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A Bad Case of Stripes

5 May

My daughter discovered this book at someone else’s home.  After she told me about it, we found it at the library.  The picture on the  cover quickly caught my attention. Banning the kids from reading or even peaking at it without me, we soon made time to enjoy the book together.

David Shannon, the author and illustrator of A Bad Case of Stripes, describes Camilla Cream and her great love for lima beans.  Unfortunately her fear of being laughed at prevents her from enjoying what she truly loves. As a result she suffers a ridiculously bad case of stripes, causing her to be the laughing stock  of all her peers. Although many well intentioned specialists provide numerous remedies, the problem only increases. My favorite character is “an old woman who was just as plump and sweet as a strawberry.”  Her wisdom and age seem to go hand in hand.’ “Excuse me,” she says brightly. “But I think I can help.”‘ As as the story ends, Camilla has thoroughly learned her lesson.

If you get a chance, try to find the book. Maybe you will be able to prevent someone else from coming down with “a bad case of stripes”!


Our Travels with Adele and Simon

26 Apr

I love going to my sisters’ homes. Since I don’t get so see them very often, I do my best to soak up every last detail of their lives.  I have learned to keep a small notebook and pen in my purse to jot down bits of fun information.  By the time the visit is over I’ve usually gathered a few recipes, some housecleaning tips, creative homeschooling ideas, favorite movies and almost always – titles of unique children’s books.

It was during one of these visits that I was introduced to Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock. Adele and Simon are siblings that live in Paris.  The younger of the two, Simon, has a habit of loosing everything.  What really draws the children in to the story is searching for the things poor Simon has lost. In the process of studying each page, they become familiar with famous locations throughout the city.

Arriving home after our last visit, I looked for other McClintock books from the library.  Before long we were traveling again. This time while enjoying the comfort of our living room, we joined  Adele and Simon with their adventures in America, covering locations from California to D.C.

Having been far too long since I have visited my sisters, I hope one day soon- notebook in hand, to spend time with them again.


Blueberries, Sandcastles, and Bacon

12 Apr

Last week I was able to  pick up Jennifer’s book recommendation of One Morning in Maine from the library. I was excited for some  quiet moments to read with the kiddos.

In my mind, one of the best parts of a good children’s book are the pictures.  The black and white illustrations of the the simple life on the rocky coast of Maine reminded me of my own childhood. We regularly spent a week of our summer on the shores of Madeline Island. Walking the beach, picking blueberries, making sandcastles, smelling bacon cooked by Daddy, and eating Momma’s corn fritters,  are the sort of memories I was raised on.

Having recently lost two teeth, my six year old could relate well to the story. Sal, the main character  has a loose tooth and is full of questions!  At one point she runs through the sandy shore full of excitement calling to her father, ” ‘ Daddy! I have a loose tooth!… And when it drops out I’m going to put it under my pillow and wish a wish. You can even see it wiggle!'”  She loves and trusts her dad and wants to share her most important news with him.  The funniest part of the story is  McCloskey’s depiction of the father’s look of consternation when his boat motor refuses to start.

Although we don’t get to Madeline Island every year, we have tried to continue the tradition with our children. Memories are worth building and revisiting often!

Please take time to comment and share some of your favorite children’s books with me.

meeting the McGillicuddys…

31 Mar

Piled on the floor in front of the fireplace, the children each picked out their choice book. We went to the library yesterday and came home with a huge stack!

I had a different book in mind to highlight, but after reading today, I changed my mind. This book had us all giggling! It is called the Rattlebang Picnic by Margaret Mahy. It begins with the newlywed couple, Jack and sweet Marion McGillicuddy “talking things over seriously”. The best line is when Mr. McGillicuddy says, “We can afford either a wonderful, speedy car that never breaks down, or we can have lots of children. What a pity we can’t have both.”  (So True!)  I love the lively, happy pictures that are in the book!

I am looking forward to finding what other gems may be in that stack of books!