Tag Archives: Books 101

Where Pictures Fail Stories

Several years ago, we went on a campout with our three boys (at the time) and were delighted to have a professional storyteller there who enchanted us all with a few great tales.  I don’t remember much about what the actual stories were, but I do remember looking around at the faces of everyone listening… children and adults in rapt, wide-eyed attention. And a tiny seed burst through my wintry soil where the idea was frozen that picture books are the best medium for everything. Had that storyteller been reading us a tale, even one with fantastic pictures, the effect would’ve been quite different and the moment much more prosaic, in a librarian’s 10-am-story-hour sort of way.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this: no matter much I absolutely love picture books… not all things should be in pictures.  I’m not talking about the obvious, like cartoon depictions of the Holocaust or anything of that nature; that should be a given.  I’m thinking about some things that are so fantastical, yet so noble, they deserve to be lived out in our minds only.  Or simply tales that are suited for telling, not showing! I know it seems inconceivable almost to admit that.  But this idea started percolating in my head after I read what is hands down the most complete picture book about Hercules done by Robert Byrd. The Twelve Labors of Hercules details it all.  The blood, the guts, the glory. The thing is… I don’t think those things all should be shown in picture.  What Hercules teaches children, and indeed all mankind, is mostly about a lesson of perseverance.  (To be completely fair, the story gets weird at the end;the Greeks weren’t in the business of moral formation with their tales… they were simply passing on folklore.)  Think of some of the famous Greek monsters he and others (e.g. Ulysses) encountered: Cerberus (a three-headed dog from Hell) or Scylla (a six-headed man-eating monster) for example.

I think the mind of the child in some psychological way, knows its own limits of fear development. What I mean is that if a child never SEES Scylla or Cerberus, the imaginings alone are enough to awe him into a healthy sort of fear.  But once a picture book makes those monsters incarnate with a printed picture… it gets burned into their minds.  A movie takes the damage even further of course.  (We recently studied the Donner Party’s ill-fated crossing of the mountains and my 10 and 8 year olds were properly disturbed after hearing how cannibalism happened… but then we started watching a documentary-with live actor enactments- and though nothing direct was shown, the discussion of it, and the actors’ crazed look in his eye and the pan of entrails in the background horrified my children into tears and nightmares for the next couple nights.  We quickly turned the movie off but the damage was done and my guilt is residual.)

I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m sort of glad not all that many myths get put into picture books.  I love the stories of course, and there’s no contesting that some of the books out there are breathtakingly beautiful.  But I will not make it a goal of mine to deliberately collect such books.  There is a very real, and perhaps under-recognized difference between books and stories.  Some things really ought to be left in the story realm.  Professional storytellers really do have a noble profession! The telling of tales from the mind is really an art form.  I think that while we feast regularly on picture books here, it’s important to pull out some of our dusty old collections of fairy tales (think Andrew Lang’s colored fairy books) and myths (I know of no better than the assortment from William Russell.) if we weren’t born of the spontaneous story-telling ilk (i.e. Irish). If you do want to impress your kids however, think of a famous tale you know and simply change out the names and details to make it your own and tell it at bedtime straight from the heart, in a pace that it deserves.

“Storytellers are the most powerful people on earth. They might not be the best paid– but they are the most powerful. Storytellers have the power to move the human heart– and there is no greater power on earth.” 

― Laurie H. Hutzler

On Lending Books

Roger Rosenblatt said this about book lending:

Should we not abjure our pettiness, open our libraries, and let our most valued possessions fly from house to house, sharing the wealth.  Certain clerics with vows of poverty did this  Inside their books was printed not EX LIBRIS but AD USUM–for the use of– indicating that it is better to lend than to keep, that all life’s gifts are transitory.

I agree with a materialistic sort of agony…  this extended bit is also by Rosenblatt; I found it in a book I’m reading:


The custom of borrowing books confutes nature. In every other such situation, the borrower becomes a slave to the lender, the social weight of the debt so altering the balance of a relationship that a tempo­rary acquisition turns into a permanent loss. This is certainly true with money. Yet it is not at all true with books. For some reason a book borrower feels that a book, once taken, is his own. This removes both memory and guilt from the transaction. Making mat­ters worse, the lender believes it, too. To keep up appearances, he may solemnly extract an oath that the book be brought back as soon as possible; the borrower answering with matching solemnity that the Lord might seize his eyes were he to do otherwise. But it is all play. Once gone, the book is gone forever. The lender, fearing rudeness, never asks for it again. The borrower never stoops to raise the subject.

Can book borrowers be thwarted? There are attempts. Some hopeful people glue stickers that read EX LIBRIS to the inside covers (clever drawings of ani­mals wearing glasses, adorable yet pointless, and the name of the owner: “EX LIBRIS Rosenblattimus”) ‑ as if the presence of Latin and the imprint of a name were so formidable as to reverse a motor reflex. It never works. One might try slipping false jackets on one’s books ‑ a cover for Cry the Beloved Country dis­guising a book actually entitled Utility Rates in Ottawa: A Woman’s View.
There’s no spectacle that is as terrifying as the sight of a guest in your house whom you catch staring at your books. It is not the judgmental possibility that is frightening. The fact that one’s sense of discrimination is exposed by his books. Indeed, most people would much prefer to see the guest first scan, then peer and turn away in boredom or disapproval. Alas, too often the eyes, dark with calculation, shift from title to title as from floozie to floozie in an overheated dance hall. Nor is that the worst. It is when those eyes stop moving that the heart, too, stops.
The guest’s body twitches; his hand floats up to where his eyes have led it. There is nothing to be done. You freeze. He smiles. You hear the question even as it forms: “Would you mind if I borrowed this book?”
Mind? Why should I mind? The fact that I came upon that book in a Paris bookstall in April 1969 ­the 13th, I believe it was, the afternoon, it was driz­zling ‑ that I found it after searching all Europe and North America for a copy; that it is dog‑eared at pas­sages that mean more to my life than my heartbeat; that the mere touch of its pages recalls to me in a Proustian shower my first love, my best dreams. Should I mind that you seek to take all that away? That I will undoubtedly never get it back? Then even if you actually return it to me one day, I will be wiz­ened, you cavalier, and the book spoiled utterly by your mishandling? Mind?
“Not at all. Hope you enjoy it.”
“Thanks. I’ll bring it back next week.”
“No rush. Take your time.” [Liar.]
This excerpt is from Bibliomania, a one‑man show written and performed by Roger Rosenblatt and staged at New York’s American Place Theatre in 1994.

Here is a great little bit of gratitude from author Christopher Morley upon his lent items being returned:

When I loaned this book, I deemed it as lost; I was resigned to the business of the long parting; I never thought to look upon its pages again. But now that my book has come back to me, I rejoice and am exceedingly glad! Bring hither the fatted morocco and let us rebind the volume and set it on the shelf of honor, for this my book was lent and is returned again!


The worst part about lending a book to someone, in my opinion is not that you may never see it again.  It’s not even that it will return to you torn or stained or chewed by toddlers or dogs.  The worst part about lending a book to someone is if they return it to you and you ask them with a quivering eagerness: “What did you think?” And for a brief moment all the cosmos of the heavens hold their breath in suspense and the world pauses waiting to hear the judgement of whether or not the new, beautiful reality has set in on this reader…  “It was okay.” Comes the unmistakable slap in the face. And Atlas buckles under the weight of the world just an inch, and the heavens sigh in a chasm of despair that yet another cold, raisin -hearted individual has failed to opened anew…


Not So Zealous?

My dear friend wrote this:

You need a blog post on devoting time to reading with children! Especially for the non-reader parents who wish for their children to love reading! Really, I find that I have so many things I could be doing in my day… We’re non-stop around here, it seems. Grabbing a few books and snuggling on the couch mid afternoon is not as second nature as I wish it were. I parents did this with me exactly zero times. I grew up not enjoying reading at all. There are so many factors at play but I think that’s one of them. I just can’t seem to want to carve out the time bad enough. I was a lot better at it when we had 1-2 kids. We read much more frequently than we do now. The house is filled with so much chaos. Constantly, it seams… I’m struggling to just through the end of the day.tragically, book/reading time falls way at the bottom of the totem pole.

And to that I would say this:

Be free from the guilt!  If you aren’t a natural bibliophile, you aren’t a bad parent.  If for whatever reason, you did not grow up doing much reading, you can still impart a beautiful gift to your kids.  If sitting down and reading to a child feels like a chore… that’s okay!  Here’s a few brief tips for my less than bibliozealous friends:

  1. Fake it ’til you make it.  Number one thing you can possibly do is to not let on your displeasure or annoyance to the child!  When I’m not “feeling” like reading to a child, I will say simply “Okay, just pick out one story (and I’ve no problem vetoing long books if I’m not up for it) for tonight.”  But I read it with as much gentleness and interest and love as I can muster.  The last thing we want is for our kids to pick up on stress and let story time become associated with memories of mom being at wit’s end.
  2. Make time.  You have to.  It’s not optional.  Being a good parent does not mean you have to feel warm fuzzies and spend hours in a treehouse together reading all the best books in the world.  But it does mean that you have to read to your child often. I truly believe that.  And I would say a few times a week, if you can’t manage daily.  It doesn’t have to take more than 10 minutes.  But that investment of time will pay off HUGE dividends in the end.  If it feels like a chore to you, so be it. Add it to the list right after lunch and before laundry. Somehow, make some kind of routine time for it… and remember rule #1.
  3. Read books about books.  I’m currently working on a post about the best books about books available.  Reading great literature guides and other things will help you to warm up to books in general and get excited about reading.  Look for that within the month hopefully.
  4. Stock up on audio books. While this can’t replace a parent who’s not interested in reading… it can help tremendously.  The biggest thing is simply having a stock on hand!  Invest in a bunch now and keep them in a place (if they’re not mp3 files) where you will see them and remember to use them.
  5. Pray.  Seriously.  I think reading is so important that it’s worth praying to God that He help you find the time, energy and patience to make it happen.  If a child is raised to be interested in the truth and raised with a healthy appreciation (if not love) for reading… they can always find their way back to the Truth about Him.  The vast majority of fallen-away or lukewarm Christians I know, are non-readers.  Our children will be attacked.  They will be tempted to turn from God.  Reading opens up a whole powerful arsenal they can use to equip their minds with the proper defenses and truths about what nobility is and what goodness is and ultimately, what truth is. 
  6. Don’t give up!  Don’t just be tempted to think, “Well, I’m no good at this.  It’s a constant struggle.  I can never make it to the library. There is no time… etc.” Keep plugging away at it.  Seeds will be sewn even if you can’t see to buds yet…

As for me and my house, we will prefer the real.

I’ve fought the e-reader movement since its inception. I will continue to do so for a lot of reasons– but I’m still trying to flesh out exactly why I resist yet. I have the Kindle App and admit that it does get used to download a few out of print books that I couldn’t otherwise afford and need for homeschooling. But I always grimace a bit when we have to read on it.  Here, this particular columnist makes the case that some types of books are better suited to an electronic apparatus than others. I might be able to concede the point for large collections of reference materials. But I really do love some of these quotes from that piece:

More fetching than a girl with a dragon tattoo has always been a girl with a Penguin Classic. With e-books, you have no idea what anyone is reading. This is an incalculable loss, not just to fleeting crushes but to civilization.


I’ve tried poetry on each of these platforms: Larkin, Dickinson, Philip Levine, Amy Clampitt. It’s not happening, at least not for me. There’s not enough white space, nor silence. The poems seem shrunken and trapped, like lobsters half-dead in a supermarket glass pen, their claws rubber-banded. Poems should be printed on paper, or carved onto the dried husks of coconuts, so one can hoard them.


You can’t read an e-book in the tub. You can’t fling one across the room, aiming, as Mark Twain liked to do, at a cat. And e-books will not furnish a room.

Also don’t miss this article on the cerebral gymnastics our brains go through when reading excellent fiction.

Jonathon Franzen, a best-selling author, had an evocative statement about the physical, tactile experience with a book that makes a lot of sense to me:

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.”

See more of his warnings against ebooks here

Lastly, I think there is one sad thing in losing the tangible aspect of books: the inability to easily share something.  When gushing about a new book I just finished to a friend and eager to foist it upon her immediately… I need to have something physical. Sure, there are Kindle titles can be shared depending on the publisher’s allowances, but the spontaneity of handing over a creased book that has a page stained in the corner with chocolate or one with the ticket stub to a show left forgotten as it marked the page… nothing really beats that I think.  A friend was here last weekend who talked quite clearly about the relationship a reader develops with a book. It is an interaction, an engagement… an investment of time and interest on the part of the reader into the heart, knowledge and the creativity on the part of the author: a two way relationship in a way. Certainly something gets neutered in this relationship with ebooks.  Indeed masses of clean, electronically gray words do not even come close to the smell of book, paper, ink… life.  I’m convinced losing books is doing much, much more than simply saving paper. So while we may pat ourselves on the back in saving the earth we are perhaps killing a piece of our humanity. Laugh if you think it’s all dramatic hyperbole.  But, there it is: my honest opinion of it all.


First Chapter Books

Many moms wonder when is that perfect age when you quit picture books and begin chapter books.  My first thought is that one should never quit picture books.  Even when your child is reading independently, picture books offer a sense of familiarity and ease which will boost the confidence any kid has in his/her reading skills.  Secondly, it’s like chicken soup for the soul.  I can’t count how many times I’ve begun reading an easy, familiar book to my toddler set only to have my older sons sidle their way over to sit on the edge of the couch.  The rhythm of mom’s voice, the rustle of turning pages, the vibrance of good art… it all beckons.  I see no need to end that at a certain age.  Finally, the reason that one should never “quit” picture books is that there are often excellent points or reflections to delight adults as well as children.  I think immediately of a book like the innovative The Arrival, or the nostalgic Roxaboxen for example.

Anyway, there does exist a wonderful transition when one does introduce chapter books into a child’s life to complement the regular picture book diet.  I have very recently discovered the “Special Read Aloud Edition” of  Stuart Little. What made it so special was its size.  It is printed as a very large, hardback picture book with blown up illustrations and large text. These books are so inviting for a cozy read aloud snuggled on the couch with Mama or Papa.  I found a couple other “Special Read Aloud Editions” out there, notably The Mouse and the MotorcycleLittle House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie.  But it seems these are all out of print and I’d be very careful buying from an amazon seller to make sure you are getting the right edition you pay for.  The Narnia series and Charlotte’s Web Special Read Aloud Editions seem to be in print still.

So what age should one begin chapter books?  I’d say it depends on the child but the most likely window will be between 5-6-ish.  Some four years olds will love read alouds and even younger toddlers might listen in on the stories told to their older siblings with apparent interest.  Even if a child isn’t totally grasping every metaphor or vocabulary word, just the exposure of richer vocabulary and sentence structure will be good for them in addition to the increase of listening and attention skills.  I was worried about reading the Narnia books to my then-five year old son because I wanted him to be old enough to understand the great Christian analogies, but he ate The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe right up!  And the reason those books are classics is because they will weather well under another reading at a later age.

What books should you read first?  The short answer is “Whatever you feel like!”  Read what interests your child (using your own parental discretion of course).  There is no mandatory introduction to chapter book list that’ll adequately cover ALL the greats.  But I can share with you my list that worked!  I like to start with books that have short chapters and illustrations to acclimate the child to longer readings.  So, as it’s an enormous task to list all great chapter books out there in general, here’s a list of earliest, first chapter books that were hits with my boys (or that I know will be a hit with my daughter).

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • My Father’s Dragon
  • Homer Price
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • The Cricket in Times Square
  • Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook
  • Just So Stories
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • The Princess and the Goblin
  • Just So Stories
  • Captains Courageous
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Betsy Tacy
  • Little House on the Prairie series
  • ^ Farmer Boy (especially to hook boys)
  • Birdbrain Amos
  • Paddington Bear
  • The Narnia series
  • Happy Little Family
  • The Children of Noisy Village

Bargain Book Roundup!

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, I don’t blame you… it’s close to $80.  But if you DO have one, you’ll know as I do, that it is a wonderful, wonderful gem!  My husband bought one for my birthday this year, and I can’t tell you how much I love just buying a single item and having it at my door two days later.  No more waiting until I have $25 worth of purchases to get free, slow shipping. It’s great… plus the free streaming of certain videos has been nice too.  We’ve watched a few documentaries on there now and have many seasons of How Its Made to get through!

But I digress. I bring it up because it’s excellent when you find a bargain priced book on Amazon and you can just purchase it easily!  Occasionally, I take the time to peruse their bargain barrels; it’s a lot to wade through and so I usually narrow it down to just biographies, non-fiction, folk and fairy tales… above 4 star ratings.  It’s still a lot to wade through.  But I’ll save you some time and give you a current list of books I happened to uncover this week.  *Disclaimer: I’ve not read every single title here!*  But they “looked” good to me based on titles and illustrations and reviews. So you may already be familiar with them or want to splurge a few dollars to see if they may be jewels or not.  Bargain books are an excellent way to purchase books as gifts since they are brand new. They are a great place to find off-season holiday book and they also help fill in gaps for unit studies. The books listed below are all hardcover and under $8. The price is right… and quantities are (sometimes extremely) limited! I’ve bought a few of these titles myself this week (who needs to buy shoes, when you can have books instead?!)


Thrifting Tips

Building your home library take time, patience, thoughtfulness and money. I can’t help you with time or patience but I do hope to help you with thoughtfulness (See this post for more on that.) and I have a couple tips to help you not break the bank. “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” you say. “Go to thrift stores; we already know that.”. Oh good! I’m glad you know that. But allow me to spare you some frustration with thrift store shopping with these tips:

  1. Find the right kind of store. Every store is bound to have the occasional good find.  But the best stores are the ones you can go to and have reliably good luck. I regularly bypass at least four more local stores to get to my gold mine in the next town over. For some reason, it collects fantastic books on a regular basis. What this means is that the people who donate to this Goodwill are fairly well off, fairly typical in having only a couple kids, and fairly ignorant to the glories of good literature… So it gets dumped. See, I benefit greatly from families who aren’t open to having many children; I get their good clothes and books in excellent condition for my brood! The other thing is that I’ve noticed that many people like to give lovely books to children as gifts. But either the spoilt dears don’t care for books or they their parents don’t because I have found many remarkable books in near mint condition with inscriptions on the inside dated only a year or three ago! A pity. But their tremendous blindness to greatness is to my benefit so I won’t complain too much.
  2. The other component of a right kind of store is one that has a flat pricing structure. Many stores charge a flat price for children’s books and this is where you can save a lot of money! You don’t have to be AS selective because if you aren’t totally familiar with a book, it really only costs you 79 cents to preview! Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the franchise name of a store to guarantee same costs.  The Goodwill in my hometown prices children’s books the same as regular books and even puts more expensive prices on ones that look popular or to be in especially great condition.  Gag.  You are looking for a store with a staff that doesn’t know any better when it comes to children’s literature.
  3. When you get to the kiddy book section, depending on the size of your selection, you may or may not have time to do a title-by-title scan of each book.  You sometimes need to employ razor-quick econo-shopping mode.  It looks like this:  First look at all the hardback books closely.  This is where the better titles usually live.  This is where you’ll find your treasures.  I often don’t even scan the paperbacks anymore because their lifespan can be quite short in a large family.  I DO scan the paperbacks more closely if the pickins are slim in the hardbacks and I’m feeling desperate to score SOMETHING.  And if your home library isn’t well established yet, you may want to give the paperbacks a closer look.  After all, having a flimsy copy of Blueberries for Sal is better than having no copy.
  4. You can’t always judge a book by its cover or its title… but they sure do tell a lot sometimes.  You can continue your quick-shopping mode by training your eye to gloss over things in the generic vein like “Franklin Goes to School” and training it to catch things that sound like they might be a fairy tale or folklore or of course, one of the millions of titles you’ve memorized that you want to own.  The title The Man Who Kept House is one that caught me on my latest trip, a book that I knew nothing about until then. With time, you’ll be wise as a serpent in your selections and quite efficient at sorting titles out.
  5. Lastly, get reading some books about books!  The more you become familiar with the rich titles out there, the more equipped you are to sift through the piles of junky books to find treasures.  There are lots of books about books out there.  I can trust the booklists of a few out there.  A good starting point would be Honey for a Child’s Heart. Excellent other ones include A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind (though unfortunately, many of his recommendations are out of print), and A Picture Perfect Childhood which is FULL of recommendations. And there’s also For the Love of Literature which is a great tool if you are a fan of learning through LIVING books. There are other good books about books… but this should get you started…

Don’t forget about other great ways to build up your library:

  1. Consider giving books as gifts to your children.  This will help you to feel better about shucking out $15 for a brand new book if you were going to spend that money on something anyway. Children see that its worthwhile, and you have a gift taken care of.  Incidentally, I have an amazon list on books that I think make excellent gifts.  I’ve not updated it in a while… I ought to do that presently.  Also make it known to family members that you’d like to build up your children’s library and would welcome Christmas and birthday gifts to them to reflect that. (This comes with the caveat that they may not have good taste in literature… I would say direct them to your amazon wish list, but I personally find it kind of tacky when people personally “direct” others to the gifts they want.
  2. Check out your library sales!  I’ve gotten so many gems this way and they are usually the cheapest possible option.  Our local library “Friends of the Library” charges something like 50 cents for children’s books!  Sometimes, you find something and you can swear you hear an Alleluia chorus ringing in the heavens as your hand trembles in finding a jewel.  I have found an entire collection of fantastic kids books on Ancient Egypt which I used this entire year for school.  My real piece of glory however was when I paid pennies for three… count them THREE David Mac Caulay books.  HARDBACK!  I got Mosque, Underground and Mill to accompany the Pyramid I already owned. What a find! If you don’t know Macaulay… get to know him posthaste. He is a brilliant author and illustrator on so many excellent historical, architectural books.  Turns out there are a few excellent PBS documentaries featuring him on youtube: Castle, Roman City, Pyramid, Mill Times and Cathedral.  All would be a superb supplement to studies of those eras.
  3. Elementary schools often just TOSS books into the trash.  They make room for new library books buy getting rid of old ones… lucky for us, so many old ones are the better ones anyway! If your child goes to a public or private school, talk to whosever in charge of the library and ask what their policy is on discarded books; you just might be able to work out an arrangement!
  4. Garage sales and rummage sales are historically where you can find the CHEAPEST children’s books.  Most people selling books will tell you that kid’s books are a dime or quarter… maybe fifty cents for a hardback.  These are people who are looking to get rid of stuff, whose children have outgrown certain books or who just don’t know what they’ve got.  My best garage sale score to this day was finding the entire Little House on the Prairie series for $2.  I’ve also bought the entire Anne of Green Gables series, the Narnia collection, the E.B. White collection and (my favorite) the Great Brain collection at garage sales.  I just realized that other than the Lord of the Rings books, all my ‘collections’ have been acquired at garage sales!
  5. Don’t forget about online swapping sites like Paperbackswap or Bookmooch.  I wrote a bit more about how this works here. You have to have a bit of luck and a lot of patience… but it can pay off!
  6. Sniff out family members or friends whose children have grown up.  They are often ready and willing to part with their kiddy books if they know they are going to a good home!

Remember above all of this, that it is much more beneficial to have a small collection of quality books than a large collection of riff-raff. Don’t expect it to happen overnight!  But books are an investment indeed.  We don’t think much of spending $15-$20 on a single visit to a fast food restaurant.  But that same amount of money could buy a brand new treasure that will last much, much longer than those french fries.  Be smart, be patient, and happy thrifting!


    E-books fail

    Technology has its place and I’m grateful to its additions in my life.  Even e-books have their place.  I think they are especially fantastic for storing reference materials or bulky multi-volume sets that hog up precious real estate on your bookshelves.  I do not believe and will not ever believe that e-books can be a good substitute for children’s picture books.  At best they are a tolerable second choice.  But that’s only if extenuating circumstances make the primary bound picture books unavailable for whatever reason.

    Turns out that new research mostly agrees with me.

    “This whole explosion of e-books has been great, and we love seeing what’s happening with the innovation, but now it’s time to start thinking more purposefully and thoughtfully into what goes into the creation of an e-book.”

    I would add to the parents who remark that a child is more “engaged” with e-books than regular books this: Of course they are!  What kid doesn’t like stimulation in that way?!  However, books are like food are like toys are like anything in a child’s life:  when you feed them a steady diet of something that is always taking their taste buds to the next level… or that is always doing the playing for the child with new tricks and sounds and movements… that their appetites become deadened.  They resist what is simple.  They are bored with carrot sticks or building blocks or stories like The Wind in the Willows because they’ve become desensitized to the excitement of simple pleasures.  They are hungry for better, faster, more explosive, more gimmicks, more, more, more.    

    The super exciting flavor blasted junk foods…
    Or the baby doll who does all the imagining for you…

    And so… that is why I don’t think story books need sound effects or interactive games with which to distract them.  We wonder why on earth children are suffering from attention deficits more and more as time goes on.  Well, I’m no expert but part of the answer seems obvious to me.  Consider what you want your children to focus on.  Consider the ways you whet their appetites: in what they play with, in what they eat, and in what they read.


    One Potato: And Then It Was Spring

    I really, really, really like this website. I liked reading the “About.” I liked reading the FAQs, I like the whole premise of the organization. There exists in the e-world fellow bibliozealots that receive my salute. I have not read every blog entry and I still am dabbling in the nubs and nuances of trying to pin down what kind of zealot this is, but I like much of what I’ve seen thus far.

    I really loved what was written about a book I recently purchased on a whim last week. What a superb purchase it was. I was just getting ready to write up a review on it when I stumbled across what Jay Bushara wrote and found he articulated what I would have said with much more zest and finesse than I could have mustered up the energy for. I need to go update my Top Ten Spring booklist now and bump off another (I guess, I can safely kick off Wildsmith’s The Easter Story) since it technically belongs on a holiday booklist and has received glowing praise from me elsewhere. So yes indeed, make And Then It’s Spring one of your “highest” priorities on your Amazon wish list. It’s clamoring to be my 2012 Book of the Year. Let me whet your appetite: