Thursday, April 25, 2013

We Were Tired of Living in a House


I did not discover this book until asking Lincoln one night to pick his two books for bedtime, but the more I read it, the more delighted I am by it!  I'm convinced one of the wonders of childhood is the thrill of creating "homes" out of anything, especially Outside. 


  













I discovered this winter that when Cabin Fever sets in, sometimes the effects are happy-chaotic, as in that picture of my son (magic marker)...but often times the effects are just bewilderingly angry and whiny and mean-to-brother-chaotic.  Sometimes, kids just get tired of living in a house, folks!  The illustrations of the original edition of this story add more understanding and eloquence than many paragraphs of words could convey, and the effect is magical.  






















I lovelovelove my house, but sometimes I would love more than anything to pack my bag with sweaters...and scarlet leaves...and a frog...and precious stones...and seashells singing like the surf...and spend my sunny afternoons creating fantastic Outside homes away from home.  

P.S.--This week, we've been doing some of that, carving out an under-tree fort and connecting it by "line bucket" to the tree house outside the fence.  In the words of 2 and  3/4-year-old Lincoln, "This is AWESOME mommy!!"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Caldecott Day

Today, the winners of this year's Caldecott and Newbery Awards were announced.  The Caldecott medal "shall be awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year."  (To read more about how the Caldecott award came to be, click here.)  



This year's winner is...








I have not yet read This Is Not My Hat, but it looks like fun.  Right now, you can get a hardcover edition on Amazon for just eight bucks.  I'll bet your local library has it, though, too.  And if they don't, I'll bet they get it soon.

I browsed the list of Caldecott winners this morning, and
the winner I'll share with you today is:  




...Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (winner in 1964).  Maurice Sendak died this past year, which is just extra reason for me to share about this tail (...pun intended).  But the biggest reason is because of a few Halloween's ago, before I had babies and when I had many hours to spend crafting good costumes.  My hubby and I decked ourselves out as Carroll and Max, and boy was it fun!  

Mischievous Max in his wolf suit begins his adventure by getting sent to bed without supper, where he further retreats across the ocean of his imagination to discover the Wild Things.  He learns things about himself, and ultimately about love, and returns to reality to find supper waiting for him after all.  

I'm realizing there are multiple kids' books I love because after all the adventures, the little heroes return home knowing that, more than anything else, Home is full of love and is the best adventure of all.  Mamas and Daddies and Wild Things need a little space sometimes to remember it, but in the end, nobody welcomes you home with a hot supper and bear hugs quite like the people who love you at Home.  This is every child's dream.  Let's do everything in our power, Mamas and Daddies, to make it our children's reality.  Philippians 4:13

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Legacy of Books: Blueberries for Sal

I love good books.  I always have. 
My older son (Lincoln, 2 1/2) loves good books.  He always has.  
And long before I had children of my own, I had children's books of my own.  

I don't actually know anyone else who gets as excited about children's books as I do, though I know you must be out there somewhere.  So the purpose of this blog is to share with you why I love the books I love, and to help you become a better lover of (children's) books yourself. 

In honor of the legacy of good stories in my own life, my very first book reflection is on Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey.  This is Lincoln's favorite book by my favorite children's book author, and we're about to give a brand-new copy to a brand-new little baby we'll welcome soon into our circle of friends.  
In the front cover of my copy there's a handwritten message.  It says: 
Happy 4th birthday, Lydia--
Your Aunt Colleen loved this story when
she was a little girl in Tennessee.  Now she
and Uncle Dennis and your new cousin Zachary
live in Maine, where the blueberries grow. 
Grandma Mary Ann and Grandaddy Paul
6 - 13 - 89


This sweet story has been part of my life for 23 years, and it's delightful to share it now with my sons, the third generation to go hustling through the blueberries on Blueberry Hill along with Sal and Little Bear.  I sometimes overhear Lincoln's little voice, over his own bowl of blueberries or just while playing out in the living room, saying "Pink, pink, PUNK!"  He often shares quotes from his favorite books when I least expect him to be thinking of such things, and it's so fun to have this glimpse into his thought process, imagination, and remarkable verbal and memory abilities.  

Read stories with your children.  Bring the characters to life for them with your voice inflection and facial expressions.  If you're not a very good reader, then of course you've got to practice so you get better at it!  If you're stuck in a rut of reading every mass-produced book about your child's favorite cartoon character, READ THIS BLOG!  I'll help you find some absolutely wonderful additions to your bedtime routine.  And when you choose genuinely good books to share together, you'll both take delight in getting to know and love the characters.  They become a part of you, and a part of a rich legacy for your own family.