Archive for April, 2014

Planning Ahead

April 30, 2014 @ 6:23 am | Filed under: These People Crack Me Up

Huck, halfway through breakfast: “Mom, I’m going to be hungry after my snack.”

It was a wild wild wood…

April 16, 2014 @ 5:55 pm | Filed under: Books, Family, Huck, Picture Book Spotlight

furfamily

Here’s a little moment in time. Right after I read The Little Fur Family to Huck (for the first time!) the other day, he wanted to read it himself. This is one of my favorite picture books to read with very young kids, and I can’t imagine how it slipped past Huck until now—I found this copy of the book at the bottom of a box of toys earlier in the week. Of course the very best edition is the tiny one with the faux-fur cover. It’s around here somewhere, but I don’t recall seeing it in ages. It’s probably under a bed.

Anyway, when I grabbed my boy for the read-aloud, he was reluctant to listen, as he very often is right at the beginning. And then, as nearly always happens, before I finish the first page, he’s hooked. It went double this time around. He fell hard for the little fur child in the wild, wild wood, like so many before him.

I caught a good chunk of his reading on video. There’s background noise from his big sisters and brother, but you can hear him pretty well. I love watching the leaps kids make at this age—the substitutions where they think they see where the word is going and plug in one they know, like his “fun children” for “fur child” and “mom” for “mother.”

I don’t know if I caught this stage on video with any of the other kids. I have a pretty young Rilla reading an Ariel speech from The Tempest—you can’t hear much in the recording but it melts me to see the confidence with which she attacks some quite challenging text—but nothing, as far as I can recall, of the others at Huck’s stage. I’m glad I captured this much. Those sneezes!

(Vimeo link)

How it feels…

April 15, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Filed under: Books, Photos

…to get the latest Eric Shanower/Skottie Young Oz graphic novel for your birthday.

Emerald City

She’s been waiting for this one for a long time, in girl-years.

Magical Eight

April 14, 2014 @ 7:57 pm | Filed under: Family, Photos

eight  flowersinthehair

Eight. I’m not alone in feeling like this year passed in five minutes, right? This child was practically born on this blog, and I just. can’t. believe. she’s eight years old.

Read today:

The Little Fur Family (Huck’s first time)
The Secret Garden

Mid-April

April 13, 2014 @ 2:27 pm | Filed under: Books

IMG_3741

Golly, more than a week since I posted. I think that’s only happened three or four times in the nine years I’ve been writing this blog. And no big reason; I got sick midweek, a virus that had already made the rounds of the rest of the family, and it walloped me a bit; but not so much I couldn’t have gotten a post or two up, if I’d been inclined. I suppose I was just thrown off rhythm.

Wasn’t reading a whole lot, either, so I had very little to report in my daily reading notes! When I’m sick I always crave Agatha Christie, and  I spent the week revisiting a comfortable volume of Miss Marple stories. I first fell under Jane Marple’s gentle spell at age eleven, in a collection found on my aunt’s shelves. Every year or two when we stayed at her apartment, I hunted that book back out—along with a Lewis Carroll collected works and a volume of Poe stories. I still remember lying in one of the two twin beds in my Aunt Genia’s guest room, flat on my back, the heavy hardbound Poe tome propped on my chest, trying to make sense of “The Pit and the Pendulum.” I found it baffling yet captivating, and I remember being haunted by its terrible choice, falling asleep with the images so sharp in my mind that they carried over into my dreams. I remember rolling into the Pit and awakening with a start.

There’s nothing at all baffling about Miss Marple, and I’m sure that’s why I seek her out when my head is fuzzy.

Beyond that, all last week’s reading was things with the kids. Lots of poetry with the girls—more Donne, a bit of Herbert, and our continuing journey through the Poetry 180 selections, which offer much food for thought. The King’s Fifth, which I read with Jane ages ago but none of the rest remember. The Secret Garden with Rilla. Stellaluna with the three littles. Other picture books I’m forgetting.

A Huck funny I want to remember (I feel a little embarrassed to share it, but I have to remind myself I keep this blog for me, for my own record, and this is most certainly a moment I want to hold on to): he was only three when Fox and Crow Are Not Friends came out, and if it registered with him then that I had written it, the knowledge left no impression. (Like many writers’ children, my younger set are decidedly unimpressed by my profession. Obviously parents shut themselves away for a while every day and write books. That’s ordinary and boring. What’s really interesting are people who drive big trucks.) But Huck is reading quite well now, and when he asked me to read Fox and Crow to him yesterday, he recognized the name on the title page. “That’s your name!” he said.

“Yes,” I explained, “this is one of my books.”

He slowly craned his neck and peered up at me. “That you wrote?” he asked. “You made this story?”

“Yep. And Sebastien Braun drew the pictures.”

And suddenly he threw his arms around my neck and squeezed me tight. “I love this story,” he said. “Thank you, Mommy!”

And that, my friends, just may be the best review I have ever gotten. 🙂

The week’s reading

April 3, 2014 @ 5:41 pm | Filed under: Books

lilies at balboa

Before it gets away from me…

The King’s Fifth, two chapters with Rose and Bean

Story of Science, chapter on Newton and light/optics (of course we had to get down our prism and paint rainbows all over the walls)

Sonnet 49, Shakespeare, “Against that time…” with Rose

“Neglect” by R. T. Smith (Poetry 180) with all kids

A number of spring-themed poems from The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” with Rose, and background reading on Swift on my own for prep

The beginning of Gulliver’s Travels, also with Rose

Where the Sidewalk Ends, about half the book, with Rilla and Huck

Now We Are Six, selected poems, with Rilla

The Secret Garden, continued with Rilla (Colin!)

Curriculum Vitae, Muriel Spark, first forty pages or so

Plus all sorts of interesting longform articles for my editorial gig