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Mutt-i-grees® Magic from Mifflinburg

A chorus of Mutt-i-grees kudos to Lori Hernesh, Children's Program Coordinator at Herr Memorial Library, in Mifflinburg, Penn.

Lori’s enthusiasm for the Curriculum turned into a day of fun for two first grade classes at the Mifflinburg Elementary School. After briefly explaining Mutt-i-grees, Lori read “May I Pet Your Dog?” by Stephanie Calmenson, and then set about demonstrating the safe and proper way to meet, greet, and treat a dog, using a realistic plush pup as a stand-in.

Because the classes were working on the concept of estimation, Lori put a bunch of small plastic cat and dog figures into a jar and asked the children to estimate how many there were.

From there, Lori moved to activities that called for imagination and creativity. She introduced the children to the Mutt-i-grees cat puppet and asked them to draw a picture and write stories answering the question, “What Would I Name the Mutt-i-gree Cat in the Library?”*

To generate even more imaginative thinking, Lori had printed a bunch of photos of dogs and cats in various states, including funny, cute, sleeping, eating, swimming, and playing. She’d also made a batch of blank word balloons for the kids to fill with captions for the photos. “I asked them to pretend that they were the dogs and cats,” she says,” and to fill the word balloon with whatever the cats and dogs were feeling. There were lots of giggles and excitement in the room, and the children were all so proud to show me what they’d came up with.”

At the end of the day, all the kids got to pick a prize for a job well done: a dog pencil and eraser, a pet care bookmark, or a plastic pet figure.

Lori is planning several summer activities at the library, with an hour-long reading kickoff event on Sat., June 11, which will no doubt feature canine reading assistants Jack, a Bernese Mountain Dog, and Dascha, a long-haired Dachshund.

* After reviewing all of the stories, a panel selected the name Moonlite for the new feline puppet, which was a thrill for first-grader Jayla, who cleverly came up with the name.

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