D.E.A.R. Me, It's Friday!

In some ways, this week has flown by.  In other ways, it's resembled those snow days from earlier this month.  I was sick, and just as I'm feeling better, my littlest is sick.  Only she's burning hot and she hacks and snorts in her sleep, so she's out of school and home-bound again.

Today I'm heading to Big Sis's school for their first Drop Everything And Read Day event.  That's D.E.A.R., for the unfamiliar.  The actual date for the event is April 12 (Beverly Cleary's birthday!), but our school has one scheduled for this month and another for next month, in the hopes of getting more parents to come.  We're invited to drop in at the school today to read in small groups with the kids.  Big Sis is ecstatic.  Mom is reading in her classroom two days in one week!  (I also read Owl At Home on Wednesday, which was World Read Aloud Day.  I did Horton Hatches the Egg just last week for Read Across America!  I do love a good literary-themed day!  More, more, more!)

The little bag and the poster were from a 2010 D.E.A.R. event kit I used at the bookstore.  It was a HUGE kit,
with lots of fabulous stuff.  Alas, our turnout was low, as we were too small a store to advertise the event well.
My girls came and got their goodies, though.

I let Big Sis pick the books I should bring.  We decided on A Bad Case of Stripes* by David Shannon, which is one of our very favorites.  Are you familiar with the story of Camilla Cream, who wants desperately to fit in and insists she doesn't love lima beans and worries about what to wear until, low and behold, she breaks out in a bad case of stripes?  We have serious love for this book.  I think it's one of the reasons Big Sis always marched to her own beat when she was younger.  (I've noticed she's trying harder to adapt to others' tastes, though, so I think it's time to read this one again.)

 She also insisted on A Girl and Her Gator by Sean Bryan, illustrated by Thomas Murphy.  I threw A Boy and His Bunny on the pile, too.  (We don't have A Bear and His Boy.  The OCD part of me wants to click and buy right now just to complete the set.)  These books are short, cute, and silly.  Perfect read-alouds for first-graders, I think.

Oh!  And I get to stay for lunch, too.  Now I can observe for myself why it's so hard for the girl to finish anything...

Today is International Women's Day.  For us, it's dance class day, although only Big Sis will be going.  We might go see some musician friends play a gig afterward.  Maybe I can talk someone into buying more Girl Scout cookies...  I can always say, "Hey, it's International Women's Day!  Support a girls' organization!"  Right?

As always, dear readers, Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!
     *When I read that story for storytime, I brought steam-in-bag lima beans to nuke in the breakroom, which I doctored with a little salt and butter.  I doled them out in little sample cups from the cafe and offered  them to the storytime kiddos.  They preferred their usual sugar cookie.  I did turn one parent onto lima beans, though - she'd never tried them!  No limas were wasted.  I'm a glutton for lima beans.  Every leftover cup was emptied right into my mouth.  I wear my lima love proudly, unlike Camilla Cream.

"Swing Me! Swing Me Like a Daddy Cow!"

I don't think Big Sis was three years old yet when she demanded this of my husband.  

"Swing me!  Swing me like a daddy cow!"

Even today, my husband smiles through misty eyes when he remembers that line.  Classical Baby: The Poetry Show had been released that spring, and it was one of our favorite videos to wind down with together.  Big Sis was especially taken with this one:

Of course, you may recognize the poem.  It's "The Swing" by Robert Louis Stevenson, from his A Child's Garden of Verses.  

"The Swing," illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.
Taken from Eloise Wilkin's Poems to Read to the Very Young.
(Poems selected by Josette Frank.)
Random House, 1982.  

The singers are Frances Archer and Beverly Gile.  I happened upon them again when iTunes released a bunch of vintage Disneyland Records in their store.  I downloaded this album in its entirety that same year.  Archer and Giles apparently sang selections from this album on The Mickey Mouse Club.

We got our swing set the same month we bought that Classical Baby video.  My 2 and a 1/2-year-old big girl "helped" her daddy and godfather put it together.  She looked so small on it to me.  She had to be pushed, as she didn't know how to pump her arms and legs yet.  

Now both girls look so big on the little swing set.  During the school year, it seems it sits rather neglected.  Little Sis prefers to play on it with other kids, and Big Sis has so much going on after school.  It's waiting for spring break to arrive.

Meanwhile, Mommy just made an eBay purchase.  It really does sound better on vinyl.  Even if my girls would rather listen to Taylor Swift than kiddie music.  It makes me smile.  "Swing me like a daddy cow!"

Walt Disney Presents A Child's Garden of Verses and 
Other Songs for Children.  A Disneyland Record
Performed by Frances Archer and Beverly Gile.
Walt Disney Productions, 1959 edition.

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Here Come the Girl Scouts! (Women's History Month)

Here Come the Girl Scouts! The Amazing All-True Story of Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure by Shana Corey, illustrated by Hadley Hooper.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2012.

I received this wonderful present a couple of days ago.  The beautiful Robyn of Pen Pals & Picture Books mailed me her review copy!  (Thank you, thank you, thank you, sweet Robyn!)  Big Sis, as I've mentioned before, is a second-year Daisy Scout.  We're in the last week of cookie sales around here, and I'm starting to sweat the boxes we have left.  (Must.  Sell.  Cookies.)

March is Women's History Month, and as a mother of two daughters, I thought this book would be a fabulous starting point for a feature on nonfiction books about women in history.  Here Come the Girl Scouts! is about Juliette Gordon Low, known as "Daisy" to her friends and family.  Daisy was a very unconventional woman.  She believed in adventure, fresh air, exercise, and learning to do things for herself.  In 1912, wanting to make a lasting mark on the world, she founded what became the Girl Scouts of America.  Obviously, this one held a lot of interest for us going in.  It turned out to be even better than we expected!  Hadley Hooper's illustrations are gorgeous, and Shana Corey's text is informative and highly readable.

 There are quotes from the original Girl Scout handbook sprinkled throughout the book, such as the one on the blue "ribbon" pictured here:

Some amazing facts about Daisy:  she took lessons from a blacksmith in order to forge her own gate for her house, she traveled all over the world, and she once sneaked out of a dinner party to go fishing with none other than Rudyard Kipling!

Even the final pages of the book, where Corey writes a more in-depth history, remained interesting to both of my girls, who are 7 and 5.

Shana Corey has written several other books about great women in history, and I'm sure we'll be reading a few more of hers this month. I have a few books here at home, and a few more coming from the library, so I hope to pepper the blog with lots of women's history this month!

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Rumpelstiltskin (A Whitman Giant Tell-A-Tale Book)

I love fairy tales, I love Whitman Tell-A-Tales, but did you know I also appreciate good embroidery?  

And here we combine all three.

I couldn't find much information on Virginia Tiffany, other than the fact she stitched illustrations for children's books, mostly for Whitman and Golden books in the '60s and '70s.  Danielle Thompson shared some wonderful photos of Tiffany's Selections from A Child's Garden of Verses on her blog a couple of years ago.  Here are a few more on Amazon.  And check out this signed copy of my book on eBay!

Retold by Stella Nathan.
Stitchery by Virginia Tiffany.
Racine, WI: Western Publishing, 1968.

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A Winter Walk by the River, in Pictures

The Keeper of the Plains by Blackbear Bosin.  One of my two favorite Wichita "guys."

The Keeper stands at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers.
And yes, Kansans pronounce it "Ar-Kansas," not "Arkansaw."

My other favorite Wichita "guy" - the Wichita troll by Constance Ernatt.  

Back view of the troll.  Love the frog on his shoulder.
Not pictured:  his other arm is missing due to vandals.  A stick has been wedged into his
shoulder in its place.  Sometimes I really dislike people.

A view along the river.  The tall building used to be a Holiday Inn.
I dare you to  watch this terrible made-in-Wichita movie sometime.  This building
figures in the finale.

The swans, geese, and ducks were out in full force.

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