Friday Reads

It's Friday!  Here's a picture of our breakfast.  I got up early (!) and made chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.  The weather called for it.  It finally feels like fall!

The girls and I started The Emerald City of Oz this week.  I can't believe we're suddenly on book 6!  It took us months to get through the first Oz book, but now we are truckin'!  As we are in full Oz mode, you can be sure there will be more Oz posts to come.  If they fail to be of interest to you, I'm sorry.  I'm trying to split them up, but I have to do them.  I must.  Oz is my thing.

Big Sis is reading up a storm of her own!  She informed me that her Magic Tree House books are too easy now.  I knew they were easy as far as reading level goes, but I liked the history lessons.  She is now in love with all things Judy Moody.  While she waited for the muffins to come out of the oven this morning, she finished her library book from school:

Judy Moody Declares Independence
by Megan McDonald, illustrated by
Peter H. Reynolds.
Candlewick Press, 2010.

I'm still trying to get used to her reading all these things I haven't read myself.  Yesterday, she finished her book from the public library:

Just Grace  by Charise Mericle Harper.
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2008.

Just Grace is the first book in another series, but I'm not sure Big Sis is ready to jump in on the rest.  She is in a Judy Moody mood.  We also gave her two more Ramona Quimby books for her birthday, and I have a feeling she will be reading those soon.

I checked out the first book in yet another series for her, but I'm reading it myself now.  I thought she might be interested in the Emily Windsnap books, about a girl who discovers she is a mermaid.  The illustrations are by Sarah Gibb, who illustrated that gorgeous edition of Rapunzel a few years ago.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler,
illustrated by Sarah Gibb.
Candlewick Press, 2003. 

I'm not very far into the book yet - yesterday was a crazy day! - but it seems pretty enjoyable.  While the character of Emily is older (12), I don't think the book would be too hard for Big Sis.  I might suggest it for her when she's ready to try something new.

Big Sis and I are also planning to read Mr. Underneath by Randy Briley together soon.  We are waiting for the perfect autumn weather to start, since it seems like the perfect creepy fall read.  

Mr. Underneath by Randy Briley.
Raven Mad Studios, 2013.

I finally read a book I missed as a kid, the Newbery-winning classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. BasilE. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers,
1967.  (2007 reprint)

I shall try not to let that one slip by the girls when they're older, especially if they intend to read Brian Selznick's Wonderstruck, which pays homage to From the Mixed-Up Files...  I adore Wonderstruck, and I knew enough about this book to understand Selznick was honoring it, but I do wish I would have read this one first.

Finally, if you weren't already aware, today is Roald Dahl Day!!!  

the official Roald Dahl Day logo

The beloved writer would have turned 97 years old today, and this is the day to celebrate his awesomeness!  If there are no Roald Dahl events near you, the website offers a ton of downloads and printables.  I think the girls and I will have a mini-Dahl celebration this evening.  I'm sorry Big Sis has a substitute today.  Her teacher read The Magic Finger to the class last month, so I know she's a fan.  

I think we may try to visit the state fair tomorrow, and we definitely have two birthday parties to juggle on Sunday.  September is one of our craziest months.  Is it like this for anyone else?

As always, Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

Eighth Birthday Party

Big Sis wanted a Hello Kitty party at one of our favorite parks.  This park is fabulous, by the way.  My parents used to take me there when I was very small.  All the kids (and quite a few of the adults) rode the miniature train, and some of us took a turn on the pedal boats.  There are Shetland ponies and miniature golf, too, although we skipped those.

My friend Wendi made the beautiful and delicious cake and cupcakes.  

The kids took turns whacking the pinata. 

Poor pinata.

We came home with so much Hello Kitty stuff.   

So much.

Everyone thought Big Sis needed this t-shirt.  Lucky for Little Sis,
Big Sis doesn't mind sharing.

The Road to Oz (Little Golden Book)

I love The Road to Oz so much, that when I found the then-recently reprinted Little Golden Book edition a few years ago, you know I just about died of happiness!

The Road to Oz (Little Golden Book) by L. Frank Baum,
adapted by Peter Archer [pen name of Kathryn and Byron Jackson],
 illustrated by Harry McNaught.
Originally published by Simon & Schuster, 1951.
Reprinted by Random House, 2009.

Compare the adorable illustrations by Harry McNaught with the pen-and-ink drawings by John R. Neill in my previous post.  So many differences, but oh so charming.

I wish I knew more about Harry McNaught.  He illustrated many books for Golden, as well as some Sesame Street titles.  In addition to The Road to Oz, he illustrated Little Golden Book editions of The Tin Woodman of Oz and The Emerald City of Oz, neither of which have been reprinted.

The Road To Oz

The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill.
First published by Reilly & Britton, 1909.
Books Of Wonder edition published by HarperCollins, 1991.

Little Sis and I are nearing the end of The Road to Oz, the fifth book in the series by L. Frank Baum.  In fact, the road has led Dorothy, Toto, and their new friends to the Emerald City, and they are about to pay a visit to Princess Ozma.  I'm excited to read the final chapters again.  Ozma has arranged another fairyland adventure for Dorothy, in order to bring Dorothy to Oz for her birthday party.  The book culminates with visits from not characters from all of the Oz books, but from some of Baum's other children's books, as well: John Dough and the Cherub, Dot and Tot of Merryland, Queen Zixi of Ix, and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.

Endpaper love.

While this is one of my favorite Oz books in terms of story, it is the most disappointing when it comes to illustrations.  Instead of the gorgeous full-color illustrations, this book was printed on multi-colored paper, and the illustrations by John R. Neill are pen-and-ink only.  The detail is beautiful, but I miss the color.

Dorothy and Toto are at the farm in Kansas, when they are approached by the Shaggy Man, asking for directions to Butterfield.  (By the way, there is no town called Butterfield in Kansas.  There is a Butterfield Trail, though!)  Dorothy starts to walk with him a bit, in order to show him the road, but suddenly, the one road becomes many new roads!  Fairy magic!  As the threesome walk along their chosen road, they encounter a lost little boy named Button Bright, whose stock phrase is "Don't know," and a beautiful girl in colorful, flowing robes named Polychrome, the Rainbow's Daughter.  There are visits to a town ruled by foxes and another ruled by donkeys.  There are unwanted transformations and a close call with some head-throwing creatures called Scoodlers, who want to cook the group into soup.  There is a helpful visit from a chap called Johnny Dooit, who builds the friends a sand boat to sail across the Deadly Desert.  And finally, we have the beautiful birthday party, which ends with everyone being carried home in giant bubbles.

Tomorrow, I'll have some more Road to Oz to share with you!  Until then, here is another Oz oddity for you today!  In 1960, there was an episode of Shirley Temple's Storybook entitled "The Land of Oz."  The cast list is impressive:  Agnes Moorehead, Jonathan Winters, Sterling Hollaway, Arthur Treacher, the voice of Mel Blanc, and Temple herself as Ozma.

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