May 10, 2011 @ 5:11 pm | Filed under: Books
It seems I did not gloat loudly enough on that happy day last week when we received a copy of the new Penderwicks book, because when I shared a link to a radio interview with Jeanne Birdsall on Facebook today, there was a flurry of “I didn’t know!” replies.
So. In case you hadn’t heard: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette is out. I hear it’s wonderful. I haven’t read it yet, myself, because my wretched daughters snatched it out of the jiffy-mailer the moment it arrived, and there are so very many of them, these daughters of mine, that the Penderwick girls may well be off to college before I get my hands on this third installment of their adventures.
It’s funny…one of the best parts of motherhood, for me, has been getting to share my most beloved literary friends with my children. Laura and Mary, Betsy and Tacy, Anne Shirley, the Austins…you know my list. But the Penderwicks hold a particularly dear place in our hearts, because they are characters we met together, Jane, Rose, Beanie, and me, all at once, the very first time. When I wrote about beginning The Penderwicks as a read-aloud way back in December, 2005, I called the post “Seven Belly Laughs“—and that was describing my girls’ reaction to chapter one alone. “How exciting to know our friendship is only just beginning,” I wrote. How delightful to know they’ve returned for another visit!
Also by Jeanne Birdsall:
(A recent Rillabook, as you’ll recall.)
• Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall—that’s right, the Penderwicks author has written a picture book!
Rilla and I were quite surprised to find ourselves and Huck in the opening pages of this book. I mean, really, it’s like Matt Phelan was peeking in the window. A charming story, quite appealing to the four-year-old big sister in this household. (She wouldn’t let Huck blow away either.) Flora is frustrated when baby brother Crispin gets into the paints and ruins Flora’s picture. Their frazzled mama sends them outside to play, despite Flora’s protests that the wind is too strong and will blow them away. Sure enough, a hearty gust scoops Crispin into the sky, and Flora must abandon her boots and go rescue him. Seems every high-flying creature in the big blue and beyond wants to claim Crispin—who is, admittedly, utterly irresistible in that long-tasseled hat—for a helper. Dragonfly, sparrow, eagle, rainbow, cloud, even the moon! Flora’s exchanges with these entities quite enchanted my Rilla. And my goodness, Matt Phelan’s art just blew me away.
Flora & Crispin will join Max & Ruby and Maggie B. & James in the company of great big sister-little brother pairs in children’s literature.
Serendipitously, we picked up this book for the first time on the very day that Rilla discovered two pairs of rainboots in the hall closet. Pink and blue, not red and purple, but still.
(A Cybils Shortlist Reading Challenge book)
• Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (one of Scott’s 2008 Daddy-books)
When all is said and done, “She went boneless” is going to go down as one of the great lines of American literature.
• Christina Katerina and the Box by Patricia Gauch, illustrated by Doris Burn
One of my own childhood favorites. Now a Rilla fave, requested every couple of weeks. (I’ve mentioned it before, here and here.) (I’m back this morning to add another little bit of squee over this book. The art especially, which has just as much hold over my heart now as it did when I was small. The expressions on Christina’s face, and her mother’s! The magic of her bright imagination, which rebounds from every disaster! The ball in the summer mansion was always my favorite bit.
• Count! by Denise Fleming
Number books may be the delight of the toddler, but they can be dull business for the parent forced to flip their pages infinity times. Not so with Fleming’s Count. The bold, bright paintstrokes of the art bring to life a menagerie of mischievous animals whose questionable manners delight my children and amuse their mother. The (4) crocodiles bite each other’s tails. The instruction on the toucan page may be “Share” but you just know the bird with the berry ain’t gonna. It takes a master to pull off a simple concept book with this much energy and appeal.
• Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Betsy Lewin
Me: “Honey, what would you say about Click, Clack, Moo?”
Scott: “What would you say about Click, Clack, Moo?! Sheer storybook perfection! Sheesh!”
• Daisy Thinks She Is a Baby by Lisa Kopper (I posted about it here)
• If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by the great Felicia Bond
Oh, Mouse-cookie, you have made the world a better place.
• A Mouse in My House by Nancy Van Laan
This little gem has a pub date of 1996, the year after Jane was born, so I’m betting it was a present to us from one of our publishing-world pals, and a very fine gift it was indeed. Another gathering of impish critters—ape, lion, snake, and more—wreak delightful havoc on a gentle home through the course of a day. Sort of. Our guide is a young boy who describes the beasts in galloping rhyme, and his insider’s understanding of their antics begins to look mighty suspicious….My little people, who (like the narrator) spend much of their time as cats and other creatures, consider this kid a kindred spirit. I think this book is out of print, but maybe you’ll luck out and find it in the library.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
December 30, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Filed under: Books
…and that’s in Chapter 1 alone. I’m reading Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks to the girls. They—we, I should say—connected to the characters so instantly, from the very first page, that it’s hard to believe we only just met them. Jane seemed to find the connection so emotionally charged that she spent half the chapter with a blanket over her head, needing a refuge, I presume, in which to absorb the shock of having encountered a girl so apparently like her own self in the pages of this book. (The ten-year-old sister is named—guess what—Jane, and, like my ten-year-old Jane, is a dreamy sort of girl who likes to write stories.) Rose grinned wickedly over the barbed remarks of wisecracking Skye, and Beanie could not be restrained from leaping to her feet and echoing every line uttered by four-year-old Batty—who, like our Bean, prefers to spend her time wearing a pair of silken butterfly wings.
I understand Jane’s reaction—I’m a little goosebumped myself. We know these girls. How exciting to know our friendship is only just beginning! I can’t wait for Chapter 2.