Bored Games!

Hedbanz

Our nine-year old, Julia, and I have an inside joke that she loves to bring up when we are needing to reconnect.  It has to do with the headache-inducing board game “Hedbanz” (yes, that is actually how it is spelled!).  It revolves around the question, “What Am I?” and is the least enjoyable game I have ever had the pleasure of playing with my kids!

I remember the first time we played it.  I was very enthusiastic because I love board games.  I even grew up with my wonderful aunt, Jana Dabney, always introducing our family to new games during the holidays and it became a tradition that I now enjoy with my own family.

And then…Hedbanz.  I am not sure why I dislike this game so much, but the funniest thing has happened because of my disdain for it.  Julia has grown to love it even more!  I still play it with her sometimes and last night after dinner she got that look in her eye and said, “Dad, let’s play [big dramatic pause] THE GAME!”

I told her there was no way I was going to play it.

“I can’t stand that game,” I said.

She was resolute and in no time at all was back at the dinner table and putting the game pieces together for us.

We played and I lost nearly every round.  However, I realize more important things can happen when you are playing a game with your kids.  I watched my little girl laugh until she nearly cried as I fumbled with the questions and the answers, the clues and the rules of the game.  The more I grumbled about the game, the more she laughed.  I think that she won the games but I won the memory.

By the time we said our goodnights, I had to admit to myself that Hedbanz isn’t really all that terrible after all.  Just don’t tell Julia…

Claire Reviews! – ‘Chocolate Chippo Hippo’ – Tuesday’s Look at THIS Book

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* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room…

Today’s great book: Chocolate Chippo Hippo written by Vincent Andriani (1994, Scholastic)

Time to Read: about 45 seconds, laughter goes on for at least another 10!

Best Quote from the Book:  “Crunch Crunch”

Our View:  Chocolate Chippo Hippo captures the true essence of a children’s book.  This short, but very sweet, story tells of Ed the Hippo.  He loves, loves, loves to eat chocolate chip cookies.  He loves them so much that he has a pair of chocolate chip cookie sunglasses, a chocolate chip cookies suit, and even works in a factory where he gets to bake them every day!  He then goes home where he eats more cookies and goes to sleep, only to dream about them more.  So what makes this story so intriguing to me and my little sister, you ask?  The only true explanation I can think of is simply because it is so silly that it is just laugh-out-loud funny!  To tell you the truth, we read this book nearly every night.  I really couldn’t tell you why, other than I guess it is just one of those books that magically puts a smile on your face from the moment you pick it up.  I definitely recommend this book to everyone – for it is one book that will put you in the greatest of moods (and maybe even leave you craving a chocolate chip cookie!).

 

Words to Laugh By

Christmas Cookies

As I was helping our daughter gather up the things in her room that would make the journey with her to college earlier this week, I picked up a copy of Homer’s Iliad (circa 760-710 BC) from her bed. This ancient classic marks her first official college text bought for school.

And here’s the funny thing about it – it reminded me of the first book that she really fell in love with around age 2 or 3. It was a tiny little board book entitled Christmas Cookies by Wendy Lewison and illustrated by Mary Morgan (1993, Grosset and Dunlap). It would also be the first book that I remember her ever pretending to read because she had memorized what I read to her from it so many times. She loved this book, but mostly it was a sentence right in the middle that was her favorite. I would read along about these little mice and how their mother suggested that they make Christmas cookies because it was too cold and snowy for them to play outside.

We would read together through the short narrative as it rolled along in that great board book style of simplicity and sing-song rhyme. And then we would arrive at this page with the phrase, “In go the eggs now, crack, crack, plop. Oops! I dropped one. Get the mop!”

In the moment those words would leave my lips, our daughter would begin to laugh that deep, belly-laugh that only a little child can produce. It would light up the room and she would laugh so much about that phrase that we could rarely move on for several minutes. I am still not sure what it was that was so funny, but the mixture of just the right words and these little mice children having to clean up a mess were all she needed to laugh every single time we read it. To this day, all I have to do is quote that particular sentence and we fall into a fit of laughter. No idea why…

I am not sure she will laugh with that kind of abandon as she labors through Homer’s Iliad, but Lewison’s Christmas Cookies remains the first book that ever really got her attention and stirred something deep inside of her. Here’s hoping the same happens for all the books to come.

Iliad