Friday, January 12, 2018

Snow by Nancy Dingman Walsh & Illus by Erik Blegvad


The strawberry hill is covered with snow
and blueberry bushes tick the ice
And windflowers lean on the drifts below
And the snow is trailed with the feet of mice.

I'm up on the hill, I'm deep in the woods,
I'm walking on wintery crust
And whenever I bump in a furry pine branch
I'm powdered with a snowflake dust. 

I stand very still and a crow caw, caws
A rabbit slips under a root
I hold my breath and the snow sifts down
And a chickadee hops on my boot. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner & Illus by Christopher Silas Neal

I LOVE THIS BOOK. The biology/nature geek within me enthusiastically congratulates my kid's book loving geek on their mutual cleverness in finding this book. 

Aren't my little snow people darling? 

Yes, yes they are. 

Also, admire my gold flecked white formica counter tops. I keep waiting for them to come back in style... 

Basically, a father and daughter go cross country skiing in the snowy woods, discussing all sorts of natural history stuff. 

An owl above and mice below.

Mouse tunnels under the snow

Hibernating froggies

Pouncing fox

I love cross country skiing. Why is it always viewed as the unattractive step sister of downhill skiing? It is way better. So quiet and calm. 

I love quiet and calm. 

After skiing bonfire. 

I want to be this family. 

Winter is gorgeous. 

Under the covers

And animal-ly constellation dreams.

If this doesn't make you want to take a winter trek, I just don't know about you. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald & Illus by Mary Grandpre

My youngest two kids have a severe Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle addiction. We have listened to all four books about 879 times. Give or take. So I felt they needed to hear another book by the same author. 

This book? Pure delight. 

Two sisters (one shy and quiet-ish, one daring and unruly), boarding school, rich and clueless uncle, domineering/mean/unfair/horrid headmistriss named Mrs. Monday, a kindly gardener, an inspiring teacher AND librarian, a daring escape, and a kind farm couple to take them in. 

What more could you POSSIBLY want? 

Nothing, unless you are greedy. In which case, you may want illustrations by Harry Potter illustrator Mary Grandpre. 

The illustrations are sparing, but delightful.

I read this to my kids on a snowday a few weeks ago and my sister stopped in for tea and knitting. So she cozied right in with us, listening and enjoying it with us. Isn't that a perfect kind of day? 

It starts on Christmas Eve, but follows Nancy and her sister Pamela (nicknamed Plum) throughout an entire year, ending on the following Christmas Eve. So it is a book to be enjoyed any old time of the year. 

Perfect for 8-12 year olds! And grown adults who happen to love this kind of story. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Fort Building Time by Megan Wagner Lloyd & Illus by Abigail Halpin

This book is outrageously cute!! 

It is also another my-sister-brought-this-book-to-me book. She really has the most lovely taste. 

My kids are fort builders. Last week, when we were in the midst of that horrendous cold, we had a cold snowday. Really, it was only negative 10F or so, which is nothing much for up  in the frozen north, but the windchill was hovering close to negative 40F, so all the local schools closed. 

By nine o'clock in the morning, I had three different blanket forts going in my living room. 

Seriously, these pictures! The colors! The cuteness! 

They decorated their snow fort with evergreen!!

There is a mention of daffodils and pussywillows on the same page as colorful umbrellas. Swoon!

I think everyone needs bright umbrellas. Just to cheer each other up when it is wet and gloomy out. 



I want to be these kids. There is really not enough sword play in my life. 

That is a joke!  But seriously, I want to do more wood exploring. Maybe that should be a New Year's Resolutions. And yes, I make New Year's resolutions all January long. Sometimes into February and March. 

Isn't the bark texture interesting? It looks like a sweater knit actually. 

And a layered cake on a canoe ride--!! These kids have style. 

Sometimes forts fall. Like when annoying younger siblings come poking around. 

But still, even in the mess, there is fun to be had. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

January 5 & January 13 by Julie Fogliano & Illus by Julie Morstad

January 5 

i would not mind, at all
to fall
if i could fall
like snowflakes
(more drift and swirl
than tumble thump
more gentle float
than ouch and bump)
the most perfect way of all
to fall
is to fall
 and fall 
like snowflakes.

January 13

other than the cows
everyone has gone
either into or underneath
curled up and covered
but the cows just stand
black and blinking
not noticing that it is cold
and snowing
and everyone has gone. 

                                                                             --from When Green Becomes Tomatoes

Keep warm, my friends! We had a cold snowday today. Our windchill was -38 this morning, so none of the local schools were open.

My brother's and father's cows, amazingly, are not too fazed by this weather. They huddle together, find a windbreak, and ask only to have more food. Cows are amazing. And so enduring. I kind of love cows. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

You're All Kinds of Wonderful by Nancy Tillman

It is always lovely to start the new year off with a little encouragement. So here is Nancy Tillman's ode to the marvelousness of you. 

Side note--As the mother of a Down's boy-o, I can't even tell you how close my heart was to bursting when I saw a little girl with Down's Syndrome on the front cover here. SO CLOSE. 

My sister brought this to me because she knows how much I would love this. 

She is wise. 

We're not all the same. Thank goodness we're not. 
Life would be boring, and I mean--a lot.

And so, when we're born, we're supplied at the start
with our own bells and whistles to set us apart. 

Think of your bells as the things you do best.
Things tucked away in your own treasure chest. 

You'll try some things on
that simply don't fit. 

Don't be discouraged
That's all part of it. 

And sometimes a someone will give you the feeling 
that his bells and whistles are much more appealing.

Look this way! Talk this way! Be just like me! 

That's monkey business. Don't eat from that tree. 


I think everyone would be better off if they read it each week or so. 

I am occasionally on the fence about Nancy Tillman's art work. Some of it is so realistic it looks photographic, and others are impressionistic--it occasionally feels disjointed. But oh! there is such joy and delight in these pictures!!

You REALLY need to read this book. So do yourself a favor and read it RIGHT NOW. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Picture Books in Winter by Robert Louis Stevenson and Gyo Fujikawa

                            Picture Books in Winter                

                Summer fading, winter comes--
                      Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs,
               Window robins, winter rooks,
              And the picture story-books.

               Water now is turned to stone
             Nurse and I can walk upon;
                     Still we find the flowing brooks
            In the picture story-books.

              All the pretty things put by,
                Wait upon the children's eye,
                                Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
             In the picture story-books.

                  We may see how all things are
                 Seas and cities, near and far,
                And the flying fairies' looks,
               In the picture story-books.

                     How am I to sing your praise,
                    Happy chimney-corner days,
                     Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
                    Reading picture story-books?