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By: Pam Bachorz ,
Dad, full of retortIn honor of what would have been my father's 71st birthday on Saturday, I am sharing his questionable advice on how to respond to bullies.
These are three retorts he suggested I use when somebody teased or taunted me:
1. "Look! A dead bird!". When shouting this, you must point your finger up to the sky and track the flight of the "dead" bird. (I actually stole this and used it in CANDOR)
2. "Simply". (Apparently this was something my father heard a lot during his Peace Corps days in India)
3. "The water is in the cooler." (The only time I tried this, I got punched in the stomach. Hard. I still don't understand what it means.)
If you do try one of these, I advise lacing up your sneakers tightly first--and being ready to run.
By: Stacy Dillon,
The sisters Stephenson live in their humble vicarage with their father, brother and Stepmama. Eldest Elissa is soon to be foisted off to old Sir Neville in the name of bringing some much needed money to the family. Elissa is long suffering and realizes that this is to be her duty and her fate.
Middle sister Angeline and youngest Kat don't understand why Elissa has to be so good about everything...always doing her duty, never getting into trouble. Kat constantly finds herself in trouble, as manners and ladylike things are not her forte. Angeline herself has gotten into a bit of trouble as she has been using her Mama's magic book (strictly forbidden) and has managed to cast a love spell on the unsuspecting Frederick Carlyle.
Mama had been a witch, and it was clearly her downfall. One of the first things that their stepmama did when she joined the family was to lock away all of the girls' mother's things in a cabinet. Kat, being the youngest, is insatiably curious about her Mama as she was so young when she passed. One evening Kat dares to steal the key to unlock the cabinet so that she can know something of her Mama as her sisters do. If she ever had any questions about her mother's magical abilities they are answered in the darkness.
Before Kat can fully address her realizations and questions about her own magical abilities, she is rounded up with her sisters by her Stepmama to attend a week long house party at Grantham Abbey where Elissa is to meet Sir Neville. Upon meeting the older gentleman, Kat is overcome with a feeling of darkness. There is simply no way she can allow her sister to marry this man. Especially when it is so clear to anyone around her that she actually has feelings for Sir Neville's brother, Mr. Collingwood.
What follows is a wonderful adventure filled with magical orders, intrigue, murder, highwaymen and family loyalty and betrayal. Kat herself is a fierce and feminist character who relies on herself and takes all kinds of risks rather than succumbing to helplessness. The pacing is perfect and the cast of characters compliment each other completely. There is non-stop action and just the right amount of romance. Kat is someone readers will want to get to know further as they cheer her on. Readers of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
, and The Mysterious Benedict Society
will likely adore this one as well.
It is sometimes a serendipitous world. Now sooner did I write about plane spotting in December, than I started reading a book about an 11 year old girl who really wants to be a plane spotter. Alice Calder has memorized all the plane silhouettes on her plane spotting cards, has a brand new log book and a pair of binoculars. All she is missing is her mother's permission. But when her mom figures out that Alice has been plane spotting out the window one cold night in December 1942 in Providence, Rhode Island, she takes away her plane spotting equipment. Now how will anyone be able to recognize her as the important spotter she fancies herself as?
Alice wants to do something more for the war than just writing to her Uncle David (almost) everyday. So the next day, after school, she heads over to the Red Cross, where she can fold bandages for wounded soldiers. On her way, she envisions herself being introduced on the radio as a real patriot for her bandage folding. Though is it satisfying enough work, Alice still dreams of being a plane spotting heroine.
Then, as she and her Gramps are preparing a bomb shelter at home, Alice talks him into letting her use her grandmother's opera glasses (if it's OK with mom) and hits on the idea of joining the plane spotters in the Ground Observation Corps. But when she asks Mr. Parker, the head of the corps, about joining, he tells her she is too young. Taking pity on her, he gives Alice an old Ground Observer's manual that is still serviceable.
|Civil Air Patrol |
One day, after dancing class, Alice runs in her old friend (and crush) Jimmy Brownell, 16. Over cokes, he tells her he has joined the Civil Air Patrol her and will be training to get a pilot's license. In CAP, he will fly his dad's plane over the coast looking for enemy submarines.
Sure enough, Jimmy gets his license and begins flying and Alice flies with him, at least in her imagination. Meanwhile, with hard won permission to plane spot, Alice does her patriotic duty spotting and keeping a meticulous log book. But then, one cold winter night, a phone call comes, saying that Jimmy's plane was lost over the sea because of a nor'easter and it doesn't look good. Upset, Alice passes out and spends a number of days in bed, seriously ill.
When she recovers, she is told that Jimmy had been found alive, but in pretty bad condition. And to her chagrin, Alice discovers that binoculars and log book have been take away once again. And that would seem to be the end of Alice's spotting days. Or is it? There is a big surprise in store for Alice and her meticulous log book.
Alice at the Home Front
is a story that really demonstrates the desire of young people in WWII to do something, anything to help the war effort. The war wasn't something far away on unimaginable battlefields to them. They felt the effect of it wherever they lived. Rationing, bomb shelters, air raid sirens and blackout were the kinds of things that brought it all home for them every day. Tarantino has given the reader a picture into what it was all about for them through Alice.
|Plane Spotting Cards|
Plane spotting was a big very big thing for kids and there were all kinds of ways to learn plane identification, including playing cards with images on them It was something they could do right in their own backyard and maybe feel a little more empowered than they actually were. And naturally, kids could get pretty competitive about who could identify and/or spot the greatest number of different planes. And I suspect that lots of kids, like Alice, had Walter Mitty-like dreams be being a hero/heroine. And it is part of what made Alice at the Home Front
such a realistic novel.
This is a heart-warming story with lots of humorous bits, lots of slang and some pretty serious stuff, too. I loved that she wanted to be a plane spotter, and really was dedicated to it, even at the risk of falling out the window. The most amazing part of the novel was that a 16-year-old boy was allowed to fly a plane alone the way Jimmy did, but it certainly demonstrates how different times were back then.
This book was recommended for readers age 9+
This book was purchased for my personal library.
Be sure to visit the National Museum of the Civil Air Patrol
where you can see an extensive online exhibit of the role CAP played in World War II.
By: Pam Bachorz ,
Revolutionary soldier chatting up our Little DudeA few weekends ago, my son's fondest dream came true: he got to go to Great Wolf Lodge. He's been begging for years. And I am not kidding you--this was his deepest desire.
But we had a deal. If we were going to the land of water slides and dozens of kids running around with interactive magic wands, the grown-ups got something in the bargain too.
We got to go to Colonial Williamsburg. And it turns out that our kid loved it too.
The two are only ten minutes away from each other, in Virginia, and about a three hour drive from DC (assuming you evade the infamous "mixing bowl" traffic). It's a great weekend trip. We got the three-day ticket at Colonial Williamsburg and spent half days there, along with half days/nights at Great Wolf Lodge.
You could easily spend a week at Colonial Williamsburg to see everything. But we were on the second-grader plan, so we skipped all but one of the special presentations, all of the art museums, and the ghost walk got a panicked veto. Here were a few of the family favorites:
- The Public Gaol (jail), which shockingly was in operation until the 1920s and even housed some of Blackbeard's crew. Although let me tell you I am quite certain it's haunted!
- Our kid's very favorite spot was the book binder and printer. We couldn't have predicted this. But he adored the goofy, slightly prickly interpreter who works half-time in each of those locations. He didn't talk down to the kids and he demanded interaction from them.
- The shops. I know some people don't like that there are shops mixed into the streets of CW, where you can actually buy stuff--the say it's too commercial. But my kid loved getting to check out colonial toys, and having a three-cornered hat to wear around town.
- We had an almost surreal and fun experience at R. Charlton's Coffeehouse, by the Capitol. We thought it was the sort of place you'd just stroll into and watch an interpreter at work, like most of the other open buildings. But instead we were ushered into an experience of being invited to "lease" the shop, by an interpreter who was fully immersed in the pre-Revolutionary time. She wanted my son's "receipt" for his strange favorite dish of pizza. Then once we finished with her tour, we were offered small samples of coffee, tea or (amazing) hot chocolate as a "thank you for considering the lease"--and we sat at a table with another fully-immersed interpreter who was acting as a minister of the time. And then we were politely ushered out, after chit-chatting with him about the politics of the time. It really almost felt like we'd slipped back to 1775 for a little while. I half-wondered if the rooms would be empty and dusty, if we tried to go back.
- And finally, the mustering of the troops on Friday afternoon was a huge hit with all three of us. We watched the fife-and-drum corp come marching to the green, and then Lafayette himself came to get us all excited about marching to Yorktown. He was one very excellent Lafayette, a thrilling horse rider with a French accent to boot. We got to watch the muskets and cannons being shot off, too. Thumbs up all around.
Don't hesitate to take your grade-schooler to Colonial Williamsbug. There is more than enough to keep everyone fascinated. Plus it's plenty of walking so they'll sleep well that night!
I talk about my sweet E on the blog all the time. He was our blessing from God, our greatest gift, and the thing that constantly makes me smile. I don't, however, focus posts on the amazing guy I call my husband. This guy:
So, late Friday night, after being ridiculously sick all day long, he finally took me to the ER where I was told I was another victim of the seasonal flu. That flu shot I got back in December? Didn't work. I like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but this kicked my butt. This guy saved the day.
He not only left work early on Friday to come take care of me (and this was after he let me go off to Florida for 4 days last week), he has taken over complete child/dog duty for the last 2 days without complaint. He's awesome.
He's brought me countless mugs of hot tea, went out for a milkshake when that's all I could imagine eating, and kept me in supply of water, medicine, and books. He is the rockstar husband I dreamed of. And he's mine.
I'll stop being sappy now, but I thought you all had to know.
By: Katie DeKoster
Blog: Book Love
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Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Dial, 2012, 256 pp, ISBN: 0803736703Recap:
As an infant who washed ashore in a hurricane, tied to a scrap from a billboard, Mo(ses) LeBeau surely does have luck on her side. (Even if all of that luck hasn't helped her find her Upstream Mother in the last eleven years)
But now Mo and her best friend Dale are going to need more than luck if they're going to solve a murder and bring Mo's adopted family home safe again!
Sheila Turnage's Three Times Lucky found it's way into my book bag via School Library Journal's Battle of the Books. The very first thing that grabbed my attention was Ms. Mo LeBeau herself. That girl is downright hilarious! I have a (bad?) habit of turning down pages when there's a line I want to remember, and I turned the first three corners down before realizing that Mo was going to make me laugh out loud, or at least crack a grin, on pretty near every page.
Everyone else in Tupelo Landing, NC is just as colorful a character, and the town itself reminded me of a more country-fied version of Stars Hollow - everybody knows everybody else's business and, for the most part, they love each other just the same.
The plot of the story was where I got stuck. It was about a murder, but the writing was just so funny and cute that I never got that creepy murder feeling. In fact, for a long time I was sure that the murder was going to end up being a hoax. There's another serious plot line going on at the same time, regarding Dale's alcoholic, abusive father, but the reader never actually sees this firsthand until the very end, so again... I just wasn't getting the intense vibe that the story probably deserved. For me, the quick-witted, clever narration from 11-year-old Mo just never seemed to gel with the actual story she was telling.
But maybe that's part of the point? I mean, Mo was only 11, and she was 100% into solving the case with her Desperado Detective partner Dale, so maybe she was just telling the story as seriously as a 11-year-old is able to? Help me out here, book lovers! I know a number of you have read this one and loved it. What do you think I'm missing?
Three Times Lucky would be perfect for middle grade readers (in this case, I'm picturing grades 4 - 6) who like to laugh and maybe even solve a mystery.
BOB Prediction:Three Times Lucky
goes up against Endangered
in the first round, and if I were the judge... I would give it to Endangered
, no question.
- "Demons!" he gasped, pointing vaguely in my direction. I sighed. Dale's family is Baptist. - Mo
- I tried not to sound impressed. "You stole Mr. Jesse's boat?" He studied his fingernails. "I wouldn't say stole," he said. "But I did borrow it pretty strong." - Mo and Dale
* The year’s first poppy. Stunning as they are when fully open, this is how I love them best: just peeking out from under their green elf caps.
* Rilla’s first serious horse. She worked for ages, following the instructions in the Usborne Book of Drawing. What I love most here is seeing her several erased attempts to get the legs and tail just so.
* The tulips Krissy brought me back from Amsterdam, that time I couldn’t go. I adore tulips. Growing them this way, all mystery, three mute brown bulbs with no hint of the vivid hues encoded in their DNA, is the best possible fun. Now I want to grow mystery tulips always.
Grace Lin. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009, 2011. Kindle Edition. It’s been a while since I’ve read a story that had me thinking, each step of the way: This is amazing! … This is _amazing_! … This is _seriously amazing_! It’s a blend of fairy tale(s within [...]
The One series continues with a debut author.When I tell you that this debut author is my wife, I say it from the vantage of a blessed and fortunate man. Not only does she support me in my writing, I suddenly discover this new side of her. What she reveals in her story, Questions, in some ways is new to me too. We are coming up on our fourteenth anniversary and now I get this glimpse of a person filled with faith and enchanted by the simple magic around her. It truly is my privilege to present this new voice to you.
Mark Miller's One
This one is sort of a family thing. I have always known my oldest son as a boy, and young man, to have a generous heart. He is both sympathetic and empathetic. When we lost my wife's brother late last year, my son wrote a moving piece for his mother that is included in this volume.
If that's not love...?
Questions is available on all major ebook platforms.
Get it on Kindle here:
100% of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Bridge to Ability Specialized Learning Center, a not-for-profit organization serving the educational and therapeutic needs of fragile children with severe physical and cognitive disabilities. www.BridgeToAbility.org. The authors, creator and publisher are in no other way affiliated with this organization.
Mark Miller’s One 2013 is a spiritual anthology examining True-Life experiences of Authors and their Faith. As the series evolves expect to discover what it means to have faith, no matter what that faith is and no matter where they live. Remember that we are all part of this One World.
First time author Traci Miller is a mother of four and wife of an author. Growing up in Missouri, Traci fostered a relationship with the theatre. From high school and into college, she honed her skills behind the scenes as a lighting technician and scene designer. Her behind the scenes efforts did not end there. Traci has dedicated many hours as a beta reader and editor for her husband. In real life, Traci works full time helping others decide their career paths and enrolling in college. As she says in her debut story, Questions, Traci’s goal is to improve the life of her children and ensure their success. It is unknown if Traci will continue to write, but there are a lot of crazy ideas bouncing around inside her head.
In Story Two, debut author Traci Miller tries to find answers to some questions she has. Along the way, she explores the things that give her hope and faith as she reminisces about her grandparents and her childhood. Traci’s sixteen year old son, Zakary, commemorated the passing of his uncle in a short Afterword, entitled Chapter End.
What's better than Read Across America Day combined with
a Scholastic book fair combined with
a celebration of Dr. Seuss's birthday
combined with Grandparents' Day
celebrated by having
visiting readers in the classrooms and
grandparents enjoying a concert put on by the children
plus a special lunch
plus 'Seussville' set up in the gym, complete with
games and candy ...
plus more Cat in the Hat-themed treats in the classroom?!
It definitely made for a fabulous Friday
and fun start to the weekend!
Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012, 320 pp, ISBN: 0375869026Recap:August Pullman doesn't look like anyone else. Born with a severe facial deformity that is still dramatic even after years of plastic surgery, Auggie tells readers "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse."
At the beginning of August's 5th grade year, he starts attending public school for the first time in his life. Not surprisingly, the transition is anything but easy.
But August's life is like real life - nothing can be all good or all bad, people will always surprise you, there is always hope.
Review:Book lovers, I am woefully late to the party that is Wonder. Admittedly, I skipped it on purpose. I knew the gist of the story, and just didn't feel like being depressed. But it's one of the Contenders for the 2013 BOB so off to the library I went. Two nights ago I posted on my sister's facebook wall "Please give me some encouragement to start Wonder..." Within 30 minutes there was a LIST of different people telling me to read it immediately, and they all used lots of exclamation points. I couldn't avoid it any longer.
And I am kicking myself for waiting so long. Wonder is 100% about one boy's face, and how it affects the people around him. But you know what? It's also not really about his face at all. Wonder is about all of us. It's about how we choose to treat each other - how much effort we are willing to make to reach out, to love, to empathize with one another, whether we know each other or not. Wonder is about living life courageously, and with a sense of humor. It is about doing the right thing, not because we will be applauded or appreciated - but doing the right thing, even when others may laugh or turn their backs, simply because it is right.
As I read, I couldn't help but think of my son, Lincoln. He has the sweetest spirit and the kindest heart, and I just pray that his dad and I can help him to nurture and guard those qualities as he grows up. I hope that Lincoln grows up to be like Auggie, or Via, or Jack, or Summer. I never buy books, but there is no doubt that I will be adding a copy of Wonder to Linc's bookshelf.
One note about the format: I've read some reviews where the reader really didn't care for the way the narrators switched around to include a variety of different people in August's life. While I thought some choices were surprising (his sister's boyfriend for one), the changing narrators never once pulled me out of the story. In fact, I felt like they added so much more dimension. Because of the multiple first-person perspectives, we were able to witness a variety of personal transformations on a very intimate level. I loved that. But I just really wished Mr. Browne had had his own chapters; his precepts were one of my favorite parts of the book!
Recommendation:Read it. Read it to your children. Read it in your book club. Read it with your students, or your spouse, or your best friend. Wonder is literally a must-read.
BOB Prediction:Oh man, this is a tough one. A huge part of me wants to predict that Wonder will go all the way to the Big Kahuna Round. However... it's up against Bomb in the first round. Potentially life-changing fiction vs. absolutely brilliant nonfiction. This one is too close for me to call; I'd be happy either way!
Quotable Quotes:"Shall we make a new rule of life... always try to be a little kinder than necessary." - J.M. Barrie
"Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world." - August Pullman
"If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than necessary - the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God." - Mr. Tushman
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Alice on Board. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012. 288 pgs. Kindle Edition. . . . . . . . . Or: Adventures on the Murphy’s Law Cruise Or: Alice McKinley’s Guide to All the Problems You Might Encounter While Working on a Cruise Ship and How to Handle Them. [...]
Blog: Children's Books, and Other Cool Stuff
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By: David D Bernstein,
It has been a cold and snowy winter so far. I really hope that you take the time to purchase these picture books and share them with your young children by your fireplace. Please have fun and enjoy that special moment with them.
"I Want my Hat Back"-
Written and Illustrated by Jon Klassen published by Candlewick
press 2011 Somerville, MA and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor book. A Bear's hat is stolen, but who has done it? He searches everywhere by talking to several of his animal friends. Have any of them seen it? This sounds like a simple concept for a story, but it is much more then that. What makes the book unique are the words and Illustrations. The hat is hidden in the story and your child has to find it. They have to look carefully. It can be used as a game for them, and this makes the book fun. Get a copy today.
"The Very Beary Tooth Fairy"- Written by Arthur A. Levine and Illustrated by Sarah S.Brannen, Published by Scholastic Press 2013 New York. All his life Zach the bear has been told to stay away from humans. Than one day he notices a family having a picnic and the little boy has a tooth loose. Zach discovers his tooth is also loose. What if the tooth fairy is a human, he has to find out for himself. The author's words and the illustrations give the legend of the tooth fairy a new twist. I really enjoyed this book very much. It is a great story to share with your kids. Get your youngster a copy, they will ask you to read over and over again.
"While Your Are Sleeping"- Written and Illustrated by Alexis Deacon, Published Farrar, Straus and Giroux New York 2006. What happens after the lights go out? This book explores this idea by creating a fantastic world where toys come to life to protect you. The words and illustrations blend perfectly together to make a great book that does not only teach your kids to take care of their toys, but to dream. It answers the question that every child has: "What happens when I sleep?" This delightful story for your young children to read at bedtime. I highly recommend this book for everyone.
"The Lamb and the Butterfly"- Written by Arnold Sundgaard and illustrated by Eric Carle, Published by Orchard Books an imprint of Scholastic Inc. New York 1988 reprinted 2013. Classic books stay with you all your life and inspire new generations as well. This book teaches a terrific lesson in a classic folk tale style. I was happy to see it re-released. It uses a combination of wonderful language and simple illustrations to show that every individual is unique, and so is their lifestyle. This book wisely teaches youngsters to identify with others, but to truly know themselves. This classic folk tale will be a great gift for your kids.
"Before You Came."- Written by Patricia Maclachlan and Emily Maclachlan Charest, Illustrated by David Diaz, Published by Katherine Tegan Books an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers New York 2011. Summary-"A mother relates how she spent time before her child arrived, then passes on a gift of days peddling a red canoe, reading in a pillow-filled hammock until dark, and watching the moon rise at night." The use of poetic language and beautiful illustrations explores a universal view of a bound between mother and child. I think that any parent can relate to it. Get a copy of this book and make your little one feel extra special.
"The Granddaughter Necklace."- Written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth and Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, Published by Arthur A. Levine Books an imprint of Scholastic Inc.. January 2013.This picture book is a great read for Black History month. Summary- " A mother shares with her daughter stories of the generations of women in their family as each individual has passed along the tales and glittering necklace to her own daughter." I liked this book very much. I recommend it for older readers or to be used in a classroom setting. The illustrations are wonderful and the concept beyond the story is great.
Enjoy the picture books above, and I will have four new middle readers up in mid March.
Oh Book Lovers, has it really been a YEAR?
When I decided to play hooky for a week last year, I really had no idea that the week would turn into almost a full 12 months... whoops. What have we been up to in the meantime?
- We lived at a YMCA camp for the summer and had the time of our lives.
- Lincoln grew a year older and had a ridiculously fun 1st birthday party.
- We've done lots of little projects around our farmhouse - especially my talented husband who has a way with Annie Sloan chalk paint!
- Linc and I have been nannying 4 days a week for a sweet little baby girl.
- I've started working toward getting my Michigan teaching license and library certificate in order - I miss being part of a school!
- Of course, we've been reading lots and lots and lots of books. Life is good!
But I also realized over the past few months that I really missed blogging. At first, the break felt great. No pressure to whip up a review as soon as the last page had turned, and there was a lot more free time when I wasn't trying to keep up with 100 other book bloggers. But... I missed the community, the camaraderie, and all of the discussions about the best new books.
In the meantime, I accidentally let my domain name expire. Double whoops... I was able to buy it back after a tense domain name auction, but it's not officially "mine" again for another few days. Although clearly, I'm using it right now. Have any of you ever experienced this? Is there any chance that Book Love could just disappear??
Looooong story short, Book Love
is back. Thank you so much for your sweet and thoughtful comments while I was away. You true book lovers are the whole reason I missed this world!
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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TweetThe Infinite Wait by Julia Wertz Koyama Press I have a complicated and knotty relationship with auto-bio comics, beset by apprehension and cynicism. There’s no doubt the genre produces some interesting material- Art Spiegelman, Seth, Robert Crumb, to name but a few, but more recently I’ve found a lot of it to be, quite frankly, boring. The [...]
So I was getting over the flu and then I got sick again, just a cold, I think? But wiping. Me. Out. Three weeks post-flu and I was still feeling draggy, and now I’m useless.
Or mostly useless. I just submitted my Downton recap (watched it earlier via DVD), which will go live at GeekMom tonight or tomorrow. I’d love it if you’d drop by tomorrow and join the conversation there. (Trying to keep Downton comments off this blog because Jane isn’t caught up yet.)
Yesterday, Rilla came to me (lolling in my bed, trying to read, mostly coughing) wanting to play a game. She had two small foam circles, each about the size of a silver dollar. It was a guessing game: what are they now? The child’s inventiveness was spectacular. She started me off easy: boy (one circle) with rainhat (the other circle folded into a tiny triangle). I mustered a ladybug. She countered with an eclipse. My efforts: a taco, some earrings. Child’s play compared to my six-year-old’s contributions.
Once, she rolled both circles into little tubes and held them side by side, bending them a bit with her fingers. I was stumped.
“They’re wavy smell lines!” she explained. “You know, like in comics? How they show you something’s giving off a smell?”
Safe to say I would not have guessed that, not it a million years.
At another point, she held both circles up to her face, pressing them haphazardly against her chin and a cheek.
We also spent a long time yesterday—Wonderboy, Rilla, and I—playing with Google Maps, visiting our favorite local park…Grandma’s house…the Eiffel Tower…Australia. The kids’ favorite part was “walking” up our street in street view, trying to figure out how long ago the Google car drove by. Daffodils in the neighbor’s yard and oranges on the tree across the street, which means it was about this time of year. Last year, because the new owner of the house over the way hadn’t taken down the little pomegranate tree yet. (Why’d she do it? We don’t know.) Sometime after Scott and I switched sides of the driveway, because the minivan’s on the right. There’s a smallish window of time there, and it’s a bit creepy to think of all this quiet surveillance. And yet fun to wonder what we were doing right then, just beyond the camera’s reach — reading a book? eating scones? messing around on Google Maps?
This reminded Scott of the day a few years back when he was on his way home from work and found himself driving behind the Google car for several blocks. We looked up the street, and sure enough, there he is—signing “I love you” to me.
Man, that guy knows how to play the long game.
No travel or writing post today, but it seemed time to post. Our dog is improving, but still acting weird, and I don't think he'll ever quite come back to where he was before his episode. His head still waggles when he looks up at you. He lurches from side to side when he walks. And he can laboriously climb the four stairs to our back door, with one of us hovering near by, but we have to help him down the stairs or he loses balance. I think this will be the pattern for the short rest if his life, but he still has his sweet personality.
But there are other concerns in my life and my husband's as well. My godfather has been quite ill with pneumonia. He's out of hospital and into a "restorative care" facility, but it's a bit touch and go as to how "restored" he'll be. He's on an oxygen tank now, and when he goes home, it will go with him, and his wife will need some assistance with the times he needs to get out of bed. He's 97 and has had a blessed life. He and my godmother are incredible people who have impacted so many lives. They live about 90 miles away from us, so the past few days my husband and I took turns going to the Bay Area to visit.
Though it's sad to see him so helpless (and it really bothers him -- even at his age, he wants to be up and about), it's also an inspiration to see him and his wife. They have a wonderful, loving, even romantic relationship after 65 years of marriage. They laugh and tease each other and hold hands. (The whole family is like that. Their son and daughter and their spouses are as near and dear to us as they are, and even while visiting the facility, a lot of laughter fills the air and keeps all the attendants chuckling as well.) And, behind all the laughter, they have always been deeply philosophical folks, so the conversations get profound at times as well. You can see their spirits in the pictures above taken just a few years ago.
It's nice to write about this, because I walk around thinking about them all the time. Writing about anything else (travel, writing posts, book reviews, etc.) just doesn't seem, well, meaningful right now. It seems a time to be away from all that; a time for introspection and appreciation of the part they've all played in my life.
All this by way of saying that I won't be posting for awhile, though I'll definitely be back. And I will take time to read your posts when I can. Meanwhile, I wish you all happy writing until I "see" you again.
Ciao for now.
It is December 1939. In a lavish apartment in Antwerp, Belgium, 9-year-old Claudia Rossin, along with her parents, relatives and others, are listening to a Polish refugee taking about the Nazi invasion of Poland and the horrors that they brought with them. But Claudia doesn't fully understand the implications of Anton's story. She is far too wrapped up in her unhappiness at being under the thumb of a detested French governess whose job it was to turn a very head-strong girl into a perfect social being.
And then in May 1940, despite Belgium's declarations of neutrality, the Nazis march in and before Claudia knows it, they are living under German occupation. But Claudia's parents, Max, an insecure Polish businessman despite his success in business. and Suze, a socialite who knows and likes to entertain all the right people in her salons, remind blind to what is happening, despite being Jewish.
In October, racial standards and registration of all Jewish are imposed. Suze goes to the Kommandant
and manages to charm an extra two months out of him before they must register - two months to plot the family's escape. And she does - charming the Salvadorian consul into signing questionable visas.
Armed with these questionable visas to El Salvador, the family travels in a first-class compartment of the Brussels-Paris Express. But Paris that winter isn't wonderful and then, in June 1940, the Nazis arrive. The family is ordered to leave France within 24 hours. They head for Spain and board a boat heading to Havana, Cuba. They have escaped in the nick of time - soon roundup and deportations of Jews would start in Belgium along with the rest of the Europe's Nazi occupied countries.
For Claudia, the two best things about Cuba are the warmth and no more French governess. She is enrolled in a private Catholic school and, because of her blond hair and fair skin, accepted and welcomed by the other girls, never letting on that she is Jewish.
Away from the stresses of the war and the Nazis, life becomes more routine - school, parties, friends, fighting with her mother, trying to become a grown-up. And after a few years, Claudia meets and finds herself attracted to a boy at a party. Dieter Müller was born in Havana to German parents. Claudia lets him believe she is also an Aryan German, born in Berlin: We are the perfect pair," he whispers to her. Dieter is awed by the Hitler Youth, and Claudia tells him she used to dream about being picked to present flowers to the Führer.
On the surface, it does appear that Claudia and Dieter are the perfect pair, or are they?
Passing through Havana
is an interesting look at the Jews who managed to escape to Cuba. The novel is based on the author's real experiences as a young girl. Claudia is a bit of a spoiled brat and Rosshandler's depiction of her conflicts with her mother and how they impact some of her youthful, rather defiant decisions are spot on. But this is a coming of age novel, so it is a bit of a roller coaster ride towards maturity, as Claudia discovers who she is and begins to see reality without the romantically tinged rose-colored glasses of her pre-adolesence.
I really enjpyed reading about Cuba in the early 1940s and the experience of the Jewish community that formed among the refugees. I don't know of many books about European Jews who fled to Cuba. In 1939, only those with landing permits were allowed to disenbark in Cuba when the St. Louis arrived there. The Rossins disembarked with the landing passes for El Salvador, with the intention of remaining in Cuba only until they could get to the United States - which finally happened after the war, hence the somewhat ironic title Passing through Havana
. Rosshandler also paints a very interesting picture of pre-Castro Havana among the upper class in her book. Most of us don't remember that Cuba once had a striated society and there were some very wealthy, educated people as well as very poor.
Originally published in 1984, Passing through Havana
is now being reissued as a Kindle book.
Passing through Havana
should probably be read by more mature teens due to some sexual content.
This book is recommended for readers age 15+
This book was sent to me by the author
And in the spirit of Valentine's Day:
This book is autobiographical fiction - based on real life experiences. Recently The Guardian ran an article about Felicia and a real teenage sweetheart - read how their story worked out over the years here
|Teenage sweethearts Felicia and Edmundo Desnoes age 16 |
in Havana, Cuba
By: James Preller,
Blog: James Preller's Blog
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In Book #3 of my SCARY STORIES Series — launching this summer, so don’t make any plans — and I mean that, no plans whatsoever — I featured a whole mess of crows in the story. You know, when it comes to foreshadowing and a general air of ominousness, nothing beats a murder of crows.
We have Van Gogh to thank for that, his intimations of mortality in the great painting, “Wheat Field with Crows.”
And, of course, there’s Hitchcock. This is one of my favorite scenes in the history of film, the essence of suspense, the knot slowly tightening, the shots of the crows gathering, cut to Tippi Hedren smoking her cigarette unawares, and back and forth, back and forth, until we get that great shot of Tippi watching one crow in flight across the sky until it lands on the playground. And her eyes grow large. In the background all the while, children sing an American variation of a Scottish folktale, “Risseldy, Rosseldy.” Young, innocent voices. That’s cinematic perfection right there. I’ve watched it a dozen times.
So I stuck some crows into my story, black harbingers of doom!, and even included a small tribute to a scene from “The Birds.” (Kids these days are always clamoring for more allusions to 1960’s films. It’s just the kind of thing that young readers nowadays expect to find in their chapter books.)
Crows are basically gross, for the most part. But useful as nature’s trash collectors. They eat the road kill, smashed squirrels and flattened chipmunks, and I think we can all agree that we’re grateful for that. Thanks, crows!
Quick crow story:
My wife Lisa is the best mother in the world. She’s tied, actually, with a long list of other mothers, but she’s right there at the top, tied for first place. One Easter long ago, when Gavin (13) and Maggie (12) were probably 3 and 1 1/2, Lisa woke early in the morning to set up an Easter egg hunt. We had a nice, woodsy backyard at the time. Plastic eggs? What? Is that what you’re thinking? Oh, please. No, Lisa used actual hard-boiled eggs and hid them around the lawn. Under bushes and often right there in the middle of the lawn, since at the time the kids were young and not exactly the best Scotland Yard had to offer.
Later it was time for the egg hunt. And lo, there were no eggs. Or, at least, very few to be found.
What happened to them? Where’d they go? We didn’t know. So we set out an egg in the middle of the lawn, ducked back inside, and watched by the window. Within two minutes, a big black crow landed, grabbed the egg in its talons, and flew off for a hearty breakfast.
While thinking about crows, and researching them ever-so-slightly, I came across this, which is why I began this post in the first place.
Oh, and here’s the brief excerpt from SCARY TALES, Book #3. In this scene, three students are trapped inside a school, surrounded by zombies, or ghouls, or whatever creepy thing they are out there. It’s not good. For a variety of reasons — the best one being “for dramatic purposes” — Carter decides to go for help. He needs to quietly make his way two blocks through the night fog, avoid the zombies that seems to be aimlessly milling around, find his folks, get help, and save the day.
(I know, it’s sounds kind of dumb, but it’s a lot of fun.)
Here goes . . .
Carter stepped out into the mist with supreme calm. Cool as a lake. It was foggy, but he could still see about 30 feet in any direction. He gave a thumbs-up to the worried faces that stood vigil at the door.
It’s all good.
A crow landed near his foot, cawed noisily. Then another, and another. Carter stepped cautiously, not wishing to disturb the birds. He noticed a dark figure ahead and veered away from it.
CAW-CAW! Carter looked up to see a crow dive-bombing from above, talons out. The black bird hit Carter’s head at full force, wham, and tore into his scalp.
“Ow, shoot,” Carter cursed. He staggered a step, dazed, and waited for the dizziness to pass. Carter tenderly probed the injury with his fingers. His scalp was torn. Under a loose flap of skin, his flesh felt like raw hamburger. It was wet.
He checked his fingers. Blood. Lots of it.
The moans came, louder and louder, from every direction. As if the creatures were calling to each other. Now more shapes appeared in the distance, moving toward him. “It’s the blood,” Carter thought. “They smell it.”
Once a child gets hooked on reading, it’s hard to get them to put a book down. They won’t come to dinner. They stay up late. You can’t get them to watch TV or play video games. On road trips they stop asking “Are we almost there?” They smuggle books into the bathroom, creating long lines, impatient siblings and unfortunate accidents. The problems are endless.
One method that has had limited success in our household is to simply ground them from books when they sneak a read when they’re not supposed to. However, I’ve heard there are much more effective ways to stop kids from reading. High on the list is, if they ask you to read to them, refuse. Tell them you don’t have time. Put them off until you’re done watching your favorite TV show and hope they’ll get tired of waiting. Better yet, tell them books are dumb.
Other top ways to kill a child’s interest in reading is forbid trips to the library. Don’t let them choose what books they want to read. Only let them read books you like. Of course, that’s not a good idea if they like the books you like. So, better yet, force them to read only books that they hate. That will really convince them that books have nothing to offer.
If you’re lucky enough that none of your children have caught the reading bug, be sure to never let them catch you reading. That would be a catastrophe. They might get the idea that reading is fun, educational and even interesting. Then before you know it, they’re addicted to reading and the battle to get them to stop begins.
By: Melissa Wiley
Blog: Here in the Bonny Glen
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With Beanie: did our first week’s charting for Journey North. Mystery City #1 has very nearly the same latitude as ours, judging from its photoperiod, and Bean entertained me with a list of the countries around the globe at roughly our parallel. You see why I love this project so?
(FWIW, here’s how I described it to my local homeschooling list this morning, wanting to make it clear you don’t have to be some organizational goddess to pull this thing off: “If Mystery Class sounds daunting to you, let me just add that I forgot all about it until this morning and am sitting here in my pajamas, coughing my lungs out, hair not yet brushed, huddled on the couch calculating photoperiods with [Beanie]. A few simple math problems—she’s doing most of the work. [Huck] is climbing on the back of the couch. Scott’s got Elvis playing. I’m checking Facebook while [Bean] does the next calculation. In case you were picturing some super-organized activity requiring a ton of preparation and concentration—this isn’t that!)
With Jane and Rose: watched the first video lecture (very short) for a Coursera class we discovered yesterday, and which Jane has signed up for: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. (I loved the reading list. Some great stuff there, and a number of things I’d been meaning to read with the girls this year anyhow.)
The first text is the Lucy Crane translation of Grimms’ Tales, available for free download at Project Gutenberg. The instructor (Professor Eric Rabkin of the University of Michigan) mentioned the intriguing fact that the illustrations (beautiful, just my cup of tea, see below) in this edition are by Crane’s husband, Walter Crane, who wrote about book (explained Dr. Rabkin) about the role of illustration in books. Which! Got! Me! Very! Excited! And when you put ‘Walter Crane’ into Google it autosuggests ‘Walter Crane arts and crafts movement’ Which! More! Excited! Still! My cup of tea? More like my bathtub of tea, my swimming-pool of tea. And now (having spent a bit of happy, albeit sniffly, time on teh Wikipedia and other avenues) I have added Yet More Things to Read to my impossible list.
You see what I mean?
So we zapped the Lucy Crane text to the Kindle, and I read the first story aloud to Rilla—”The Rabbit’s Bride,” which I didn’t remember at all, though I thought I’d read Grimm backwards and forwards, including some of it in German. (Digression: true story: my friend Caryn and I got banned from the high-school library for a full semester in tenth grade due to uncontrollable outbursts of giggling over an assignment for our German class. Look, you spring the original version of Rapunzel on a couple of unsuspecting sophomore girls and what do you expect? Suddenly she had twins! Zwillinge! So that’s how the witch knew she was entertaining a visitor!)
(Thing is, I fervently believed I loved that library more than anybody in the whole school. Me. Banned from a library. I couldn’t believe it. My intemperate book-hoarding habits probably spring from this brief and interminable period of deprivation.)
Anyhow, “The Rabbit’s Bride.” I did not see that ending coming. Nor the middle, for that matter.
At Huck’s naptime there was cuddling (cautious, on his part: “I don’t want to get sick, Mommy”) (sigh) and at his request, another round of the much-loved Open This Little Book, which gem I’ll be reviewing for GeekMom one of these days. (Talk about illustrations to swoon for. Delicious.)
Then lots of Japan Life with Rilla and Beanie—a game we like to play, which involves massive amounts of casual math and spatial reasoning, but of course they aren’t seeing it that way, it’s just fun.
I missed out on some of my favorite parts of the day—walking Wonderboy to school and back; my long morning ramble with Scott—but by mid-afternoon I was feeling better than I have all week, and I got outside to water my neglected garden. Was relieved to see my young lettuces are looking spruce. So are hordes of weeds.
A hummingbird, a funny solar-powered grasshopper, a cup of mint tea with honey. “I can’t believe how much I’m not sick of you,” says the mug, a gift from Scott.
Two very dirty children scrubbed clean after concocting Mud Soup or some such delicacy in the backyard.
Tonight I’m missing the much-anticipated reception for the San Diego Local Authors Exhibit at the downtown library, very sad not to be there but it wouldn’t be nice to carry this cough out in public. But I’m sure there will be something nice on TV with Scott later (he DVRs the best things) and I have two compelling books in progress on my Kindle at the moment: a gorgeous collection of Alice Munro stories given to me by one of my favorite people in the world, and a review copy of a book called Washed Away: How the Great Flood of 1913, America’s Most Widespread Natural Disaster, Terrorized a Nation and Changed It Forever—how’s that for a title that grabs you and won’t let go? So far, so gripping. The levee just broke in Dayton, Ohio. Entire houses are floating away with people on the rooves. (Roofs? What are we saying these days?) I’m chewing my nails off.
By: Stacy Dillon,
"Haven't you ever had anything you loved doing, Mom?...Something that was worth getting in real big trouble for?" ( Will Asher - arc p. 200)
This is a world where people either have a Talent or are simply Fair. Talents can range from the ability to knit anything at a quick pace (Mrs. Asher) to the ability to spit with choreographic grace and accuracy (Zane).
Cady lives in an orphanage in Poughkeepsie New York with Miss Mallory. Each of them has a talent that drives their lives. Cady has a talent for baking. She can size up a person and know exactly what kind of cake to bake that will bring them the most possible happiness. Miss Mallory has a talent for making matches, which has led to her matching countless parentless children with the right families. Even though Miss Mallory has attempted to match Cady in the past, it has never been the perfect match. The tug in her chest hasn't been enough to place Cady with the right family.
Meanwhile, in town, the Owner of the Lost Luggage Emporium has been on a lifelong quest. He believes that a piece of lost luggage holds the secret to his success. He has been trying to track down the powder blue St. Anthony suitcase that he lost 53 years prior. The loss has turned him bitter, and Toby who works with the Owner, is subject to his random temper and tirades.
Also in town are the Asher family. The aforementioned Zane hasn't always yielded his talent for good, and the words of his school Principal haunt him, as his misguided attempts to help his family bring him nothing but trouble. Zane's sister Marigold is desperately searching for her own talent, as she tries to keep not only Zane, but little brother Will (who has a talent for disappearing) out of trouble.
Add a bake-off, recipes, attempted adoption, archeological crime, a mysterious wordless stranger, a wayward ferrt and an in-and-out narrator dressed in a gray suit, and you have A Tangle of Knots
. I know I haven't done the best with plot summary, but that is because Graff's story defies description. Story-lines dance and weave, short chapters keep the forward motion, and the reader finds him/herself trying to predict what will come next. That said, I can't help but throw in the idea of the mash-up/remix with titles like Savvy
, The Westing Game
coming to mind. Not bad company to be in. While A Tangle of Knots most definitely pays homage, I do think Graff has made this all her own. The moment I finished reading, I wanted to go back and re-read to fit the pieces together.
Last year, Tomie dePaola won The Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award and his extensive interview with Lee Wind on the SCBWI blog reminded me that I still haven't read Tomie's books about his home front experiences during World War II. He wrote about them in the last four of the eight books that make up his 26 Fairmount Avenue series, subtitled The War Years.
This post probably contains spoilers
In Book 5, Things Will Never Be the Same
, begins in January 1941, first-grader Tomie had just received his two best Christmas presents - a Junior Flexible Flyer sled and a diary with a lock and key, and so Book 5 begins with his very first diary entry. With all the charm, honesty and bluntness of a very precocious and artistic 6 year old, Tomie takes us through the year 1941, diary entry by diary entry. Each chapter begins with a short diary entry and the rest of the chapter goes into more depth everything that was going on at the time. And 1941 is an exciting year for Tomie. Through his diary, Tomie presents a wonderful picture of what life was life in that year preceding America's entry into the war. Things he writes about include the day to day family life of the dePaola family, and the world of a first grader, for example, learning about President Roosevelt and the March of Dimes, and not being able to swim in the summer because of a Polio scare; the excitement over seeing Disney's Fantasia
in the theater, his disappointment over who is second grade teacher is, about his tap dancing lessons which he loves, and of course all the holidays over the course of the year. But all this changes on December 7, 1941. Tomie writes in his diary:
As the dePaola's listen, along with the whole country, to the radio announcer talking about the attack on Pearl Harbor, Tomie's mother says to her family, "Things will never be the same."
Unlike Things Will Never Be the Same,
which covers a whole year,
Book 6, I'm Still Scared
, diary entries only cover one month, December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1941, but is is a powerful month for second grader Tomie. Not quite understanding what has happened and the implications of war, Tomie is a scared little boy and to make matters worse, no one really wants to explain what's going on to him. Luckily for him, after listening to Roosevelt's speech on the radio, the family go to visit Tomie's grandparents and his grandfather, Tom, takes some time he talk to him about his fears. But life had indeed changed. At school, there were air raid drills, and at home, an air raid shelter had to be created in the basement just in case. And Tomie had to contend with being called the ENEMY because of his Italian heritage. War was everywhere. Even at the movies showing a children's feature, the newsreels showed London in the Blitz, and Tomie realized it was the first time he had seen what war was like. At the end of December, young Tomie is still scared.
Book 7, Why?
, begins on January 1, 1942 and runs until April 29, 1942. In his new diary, Tomie gives more details of his day to day life. He writes about his excitement about being able to stay up late for New Year's Eve, of going to help in his grandfather's grocery store, and of his first surprise air raid drill at school. But his real trouble comes when his teacher starts teaching the kids to write in cursive and refused to allow Tomie, a lefty, to hold the pen in a way that worked for him. And Tomie talks more about his older brother Buddy and how angry/annoyed Buddy gets with him. But perhaps saddest of all are the entries about his cousin Anthony A/K/A Blackie. Blackie was a favorite cousin who had joined the Army Air Corps. Tomie seemed able to adjust to everything involving the war - like rationing and air raid drills - but the news of Blackie's death is just incomprehensible to him. In the end, he is left asking himself Why?
Book 8, For the Duration,
is the final book in the 26 Fairmount Avenue series and begins on May 1, 1942 and runs through... Well, that's hard to say. It seems that early on, Tomie's diary key disappeared. While there are not more diary entries, Tomie still talks about his life and in 1942, patriotism is in full swing. At school, Tomie gets very sad and runs out of the room when the class starts singing the Army Air Corps anthem. At dancing school. there is a lot so rehearsing for a wonderful recital, but there are also bullies in the schoolyard who take his new tap shoes and start tossing them around. And there are victory gardens and ration books and helping again in his grandfather's grocery. Things between Tomie and his brother Buddy get worse and in the end, it is Buddy who has taken the diary key. But one thing Tomie learns to understand completely is that some things disappear (chewing gum, fireworks) and other thing come into being (war bonds, war stamps), all "for the duration."
The 26 Fairmount Avenue series is an extraordinary group of chapter books recalling Tomie dePaola's early life living in Meridan, Connecticut. For the most part, they are a series of vignettes told in great detail and include whimsical illustrations by Tomie thoughout the books. Much of what Tomie writes is funny, charming, sad and so typical of kids that age. Though I haven't reviewed for first four books here, I would really recommend the whole series to anyone who is a Tomie dePaola fan. My only gripe is that we are left hanging about Buddy and the diary key.
And if you are a Tomie dePaola fan, be sure to read Lee Wind's interview with him:
Part 1 can be found here
Part 2 can be found here
Part 3 can be found here
These books are recommended for readers age 7+
Things Will Never Be the Same
was borrowed from the Children's Center of the NYPL
I'm Still Scared
was borrowed from the Yorkville Branch of the NYPL
was borrowed from the Morningside Heights Branch of the NYPL
For the Duration
was borrowed from the Bank Street College of Education Library
Nonfiction Monday is hosted this week by Tammy at Apples With Many Seeds
Much better today, but still dragging. And the next domino to topple turned out to be Huck.
Still, it was a good day, dominated by much laughter over this Grimm collection we’re reading en masse for Jane’s Coursera class. I mean, “The Death of the Hen,” do you know that one? I know Grimm is grim, but this beats all. All the rest of the day, the girls were walking around going, “And so they were all dead together”—that’s the happy ending, you guys.
Other bits and pieces:
Read more of Hawthorne’s Wonder Book with Rilla, the Perseus story continued, and then coaxed her through a narration. No matter how unschoolish my tendencies, I am always and forever a believer in good old Charlotte Mason-style narration for building really quite remarkable powers of attention and memory. Rilla’s at the bouncy, fidgety, doubtful-of-her-narrative-abilities six-year-old stage, which—now that I know what I’m doing—is quite a fun place to be. She surprises herself, and then beams.
Beanie did a lot of German (I slacked on that today myself, but I’ve been driving pretty hard with it the past few weeks and am thrilled to be able to read, at long last, a little book I picked up ages and ages ago—found it in some German bookshop in Manhattan, I think—called Kleiner Pelz. Anyone heard of it? The author is Irina Korschunow. Quite sweet so far.
I read Ame Dyckman’s Boy + Bot to Huck; he’s gotten almost every one of us to read it to him so far, a tremendous hit this one, and rightly so. Delightful. But then we’re huge fans of Dan Yaccarino’s art around here. Here’s the book trailer if you want a peek.
We listened to more Wind in the Willows while Rilla drew pictures and Huck snoozed…I dozed off myself somewhere in there. Later, walking to pick Wonderboy up from school, I taught Rilla the first two stanzas of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” and there is nothing quite like the sight of a small girl skipping up a hill, hair swinging, reciting “And this was odd, because it was the middle—of—the—night!”
Jane wrote an essay for her class, Rose read all morning, Huck perked up a little, and Scott concocted a bacon-potato soup for dinner. A much happier ending than that which befell the poor hen.
“The Death of the Hen,”
from Lucy Crane’s Household Stories from the Collection of the Brothers Grimm,
illustrated by Walter Crane
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spotted on our morning walk
(which was very short, because neither of us can walk half a block without coughing)
So maybe this was the actual flu. Whatever it was, Scott and I are both still climbing slowly back to normal. Huck is right as rain already—much to his disappointment, since he loves the taste of Tylenol. “No more medicine?” he asked tearfully. Sorry, pal.
Jane’s up to her eyeballs (and mine) in scholarship applications. Rose made me some Redwall scones. Beanie embarked on a personal mission to study the history of Japan (beginning with poring over any relevant chapter she can find in the Genevieve Foster books, because they were readiest to hand…library trip to follow soon). Wonderboy is writing lots of letters. Rilla nearly always has a crayon in her hand.
Huck spends half his time as a…koalasheep, I think it is? And the other half jumping on things.
music has charms to sooth a savage koalasheep breast
I have completely dropped the ball with Winter Holiday! I should’ve just bought the audiobook when I first got sick. At this rate we’ll still be reading it in July.