One great thing about having a little baby is the cuddling. Not to say that Raisin doesn’t cuddle with me every now and then, but Strawberry is just the right size for a sweet cuddle in my arms as we rock in the chair.
Many times when I try to read to Strawberry, she tries to grab the book and eat it. This is pretty normal, since seven months old is just the age of chewing on everything in site. But occasionally, as I mentioned before, Strawberry really loves to listen to my voice, cuddle into my arms, and listen to what I’m saying. A few of the books are favorites of mine for such moments because they are especially wonderfully for rocking back and forth in a rocking chair. (more…)
I have been looking forward to introducing my son to the favorite books of my childhood, and I’m delighted to find he is finally old enough to appreciate them!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (originally published 1978) is a perfect chapter book for young readers. The chapters are less than five pages, the stories are compact and yet still inter-related, and the silliness factor meets the needs of a child. My son loved the time we spent reading these together, and as soon as we finished it, he took it from me and informed me he was going to read it again to himself. He is more than half way done.
As an adult, I still enjoyed it. It is silly and yet it does play off of realistic challenges: adults telling you to do things that seem impossible (going to take a note to a non-existent teacher), falling asleep when you should be awake, getting along with other kids, and overcoming stereotype, for example. I really enjoyed revisiting it as an adult. (more…)
This post contains thematic spoilers.
I have put off writing my thoughts on the prequel to the Boxcar Children series for more than two weeks now. It’s not that I didn’t like it. On the contrary, I really enjoyed seeing the children interact with their parents, relish their life on a small farm, and find their own ways of enjoying life over the course of one year. It was quite fun to revisit Henry, Jessie, Violet, and precious Benny in their home setting.
However, something about the book as a whole didn’t resonate well with me. Is it because I just can’t imagine the emotionally stable children of this book then running away and avoiding adults (such as their unknown grandfather) as they do in the first chapters of the original The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Harris? Is it because the book had to, of course, end in the death of their parents so the children would be orphans, as they are in the first chapters of the original?
The Boxcar Children Beginning: The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm (Albert Whitman and Company, August 2012) was written by Patrician MacLachlan, a master storyteller of historical fiction in rural communities featuring close-knit families. She did a wonderful job, as always, at creating the setting in rural, depression-era America, and the children’s personalities seemed to fit the already created personalities as we know them from the other books. My son and I loved the adventures the kids had as they looked for things to do.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (originally published serially in 1910) is a book full of memories for me. When I was a young girl, I recall staying home, sick, from school one day. My mom took our copy of The Secret Garden down off the shelf, and, just for me, she began reading it aloud.
The day when I brought my newborn daughter Strawberry home from the hospital, I pulled my copy down and began reading it aloud to her. She was about four days old. I read it during those first months when I was in a daze of sleep deprivation. I read it as I helped her calm down for the night. I read it more recently as our bedtime story. I finally finished it for her last week, when she was 5.5 months old.
The Secret Garden is a book about the magic of positive thinking. Burnett takes two cantankerous, negative, and spoiled children and places them together in a new setting: a garden that needs a bit of TLC in order to bloom back in to the beautiful and magnificent haven it once was. With a loveable animal charmer child, young Dickon, the children learn the power of positive thinking and experience the benefits of hard work in the open air. As sour orphan Mary Lennox and her invalid cousin Colin Craven resuscitate the seemingly dead garden and put in a bit of work, they too begin to blossom into pleasant people. (more…)
Raisin and I saw the musical of The Wizard of Oz two years ago (when he was two years old), and he greatly enjoyed it. Somehow, he loved the movie too, even with the scary monkeys. Over the past two years, I’ve occasionally spied him acting out the story line (four friends go on an adventure down the Yellow Brick Road) with his stuffed animals. It definitely was time to visit the original story.
It’s hard to read the original for a story well known in another format (in this case, the well-popularized movie is much more familiar to me than the novel on which it was based). It’s probably scandalous for me to admit that the original story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (originally published 1900) leaves me unsatisfied. True lovers of classics, especially children’s classics, will probably be upset with me. But I can’t deny it: I don’t particularly like the book (and I’m ducking to avoid the rotten tomatoes). I feel that while the movie’s plot is tight and clever