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Reading My Library

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story


Today, for those of you who aren't aware, marks the start of Purim (starts at sundown). I came across a copy of The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story, by Leone Adelson early on in this challenge and marked it as one I would want to purchase for our home library. I followed through and snagged a copy through Amazon and I'm so glad I did! We'll be reading this book tonight with our boys.

In this story we meet Little Bear who is woken up from his winter slumber. He's kinda hungry. He wanders out of his cave and follows his nose to a house by the river. Little Bear sees a crowd of people on parade, dressed in various costumes, but he only has eyes for the food in their hands. Of course, he has stumbled upon a Purim celebration.

No, we're not Jewish and I don't mean to insult the faith or tweak anything out of contest by celebrating it as a family. Merely, we want to celebrate what God has done in our own lives, marking the day and learning the story of Queen Esther and the Jews. So we'll have a mini family celebration, read some books, eat some hamantaschen and read about Esther and the reason for Purim. We will thank God for the many blessings in our lives and remember the work He has done and is continuing to do for each one of us. That will be our point and purpose and I'm glad to have this book to help explain the history behind the celebration to our children. It is an amazingly rich history and part of a bigger story we are sharing with our children every day. It's exciting for me to think about and plan for it. I'm looking forward to this evening!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Progress Report


I guess it's been a little while since I've given an update, so here you go!

Goal set for reading all of the children's picture books in our library:


Monday, September 28th

Progress as of today's date:

I've read (according to the last name of the author) through the "A" section and am into the "Be" section where I feel a bit stuck.

Total number of picture books read:

By my count, 558.

Average number of times I go to the library during the week:

1

Average number of books checked out per visit:

I've made about 15 trips to the library, which makes my average about 37 books per trip which, according to the way I feel after I've finished lugging the pile to the car, seems just about right!

Favorite New-to-Me author I've discovered so far:

Honestly, Jim Arnosky is still holding the trophy for my most favorite so far. His books are just awesome.

Total amount of fines due so far:

$3.35. You'll notice (perhaps) that that is the same total as I mentioned in my last progress report. Thankfully, I have not added to that number! (I also stopped checking out videos just to be sure!)

****

I still feel like I'm keeping a reasonable pace for myself. I don't feel overwhelmed or stressed which is generally my clue that I need to step back. I feel pressure to keep plugging on and work my way out of the B's before too much more time passes, but at the same time I said this challenge would last a few years and so I just need to keep the Tortoise and the Hare in the mind and keep on keeping on. It's the best that I can do and I'm pretty happy with where things are at.

The best part about this is how excited Bookworm1 has grown about trips to the library. I tend to make the trips alone, to get in and out as fast as possible. However, when I arrive home both he and Bookworm2 launch themselves straight into the bag to see what goodies they can each find.

Bookworm1's first thought: Are there any books about octopuses this time?*


Bookworm2's first thought: Can I get all of the books out of the bag all by myself and spread them around the room before anyone stops me?

It's becoming even more a family affair than it was when I first started and I really like that fact. A lot.

* I did check the plural for octopus and it is technically correct to say octopuses and it is technically incorrect to say octopi. I checked a few sources. Just wanted to clarify that! =D

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordTime for another Read Aloud Thursday, hosted by Hope is in the Word.

Naturally, all of our Reading Aloud posts are about animals. Would you honestly expect anything different? Animals being our passion these days, you really shouldn't. These are the books we've been spending our time with the last few days...




(Sorry for the fuzzy image of Tickly, Prickly.) Both of the above books have one thing in common: they use silly words. This makes them hugely enjoyable, naturally.

Tickly Prickly, by Bonny Becker is really quite enjoyable and we both really liked this one. It opens as follows:

"Did you ever have a ladybug crawl across your finger?
How did it feel?
Tickly, prickly. Fly away quickly."
Each page spread on this book asks you if you had some kind of experience feeling an animal and then it describes the experience as a possibility. Was it "whisper fluttery"? "Puffy. Peeping. Fluffy. Sleeping"? It's a cute and cuddly read aloud sort of book and we feel we must highly recommend it.

Itty Bitty, by Cece Bell tells the story of a little dog named Itty Bitty. Itty Bitty is tiny, tiny and makes his home inside of a dog bone. He's that small! This story documents his journey in trying to make his house a home, buying furniture in the Teeny-Weeny Department Store. Naturally, this book produces an adequate amount of chuckles. I didn't think the story was all that impressive but Bookworm1 thoroughly enjoyed it and I have to admit that it was pretty cute.

Another of our favorites was A Mud Pie for Mother, by Scott Beck. It is mother pig's birthday and Little Pig wants to give her a very special birthday present. At first he thinks he will pick a flower for her but he is interrupted by a bee who asks Little Pig not to take it away from him. Next, Little Pig thinks he will take his mother some hay, but he discovers that the hay belongs to the resident cow, who requests that Little Pig leave it be. As the story moves along, Little Pig is turned away from every gift idea that he thinks of, discovering that the items he thinks he would like to give to his mother belong to someone else. The thing that I love about this book is that each time another animal requests that Little Pig not take away their possessions, Little Pig politely complies. At the end of the story, all of the animals give him something in return for his helpful kindness and obedience. The cow gives him milk, the bee gives him honey, etc., and Little Pig is able to gift his mother with a wonderful, delicious breakfast.

It is a story of respect, honor, kindness and obedience that, in the end, is adequately rewarded. I think this book is a little unsuspecting. It looks so simple on its face but the message of the book is strong and makes for a good story through which you can talk about how to respect others with your little ones. Totally loved this book!

Last, but certainly not least, is Bookworm1's personal favorite which is Little Otter's Big Journey, by David Bedford. In this story, Little Otter's mother is going to dive down to hunt for some food for Little Otter to eat. He is too afraid to go with her, so she wraps him up in some warm seaweed and tells him to wait for her. The problem is that he drifts along and drifts along until he is out to sea. The sea lions tell him he's gone to far and finally a whale meets up with him and offers to go find his mother for him and tell her where he is! (Note: the whale.) Of course, mother and baby are reunited with mother promising that she will always come and find Little Otter, even if he is lost. She advises him to stick close to her which I found somewhat confusing. She left him. But whatever. He floated off and got lost and they had to be reunited. Since one of our topics of conversations around these parts is not to wander away from us when we're out in public and our frequent phrase is, "Stick with me!" I found this topic relevant. It's cute and it contains our favorite animals so I'll recommend it along with him.

What are you reading with your kiddoes these days? Play along with us at Hope is in the Word, won't you? Looking forward to discovering books along with you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ants

One of the first books I noticed in the bag on this last trip was An Ant's Day Off, by Bonny Becker. This tells the story of a sand ant named Bart who wonders what life is like on the outside. Day after day he toils away under the ground, working for the benefit of antdome. He wonders what it might be like to take a vacation. Just one day. One, single day off. Eventually one day the temptation to crawl out of his ant hill becomes overwhelming and he goes exploring into the unknown.

This book documents his adventures and journeys from meeting frogs, being lazy at the top of a dandelion and being carried off by a bee! He has some wild and good times and, in the end, discovers that sometimes it's kind of nice to take a day off and just relax. Down time makes working hard all the more enjoyable - because he discovers the joy of earning a nap!

(Maybe it's that any book that talks about someone getting to take a nap sounds like a good one to mommy? Nah.)

Both Bookworm1 and myself enjoyed this book because it came on the heels of our reading Little Black Ant on Park Street, by Janet Halfmann. You can click on the title to read my review of this new release over at Reading to Know.


Both of these books on ants are perfect for the summer time when you are exploring your back yard (and clearing every crumb in sight out from underneath your dining room table, least you attract the wrong sorts of visitors into your home!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More St. Patty's Day Books (& a note about the library)



I reviewed two books for St. Patrick's Day over at 5 Minutes for Books. We have a copy of each of the St. Patty's books to give away so if you are curious and would like to pick up a few books for this holiday for your home library, CLICK HERE.

Also, I ran to the library again this evening and filled up a bag. This time I found some treasures in it so I'll be posting again here on those very shortly!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Dud Load


Man, I came home with 36 books to peruse over the weekend and out of the stack there are only three that are half worth mentioning! Authors under "Be" are not really impressing me very much. I hardly feel like spending the time on a whole post for these three books as I'm left dreadfully uninspired after the last run. (And I imagine my lack of enthusiasm isn't going to inspire you much either.)

It's a Monday Load so we'll make this a Monday Post and move on with life!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordRead Aloud Thursday time over at Hope is in the Word! What are you reading aloud with your kids this week?

We're still enjoying our last library haul this time 'round in the form of the following books:

Cooler than cool is Frances Barry's Big Yellow Sunflower:



This book is a total surprise to the young reader, slowly unfolding into a big, beautiful yellow sunflower that you can see pictured here:



The picture really says it all, in my opinion, so I'll say little else. Want to see your kid smile in wide-eyed wonder? Find a copy of Big Yellow Sunflower.

The next two books that we read Bookworm1 really enjoyed, but I can't say that I was overly fond of either.

Down in the Swamp, by Donna M. Bateman really does seem to have it all at first glance. Swamp creatures, a cute little rhyming sound, and awesome illustrations by Brian Lies. The only thing about this book that I didn't think worked very well were the words selected to describe the animals and their situations which made it hard, as the adult reading the book aloud, to keep the rhythm of it going. For example:

"Deep in the swamp where the cypress reach to heaven,
Lived a mother damselfly and her little flies Seven.
"Dry!" said the mother. "We dry," said the Seven,
So they dried their new wings where the cypress reach to heaven."

Maybe it's not as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be but try saying that paragraph out loud. It just doesn't roll off the tongue as well as I'd like and yes, I'm nitpicking. The book is great, really.

The Three Bears, by Byron Barton is your typical story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Nothing surprising about it. Bookworm1 liked it just fine but the illustrations in this book just bugged me. They look computer generated. Like from the 80's or something. I don't know. I just didn't find it appealing. However, the illustrations are bold and easy on the eyes and, as I said, Bookworm1 didn't have any complaints so maybe I shouldn't either. (Oh, but what the hey! I can't help it. I DO have complaints about it. I don't think it's altogether very artful or inspiring.)

While I wasn't overly excited about any of our reads this past week (with the exception of the Sunflower book) this is what we found in our bag and so this is what we read...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Books for St. Patrick's Day

I don't know about your libraries, but our library puts tabs on holiday titles so that parents can more easily locate books for specific celebrations. As I've said before, as holidays come rolling down the pike, it's hard to find books at the library specifically relating to the upcoming celebration because everyone in town is looking for the same thing! However, on this last trip to the library I managed to find a bunch of un-tabbed books that can be used for St. Patrick's Day and felt I found the pot of gold at the end of a very big and very long rainbow.

The books were all grouped together under the name of one particular author: Teresa Bateman. (If you click on her name, you'll be taken to a little interview whereupon I discovered that she is - or was? - a librarian as well as an author!)

If you need some books for St. Patrick's Day that are set in Ireland, use appropriate surnames, talk of luck and leprechauns then here you go!

In Harp O'Gold we meet Tom, a wandering Irish minstrel. Tom had a dream when he was younger that he would play for rich and poor alike (but mostly rich) who would fill his cap with gold and he would live a life of fame and fortune by making music. He was very skilled but he had only ever been given access to the poor - and the poor couldn't pay him for his music. One day he meets a "man of very short stature" named Sean O'Dell who offers him a golden harp. Tom knows that this harp will put him in front of royalty and so he accepts O'Dell's offer, only to find that owning a gold harp isn't all that he thought it would be.


Leprechaun Gold is a very sweet story about a poor man named Donald O'Dell who saves a leprechaun's life. As a reward, the leprechaun tries to give O'Dell some gold, but O'Dell doesn't want it - being very content with his current situation. The leprechaun tells him that he will accept the gold one way or another and soon thereafter Donald meets Maureen, a beautiful girl with golden hair "and a heart to match." It's a happily ever after story about contentment and love. I thought the messages this book shared were both exceptional.

Traveling Tom and the Leprechaun is my least favorite in terms of illustrations, which I don't think are very nicely done. However, the story is still interesting. It's just hard for me to work past the pictures. The princess of Ireland needs to get married but she'll only agree to marry a man who can obtain a leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. This is a very tricky businesses and another traveling minstrel, who also goes by the name of Tom, is the only one who manages to get the job done and so wins the princess's hand in marriage. This book feels more like your typical fairy tale and, again, I thought the illustrations so horridly done that I was turned off by this particular title.

My favorite of all of these books by Bateman is Fiona's Luck. It starts out magically and magnificently in the following way:

"Once, luck was as free to be had in Ireland as sunlight, and just as plentiful. It filled the air, and anyone could grab a handful of it as the need arose. This was largely due to the leprechauns, for they made luck like cows made milk."
However, then the "big folk" arrived in Ireland and the leprechaun king felt like the humans were soaking up all the luck so he sent his band of leprechauns out to capture all the luck whereupon he kept it locked away in a chest. This way, only he could bestow luck and then only upon those he chose. In the meantime, the people in Ireland were left without any luck at all and were suffering horribly.

Enter: Fiona. She knew that the only way to get any luck was to be gifted it by the leprechauns but she would have to be tricky in order to capture it. So she works a clever plan, convincing people that she had luck until word got back to the leprechaun king that Fiona had some luck. The king was miffed because he certainly hadn't been the one to give it to her and so he calls her into his court to discover how it is that she has been so lucky.

This book is just plain FUN and I enjoyed it very much. It might just have to be put on my Amazon wish list so that we can enjoy it on a yearly basis. This year, however, we're able to enjoy it thanks to our local library. Look for a copy! I think you'll like this one.

Friday, February 12, 2010

America the Beautiful



America the Beautiful, by Katherine Lee Bates (illustrated by Chris Gall) just went on my Amazon wish list. Must. own. it.

A great-great-grandnephew of Katharine Lee Bates writes the introduction to this book, giving the history and background of the poem America the Beautiful" which was first published in a Boston church publication, The Congregationalist. Set to music which was written by Smauel Ward, we recognize these words as patriotic song:

Oh beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!


Illustrated by Chris Gall and including the entire text of the poem, the book has a vintage feel - kind of like a 1940's war poster. Each page spread depicts a scene from American life. Sometimes we are looking at a picture of farm life, like the following:


However, this book also captures events such as 9/11 with the same nostalgic feel. As stated in the introduction, this poem, this song and this book are all a "reminder of all that we have, and of all that we need to preserve."

Amen to that!

Skip the library. Buy the book!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordTime for another Read Aloud Thursday, hosted by Hope is in the Word. (Man, these weeks are just zooming right by!)

Amy likes this random and this week, I've got random for ya! Ready?! Here goes....

First up we have Trucks, Boats and Airplanes, all by Byron Barton. Really, these books are absolutely perfect for a 1-2 year old. Each one contains extremely simple sentences, block line illustrations and uses bold colors. Easy on the eyes and attention spans, still these books do a good job of introducing the young'uns to basic transportation devices.



For example, in boats, we open the book to a page spread that shows nothing but the water line, with wave lines being the sole thing illustrated. Dark blue is used to illustrate the water and lighter blue to indicate sky. The opening line for this page is "On the water . . . " Turn the page and you complete the sentence, " . . . there goes a rowboat." A corresponding picture tips the new reader off to the fact that what they are seeing is a, yes and indeed, a rowboat! They also get to see a sailboat, motorboat, ferry boat, and a yacht to name a few others. It's really very simple but very attractive to the little people and so we mention it here for you. You're welcome.

While we enjoyed the above books, we enjoyed All by Myself, by Ivan Bates, just a little bit more. For one thing, it had a baby elephant and next to whales and octopuses, elephants are our favorites. (Well, they are our favorite land animal next to Ernie's Rubber Ducky which we were recently introduced to.)

In All by Myself we meet Maya, a baby elephant, who wants to be able to reach up to the top of the tree and select her own leaves to eat. Her mother offers to help but she would prefer to do it "all by [herself]." A friendly lion offers some assistance as does a snake and a bird, but she politely declines all offers in quiet, stubborn insistence. Can she do it? Well, we don't want to give spoilers around these parts so you'll have to high tail it to your local library to find out!

What could be more random than Thanksgiving in February!? Well meet Gus, the Pilgrim Turkey, by Teresa Bateman. Gus is an innocent young turkey when his barnyard friends enlighten him as to What Humans Eat at their Thanksgiving Feast. Gus is horrified and runs away from his barnyard home in search of a place where he can be free to live life as he pleases, much like the Pilgrims did. (Although Gus clearly has no religious motivations...he just wants to live.) He finally finds a place of refuge in a flock of penguins waaaay down south. Much to my son's great delight, an octopus even appears in this book. Again, how much more random can you get? Yes, well, we won't tell you why or how there comes to be an octopus in this story but you will have to discover that fact for yourselves and thank us later.



Lastly, if you are a fan of Walt Disney's Peter Pan, you should check out Peter Pan as retold by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson. The pictures in this book (by Mary Blair) are intriguing to the eyes. Mary Blair, by the way, worked at Walt Disney for 34 years, helping to bring to life such characters as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. This particular book shows how Blair envisioned preparing Peter Pan for the big screen. This book is stupendous and we loved it very much. I was personally ecstatically happy to discover this book in the bag because we lost our Golden Books copy of Peter Pan somewhere and Bookworm1 was just recently asking for it. Not being able to find our book was disappointing so bringing home just what he wanted from the library was a real treat for the both of us.

Shh!
I haven't told him the book has to go back! But for now - we're enjoying it.

So, what have you been reading aloud with your kids? Care to play along? Join us for Read Aloud Thursday by linking up at Hope is in the Word.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Children's Classics Mystery Challenge

mysterychallengeToday is the Children's Classics Mystery Challenge carnival over at 5 Minutes for Books! Even if you didn't participate this month, you might consider checking out what other people have written about. I already see Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown and The Bobbsey Twins on the list!

Also, you can enter to win an Undercover Super Sleuth/Detective kit over at 5 Minutes for Books which is oh so very cool. Check it out and mostly - go have fun! Because fun is what reading is supposed to be all about, correct? (Unless, of course, and I only suppose, you are busy ruling the book world.)

Papa's Mark

This month, as I'm certain you are aware, is Black History Month and in my library bag this month I found Papa's Mark, by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert which I have nothing but the highest praise for.

This book is a little over our heads at present so we can't utilize the resource right away. However, in a few years I will definitely be seeking this book out to explain the history of African Americans to my children. Papa's Mark definitely will be at the top of my list as it tells the story of Simms' papa, who has just been granted the right to vote by the Fifteenth Amendment. Simms' papa is unable to read or write and so he is left only with the ability to make the sign of an "X" to indicate his signature. He regrets this, but has never had the time or opportunity to learn how to read or write. Simms teaches his papa to spell his name so that on voting day, papa is able to sign his name on his ballot.

Papa's Mark is wonderfully told and illustrated and there are multiple reasons to recommend it. At the back of the book there is an explanation as to the historical timeline relating to the African American fight for freedom and right to vote, explaining the Amendments that followed the Civil War. This is a truly lovely book and a great way to introduce the topic to young readers and students of history.

If you are looking for more picture books to utilize during Black History month, I recommend you over to 5 Minutes for Books where Jennifer reviewed D is for Drinking Gourd. There are a few titles for you to possibly win over at 5 Minutes for Books so go check those out and see what you think!

Monday, February 8, 2010

We're Back in the Tote Bag Again...

Hey, hey, hey! The library shuffle appears to be over (at least to a large extent) and so I popped in tonight to check out the new (and confusing) layout. I reoriented myself and hauled home some new books in my Patty Reed Insta-tote bag (which was gifted to me by my friend, Sky!). My bag is the bright red poppy bag, the design of which you can see on the left hand side here.

If you want a bag that can HAUL it like nobody's business, check out these green friendly bags. Seriously, Sky, THANKS! This bag has carried heavy loads for me for over a year now and every time I use it I think of you and am grateful for your friendship. So consider yourself intimately involved in this reading challenge. After all, your bag is doing all of the grunt work!

Brambly Hedge


I mildly suspect that I've missed out on this series of books and set of characters and that I'm one of the last to know. From the looks of things online, Brambly Hedge is fairly well-known. But I'VE only known of it just recently.

Our library had the season books on the shelf and I was delighted to sit down and breeze through them.




Knowing nothing about Brambly Hedge, I was grateful to see the following introduction in Spring Story:

"For many generations, families of mice have made their homes in the roots and trunks of the trees of Brambly Hedge, a dense and tangled hedgerow that borders the field on the other side of the stream.

The Brambly Hedge mice lead busy lives. During the fine weather, they collect flowers, fruits, berries and nuts from the Hedge and surrounding fields, and prepare delicious jams, pickles and preserves that are kept safely in the Store Stump for the winter months ahead."

In the Spring we find the mice going on a picnic which involves a secret birthday surprise party for one little mouse. In the summer, they are involved with a wedding which is a predictable summertime activity, of course. The fall story involves a young field mouse getting lost in the woods when she was supposed to have been blackberry picking with her father. Lastly, in the Winter Story we come upon the mice planning a Snow Ball.

Delightful. Cute. Charming. Why have I not heard of them before?

Again, this is a set of books I would so snap up for keeps if I had a girl. In the meantime, I enjoyed some aspects of it with my son (there was talk of weasels, after all!), and most aspects of it for myself. Loved these books! If you know more about Brambly Hedge yourself - do share! I'd love to learn more.

For bonus points, our library also possessed a copy of Brambly Hedge Sea Story which suited my whale lovin' boy just fine!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fairies

If I ever have a girl, I am buying this books. Because fairies just must exist (if Anne of Green Gables says they do, then they do, right?) and I would want any daughter of mine to dream so.

Sitting upon our library's bookshelf, in something of an unassuming air, was a set of three small books by Cicely Mary Barker all about fairies. We found:

1. Flower Fairies of the Trees;

2. A Flower Fairy Alphabet; and

3. Flower Fairies of the Garden.

I read these alone and found them to be indescribably charming in every way. I had to find out more about Cicely Mary Barker and what prompted the creation of her fairy drawings and this is what I discovered:

- She was born in 1895 in Croydon, England. Her father noted that she had a knack for drawing and so enrolled her in at the Croydon Art Society.

- At the age of 16 she was enrolled as a lifetime member of the Croydon Art Society, making her the youngest member ever to receive such an honor.

- Her drawings of fairies, and tendency towards them, was born out of enthusiasm for the subject matter following the work of Barrie's Peter Pan.

- She used watercolors and pastels to create her fairies.

- She always used live models when drawing fairies.

- A lot of her fairies ended up on postcards initially.

- Her drawings of flowers are botanically accurate.

- There is a pretty cool and interactive Flower Fairies website if you'd like to poke around there to learn more or play some fairy games (or send me a fairy e-card! ha!).

The books themselves are charming. (Oh, did I say that already?) Tiny and small, just like the fairies that they represent, they have a feel of Beatrix Potter to them. Each tree has it's own fairy, as does each flower. So, for example, in the Flower Fairies of the Tree book, each page spread highlights a fairy and said fairy's special song.

I give you The Song of the Almond Blossom Fairy:

Joy! the Winter's nearly gone!
Soon will Spring come dancing on;
And, before her, here dance I,
Pink like sunrise in the sky.
Other lovely things will follow;
Soon will cuckoo come, and swallow;
Birds will sing and buds will burst,
But the Almond is the first!
My personal favorite is the Willow Fairy.

I dance, I dance, when the breezes blow,
And dip my toes in the stream below.
I should confess that I'm really not a fan of poetry in general. I'm not one to critique it in any fine sense. It is what it is and I frequently don't get it. The only time it sinks in is when it involves the imagination or Dr. Suess (and that statement is rather redundant right there)! As these fairy books speak to the imagination, I really rather liked them.

As I said, if I had a girl, I would immerse her and myself in these books. And then I would go fairy hunting with her. Oh yes I would! And we would dream and pretend and imagine and so some of you might be thinking it's a good thing I have boys. Ha! Ha!

Seriously though, these books are pretty amazing. I recommend them to you with my best fairy wishes! For your added enjoyment, here are some of Barker's illustrations:



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordTime for another Read Aloud Thursday, hosted by Hope is in the Word.

Since our library is currently going some organizational renovations, we've decided not to venture in there for a bit. The newspaper reports make it sound like a place you'd be a little frustrated to be in right now so we'll hold off until it sounds like the coast is more clear. In the meantime, we'll share what we've been reading aloud from our own bookshelves!

I am rather ashamed to confess it, but I had never read Winnie the Pooh until a few weeks ago. Feeling a bit caged in when we were sick, and wanting to tackle something new with sick bookworms, I decided to see how we would take to reading a chapter of Pooh a day.

It's true that Bookworm1 did not sit completely still while we read the book. It is equally true that he did pay attention to what we were reading, because he would ask me questions. And those words - that specific question - that so many of you have heard spill forth from the lips of your own dear children, finally spilled forth from the lips of mine. That is?

"Mommy, can you read me one more chapter?"


I could have kissed him on the spot but he wouldn't have understood. So we just read another chapter and called it good!

He caught on to the fact that we were reading a chapter book which was a "big boy" book. When we had finished the entire thing I showed him what we had accomplished and he got a huge, big grin on his face which made me feel immensely gratified. It was worth every single minute! Furthermore, I enjoyed the antics of this 'silly ol' bear' and his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods as well! Milne had such a dry wit that reading this book didn't feel like a chore at all. Nor did it feel like I was reading something specifically for kids. Rather, I was reading for my own pleasure! It was really fun to find a book that we both enjoyed and I'm excited about the world of possibilities that await us in chapter book land. Ha!

Pooh was such fun and I'm so glad we read him when we did because I'm sure we'll be able to enjoy him many times over as we (all) grow up (together). In the meantime, we've created a wonderful first memory which I want to record so that I never forget it. So here I am.

***
After I wrote the above I went back and read a post I had written awhile ago on A.A. Milne (click on his name to read my post) and was reminded that Milne didn't appreciate Pooh. But we still do. Even more so now!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Library Renovations


Last week it was the stomach flu. This week I discovered that our library is undergoing some renovations in their children's/youth area so I'm going to let their dust settle a little before I head back in there. The newspaper makes it sound like a place you really DON'T want to be if you are looking for something specific so I'll just hold out.

I'll be in for Read Aloud Thursday and a few other reviews on books I held on to from a week or so ago. But then I'll be waiting for the "all clear" from the library, which should be coming soon. I can't wait to see the changes that they've been making!