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Poems -- And Other Pet Fun!

What's going on inside your dog's head? Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Find answers to those questions -- and celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week (May 3-9) -- with two new books! Included: A (Pet) Poetry Contest for Kids -- Deadline: May 15!

Biscuits in the Cupboard Book Cover

What's going on inside your dog's head? Barbara Nichol knows! She's just written Biscuits in the Cupboard (Stoddart Kids Publishing), a book of fanciful rhymes about dogs. Everybody will recognize their favorite dog in one of the comical canine characters Nichol has created!

How does a dog feel about fleas? You must know but let's hear it from one of Nichol's alter egos:

Wart hog. Bull frog. Kitty cat.
Turtle. Tiger. Sewer rat.
All God's creatures have a right to be.
All God's creatures, except the flea!

In Biscuits in the Cupboard you'll meet all kinds of dogs -- fun-loving dogs and snooty dogs, puppies and dogs that have "been around the block," great Danes and chihuahuas, dogs in the yard and dogs at sea. Nichols also takes a fun look at some of the names we give to dogs -- names that don't quite fit -- in her poem "What Is in a Name?" ("Killer is a friendly dog. Rusty isn't red.")

You'll even meet "Lazy Dog"

"My grievance is so very small
I'm tempted to forget it.
But when it's you who threw the ball
Why must I go and get it?"

Kids will love Nichol's rhymes, including a riddle poem to solve and "The Legend of Chicken Bones," a scary tale for dogs! And readers will delight in Philippe Beha's doggy illustrations, which pant with personality. Colorful watercolor splashes accent his plain and pompous pooches.

Biscuits in the Cupboard might even motivate your student pet poets to enter a writing contest


If your students hurry, they still have time to enter their best pet poems and prose in a special contest to commemorate National Poetry Month (April) and the publication of Biscuits in the Cupboard! All entries will be judged by none other than -- Barbara Nichol!

Students ages 6 to 10 can enter this contest. Entries must be between two lines and 250 words in length; kids can enter a poem or a piece of short prose about a pet.

Again, the deadline is MAY 15!

The contest is sponsored by Stoddart Kids (the publisher of Biscuits in the Cupboard), the PetsMart pet chain, and the national children's newspaper Tomorrow's Morning. Entries should be mailed to Tomorrow's Morning, 125 S. Barrington Place, Los Angeles, CA 90049 or sent via email to [email protected]. Winners will be announced in June. The first place winner will receive a PetsMart gift certificate worth $500 and a home library of Stoddart Kids' books valued at $500. Ten runners-up will receive signed copies of Biscuits in the Cupboard and posters. Plus, teachers take note! The classroom that sends in the most entries will win a $100 PetsMart gift certificate, making that class aquarium, terrarium, or hamster village a reality. All winning poems will be published in Tomorrow's Morning!


Totally Fun Things Book Cover

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Maxine Rock has created a new guide for doing just that -- with old dogs and "new" dogs! Her book, Totally Fun Things to Do with Your Dog (John Wiley and Sons), will be available May 8.

Rock's ideas include:

  • Grab your dog, stock up on treats, and join your friend and her dog for some fun doggy relay races. Ideas included!
  • Is your dog the next Air(dale) Jordan? Rock provides easy-to-follow directions for teaching your beagle to play basketball!
  • You've all seen photographs of William Wegman's weimaraners. How about dressing up your dog and shooting some comical scenes? Rock provides tips for creating funny photos, and tips for posing the pooch!
  • Looking for a way to raise money? How about starting a dog-walking business? Rock provides tips for unleashing your business!

Rock includes dozens of games -- with balls and frisbees and hurdles and hoops (to name just a few of the things). Also included are ideas for special themed birthday parties for four-legged friends -- right down to party decorations and party games!

Getting a new puppy? Why not have a "name the dog" party? Taking the dog on the family vacation? Check out Rock's travel tips. Does your dog hate bath time? Take the dog into the shower with you! Lots of dogs prefer being sprinkled to being immersed, Rock says.

Throughout the book, Rock provides safety tips for her activities. And she offers little bits of doggy trivia along the way. (Did you know that the word "puppy" comes from the French word "poupee," which means "doll"?)

Totally Fun Things to Do with Your Dog offers an amazing array of activities you and your dog can share! Available May 8, 1998!

Find these books at your local bookstore or ask your bookseller to order them for you:

  • Biscuits in the Cupboard, by Barbara Nichol and illustrated by Philippe Beha, is published by Stoddart Kids, 85 River Rock Drive, Suite 202, Buffalo, NY 14207. Phone 1-800-805-1083 or email [email protected]. In Canada, phone (416)445-3333.
  • Totally Fun Things to Do with Your Dog, by Maxine Rock and illustrated by Ed Shems, will be available May 8, 1998. It's published by John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158. Phone 1-800-225-5945. In Canada, 1-800-567-4797.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1998 Education World