Fairy Tales at Botanica

One Memorial Day tradition in my hometown is the annual reopening of the butterfly house at our city's botanical gardens.  This is where the girls and I spent this past Monday.  And while the butterflies and flowers are wonderful, and while we watched a very cool performance by a husband and wife team called Bugs & Balloons, what I really want to share with you is the new "Once Upon a Time" interactive fairy tale exhibit!

Because I love fairy tales.  Duh.

When you approach each attraction, you see a storybook (see above).  There's a big button, and when you push it, you hear a voice tell the story.  As the story is told, most of the attractions do something:  the Three Little Pigs' houses shake, the beanstalk grows, etc.  The exhibit isn't huge, but it's so whimsical and sweet and sooooooo up my alley.

On Saturdays, there are supposed to be crafts and puppet shows and the like, which makes me think that I should not have let my membership lapse.  I definitely want to visit again some weekend before it closes on July 7!  And the exhibit is a traveling exhibit, which means keep an eye out!  Maybe it will come to a park or children's museum or another place near you.

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Two Little Golden Books About Birds

It's spring, and birds are chirping.  I thought I'd show off two very different vintage Little Golden Books today, by two favorite Little Golden Book illustrators.  The Golden Book of Birds was written by Hazel Lockwood and illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky.  It was first published in 1943 as number 13 in the LGB series.  (My copy dates from 1948.)  This was from the early, much wordier days of LGBs, and whole pages of this book contain text with no illustrations.  The book consists of short stories about different types of birds, in order to teach bird facts.  Birds: A Child's First Book About Our Most Familiar Birds was written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.  It was first published in 1958.  (My copy dates from 1981.)  This is a more familiar style of LGB:  simple text, beautiful illustrations.  It is straight-ahead nonfiction.

The Golden Book of Birds (A Little Golden Book) by Hazel Lockwood, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky.
Simon & Schuster, 1943.

Birds: A Child's First Book About Our Most Familiar Birds (A Little Golden Book) by Jane Werner Watson,
illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.  Golden Press, Western Publishing Company, 1958.

See, I told you I would get back to posting pictures of books.  I hope you have lovely bird-watching weather where you are.  Here, they keep predicting rain and storms that do not come, but the humidity is hovering over us with oppressive force anyway.  It is not helping my cough, or my sour, stupid why-can't-I-just-stay-in-bed-with-my-head-under-the-covers mood.

That said, Kansas, Oklahoma, north Texas, and a HUGE part of the midwest are under severe storm watches today, with possibility of tornadoes.  I would love some rain, even some thunder and lightning, but NO HAIL.  AND NO TORNADOES.

Vintage Little Golden Book illustrations do tend to help lift the spirits a bit, though, if only temporarily.

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Yarn is Our Friend

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And I'm Back...

Here in the States, it's Memorial Day, and the third day in a three day weekend.  A time to honor fallen heroes, as well as those loved ones who have passed on.  It's also a day often spent at a grill or by a lake.

School is over for the year.  Big Sis's last day was Wednesday.  I'm still a stay-at-home mom right now, and my husband doesn't have a regular schedule so for us, the whole "three day weekend" thing doesn't mean much.

But a Happy Memorial Day to all of my readers here Stateside, and thoughts and prayers to all those no longer with us.

I'm sorry to disappear for so long.  (If you follow on Facebook or Instagram, you will know I haven't been completely gone.)  I posted last Monday that we were fine after storms blew through our town.  Then later the same day, I watched the news out of Oklahoma and the next day, I just didn't know what to post.  I spent all of Wednesday at our elementary school, reading and picnicking with my daughter's first grade class.  (And figuring out the tornado plan for the building...)

The past week has brought the end of the school year, kitten drama, and horrible mini-meltdowns related to theatre and why I'm even still doing it (even in my little local setting), and related to my kids getting older and what the future will bring.  I think I'm on some sort of long-winded PMS self-doubt meltdown.  I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life, once the girls are both in school next year.  My blog output will have to slow down if I go back to work, so perhaps acclimating myself to an irregular schedule is a good thing.

And I just know you wanted to know all about that, didn't you?

And there were things I wanted to tell you about.  They just escaped my brain.

I never told you about the birthday tea party I took Big Sis to last weekend.  There is a new tea room at a favorite local coffee/tea/spices shop, which is housed in the old Mentholatum building.  (Yep, Mentholatum was born here!  The founder's name is on parks and school here.  Alas, when he died, the family moved the whole works to Buffalo...)  The party was for one of her ballet class friends, and it was so sweet.  The girls decorated hats, drank tea and ate cookies, watched an Indian dance (tea, India...), had a tea kettle-shaped cake, and read Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.  It was quite lovely.

And last night, I finally took the girls to see Oz, The Great & Powerful.  Low expectations are a great thing, because much to my surprise, I enjoyed myself.  I know most people liked the visuals and design of the movie, and I'm sure they were talking about the Oz scenes, but I really wanted to jump into the film during the black and white carnival scenes, at the beginning of the movie.  I love vintage carnival and circus visuals so much.  The striped tents, the old-fashioned clown, the magic lantern...  I wanted to find a photo to show you, but I could only find a couple via Google, and they didn't show enough.  Sooooooo...  if you like vintage carnival/circus/sideshow images, check out this pinboard.

The girls are signed up for the library's summer reading program.  I'll have some books to share this week.  I'm reading Mary Poppins to myself for the first time.  I'm still working on memorizing my lines as Speed in Two Gentlemen of Verona.  I have not started watching the new Arrested Development episodes on Netflix yet, despite the fact that Mr. B and I often felt like the only people watching it back in the day on Fox.

So that's my not-so-entertaining recap.  My sense of humor is slightly impaired right now and I'm fighting off a bad cough, so bear with me.

How about I just get back to posting pictures of books tomorrow?

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