Showing posts with label children's books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children's books. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mixing Legos

As a mother I am constantly fighting against the pull that T.V. and video games have on my boys.  Fortunately I learned when Henry was just a toddler, that the weekly limit for healthy kids should be 10 hours of TV viewing.  That knowledge helps me keep them down to 1 1/2 hours a day; but sometimes when I turn off the TV, the boys show strong emotions of anger or despair.  "There's nothing to do!"  I hear them say.

 Oh, am I just imagining that the house is full of toys, board games, books and art supplies?  Not to mention their bikes and scooters outside.  I had recently been threatening to start giving all these things away if the boys did not start playing with them.
 One day I pulled out our Lego Ideas Book to help get the creative juices flowing, but the boys found it intimidating.
   I realized I was going to have to sit down and build something myself, to prove to the boys that they didn't need a booklet of instructions to have fun with Legos. I didn't have enough gray blocks to build my church like the picture, so that was my first lesson to the boys - you don't have to use the same colors.  Then I didn't have the same smooth pieces as the book for the roof tiles, second lesson - get creative with what you do have.  My Stain Glass Cathedral ended up looking like a Japanese Temple.  I had fun and the boys stayed interested the whole time.
Near the finish, George made a tree for the church grounds and I realized he had used both traditional Legos and Duplo Legos.  What?!  I didn't know they could be used together!  Next time I will use the Duplo to build my foundation, and that will go much quicker.

I do recommend The Lego Ideas Book and have included the link up above.
There are fun projects to be found,  like this one.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Share your history

On my trip to Hawaii, I read the book Marley and Me by John Grogan.  I was hoping it would make me feel more sentimental about Winston.  I really enjoyed reading Mr. Grogan's feelings, memories and story.   In this book, he has done a fantastic job of recording twelve years of his life.  The details and the sequence of how all the little moments fit into the bigger picture, I was very impressed.

I want to share an excerpt that I thought were very insightful.

"Children serve as impossible-to-ignore, in-your-face time pieces, marking the relentless march of one's life through what otherwise might seem an infinite sea of minutes, hours, days, and years." page 186


                Marley and Me goes in the same category as Gwyenth Paltrow's cookbook and children's picture book The Gardener by Sarah Stewart.  They are all creative ways to share family history.  And this is what I was referring to when I said "the hearts of the children turn to their fathers" is a great way to show your Valentine's love.  This Sunday for our Valentine's dinner, I shared my typed notes with Daniel's family of a few interviews I recorded in England during my last two visits to see his Gran.  
I've also been working on an essay about road trips with my family when I was a child.  
I am sorry it's not quite ready to share.  I actually have a lot of vivid memories related to this subject and I want to present them in an enjoyable way.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Red Rose and Snow White

Are you familiar with the fairy tale of Red Rose and Snow White?  I had a picture book when I was younger but have never seen it mentioned in pop culture since.  Well, I have a niece named Rose, so this story came to my mind one day, and I thought "let's revisit this tale".   

 Red Rose and Snow White are sisters who live in a forest cottage with their mother.  One winter night there is a knock at the door and they find a bear asking to come in and keep warm by the fire.  They become fond of him and the bear comes every night for the rest of the winter.  In the summer he leaves with the explanation he must guard his treasure from a wicked dwarf.

During that summer Red Rose and Snow White encounter a dwarf who has gotten his beard stuck in a tree.  The girls rescue him by cutting his beard, but instead of being grateful, he is grumpy.  Similar situations happen throughout the summer- the girls helping the dwarf in peril and he never being grateful.  Finally the bear is upon him and with one swipe of his paw he kills the dwarf.  The bear is turned into a prince revealing the dwarf had cast a spell on him.  The prince marries Snow White and  Red Rose marries his brother.

Here is an assortment of artwork I found, is looks like most of it is vintage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Little Miss Austen

For Christmas my sister'n law Helen gave me the DVD of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly.  I have never seen this film before and am not familiar with the story as I am with Sense and Sensibility.  But I knew   everyone raves about it and also the BBC version from the 1990's with Colin Firth.

So as soon as the boys were back at school and Teddy was down for a nap, I placed my pile of ironing in front of the television and was ready to enjoy myself.  What is it about the 1800's that makes their stories so cozy and so appealing?  Well I decided in those next two hours what book was going to be on my reading list this year.

The very next day, look what I found at the BYU Art Museum Gift Shop!  The cutest board book.
            A counting book for little girls.   I don't want to spoil your discovery so I will only show one page.

After looking online, I found this author and illustrator have also made counting board books on Romeo and Juliet,  Alice and Wonderland, Jane Eyre, Dracula, and A Christmas Carol.  Such a great idea.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Will Power

Today I was given a tin of homemade English toffee.  It's so good and all day I have kept going back to the cupboard  to get another piece. But now it is night time,  my teeth are starting to tingle from all the sugar and I am worrying about how many pounds I have gained today.  The thought occurred to me, maybe I should throw the rest away.

This lead me to remember my favorite Frog and Toad story "Cookies".

Frog and Toad were having the same problem I am dealing with right now.
"We must stop eating!"  cried Toad as he ate another.
"Yes," said Frog, reaching for a cookie, "we need will power."

They first plan to hide the cookies in a box, then they tie a string around the box and then they put it on a high shelf.  After all their effort to keep the cookies from tempting them, Frog and Toad realize they can still climb up the ladder, bring the box down and untie the string!  Frog decides there is no other choice but to take the cookies outside and offer them to the birds.

"Now we have no more cookies to eat,"said Toad sadly.  "Not even one."
"Yes," said Frog, but we have lots and lots of will power."
"You may keep it all, Frog,"  said Toad.  "I am going home now to bake a cake."

I really relate to both characters in this story.  I hope nothing else tempting comes my way this holiday season.  But I know that's just wishful thinking.

Frog and Toad Together  by Arnold Lobel


When we were at Lake Como, we drove over the Swiss Alps to Zurich for two days and a night.
                          On our drive we saw lots of little villages nestled into the mountains.
Switzerland has the most beautiful countryside.  Green as England but with majestic  mountains.

                                               Zurich was as clean and polished as Disneyland.

           This church has stain glass windows made by the Jewish Russian-French artist Marc Chagall

                                                The city is built on the edge of a lake.

                       .                          This was the location of our hotel.

In Switzerland they speak German, French and English.

                                       Look at these crazy switchbacks!  We drove on them.

While in Zurich, we passed by a Bookshop.  I went in to discover new children's picture books.

 A Bell for Ursli shares the old Swiss traditions of ringing out the winter with their Spring Festival. 
Written by Selina Chonz and illustrated by Alois Carigiet 

Another book by same author and artist is The Snowstorm.  This time Ursli is older and we met his little sister Florina.  They are decorating their sleds for a sledding party.  If you have Swiss in your ancestry,  you should consider adding these two books to your collection.  They are so sweet and are a great way to learn your heritage.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Twelve Dancing Princesses

I just love the fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. 
Artist: Sheilah Beckett
 Those clever young women.  Out smarting every suitor that comes to discover they secret, oh that is until one arrives with a magic invisible cloak. 
Artist: Elenore Abbott
 And what a life they lead - forests with gold and silver trees, lakes with princes waiting to row them across to the dance hall, dancing until they wear holes in their shoes! 
 Ooo la la.  This is my kind of fantasy.

I can't find the illustrations I grew up with,
 but I have come across a very fun version illustrated by Kay Neilsen.

               Here is Kay's page of other fairy tales she has published & available at Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Alex's List

When we stayed a week in Newport Beach this summer, our friends Tad and Alex Killpack came to keep us company with their two little boys, Angus and Charlie.  We all had a great time.
About to get in the car for the long journey home, Angus wouldn't smile in this picture because he was so sad about leaving.

Alex grew up in South Africa and has lived in Utah since she came out for college.  When I started talking to Alex about my children's books blog post I was working on, she lit up and began passionately sharing her favorite books from her childhood.  I wasn't familiar with any of them, I think South Africa must read lots of English literature.

I don't know why, but I didn't get a good picture of Alex.  She's gorgeous, always has a great smile and yet she was even higher than usual during our week at the beach.  Growing up in Cape Town, Alex was elated to see the ocean again.  Here is a snapshot of her playing in the water with Charlie.

And here is Alex's list of favorites:

                                                          The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

                                                      5 Children and It by Edith Nesbit

                                                         Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

                                                   The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

                                               Linnets and Valerians  by Elizabeth Goudge

                                                         Party Frock by Noel Streatfeild

                                                  The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

                                                       Betsy-Tacy  by  Maud Hart Lovelace

                               The First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

                                                   The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

                                                  The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

                                         Milly- Molly- Mandy Stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley

I scribbled notes as Alex rattled off her titles and authors.  I think she also mentioned
                                                    The Moonshiner by Lucy Walker

I can tell just by the covers that these are going to be great stories to explore.  There's adventure, coming of age, romance, and all stories are better when they are set in another period of history.  There's something so cozy and satisfying about nestling into a book from a simpler time.  Maybe this list could help you with your Christmas shopping, if you have any girls on your list.