Father Knows Five 1-31-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” style list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. (If you are viewing this blog through your email subscription, please follow the link to our website to view all videos.)  See you next week…

1.  Melissa Gilbert and Children’s Books – what a great interview from the star of the television series ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ and her life as a children’s author!

Laura

2. Best children’s books for money lesson – a great list that includes everyone from Beverly Cleary to Dolly Parton to Fancy Nancy!

3.  Herve Tullet:  The Illustrated Interview – among the great children’s authors and illustrators of the day!  Press Here is one of the most creative and enjoyable books on the shelf today.

4.  A Children’s Book Theme Park – booking our flight to Sheboygan, Wisconsin now!

Bookworm

5.  Dads and Teachers:  See this great board full of children’s books about Science!

‘The Farm Adventure Finale’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

BF Farm

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

(This is the last in the three-part story entitled: ‘The Farm Adventure’)

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…home!  Here is his story:

The first obstacle was a dark grove of gnarled evergreens that he had to navigate through with his compass and his flashlight and his courage to get past.

The second obstacle was a long snake-like creek filled with water that he had to use all his swimming skills to get across.

The third obstacle was the tall giraffe-like grass that spread out in every way before him, and that he had to use all his jumping skills to get through.

The last obstacle was a rusted iron gate that included a thick cylinder-like chain that Baby Frederico had to use all his strength to unlatch.

With a wave hello to his family, Baby Frederico had made it home just as a rumble of thunder rolled across the farm and heavy raindrops began to fall. (And just between us, getting there and getting home was half the fun!)

 

Sleepy Readers

CJ BOOK SLEEP

When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep. - William Butler Yeats

There were several especially quiet days during this past Christmas holiday that my 3-year old niece and I found a good chair to sit in so we could read together.  No matter what book she chose, there were certain times of the day that I could barely make it past page two without her falling into a deep sleep.  It would sometimes take me several minutes to realize she had fallen asleep, and most of the time the book was so good that I just kept reading until the end.  As I quieted my reading and eventually trailed the words off into a whisper, she would sometimes try to open her eyes or even smile just a bit, but otherwise she was, as my grandma always says, “out like a little light.”

It made me think about how relevant books are to the rhythms of life. There have been so many middle-of-the-night anxieties that have awoken me over the years, but the one thing they all have in common is the time they have given me to read (or pray!). It is little wonder that books are as abundant on nightstands around the world as they are in libraries around the world.  There have been times that my nightstand is stacked so high with books that I can hardly find the switch to turn on the lamp that is surrounded by them.

From there, the chronology of events is always the same:  I think I will never been able to fall asleep, so I begin reading.  Eventually, I feel the book start to slip from my hands and I try to keep my eyes open long enough to read until the end of the chapter, or at least the end of the page.  And then, without warning, I am “out like a light.”

One thing I’ve learned:  sleepy readers are the happiest readers I know.

‘Would You Rather…’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.

 Would

Today’s great book: Would You Rather… by John Burningham (1985, Picture Lions)

The Author’s Book Website: http://www.puffin.co.uk/nf/Author/AuthorPage/0,,1000001755,00.html

Time to Read: short and sweet; bedtime or anytime

Summary:  from Publisher’s Weekly – “Would you rather… your dad did a dance at school or your mom made a fuss in a cafe?” John Burningham poses many more questions in Would You Rather… Humorous (and thought-provoking) vignettes accompany each possibility.”

Best Quote:  “Would you rather be made to eat spider stew, taste slug dumplings, chew mashed worms, or drink a snail shake?”

Our View:  This is among the best of the read-alouds that we have in our Book Room and it NEVER fails to bring a smile and a really good conversation among the kids.  I also read it to my college students every semester, just to get to know them better and pull a smile from them.  The choices and illustrations are spectacular and provide a place to talk among reader and listener, father and child, teacher and student, friend and friend.  A great little-known fact: Mr. Burningham collaborated with Ian Fleming on Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, and designed the model of the famous car.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – A Million Choices - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

“There’s a Secret in There”

20140126-192521.jpg

My wife and I spent last week at a bookseller’s convention in Seattle, Washington. It was more fun than I could have ever imagined. Here we were in an absolutely beautiful city that is nestled right in the middle of breathtaking forests, snow-capped mountain ranges, fog-shrouded Puget Sound, abundant coffee shops, the shadow of a mythic space needle, and… dozens of addictive bookstores and their wonderful owners.
Thursday morning we made our way to one of the city’s most treasured and historic gems – the Pike Place Market. As we ventured into this bright and noisy labyrinth of shops and fresh fish and restaurants, we found ourselves standing in front of a beautiful window framed in children’s books.

Inside, the owner was standing at the register and we soon struck up a lively conversation about his life as the owner of this wonderful little bookstore.  He told us so many interesting things, but the most significant came when he said this, “Let me show you the best way to sell a book.”
With that, he pointed to a shelf of crimson leather-bound Moleskin brand journals. In a rich Greek accent he said, “Now pick that up and hold it in your hands for a minute to see if you can find its secret. You see, every book has at least one secret of its own and your job as the owner of the store is to know that secret and then help someone else find it, too.”
He pointed to the journal again, “There’s a secret in there.”
And guess what? There was a little hidden pocket tucked into the back seam of this beautiful little book.
We talked some more and he pointed out a few more secrets (great quotes or illustrations or authors) in books around the store.  As we were making our purchases and saying goodbye, I looked around this rather humble little store so I could always remember it.
The best way I will ever be able to describe it to anyone is just like this: “There’s a secret in there.”

Father Knows Five 1-24-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” style list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. (If you are viewing this blog through your email subscription, please follow the link to our website to view all videos.)  See you next week…

1.  One Amazing Set of Encyclopedias! – “What happens when an artist comes to face-to-face with an old, 24-volume Encyclopedia Britannica set? In the case of Montreal-based Guy Laramée, the answer would be to turn the vintage books into a medium for sculpture.”

2.  Good Night, Gorilla – the interesting story behind this children’s classic.

Goodnight-Gorilla

3.  21 Reason to Quit Your Job and Become a Teacher – my favorite is #11.

slide_321309_3013890_free

4.

5.  A “Read Every Day” poster that reminds me of our family’s favorite summer beach on Jekyll Island in Georgia.  The poster was created by ‘Lucky Ducklings’ illustrator Nancy Carpenter:3a789b006fec133d3f07cbf79f729f4f

 

‘The Farm Adventure Continues’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

BF Farm

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…buried treasure!  Here is his story:

With a wave goodbye to his family, Baby Frederico set out to make his way across the long stretch of tall prairie grass that lay between him and his destination. (And just between us, getting there would be half the fun!)

The first obstacle was a rusted iron gate that included a thick cylinder-like chain that Baby Frederico had to use all his strength to unlatch.

The second obstacle was the tall giraffe-like grass that spread out in every way before him, and that he had to use all his jumping skills to get through.

The third obstacle was a long snake-like creek filled with water that he had to use all his swimming skills to get across.

The fourth obstacle was a dark grove of gnarled evergreens that he had to navigate through with his compass and his flashlight and his courage to get past.

Finally, he was at his destination, a large windmill that stood a hundred feet in the air. It was the only thing left of the home and farm where his grandfather Frederico had been born and raised.

Baby Frederico climbed to the very tip-top of the windmill and looked far off across the fields and out into the deep blue sky. He felt that he was surely on top of the world!

As he looked, he noticed a dark and eerie cloud forming nearby. The wind was blowing and a drop of rain landed squarely on his nose.

It was time to head home and get there as quickly as possible. Baby Frederico was on his way in no time.

More next week!!!