A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Mary Ann Evans, pen name George Eliot, submits her first work, Scenes of Clerical Life, for publication in 1856.
- In 1923, the USSR experiments with a five-day weeks. Read A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee and Someday is Not a Day of the Week by Denise Brennan-Nelson.
- On Saxophone Day, read Saxophone Sam and His Snazzy Jazz Band by Christine Schneider and Charlie Parker played Be Bop by Chris Raschka.
- Itâ€™s Marooned Without a Compass Day. Read Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk by Robert Kraske and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
November has been designated Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Most families want to find a puppy or kitten when they chose a pet, but there are so many benefits in bringing a more mature animal into the house. My own senior pet, a Bernese mountain dog named Lady, turns twelve this month. Two years ago an attack of bloat left her with heart problems; since then digestive, leg, and eye problems have been added to the mix. But her dignity in dealing with old age inspires me daily. I love having a mature pet as a companion.
Consequently, I am the perfect reader for our book of the day: Elisha Cooperâ€™s Homer. Cooper, who presented a beguiling and inspiring look at rural life in Farm, takes on the subject of a senior pet, a dog. The first picture shows Homer recumbent on the porch with a text easy enough for a preschool reader: â€śHomer sits on the porch. What does he want to do today?â€ť Other dogs chase around the yard, but he declines to do so. Family member after family member comes and invites him for activity. But he stays on the porch. Finally, everyone returns with news of their adventures, and Homer listens and enjoys their stories. â€śDo you need anything?â€ť the father asks. But Homer has everything he wants. In a sequence of panels he shuffles into the house, eats some food, and climbs into his favorite chair.Â The last words belong to this contented dog, â€śI have you.â€ť
I consider this the best three-handkerchief book I have read recently. Anyone who has ever loved a senior pet will identify with this story. It is rare to find a successful picture book where the protagonist observes rather than participates in activity. Yet in the watercolor and pencil art, Homer looms as the focal point of each piece. In these gentle drawings Cooper doesnâ€™t shout or yell.Â He whispers causes the reader to calm down to hear him. I am so grateful we have contemporary creators like Elisa Cooper. He isnâ€™t afraid to be quiet or to use white space in the art where the eyes can simply rest. He reminds us to take pleasure in the simple things of life, such as an old dogâ€™s enjoyment of each day.
Now I must go back to my senior pet. I have herâ€”and she has meâ€”for this moment. We have everything we need.
Hereâ€™s a page from Homer:
Homer sits on the porch.
What does he want to do today?
Originally posted November 6, 2012. Updated for .