Manny's Blog

a blog for kids and kids at heart


Hold On To That Train Of Thought, Manny

Manny no sooner finished eating his clam chowder when the whistle blew, and he felt like an earthquake hit.

“Hey, Hal, slow this train down!  I’m getting sick, but I think I can jump down, and make it outside if you just slow down!”

Bumpy ride2

Manny slid off the table in a heap, and crawled to the opening at the end of the caboose.

“I’m outside, Manny.  I’m not driving!” Hal answered

“Who’s driving this thing?  Did we get rear ended?  It’s a little better out here.  At least the air is fresher.”

Bumpy ride

Hal yelled in from outside over the bump, bump, bump of the train thumping down the track.  “Maybe your mother is driving.  She has a lead foot.” Hal said.

“What are these holes in the floor?  I smell smoke, dust, and cows.  Maybe we ran over a cow.  I’ll drive.”

Caboosebear Manny

Manny thought he took control of the situation.  Little did he know what drove the train.

Lead foot

“There is a serious crisis up here at the station, Manny.  You need to get out and hide!” Hal shouted.

Mail Order Manny1

Manny couldn’t imagine what Hal saw that made him shout, but he hopped off before the train stopped and ran over to the Post Office to hide.  Soon he was swept off his feet and onto another train.

Bye bye Manny

“Whee, whee, whee.”  Manny was gone.  But soon the mail sacks opened and workers began sorting the mail.

Fugitive Manny

The workers were busy talking, and soon went off to another area to take a break.  Hal rescued Manny, and they went to find the next train departing.

Conductor Hal

This big machine let out a welcoming burp.  Manny stopped to swing a minute before crawling inside.

Manny on Board2

“This is fun, Hal.  You should try it.”

“Just get inside quickly, Manny.  You never know when your luck will run out!  You may be working on a chain gang, if you don’t get off there.”  Hal threw Manny inside an engine just as the guards walked by.

“You need to move on, Sir.  There’s a dangerous fugitive loose in these parts.”

“I’d better get on my way then.”  Hal answered.

Engineer Manny2

Manny scrambled into the seat next to the engineer.  “What’s this knob?”

“The brake.”

“What do these numbers mean?”

Engineer Manny4



“You ask too many questions, Bear.  You look kind of familiar.  Haven’t I seen your face somewhere?”

Engineer Manny

Manny jumped onto another train as it passed by, and waved good-bye.   “I just got here from California.  I don’t know how you could know my face.  I must look like some other bear you know.”

Manny_Marsha Penn Railroad

Manny, I’ve looked all over for you.  What have you been doing all this time?

Manny Wanted;)

“Nothing, Mom.  Just prowling around with Hal at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.”








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.



We’re In Boston

I’m not taking any chances today. There’s so much to do.

Manny's determined

So much to do, and I can’t get Mom out of bed.  She has more trouble adjusting than I do.  If she wouldn’t stay up until 4:00 a.m. blogging and stuff, it might be easier.

Our hotel

We are right on the bay, not as close to everything as Mom thought, but we took a great walk along the Bay.

Flight path

My favorite thing about this bay is that it is right on the flight path.

Manny by the Bay

Tomorrow we are going to JFK Library and then we’re going to meet Eunice, mom’s blogging friend from Nutsfortreatsure.   She has a big dog.  I wonder if I am going to get to ride him.  I hope she puts a picture of me on her blog.  She’s a professional photographer.  I can’t wait!

Manny's doggie friend

Then we are either going to the Mapparium or the Freedom walk.  Mom says it depends on the weather.  It’s beautiful here today, 43 degrees F, 6 degrees C, with lots of sunshine.  At home it’s 61 degrees F or 16 degrees C.



What Was I Supposed to Do to Get Noticed?

The last time Mom went on a “work” vacation she forgot me.  How can a mom do that, anyway?  Well I figured out how to get back at her.

Where's Manny

You know it.  I ran away.   I know it made Roo sad.  And I know what you’re thinking.  If Mom is so bad, why didn’t I take Roo?  Well, it’s hard enough to get down off this mantle without having to cart too much stuff.  I had to pack my suitcase, and that’s heavy.  But I found the perfect place to go.

Manny found

She’ll never guess until it’s too late.




Mom Forgot Me

Mom went off to Lost Angeles last weekend.  She left me at home.  She was supposed to help me write a challenge for kids, and she was in some hotel instead.  She said she went to a Conference and I wouldn’t be interested.  I know she met interesting people like Mary Beth Tinker (who actually likes kids like me) because I heard her telling Dad, and I saw the picture on her computer.

Mary Beth Tinker

Mary Beth Tinker won the rights for students to express themselves when she was in junior high school at the same time Mom went to school.  Mom didn’t win any rights for anyone.   She sure isn’t doing the right thing for me now.  I’m sitting at home on the shelf with my hat from Spain on ready to go, and she’s GONE – AGAIN!


Did your Mom ever leave you home, when you thought she should take you?  How did you feel?  I’m really so mad right now I’m shouting inside!

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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


Rewrite of Can I Sleep Over At Justin’s Tonight?

Yes, Mom had to rewrite her whole story about me.  This is what her teacher said about the first draft story.  The story I let Mom publish was about the third draft.

It is effectively a clean-your-room story and even though Manny is active and empowered, Mum seems to dominate, as the clean-your-room topic dominates over “staying with Justin”. Consider whether the real story begins with spread 20-21 – “…oh no…I’m coming over…”. Put the focus on the actual Justin teaching Manny how to do these things – make it fun – make the processes fun — perhaps Justin has funny names for the things that need doing and this helps Manny to remember. But in this version Justin is doing all the work and Manny watching. Perhaps the story should be sparked by the idea that Manny has to pack his own pyjamas etc (and not mention the room-cleaning at all). Then Justin and Manny would pack his bag together, and put in necessary as well as fun things.

Nevertheless I think you have created a strong emotional reason for the room-cleaning which gives the story a strong narrative drive, and have created active characters. I think it has further to go, but it may have potential.

This is Draft #5.  I’m sharing this with all you so you will see that even people who write all the time have to rewrite SO many times until they get it just right.  (Get it right/write?)

Manny's messy room

Spread 4-5

The phone rang.

“Manny, can you sleep over tonight?” Justin asked.

“No, we’re going to Germany.”

“Germany? You’re scared to ask your mom.”

“I am not!”

Spread 6-7

“Mom, Justin invited me to sleep over.  Can I go?”

“When your room is clean,” Mom said.

“I knew it!”

Spread 8-9

Manny stomped into his room.  He kicked the toys.

Crash Boom Crash went the toys.

“Stupid toys!  I want to go to Justin’s.”

Spread 10-11

Manny bounced on the clean clothes folded on his bed!

Squeaky, Squeaky, Squawk went the bed.

Manny found a sack of peanuts under the bed.  He ate peanuts and threw shells out the window.

Crunchy, Crunchy, Plop went the peanuts.

Spread 12-13

The phone rang.  Manny looked around his room. It looked the same.

“Did you ask your mom?” Justin asked.

“She’s going to be sick.”

“Huh? Go ask again.”

Spread 14-15

Manny cleaned his room first.  He shoved clean clothes in the dresser.  He almost shut the drawer.  He pushed toys into the closet.  A truck stuck out the door. He smoothed the blankets on his bed.  A mound bunched in the middle.

Spread 16-17

Manny ran to the kitchen. He smelled chocolate chip cookies baking.

“Can I go to Justin’s tonight, and take cookies?  My room is clean now.  ”

“Let’s check.”

The drawer dropped. Manny’s clothes fell out.

Spread 18-19

Manny sat in the middle of the room banging his head on the clothes.

The phone rang.

“Did you ask her yet?”


“So you can come?”

“NO!  My room is a mess!”

“OH NO!   I’m coming over.”

Spread 20-21

Manny folded his clothes into neat squares.

“Which shirts do you like best?” Justin asked.

“I love blue and red.  I hate striped shirts.”

They put the striped shirts on the bottom.

They pushed the drawer.  It closed.

Spread 22-23

Manny opened the closet.  Cars fell off the blocks and rolled into the room.

“You need a garage for your cars, Manny.” Justin suggested.

“I have an idea. Come with me”

They ran to the garage.  Manny found three boxes.

“Perfect!” Justin clapped his hands.

Spread 24-25

Manny and Justin turned one box on its side and parked the vehicles.  Zoom Zoom  Errrrrrrrrr!

In the big box they stacked big blocks first.  Middle blocks fit on top. Legos filled the empty spaces.  The last box became a library over the garage.

“Would you like to check out a book or video?” Manny offered.

Justin chose two videos and a book.


Spread 26-27

Manny crawled under the bed.

“KACHOO, KACHOO, KACHOO!”  Manny sneezed.

“Want some candy?”

Manny wiped dust off the wrappers.

Justin shook his head.

“We could pretend to fly if you had brooms.”

They ran back to the garage and got brooms and big white sheets.  They became ghosts riding brooms back to the room.

Spread 28-29

Soon they finished.  The room smelled clean.

Manny showed mom his new garage.

He opened the drawer to show his favorite shirts.

Spread 30-31

“What fun you and Justin had!”

“Can I sleep over at Justin’s?”

“Yes, want some cookies?”

Spread 32

Manny and Justin rushed over to hug Mom.

So what do you think?  Does Mom’s story have potential?