11.21.2014

PPBF: Mogie - The Heart Of The House

First, an update about our Sweets For The Soldiers campaign:
Forty boxes of homemade goodies and treats are shipping out this morning en route to sixteen different deployed servicemen and women around the world who won't be home for the holidays, along with heartwarming notes like this one.


I just love that this writer gives her soldier credit for her safe feelings. And if my heart weren't happy enough, this morning I get to start the day with my friend Jennifer down the road at Southside Elementary in Angleton for their National Schools of Character celebration. We're on the agenda right after the AHS cheerleaders; I'm so eager to dance the Six Pillar Shuffle with those superheroes. And, I've got just the right PPBF to launch us into our
 Thanksgiving break week off.


Title: Mogie - The Heart Of The House
Author: Kathi Appelt
Illustrator: Marc Rosenthal
Publisher: Anheneum Books For Young Readers
Date: June 10, 2014
Suitable for: ages 4 - 8
Realistic fiction
Themes: compassion, friendship, empathy
Brief synopsis: Mogie is a Labradoodle who makes his way into the Ronald McDonald house in Houston to befriend and ultimately help restore mojo to a sick boy named Gabe.
Opening page:  There once was a very special house in the middle of a big city.

Resources: 
Visit the book's website {here}.
Read a Kirkus review {here}.
Watch the book's trailer on You Tube:


Why I like this book:  An adorable, active pup, a sick child, a charitable organization like the Ronald McDonald House ... what's not to like? Meet the real Mogie. This story is based on the real-life story of this empathy expert, who seems to have an uncanny ability to help the children who need him most. 
Click the picture to read his real-life story.


In this PPBF pick, Mogie is the one pup in a passel (have your students look up that word) who isn't destined for something big like his siblings, some of which join a Search and Rescue operation, others who take a Service job, and the rest who become Show Ring trophy dogs. 

Instead, Mogie is a rule-breaker who ends up at a Ronald McDonald House in Houston, destined to be the pet with the therapeutic ability to help heal. And when Gage, a sick child who is in the special house for treatment while he's ill, gets his mojo back, Mogie stays to help nurse Antonio back to health. 
Sounds like a really good job for a dog, don't you think?

I read it to a first-grade class yesterday, and they identified it as a circle story. Use this circle story to talk about empathy. How can you tell from Mogie's tale that it might be possible for a pet to have empathy? Have them cite specific examples. Switch places with Gage. What must his experience be like? How do you think he feels? What do you think he needs? What do you think his parents need? How about his friends? How could you use your superpowers to help this family?

This would be the perfect book to springboard a service-learning project. Is there a Ronald McDonald House in your area? What services to they provide? What do they need? Maybe you could partner to provide them a service. Could you make get-well cards or notes of cheer for the residents and their families? Maybe they need stuffed animals or board games? Some of the chapters take those pop tabs from soda cans. Perhaps you could start collecting them? Research what they use those for to spark a discussion about repurposing.


My brother Mark is on the Board of the Milwaukee Ronald McDonald House Chapter, so this charity has a personal connection for me, another reason that I was instantly endeared to Mogie.

Finally, have students write an essay and draw an illustration about who the heart of the house is at their place and why. These would make really special presentations and perhaps even a holiday bulletin board.

Check out this book; I think you'll want a copy for your shelves, too. Then head to Susanna's blog for today's other PPBF titles.





28 comments:

  1. This book does seem to be the heart of Thanksgiving and your blog is full of things to be grateful for. I do so admire you and all you seem to do. Thanks for everything you do. :)

    I put this all over my PInterest boards. :)

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    1. Thank YOU for your kind reflections and words of affirmation. Working intentionally to inspire people has given me a wonderful view of the world, which can sometimes be very cold and cruel. But with authors like this one and readers like you to soak it in, we'll certainly be leaving footprints worth following!

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  2. This looks like a cool book for kids who love, love, love dogs. Plus a heartwarming story to boot. Thanks for sharing it today.

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    1. Thank you, Sue, for stopping by. It will be perfect for dog lovers!

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  3. I am so glad that this book is having so much success. Mogi and his story deserve a wide audience!

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    1. I just found it last week ... what a treasure!

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    1. My pleasure. Thank YOU for stopping by!

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  5. Such a beautiful story about a Service Dog and the uncondtional love and compassion they show toward people in need of healing. I like your service activity suggestions to encourage kids to get involved. They already empathetic. There are also the Fischer Houses (like Ronald McDonald Houses) on military bases with medical centers.

    Love your program to send sweets to soldiers overseas. I love that there is so much emphasis on heart and giving to others in your classroom. That'is what superheroes do. And, I'd love to see you dance the six pillar shuffle -- whatever that is.

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    1. Hi Pat, I knew you'd love this pick. Thanks for telling us about the Fischer House! The Six Pillar Shuffle is a great way to get kids moving ... and today's rendition was awesome!

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  6. Thinking of others less fortunate is another way to celebrate Thanksgiving. What a touching story! And I love your contributions to servicemen, who, I am sure, we are ALL thankful for. Hope you have a meaningful celebration this year!

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    1. Thank you, Jarm, for stopping by the Corner. Yes, touching is a great word to describe Mogie's story!

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  7. Lovely review. I just happened to read this book earlier this week.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I just found it this last week myself.

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  8. This is my kind of story! Spread the word! Canine hearts are BIG!! And can achieve BIG things! Maybe you should get Mogie to visit your school! Thanks for sharing this one!!

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    1. Oh Rhythm, I KNEW you'd like this one and yes, canine hearts have a huge capacity for love! I'd like Mogie to come to us ... but I'd LOVE for you to come see us more!

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  9. A great review and an excellent book. Thanks!

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    1. I appreciate your kind affirmation, Joanne. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  10. What a wonderful story! Thank you for featuring it on your blog. I will check it out!

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    1. I predict you'll fall in love with Mogie!

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  11. I haven't heard of this one before. I really love Ronald McDonald Houses. They helped me out many days, many years ago.

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    1. Thanks for checking in, Stacy; I'm glad RMH was there for you when you needed help!

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  12. Sounds like a beautiful book, Barbara! Mogie is a special dog.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Grade ONEderful

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    1. Oh, Barb, I figured you'd connect with Mogie! It is, indeed, a beautiful book.

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  13. This sounds so special - definitely need to look to pick this one up! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Joanne; yes, this one touched my heart in a very special way. Thank you for coming by!

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  14. Gorgeous story. We have Ronald McDonald House down here too. Loved your post.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you came by and made the RMH connection.

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I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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