Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Villains, Presidents, and Big, Bad Wolfs (Oh, My!)

It's been a while since we've had a good children's book post around here--and that is just a shame! (Yes, both italics and an exclamation point were entirely necessary.) Let's remedy that immediately.

You know how some people have life goals? Or bucket lists? Well, mine is largely made up of books that I want to read to my kids when they get older. Seriously.

Last week, I got to check a book off my list when the big boys and I read out loud A. A. Milne's classic, Once on a Time. It's a source of deep sadness to me that this book is not well known and required literature for every elementary school child. Hands down, Milne created the most fabulous villain of all time. The Countess Belvane: they just don't make them like that any more. And when I say "fabulous", I mean that in every sense of the word. Also: Wiggs. I want to give her all the hugs. If you haven't read this book yet, do yourself a favor: stop everything and remedy that immediately. It's free on Amazon kindle right now, and while I can't guarantee that it will include the fantastic Susan Perl illustrations (which, really, ARE AWESOME--caps necessary), at least you'll be able to leave with the magical poetry of King Merriwether:
Bo, bole, bill, bole
Wo, woll, will, wole.
Kings who start wars over breakfast and seven league boots, a princess whose power is usurped by a largess throwing countess, magic rings that turn princess into...something amusing, and so much more. You'll thank me later.

Belvane showing us how it gets done.

Continuing on with read alouds, the boys and I just plowed through Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. (For the enquiring minds that want to know, we're now halfway through Skylark, the sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, which I am really enjoying re-reading as an adult, especially in regards to seeing Sarah and Jacob work out their marriage.) Littles and Tiny really enjoyed being back with Roald Dahl's Charlie and Willy Wonka, and we had a great time reading about shooting Knid's and Minus-Land, but my biggest take away was more on the political side, actually.

Now that you're all recovered from the heart attack of me talking politics on my blog, I'll just say this. If you are wondering even a little bit what it would be like to have Donald Trump for president, go read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Except that it would be even worse, because Trump is a real person and not just stupid, the way the president in C&tGGE is. I meant to pull out some entertaining quotes (that become less entertaining the closer this election looms), but you may just need to go reread this one for yourself. Trust me and Shuckworth, Shanks, and Showler (they really did see a ten year old, four old people in nightgowns, and a big bed floating around in that glass "space shuttle").

Littles with Shuckworth, Shanks, and Showler.
Last, but not least, if you're looking for a fun, retold fairy tale for your littlest littles, pick up Teresa Heapy's Very Little Red Riding Hood. Bee, especially, enjoyed this one, but I had fun turning the tables on the twins by reading all of Very Little Red's lines in their voices. The below picture has Bee with my favorite line, "Not LELLO flowers. RED!" Because if I hear one more time that someone wants grapes only to be told they don't like grapes... Well, you get the point. But we enjoyed laughing our way through this one together. And then we all slept happily ever after. Naturally.

Bee wouldn't share her cakes with a wolf either.
Or anyone else.

At any rate, if you aren't spending a significant amount of your library time poking around in the children's section, maybe this will prod you out of your malaise. Children's books for the win! You know you want to...


  1. Great photo of C. And Once on a Time is a marvelous classic. I once bought the book, planning to give it to you since you have the old falling apart copy, but then I decided to keep it because if you really want it, we all know that you will just take it and pretend it was yours all along. But I didn't bring it out here with me and I tried to download it on Amazon (thanks for the tip). But Amazon says that I can't download Kindle Classics in the US, and asked if I had changed my location. Of course, I have, but if they won't let me buy Kindle Classics in the US, how much less likely are they to let me buy it in Sudan? What is the deal?

  2. And there are lots of free AA Milne books that I want that I can't get because Amazon is not letting me. This is very unfair.

  3. Oh...but you didn't answer my Amazon questions! If you do, though, whatsapp me the answer because no one knows ever if the internet is going to work tomorrow, and this is important stuff.