Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Voyage in the Clouds

Matthew Olshan
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall 20016

Goodness the illustrations are wonderful!  But of course I've come to expect nothing less from Sophie Blackall.  The subject matter is fascinating- the first balloon flight across the English channel with a Frenchman and Englishman on board.  Olshan takes some creative liberties (the French bulldog and English bulldog are a nice touch) but the story is a fun look at an often overlooked part of history.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Often I love to sit in our backyard with a cup of tea and just daydream or stare up at the trees.  What is wonderful is that if I sit there quietly and long enough then the animals start to come quite near.  I've watched squirrels and chipmunks, birds and insects, and lately a fat groundhog (who Charlotte named "Butter") busy about their business.  The trick of course is to be still and quiet and then the wildlife doesn't seem to even notice you.  The book Quiet, with its loose and lovely illustrations is all about experiencing that "silent bond" with nature.

Peter Parnall 1989

I don't know who Nancy is, but what a lovely gift to her is this inscription...

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Helga's Dowry

I had this book as a child, so when I spotted it at the thrift store recently, all my kid memories flooded back!  Isn't it funny how illustrations can do that to you?  I adored Tomi dePaola's books when I was a child.  And I distincly remember the pictures in this one of Helga the Troll with her tail, when she turns into a boulder, and the townspeople with the Troll cream on their faces.  I was so excited to share it with Charlotte the other night and add it to our library!

Tomie dePaola 1977

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Fog Drift Morning

Deborah Kogan Ray

On workdays I'm up as the sun is rising.  Sometimes in these late Summer days there is hazy fog and the day starts off with quiet mystery.  I rather like that.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Purple Ribbon

Sharelle Byars Moranville
illustrated by Anna Alter

I found this one at the thrift store and it turned out to be a sweet story.  (Sometimes with thrift store books the cover and synopsis look promising but when you get them home and read them they're real duds!).  Madeleine was the first to read it and said it was a keeper!  The story follows a mouse named "Spring" and how she ends up living in an old car with her mouse babies.  The purple ribbon is a beloved heirloom that ties Spring to her family and new little children.  This is a good chapter book for those looking for "gentle" stories for young readers.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

Janet and Allan Ahlberg 1994

Taking it's cue from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, this book is all about story telling, the sillier, the better.  When a young boy is kidnapped by a band of brigands, he's instructed by the Chief Brigand to entertain them with a story.  But no one can agree on how it should go, or how scary it should be, and whether there should be bears or not.  A bit long for a picture book, but lots of fun to read!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

George Shrinks

We had fun this summer sending a copy of this book to friends along with some "mini" versions of goldfish, pretzels, and nilla wafers.  Sometimes small can be so much fun!  This was one of our first William Joyce books and it's easy to see why we fell for him.  The illustrations have an appealing retro vibe and the story is creative, following George as he inexplicably shrinks.  He still has to do all the chores his parents left for him and we get to see how he cleverly manages it in his new diminutive size.
William Joyce