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)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


"Autumn has caught us in our summer wear." 
- Philip Larkin, British poet (1922-1986)

Here in sunny Southern California, there are not yet many signs of the coming fall, but I have seen a growing number of black crows, getting ready for the pecans to fall from my backyard neighbor's huge tree.  And of course, Halloween merchandise is showing up everywhere.

Cover illustration for by Randolph Caldecott's Sing a Song for Sixpence (1880) - public domain.

This Saturday, September 22, marks the First Day of Autumn.  I noticed this shocking fact when I opened my pocket datebook yesterday, with the approaching equinox staring me in the face (equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.)

When our kids were growing up, we liked to celebrate fall and fun on Halloween, without too much fright.  I've heard many families express the same desire, so I'm constantly on the look-out for fun versus frightening Halloween ideas for my blog (click HERE to see some of my past pumpkin posts).  This year, I'm really liking black birds, versus bats (stay tuned for a fun party idea coming up in October!)

Birds on a wire? Find these cute paper clips HERE.
(Comes with 8 blackbird clips on a 36" cord)

Here's a cute product I recently came across...a teacher used it on a bulletin board with fun photos, literary quotes, and fall poetry.

Reminds me of the well-known English nursery rhyme, Sing A Song Of Sixpence:

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

My book recommendation for today?  A "haunting" quirky fable about crows and a snake:
The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley (yes, the author of Brave New World wrote a children's book)...how two silly crows - with the help of a wise owl - solve the problem of a hungry snake devouring their eggs is a tale of cleverness triumphing over greed.

Born in England and educated at Balliol College, Huxley relocated to Southern California with his family in 1937.  He wrote The Crows of Pearblossom for his niece, Olivia, in 1944 as a Christmas gift.  In 1967 it was published in a small-format edition (now out of print), illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

I ordered the new 2011 edition because I couldn't resist Sophie Blackall's wonderful illustrations!  Read a great overview/history of this picture book, HERE, and the NYTimes review "Aldous Huxley's Brave New Storybook", HERE.


  1. What a beautiful illustration...I ♥ the old style! We got that book from the library, vey nice, I also checked Brave New World out (last time I read it was in high school for my British Literature class)...and remembered what a radical book it was, for the freedom of society, not to be labeled, but this time I was shocked at the brutality of it.

    P.S. No baby still?

    1. My daughter is almost 37 weeks now and off bed rest! Baby Peter has not made an appearance yet - apparently he's very happy and secure where he is! :)