Sunday, June 16, 2019

If You Listen

A Father's Day post for those with fathers far away...

Charlotte Zolotow
illustrations by Marc Simont 1980

Charlotte Zolotow's gentle story is about a little girl who misses her father.  We are never told why her father is away or where he is, but we are comforted along with the little girl by the words of her mother.

The little girl's father had been away a long time.
"How do you know if someone far away is loving you?" she asked.
"Do you mean your father?" her mother said, smiling.
"Yes," said the little girl.  "If I can't see him, or hear him, or feel his hugs, how can I know he loves me when he isn't here?"

The little girl's mother tells her that when she is lonely she has to stop and listen...for the church bells that she can hear but not see, for the apple in the orchard that falls onto the ground, for the rustle of birds, for a train far away...

"If you listen hard you'll feel someone far away sending love to you."

(Amazon is selling a newer version with a different illustrator.  In my opinion Marc Simont's soft pictures from our copy enhance the story perfectly.)

Friday, June 14, 2019

National Parks of the U.S.A

Kate Siber
illustrated by Chris Turnham 2018

This was a Christmas gift for Henry (who sometimes considers a career path in forestry) and we all have been enjoying it.  Now I'm dreaming about how we can visit all these wonderful places!  There were so many parks that I had never heard of or known about.  On these pages they sound ripe for adventure and discovery!

Oversized and richly illustrated Siber and Turnham's book is a smorgasbord of maps and facts and animals and plants.  I recommend pairing this with John Muir's book, Our National Parks.   Muir was the "Father of the National Parks" and wrote philosophically and influentially about nature and environmentalism. 

Our National Parks
John Muir

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Out of the Woods

Rebecca Bond 2015

The best part about this book is that it's a true story!  A young Canadian boy lives in a hotel at Gowganda Lake.  His mother runs the hotel and all the different rooms and guests are described.   There's the kitchen and large dining hall to the travelers' rooms and the attic where the trappers and woodsmen stay.  One day there is a terrible forest fire and all the hotel guests and staff wade out into the lake for refuge.  Then a most miraculous thing happens (I won't spoil it!).  The author is the granddaughter of the little boy in the story and she grew up hearing this story told.  

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Whispering Rabbit

Margaret Wise Brown 1965
pictures by Garth Williams and Lillian Obligado

This was a nap time staple when my kids were little.  I loved reading this gentle story and whispering the lines.  Margaret Wise Brown paired with the illustrator Garth Williams is perfection!  Our copy includes a couple poems, The Friendly Book and The Golden Egg Book.

Poor sleepy rabbit yawned and a bee flew into his throat and fell asleep.  Now he can only whisper and must make sounds like "snow falling" or "a bug breathing" or "grass rustling" to try and wake up the bee.  Reading this again last night brought back such nice toddlerhood memories.  Charlotte even said at the end, "That was a really nice story".

Friday, May 31, 2019

Ladies of Fantasy

Not to brag, but we really do have a great personal library.  Picking books for this blog is sometimes overwhelming because there are just so many great books to pick from.

I'm sure this wasn't published as a childrens' book, but it does contain two authors, Joan Aiken, and E. Nesbit who are on our children's bookshelves.

Great selection of stories, all spooky and mysterious, by women writers.  There a nice biographical introduction to each of the stories and of course the Edward Gorey dust jacket (ripped and taped as it is) is splendid.

"Searching for Summer" by Joan Aiken is one of my favorites.  Her story is not disturbing or weird, in fact it's quite sweet, but strange nonetheless.

Other books by Joan Aiken:
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The Moon's Revenge

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Children and Their Mothers

Hans Reich 1964

"The Heavens seem as near as our mother's face is..."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This beautiful book combines photos of mothers from around the world and a few quotes and poems. I love the multicultural and universal view of motherhood... playful, tender, nurturing, and hard work.  And I adore this from Elizabeth Barret Browning...  

Me & You

A sweet read for Mother's Day...

Me & You
Lisa Thiesing

In illustrated "photographs" a mother shows her daughter how alike they are but also celebrates her daughter's own individually.