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, October 14, 2020

A Weather Book For the Younger Set

Witnessing the changing sunlight, knowing the tilt of the earth as it travels around the sun brings changes in our seasons and weather, I can't help but think of God's hand in the creation of our world.  It's truly miraculous!

Today I'd like to introduce you to a fun and simple book about weather: Willy and Lilly's Adventures with Weather.  It is written by Meteorologist and now Mom, Jennifer Stanonis. 

Jennifer has covered and forecasted tornadoes, major snow storms, forest fires, floods, polar vortexes and more during her decades of meteorological TV weather reporting. The seeds that grew into Willy and Lilly's Adventures with Weather were sown while taking her twins on walks in all sorts of weather. 

Her engaging explanation of changing weather in this cute picture book - featuring a brother, sister, and their dog and cat - is great for 4-6 year olds. Kids will enjoy Jennifer's Stanonis' rhyming text and Bill Blenk's colorful illustrations.

Among other things, children will learn that their shadows are long in the winter, when the sun is low in the sky and short in the summer, when the sun is highest.  

Lots of different types precipitation are talked about, and a nice meteorologist (who looks a lot like the author, haha!) points out the warm and cold fronts from the kids' television screen. Willy uses technology to help him plan his day as he checks in on the day's forecast by the hour on a small digital screen. 

For further reading:
For children wanting a more in-depth discussion and fun activity exploring the science of the seasons (using an orange and a pencil and flashlight), I highly recommend Frankly M. Branley's Sunshine Makes the Seasons, for ages 4-8.  Our children loved all his science picture books - they're great for homeschoolers!  To see more of his books, go here.

Will and Lilly's Adventures with Weather, by Jennifer Stanonis is illustrated by Bill Blenk and published by CrissCrossAppleSauce/City of Light Publishing. This fun story will help young meteorologists notice important details as they learn about predicting weather!  There's also a handy reference at the back with definitions of "Weather Words" from the book.  

Friday, October 2, 2020

FALLing in...LOVE?

Blogging has fallen on hard times here in my household over the summer.  There were a few reasons for that...
Covid. Bleh - but we've stayed healthy, thank the Lord. 
Masks. Uncomfortable. 
No church. Unprecedented. 
Politics. Yikes. 
Fires. Lord Have Mercy! 
My creative blogging juices were not flowing. 

But something else was happening that I could devote my attention to, thank goodness...

Lots of love. Both our sons decided not to wait out the Corona Virus, but to get married this summer - a challenge, to say the least during these Covid-19 times! 

Small, but ever so beautiful:  joyful ceremonies, sweet family gatherings.

There went June (wedding #1 in Arkansas). There went July (planning) and August (weddding #2, with a tiny reception in our backyard). I adore our two new daughters-in-law.  Our family is growing!  

Come September, my husband and I spent two amazing, energizing weeks out in the open National Parks of Utah and Arizona.  Why sit isolated and socially distanced in front of a computer when you can socially distance while hiking in Capitol Reef, riding electric bicycles through Zion, and off-roading in a 4x4 jeep in the red rock desert of Sedona???  It was glorious.

So: summer of 2020? Gone! 

I've been an absentee blogger for the whole summer season and now it's fall, y'all!  I can only tell it's October because pumpkins are for sale everywhere, squirrels are busy stealing pecans from our neighbor's tree and leaving empty shells on my front porch, and the arc of the sun is much lower in the southern part of the hot sky. No fall leaves yet where I live. Maybe an iced pumpkin latte will have to do.

Even though Blogger changed it's format a little while I've been away (grrr), hopefully I'm getting it figured out and can get back at it here.  I have quite a few books to review!

Did anyone happen to see Enola Homes on Netflix (sorry, yes, that network-that-should-not-be-named, if you're one of those who is boycotting because of the unfortunate Cuties film.  I won't be watching it, but I didn't cancel my subscription.)

Back to Enola ("Alone" spelled backwards) - she is the little sister of Sherlock Holmes, a young heroine created by author Nancy Springer, not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  I enjoyed the movie and Millie Bobby Brown's fun and enthusiastic portrayal of Enola and ordered the first book of the YA mystery series, Enola Holmes, The Case of the Missing Marquess.  (LOVE the cover!)

From Common Sense Media:

Set in the days of corsets and horse carriages, this girl-centered mystery keeps readers on their toes with quick action, engaging characters, and fun riddles. Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess is a great twist on a well-known name; older brother Sherlock Holmes isn't the focus of the story, and Enola's adventurous, inquisitive attitude help her grow well outside the confines of her society. The language Enola uses fits the early 20th century setting, so it could take readers a few chapters to settle into the style, but it quickly seems like another character in the story. There's violence, tension, and anger throughout, but all of it mild -- and some even comical.  

In the book, Enola is 14 years old, while in the Netflix movie she is 16 - which seems more apropos to her adventures (she goes off to London on her own).  The movie and book differ in quite a few details and even characters/villains, but are equally entertaining.  I think both prompt a good discussion with mothers and daughters about how life has changed for women since the early 20th century.  The movie especially has a strong feminist worldview and will bring up questions about the pros/truths/influence - positive and negative - of feminism in general, depending on where you stand with that.  I would definitely recommend parents previewing the book and movie or at least watching/reading along with their kids. (Movie review here). For ages 13 and up.

What are you reading, these fall days?