Archive for February 1st, 2010

Journey North Mystery Class

February 1, 2010 @ 8:14 pm | Filed under:

It’s that time of year again!

We have been participating in the Mystery Class hunt for five years now. I think it’s five. Could it be six? Five or six, it’s been a blast every time.

Here’s a post I wrote about it two years ago (full of nuts & bolts info).

Things don’t really get rolling until this Friday, when the first set of clues come out, so you’ve got plenty of time to sign up at the Journey North website. (It’s free.) It’s way fun.


February 1, 2010 @ 9:37 am | Filed under: ,

Last week I shared pictures of Wonderboy’s favorite book. This week it’s Rilla’s turn for a books post. I’m going to try to get in the habit of doing this regularly, for our family records as much as anything else. These are the picture books she enjoyed most in the past week:

Big Bad Bunny by Franny Billingsley, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This was one of the books I received for review as a Cybils panelist in 2008, and it was a hit with my family. Big Bad Bunny is on the loose, and Mama Mouse has just discovered her littlest mouse-baby is missing. She’ll brave any peril to find her baby—even Big Bad Bunny’s long sharp claws and fierce yellow teeth. Rilla loves the repetitive text and watches each page for the chance to shout “No!” when I ask if something will stop Mama Mouse. It’s very comforting, when you’re three, to know that Mama will face danger to find you and bring you safely home.

Alfonse, Where Are You? by Linda Wikler. Scott had the fun of reading this family favorite to Rilla at naptime yesterday. Lucky man. It’s out of print now, alas, but there are used copies floating around. Alfonse is a big old goose, and his fluffy yellow friend Little Bird wants to play hide-and-seek. Trouble is, Alfonse hides too well…all of our small fry have loved this sweet book. Rilla asks for it over and over.

Trubloff, the Mouse Who Wanted to Play the Balalaika by John Burningham. A strange little book with somber, gorgeous, heavy-toned illustrations, all reds, oranges, and blacks, with a vast expanse of snow. Trubloff lives with his mouse family inside the wall of a country pub. He befriends an elderly member of a band of traveling musicians, and the old gypsy makes him a tiny instrument of his own. Rather too text-heavy to hold my littles’ attention, so it requires a bit of impromptu editing, and yet they keep asking for it. Something about the mouse’s passion to learn how to play his instrument—so intense that he leaves his family to travel with the musicians—holds them rapt. And then when the mouse sister strikes out on skis to fetch Trubloff home to see his sick mother—Rilla does that quivering-in-her-seat thing that she does.

“Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze!” by Patricia Thomas, illustrated by Wallace Tripp. Good luck finding this one: it’s long out of print. Ours is Scott’s old Weekly Reader Book Club copy.

—OH!!!!!!!! JUST THOUGHT OF A MEME!!! Let’s do our favorite Weekly Reader books! I’ll move this to a separate post and do a Mr. Linky for it. Just the words “Weekly Reader” evoke such powerful memories for me. Dr. Boox, Sprout, Christina Katerina…OK, yes. Stay tuned.

Back to Stand Back, what a fun read. The elephant is going to sneeze, and all the animals are distressed; the last sneeze wreaked such havoc. The zebra lost his stripes, the alligator’s snout turned inside out, the giraffe folded in half…disaster all around, on this strange savannah where there are both alligators and crocodiles, and North American bears from the looks of it. Delightfully rhyming text. The whole book reminds me a bit of Johnny Crow’s Garden in tone and whimsy. Very glad Scott claimed it from his family’s bookcase.

Well, this only takes us back about two days, but it’s enough for now. I might come back later and add book cover illustrations if time permits.