Is this really only my second post this week?  I'll try to cook something up for next week.  In the meantime, here are a few Instagram shots:  a fun window at one of our favorite used book stores; a Bingo card from the cool Bingo game from my grandma; Little Sis's Labyrinth t-shirt, worn today; my old Barbie Dream House Colorforms Play Set from the early '80s, found at Grandma's; Jenny looking pretty on my mother-in-law's old quilt; Mabel snuggled on the couch cushion by my shoulder; and the little rabbit who just moved into the drama room at the girls' school.

So...  on to books!

What We Read

Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson.  Nobrow / Flying Eye Books, 2013.

We love the Hildafolk books!  It's taken us way too long to get to this, the third Hilda book.  Poor Hilda and her mother have left the beautiful countryside of the earlier books, and moved to a nameless big city.  Her mother is afraid to let Hilda go outside and play unsupervised.  When a group of kids from school ask Hilda to come out and play, her mother grudgingly agrees, asking her to be home before dark so they can go to the Bird Parade together.  Hilda doesn't have much in common with the city kids.  She doesn't understand "ding dong ditch," and winds up having a pleasant conversation with an old lady.  She has never played Kick the Can.  And she certainly would never purposely harm a bird.  Separated from the other children, Hilda cares for the bird, who can talk, but has forgotten who he is and how to fly.  Hilda doesn't know her way home, so the two set off together.  The bird, it turns out, is not your average bird, and the ending was very cool.  We have the latest book checked out as well, and we will read it this weekend!

Fancy Nancy's Fabulous Fall Storybook Collection by Jane O'Connor, with pictures based on the art by Robin Preiss Glasser.  HarperCollins, 2014.

My girls are not as into Fancy Nancy these days, but they still like to read the books, for nostalgia's sake, if nothing else. They no longer play dress-up or like to wear twirly dresses. This book, a new release, comprises six previously released titles, two 8x8 paperbacks and four paperbacks from the I Can Read beginning readers series: Fancy Nancy: Halloween . . .Or Bust!; Fancy Nancy: Fancy Day in Room 1-A; Fancy Nancy: Splendid Speller; Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore!; Fancy Nancy: The 100th Day of School; and Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet. We own at least a couple of those books, and we've read all the others.  There is something special about holding a pretty hardcover with an autumn-themed cover, though, especially in late August, when the heat and mosquitoes and sweat are bashing you over the head.  I'm so ready for fall, you guys.

What Big Sis Is Reading

Henry And Beezus by Beverly Cleary.  Originally published by Morrow, 1952.  Most recent paperback edition by HarperCollins, 2014.

Big Sis picked this out at The Reading Reptile in Kansas City, and has picked it up a few times since she got it.  Now that school is back in session, she keeps it in her desk to read during silent reading.

A Time for Courage: The Suffragette Diary of Kathleen Bowen, Washington, D.C., 1917 (Dear America) by Kathryn Lasky.  Scholastic, 2001.  

The Dear America books were popular in my earliest bookselling days, along with their various spin-off series:  My Name is America, My America, The Royal Diaries...  They're fictionalized journals about a certain time in American history, written from the point of view of a girl or young woman during that time.  I used to admire the books when I shelved them.  They were so nicely packaged, pretty little hardcovers with ribbon markers.  Anyway, Big Sis started this one last night.  It's a bit advanced for her, but she discovered that the My America books were too easy.  She can breeze through one in an hour or less.  After watching a few episodes of the PBS television series based on the books (thank you, Netflix), she was eager to read more.

What Little Sis Checked Out From the Library

The Never Girls #1: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe, illustrated by Jana Christy.  Random House / Disney, 2013.

I still think she's overreaching, but Little Sis will only check out chapter books now, and oooh, look, Disney Fairies!  We might alternate pages on this one.  While her teacher says she is ahead of her first grade class in reading and spelling, I still think this is a bit too much for her.  Sigh.  She just wants to be big!

What I Read

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell.  Atria Books, 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lisa Jewell is a British writer I've liked for some time.  Her books were different from the other female writers to emerge in the wake of Bridget Jones' Diary in that they usually gave the men in the stories equal time.  She seemed as at home on the shelf with Nick Hornby than Helen Fielding.  Many of her books have that breezy, comical feel to them, but this is one of her weightier ones.  In fact, I think this is the heaviest book she's ever written.  It's about the Bird family, and they are as dysfunctional as you can get.  There's hoarding, suicide, infidelity, arrests, drugs, unplanned pregnancies, weird neighbors.  The book is nonlinear in plotline.  We first meet Lorelei, mother and pathological hoarder, via an email she is sending to a gentleman friend.  Then we jump ahead a bit to April 2011, where her eldest daughter, Megan, and her daughter are arriving to clean and pack up the house following Lorelai's death.  We travel back and forth through time, to a perfect family Easter in the early 1980s, to various Easters that follow, from child to grown child, from partner to spouse.  It was compelling enough to keep me reading until two in the morning, and I admit to feeling real sadness at times, especially for Megan, but there was something about the book that kept me from loving it.  Perhaps it was too much dysfunction, that Jerry Springer-y soapiness that made it seem too unreal sometimes.  Occasionally, I felt like I was reading the script for a movie, some indie film with an unconventional narrative structure.  It felt a little clunky.  I'm still a Lisa Jewell fan, though, and like I stated above, I did care what happened to her characters, as bizarre as their lives were.

This weekend will be full of auditions:  I'm auditioning for a play tomorrow - along with half the actresses in town - and Big Sis is auditioning for The Nutcracker this Sunday!  Little Sis is watching the same two seasons of Adventure Time on Netflix - oh, how I wish they'd add another season or two! - and Mr. B is working on the railroad, all the livelong day.  

And school is going well, from what I can tell!  I'm going crazy with the quiet...

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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  1. J just finished up the whole Nevergirls series, she loooooooooooved them so much! she's sad there aren't anymore books. and she has watched all of the seasons of Jessie a million times. I really hope the last season goes on Netflix soon! They are still making shows, they just haven't made their way to Netflix yet! Have fun at your audition!!

    Oh and thanks for the Hildafolk tip, J loved the first 2, and I had no idea there were more. She'll be stoked!

    1. We seem to have taken a break from Jessie. Right now, the youngest is having a Care Bears marathon, watching the new computer-animated series. She still loves the old Care Bears: The Movie from the '80s, too. Eek.

      Yes, read the next two Hildafolk books! We haven't read the new one yet, but soon. :)

  2. I've wanted to read the Nevergirls series for some time, but as always there are so many books, so little time! I might have to wait for my eldest to get a little more into chapter books so I can read it to her in a couple of years. Then again, maybe I won't wait -ho ho :O)
    I've just finished reading Henry and Beezus on the Kindle, I just love Beverly Cleary and this was a great one!
    Hildafolk looks great!
    And I think we need that Fancy NOW!! :D

    1. I need to see how well she can read the Never Girls series. I found out that she is definitely reading a chapter book at school, but I want to have a look at it. She hasn't been interested in reading to me at home. The Hildafolk books are so much fun. I need to re-read some Beverly Cleary myself someday. It's nice to let Big Sis discover them on her own, though. :)


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