Chocolate Storytime July 2014

Come on, Rain!

Come on Rain Cropped Urging mother nature for drought relief, we read a beautifully illustrated book, “Come On, Rain!” by Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse. The writing vividly describes an exasperating rainless summer that finally ends with a burst of liquid sunshine.

Presented with an early draft of “Come On, Rain!”, Hesse’s writers group insisted that she elaborate on why her characters, Tessie and Momma, wanted rain so badly. As she began researching times when people desperately wanted rain, a children’s chapter book, “Out of the Dust, blossomed into existence. This award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression and chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental–and emotional–turmoil they leave in their path. 

Illustrator of the main character, Tessie–a thin little brown girl with protruding ponytails, Jon J. Much, says, “My work in children’s books really grew out of a desire to explore what I was feeling as a new father… With the births of my children, there was a kind of seismic shift in where my work seemed appropriate – it became important to say other things about the world.”  Mulch studied painting, drawing and printmaking in several schools in the U.S. and in Europe. Then he had apprenticeships with a romantic realist and a neo-dadaist, and later went on to study stone sculpture and sho (brush calligraphy) in Japan.

After storytime, each person created a little origami frog, or “kaeru” in Japanese.  The kaeru is one of the most traditional origami models, datingOrigami Kaeru Frogs from the days when there were not many toys for children to play with, and kids had to make their own amusements.

Chocolate Storytimers got a sheet of recycled 6-inch paper, created their own unique designs on them with markers and oil pastels, and began folding away.  Jumping when you push down on its back legs lightly with a finger, the kaerus kept Chocolate Storytime guests engaged and entertained for quite a while.  They had a blast competing to see whose frog jumps highest and furthest. With so many tiny fingers and ability levels, there were several versions of the frog, but one mom actually created an extra fold that enabled her frog to consistently jump higher than the others. A few of the kids were were intent on recreating her version.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a surprise visit from former Mocha Moms, Inc. Pasadena Chapter President, Gay Lynn Moore, who stopped by with her daughter.

For pictures of the July Chocolate Storytime, visit our Photo Albums tab.

The Lawn DudeThe Drought and the Lawn Dude

As California’s drought becomes more extreme and water conservation becomes a priority, the Los Angeles News Group has launched a new website dedicated to coverage of the drought across California. is a comprehensive site produced in a partnership with Digital First Media newspapers, including the Los Angeles Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Pasadena Star-News and others. The work of journalists from more than two dozen newsrooms across the state will be featured on the site. (Source:  Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lawn Dude, Southern California Water Conservation’s official cartoon mascot, is a self-proclaimed “recovering wateraholic” whose motto is “sweat by day and drink by night.”  Here’s one of his tweets:  “Seeing some real dirty cars from my billboards & I LIKE IT! Keep it that way – H2O has many more important uses! ”  Follow the Lawn Dude on Twitter at @Lawn_Dude for more funny but informational water conservation tips.

Chocolate Storytime July 2014 Booklist

Below are the books that we read at this month’s Chocolate Storytime.  Some of the books have been purchased from Eso Won Bookstore in Los Angeles or Vroman’s in Pasadena, or checked out from the La Pintoresca Branch Library.

A Beach TailA Beach Tail

by Karen Lynn Williams and illustrated by Floyd Cooper

“Gregory and his father are spending a day at the beach. When Greg finds a stick and draws a lion in the sand, his father says, ‘Don’t go in the water, and don’t leave Sandy.’ The little boy follows his father’s advice. But he still manages to travel down the beach quite a way before realizing he can no longer see the blue umbrella where Dad is waiting. Greg’s journey takes him past many landmarks. Fortunately, he has his stick-and Sandy’s tail-with him the whole way.” -Goodreads

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

The Girls in the CircleThe Girls in the Circle

by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson

Three girls have fun playing dress-up at their grandmother’s house, even painting their toenails, but then they have nowhere to go. This is one of four easy readers, all of which feature African-American characters. They all begin with tips for adults on reading aloud and end with questions and activities that encourage youngsters to relate to the stories’ themes. -School Library Journal

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Flower GardenFlower Garden

by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

“Follow the progress of a little girl and her father as they purchase “a garden,” and board the bus to carry it home. The pansies, tulips, daffodils, geraniums, and daisies are lovingly planted in a window box, and the candles on the cake are lighted–just as Mom walks in the door to find her daughter, her husband, and her birthday surprise.” -Goodreads

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

What's WhatWhat’s What? A Guessing Game

by Mary Serfozo and illustrated by Keiko Narahashi

“What’s cold and wet, warm and dry, and hard and soft? Why a puppy, of course! Keiko Narahashi’s appealing watercolor paintings make this fun concept book a special one for children and adults to enjoy together.” – Goodreads

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Lola-Loves-StoriesLola Loves Stories

by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

“The library books that Lola picks out with her father spur her to act out wonderful adventures of princesses, pilots, and a (gently!) scary monster. ” -Scholastic

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

Come on RainCome on, Rain!

by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Jon J. Muth

“Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Then the clouds roll in and the rain pours. And Tess, her friends, and their mothers join in together in a rain dance to celebrate the shower that renews both body and spirit.” -Scholastic

Reviews: Good Reads and Amazon

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