Our Week

I don't have a "what we're reading" roundup for you this week, mostly because we're still reading stuff I've already covered.

If you don't mind, I'll share our busy week with you instead.

Last weekend, the weather was gorgeous.  The highs were in the upper sixties, the winds were quieter than usual, and we craved the outdoors.  So Saturday, the girls and I ventured over the John Mack Bridge...

Big Sis took this picture from the back seat!  I love rainbow arch bridges.

to one of our favorite parks, the site of Big Sis's 8th birthday party.  We rode the miniature train, Little Sis took a pony ride, and we played miniature golf.  Then we took a lovely walk around the yellow brick road!  (See above.)

The yellow brick road was added in the early '90s.  A local sculptor crafted these beautiful wooden statues of Oz characters, but vandals are cruel.  There are no characters along the road now.

Mr. B is home on Sundays, and he suggested taking the girls to a Wichita Wingnuts game.  The last time we went to a ballgame, Big Sis was a baby.  Back then, we were attending Wichita Wranglers games.  The Wranglers were a farm team for the Kansas City Royals.  Alas, they pulled out, moved to Arkansas, and changed their name.  Wichita has never had a Major League team, but we have a fine stadium with great views of downtown...

and it's wonderful to have a team to root for, even if they aren't affiliated with the big guys.  We worried about whether the girls would enjoy themselves.  They were extremely enthusiastic about going, but as all parents know, that can easily change.  We needn't have feared.  They loved it!  The fresh air, the stadium food, baseball...  Little Sis, my shy girl, even ran the bases with the rest of the kids after the game! Poor Big Sis wasn't wearing decent running shoes.  We will definitely attend more games this summer, and she plans to wear her sneakers from now on.

This was the girls' last week of school.  I cannot believe it's over.  The kindergarten classes took a field trip to Exploration Place, an interactive museum, on Wednesday.

I chaperoned a little group of three girls.  We had a pretty good time!

I spent most of Thursday at the school, which has become a tradition for me on the last day of school.  There were assemblies, a student-teacher kickball game, a picnic with family members at lunchtime, movies, parties, yearbook signings, cleaning up...   It was a very busy, very fun day.  For reading to them each week, Big Sis's classed gave me a sack full of thank you cards they made.  Some of them were incredibly sweet.

I was a mean mom - I made the girls go back to school on Friday. We're friends with the school dance teacher, and came in to help organize some stuff in her room.  Big Sis was very helpful, and I sent her to help her beloved art teacher, who is leaving us this year.  (Sadness!)  Little Sis has a different way of helping. Witness:  the doll murder.

All the kids agreed that this prop doll was creepy.
Little Sis wanted the head and hands for her creepy doll part collection.

Oh dear...

She pulled a tooth at a sleepover last night.  We told her the tooth fairy wouldn't know where to find her, so she'd better bring the tooth home.  We'll put it under her pillow tonight...

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!  It's going to be stormy and rainy through Tuesday.  Not the best start to summer vacation, but oh, how we needed some rain!

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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The Baby Tree

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall.
Nancy Paulsen Books,
an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group,


Our library bag is incredibly full right now.  There are lots of grown-up, YA, and big kid books that all came in at once, and I'm worried about getting to them all.  There are tons of picture books, because I requested every new release that interested me.  This is one of those picture books, because if it has Sophie Blackall's name on it, I want to see it!  We love her in this house as the illustrator of Ivy & Bean, as well as the artist behind some amazing picture books.

For the record, in case you're wondering, no one in our family is expecting a baby, least of all me.  After two days of The New Baby, it just seemed logical to follow with this one.

And this book is adorable.

The little boy in the story is having a typical little boy morning, when his parents tell him their big news:  they're going to have a new baby.

Well, the little guy is full of questions, but it's time to head to school!

He goes on to ask various people where babies come from.  Olive, the teenager walking him to school, tells him that you plant a seed, and it grows into a baby tree.  His teacher hurriedly tells him, "from the hospital," before changing the subject.  His grandpa was in the hospital recently, so he asks him.  Grandpa tells him about the stork.  The boy even asks the poor mail carrier, who tells him he thinks babies come from eggs.

Finally, the kiddo asks his mom and dad.

The book explains things in very simple terms, appropriate for a small child.  A seed from the dad is planted in an egg inside the mom, and the baby grows there for 9 months until it runs out of room.  Sometimes babies are born at home, they say, but usually in a hospital.  The little boy realizes that most of the stories were true, in a way:  a seed, a hospital, an egg...  There's a very sweet punchline involving Grandpa's story.  On the last page, there is some very useful advice about answering the most common questions about where babies come from.  Very well done.

And you must check out the book trailer, because it is darling.

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The New Baby (Little Golden Book, 1948)

The New Baby (A Little Golden Book) by Ruth and Harold Shane, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Simon & Schuster, 1948.

Yesterday Early, early this morning, I posted pictures of the 1975 edition of The New Baby, illustrated by my favorite Little Golden Book artist, Eloise Wilkin.

As promised, here is a look at the original illustrations from the 1948 edition!  Get ready to flip back and forth!

As you can see, my copy is not in pristine condition.  Little Golden Books were often much more text-heavy in the early days.  Some books were later pared down for later issue.  Have you ever seen an original copy of The Shy Little Kitten?  I had a very damaged copy that was missing the first couple of pages, but it was interesting to see the differences between it and the copy in print today.  The content was about the same, as were the illustrations.  There were just so many more words.

The New Baby of 1948 is a fascinating curio. Wilkin's illustrations were so different in her early career. They are cute, but cartoony.

We meet little Mike, watching a delivery truck arrive, much the same as in the 1975 edition.

Mike rushes in to see what the delivery man has delivered.  Note Daddy's pipe and how not pregnant his lovely mother looks.

Now, you may recall that in the later version, the package contains a baby buggy.  Well, in 1948, the big box contained a bathinette - a special bathtub for the baby.  Look at Daddy practicing to bathe the baby, pipe in his mouth.  

I love this sweet depiction of an old-fashioned American town.

And now Aunt Pat comes to visit.  In the 1975 edition, Aunt Pat is clearly Mom's sister.  In this version, Aunt Pat is Mom's elderly aunt.

Here we have two illustrations that Wilkin recreated for the 1975 version, the family dinner and the nighttime leave for the hospital.

Mike has been told he has a new baby sister.  He asks Aunt Pat if he can run next door to tell his neighbor, Mrs. Blair, and her daughter Susie.  Mrs. Blair is a young, pretty neighbor in 1975, and Susie appears to be about Mike's age.

Mrs. Blair isn't so young and pretty in 1948, and Susie is a baby.

Mike is playing outside when the delivery truck comes back to the house.

Just like in 1975, Mike asks Daddy and Aunt Pat if there's going to be another baby, because that's what the delivery truck meant last time.  Of course, this package is actually for Mike.

It's his big boy bed!

The rest of the book is similar to the later edition.

This proud little boy pushing the carriage illustration is very sweet.  I just don't think it's as perfect as the final picture from the 1975 edition, Mike holding his new baby sister.

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Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: The New Baby (Little Golden Book, 1975)

The New Baby by Ruth and Harold Shane, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.  Golden Books, 1975 edition.

[Oops. Technically, it's Tuesday, but I keep getting sidetracked.]

When my mother was pregnant with my little sister in 1979/early 1980, my parents gifted me two Little Golden Books about new baby sisters.  One was Baby Dear by Esther Wilkin, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. That one I have kept in my collection.  I was so excited to receive the other book in the mail today!  This is the 1975 edition of The New Baby, all about little Mike and what happens when his little sister is born.

The book begins with a special delivery.  What is in the huge box?  A baby buggy, it turns out.  This is how Mike's parents tell him about the coming baby.

I love the sweet Eloise Wilkin illustrations.  Mike's mom looks lovely in her seventies maternity wear.

Soon, Mike's Aunt Pat comes to stay with the family.  She is there to watch Mike when the time comes for his parents to go to the hospital, and she will stay to help out with the new baby.

Another delivery truck comes to the house.  Mike asks if his parents are having another baby.  After all, the last time a truck arrived, his parents told him he was about to be a big brother.

His father tells him, no, this package is for Mike!

A big boy bed!  Now Mike's baby sister can have his crib.

I always loved the scene in the book when Mike's mother comes home.  And look at the neighbor and her daughter, running over from next door.  I lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids when I was tiny.  This scene looked very familiar.

While I'm just now getting around to replacing my copy of this beloved book, I did come across another treat a few years ago:  the original 1948 edition of The New Baby!  So, now you know what to expect tomorrow on Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes...

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