Recently Read

Guess what? I'm actually going to put together a "What We've Read Recently" post this week! It's been a while. I apologize, because I know a few of you out there seem to enjoy these things. They just take longer to assemble than I think they will, and while we've had our lazy moments this summer, we have been busy. Tonight, I start my second weekend of As You Like It for Wichita Shakespeare Company. [Hey, look, that's me in the local paper, bottom lefthand corner!] We've finally finished most of the major housework, although we still haven't invited any of the girls' friends over. Mr. B made my porch and front yard lovely for summer, but the backyard still needs to be done. [We will not have a new fairy house in time for International Fairy Day, so I'm making alternative plans.] I took the girls to Old Cowtown Museum for Steampunk Day two weeks ago. [I decided I admire the aesthetic, but the roleplaying aspect is something I just don't get.] Last Saturday, I attended the only part of my 20th high school reunion that didn't conflict with my play schedule: the tour of the building - slash - cook-out on the lawn. [The building with the falcon on it? That was my high school. It has changed a lot!] The whole family drove down to Mulvane last night to see Ballet Wichita's Ballet in the Park production of Snow White. Big Sis is becoming a wiz in the kitchen. I'm trying to convince her to blog about it. "Big Sis in the Kitchen," perhaps?

Anyway, ramble ramble ramble. I'm still saving a few books for their own posts, but here's a round-up of recently read things.

What We Read

The Worst Witch by Jill MurphyCandlewick Press, 2014. {Originally published by Allison & Busby, 1974.}

Several years ago, I wrote about the old television movie of this book, and in the process, learned about the series of books on which it was based. Little Sis found five of them on the shelf at the library, and it turns out they're thin chapter books, perfect for a very young independent reader. The Worst Witch was a fun read-aloud, familiar because of the movie. I wouldn't rate it as a favorite, but we're going to keep reading the series.

The Worst Witch Strikes Again by Jill Murphy. Candlewick Press, 2014. {Originally published by Allison & Busby, 1980.}

Indeed, we have read through Book 2, as you can see. In this story, a new witch arrives at the school, Enid Nightshade, and Mildred Hubble is assigned to look after her. Alas, Enid is naughtier than Mildred, and she just may get her expelled from Miss Cackle's Academy. To make matters worse, Mildred's best friend, Maud, is jealous of the time Mildred spends with Enid, and begins to hang out with Ethel, Mildred's old enemy. This one has some definite funny moments. The girls and I thought Maud's treatment of Mildred was a little weird and extreme. After all, she was right there when Mildred was assigned to look after Ethel, so she knows the scoop. As I said, the books are not destined to be favorites of mine, no matter what soft spot I have for the movie version.

Aqualicious by Victoria Kann. HarperCollins, 2015.

The latest Pinkalicious hardcover made it into the library bag this week. This one involves a trip to the beach and Pinkalicious's discovery of a miniature mermaid named Aqua. Pinkalicious and Peter have a grand old time playing with Aqua, but she needs them to take her home. The ending has a little surprise twist. Aqualicious might be the most fanciful of these books. I have a soft spot for them, as my daughters age out of their pink stage. They want to see Pinkalicious: The Musical at the children's theatre again this summer. Maybe next Friday...

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien. Candlewick Press, 2015.

I saw this one popping up on a few prominent blogs, and as none of us can resist an owl book, I knew I had to request it. This is a very funny book. Little Hoot Owl brags about being a master of disguise, swooping through the night to surprise his prey. Of course, things do not go to plan. This one gave us the giggles!

Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan. Roaring Brook Press, 2014. 

Thank you, Whitney, for blogging about this one! We loved it! A wordless picture book, it's about a band of little gnome people, off on a great quest for food. The illustrations are fantastic and funny, and the object of their quest is a hoot. You can see more at Pen Pals & Picture Books or the Macmillan page for the book. No trailer - poo.

The Secret Life of Squirrels by Nancy Rose. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014.

And thank you, Melissa, for reminding me of this book! I checked the library for it last year, when I first heard about it, but they didn't have it yet. I forgot all about it! The girls are in love with this book. The teensy-weency miniature squirrely items are so perfect. Oh, it's about a squirrel named Mr. Peanuts, who is lonely. So he mails a letter to his cousin squirrel, inviting him for a visit. The two squirrels are quite unusual, and prove to be good company for one another. I loved the author Q&A and photography tips at the back of the book. Do explore the book's official website for more awesome photos and info.

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith. Groundwood Books, 2015.

This is another wordless picture book, although note the separate author and illustrator credits. This book is simply gorgeous. A little girl walks home with her father. He spends most of the time on his cell phone, while the little girl stops to pick wildflowers wherever she finds them. As the book continues, the girl gives her flowers away, sweet gifts to strangers and family alike. It's so lovely.

Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC by Lisa Falkenstern. Two Lions, 2014. 

Here you go - a steampunk book for the preschool set! The illustrations are sweet, the text is spare. The mice are assembling a steampunk machine, and each letter represents a part or a tool: A is for anvil, etc. It's cute and simple. We were curious about it, as we geared up to attend Steampunk Day at Cowtown, so we checked it out.

I'm reading three different books right now, but I won't finish them immediately. My lines for the play are solid, but I'm bad at reading during shows. My concentration is off. Big Sis is working on something of her own. Both girls have audio books checked out, although they don't listen often. We're definitely in summer mode now. It's supposed to be a rainy weekend. It may get my play canceled, but it would make for more reading time!

I don't have much more to share. Next week, I'll post about some nature books, and of course, it's nearly time for the Lindsborg Midsummer's Festival and International Fairy Day.

Merry Weekend! Happy Reading!

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  1. You're from Wichita! Me, too! I live in Japan now, but Wichita is the coolest place ever!

    1. Born and raised, I'm afraid! Small world!

      I have a friend who moved to Osaka to teach English, then married his wife and stayed. My little brother taught himself Japanese and has visited Japan a couple times, too. :) Alas, I've never been, although I want to visit someday.

  2. Please do! Come visit! Your blog is my new favorite blog! :-)

  3. little gnomes! I want to see that one! oh boy, is fairy day coming up again?? i guess seasonal holidays are like that. i got nothin'!

    1. The little gnomes are so cute and funny! You must look for it.

      Yup. No party for us this year, although I think we usually skip a year. We're trying to find some way to celebrate without a fairy house. I've thought of making a little old-fashioned one again, though. One that's just the right size for fairies, not people. ;)

  4. How lovely -I miss my theatre days -sigh!-
    The picture books look adorable- I want to see the gnomes and the squirrel too! The worst witch wasn't my favorite book either, but I love the movie. :)

    1. I'm enjoying my brief hiatus, but it's back to the parks on Friday! One more weekend of As You Like It, and I start rehearsing a revisionist version of Hamlet in August. I am a clown again. That has become my thing, I suppose.

      We received your book! I was going to write you on FB, but you'll probably be more likely to see this, because of the "Other" folder. :) Thank you so much! xoxo


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