I certainly hope there is not snow in the coming 48 hours, but in honor of one last crazy storm this winter-ish season, here’s one more “snow day” book that Raisin and I enjoyed. It’s one that would be fun any time of year.
Zoo Flakes ABC by Will Howell is a fabulous ABC art and craft book. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a snowflake cut in the shape of an animal, and they are fantastically detailed. Given Raisin’s love of the ABCs, he loved following the alphabet in the book. I loved how it was a different ABC book, because sometimes the same old thing gets boring. There are plenty of same old thing ABC books, and we’ve read them all. We both also loved finding the image of the animal in each snowflake. As an adult, I personally loved the details in the images of the animals.
I cannot find any online page images from Mr Howell’s book to show you, and I’ve already returned it to the library. But since Mr. Howell included detailed directions on how to make our own zooflakes, we did just that.
You should know that I am completely not an artistic or crafty person. I’ve never made an attractive snowflake in my life. But I was finally successful on this project. At least, I felt like I was.There is one image below that I intended to be a sheep and Raisin insists it is an octopus. Okay, then, maybe not.
Can you tell what animals I was trying for? If not, here they are. The first is a fish. It fell apart; there weren’t enough edges to keep it together. The second is people (Raisin calls them “Munchkins” since we went to The Wizard of Oz musical recently.) Then the four are a chicken, a sheep (sitting on his rear hunches, he looks like he just has two legs…), a cat face, and a snake. My favorite is the chicken, which is, I think, the last one I made. I was improving!
Given the two feet of snow that fell on my community yesterday, I feel it’s appropriate to focus on some of the snowy day books my son and I have enjoyed lately. Raisin loves snow and especially snowmen, so I searched out some potential favorites even before this week’s storm hit.
In addition to those I mention below, I’ve reviewed a few other wonderful snow books in the past. (Links to my previously shared thoughts.) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a perennial favorite, and I keep returning to The Snow Day by Komako Sakai, which I relate to as a mother, since it’s about a child and mother watching the snow fall from inside the house. Last winter, I also discussed Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr; The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader; White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt; and Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Raisin and I haven’t revisited any of those again this year, but maybe we will in the future. (more…)
Part ghost story and part mystery, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (published 2006) captures the power of stories and books in a lonely life. Amateur biographer Margret Lea is invited to write the story of Vita Winter, aging popular writer with more than fifty published works to her name. Although the two women are very different and begin as strangers, as the novel progresses and their friendship grows, their stories come together. They have much more in common than they realized, and it all goes back to the universal power of stories.
It was a perfect read for a windy, rainy fall evening. (more…)
I was a bit disappointed by Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome. I’m glad I read it: it gave me a new perspective on Wharton, because it was a different setting, cast of characters, and theme from those I’ve read before. It was wonderfully written, with Wharton’s elaborate and realistic descriptions of the setting and thought processes. As in the other Wharton novels and novellas I’ve read, there was a moral dilemma.
Yet, the overall mood to Ethan Frome was so bleak that I felt depressed both while I was reading and afterward. It also felt like a study in symbolism for high school students to read: it seemed Wharton was hitting us over the head with “subtlety” to discover if we just read close enough. I felt it didn’t have the depth that The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth had, nor the matter-of-fact dilemma that The Touchstone had.
I loved My Antonia by Willa Cather when I read it in high school, and when I went to pick it up, I had some dim memories of characters and setting. I recalled that it was about rural Nebraska. It was about a boy and a girl. They lived on farms and played together. It was very cold in the winter. Life was tragic (That Event), and yet Antonia rises above it.
What surprised me was that all of those beautiful country scenes I remembered from the book happened in the first 80 pages! After that, Jim Burden moves to town. I remembered the details as I reread it, and it was kind of a fun experience to reread it for the first time and gain an open mind as my memory of events unfolded just before they would happen. (more…)