Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Oh So Tiny Bunny & Oh So Brave Dragon

Today is the first day of OCTOBER, the start of my favorite time of year.  (That would be October through the beginning of January, folks.)  Normally, I would be starting my month-long Halloween celebration, but we won't get to put our decorations up until tomorrow (no dance classes after school = TIME), so I decided to wait one more day before turning things ghoulie.  Besides, I have two darling books to share with you and I don't want to wait until November!

Are you or your little ones Miss Spider fans?  The books by David Kirk are so beautiful, and when my girls were very small, they loved to watch Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends on Noggin Nick Jr. (I'm just kidding.  It changed from Noggin to Nick Jr. a year before we got rid of cable, but in my mind, it will always be Noggin - Moose and Zee Forever!)  We haven't watched it in so long, that when Mr. B found a clip on the internet the other day, Big Sis started tearing up, sad because she said it reminded her of when she and her sister were little.  She's 9, folks.  I'm raising a first-rate sentimentalist.

Anyway, we checked out two new books by David Kirk, this week.  The first, Oh So Tiny Bunny, came out last year.

Oh So Tiny Bunny by David Kirk. Feiwel and Friends, 2013.

Oh So Tiny is very little, but he has very big dreams.

Dreams about being big.  Dreams about big food.

However, in his dreams, he becomes so big that he becomes very lonely.  Just as the loneliness is about to consume him, he wakes to the gentle nuzzle of another bunny.  So sweet!

Oh So Brave Dragon came out this year.  (Did you see Oh So Brave's cameo in the bunny book?)

Oh So Brave Dragon by David Kirk.  Feiwel and Friends, 2014.

Oh So Brave may be small, but he is super-brave!  He is a gloriously ferocious little guy.

Until he hears a big roar.  We know it is his own roar, but he is certain it must belong to a monster.

He roars again to frighten the monster, but once again, he scares himself, never believing the roar could be his own.  He rushes about, asking all the other forest creatures if they heard the monster, too.

Finally, he gathers all the other forest creatures up, promising to protect them.  Maybe if they all roar together, they will frighten the monster once and for all.

It's been nearly three years since my last bookstore storytime, and these would have been wonderful read-alouds for my little customers.  We could have roared together!  These days, I read occasionally in our elementary classrooms, and sometimes, Little Sis has me read books and do crafts at her birthday parties.  She misses our old Saturday mornings, even though she was pretty little back then. My sentimental babies...

Of course, while we may lament Mom's lack of employment, there is nothing stopping us from having an old-fashioned storytime at home!  Complete with printable crafts!  I visited David Kirk's Treehouse and clicked on "Playroom."  There, you can find lots of printable goodies, coloring pages and puppets and stuff.

As the storytime lady at the bookstore, I loved it when publishers and authors provided printables. (Because sometimes, I just wasn't creative enough to come up with a suitable craft on my own...)  These were especially cute, too.  Little Sis colored Oh So Tiny, then colored his pajamas.  We cut them out, and dressed him!  Big Sis made a dragon puppet.  She plans to work on the little finger puppet critters next.  There are teacher materials on the website, too.

Stay tuned for Halloweeny and Autumn goodness, starting tomorrow!  I can't promise to blog five days a week, but I do have lots to share.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Museum Day at the Kansas Aviation Museum

Yeah, that book post I said might happen?  It didn't.  We had a busy weekend instead.  Saturday, here in the States, was Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live, and for the first time, I was in a position to take the girls to a participating museum on Museum Day!  The girls and I chose the Kansas Aviation Museum, because we had never been there.  It's located on the southeast side of Wichita, adjacent to the air force base.  The fabulous art deco building was an airport terminal, then part of the air force base, then finally became a museum in 1991.  Wichita is nicknamed "The Air Capital of the World," because of our history as a leader in aircraft manufacturing.  (You can read more about that here, if you like.)  My father and grandmother work or have worked at several of those plants, and my dad used to fly small Cessnas for fun when I was a kid and teen.  Yet I had never visited this beautiful old building.  With Little Sis's Amelia and airplane fascination, it seemed like a good place to use our two free passes!

Amelia came along for the ride.  She spent most of the time hanging out in my camera bag.

There were some older, smaller planes inside the museum itself, such as this beautiful 1927 Laird Swallow, built right here in town.

The girls were far more curious about the huge stuffed Mickey Mouse in this plane.

On the second floor terrace, looking out at the planes.

Besides aircraft manufacturing, airport, airline, and military memorabilia, there is also a whole section for kiddos, where they can climb inside cockpits, play flight simulation games, color, etc.

I admit, I'm more interested in buildings than aircraft, so my favorite part of the visit was marveling at the old terminal itself.

The control tower was added in 1941.  This was my other favorite part of the visit.  The view is very nice.

A cool view of the old Stearman Aircraft hangar on the grounds of the air force base.  You can see some great vintage photos of both the hangar and the old airport terminal itself at

That's downtown Wichita.  We weren't particularly close to downtown.  Great views up there.

There were more planes to see outside.  You can read more about the aircraft on display on the museum's website.

My camera battery ran out of juice before I could take any photos of the front of the building.  I managed some decent shots with my cruddy phone.

So U.S. readers, did anyone else hit up a museum for Museum Day?

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Meet The Woodland Folk

Meet the Woodland Folk by Tony Wolf.
London: Dean, 1983.

Well, I'm still not blogging as much as I planned, and my two-week post-op check-up yesterday led to another round of antibiotics (same infection that spurred the visit to the ENT in the first place), and to top it off, my computer is having major memory and storage issues, and it won't let me upload pictures from my camera to the hard drive anymore.  Do you mind my funny little tablet photos?[Please forgive the filter.  I didn't realize how green it was when I took the pictures yesterday.  Oops.  I need to be able to use my camera!!!]  

I received a sweet message last week from my bloggy friend Georgia in Greece.  She had an extra copy in English of this marvelous picture book she had featured on her own blog, and she wanted to send it to me.  How could I say no?  You can see her original post on this book, here.  There is also a post about other books by Tony Wolf.  I don't speak or read Greek, but Google Translate, while imperfect, helps!

This copy of the book was published in London by Dean.  It appears to have been published by Rand McNally in the U.S.  I knew nothing about Tony Wolf, but these illustrations are gorgeous!  I did find a website and a Wikipedia entry.  Tony Wolf is the pseudonym of an Italian artist named Antonio Lupatelli.

The book is a series of sweet little stories, vignettes about various woodland creatures.  It's funny - I never read it as a kid, but it definitely reminds me of the late '70s/early '80s.  It's like stepping back into childhood.

"The Spring Party"
"The Pea Pod Competition"
"The Blackbirds' Wedding"
"Oak Tree Terrace"
"Shooting Stars"
"The Swimming Pool"
"The Giant Wooden Clog"
"A Strange Picnic"
"The Greedy Quail"
"The Fawns' Overcoats"
"The Fawns' Overcoats"
"The Great Flood"

This is a seriously cute book.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Georgia, for sending it to me!  Now I must find the perfect oh-so-American title to send to you.  Tee hee!

I have been reading a lot this week.  I'll try to have a round-up for you this weekend, but don't hold me to it.  I'm becoming very aware of my own limitations...

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Playing Catch-Up

Why, hello dear readers!  Remember me?  Seriously, it's been a whole week since I last blogged anything.  This was not planned.  I had ideas.  What I didn't expect was how much nasal/sinus surgery can wipe a person out.  I think I felt better the day or two after surgery than I did most of last week.  I have spent most of the week holed up in my house, with only a few exceptions.  I did do a little reading, and our picture book bag from the library is bursting.  I thought I'd share a few photos today.

Is today the first day of autumn?  People are posting stuff about it on Facebook, but my wall calendar says it's really tomorrow.  I just know the high for today is supposed by 79, which is a pleasant drop for us.  When I picked the girls up from school on Friday, we stopped to take a picture of a tree in our neighborhood.  This tree declares it is fall!  I'll listen to the tree.

Because my baby is big enough to read to Mommy now.  Sigh.  We are still taking a break from Oz, although I'm hoping to start again this week.

My littlest threw a big blow-out party for her dolls.  It was supposed to be a pet party, and she made everyone invitations, but Mr. B and I were working on dinner, so only Big Sis came.  Little Sis said it was okay.  Then she shocked me by tidying up without anyone asking her to.  This never happens.

Little Sis drew this picture of her House of "Cabij Patch Kids" last night.  I think it's one of the sweetest pictures she's ever drawn.

And today was the school's annual Hat Parade!  Our theme this year was STEAM:  Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.  Our magnet school is now a performing arts and science magnet.  Be sure and visit last year's Hat Parade post.  (My round-up of books about hats is very popular on Pinterest.)  Big Sis's first grade hat can be seen here.

Oh, and yesterday was the twelfth anniversary of Mr. B's and my wedding.  We didn't do anything to celebrate, mostly because I feel blechy.

Hope to get back to regular posting soon!  Hope everyone is well out there in Bloggy Land!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Uni the Unicorn

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal,
illustrated by Bridgette Barrager.  Random House, 2014.

Saturday, Mr. B took the girls to a rainbow unicorn-themed birthday party.  The little girl turned five, and her fabulous baker mommy made her a rainbow cake with ruffly rainbow frosting. I was so jealous I couldn't attend.  But I knew exactly what birthday present to get.  I sent Mr. B to Watermark to get this darling picture book, by one of our favorite picture book authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  

Let's talk about Amy Krouse Rosenthal for a moment.  These days, when we discuss picture book creators, we tend to give most of the props to the illustrators, especially author-illustrators.  In the past, we had some stand-alone authors to celebrate, like Margaret Wise Brown, Charlotte Zolotow, or Ruth Krauss, writers who worked with some of the best artists in the business, but whose creativity also stood alone.  I think Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a throwback to those times.  She works with some of the best modern illustrators - Jen Corace, Peter H. Reynolds, Tom Lichtenheld, Jane Dyer, and LeUyen Pham, among others - who bring her playful texts to life, but those texts are so marvelous on their own.  Her picture books are fun and inventive, and Mr. B and I love them as much as our daughters do.  Just go browse a list of her books.  So much happy!

Uni the Unicorn, subtitled "a story about believing," is about a beautiful unicorn who is just like all the other unicorns.

Well, her mane may be "extra magnificent" and her sparkling purple eyes may be "extra sparkling."

But Uni is unique in one very important way:  she believes in little girls.  Uni believes they really exist.

Her friends laugh at her, her parents humor her, but Uni dreams of the day she will meet a real, live little girl.

And maybe, just maybe, there's a little girl out there, dreaming about meeting a real, live unicorn...

As you can see, the illustrations are exquisite.  Brigette Barrager is new to me, but I love her retro-style art.  I just noticed she illustrated an edition of The Twelve Dancing Princesses for Chronicle Books.  I must check it out!

So yes, if you believe in unicorns, children, or lovely books, check this one out!

And now, you must follow this link and see what happens when a real, live little girl meets a real, live unicorn.  So precious.

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