Happy Friday

Yesterday was the first day of spring!  I know, people are excited.  I love winter, but it has been a tough one this year.  We went to brunch on the last day of winter.  This darling little restaurant/bakery has the sweetest, most spring-like decor.

Big Sis and I went to the Orpheum Theatre for their monthly film series.  Last month, both girls went with me to see It Happened One Night.  (Big Sis loved it, Little Sis did not.)  Last night, the movie was a bit more contemporary:  Ghostbusters

A bit more contemporary...  Sheesh, I was younger than Big Sis the first time I saw Ghostbusters on the big screen.  Wow.  It was fun seeing it with a theater full of people who love it as much as we do.  "Who ya gonna call?"

Little Sis went to my grandmother's house instead.  She was not in the mood for '80s comedies.  Rather, she was in the mood to raid my decidedly '80s toy collection, which my grandmother lovingly stores for me.  Her mission:  "I want to find all your bald Cabbage Patch Kids!"

By that, she meant my CPK Preemies and my Newborn Kid.

On the grown-up book front, I have a wonderful book to share with you!  I am a big Alice Hoffman fan. In my book store days, co-workers would often set aside any Hoffman galleys that came into the store, knowing my love for her novels.  My favorite past books of hers include Practical Magic, The River King, and  Blue Diary.  Last month, she released The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a historical novel set in New York, 1912.  The usual whimsy is still there, but tempered with heavier things:  freak shows, fires, murder, labor disputes...  The book weaves real historical events and people into an original story about a "human mermaid" and a Jewish photographer, charged with solving a missing person's case.

Here is the book trailer.

I am currently reading Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller.  I found an excerpt from an old issue of "Vanity Fair" online one evening, and decided I wanted to read more.  My own Women's History Month reading, if you will.  I've listened to my own little playlists on Spotify and YouTube as I read, sad that my stupid voice keeps coming and going, not allowing me to sing along.  I also found this very cool website, which provides listening accompaniment, chapter by chapter.  

Here is a video provided by Simon & Schuster of author Sheila Weller, discussing the book.

The girls and I are still working our way through our Women's History Month stacks. Spring break is almost over.  I wish it had been more fun, but at least it gave everyone time to recover from our nasty cough/cold thing.  (So types the woman with the sore throat and cough that came back!)  Today, the whole family is seeing an early matinee of Muppets Most Wanted, which we're very excited about.

Tonight I'm cheering my alma mater in their first March Madness appearance this year.  We're undefeated - let's stay that way, boys! (Good luck to KU and K-State, too.  Three Kansas teams!)

 Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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More Books For Women's History Month

Today's stack of books for Women's History Month introduced us to some American pioneers in their fields:  a cookbook author, a leader in the business of sports (and civil rights), a dancer, and a librarian.

Fannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.  Aladdin, 2004.

The story of Fannie Farmer is told through the eyes of a little girl, the daughter of Fannie's employers, and how Fannie began writing down precise measurements for her recipes, in order to help the little girl learn to cook properly.  Fannie Farmer, of course, pioneered the idea of using very exact measurements and instructions in cooking, writing a cookbook that remains in print today, as well as founding a cooking school.  Click here to see a bit about the opening of the Fannie Farmer School of Cookery.

This book was well-written, informative, and features delightful illustrations, courtesy of the wonderful Nancy Carpenter.  We enjoyed it very much!

Here is an interesting video for you.  This is a video from Le Gourmet TV, "How to make Fannie Farmer's 1896 Brownie Recipe."  By the way, there is no chocolate.

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate.  Balzer + Bray, 2010.

This is one of the most educational books we have read so far, this year, in that none of us had heard of Effa Manley.  Effa Manley was the first woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  She met her husband, Abe Manley, at a Yankees game, and her husband involved her in the business of running his Negro League team, the Newark Eagles.  Effa had a great head for business, as well as a true love of baseball.  She worked hard to make sure her players and the league was taken care of. When baseball began to integrate, she was proud of her players, but spoke up on behalf of the Eagles and other Negro League teams, demanding compensation from the major leagues for the breaking of players' contracts.  After the Negro League ended, she campaigned tirelessly for recognition for her players in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Years after her death, she herself was inducted into the hall of fame.

Here is the book trailer for She Loved Baseball.

And a video from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief with Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Gary Kelley.  Viking, 1999.

Maria Tallchief was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, to an Osage father and Scotch-Irish mother.  She would later become a prima ballerina, one of the great stars of twentieth century dance, but this book doesn't cover her career.  Rather, it is a look at her childhood love of music and dance.  Her parents had money, as the oil found on Osage land had made the Osage rich.  While she and her sister studied dance and piano in Oklahoma, their ambitious mother felt they were being held back.  The family moved to Los Angeles, where the sisters relearned to dance with their new, better teacher.  When she was older, her parents made her choose between ballet and piano.  She chose dance, because with dance she could still have the music.  She became a student of Madame Nijinska, and when the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo came to Los Angeles, she knew she wanted to lead that life someday.  The book ends rather abruptly.  The illustrations are lovely, and Tallchief's voice is strong throughout, but I wished the story had continued.

Maria Tallchief interviewed with excerpt's from George Balanchine's Firebird.

Maria Tallchief and Rudolf Nureyev in Flower Festival.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough, illustrated by Debby Atwell.  HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013.

In the 19th century, children were not allowed in libraries.  What few books there were for children were kept locked up in cabinets, for fear children would ruin them.  Anne Carroll Moore planned to become a lawyer, like her father.  She was a well-read, intelligent woman, and her father was prepared to help her succeed.  Alas, her parents died, and Moore changed her plans. She went to school to become a librarian instead. Moore became the head children's librarian of the newly unified New York Public Library system, helping to change the way children were serviced by libraries across the country.  The text is great, the illustrations are bright and interesting.

I already knew a bit about Anne Carroll Moore through Leonard S. Marcus's book Minders of Make-Believe.  There is no denying the importance of what Moore did for libraries and children's literature in the twentieth century, but Moore was also a very harsh critic, heaping disdain upon a good many books that were destined to become classics.  I highly recommend that book, by the way.

A book trailer by the Mooresville, IN Public Library.

We have many more books to read, and many more women's stories to learn.  I have a few other things to throw in this month, but after losing a week of blogging, I'll probably be concentrating on Women's History Month through the end of March.

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Our Sick Week Becomes Spring Break

Happy Day After St. Patrick's Day!  Did you wear green?  Did you go to any cool parades this weekend? Eat (or drink) anything Irish or pseudo-Irish and yummy?  I made McCann's Irish Oatmeal for breakfast, with berries and brown sugar and milk.  It was quite good.  The girls preferred cereal.  Grrrr...

It is spring break.  My one St. Paddy's thing to do at school last week fell through, due to illness.  There is no point in reading the lovely Fiona's Luck to a classroom full of kids if you have no voice!!!  I had no voice.  In fact, it only came back two days ago.  I missed it.  The house was very, very quiet, without the sound of me singing, or yelling, or chattering like a loon.  Because of illness, we also missed the St. Patrick's Day parade in town.

Big Sis and I wore our green yesterday.  Green is my favorite color, you know.  I have no problem finding green things in my closet.  We wore our green while running errands.  Last night, we read the first half of Magic Tree House #43: Leprechaun in Late Winter.

What else has happened this past week?  Not much, I'm afraid.  We bid farewell to the last bit of snow...

Then the weather got really, really nice, but Big Sis and I were sick and missed that.  In fact, she missed four days of school.  Spring break began on Friday.  We made it to the library, loading up on more titles for Women's History Month.  (Tune in tomorrow!)  You can see what subject Little Sis is most excited about. Yes, we left with another Amelia Earhart book.

Poor Little Sis came down with the nasty stuff this weekend, just in time for spring break.  She keeps begging to look at pictures of Little Miss No Name and Susie Sad Eyes dolls on Flickr and eBay. They are inspiring her art and play time.

Today has been rougher for her.  Poor Big Sis is ready to go places and do things.  Little Sis has other ideas.

Now that my voice has returned, we are reading together again.  I shall have some more Women's History Month posts, among other things.  Hope everyone is staying well!

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