Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Gardens, Books, and Respite in New York...

Please excuse my absence from blogger-land.  My dear mother-in-law passed away last month, and I honestly haven't had the heart to write much since then.

In order to help my heart heal, last week I made a quick trip to New York to be with my daughter on her birthday.

Grandchildren and gardens are a soothing balm indeed.  I had never seen Central Park in the spring, and knew a stroll through its beautiful landscape would bring some much needed calm and restorative comfort, after days of sorrow and loss.

But before my day in Central Park, I made a trip with my grandchildren to their local library.  It is adjacent to a lovely little park, and tulips lined the walkway to the library entrance.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. 

Following our stop at the library, we were going to be making our way to a 250-acre urban oasis - the New York Botanical Gardens.  So I was excited to spot two perfect library picture books for the fun afternoon ahead...

1. Alphabet Garden (Preschool-K), written and illustrated by Laura Jane Coats.  (I really want a red wheel barrow like the one on the cover!)
"Walk under the arbor, into the garden.
Listen to the buzzing bees,
and pick a bright carnation." 
School Library Journal says: So begins the alphabet adventure of a blond boy and his cat as they spend the day at work and play, taking notice of the flowers, insects, and other creatures around them. The flat, cheerful pencil and watercolor illustrations portray a pristine garden enclosed by a white wooden fence; not a dead blossom is in sight, and even the dirt from the gopher's hole is piled tidily on an otherwise perfectly green lawn.

2.  The second book that caught my eye was by Mary Azarian - A Gardener's Alphabet.  I love the stunning illustrations in this book!  With her signature woodblock prints, Mary Azarian invites young readers into her own garden to discover its simple joys. Revealing the variety of life underground, the bright comfort of a greenhouse on a winter’s day, or the anticipation of starting seeds indoors in early spring, this striking alphabet book reminds us that gardens are perhaps our best way to live closer to the land and to the rhythm of the seasons.

Imagine our delight when we arrived at the Botanical Gardens and visited the Conservatory - complete with a scene much like the one in the above illustration!  (Tip: if you ever make a visit to the NYBG, the Children's Garden is NOT to be missed!  For spring, there was a caterpillar topiary!  In winter, you'll find it covered in pinecones.)

I ended my visit to New York with my much anticipated afternoon in Central Park...

There was just something about seeing my grandson bounding down the pathway - without a care in the world, looking for Stuart Little with his Mama and searching for Alice - that made me smile.

Like a child, I was living in the moment and experiencing Central Park through his eyes.  And I think his Great Grandma was right there with us!