Friday, August 31, 2018

Moon Song by Mildred Plew Miegs & Illus by Garth Williams

Moon Song

Zoon, zoon, cuddle and croon--             
Over the crinkling sea,
The moon man flings him a silvered net  
Fashioned of moonbeams three.

And some folk say when the net lies long
And the midnight hour is ripe;
The moon man fishes for some old song   
That fell from a sailor's pipe. 

And some folks say that he fishes the bars
Down where the dead ships lie,
Looking for lost little baby stars               
That slid from the slippery sky. 

And the waves roll out and the waves roll in
And the nodding night wind blows,
But why the moon man fishes the sea          
Only the moon man knows. 

                                                                         --Mildred Plew Miegs
                                                                                                   From: The Tall Book of Fairy Tales

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Baba Yaga by An Leysen

Fairy tales are often gruesome. This is one of the most gruesome in my opinion. But the An Leysen illustrations were so soft and gentle that I decided it might temper the less than pleasant story line. 

Here is Baba Yaga. Who looks quite pleasant and quirky in this picture. 

Do not be deceived. She is a nasty bit of goods. 

This is a fuzzy picture, but a perfectly sweet picture too of Olga and her dad. 

Olga's mother died ages ago, so it is just her and her dad and her special doll that her mother gave her. 

Enter the evil stepmother. Who happens to be Baba Yaga's sister. 

This woman is horrid. She makes Cinderella's stepmother look merely annoying. 

Evil stepmother sends Olga to fetch a needle from Auntie Baba Yaga hoping that Baba Yaga will make a meal of Olga and evil stepmother will be rid of Olga for ever. 

I mean seriously. What is with fairy tales and cannabalism? 

Baba Yaga's house on chicken legs. Because... why not?

Baba Yaga's sad maid who has not been eaten. Baba Yaga only likes to eat children. 

Baba Yaga and her toad trying to lure Olga into carelessness. 

She asks the maid to give Olga a bath. A nice HOT bath--wink, wink; ie boil the child. 

Since Olga had been nice to the maid, the maid fills the tub with a sieve, which means it doesn't actually get filled. 

Throughout this ordeal, Olga's special doll from her mother guides her through her troubles, telling her to tell the maid to fill the bath with the sieve, befriend the evil cat, etc. 

I think the doll was probably napping when Olga was heading to Baba Yaga's house. Because otherwise it should have been yelling to turn around, head to the high country, go anywhere but where you are going. 

But still. Magical dolls are useful for getting out of trouble even if they are not good at warning of trouble. 

Olga creates a river to keep Baba Yaga away (Baba Yaga can't cross water) so Baba Yaga brings her cow to drink the entire river dry. 

But I like the cow's headgear.

And like all fairy tales, the father realizes he married a horrendous woman and the stepmother disappears. 

And Olga and her father live happily ever after, reading books. Because books are an important part of happily ever after. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Illus by Gracia Lam

Pretty much everything by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is going to be looked at by me. Humor, whimsy, love--they are must reads. I had never heard of this one before picking it up at Loussac library in Alaska. I saw it was an ABC book and the illustrations were intriguing, so it went home with me. 

And it IS an ABC book, but not how I was expecting it. I thought I was getting an alphabet book with an awkward picture of the kids playing on a xylophone when we got to x.

But no! How could I have doubted Rosenthal? 

This book only contains phrases that start with ABC, in that order. 

All Begins Cheerily

Amusing breakfast chatter

Adorable Baby Coos

Apples, Bananas, Cantaloupe. 

On each page, I was anxious to see how she continued the story while staying true to the format. 

The story isn't deep--it is really just a day in the life of a kid. 

And half way through the boy switches to a girl. 

But the story of a day in the life of a child moves smoothly along. 

Alive. Beloved. Content.

There is so much confidence and safety in this phrase.

A lot of Amy Krouse Rosenthal books are shot through with love and care and this one, while being mostly a gimmick book is no different. 

I really want to try this scheme out with a grade or two this year--could we tell a story using specific letters of the alphabet over and over?