger Puppets

Are these cute little mummies ready to scare, or coming for a hug?

To make them, cut cheesecloth into 1/2" strips.  Wrap your mummy shape with the strips before sewing. Glue on a little pom pom for the nose and use fabric paint or google eyes for the eyes. 

A story to go with it?  Maurice Sendak has a monster pop-up book:

For a humorous counting read-aloud that adds a little Egyptian learning along the way, try Ten Little Mummies, by Philip Yates and illustrated by G.Brian Karas. The illustrations are darling!  Makes me want to try drawing mummies, too!

Or from the feline perspective:  read about the clever Mummy Cat, from Marcus Ewert and Lisa Brown,  both from the story and in the murals on the pages, a story within a story!  Complete with hidden hieroglyphs? Can't wait! Not coming out until July 2015 though...  

A clever parody for Runaway Bunny fans from Michael Rex is The Runaway Mummy...

And there is the unique, rhyming WORKING MUMMIES (by Joan Horton, illustrations Drazen Kozjan)...  

But for curious little ones that might have a lot of mummy monster questions, try I'm All Wrapped Up by Shannon Knudsen and RenĂ©e Kurilla.

Happy Halloween!