The Family That Flips Together…

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Snow days out of school and work allow all kinds of things to happen at home. Monday was definitely one of those days!

Our youngest was up earlier than usual for a day off and so she piled into bed and covered up between us. She talked with me about the snow outside, the icicles hanging from the roof over the back porch, when we would be sledding today, what time I wanted to get up, and, finally, if she could be totally in charge of making pancakes.

We agreed to that and we were off to the kitchen in no time. She even coined a new phrase to commemorate her hard work at the griddle – “chips and flips.” The “chips” stand for the mountainous volume of chocolate chips she and her sister have come to love in their pancakes; the “flips” stand for how much she has grown up in this past year to be able to now successfully flip a pancake to cook on both sides (not an easy task!).

There is a favorite book about home life by Robert Wolgemuth entitled The Most Important Place on Earth. In it he writes about all the ways in which parents can build a strong family. He says, “We thought we were [making pancakes]; we were really doing what families have done for centuries: working together, laughing together, and learning to love each other in the process.”

It makes me stop and think harder about the little things, the chores, the meals of our sometimes ho-hum life at home. It’s even the chips and flips that are bringing us together. The life of a family is lived every day of the week…snow days, too.

P.S. Here are a few of our favorite children’s books about pancakes…Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle, Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola, and If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff.

‘Sing Your Address’ Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

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*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…lots of snow!  Here is his story:

Baby Frederico was excited about winter and snow and snow sledding and snowballs and snow ice cream and icicles and snowmen and trying to ride his bike on the long snow-packed driveway that ran from his garage to his mailbox.

There was just one thing, though, that he wanted more than anything – a snow day out of school.  He longed for it.  He prayed for it.  He held his breath every time he watched the local weatherman give his hopeful snowy forecast.  Surely someday there would be enough snow to get him out of school, for Baby Frederico desperately wanted that someday to be this week. It needed to be a very big snow that would make the roads impassable and encourage teachers, especially his teacher, to stay home and drink hot chocolate!

This was Kindergarten and Baby Frederico had been thinking about something that brought all kinds of worry into his little brain – during Circle Time, the teacher was going to ask each student to stand up and recite their home address and tell something about themselves, all by themselves.  He couldn’t stand the thought of it. Not only did he not know his address, but he didn’t know anything about himself that the other kids would think was interesting. He had a long green tail, two eyes, two ears, four legs, and he was in kindergarten…what else was he supposed to say!

That night at dinner Baby Frederico told his Momma and Papa about his troubles. They listened carefully and then his Papa smiled and said, “I’ve got it! You can sing your address and then tell them about your comic book collection. They’ll love it!”

That night, Baby Frederico and his Papa made up a funny tune that would help him easily remember his address. They gathered up three of his favorite comic books and put them in his book bag. No longer was BF worried and he slept peacefully through the night.

The next day there was enough snow that school was cancelled, so BF sang his address all day long and couldn’t wait for school to start again.

Claire Speaks: Frozen

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A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. - Franz Kafka

I am thankful for a daughter who writes! Claire thinks with a pen in hand and was gracious in helping me with this week’s work on the website. So, sharing her perspective about the movie and book Frozen, allow me to officially invite you to hear from fatherknowsbooks very first guest blogger:

Frozen. The movie has swept the nation with its super catchy music and the amazing lessons it teaches. This movie has been awarded Best Original Song for “Let It Go” ( I know you just stopped and sang it at the top of your lungs, don’t deny it), has been nominated for Best Animated Film, has made more than The Lion King($715,000,000 since January), and there are rumors of a Broadway musical – all in its short span of existence on the big screen.

If you looked very closely while the credits were rolling, you saw that Frozen was actually based off of a book called The Snow Queen. This was a story by the outstandingly tremendous children’s author Hans Christian Anderson. He has actually written a couple of stories that inspired their transformation into some of most beloved princess movies in all of Disney history. One example is The Little Mermaid and now…Frozen!

Though there may be many reasons for such success, from my perspective the narrative that so moves us in Frozen is the simple act of a sister’s love. It is a love that knows no bounds and will transform a frozen heart.

The story ends as a tribute to anyone who has ever given themselves as a sacrifice for another:
 “You sacrificed yourself for me?” Elsa asked in wonder.
                                Still weak, Anna replied simply, “I love you.”

‘Frosty the Snow Man’ – 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.  To celebrate the holiday season, we are reviewing a great Christmas book every Tuesday this month!

 frosty

Today’s Great Book:  Frosty the Snow Man by Annie North Bedford and illustrated by Corinne Malvern (1972, Little Golden Books)

Time to Read:  short and sweet for bedtime or anytime

Summary:  From goodreads.com…Everyone’s favorite snowman with a magic hat, a button nose, and eyes made out of coal comes to life on Christmas every year.

Best Quote:  “And the magical part was that while they were with Frosty, the children could stay out and play in the snow and never get shivery cold.”

Our View:  There are three things I cherish from my childhood and that my mom treasured for me until I became a father and she handed them all over to me - Star Wars people, Hot Wheels, and Little Golden Books.  Today’s special book comes from that last group and is the original Frosty the Snow Man, the very first version of this story I ever heard as a child.  It was first printed in 1951 and I received this 1972 edition when I was in the first grade and played Frosty in the school Christmas program.  I loved that story and loved that song and always felt some genuine grief when Frosty melted as he said, “I’ll be back again someday.”  I can honestly say that I think in all the years we have built snowmen, I think of this story at least once during their creation!  This book version of the story is great, with a little more information and good illustrations that give you a sense that you are reading something of a true American holiday classic.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - “The Popcorn Man Mix” - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

‘Sadie and the Snowman’ – 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.  To celebrate the holiday season, we are reviewing a great Christmas book every Tuesday this month!

Book review

Today’s Great Book:  Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan and illustrated by Brenda Clark (1985, Scholastic)

Time to Read:  short and sweet for bedtime or anytime

Summary:  From the back of the book…Sadie made a really good snowman. And he lasted for a long, long time.

Best Quote:  “The sun kept coming out and the snowman kept melting. But there was always enough of the snowman left to start all over again.”

Our View:  Our oldest was a kindergartner at Christmas in the year 2000 when she received this outstanding winter children’s book from her excellent teachers, Connie Westhof and her assistant Marilyn Oldfield. We read it throughout the season and have returned to its comforting story every winter since. The story follows a little girl through a wonderfully instructive time in which she makes her first snowman (the illustrations are perfect for enhancing this learning aspect of the story). As the season moves along, she discovers a way to keep her snowman year-round. When summer comes, she fondly remembers the experience of creating the snowmen. It is a wonderfully simple idea that is common to so many young children and its instructive style really is helpful in bringing a young child along in their thinking about time and change and memory. Sadie and the Snowman is a wintertime classic here at our house.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe - “We All Scream for Snow Cream!” - created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

Look at this Book! Katy and the Big Snow

* 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…

Katy Bkg Snow Review

Today’s great book: Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton (1943, Houghton Mifflin Company).
Time to Read: short and sweet; the illustrations alone are worth some extra time
Summary: “Katy, a brave and untiring tractor, who pushes a bulldozer in the summer and a snowplow in the winter, makes it possible for the townspeople to do their jobs.”
Best Quote: “Then she went home to rest. Then…and only then did Katy stop.”

Our View: The most familiar of Virginia Lee Burton’s books, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, only recently drew our attention to this particular book about a big tractor that includes a very important set of implements and one very very important snow shovel. My 8-year old especially enjoys the illustrations that Burton so beautifully crafts across each page. The details and words and ideas represented in these drawings alone make this book a must-have for your secret book room! There is a classic, maybe even nostalgic, feel to it. The character of Katy is also very important as this story’s core narrative is about taking care of your community and each other and doing what’s right even when it is difficult…and not losing heart until the job is done.

Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – “Katy Cubes” – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.