Today I am storyboarding for a children’s book for my mother-in-law… we’ll hand the pictures off to a real artist when I’m done.
“It was a dark, rainy day.”
We received this book in the mail from the author right before I left on my book signing tour to San Antonio. I was mean, I was so excited about it, I made kiddo wait until I got back from my trip. Daddy was under strict orders that this book was not to be read while I was away.
I thought about it while I was away a lot. All the colors of the front cover kept coming to mind while I was faced with all the colors of San Antonio.
It was worth the wait. Grandmother’s Cabin lived up to my own mental hype. Kiddo snuggled up in my lap last night and settled in for the new book to review, ready with opinions.
It seems to be a snugly sort of book in general, my favorite kind, as during story time today everyone was reaching for their mothers and trying to get into laps. That’s not typically the case with other stories. Instinctively, children know: this book is for families and heritage, and appreciation of the good things that calm our souls.
The front cover is simply one of many exciting illustrations. The further into the story you get, the richer the images, and more vibrant the colors – or maybe it’s the story that makes me feel like they’re richer and more vibrant…
Rout maintains a splash of color on the right side of the page and ornate pencil sketches on the left side along with the text.
It’s whimsical, magical, and even won a “Moonbeam” award. If that doesn’t sound mysteriously romantic, I don’t know what does.
Dedicated to all things grandmothery and cozy, the book is about spiritual healing found by looking back to your ancestors, finding comfort in tea, and relaxing with a good book and favorite activity.
“I like to paint too!” My kiddo squealed when Grandmother revealed an easel and paint tray among the tropical forest.
When Grandmother did her super hero pose, Kiddo did hers too. Later when we went over the discussion questions Rout provides on the last page, Kiddo answered that she wants to be like Grandmother. “I can heal like Grandmother – by licking – like Helo.” Helo is the dog. Clearly, my child needs more grandmother interaction and less puppy play.
“When I’m happy I don’t fly high in the sky,” Kiddo lamented. “And I get sad when I’m sick. And I get upset when Dad plays with MY frisbees.” Well, then.
Finally, I read the last question to my daughter:
Grandmother’s love makes Mother feel happy. How can we connect with our ancestors and our loved ones who have lived before us? What can we do to help them be of service to us? As an example some people tell stories, remember them, pray for them, learn about them, or celebrate their accomplishments. What does your family do?
“Walk in the woods. I like to walk in the woods,” my child responded wisely. Yes, my darling, we do. And that’s why this book spoke to us from the front cover alone. Coffee and Tea Cups, Books, Paint Brush, Foliage… what more could a gal need to feel restful and restored?
Grandmother’s Cabin is lovely and enriching. It opens up a topic of discussion many people believe to be beyond what children can handle, but it’s perfect, and the children I’ve read this book to today handled it with grace and curiosity.
I read children’s books at the Half Price Books in Humble every Wednesday throughout the summer, starting at 10:30 am. Many of these titles are plucked from the shelf and are available for purchase right then and there. Some of what I read and share come from a publisher or an author and might not otherwise be readily discovered. Like today, Grandmother’s Cabin was sent to me from an author in Calgary, Alberta. If you have kiddos, live in the area and wish to join us, please do.
Title: The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Author: Thornton Wilder
Illustrator: Jean Charlot
Publisher: Heritage Press
I didn’t care for Wilder’s work. It didn’t capture me. It left me pretty uninterested. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was, however, feeling the edition.
I read from the Heritage Press edition. Beautiful blue cover, fine blue buckram boards with gold. I love reading books on acid free paper and I really enjoyed the color lithographs.
Lithograph illustrations are gorgeous in general and Jean Charlot’s work was the most enjoyable part of this title to me – aside from a few lovely quotes. There’s no denying that Wilder has a way with words.
“She had a new way of fingering a wine-glass, of exchanging an adieu, a new way of entertaining a door that told everything.” – pg. 97
Monday, Half Price Books in Humble will be hosting a book club meeting. It starts at 7:30 pm and we’ll be discussing this title. It’s fairly short, only 137 pages long, and can be read quickly if you’re interested. I’d love to hear from people who are passionate about this title – always curious to know what makes something classic to the world that simply didn’t move me. After all, it won the Pulitzer in 1928.
Weekly Low Down on Kids Books
Author: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrator: S.M. Sealig
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
I saw this and couldn’t pass it up. Mary Pope Osborne invades my house again! I love her.
I enjoy her complete ability to offer facts and history and in this case astronomy in the form of fiction. To pique a child’s interest in a nonfiction topic with a bit of fantastical fairy tale.
I’m trying to get more detailed and specific when I offer these reviews of my child’s favorite books, but she doesn’t always seem to understand the questions. Or perhaps, I don’t understand the beautiful simplicity of her answers.
Me: “Did you like this book?”
Me: “What did you like about it?”
Kiddo: “The white!”
Me: “Because the horse is white?”
Kiddo: “With the red.”
The little girl in the illustration is wearing a red dress. I think bits of the story were lost on my three year old today, she was drawing her own pictures and sucking down a cup of milk. I think ultimately, what she may have been trying to tell me, in her distracted three year old way, is that she liked the illustrations and the use of muted color. But I don’t want to put words in her mouth.
If you’re building an astronomy unit study for anyone under ten, this is a nice bedtime story to add to your week. Personally, I wish the poetry of the tale was rhymed more, but I have a natural inclination to the sing-songy way of things.
From Gershom Reese Wetzel’s Teres
He seemed vampiric, sallow. Maybe it was the light from the table lamps. Maybe it was his size against the looming scale of the room with its tall windows. Perhaps it was just Raine’s abundant personality, magnified like a sun when he smiled, churning like a storm when brooding suited him.
“How long have we been friends, Teres?”
Title: The Clock Snatcher
Author: M.G. King
Illustrators: Angela A. Corson & Sebastian Alvarado
Genre: Children’s Picture Books
NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!
When I heard M.G. King was writing another book, I was pretty excited. We love Librarian on the Roof! here at our house and I completely devoured Fizz & Peppers. Anything M.G. King touches, pretty much turns to gold in my opinion. She’s Texas’ very own Rumpelstiltskin.
This latest picture book is 47 pages long, with a lot of glorious black and white pictures. Think The Spider and the Fly when Tony DiTerlizzi did the illustrations – a myth to last the ages in combination with high quality sketches can’t go wrong.
Right now the book is only $3.99 on Kindle. Maybe if everyone buys one and supports our favorite local kid’s author there will be a hardback edition in our future. My bookshelves are already itching for a copy… I can hear them calling for it… this book belongs in every mother’s library… and child’s, and dragon lovers’, and clock collector, and art appreciator, and…
Title: Where the Windwalk Begins
Poet: Todd Dillard
Illustrator: Paul K. Tunis
Too cute. These poems are ideal for lazy breakfast reading or luncheons on the patio. We love to read over our meals and kiddo has really enjoyed Where the Windwalk Begins.
I personally loved Airlephant, mostly because I have a ridiculously large soft spot in my soul for all things regarding elephants. Kiddo’s ears perked up the most, however for Flock of Flying Carpets, which I admit is pretty awesome. The alliteration of that particular poem fascinates little people, and her eyes lit up with delight at hearing the same sounds over and over again. We’ve been working on our phonics lately and you could see the recognition of certain letter’s sounds all over her face.
The poems are really fun and the illustrations are equally so. I was pleased with how well paired the illustrator was to the over all vibe of the book. Sometimes you can have a great illustrator and a really great storyteller or poet, but they don’t necessarily make the best pairing, but these two seemed pretty in tune to each other. Spunky and very light heart-ed, moms and dads everywhere should keep this title in their personal library stock.
Awhile back I did a Weekly Low Down on Kids Books that I titled Little Monster Friends. It was about Eleanor Taylor’s picture book My Friend the Monster. Then the other night I was recommending one of my kiddo’s favorite books to a friend who has a little girl kiddo’s age and when I went to link to my review of it, I discovered there was none. Or, I just can’t find it. So it’s about time I tell you (or remind you) of my little toddler’s new favorite monster book. It’s one I’ve enjoyed reading to her for quite sometime, but has recently become the most exciting thing in the world to her… at least a few times a day when something else isn’t more exciting. You know two year olds – maybe.
So here’s to our newest little monster friends…
Title: Jumpy Jack and Googily
Author: Meg Rosoff
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Jumpy Jack is a delightfully nervous little snail who is terrified of pretty much everything, completely convinced there is a monster lurking around every corner. Googily is his adorably huge friend who checks for monsters everywhere they go, just to be safe. The catch? The terrifying monsters of Jumpy Jack’s imagination are always exact descriptions of his best friend and neither one of them know it.
This is a fantastic little picture book about imagination and friendship. The illustrations are fantastic and the story and the images both give the kiddo and I the giggles before bed at night.
Now that kiddo is chattering up a storm all the time, intelligibly, she does the cutest things and it’s even clearer than before what things resonate with her. Now she jumps around the house in the day time saying, “No monsters here,” and waggles her finger at me. Sometimes she brings me a sock and waves it at me and mimics the last page “Boo! Said the sock!”
Click the front cover to hear a little girl named Sarah on youtube read the book, check out all the pages. Then come back and click the title link to amazon. Just like Sarah says herself, if you don’t already own the book you’re gonna wish you did.
Title: I Like Old Clothes
Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrations: Patrice Barton
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
I Like Old Clothes is genius. Growing up with hand-me-downs from my sister who is 6 years older and rarely more than 6 months ahead of me in size, hand-me-downs were a pretty exciting part of life. As an adult, I’m a huge fan of thrift stores and passing things amongst friends. I like the worn in feel, I like the faded colors, I like the history.
I Like Old Clothes is a great book to have on hand to help indoctrinate your child with that appreciation. Indoctrinate may be a scary word that doesn’t really say what I mean… Instead, let me say, I Like Old Clothes is a great book to unveil the magic of used things that is usually shrouded in distaste by consumerism, greed, and the false ideals of what is cool.
Clearly, I was not cool growing up. But for the most part, I didn’t really care.
I still wear my dad’s 1960’s sweaters, I get compliments on them all the time, although it wasn’t so awesome to wear them when I was 14. I grew up wearing t-shirts, shorts, and skirts of my sister’s. Among other sisterly items, I wore her prom dress for a show choir performance in 8th grade and I remember feeling so bold and empowered knowing that I was in my sister’s dress. A girl I grew up with used to pass me all her old jeans, as she was six inches too tall for them by the time I needed them, it was a perfect arrangement.
I think it’s important for kids to grow up knowing that 1. They aren’t the only one wearing hand-me-downs and 2. Enjoy them! They’re awesome, not shameful.
This book is absolutely a must have. On top of the fabulous poetry singing the praises of used clothes are the beautiful illustrations. In the spirit of the content, the pictures have a soft, cozy feel. There’s kind of a Holly Hobby look to Barton’s work that I love, like a 20 year old patchwork quilt gone through the wash too many times. You look at the page and see the softness of a really soft t-shirt circa 1975, organic cotton, or even a fuzzy flannel. I want to wrap myself in the images, the little button flowers and all.
I checked this book out from the Harris County Public Library, but I can’t wait to purchase a copy of our very own.