. . . then Robert Sabuda is one because, because, because, because, because . . . because of the wonderful books he does!
I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned them before.
I bought my first Robert Sabuda book several years ago after watching a little segment on Martha Stewart Living about his Wizard of Oz pop-up book. Since that time, he has brought pop-up books to a whole new level. We have a small collection of his titles—The Night Before Christmas, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Each one is mind-boggling.
Here’s what it’s about:
Cassia lives in a world where nearly everything is decided for her: what she eats, how she sleeps, where she works. She is even told whom she is to marry.
At her matching banquet, she sees the face of her best friend, and everything seems perfect. A peaceful life stretches out before her.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Ramona giveaway! Random.org has cleverly selected Natalie H. So, congratulations, Natalie! You’ll be going to see Ramona and Beezus this summer! If you are Natalie H., please leave a comment on this post, and I will get that prize to you right away!
And now, for another announcement! How many of you saw Toy Story 3 last weekend? Well, we saw it, and it was fantastic (aside from the fact that a man—with lots of facial hair—told me he was a little kid when the first Toy Story came out, and made me feel old, since I wrote my junior year undergraduate research paper on Toy Story when it came out!).
But what I was really excited about during that movie was . . . can you guess? The trailer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!! Now, this is important, everyone. I love those Narnia movies. They make me happy. And we’ll all be very sad if they don’t make another one, so make sure you go and see it in December. See it 10 times, even! And tell everyone you know about it. Tweet it from the rooftops! In case you haven’t seen the trailer yet, here’s a quick look:
Now, I have no idea why all four Pevensies make an appearance in there, but I am not complaining. You know how I feel about King Peter. And did you see Ben Barnes? I’ll be grinning the entire movie—yum!
My seven-year-old learned to love reading this year, and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me.
Sadly, my mother couldn’t say that about me when I was young. Though I loved certain books here and there, reading never ranked high on the list of things I wanted to do until I was a grown-up. I was a worried my little first grader was headed in the same direction when she got off to a rough start this year.
For the first few months of first grade, she was the new kid in school and felt like the only kid with parents getting a divorce amongst a sea of happy families. She had trouble holding her pencil right and getting her homework done. That was why, in February, when she picked up Superfudge and read it cover to cover in about a week, I was ecstatic. She read most of Blume’s books in that series, and then turned to tackle a 500 page anthology of classic children’s tales. I can thank a patient first grade teacher for this, and a school that works hard to instill a love of reading—not by pushing deadlines and homework and book reports, but by letting each child be free to choose the books they are naturally drawn to.
A couple weeks ago, I saw the new trailer for the Ramona and Beezus movie, and then remembered how I actually enjoyed the Ramona books when I was young, and hoped my daughter would as well. She finished finished the first book in about a week, and now can’t wait to read the next and see the movie.
My mom sent us this book a couple of years ago, and for some reason it was the only board book that made the journey here to Utah and didn’t wind up in storage. Needless to say, it is now a favorite. I love it because it uses Margaret Wise Brown’s lilting style, very similar to her book Goodnight Moon, which has been a favorite of all my kids. Another reason I love it is that it has been newly illustrated (well, newly, as in twenty years ago) by the wonderful Felicia Bond, who illustrated the favorite If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books.
I interviewed my son about why he likes the books today. Sorry some of the pictures’ exposure is a bit off. My son didn’t want to put on his shoes before going outside, and then when I asked him to stand in the shade, he told me his feet were too cold. It’s a miracle I got the shots I did.
Anyway, this is how that conversation went:
me: What is the book about?
ckr: Barns, barns, barns.
me: What else is about?
ckr: Animals, animals, animals.
me: What is you favorite part?
ckr: When the animals say, (He makes a breathed in hiccupy sound)
me: Oh yeah?
me: Which animals make that sound?
ckr: The roosters.
me: Hm. What other animal do you like?
I mentioned The Morning Gift was my favorite book a couple of weeks ago when I posted the vanillekipferl recipe. Though this isn’t a Christmas book, it fills me with such happiness that I am sharing it with you now. I hope you all like it, too.
Eva Ibbotson is this amazing writer who caught my attention with her book A Countess Below Stairs (recommended to me by Julie). Her writing style is varied and complex, which, along with her exceptional knowledge of all things European and wonderful, makes you feel slightly inferior for just a moment before resolving to be smarter and better informed in the future.
Ruth, the main character in The Morning Gift, is an old-fashioned heroine, slightly reminiscent of Anne Shirley—intelligent, quirky, and lovable. She is half Jewish and living in Austria in the midst of Hitler’s power at the start of the second World War. Everyone in her family escapes, but due to terrible complications, Ruth is stranded in Vienna. Her story starts when a young professor and colleague of her father, comes to check on the family to be sure they have all left the city safely. When he finds Ruth there, they discover the only way to get her out of the country is to marry. But dissolving the marriage when they arrive in England is more trouble than they expect.
This is one of those books that is more fun the more you read it. I found myself laughing out loud and calling my mom on the phone every time I got to a good part (She loves it too, by the way).
Some of Ibbotson’s Young Adult novels have some mature themes (nothing too steamy, though), as they were written initially for grown-ups. If you’re wanting a daughter to read this or any of her other Young Adult novels, you may want to preview them first.
Calamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge, is written by Shannon and Dean Hale, and illustrated by the awesome Nathan Hale. It is a modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, complete with giant villains and giant vegetation. It even brings in a few new characters. I like the fantastic new adventures, and Jack seems more cool in this book.
Calamity Jack is well written and magnificently illustrated. It’s even funnier than the first book.
—Mr. Book Reviewer (That’s me up there, reading the book!)
Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann, has been a big hit at our house since we bought it at a Scholastic book fair last year. My daughter likes to read it over and over, so we did a little interview about it together.
me: What happens in the book?
ser: A girl turns pink.
me: How does she turn pink?
ser: She ate too much cupcakes.
me: What color were the cupcakes, were they green?
ser (smiling): Pink!
me: Is it a bad thing that she turns pink?
ser: Because Dr. Wink said.
me: Who is Dr. Wink?
She entered so many times, that if she didn’t win, I was going to cry. Congratulations, Abigail!!!!
Have your mom email me with your address so I can get you that gift card. Would you prefer Borders or Barnes and Noble?
And to all of the rest of you, way to go with all your reading, thank you for the recommendations, and have a wonderful last few weeks of summer!
I am not one to assign superlatives to phases of my life (This is my best accomplishment, That was the worst day, This is my favorite movie). But I think, after living through the last ten months, this has been the most difficult time in my life.
I am going through a divorce.
There, I finally said it.
The strange thing is, no one has died. Everyone dies, yet death is never a cliche. Divorce looks a lot like a cliche. But it doesn’t feel like one.