Sunday, July 3, 2022

By the Dawn's Early Light

Our country's national anthem was actually written during the war of 1812 and not made the official national anthem until 1931!  Author Steven Kroll retells the famous story of Francis Scott Key, a prominent lawyer (who also wrote poetry) leaving to rescue his friend Doctor Beans from the British.  Imprisoned on a ship while the British prepare to attack Fort McHenry, Key watches into the night and next morning.  The large American flag still flying over the fort will shows that the British were unsuccessful.  Key is so inspired by the scene that he pens those famous words.... Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light.

Steven Kroll
illustrated by Dan Andreasen 1994

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Katie's Trunk

Ann Turner
illustrations by Ron Himler 1997

Anne Turner takes family lore and turns it into a story about a girl whose family are Tories during the Revolutionary War.  When the rebels break into her house and her family flees to the woods to hide, Katie runs back to the house in innocent child anger.  Forced to hide in a trunk while the rebels ransack and steal, she is shown kindness in a subtle, unexpected way.     

Anne Turner explains, "In telling this story, I hope children will see that history is made up of real people- just like us.  Nothing is ever clearly black or clearly white, and these great events were lived through by ordinary people- ordinary people in extraordinary times." 

This is a nice companion book to so many of the revolutionary stories we have. 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Buck Stops Here

Alice Provensen 2013

Alice Provensen's biographical collection of U.S. presidents.  Oversized and tucked with tidbits of information, it's a handy companion when learning United States history.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Little Blue Cottage

Kelly Jordan
illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle 2020

 How I would love to have a summer cottage on the water!  Especially one as sweet as the one pictured by Jessica Courtney-Tickle.  This story is about a little girl who visits her family's cottage every summer, closing it up and leaving it when autumn comes.  Summer after summer she grows up looking out over the water, swimming, fishing, and spending time with her parents.  Soon the cottage is left to itself and falls into disrepair.  But guess who comes back to it, all grown up and with her own family now?

I LOVE this window seat!

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Wizard of Oz illustrated by Charles Santore

 There are probably hundreds of versions of the classic The Wizard of Oz (and we have several).  The introduction of this book explains how the artist Charles Santore was from Philadelphia, studying at what is now The University of the Arts. You can see the influence of Pyle and Wyeth in his illustrations and they have a feel of that Golden Age about them.  "Charles Santore has interpreted the story as grand opera.   And no other artist has so beautifully blended Baum's naturalism with the fantasy..." (Michael Patrick Hearn).

The Wizard of Oz 
L. Frank Baum
illustrated by Charles Santore 1991

In the original story Dorothy's shoes are silver.

This picture has such a Wyeth "Christina's World" feel to it!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Edition

 We are in the midst of a big home project which is requiring me to empty one of the bookcases in the girls' room.  It's impossible not to get distracted pulling all those wonderful books off the shelves.  I keep rediscovering treasures like this graphic version of one of my favorites. 

Tom's Midnight Garden is certainly a special book.  I'm not surprised that the illustrator Edith has re-read it many times through their life!  I prefer the original novel, but this is definitely a fun version, especially if you enjoy graphic novels (which have been growing on me).

Tom's Midnight Garden
A Graphic Adaptation
Philippa Pearce
illustrated by Edith 2018