Happy Friday!

"Maleficent" by Little Sis, age 6 1/2

Little Sis drew this picture two days ago.  These daughters of mine have been counting down until May 30! I wasn't in too big of a rush to see Maleficent myself.  I was expecting to be bored at best, or to hate it at worst.  Another Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland-style disappointment...

However, the three of us worked ourselves ragged this week, purging toys, picking up, and organizing their bedroom and playroom. Finally, last night, we declared the project done.  Mr. B said he would finish the sweeping and mopping, if I would take the girls to see Maleficent.  And the verdict?

We loved it!  All three of us.  Lots of beautiful fairyland images, which always appeals to the frolicking-in-the-woods-wearing-pretty-dresses side of me.  Lots of cool feminist revisionism.  Good performances.  It was a fun, summer mother-daughter flick!

I should also tell you that the original 1959 Disney version of Sleeping Beauty was my very favorite movie at the age of two. My parents took me to see it multiple times at the old Crest Theater, a beautiful 1950s movie house that is sadly no more.  

Now on to books!

What I Read

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Crown, 2012.

This book is so different from my usual fare.  I don't read a lot of modern crime novels or psychological thrillers, but everyone kept talking about it, and I was feeling left out. It took me a little while to get into it, because the characters weren't particular likeable. I am so glad I stuck it out!  It's a sick, twisty ride, and I'm rather looking forward to seeing how it translates to the big screen.

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell.  Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011.

Okay, now this is more like my usual fare. It's a kid's book, of course, but that isn't why it's more me.  (Really!)  Rather, it takes place long, long ago, in a gloomy, decrepit mansion, and involves birds, ghosts, mysteries, lonely children...  It's been on my list of books to read for a couple of years now.  Hooray to finally getting around to it!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale.  Bloomsbury USA, 2003.

More fairy tale goodness!  Another book that has been on my "to read" list for some time.  I haven't read anything else by Shannon Hale, although I'm familiar with some titles (Austenland, Ever After High series), but this was her first.  It's a fleshed-out retelling of "Goose Girl" from the Brothers Grimm. Hale is kind enough to provide the original tale on her website, but if you want to read the novel and you're not familiar with the original, I'd wait.   

What We Read

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014.

Omigosh, this is such a lovely book. Beekle lives on the island where imaginary friends are born, waiting for the day when a child imagines them to life. But poor Beekle is waiting such a long time, that he decided he needs to find his child on his own.  The illustrations are marvelous, and the book made for a sweet bedtime story.

Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker.  Roaring Brook Press, 2002.

How did I miss this one?  Thanks, Lucy, for featuring it.  I wanted to get some books about art and artists for my little artist.  The girls were familiar with at least one Pollock painting, thanks to the first Olivia book. I didn't realize until this one was in my hand that it was written by the same team who wrote A Ballet for Martha, one of our favorite dance books! This one is about Pollock's process, how he painted, and where. If you've seen the Ed Harris movie Pollock, don't worry - it doesn't get into his complicated personal life, as they discuss in the video below.

This book was our greatest surprise.  We loved it. I must admit, I'm not too familiar with Vasily Kandinsky's art, and the girls knew nothing.  The book delves into the theory that Kandinsky had synesthesia. He was quoted as saying he "heard" colors, and often named his paintings after musical pieces.  He tried to paint trees and houses like other artists, but his heart was in abstract expressionism.  The illustrations are by the illustrator of the American editions of the Harry Potter books, too, so you know they're gorgeous.  More gorgeous still, though, are the small reproductions of Kandinsky's actual paintings at the back of the book.  The girls were in love, picking out their favorites.  

Other than that, we're still working on Flora and Ulysses, and Big Sis is still reading Matilda.  I'm deciding which book to pull out of my library bag next.  I guess I should check which one is due back first!

The Wichita River Festival has started.  For once, I am not in a play and I'm free to do festival things.  We cheered on the drumline from our school at the Sundown Parade tonight, but grumpiness brought us home - no Pops concert, no fireworks.  That's life, I guess!

As always, Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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At the Same Moment Around the World

At the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin.
Chronicle Books, 2014.
Originally published in France under the title Au méme instant, sur lat Terre...

Have you seen this book yet?  I am in love with this book.  The illustrations are beautiful, as you can probably tell from the cover.  Better yet, it teaches something:  time zones.  We begin at 6:00 in the morning.  "It is six o'clock in the morning in Dakar, Senegal.  Keita wakes up early to help his father count the fish caught during the night."

From there, the book takes us to another part of the world, one hour later in the day, but at the same time. At the same time Keita is waking to count fish, it is 7 AM in Paris, 8 AM in Sofia, Bulgaria, 9 AM in Baghdad, 10 AM in Dubai...

We stop in Hanoi, Shanghai, Tokyo...

Sydney, Nouméa in New Caledonia, Anadyr in Russia, Apia in Samoa, Honolulu, Anchorage, San Francisco, Phoenix...

Mexico City, Lima, the Amazon rainforest near Manaus in Brazil, Nuuk in Greenland, the island of Fernando de Noronha near Brazil, a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and finally, we end exactly where we started, at 6 AM in Dakar, Senegal.

It can make a person crazy, picturing what time it is in some distant country, on the other side of the world. This book is such a fabulous way to introduce the concept to children.

Making a great thing even better, at the back of the book, you can read about time zones...

then place all the action on a big, beautiful pull-out map!  Which, to be honest, came in very handy for me!

I'll have a "what we've been reading" post tomorrow, at some point in the day.

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My Little Ham Has a Thing for Bacon

Have you noticed how popular bacon stuff has become lately?

Check out the novelty shop Archie McPhee.  They have an entire page called "The Bacon Store" that sells all sorts of bizarro products:  bacon body wash, bacon-scented mustaches (ooo, two trends in one!), bacon candy canes, bacon bandages, bacon giftwrap, bacon toothpaste.

My vegetarian self shudders.

So Little Sis earned a new nickname from her teacher over the last week or two of school:  Bacon.  I know it started before that, because her school dance teacher told me she was dancing around class, singing some made-up song about bacon.

It wasn't this song, but she does love Adventure Time.

Then at Field Day, when the kids lined up to get their faces painted, I asked what she wanted on her face.


Not surprisingly, bacon wasn't one of the choices on their sample pages, so I had her hop in the art teacher's line.

Back in her kindergarten room, the kids were given some free time to draw pictures.  Little Sis led the other kids in drawing pictures of bacon and eggs.  At least half the class participated in this endeavor.  Yep, see above.

We don't actually have bacon very often.  Well, I haven't eaten it since 1995, if not earlier.  The girls have it when Mr. B makes breakfast sometimes, or if we go to a breakfast restaurant.

I do remember her loving the maple bacon donuts at The Donut Whole when she was very small, though...

Last night, we told her it was time to stop drawing and head for bed.

She heaved a big sigh.  "I feel like a piece of bacon that nobody ate, that's been thrown in the dumpster."


I have a hold request placed for this book.  I thought she'd appreciate the sentiment in the title.

Don't Forget the Bacon! by Pat Hutchins.
Greenwillow, 1989 edition.
(Originally published by Bodley Head, 1976.)

So. Much. Bacon.  Sonic has bacon to put in their milkshakes.  Orange Leaf has crumbled bacon available as a frozen yogurt topping.

Bacon makes me think of Babe, the movie and the book.  Do you know what's on my cookbook shelf?

Babe's Country Cookbook: 80 Completely Meat-Free Recipes!  by Dewey Gram,
photographed by Martin Jacobs,
edited by David Ricketts.
GT Publishing Corp., 1998.

I bought it as a bargain book years ago at Barnes & Noble. To be honest, I haven't cooked from it in years, either, but I still have it!

Yeah, I don't do bacon.

My little ham amuses me, though.  Very, very much.

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