March 13 – Open An Umbrella Indoors Day

Today, March 12th is NOT Friday the 13th, but it is Open An Umbrella Indoors Day.

This day was named by Thomas Knibb in 2003, hopefully to defy silly superstitions by encouraging people to open their umbrellas indoors and observe the non-existent consequences.  If you want to celebrate this bizarre holiday, just follow these four simple steps:

Step 1: Grab an umbrella.

Step 2: Stand in a safe place (indoors), away from breakable objects and/or people who value their eyesight.

Step 3: Take a deep breath and OPEN your umbrella!

Step 4: Keep your eyes and ears open for any bad luck that occurs.

(Note from Mr. Knibb:  People who take part in this holiday, do so at their own risk.)

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Now, that you’re all safe and sound… how about a great picture book or two?

The first one I chose for today… <cue the music> Ta Ta Ta Da!

The Umbrella, written and illustrated by the great and talented Jan Brett!

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This is a wonderful story about a young boy who drops his umbrella in order to climb up a tree in the rainforest.  As he clambers up a tree in search of animals, the animals are down below trying to fit themselves into his upturned umbrella.  It gets so crowded in his umbrella, that there isn’t enough room for even the tiny hummingbird, causing everyone to fall out of the umbrella and scurry back to their homes.  And the little boy must return home without having seen any rainforest animals.   In the classic style of Jan Brett, every illustration is playful and detailed.  Little ones are enchanted with the story and easily pick up the sequence and predict the next animal who will find his way into the umbrella.

The second picture book I chose for today is an exercise in distinguishing between good luck and bad luck, and how any event can quickly become good or bad depending on the circumstances and your perception of the situation.  This is a lot of fun for Friday the 13th or any other day to dispel superstitions, weather or not you believe in good or bad luck.

That’s Good! That’s Bad! written by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by David Catrow.

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This is a playful story of a boy who gets separated from his parents at the zoo… That’s bad!  No, That’s Good! … because he ends up having wonderful adventures with the animals!  With every turn of a page, the reader experiences a new adventure, That’s Good!  And every adventure has a potential danger, That’s Bad!  Can you see where this is going?  Little ones love to shout the opposite phrase, in response to the reader’s proclamation of “That’s Good!” or “That’s Bad!” as the story progresses.  Eventually the stork drops the boy back into his parents’ waiting arms… That’s Great!

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