Thursday, June 30, 2016

Clover, my children's librarian sister is up visiting with her kids and brought a stack of new books for me to look at. Yay!

This one is exceptionally awesome. It is a collection of almost poetry like stories from the perspective of various bugs. And they are the most charming bugs I have ever met in my life!  

It had just rained, so the leaves were all clean and shiny.

The bugs find an abandoned garden and move in.

There is the spunky little ladybug, who is consigned to ladylike behavior by her name. Do you see her drinking tea? AAAAH! So cute.

But when no one was looking, 
Ladybug ran barefoot,
made mud angels,
and whistled through a blade of grass.

Then there is the grouchy butterfly who dashes the dreams of a little horsefly who imagines himself a valiant steed.

You know you're not a horse.
You are a horsefly.
A teeny, tiny bug.

Horsefly stopped running.
He looked at Butterfly and sniffed.
"Well, you're not butter, either."
Then he ran some more.

You can't beat down that Horsefly guy.

The other bugs get on the bee's case and tell him what he supposed to be doing like drinking nectar and making honey.

I don't want to do any of those thing," said Bee.
"What do you want to do, then?"
Bee settled back to watch the clouds.
"Just be," said Bee.

That Bee has the right idea.

Grouchy old Butterfly (which is sort of fun, since butterflies are always seen as happy, hopeful things) is back on the job, trying to show Roly-Poly the futility of his life. But ole Roly-Poly doesn't buy into his grouchiness.

About climbing back up the hill Roly-Poly has just rolled down--

"It will take hours and hours," said Butterfly.
"Maybe even longer," said Roly-Poly.
"You will be tired when you get there," said Butterfly.
"Very, very, very tired," said Roly-Poly.
"What will you do when you get back?" asked the Butterfly.
Roly-Poly looked at him and grinned.
"I'm going to do it all over again."

The bugs watch flowers blooming as though they were fireworks.

Cricket is on top of the swinging gate and makes stirring farewell speeches every time the gate goes outward. Then apologizes and says he has come home every time the gate swings back into the garden. Snail, Ladybug, Roly-Poly, and Little Ant all patiently support him in his delusions, welcoming him back kindly every time the gate swings in. As the Cricket falls off the gate and they can finally stop this whole charade, Little Ant holds up a "Welcome home!" sign for Cricket.

Such nice friends.

Cricket and Big Ant enjoying a peach together.


Bee loved the flowers best from way up high.
He buzzed among the bright petals.
Snail loved the flowers best from the ground.
She glided through the green jungle of stems.
But earthworm loved the flowers best from way
down below.
She wiggled
               and wiggled
                             and giggled
under the rainbows of roots.

A much more exciting world view than is generally given to the earthworm.

The Garden Again

The Garden was old,
with a tumbledown wall
and a one-wheeled barrow.
But it wasn't forgotten
because they all called it

This motley family of bugs has made the old abandoned garden a home.

Isn't that a fun book? I am delighted by it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Story by Jill Barklem

Do you know Brambly Hedge? Totally and incredibly sweet. Jill Barklem created a world of mice living in a hedgerow at the edge of Blackthorn Wood. The mice are all very community minded and slightly old fashioned. They live wholly and completely off what they gather from the hedgerow and are very seasonally attuned. And they are totally adorable. 

In short. they are marvelous!

Summer Story, published in 1980 is the story of Dusty and Poppy's wedding. 

Take a moment to admire my fairy rose.

And these thingies which I picked from beside the road that I can't figure out a name for. 

Each Brambly Hedge book starts with a map of the hedgerow's world.

And a little blurb about Brambly Hedge mice to set the scene. 

Lazy days of summer.

Little mousies trying to bug their elders.

These pictures are in every book. Well almost every book. It is always of a different stump or place, but the detailed and intricate drawings are incredible. Barklem researched extensively before she began any work on these books, so there are a lot of technical details of bygone agricultural processes that are simply fascinating. I could spend hours wandering through these stumps in my imagination. 

This particular picture is of the Dairy Stump, which was overseen by Poppy Eyebright, the bride-to-be.

Dusty miller, the groom-to-be looked after the flour mill stump.

Dusty popping the question.

Ohmyword! Furtively embroidering her wedding dress in the shade of tall kingcups. Oh the delight! 

All of Brambly Hedge was in on the preparations. Here the wedding cake is being constructed. I swoon over every page of cooking/food pictures in Brambly Hedge. They are so delightfully yummy and elegant looking!

Gathering huge baskets of wild strawberries. 
Primrose, meadowsweet, and elderflower wines and hanging them in the water to cool....

Poppy getting ready for the big day.

And another picture of my rose because I was distracted by its loveliness.

The wedding party approaching.

The ceremony. Do you see how magnificent the wedding barge is? 

The wedding guests in their best suits and hats.

The detail, people! The detail!

Then in the name of the flowers and the fields, the stars in the sky, and the streams that flow down to the sea, and the mystery that breathes wonder into all these things, I pronounce you mouse and wife. 

Lyrical and poetical. 

They danced and feasted on the barge. The enthusiastic dancing wore away at the ropes Dusty had made to keep the barge in place. 

The raft/barge floated gently past fields of buttercups and meadowsweet, and the voles tending the fires in the pottery came out to wave as the wedding party drifted by.


Finally they were caught in a clump of rushes and forget-me-nots. They tied the ropes and the dancing resumed. 

At last, the party had to come to an end. Sleepy kids were helped home by their tired parents as the sun set.

The honeymooning couple. 

Wasn't that perfectly marvelous? Yes, yes it was. 

Also, I found Jill Barklem's perfectly adorable website this morning. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Rooster Crows by Maud and Miska Petersham

I totally and completely bought this book for the cover. I loved it! I can't help it. Anything about farm kids makes me happy. It is a pretty fun collection of rhymes. My kids love Mother goose and the like, so they enjoyed this one too.  

According to Wikipedia (Alright, someday I will come up with a different source of information.) Maud and Miska Petersham "helped set the direction for illustrated children's picture books as known today." 

We owe them a lot. 

This book of American folk rhymes was the 1946 Caldecott Medal winner.

I love this woodchuck chucking wood!

I am partial to mid century color tones. 

Theses characters don't look too thrilled with life. I sympathize. Gilbert and I probably look like this every time I give him a haircut. He hates haircuts. 

Little piggies. I love the illustrations!

This picture right here? Totally worth the price of admission. Do you see the darling little fireflies with their lanterns? 


The bear climbing some sort of seemingly glass mountain

Tragic possibilities!

Totally awesome!

So much to love in this picture!


I love this picture and the rhyme. I think we need to bring back the endearment sugar lump.

It is a pretty comprehensive collection of rhymes, with some finger plays and skip rope songs. 

Aren't they adorable?

Lazy, boy crazy daughter. 

And last, but not least, Yankee Doodle.

And now, I need to go check Amazon for this book by them. FANTASTIC. Must see it!