Blogs by editor Randi Lynn Mrvos


 Kid’s Imagination Train 
                                                                November 2013   Volume 1  Issue 11

                                                            Come read, learn, and draw!

Cover art by:  Copyright © 2013 Brooke Parr

Kid's Imagination Train
November 2013  Volume 1  Issue 11 
            ISSN 2333-987X  

Editor-in-Chief:  Randi Lynn Mrvos
Book Reviewer:  Donna Smith
            Illustrator:  Brooke Parr
Marketing Director/Art Director:  Rosemarie Gillen

            Editorial Offices:
All across the United States

Publishing Office:
4637 Spring Creek Drive
Lexington, KY  40515

  Mission Statement:
Welcome to the Kid's Imagination Train, where children can take the journey of reading in a brand new way. KIT offers book reviews, fiction, poetry, lesson plans, and  nonfiction for kids ages 5 - 12. It’s unique in that it engages children by providing the opportunity to illustrate their favorite features and have them published online. We invite you to read, to learn, and to draw!  

©Kid's Imagination Train

Volume 1 Issue 11 


4  Fiction
The Missing Dreidal 
by Savannah Hendricks

5  Nonfiction
Below the Sidewalks of Seattle, Part II
by Randi Lynn Mrvos

6  Book Review
When You Reach Me
by Donna Smith 

7  Lesson Plan 
       Music: Antonio Vivaldi  
by Randi Lynn Mrvos 

          8  Lesson Plan Activity 
       A Tree for all Seasons 
             by Randi Lynn Mrvos 

The Missing Dreidal 

                                                               Art by Lydia

“But Mom,” Natalie whined, “I need to find my dreidel.”
“That old thing,” Mom said, “I bought you a new one.”
“No, it has to be the one Dad got me!”
Natalie ran to her bedroom. Mom didn’t understand how important it was to have the dreidel Dad had given her on her first Hanukkah. This year Natalie would be spending Hanukkah with Dad and she had only a few minutes left to find it. She searched high and low and in between. Sitting on the bed, Natalie let out a sigh.
“Where could I have put it?” Natalie questioned herself. She thought about her dreidel, the wood worn and smooth, the symbols engraved in blue. She thought about how it smelled like cinnamon when it was accidentally spattered with cookie batter. Natalie even remembered when her dad gave it to her along with a fuzzy pink sweater. 
Then as she thought about the sweater, she remembered one place she had forgotten to look. She opened the closet door and searched the floor.  Natalie knelt and patted the carpet.  Her fingers found a small curved hole along the back wall. Peering inside, she could see a little critter that had nested inside. On top of his bed of scrap paper and bits of yarn, he had placed a strange object. It took Natalie a few seconds to figure out what he was doing. He was trying to use her dreidel as a pillow.
“Mouse!” Natalie shouted, startling him into a freeze. “My dreidel! I need it back. It’s very important.”
The mouse turned around, shivering slightly, and then he pushed deeper into the hole. Natalie reached in and grabbed the dreidel.
“Don’t worry,” Natalie told him, “I might have something even better for you.”
She went to her bathroom and located a cotton ball out of the drawer. When Natalie returned, the mouse was still hiding in the hole.
“It’s okay, I’m not upset. Try this,” Natalie encouraged the mouse. She placed the fluffy white cotton ball on the mouse’s soft bed where the dreidel used to be.
The mouse’s nose began to twitch and wiggle back and forth. As he moved closer to the cotton ball his nose twitched faster. Natalie watched as he carefully accepted the new gift by resting his head on it, snuggling in, and slowly closing his eyes.
Natalie heard Dad’s car pull into the gravel driveway and the horn honk.
“Bye Mom,” Natalie called into the living room.
“Wait,” Mom called, hurrying to the front door, “don’t forget the dreidel.” She held out the brand new dreidel.
“I found my old one!” said Natalie as she opened up her hand.
“Good,” Mom said, kissing Natalie on the cheek. “Have fun!”
Natalie bolted towards Dad’s car. She would tell Mom about the mouse later.
“Look Dad!” Natalie exclaimed, holding out the dreidel. 
“You found it,” Dad stated with a smile. And Natalie smiled back.

Written by:  Savannah Hendricks


                                                                                                                                             PART II
Rats scurried from the ships anchored in Seattle's harbor and into the dark passages of the Underground.  Over time, the rodent population grew.  This made the subterranean shopping district unpleasant and unsafe.  Eventually, the businesses on the bottom level soured; and by 1907, the original first story of the newly renovated downtown business district was condemned.   
Courtesy of Misti Kay
The Underground remained in a state of disrepair for fifty years until the 1960s, when public interest renewed.  A resident queried The Seattle Times whether tours of the abandoned Underground were available.  Fascinated with the prospects of offering tours, Bill Speidel, a Seattle native and publisher of the weekly Seattle Guide recruited volunteers to restore the ruins.  After repairing the first floors, Speidel and his wife conducted the first tour in May 1965. 

Tours are still popular today.  Thanks to Bill Speidel and his heirs, the forgotten passageways of Pioneer Square can be explored.  Rick Boetel, historian and tour guide for sixteen years, ushers groups into the past.  He leads the crowd from the sidewalk to a crumbling cement staircase, down a maze of stairs, and through the timber walkways.  A dank odor greets the tour group as they enter the dingy, dusty, dark underworld. 

Boetel says, “In the first years of the reconstruction, businessmen used gas or oil lamps and candles for light.  But, these methods were outlawed because they started fires.  So some businessmen paid to install skylights in the sidewalks.” 

Boetel points overhead.  He explains that the skylight panes were spaced every eight feet, though some city blocks were without them.  Skylights were composed of three by three-inch glass squares (some were circular in shape) which were one and a half inches thick and set in lead and steel.  The average size of a skylight is about five feet long and three feet wide.  Once there were hundreds of skylights.  Now only fifty to sixty remain, many covered over with concrete.

Originally, the skylight glass was clear when it was first installed.  But over the years, the glass turned purple when exposed to light.  The tour group learns that the change in coloration was due to the addition of manganese, a chemical that was used as a bleaching agent to prevent the glass from turning green.    

Boetel turns off the lights.  The crowd is amazed by the amount of light that pours in from the skylights—more than they imagined.  He explains that a majority of the original glass are prism-shaped which helps to spread the light.  Some members of the group gasp when pedestrians walk upon them.  Boetel reassures everyone, “No one has ever fallen through.”  

Outlines of feet, hints of colors, and shadowy blurs pass by.  A skateboard rumbles overhead. The skylights eerily cast light into the Underground, illuminating a teller’s cage, a former meat market and bank, and even a toilet!  As the tour draws to a close, Boetel explains to the group that they’ve witnessed the first indoor mall.  They giggle and glance upward at the panes of glass before leaving.  Boetel says, “The skylights are what people remember the most about the Underground.”

The author wishes to thank historian and tour guide Rick Boetel for his expertise.

 Written by:  Randi Lynn Mrvos 

Book Review:  When You Reach Me


Name of Book: When You Reach Me
Author: Rebecca Stead
Year Published: 2009
Age Range of Book: 9 - 12 years
Publisher: A Yearling Book
ISBN: 978-0-375-85086-8
Price: $6.99

Caution!  After finishing When You Reach Me, you may have the urge to tap people on the shoulder at the grocery store, the mall, or the dentist’s office and tell them, "You’ve got to read this book."

Rebecca Stead’s book transcends age boundaries. The novel takes place in the late 1970s in New York City. Twelve-year old Miranda lives in an apartment with her mom who works as a paralegal. Throughout the novel, Stead introduces characters and situations that resonate as real. She accurately depicts preteens and the shifting friendships and heightened emotions they experience.

It’s refreshing to read about a single mom who is busy and exhausted, but not neglectful and her boyfriend who’s portrayed as kind and attentive, not leering or violent. Stead skims the racial issue with a poignant look at how an innocent comment can cause a wrong impression. In the book, Miranda learns about the world and how some things aren’t what they appear to be. Miranda’s mother explains, “We walk around happily with these invisible veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way. But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there’s a wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for a few seconds before it settles down again.”

Stead deftly weaves time travel into the storyline and it adds a surprising element to the novel. Some readers may figure out the mystery of who’s sending the letters before the end of the novel, but it doesn’t matter. When You Reach Me is like a satisfying snack. One you want to taste again or certainly share.

Stead is the recipient of numerous awards for When You Reach Me. Two of the author’s honors include the 2010 Newberry Medal and the 2010 Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction. Other books written by Stead are First Light and Liar & Spy.

Rating for the book: *****   
Visit Donna Smith’s website: 

                                    Music:  Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy.  Though no one knows exactly when Vivaldi was born, his birth date is believed to be between 1675 and 1678.  Vivaldi’s first music teacher was his father, who taught him how to play the violin.  Antonio Vivaldi became a priest, but he was also a music teacher and composer at a music school for girls in Venice. One of his greatest admirers was Johann Sebastian Bach, who adapted some of Vivaldi’s compositions for his own instrumental arrangements. 
The Four Seasons, one of Vivaldi’s best known works, requires less than twenty musicians to play.  The Spring Concerto has a joyous spring theme, where the sounds of twittering birds, murmuring streams, flashing lightening, clapping thunder, and barking dogs are created by stringed instruments.  The Summer Concerto begins with the songs of a cuckoo, a turtledove, and a goldfinch and then concludes with a violent thunderstorm.  In the Autumn Concerto the galloping of horse hooves and the trumpeting of a horn portray a hunt scene.  The last concerto is full of wintry blasts and raging winds. 

Written by: Randi Lynn Mrvos

A Tree for all Seasons Picture   
  Listen to The Four Seasons as you work on this project.
 White construction paper, black marker, glue, and pink, green, white, and orange tissue paper

 1.  Tear pieces of pink, green, white, and orange tissue paper. Roll into small balls.
 2.  Fold a piece of white construction paper into four equal parts.  
 3.  Draw a leafless tree in each section. 
 4.  Glue the tissue paper onto a leafless tree, one color per tree (pink for spring 
     blossoms, green for summer leaves, orange for autumn leaves, white for 
     snow-covered branches). 
 5.  Label each season. 

 Written by: Randi Lynn Mrvos                                                                                                      8

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