Happy Friday


It's Friday!  We are heading to southwestern Missouri to see my husband's family, but I wanted to leave you with a few of the books we read this week.  Oh, and I thought I'd show off my big Darth Vader.  Mr. B gave him to me for an early birthday present.  He is nestled in nicely among the dolls and trolls in the living room.  Every time I pass through the room, I swear, someone has changed his pose.  He also makes a good key holder.

Okay, so on to books.  We are still reading The Scarecrow of Oz at bedtime.  We read quite a few new picture books together, too.  I covered one of those already, and there's one more I'll showcase next week.  Here are the rest:

What We Read



Dolphin Baby! by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Brita Granström.  Candlewick Press, 2012.

Well, this one isn't so new.  We checked this one out some time ago, but it got buried beneath other books.  Big Sis is on a dolphin kick lately.  This is a lovely nonfiction account of a young dolphin's first year.  The illustrations are very sweet, and we are becoming very big fans of Nicola Davies' nature-inclined children's books.




Adventures With Barefoot Critters: An ABC Book by Teagan White.  Tundra Books, 2014.

I've been following Teagan White on Facebook for some time, and I don't even remember how I came across her.  I do know I was excited to get a hold of her first picture book!  The girls and I agree, this is a precious book.  It's an ABC book, yes, but not as basic as many, plus it also depicts the months of the year and changing of the seasons.  But it's the delightful anthropomorphic forest creatures that make the book so awesome.



The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara.  Roaring Brook Press, 2014.

I love Kazuno Kohara's illustrations.  Have you read Ghosts in the House! or Here Comes Jack Frost?  This one is just as adorable, but it has to do with a library!  And animals reading books!  At night!  This is the Midnight Library, and it's only open at night, and the little girl is there with the owls to check books out to the animals.  No backstory, no explanations, just a whimsical idea, adorably illustrated.


A Perfect Place for Ted by Leila Rudge.  Candlewick Press, 2014.

This one was published overseas under the title Ted, but I'm guessing no one in the U.S. wanted it to be accidentally confused with crude talking teddy bear movies directed by Seth McFarlane.  No, A Perfect Place for Ted is about a very cute dog with his own sweater, who goes unnoticed at the pet store.  He tries other ways to be noticed: he joins the circus, he tries to become a show dog.  It is only when a little girl named Dot finally sees him at the pet store that someone finally notices him.  Spoiler alert:  it's because her house is full of CATS.





What I Read



The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  Little, Brown, 2012.

As much as I loved the Harry Potter series, I wasn't in much of a hurry to run out and buy Rowling's new adult books.  I figured I'd get to them eventually.  However, I was invited to join a book club a few months ago (my first!), and last week, I finally made it to a meeting!  And this was the book for the month.  I liked it!  I could nitpick - it's soapy, some of the characters are a bit cartoonish, some are underdeveloped, the ending feels a bit much - but I liked the ideas she is expressing, and how she never tries to make her poor characters into saints.  In fact, there are few truly likeable characters here, but I found myself caring about them anyway.  That was a feat in itself.  (There are plot summaries all over the internet, if you haven't read it yet.  This is one of my typical Friday rushed mini-reviews.  I apologize.)



Sunday is my birthday.  Just throwin' that in there.  No big whoop.

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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The Magic City


Wichita started as an old West cowtown, but its cowtown days were short-lived.  In an attempt to bring people to this new little city, the newspaper guys coined all sorts of nicknames for Wichita.  One was the "Peerless Princess of the Plains."  Another was "The Magic City."  I'm not sure Wichita is the most magical place, nor Kansas in general - ask Dorothy Gale! - but we went in search of a little magic this week.  On a beautiful sunny day, not too hot, we paid a visit to our beloved Wichita Troll!


Chained under a grate behind the electric company's building by the Arkansas River, this fantastic sculpture was away for a while, being repaired.  We hadn't visited him since he came home.


My wild prairie fairies waved their wands at him.  I think they were casting a spell to prevent future harm from coming to him.



We wandered down by the river for a spell, 


stopping to check out the dragons at Veterans' Memorial Park...


before heading to a few parks, playing and snapping pictures.




And yes, Mom played fairy dress-up, too, before all wings were cast aside.  
It's easier to fly on the swings without fairy wings.




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My Pet Book


Bob Staake is one of our favorite modern picture book artists, and books are some of our most beloved material possessions.  So it goes without saying that we must love Bob Staake's latest picture book, My Pet Book.


My Pet Book by Bob Staake.
Random House, 2014.

A little boy in Smartytown wanted an easy pet, not a dog or a cat.


His parents suggest a pet book.  It would be easy to care for and it would never run away!



The book was, indeed, the perfect pet.  It never ate or drank, or shed or got fleas.  "It didn't even poop!"


Best of all were the stories inside the book.


But what happens when the boy's pet book does disappear?  What happens when the maid (accidentally) donates the boy's pet book to charity?


As you can see from my first photo, My Pet Book inspired some imaginative play.  The girls chose their own pet books.  Big Sis chose her beloved Wonderful Wizard of Oz, while Little Sis is sentimental toward our old board book copy of Goodnight Moon.  And while pet books don't really eat or drink, we decided that if they did eat and drink, they might eat letters and drink ink.  Why not?

Bob Staake has a wonderful style, very retro-modern.  We try to check out each of his books as they come out.  And books that celebrate books are some of our very favorites.  We enjoy books as tangible objects, as well as the stories they contain.  My Pet Book is definitely a keeper.  I'm adding it to someone's wish list right now!



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