Blogs by editor Randi Lynn Mrvos



                                   Volume 1 Issue 5

Three Hours with Auntie  
by: Cynthia Blankenship 

Beach Broncos 
by: Jennifer A. Buchet 

Book Review
Who Could That Be at This Hour?  
by: Donna Smith 

         Three Hours with Auntie

        I started to cry. Mom and Dad were going to the movies without me! Why couldn't I go? Tears ran down my cheeks and I had trouble catching my breath. I didn't want to stay with Auntie. like her, but I couldn't believe they wanted to go to some silly grown-ups-only show without me. When they dropped me off, Mom and Dad kissed me goodbye and rushed off. They said they had to hurry. They probably wanted to buy popcorn and soda and watch the previews. 

     Auntie took me inside her cozy apartment. As we hung our jackets on the doorknobs, Mouse, Auntie's Chihuahua who looks like a tiny black and white cow, started tugging at my sleeve. She wanted to play chase with her favorite toy, Mouse Two. Mouse would fetch her toy mouse every place I threw it: onto the couch, under the bed, and into the kitchen. Mouse made me feel better.  

     After all of that throwing, I got hungry. Auntie peeked inside the red backpack Mom had left for me. Auntie laid everything out on a wooden tray. She told me to pretend I was at a buffet and to nibble on whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. There were raisins, a juice box, an apple and ham sandwich. I asked Auntie if she could slice an apple for me. She carefully cut and cored the apple, and made little hearts with the slices. 

     Since it snowed earlier in the day, we decided to go play at the school playground across the street. It was sunny outside, but it was cold. Auntie put lots of layers of warm clothing on me. I wore a brown hood, a yellow sweater, a green jacket, thick socks, black boots, a red snowsuit, and brown mittens. 

By Victoria 

     When we reached the schoolyard, lots of kids were sledding down the little white hill. I didn't have a saucer, but one of the children let me borrow his while Auntie pulled me. It was fun! We tried it one more time and then returned the saucer to the boy. We thanked him for letting us use his toy. Afterwards, Auntie pushed me on the wet swing and climbed the slippery jungle gym tower with me. We even threw snowballs at each other.

     After a while, we walked back to Auntie's apartment. As we warmed up, I played her electric piano. I don't know how to play it yet, but I tapped away on the keys with my hands—and feet! Auntie turned on her iPod and we danced and danced and danced till we fell on the floor laughing and singing. 

     Before I knew it there was a knock at the door. Who could that be? Mom and Day were here to pick me up. Already? They said they had a great time at the movies. I had a great time with Auntie. I hope we get to spend another three hours again real soon. Hanging out with Auntie wasn't so bad after all!

By: Cynthia Blankenship    
*******************************************************************************                                                               Beach Broncos 

By: Willow

It’s a steamy July morning.  Along the shoreline of Chincoteague Island, 40,000 people are eagerly watching the waves.  The crowds jockey for good views, trying not to bump into television camera crews.  Finally, the “saltwater cowboys” begin whooping and hollering, waving their lassos high in the air.

A white mustang suddenly leaps onto the sand.  He’s followed by a colorful herd of wild ponies—cinnamons, palominos, pintos, blacks and browns.  Tails held high, they race along the shore and splash into the surf.  The annual summer round-up on Assateague Island has begun!

Since the 1600s, ponies have roamed Assateague, a small island off the coast of Virginia.  No one is entirely sure how they first arrived.  Some claim that the early European settlers brought them, perhaps “hiding” the ponies on the island to avoid paying taxes.  Others believe they escaped from a sinking Spanish galleon and made Assateague their new home.  Beginning in 1924, the locals have held an annual round-up and auction to manage the herds’ numbers because they don’t have any natural predators.

On the last Wednesday of every July, the ponies are gathered together.  To ensure the youngest ones don’t have any difficulties crossing the cool channel waters, the cowboys wait for a slack tide.  The ponies wade in, reaching the shores of Chincoteague after a short swim.  The first foal ashore is crowned King or Queen Neptune.  After a brief rest, the ponies parade downtown to the auction grounds—the streets echoing with whinnies and thundering hoof beats.

“Going once, going twice, sold!”  The next morning, the auction begins.  In 2012, 67 ponies were sold, with a high bid of $7,000 (the average cost is $1,440)!  All the money raised goes to the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which actually owns the ponies.

The firefighters also choose several special ponies, nicknamed “buy-backs.”  Auctioned with the rest, these lucky foals are given names by their buyers (such as Freckles, M&M, and Prince) and returned to Assateague to continue running free.  These “buy-backs” often fetch the highest price.  There’s also a raffle for the “Neptune foal” that’s given away to one lucky horse-lover.

Today, about three hundred wild ponies roam the island.  They live in small family bands of about ten to twelve animals.  They travel daily through the loblolly pine forests and marshlands, grazing on the island’s salty grasses.  These grasses make them drink a lot of fresh water, which gives them a fat, bloated look.  They also eat wild rosehips, bayberry twigs, persimmons, and even poison ivy!  Some ponies have even been known to raid campsites at night, breaking into coolers to munch on potato chips, marshmallows and hot dog buns!

Another great way to see these hardy beach broncos is to drive around the island’s nature loop.  Or just sit on the sand!  It’s not unusual to see the ponies romping in the ocean waves, especially during the midday heat.  There are also pony-watching cruises that sail deep into the island’s hidden nooks and coves.

Beaches and broncos – Assateague’s whinnying summer combination!

By: Jennifer A. Buchet

    Book Review

Name of Book: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?”
Author: Lemony Snickett
Illustrator: Seth
Year Published: 2012
Age range of book: 9-12
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
ISBN: 978-0-316-12308-2
Price: $9.42

The book is filled with all the wrong questions. Wrong meaning not right.

The famous Lemony Snicket who wrote the thirteen volumes of A Series of Unfortunate Events roams within the pages. Thirteen-year-old Snicket is “an excellent reader, a good cook, a mediocre musician, and an awful quarreler.” After graduating, he becomes an apprentice to S. Theodora Markson. What does the S stand for? They travel to Stain’d-by-the-Sea to investigate the theft of a statue “valued at upward of a great deal of money.”

In the mostly deserted Stain’d-by-the-Sea, the Sea is gone, ink comes from traumatized octopi, and there is a forest of seaweed. Throughout the story, Snicket rarely eats and sleeps, but he does befriend a mysterious girl and a girl who’s obsessed with reporting the news. Adults are scarce in the novel. They are either absent, kidnapped, missing, or untrustworthy.

The illustrations in the book are done by, Seth, who is a cartoonist, author, and artist. He perfectly conveys the shadowy, shenanigans going on in the Stain’d-by-the-Sea.  There is a nostalgic quality to the pictures without reveling any particular time period.

If you like stories that are dull, picturesque, and villain free, you should pick another book with children who live with their parents in a beautifully, landscaped house by a sun-dabbled ocean. But if you prefer action, danger, and a lurking villain then settle in a comfy chair, or even better sit in a lighthouse on top of a cliff with crashing waves below, and start reading.

Rating for the book:  * * * * *
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