Father Knows 5-30-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” 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.  Beverly Cleary – some great insight into the world of the wonderful author of Ralph S. Mouse, Ramona and Bezzus, and so many more.


2.  Summer Reading link for ages 7-12!

3.  16 Words That Are Much Older Than They Seem

4.  Danny Kaye! – what a singer and dancer, storyteller and dad.


5.  A List of Great Summertime Books for Children!

Julia Writes! – ‘Baby Frederico’s Mystery Part 1’

One day, Baby Frederico was up in the attic with his parents. They were cleaning it out. Mama Mia thought it was too messy up there!

Baby Frederico found lots of AMAZING things!!! There were full buckets of Hot Wheels, a little play kitchen, and a drum set! But his most favorite thing was a big, half chalk board, half dry erase board. He spent almost all day drawing on that board. He didn’t even go to his friend’s house.

A few days later, he asked his Papa Frita what he should draw on the board.

“You should draw a bear,” he said.

“OK,” said Baby Frederico.

As his father left for work, he started to draw. About a half an hour later, he was finished. My masterpiece, he thought to himself.

An hour later, he came back. I bet you’ll never guess what he saw. His picture was gone!!!  No one else was home, so no one could have erased it. It’s not like my picture just got up and ran away…. or did it!


Quotable – Fairy Tales

There are books that the girls and I are reading each week that we find so fascinating and thought-provoking that we wish all of you were in the room with us so we could read them with you, as well.  Today, we simply wanted to share a quote from one of our favorite authors, C.S. Lewis.  It is what we are thinking about this week:

“You and I who still enjoy fairy tales have less reason to wish actual childhood back.  We have kept its pleasures and added some grown-up ones as well.”

 – C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady (1953)

Julia (age 9) Reviews! – ‘Cages’

Title: CAGES
Author: Peg Kehret
Year It Was Made: 2001
Publisher: Puffin Books
Time It Took Me To Read It: 3 weeks
Back Of Book: Kit never means to steal that bracelet. She’s just mad after losing the lead in the school play and fighting with her unbearable stepfather. But when she is caught and sentenced to twenty hours of volunteer work at the humane society, she’s sure she’s blown her chance at a scholarship. Kit doesn’t mind volunteering at the humane society; she knows how it feels to be stuck in a cage like those animals. And with the help of one special friend, Kit begins to learn that the key to her own cage is right in front of her.
My Review: This is such an amazing book! On the first sentence of the first page, it’s like it pulls you right into the book! This story just gets happy, then sad. Then, it gets happy, and then sad again. It finally stays on one thing at the end of the book. HAPPY!!!


Somewhere Up Ahead

We visited Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glenn Rose, Texas a few weeks ago. There we found a wonderful trail that makes its way along a steep cliff and across some rocky terrain and it led us to several amazing fossilized footprints of dinosaurs.

Our younger daughters took the lead from the moment we stepped out of the car.  It was fascinating to me because they don’t often do that in new situations.

As we wound our way down into the riverbed, they hollered for me several times from somewhere up ahead, “Dad, are you still there?” and, “Dad, use the path to your left, it’s easier than the one on the right.” and, “Dad, you won’t believe what we found!”

I hear them say these things from somewhere up ahead and I am mesmerized by the boundless joy and growing sense of Indiana-Jones-style adventure that compels them.

They are speaking to me with more than words though; it is the sounding bells of growing up, of taking just a few more steps away from their mother and me, a few more paths that are of their own making.

I am following them, a few steps back, but always listening, listening, listening…somewhere up ahead.


A Flashback Friday 5-23-14

This column was originally posted on July 17, 2013:

My 8 year-old nephew is here with his sisters enjoying a summer vacation with their grandparents, who live near us on the other side of the farm, and we sat and talked for awhile last evening. He has been having bad dreams…well, one bad dream that recurs time and again, and his description of this dream is something like the great classic pieces of literature that have survived the ages! Now, don’t get me wrong about him. He knows exactly how to act his age and he is boy through and through (just ask us about the time he decided to hook one end of a bungee cord to his electric scooter and the other end to our swingset and then took off), but when he began to tell me about this dream he sat up straight and tall in his chair; even his voice went an octave lower than normal. His eyes were focused straight as an arrow, though not looking right at me, but somewhere off in the distance as he shared his story.

It is a simple dream really, no people other than himself and no elaborate sets – just a very deep and very dark lake, a seemingly endless wooden bridge, and a large circle that turns around in the middle of the lake. The bridge leads to the circle, always to the circle, no matter which way you are walking on the bridge. He says, “I just want to get somewhere else and find people, but the bridge keeps bringing me right back to the middle of this big lake and I end up sitting on this circle…thinking and thinking.”

Read his quote there one more time. Do you see it? That is a STORY my friends. He is a writer, a storyteller, a master at describing what he knows…and he doesn’t even realize it yet. My kids and yours are the same. They have stories to tell, things they know and understand that rest rumbling somewhere inside them just waiting to make their debut, to share with someone, anyone, who acts like they want to listen.

Something in the telling of his bad dream has helped my nephew, at least for now. We ended up deciding the stuff going on in his dream could really be quite an adventure after all, so he is making himself a boat out of different objects lying around the house and is going to sleep with it. I imagine you too can see the logic in creating such a boat. If you can’t, ask your kids and I bet they can tell you…all they’ll need is a moment of your time.

‘What’s In A Name?’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico!

Baby Frederico and his Papa loved to play board games. After dinner, they would often choose a game from the loft in Papa’s room and sit in the living room to play. Papa would turn on some of his favorite music while Baby Frederico carefully chose a game board and placed its colorful pieces on their appropriate places.

After a short and funny game of Rush Hour, Papa surprised Baby Frederico with a game that he had first learned to play when he was small. It was called ‘Big Boggle’ and included a large clear box with little squares at its base that included white cubes covered with letters of the alphabet. Papa said it was a game to find as many words within those cubes before the time ran out (it reminded Baby Frederico of an old-fashioned version of Words with Friends!).

As they played, Baby Frederico had an idea of his own. He began to wonder how many words he could make from his own name:


How many can you find?