Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Magic Wood

I meant to post this months ago...

Henry Treece
painting by Barry Moser 1992
We've found that summer nights can be dark and mysterious and even a little bit scary.  Anyone familiar with the erlking folk tales will recognize his spirit in this poem by Henry Treece (first published in 1945).  I love to read the repeating refrain:

The wood is full of shining eyes,
The wood is full of creeping feet,
The wood is full of tiny cries:
You must not go to the wood at night!

I met a man with eyes of glass
And a finger as curled as the wriggling worm,
And hair all red with rotting leaves,
And a stick that hissed like a summer snake.

He made me a penny out of a stone,
And showed me the way to catch a lark
With a straw and a nut and a whispered word
 And a pennorth of ginger wrapped up in a leaf.

The illustrations and wording may be a bit sinister for younger folks.  I've read it to Charlotte a few times and she actually requested it the other night.  She called it the "scary night" book.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pancakes for Breakfast

Tomie dePaola 1978

The other morning Charlotte picked this book out. So of course we then had to make pancakes for breakfast!  We didn't gather the eggs from the hen house, or churn our own butter but they still came out yummy.

There's no words to read, just nice Tomie dePaola pictures showing the story.  We watch the woman gather all her ingredients only to be disappointed by her dog and cat and she has to eat breakfast with her neighbors in the end.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When the Sky is Like Lace

A friend just recently pulled this off our shelf.  Another amazing book illustrated by Barbara Cooney.  I think it may be out of print, but it's worth tracking down. 

Elinor Lander Horowitz 1975
illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Elinor Lander Horwitz creates a magical story about a magical night when otters sing and slugs sulk and you can't scratch your nose and you eat spaghetti with pineapple sauce. It's a bimulous night when the sky is like lace and everything is strange-splendid and plum-purple.

There are some made up words in it that are perfectly believable and three fair haired girls walking barefoot on ground that "feels like the velvet inside a very old violin case."

One of my very favorites to read aloud. Charlotte kicked off her shoes and curled up on the couch to listen just now.

Because on bimulous nights when the sky is like lace, the trees eucalyptus back and forth, forth and back, swishing and swaying and swishing- in the fern-deep grove at the midnight end of the garden.

If you plan to go out on a bimulous night when the sky is like lace, here are some rules you must remember:
Never talk to a rabbit or a kissing gourami.
If your nose itches, don't scratch it.
Wear nothing that is orange, not even underneath.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Now Through the Dusk

School has started and we are up just after 6am.  These days I'm looking forward to sleep at bedtime.

And lovely Sleep
With long-drawn oar
Turns away
From the whispering shore

Friday, September 2, 2011

Loud Emily

Alexis O'Neill 2001
illustrated by  Nancy Carpenter

We picked up this book while visiting the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton.  It houses beautiful wooden boats that my husband Chris drools over.   
I'm quite taken with these illustrations, they're meant to resemble American Folk art from the early part of the 19th century.  The story is cute, and reminds me of Madeleine and Charlotte.  Both of my daughters have loud voices.  Emily's parents and tutor are concerned that her normal "Emily" voice is so loud.  Only the cook appreciates it.  "How grand!  A lass who speaks up!" she says.

While on a trip to the harbour, Emily boards a ship where her loud voice is used to shout the captain's orders.  All the crew love her and on a foggy day she saves the ship from disaster.

Both the author and illustrator leave notes about the history and inspiration for the story.  And I liked how the end pages had scrimshaw-like drawings and lines from old sailors' chanties.