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A First for Capybara-dom!

Me interacting with fans at the Buda Library

Me interacting with fans at the Buda Library

I heard on the news today (boring but my owner watches it for some reason) that Judge Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina supreme court justice in US history. She and I have something in common: I made a first for capybaras today. I was the first capybara in all of history, probably anywhere on the planet to attend a book reading at a public library.

We had a whole entourage to go to the library. First there was me. The event was actually billed as a book reading / capybara encounter which wouldn’t be anything but a book reading without the capybara would it? My owner also came because she had to do the reading part and she also serves as my chauffeur. Then my friend Clarissa, who is 13, came to be a “capybara handler.” I think she was really more crowd control. And Elizabeth, Clarissa’s mom, came to take photos. Lastly, Rick, my male human came to do the video. Wow, that was a lot of us. I was a bit worried that there were going to be more of us then them.

We got to the library and almost immediately ran into some people who had come for the book reading. That was a good sign. We got set up in our room off to the side of the main library. The floor in there was slick but my owner brought one of my beds for me to lie on and they pulled a couple of mats in from outside so I could walk more easily. Still, I felt uncomfortable in there so I dragged my owner back outside where we ran into more and more people coming to see me. I put on my best face. The sun sparkled off the sequins in my harness about which I got many, many compliments. Thanks to Mansy OLeary who decorated my harness for me I really feel like a star when I wear it.

Some of my fans at the book reading

Some of my fans at the book reading

The official capybara encountered started when we went back inside. My owner gave all of the kids blueberries and let them come up to pet and feed me. That was a good part because I love blueberries. Then she told them all about me, capybaras, and rodents in general. Mostly that part went well. The kids and adults asked a lot of good questions and I think my owner answered them all truthfully.

I listened carefully and I don't think she messed up much

I listened carefully and I don't think she messed up much

For the reading, my owner started at the part when Celeste the Cat meets up with little calico Ruby and ended where Tiger gets knocked off the back of the capybara. Doesn’t that just make you want it to figure out what happened in between? I think most of the kids were pretty interested too but a lot of them were really too young for the book. And the room was PACKED, spilling out the back door and into the library proper. I have to say, there was some childish restlessness. Being a little restless myself, I stood up and put my paws on my owner’s lap and then I licked her face. People loved that.

I look bigger when I stand up

I look bigger when I stand up

Me giving my owner a kiss during the book reading

Me giving my owner a kiss during the book reading

At the end the library people served lemonaid and brownies and everyone poured outside where there was more room. A long line formed of people who wanted to pet me or get their photo taken with me. I would only stand still for a treat. I think everyone got to pet me and feed me and I am sure everyone came away thinking that we capybaras are wonderful animals.

If you would like me to appear at your school or library and you live in the Austin/Buda area, use the contact button to send me an email. I had a great time and I’m sure I can drag my owner to at least a couple more of these things.

Book Review: Hooway for Wodney Wat

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Houghton Mifflin Company, Houston
Copyright 1999
Ages: preschool – grade 2

Book_WodneyWat

Synopsis:

Wodney Wat is a shy rat who cannot pronounce his r’s, a serious affliction for a rodent. His classmates in an elementary school attended apparently by only rats but taught by a guinea pig, make fun of him so Wodney (actually Rodney in case you didn’t get it), almost never speaks. One day a new rodent joins the class, Camilla Capybara, who is large and smart but also aggressive and careless toward the lesser rodents. Wodney and his classmates are all scared and jealous of Camilla, and like most youngsters, they dislike her because of her differences. When the young rats and Camilla go outside for recess, Wodney is inexplicably chosen (you’ll remember his classmates don’t like him either) to lead the game of Simon Says. Wodney mispronounces everything, for example saying “Wake the leaves” instead of “Rake the leaves.” The other kids all understand him because they know about Wodney’s problem but poor Camilla Capybara takes him literally. When Wodney tells everyone to “go west,” Camilla heads off in the sunset never to be seen again. This makes Wodney the class hero.

Owner’s Review: OneGreenHand

I think the message of this book is that some differences should be tolerated (Rodney’s speech impediment) while others should not (Camilla’s size and the fact that she is a different species). I don’t think this is the book’s intent but it can certainly be read that way and a fair percentage of readers are bound to see it, even if only subconsciously.

Another thing I disliked about this book was that it doesn’t show Rodney striving to overcome his speech problem. My son had this exact problem when he was the age of the average reader of this book and through hard work and speech therapy, he learned to pronounce his r’s correctly. Obviously not all disabilities are treatable, for instance my husband is a paraplegic and we find it really annoying when people say you can overcome that type of injury by trying harder. But this is one disability that can be corrected if treated early enough and that message is totally missing from this book.

Caplin’s Review: OneGreenPaw

I got so excited when my owner said we were going to read a picture book about a capybara! I love pictures and I love capybaras, what could be better (besides yogurt)? But why did the rats pick on that poor little capybara? She was at a new school, just trying to make friends. It’s always hard when you don’t know anyone and everyone else is friends with everyone else and they won’t even talk to you. Especially if you’re a little different like Camilla was in this story. Maybe she just knocked those kdis over because we capybaras have our eyes on the sides of our heads so be don’t have binocular vision.

And the illustrator drew Camilla as big and ugly and the rats as cute and small. I can’t help how big we are. And anyway, plenty of people think I’m cute. Do you really have to be small to be cute? At the end of the book I had to wipe the tears out of my eyes as my poor cousin walks off and is never seen again while all the little rats celebrate. I hope Camilla found her way home and I don’t blame her for never going back to that school.