Manny's Blog

a blog for kids and kids at heart


Summer Vacation Games

If it wasn’t for grandpas, I think summer vacations would be boring.  Grandpa Hal takes time to play games with me.  Did you know that in England the game of Checkers is called Draughts?  Boys like me started playing Draughts way back in the 1100s in France.  Just like then we call the big round pieces “men”  The darkest color gets to go first.  Darn, Grandpa Hal got to go before me.

Hal and Manny checkers 2rht

I love Grandpas because they make me think.  Grandpa Hal is really smart.  He would not let me beat him, but his man was on top of mine, so I told him, “I won!”  He was not happy with me.  In 1532 someone added the rule that if your man CAN jump, he MUST jump.  That’s not fair because then the opponent sometimes can do a double or triple jump and capture lots of your men.

Hal and Manny checkers1rt

Grandpas make Mom pay attention to me, and take my picture.  I don’t mind posing.  Grandpa Hal winked at me.

Manny at CB 1rt

We played Hide-N-Seek.  I hid in the tulips.  They couldn’t find me!  They kept calling and calling for 100 minutes.  I laughed and laughed, then they heard me.

Manny at CB2rt

Summer is for eating.  When Mom and I travel back east we love to go to Cracker Barrel.  Grandpa Hal took Mom and me to Cracker Barrel.  

manny at CB4

If you go to Cracker Barrel, games are everywhere.  I found a friend, Mr. Toucan.  He repeats everything you say.  Mom played with his brother at Grandpa Hal’s house, so she had to buy one.  I hate that we stuffeds are “bought.”  Anyway Mr. Toucan still sits in his box on the floor in my room.  We never play with him now that we are not on vacation.  I’m ready to take another vacation!

Manny at CB3rt

Vacations are fun because even Mom stops to play games with me.  What do you do on vacations.  Write and tell me.  You can even send stories with pictures, if you want!  My friends would love to hear your vacation stories, too.  




Manny on Delaware Duty

A duty is a tour, staying in one place for a period of time.  Mom and I toured Delaware for one week.

Delaware Duty

Did you know Delaware joined the United States before any other state, but they drug their feet signing the Constitution?  I don’t know if that means anything now, but Delawareans must think it does.  All their license plates say “First State” like it’s a big deal.

Historic New Castle

I can’t tell the difference between Delaware and Pennsylvania.  One minute we are in one state, and then there is a sign by the road and we are in a different state.  I’m very confused.  All the towns look pretty and most of them look really old.  This town is New Castle.  I didn’t see any new castles or old ones either, just big brick houses.

ddays tavern3

Hal let me eat at a tavern, but he made me drink coffee and eat soup – no beer.  The soup was too hot, so I blew on it real hard.  I got some pieces on Hal’s sweater, but he wiped them off, and didn’t get mad at me.  He squirted me with a lemon, so we’re even.

Mannys first bite


Inside the tavern the servers looked old – really old, like 300 years old or so.  Mr. Day, the tavern owner, said they brought history to life.  I wonder if someone will pretend to be me when I die.

jessups tavern2

I wanted to go talk to this re-enactor, but  Mom said he was just himself.  He looked like a character to me.  Do you think he was real?

old character

I think it would be hard to ride bicycles here.  Look at this rocky road.  Is that where rocky road ice cream came from?

Newcastle DE1


Mom, Hal, and I had a great time touring New Castle, DE.  The Courthouse is going to become a National Park.  This town looks like Colonial Williamsburg, but Hal doesn’t want it to become famous, so please don’t go visit it.

Mom and Manny

Writing stories when you travel is really easy.  I wish you would send me a story you wrote.  Here is the way I write a story.

Step One –  Look at a picture.  Tell what you think about it.

Step Two – Look at another picture.  Tell what you think about it.

Step Three – Look at what you wrote and see how it starts to become a story or narrative.

Step Four – Go back to the beginning of the page.  Write a topic sentence.

Step Five – Put some more pictures that finish telling the story, and save the rest of the pictures for another story.

Step Six –  Write a conclusion, and then press publish.  The proof reader makes you fix your spelling.  Press publish again.


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Manny’s Writing Challenge: When Best Friends Fight

BV Bears Fight

Most of the time the Bears at Bellavista get along with each other and everyone else.  Sometimes they fight.  Yellow and Green fuss.  Yellow says Green started it.  Green says it wasn’t his fault.  He didn’t do anything wrong.  The rest of us  Stuffeds get tired of their constant bickering.

Today’s challenge is to write a story about a fight.  Maybe you can help Yellow and Green settle their differences and make up.  We want peace again at Bellavista.  Maybe you have another fight in mind.

Story requirements:

  • 500 words or less
  • use at least one picture
  • Title:   Manny’s Writing Challenge:  When Best Friends Fight
  • Theme ideas:  families, friendship, sibling rivalry, arguments, separation, respect, sharing, living together
  • Topic ideas:  Stuffed toys, Teddies, toys, dolls, real animals
  • Plot:  You decide.
  • Genre:  You might write an animal story, cautionary tale, humor, fractured fairy tale, poetry, story of noises, naughty behavior, or even non-fiction, or something else if you like

Manny's Writing Challenge Widget


Manny and Justin Are Brave

Mom turned in my story for her writing class.  Her teacher gave her some ideas.

“A good idea, but I wonder if there is not too much dialogue here. The theme is strong, and the characters solve their own problems. It’s good to see Justin gradually unfold and become a little more confident. I imagine this story may be more successful if the emotions were more intense — a greater contrast between the fear and the joy. It’s an idea worth polishing, and it may have potential.”

This is our third draft.  You will have to imagine that the park is full of kids.

The sun warmed the spring air.  Justin and Manny hadn’t played at the park for six months.  They ran ten blocks to the park without stopping. Sounds of children laughing and squeaky swings filled their ears.

On one side of the park parents watched little ones play in the sand. Toddlers climbed the big steps up the little slide while parents held them as they scooted down slowly.   Justin got in a swing.  It felt tight.   No one pushed them higher than the sky.

“This swing doesn’t go very high anymore,” complained Justin.

“This horse tips all the way to the ground,” complained Manny.

SFW Manny in Frankfurt107

Bigger kids lined up to go down the slippery slide.  They played on the big teeter-totter, and climbed on the huge ship, and swung on the tall swings that reached up to the tips of the trees.

SFW Manny in Frankfurt109

“Let’s go on the slide, Justin.” Manny said.

“It’s a long way up there.”  Justin remembered he didn’t like going on the baby slide by himself.  He saw how fast this kids slid down the big slide.  On the baby slide he could hold on to the sides and go slow.

“Look other kids are going on it.  You’re not afraid are you?”

“I don’t,” Justin started to say he didn’t want to go on the slide.

“Let’s just climb to the top and look,” Manny persuaded his friend.

Justin and Manny waited in line. Soon it was Justin’s turn to climb the steps. Justin stood on the fifth step and looked down.

“This is high,” he turned around and told Manny.

“We’re almost there.  Keep going.  I’m behind you.”

Kids shouted, “Hurry up little boy.”

“Come one!  We want to slide.”

SFW Manny in Frankfurt110

Justin got to the top.  He turned around and asked Manny to go first.  Manny sat at the top with him.  Justin wanted to cry.  Manny reached out and took his hand.  Justin pulled it away and turned away.  His cap blew off and landed in the sand.

“My cap!  I want to go back down on the steps.  It’s too high and slippery.  I will go too fast.”

“Push him!” the bigger kids shouted.

“Don’t be such a baby!  Go on the baby slide, baby!”

Two kids climbed up to the top step.  Manny reached his arm behind Justin to keep the boys from pushing Justin down the slide.

“Let’s go back down, Justin.  I’ll go first.”

Manny stood up, turned around and squeezed down one step at a time. Justin followed him.  The two big kids on the top step shoved past Justin and went down before Justin could get down one step.  Kids crowded past him rushing to take their turn to slide. Finally they got to the bottom, and jumped off. They picked up Justin’s cap and tried different toys.  They tipped on the teeter-totter. Justin hung on tight.  Manny fell off.

“Are you hurt, Manny?”  Justin still felt shaky, but he didn’t feel like crying any more.

Manny laughed.  ”Sand is made for falling, Justin.  It’s fun.”

Justin went up and let go.  He fell off.

“Did it hurt, Justin?”

Justin laughed.  ”Sand is made for falling, Manny.”

Next they climbed on a ship pretending to sail around the park.  They turned wheels. They shouted into their loudspeaker fists.

SFW Manny in Frankfurt108

“Land ahoy!”

Manny jumped overboard and pretended to swim in the sand.  Justin worried.  Manny’s hat came off and filled with sand.  Justin saw Manny jump and laugh.  He remembered the cool sand when he fell off the teeter-totter. Justin jumped off the front of the boat and landed in the soft sand.  He pretended to swim to the beach and play in the waves, too.  His hat came off and filled with sand.

“Were you scared, Justin?” Manny asked.

”Nope!” Justin answered.

Moms headed home with their toddlers.  Older kids left, too. Justin looked at the slide.

“Do you want to try?” Manny asked.

“Maybe,” Justin answered.

Manny and Justin climbed to the top of the slide.  No kids came up behind them.  They sat a long time looking down.  The chilly wind blew Manny’s cap blew off.

“I’m scared, Manny.”

“Me too.  Remember the teeter-totter? asked Manny.


“Remember the ship?” asked Manny.

“Yes.  OK, I’m going first.  Don’t push me.”

SFW Manny in Frankfurt111

Justin slid down the slide. He landed in the soft, cool sand. He laughed so hard he couldn’t move.

“Come on down, Manny.  It’s so fun!”

Manny landed face down in the sand.

SFW Manny in Frankfurt104

They laughed and laughed.

“Let’s do it again, Manny!”

So Manny and Justin went up the stairs and down the slippery slide until almost dark.

“I will not be afraid now,” said Justin as they walked home.

“We both are braver.” Manny agreed.

“Maybe we will sky dive tomorrow,” said Justin.

“Maybe,” Manny answered.


Manny’s Writing Challenge: Slats

Wuerzburg slats1

Justin and I found slats everywhere we looked in Würzburg, Germany.  Maybe you’d like to write a picture about the slats we found, or maybe you have some slats of your own.  Here is a writing contest with no rules.  What can you do with slats?  Here are some more pictures of Justin and me in Würzburg.   Mr. and Mrs. ET took these pictures this summer.  The temperature today is 40 degrees F, 7 degrees C.  It is partly cloudy today.  It sounds just like home.

Wuerzburg slats2

“Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia, Northern Bavaria, Germany. Located on the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian.”  Franconian sounds kind of like Draconian to me.  It makes me think of Dracula.    What do you think of Wuerzburg?  Notice I spell it with an e instead of two dots over the u.  Sometimes it is spelled with an o as in Worzburg.

Wuerzburg slats 3

Now you know exactly here we are.  Würzburg is now known as the “City of Knowledge.”  In 1042 the sixth institute of higher learning started in Wuerzburg.  I read about it on Wikipedia. Other things happened there, too, that weren’t so smart.  Between 1626 and 1631 Bishop Phillip Adolf burnt between six and nine hundred witches.  Würzburg is only 75 miles away from Nuremberg.   I also learned that in Nuremberg Allied Forces  held a series of military tribunals to prosecute the Nazis who murdered over six million Jews during World War II.  Adolf Hitler headed the Nazi regime from 1933 until he killed himself in 1945.   I will study more about this in school.  I’m glad my mom didn’t name me Adolf.   Here is my favorite slat picture.

Wuezburg slats 4


This next picture is cool because I see a ghost in it.  I bet it’s one of the witches that died in 1630.  She’s wearing a witch’s hat.  Can you see it?

Wuezburg slats 5


So what do you think?  Can you write something about my slats pictures?  Do whatever you want.  Tell your friends and have them write me a story or a poem.  I love to read what you write.  🙂


Manny’s Haikus


Mounds of purple leaves

Flutter to the ground below

Decorate the hill.

Writing haikus are easy.  You count syllables on each line.  Here is the recipe for making Haikus.

  1. Line one has five syllables.
  2. Line two has seven syllables.
  3. Line three has five syllables.

Most haikus have nature as their subject.  Let’s try one more.



Red bird with green wings,

You’re the brightest bird I’ve seen.

Would you like a leaf?

See how easy that is? Your haikus are probably better than mine.  I’m a teddy bear, and I’m only seven.  Mr. and Mrs. ET took these pictures of me.  Do you like the flowers?  Just send me a link to your blog so other people will see  what you write.

P1030723What can you say about this picture?