Friday, March 31, 2017

Sunshine at Bedtime

Streets full of blossom,
Like pink and white snow,
Beds full of tulips,
Tucked up in a row. 

Trees full of "candles"
Alight in the park, 
Sunshine at bedtime,
Why isn't it dark?

Yet high in the sky
I saw the moon,
Pale as a ghost 
In the afternoon.

                 --Shirley Hughes

                    Out and About

And now, lets just look again at how little girl and blossoms are. Because they deserve a second look. 

May your weekend be bright, beautiful, and magical!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

26 Fairmont Avenue by Tomie DePaola

I am not a wild Tomie DePaola fan, but I love his autobiography books! It isn't that I don't like any of his books, it is just that his books don't excite me that much. Strenga Noona is one of his most popular books, but it just doesn't speak to me. 

But then, I get to his autobiography books. I really like that guy! And his story. It isn't a dramatic story, just a nice, normal, I-am-about-to-be-famous story. 

This book begins Tomie's story and tells of how his family came to live at 26 Fairmont Ave. 

It opens with a dramatic, unprecedented hurricane in Connecticut. 

Part of the reason I like this book is because it is written just as he might talk to you. Fancy writing is a beautiful thing and it makes my heart sing. However if I was talking to someone and they broke out in beautiful utterings, I would be stymied. How can I talk when I am taking up time in which they could say something else memorable and glorious?  

I could talk to Tomie DePaola for hours on end without feeling intimidated. He is accessible, as they say.

I love Nana Upstairs and Tomie. Nana Upstairs couldn't sit up properly anymore, so they tied her in her chair. Tomie wanted to try it too. Except he didn't get tied in too tightly so he could wiggle out and do whatever he wanted to. 

Which involved finding candy in Nana Downstair's sewing box. When there was no candy one day, Tomie decided to solve the problem by finding some. He found chocolate flavored laxatives and shared them with Nana Upstairs.

"Both Nana Upstairs and I didn't feel so good, and I think we both made a mess.
Nana Downstairs never forgot the mints or lifesavers again."
I bet she didn't.  

That really makes me laugh. 

And here is a young Tomie letting everyone in the movie theater know that Walt Disney had not been faithful to the Snow White story line. 

He was so very, terribly excited for the movie. But Walt Disney had let him down. 

I love his outrage and his moral obligation to let everyone know that Walt Disney had left some parts out. 

While the plasterboard was still unpainted, Tomie was allowed to decorate it with his drawings. I love that his parents were so understanding of the artist's need to fill the blankness with something. 

Burning the weedy backyard got a little out of control. But the house was okay. 

After a lot of ups and downs, Tomie was finally able to ring the doorbell of his very own house. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Misery by Suzanne Heller

Misery is a rainy, soggy Monday in March when it really ought to be full of spring sunshine. 

And hawthorn branches.

Interesting side note--We have a ton of hawthorn around here and apparently a good bit of it was planted because the power and telephone companies thought planting hawthorn under power lines would keep taller trees from growing there. But the hawthorn grew tall-ish and was also covered by thorns which was pretty miserable to move through.

ANYWAY, back to this book. I found this in a library book sale and it is a delight. It is the kind of book that gets little kids. Every person that has read has completely identified with at least one page. And the pictures are so completely dejected and perfect. 

The struggle is real.

I love this kid. Life is hard. 

I have a terrible memory, but I do remember the incredible importance of who lost baby teeth when and where. School was always better because--tooth necklace!

This is pretty ageless. 

Oh yes. 

My brothers identified with this one.

No matter what happens, this is just not a joyful situation. 


Or the tie on the back of your dress....

This one just really cracks me up. Because all the people with nose plugs look like they have weirdo mustaches, so who wants them? 

Better to look weird with everyone else than to look normal by yourself. 


Crayons were a big deal to my sister. She definitely identified with this one. Because sharp crayons are important

Or when you are the adult who has crammed a child into a snowsuit only to have to take it all off in a ferocious hurry knowing there is a 50/50 chance that you will have to deal with a soggy snowsuit. 

WHY?! Oh the humiliation. 

This one is not really funny, but it makes me laugh every time. 

("I'll just doodle over here.....")


Most of the miseries in childhood are not rational. But they are such a BIG DEAL to the child going through it. And I know I am guilty of You'll-be-fine-ing situations that are very real to who ever is going through them. 

Because I am a heartless adult and am all wrapped up in the things that are such a BIG DEAL to me that kids wouldn't give two cents about. 

Wasn't this a lovely book? I mean as lovely as misery can be. But looking back on childhood from a decade or two distance, all these things do seem funny. 


Friday, March 24, 2017

All Good Gifts by Jane Montgomery Campbell and Tasha Tudor

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
For all His love. 

                                                         --Jane Montgomery Campbell

Daffodils, spring breezes, corgies, babies with big sisters, birds.... This picture is delightful! 

May spring blow all your cobwebs out! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett & Illus by Adam Rex

This is a crazy, kid friendly look at the world of book publishing! 

It makes me laugh.

Mac Barnett and Adam Rex are both big names in the kids book world and this collaboration did not disappoint. 

How does a book begin? As an idea!

Ideas can come even when you are arm wrestling a tiger!

His editor always eats fancy lunches. Which apparently include nibbling on roses. 

I get a big kick out of this editor.

The editor sends back his first draft. He sends a second draft. The editor asks why didn't you do what I told you? And this conversation ensues. 

And I said well let's agree to disagree. 
And she said let's agree with me. 
And I said you're not the boss of me. 
 This is one of my favorite parts. I would imagine this is how a lot of writers feel about their editors. Although at the end of the book, they are always thanking their "fabulous editors" so maybe not. 

The script crossed the country a lot. 
Until most of the United States of America was crossed out. 
Many Americans were not happy about this. 

And then the illustrator comes into play. An illustrator who was taking naps and throwing cards in a hat instead of drawing the book.

I love how outrageous this book is, while also giving kids a real perspective on the publishing world. 

Some of the illustrations are photographs of illustrations, which is fun.

The silliness of sending the boook to Malaysia to be printed.

Dumping in the content. 

The book is seen by astronauts, left behind by plundering pirates who do not read, lost by a truck driver and a poker playing grandmother before it finally gets to the shelf in a bookstore where it waits...

...for you, the reader. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Miss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler

Elsie got this in the mail last fall from the Imagination Library (I love that thing!) and she glommed onto it with passion. This is another one of those books that could be call or spring, but I am calling this one for spring. 

Miss Maple is a teensy weensy woman. Wandering through buttercups as tall as trees... 

On a bright August Morning, Miss Maple flied home. She has hurried ahead of the flock to get ready for her guests. 

It is a blowy August day. Isn't her little house adorable? 

And here comes the flock with her visitors--all the seeds that missed the spring planting. 

I love pictures like this. I am sure there is a lovely term for it, but I don't know it. 

Miss Maple washes all the seeds. 

Then she takes them on tours so they can learn about the world. 

Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small.

Chrysanthemum hot air balloons! 

Winter bring neighbors

To sit around the fire with the seeds and tell them stories. 

When spring rains come, Miss Maple tells the seeds it will soon be time to go forth and grow. 

Finally in May, she has taught them everything she can and she sends them off in her maple helicopters. 

So magical!!!

Miss Maple has given them guidance and love, and now her part in their story has come to an end. They say their good-byes with sweet memories past and bright futures ahead. 

And Miss Maple rests before setting out to gather more seeds to cherish and nurture. 

So sweet and bursting with imagination and love and sweetness!