Family Photo Friday…After The Snow Day

Today’s photo was taken as I was leaving for work today. It’s a little dark, but it is early morning, and to make it lighter, I would have to move closer. If I moved closer, they would also move. And it’s really the pose that tells the story today.

It was cold (below freezing) and windy this morning. Even though there are bales of hay beside the door to their main run and coop to act as windbreaks, they choose to be by the door to see outside. They choose to huddle together.

They are still in awe of the snow that has lingered. It has been three years since we have had no more than a light dusting of snow.

I’d like to think that this is their way of saying, “Have a nice day. We will be waiting for you to get back home.” That’s because I’ve told them, as I always do before I leave, “Take good care of each other.” And that is what they do.

There is Gracie sitting at the front, shielding the others from the wind gusts. Amelia is standing to the left and keeping guard, just as I knew she would and just as I wrote about last week. That is my Amelia, always a leader whether others realize it or not.

Behind them is Bessie, and at the very back, with her head stretched out at far as possible to see over everyone, is Emily. You’d never know she is the shortest from this photograph, would you?

(By the way, Pearl is “off camera” snacking on sunflower kernels. Always different. Always my precious little Pearl!)

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The New Ink Pen

“What are you doing?” asked Gracie.

”I’m trying out the new pen I got for Christmas.”

“That’s Pearl, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s a drippy and messy pen sometimes. Sort of the way Pearl can be. Even though it’s not perfect all of the time, it still makes beautiful lines. You just have to know how to look at them.”

“Messy but beautiful, just like with Pearl,” Gracie said with delight. “But who are the baby chicks? We don’t have any baby chicks here any more.”

“I know. Pearl wants to be a Momma Hen more than just about anything these days. She misses having Blanche at her side. She would like to have some baby chicks that look like her. So I made this drawing.”

“It’s like you’ve said before. Drawing lets you do things you would never be able to do any other way.”

“And that is how you and I will dance in the streets of Paris even if we never get to travel there together. But that is many drawings from now. I still would like to really go to Paris with you, Gracie.”

“Is there a reason why you did this drawing without any bright and pretty color? Besides Pearl being mostly white, I mean.”

“You and I both love pictures. And our readers love pictures too. But books with pictures in color are very expensive to print. So all of our books with color have to be short. No more than sixty-four pages. But it’s going to take more than sixty-four pages to tell some of the stories we want to tell.”

“So these books with black-and-white pictures mean more adventures?”

“Exactly right.”

“Even though you didn’t stay inside the lines all of the time?”

“For me it’s harder to go outside of the lines than to stay inside the lines.”

Gracie laughed, and we smiled together. It didn’t make much sense to either of us, but it didn’t matter.

“What kind of more adventures?” she asked.

“Adventures like Amelia flying to the moon and back. Adventures like you dancing at the Paris Opera Ballet. Adventures like maybe even Pearl having her own little family.”

“And some baby chicks wearing little tutus would be very nice. Can you draw that too?”

She nudged me with her head to make sure I was listening.

“That would make both Pearl and you happy, wouldn’t it? Yes, I can do that. But it will all take some time. A drawing that shows how much I love you takes time to get just right.”

“We can wait.”

“You know, Gracie, this really is A Most Wondrous Place just like you have always said.”

Gracie’s Best Ever Reading List-“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts”

I have been unsure what to have as a first post for a new year. Usually I will begin the year with a retrospective look at popular posts from the previous year, but 2020 was an odd year and this first week of 2021 has been an even odder week. And so I am beginning the year by sharing the book my chickens have been reading and reading again.

“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts” by Steve Smallman was a gift to ourselves for Christmas, and we couldn’t be happier! This is currently our newest, most treasured book. My chickens and I unanimously say, “We love you, Little Bunny!”

As you can see from the picture, it is a small book, about 6 inches by 6 inches. It is in the little maple rocking chair my grandparents bought for me when I was very young. I would have loved this book back then, even before I had learned to read.

The illustrations are charming and delightful. They beautifully express the emotions that are a part of life, both on a bad day and on a good day. You will likely want to turn the pages slowly to enjoy the short lines of poetry that accompany each drawing of Little Bunny. This is a great “pre-reader” book because a child can still read the pictures and make up the words that go with them.

This book is filled with wisdom as Little Bunny’s day goes from having a not-so-good day to having a phenomenally good day. Little Bunny shows us it’s all in how we look at things. We can turn an “ears-down” day into an “ears-up” day.

Steve Smallman, the book’s author and illustrator, has created what I believe will be a treasured classic. My chickens and I certainly treasure it! This is a book I wish I had written and illustrated, but there is only one Little Bunny, and there is only one Steve Smallman!

“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts” is what I call a “sit beside and read to” book. That is how it is best shared with very young children, but probably in a much bigger rocking chair than the one in today’s photo! They will enjoy the drawings. They will enjoy the rhyming words. They will love Little Bunny. And they will especially love you for sitting beside them and sharing this exceptional book.

You too are likely to find yourself saying, if only to yourself, “I love you, Little Bunny.” At least that’s what all of my chickens have said every time I’ve read this book to them.

“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts” is available through Amazon. You can use this link to see the Amazon preview of the inside of the book and order a copy as a gift…even if only for yourself!

Signed copies are also available through the publisher and there is also a great video that gives an idea of what the book is like inside on the publisher’s website.

Seriously, can you look at the cover of this book and not smile right along with Little Bunny? I bet you can’t!