Saturday, January 30, 2010


Ring-tailed cat Chloe
Eats her food and Thomas’ –
Why can’t she lose weight?

Book 7

Book 7: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, 1962, Newbery Winner, Yearling Books.

The other day I read "When You Reach Me", by Rebecca Stead, this year's Newbery winner. I liked the book, although I probably would have liked it more had I not just recently watched the "Blink" Dr. Who episode. (Darn that New Year's marathon and David Tennant for being so adorable.) Anyway having recently wrapped my mind around time travel, this book's plot unfolded very quickly for me. "When You Reach Me" did pay homage, however, to a book I love and bought: "A Wrinkle in Time".

When I first read this book, I thought it was about me. At eleven I, like Meg, had braces, thick glasses for nearsightedness, and blah-colored hair that frizzed on the right side and was dead straight on the left. I was brilliant in a few subject and backward in others. My father had temporarily been assigned somewhere away from home. I would like to point out that the book was written years before I was even born, but back then, I didn't bother looking at publishing dates. Of course I was drawn into this book upon my first reading -- how could I not be?

Upon reading this book as an adult (so to speak), this book still enthralls me. There is that whole space/time travel -- again, David Tennant's Dr. Who. And the Cape Canaveral connection (where my husband works, for now, anyway). And, as an adult, I noticed that this book pay homage to one of my favorite writer's: C.S. Lewis, especially in his writings for adults.

So, when my son comes of age, I'll have him read this book and see if he sees himself in it. Have you read it? Are you in it?

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Friday, January 29, 2010


It’s a wolf moon night:
Moon so big, so bright, so close
I try to touch it

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Baby up at five
Asleep by five-thirty, but
No more sleep for me

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book 6

Book 6: Un-brella, by Scott E. Franson, Roaring Brook Press 2007

As a rule, I'm not a big fan of wordless picture books or CG artwork. Un-brella is the exception to both. The illustrations are ridiculously beautiful, or beautifully ridiculous, or maybe both. Every page is vibrant, detailed, humorous, imaginative, genius and completely unforgettable. Words are unnecessary and would probably only get in the way in this gorgeous book.

My toddler is too young to truly understand the story, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying the artwork and laughing at the unexpected on each amazing page.

My only complaint is that this is Scott E. Franson's one and only book so far. Until another one comes out, hint, hint, I'll be sharing Un-brella often with my son and following Scott's humorous stories and brilliant illustrations posted on his blog at

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why


Little red wagon
With baby and big red dog
Trek around the yard

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Crocheted monkey face
Needs a home. Pink pig found one
Patrick’s in the trash

Monday, January 25, 2010


First we ran the air,
Then heat, then air, heat again –
This was just today!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Daddy put baby
To bed. But baby stayed up
Until Mommy sang

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I love the frog bib –
Hard plastic, wipes clean. The boy,
However, does not

Book 5

Book 5: "The Scarlet Pimpernel", by Baroness Orczy, first published in book form in 1905 (it was originally produced as a play in 1903 for want of a book publisher)

Last week, from my local library, I checked out "Sovay", by Celia Rees, published by Bloomsbury, 2008. I enjoyed it, but darn if it didn't remind me of something else. "Sovay" is set during the latter part of the French Revolution/Age of Reason, so of course I thought of "Tale of Two Cities" and the "The Red and the Black". There is even a wonderful hot-air balloon scene in it that recalled "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" to me. But none of these seemed to be quite right. Then I remembered "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and immediately upon finishing "Sovay" I re-read that.

What a great book -- no wonder I bought it. First of all, I'm a sucker for the whole secret identity thing. Batman wouldn't be nearly so interesting without Bruce Wayne (and, even more so, vice versa). Not only does "The Scarlet Pimpernel" predate Batman, it even predates "Zorro" (upon which Batman was loosely based). As far as I can tell this was the first true duality-of-man book.

Secondly, it is a history lesson of sorts in that it is based on actual events if not an actual person. To me, the French Revolution is one of the most confusing times in history. I understand the reasons for the beginning of the revolution, but this book takes place three years into the war when those who set out to topple tyrants have become tyrants themselves and once-clear issues become cloudy.

Finally, it is just a well-written story. It is over a hundred years old and I've read it a few times and I'm sure I'll read it at least a few more. I know in another ten or so years, my son also will enjoy reading it.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Friday, January 22, 2010


I had morning plans
How the day does run away! –
Too late: It’s dark out

Book 1 -- Part Dos

Book 1 -- Part Dos: "Buenas Noches, Luna", published by HarperCollins

Because my toddler knows the original English version of "Goodnight, Moon" so well, I decided that the Spanish version would be a great way to introduce him to a few words in Spanish. I don't expect him to become fluent or anything, but I have been singing to him in French and German, and since we do live in Florida, well, learning a little Spanish just makes sense.

My husband studied a (very) little Spanish in high school, and I spoke it a little in elementary school (I lived in Hacienda Heights, CA). I thought he would be able to read the Spanish version better than I would. I was wrong. It turns out learning to speak another language (even a tiny bit) as a child stays with you more than learning it new as an adolescent. Anyway, after a not very successful page by page the first night, I've just been reading a few words (pretty much Buenas Noches and the nouns) to correspond with what my husband reads. It seems to be working. Already my son will point to the moon in my husband's book and to la Luna in mine. So overall, I think this is a pretty painless way to expose a child to a second (or third, or fourth) language.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This evening’s walk:
Pleasantly cool, overcast
And smoke in the wind

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter poem

Parched, brown earth; dead grass
Sharp smell of hay tints the air --
All yards are equal

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I thought that there was
Nothing to say, but then the
Moon smiled down on me

Monday, January 18, 2010


Setting sun paint its
Gaudy piece across the sky –
Moon paring outshines

Fourth book

Fourth book: Who Hops? by Katie Davis, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998

The first thing you notice about Katie Davis is her fantastic smile. It is gigantic and genuine. It is so broad that her eyes twinkle. Clearly, this is a woman who loves to laugh, and by extension, make others laugh. With her book, "Who Hops?", Katie Davis has achieved this goal.

I don't know if it's because of the brilliant (as in colorful and clever) illustrations, or because of the wonderful silliness of this book, but every time I read this book to my one-year-old son, he lets loose with a great, big belly laugh. Because his laugh is one of my favorite sounds, this book has become one of my favorite books.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Five weeks, no choir; then
Ninety minutes in cold air –
Scratchy, crackling voice

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Every year for Christmas my in-laws give me practical tools for gifts. One year it was a set of screwdrivers; one a set of wrenches; another a set of pliers (too big for jewelry, though), and I have had occasion to use all of them. This year, however, was the best. They got me a set of craft blades. Just before Christmas I had decided to take up paper-cutting and all I could find were embroidery scissors. They worked, but the blades are SO much better. I used them today for some whimsical art for the family room.

Held in pen-like grasp

Blade cuts surplus to reveal

Wonderland’s Alice

Friday, January 15, 2010


Ach-oo and bless you
Makes little boy laugh, so now
He fakes sneezes – Choo!

Third book

Third book: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems, Hyperion 2003.

I LOVE this book. I think it is hilarious. Fortunately, the toddlers I read it to in story time at the library agreed. Unfortunately, my colleagues did not. Oh, they tolerated the pigeon, but never really embraced him.

Toddlers all know the word "no". Even my one-year-old son is familiar with it. How great to have a character in a book toddlers can say "no" to. My son wags his head, but same idea. And how absurd to have a pigeon who wants to drive a bus. At the library we even used this book at an elementary school during Space Week and had the pigeon begging to fly the shuttle. It became wonderfully Dr. Who-ish when the pigeon wanted to fly just once around the galaxy. (The would be David Tennant's Dr. Who for those wanting a mental image).

Also, the deceptively simple illustrations make the pigeon instantly recognizable. In addition to buying this book, I also bought a toy pigeon that says in Mo Willems' creepy/funny voice "Let me drive the bus!" When I pull out the book to read it, my son grabs the toy pigeon.

There are other pigeon books, which also are very funny, but this one, the original, is my favorite.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Back to normal week

With story time today and

Grandma’s tomorrow

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Today not close to
Promised sixty-four degrees –
I want my day back

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Lesions on the eye!
Sounds awful and so painful
Hope they clear up soon

Monday, January 11, 2010


Congestion, sore throat
Muzzy head. Maybe the cold
Will break tomorrow

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter poem

Days of lethargy
Heralded a nascent cold --
Rotten winter luck!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Funny little boy
Nine months inside me but you
Look like your daddy

Friday, January 8, 2010


Cloudy, damp, no sun
Fifty degrees high. So like
Summer in England

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Sometimes the news is just so vivid that you have to use it for a poem:

So cold iguanas
Drop from trees – nowhere to go -
This is Florida!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Shiver during day
Blanket of frost at night – Yup –
This is Florida

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Eight o’ clock: Cat runs
Outside. Eight-oh-one: Cat runs
Back inside. Too cold!

Monday, January 4, 2010


I know I’m tired
When I make morning coffee
Without the coffee

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Anti-age makeup
Keeps promise – My face broke out
Like I was thirteen

Saturday, January 2, 2010


New resolutions
Usually made with New Year
Mine made on birthday

Friday, January 1, 2010


Christmas trappings packed
In boxes in dark attic
But joy still remains