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)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Boo and Baa in Windy Weather

Had enough of Winter Storm Stella? Say goodbye to March!

Boo and Baa in Windy Weather by Scandinavian author and illustrator (a husband/wife team), Lena and Olof Landström, was the perfect read for my grandsons in New York during the snowy, windy winter days that were brought on by Storm Stella a couple of weeks ago. 

After reading the story, the boys had so much fun making little masterpieces inspired by the book.  They used Q-tips, glue, construction paper, and my daughter's cut out renditions of Boo and Baa for their cute craft project!

Boo and Baa in Windy Weather follows the misadventures of Boo and Baa as they try to get home with their groceries during a snowstorm.  Their trip starts off well enough (they are sledding downhill), but the trek back home is "slow as a snail" as they push their sled uphill.

They pull their caps down so no snow will get in their eyes.  (My older grandson did the same when he went out to play - maybe he was inspired by Boo and Baa!)

Things really become difficult for Boo and Baa when their cabbage suddenly rolls off their sled.  Preschoolers will enjoy the antics and humor of Boo and Baa, as well as the problem solving at the end of the story.

Growing up, I always loved snow days!  They're such a perfect time for catching up on reading. 

But with April around the corner, hopefully much of the northern and eastern U.S. can say "goodbye" to snow.  I'm sure we'll still have wind - time to break out the kites!

I always think of Winnie-the-Pooh when the wind kicks up! What books do you like for Blustery Days?  Here are a couple I can think of...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kingdom Travel: How to Pack Your Bag

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matt 9:14

More often then not, we adults can learn important things from young children. Jane G. Meyer's newest picture book The Suitcase has us doing just that!  This sweet story celebrates a young child's enthusiasm to put into practice the words of Christ: to feed and clothe the poor; help the needy; and love one's neighbor.

Thomas feels safe in his ordered life on his family's farm. He happily spins in circles for hours while reciting the alphabet, chats with his goat each morning, and then lines up his whole collection of blocks - starting from his upstairs bedroom and ending down in his backyard.

But one Sunday, after coming home from church, Thomas does something unexpected. To the surprise of his questioning family, he shows up at the dinner table with...a suitcase!

When his mother asks him where he's going, he replies, "To the Kingdom of Heaven." As he begins to show his family the contents of his suitcase, they (and we, the readers) are touched by what he's packed, and how he's literally taken to heart the messages of Jesus' parables.

If you're a parent, you have undoubtedly observed that for young children (and especially those on the autism spectrum), abstract ideas can be difficult, so things they hear are often interpreted in a very literal, concrete way.

But shouldn't we all be more like children?  Thomas has packed food and clothing for the poor, a platter to serve them, some coins, a mustard seed, and a pearl, among other things.

And thank goodness no one laughs at him when he asks, "So, can I go now?" His father gently explains that the Kingdom of God is right here, and that Thomas - because of his giving heart - has already gone through its gate and is on the path.

The story ends with Thomas's family joining him on his journey, as they share the Kingdom with others by serving a meal to the homeless.  May we all be inspired to "pack our bags" with good things for God's Kingdom.

Nor will they say, "Look, here it is!" or "There!" For indeed, the kingdom of God is in your midst. - Luke 17:21

Chiara Pasqualotto's warm and soothing watercolor illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to Jane's sweet storytelling.
Published by Paraclete Press, The Suitcase is available there, and on Amazon.
Click here for Jane's awesome Activity Guide to the book.

NOTE: I received an advanced copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.