Wednesday, June 20, 2018

School's Out

School's Out

Girl's scream,
     Boys shout;
Dogs bark,
     School's out.

Cats run,
     Horses shy;
Into trees
     Birds fly.

Babes wake
If they can,
     Tramps hide.

Old man,
     Hobble home;
Merry mites,

                 -W.H. Davies

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mama Says

Leo and Diane Dillon illustrated this multicultural book showing a mother's love and words of advice for her son.  Twelve cultures and languages are represented.  Each page has words of wisdom from Mama, teaching her son to be kind, and strong, and brave and hard working.  The words are also written in their native language (as explained by the glossery in the back).  What a wonderful homage to mothers and how they can teach their sons through words and actions.  A mother's love like this is truely universal.

Rob D. Walker 
illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Lost Words

Robert MacFarlane
pictures by Jackie Morris
A book for the words that are disappearing from children's vocabulary and their way of life.  It's a way of life that includes rambling and exploring and nature.  MacFarlane's lyrical acrostic poems are accompanied by the rich paintings of Morris.  It's a beautiful oversized book that we liesurely take our time with.  I loved the concept so much that I even bought the accompanying postcards to send to friends who needed some "lost words" to inspire them. 

A hidden title preceeds each poem.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Children, It's Spring

It's Spring indeed and our backyard is covered in tiny purple violets.  I can never get through this season without Mary Oliver...

Children, It's Spring

And this is the lady
whom everyone loves, Ms. Violet
in her purple gown

or, on special occasions, 
a dress the color
of sunlight.  She sits
in the mossy weeds and waits

to be noticed.
She loves dampness.
She loves attention.  She loves especially

to be picked by careful fingers,
young fingers, entranced
by what has happened 
to the world.

We, the older ones,
call it Spring,
and we have been through it
many times.

But there is still nothing
like the children bringing home
such happiness
in their small hands.

-Mary Oliver

Friday, April 27, 2018

Miss Jaster's Garden

It's time for a silly Spring garden book and Mr. Bodecker has just the right one!

Miss Jaster's Garden
N.M Bodecker

Miss Jaster has a beautiful garden and house and the most adorable hedgehog who visits her.  

"On these occasions, Miss Jaster would go back into the house for a saucer of milk, which she placed at what she hoped was the right end of the hedgehog.  But hedgehogs being the shape they are, and Miss Jaster being a little nearsighted, as often as not she put the saucer where the hedgehog's head wasn't.  And Hedgie- so as not to cause distress- politely dipped his tail in the milk and pretended to drink.  Later, when Miss Jaster went into the house and lit the lamp on the piano, he drank the milk properly."

Through a series of mishaps, Hedgie ends up sprouting flowers and can't help but frolic with abandon.  Unfortunately Miss Jaster's poor eyesight has her thinking she sees a flower thief and even the local constable gets involved.  Things are set right in the end and you can't help but giggle at Bodecker's adorable illustrations.

I love this sweet part that perfectly captures how Spring can make one feel:  

But Hedgie wasn't really thinking of the hum and flutter around him.  Something inside him was bursting to get out:  the special something that makes birds sing, and poets rhyme, and puppy dogs chase their tails.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Home for Mr. Emerson

Here's a nice companion piece to The Trouble With Henry (since Emerson and Thoreau were friends).  Filled with his original quotes, this large picture book tells the story of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  We learned about his wife, Lydia, his family, his home in Concord and his beloved library.  It's a condensed version of course, touching on the fire that destroyed his home and his trip to Europe with his daughter, and scattered throughout are bits of his philosophy.  I like that the last page has a interactive section encouraging children to "build a world of their own" by exploring and contemplating some of Emerson's thoughts.

 Barbara Kerley
illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham


Friday, April 20, 2018

The Trouble With Henry

Deborah O'Neal, Angela Westengard
pictures by S.D. Schindler

I'm such a fan of these biographies for children.  When they are done well (such as this one) they are wonderful to read.  Here is an introduction to Henry David Thoreau and his love and passion for nature and the famous Waldon Pond.  While the town of Concord is laboring under the sooty factories and race for money, Henry is building his cabin and marveling at what nature has to show him.  I love when Charlotte asks if a story that she likes is "true" and I can tell her "Yes!"

This one is particularly poignant to me because my own Henry has such a love for nature and animals. (He's planning to study Environmental Science in college next year).