Monthly Archives: October 2016

Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Sheep

Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Sheep
Characters from the Year of the Sheep

Characters from the Year of the Sheep

THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP

Chin, Oliver. The Year of the Sheep, Tales of the Chinese Zodiac. San Francisco, CA: Immedium, 2015.

When Sydney the lamb was born, the entire flock came to see her. The shepherd’s daughter, Zhi and her dog, Dao, came, too.

Even though Zhi was the flock’s shepherd, Zhi and Sydney became close friends. Zhi even helped Sydney out of some hairy predicaments. Sydney was curious about the world around her and couldn’t help it but she did like grazing in the meadow with the rest of the flock.

One day, a great storm prevented them from going outside. The storm lasted for many days.

When the storm finally ended, it had destroyed much of the land including the pasture where the flock grazed. The sheep tried to eat dry shoots but the dried grass tasted awful.

As usual, Sydney strayed from the rest of the flock. Zhi found her talking to a rat and surveying the dried up river. They followed it upstream. Boulders and branches were blocking the flow of the water by the dam.

Sydney told Zhi about the river and together they devised a plan. Enlisting the help of all the animals of the surrounding countryside, Zhi and Sydney placed a log in a strategic spot in the dam. The animals stood on the log and hopped and hopped until pebbles and then rocks popped out. After more hopping and hopping a boulder finally gave way and the water rushed out of the dam, filling the river.

Zhi, Sydney and the other animals saved the day and the pastures, meadows and gardens were once more lush with vegetation.

Shadow Puppets:

Sydney, the sheep

Zhi, a girl

barnyard animals

Act out The Year of the Sheep for friends and family. What other predicaments can

Sydney and Zhi get into?

Shadow Theatre

Shadow Theater made of recycled materials

 

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Smicksburg PA Photo Sampler

Smicksburg PA Photo Sampler

I took two separate day trips to Smicksburg PA with a friend this October. Smicksburg is a country village in Indiana County with all kinds of craft and gift shops. (It even has a  US Post Office.) It is not far from Punxatawny Pa (home of the famous groundhog, Punxatawny Phil) to give you a geographic landmark.

The area is home to about 300 or so Amish families so it is not unusual to see horses and Amish buggies going by. Besides the craft and antique shops, we stopped by an apple orchard (excellent apple cider and apples) on the first trip. I bought so many apples that I was cooking with apples for a whole week!

The second trip included a visit to  an Amish farm so I could get my quilt repaired. We also visited a spinning studio and yarn shop (Silverbrook Fiber Arts and Sheepskin) in nearby Marchand PA where “spin-ins” as I call them, are held once a month or so.

If you want a day away from the city, consider a day trip to Smicksburg.

The photos above give a sampling of the many sights of Smicksburg PA. For more information go to: www.smicksburgh.net

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Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Ox

Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Ox
Characters from the Year of the Ox

Characters from the Year of the Ox

The Year of the Ox

Chin, Oliver. The Year of the Ox, Tales of the Chinese Zodiac. San Francisco, CA: Immedium, 2008.

Mama and Papa Ox named their newborn baby, Olivia, and introduced her to all their friends. The farmer’s daughter, Mei, came to see her, too. Mei declared that Olivia was her best friend and adopted sister. After that, Olivia and Mei played together every day.

One day, Mama and Papa Ox decided that Olivia had to learn to do chores and not just play all day long. They showed her the shed where they worked. Olivia was anxious to help with the daily farm chores but she was still too young and too small to do most of them. She messed up at everything she tried to do.

She even messed up when she tried to help at the farmer’s market.

On another day, Mei, her parents, and Mama and Papa Ox, went to work and left Olivia behind. Olivia moped about until she heard a noise outside. The dam had burst and the farm land was quickly flooding, frightening everyone on the farm and in the village.

Olivia searched for Mei and found her hanging from a tree branch. Olivia rescued Mei and the other animals swept away by the rising water. But Mei and Olivia noticed that the bank had begun to buckle. Neither Mei nor Olivia nor the other animals knew what to do.

Then Olivia had an idea. Olivia placed her shoulder against the dike while Mei went to get help. A crack appeared as Olivia waited. She became frantic but she did only what she could do: plug it up with her tail. Olivia pushed against the wall with all her might.

Eventually, Mei, Mei’s family and Mama and Papa Ox arrived with help. The waters receded and Olivia was able to take a breather.

Everyone exclaimed that Olivia and Mei were “the bravest girls in the world.”

Shadow puppets:

Olivia, the ox

Mama Ox

Papa Ox

Mei, a farmer’s daughter

Act out The Year of the Ox for family and friends.

Shadow Theatre

Shadow Theater made of recycled materials

 

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Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Snake

Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Snake
Characters from the Year of the Snake

Characters from the Year of the Snake

THE YEAR OF THE SNAKE

Chin, Oliver. The Year of the Snake, Tales of the Chinese Zodiac. San Francisco, CA: Immedium, Inc, 2013

Suzie, the baby snake, was born to her parents after they awoke from their winter’s nap.

Suzie wanted to fly like the dragons did but her father warned her to stay on the ground.

One day, she was outside exploring her surroundings and met a little girl named Lily. They shared a snack and became friends.

Suzie helped Lily with her chores because she was long and flexible like all snakes. Although Lily’s grandparents didn’t like Suzie at first, they changed their minds when they saw how helpful she was to Lily.

One day, various people in the neighborhood spotted a wild tiger and everyone ran for their lives. But Suzie and Lily confronted the tiger and found out that it was running away from a fire-breathing dragon.

Suddenly, the dragon circled overhead leaving behind a trail of fire and smoke as far as the eye could see.

Suzie’s parents taught her how to shed her skin and she did so now. This enabled her to climb up a tree. She slithered out on a tree limb and waited.

The dragon glided to earth and noticed the snake-skin. Suzie jumped down from the tree and wrapped herself around the dragon’s snout. She stopped the dragon’s fire and the dragon relaxed.

The dragon thanked Suzie for helping her. The dragon wasn’t trying to set anything on fire. She just had an uncontrollable case of the hiccups.

Everyone admired Suzie’s bravery and Lily and Suzie remained friends forever!

Shadow Puppets:

Suzie the snake

Suzie’s parents

tiger

Lily,a girl

dragon

Act out The Year of the Snake but think of other animals Suzie and Lily can face during their long walks and use them in your shadow play!

Shadow Theatre

Shadow Theater made of recycled materials

 

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Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Tiger

Tales of the Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Tiger
The Year of the Tiger

The Year of the Tiger

THE YEAR OF THE TIGER

Chin, Oliver. The Year of the Tiger, Tales from the Chinese Zodiac. San Francisco, CA: Immedium, 2010.

In the mighty jungle, Teddy the tiger was born to the King and Queen.

Teddy loved to play in the forest but his parents warned him to stay away from dangerous animals called humans. This order only roused Teddy’s curiosity. He found out that humans lived on the edge of the forest so he set out to see them for himself.

He walked for a while until he spotted a town. A girl spotted him and screamed, “Tiger!” Heeding the warning, Teddy scampered back to the jungle.

Curious about the girl, Su, Teddy returned to the town the next day. He noticed a barn and looked inside. Su was feeding the sheep and the pig. With a toothy grin, Teddy shouted, “Good morning!” and scared all the barnyard animals.

Su gave him a bowl of mild and introduced herself.  Scared, Teddy ran way but Su’s mama saw Teddy. She warned all the neighbors that a tiger was roaming the village. This situation caused all the other tigers in the jungle to find a new home.

Teddy decided to see Su one last time and say goodbye before his family moved away. Her dog’s barking warned Su’s parents that a tiger was on their farm and they chased him into the jungle. This time, though, Su followed him and they explored the jungle together.

Both Su and Teddy’s whereabouts were unknown to their parents. The King and Queen and Su’s mother and father were looking for them at the same time.

As Su walked through the jungle she accidentally stepped on a snake, slipped and fell over a ledge. Teddy leaped forward, roaring. Teddy’s claws clutched the dangling branches of a tree while his teeth held on to Su. Su hung on to his tail as he pulled her up and climbed up over the ledge.

Teddy’s act of courage brought the two families together in a long-lasting friendship.

Shadow Puppets:

Teddy, the tiger

Teddy’s parents,the King and Queen

Su, a girl

Su’s parents

sheep

pig

snake

Act out The Year of the Tiger for your friends and family!

Shadow Theatre

Shadow Theater made of recycled materials

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