First review is in

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I saw the first review of the upcoming title, THE DIRT BOOK, illustrated beautifully by Kate Cosgrove (AND THE BULL FROGS SING), edited by Grace Maccarone, and published by Holiday House. So far so good.

Harrison, David L.
The Dirt Book: Poems About Animals That Live Beneath Our Feet
Illustrated by Kate Cosgrove. 2021. 40pp. $18.99. hc. Holiday House. 9780823438617. Grades K-2
With a playful sensibility and expert use of varied patterns of rhythm and rhyme, this collection of 14 poems takes us underground to painlessly learn about the life that burrows beneath our feet. From doodlebugs to worms, chipmunks to tortoises, the dirt-living animal kingdom is covered with additional kid-friendly facts included in notes at the back. Facts include how mice and their progeny can produce thousands of mice in a year, how the gopher tortoise agreeably shares its tunnels with other creatures, including owls, and how a mole can tunnel 15 feet in an hour. Fittingly laid out in a vertical format to take readers deep down into the ground, the full-bleed illustrations showcase gorgeous earth tones sparked with turquoise, yellow, peach, and lavender. Colored pencil has been manipulated digitally to resemble pastels and depicts a charming world aglow with life. Inviting in every way, this book is perfect for units on soil and animal habitats and is every bit as pleasurable for leisure reading. Bibliography. Jan Aldrich Solow, Elementary School Librarian, Retired, Kingston, New York
Highly Recommended

A spring confrontation at Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

Our neighbor Juli Moseley shared this picture of a pair of geese looking like sentinels on our rooftop shortly before we got home.

Turns out there was more to the story. When were settling back in, I looked out the window and discovered a goose sitting on a round planter on the rim of the fountain.

When I went out to have a frank talk with her and strongly suggest that she look elsewhere for a nest site, she explained to me why she preferred to stay where she was.

As much as I would have enjoyed watching her at work over the next three weeks or more, I couldn’t allow it. We couldn’t consider staying off the patio as the weather warms up and no one wants to be so close to a protective mother goose on her nest lest than three feet from the nearest chair at the table where we eat and entertain guests.

Yesterday when she went on coffee break, I went out and relocated the planter to behind the retaining wall behind our patio. Everyone would be safer with a short wall separating us, she would have a better view of the lake, and we could still use our patio. Sadly, I think she has abandoned her nest. Maybe she didn’t recognize the planter with her eggs in a different location. I’m sorry it happened, but sometimes all you can do still isn’t enough.

Home again

Hi everyone,
Spent Saturday on the road and decided to dine in that night (in Grenada, Mississippi) on cheese, crackers, and dip. Not the best meal, but not so bad after so many hours in the car, and safer than going out. We arrived in Springfield yesterday afternoon. Two months in Florida were good but it’s always wonderful to turn into our driveway again and see Goose Lake waiting. We were blessed to have Robin and Jeff join us for the last of our stay at the condo to help make new memories. And Jeff drove all 800+ miles of the trip back to Springfield. Talk about a gift!

Today it’s back in the wheel for me. Progress so far on the Rasinski/Fresch books has been steady and on schedule, but I’ll have several activities in the coming weeks that may slow things a bit. As announced earlier, I won’t be posting much for a while but will be in touch as I can.

A good diet

Hi everyone,

Another good week shared with Robin and Jeff.

Didn’t make quite as much progress on the books with Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch as last week but it was still decent. In the fourteen days since I started work on the project, I’ve written fourteen poems, each to a different prompt, mostly good with a few that still need work. I have thirty-six more to do.

Today is dedicated to other matters. I’m enjoying the routine of hitting one project hard for four days and taking the fifth day off to think other thoughts. It’s like having dessert after a great four-course meal. If I could maintain the current pace, I could finish in another eight weeks, but I have a busy schedule the rest of March and all of April so I probably need to add at least two weeks to my completion date, which makes it about June 1. The contract calls for completion of the first book by then so I should be in good shape. But this is a four-way collaboration (counting our editor, Maria Chang) so a lot can happen between here and the finished books. I plan for a perfect world and stand by for the unexpected.