I'm supposed to read "The Shack" for my book group meeting next week and I can't make myself finish it. It feels.... trite and heavy-handed to me. Surely this is further evidence that I'm going to H E Double Toothpicks.
I just finished (when I was supposed to be reading another book, AHEM) What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen and I found it very entertaining and thought-provoking in the mommy memoir roller-coaster-of-emotions kind of way.
Weeks after finishing the book, I'm still thinking about some of the characters in The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and I don't even like baseball all that much. Whoever you are, you should read it. Unless you hate beautiful writing or are terribly homophobic.
You know those kids books that you always chose when your kid asks you pick a book to read to them? The ones that give you goosebumps? Here are a few of my current favorites:
Me.... Jane by Patrick McDonnell. There are fabulous illustrations in this story about Jane Goodall as a little girl.
Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop by Devon Kinch. I adore this story because it reminds me so much of Z and her shops last summer.
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble, aka "Mom, you ALWAYS chose that one!"
The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson, adapted by Gloria Fowler. The illustrations in this book are so beautifully detailed, Z and I gazed at each page for a long time when she was sick last week.
So, okay, these next few don't exactly give me goosebumps but Z, a new reader, needs books with very simple sentences and I am beyond bored by the ones she chooses from the library (usually based on a TV show or Barbies or some other mindless drivel). However, I can listen to her stumble her way through the Elephant and Piggie books by the incomparable Mo Willems and the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik for HOURS.
Any other Non-Barbie beginning reader book suggestions would be GREATLY APPRECIATED.
1. I walked into town to see the movie last night - and can I just pause to say how much I love saying that? I can WALK into town to see a movie!
Anyway, the movie was a documentary about kids and nature called Mother Nature's Child and while it certainly was preaching to the choir - who else besides nature-loving parents are going to pay to see this movie? - it definitely provided me with some food for thought.
Most of the information I already knew: for younger kids, the sensory input from irregular, impermanent nature is unrivaled by any of the fixed, safety-tested play structures of suburbia.
But the theses about older children really interested me. In middle childhood, when children are building their identities and beginning to separate from their parents, access to nature and, especially unfettered time ALONE in nature, can be profoundly soothing and confidence-building to a child.
If you don't live in the country, how does one allow children to run loose in wild places in this day and age? I love that I can walk to town but that means we have to drive to get to any real wild places. And there are ticks here! And MAJOR Lyme Disease!
(See? Even the nature-loving parents have issues to overcome.)
In the teenage years - the years where children focus on their peers and risk-taking, sometimes in equal measure - outdoor experiences with peer groups (like summer camps) can allow them to build the peer relationships and take the risks they developmentally crave. The documentary hammered home that if we don't give them acceptable risks, they will create their own risks... duhn duhn DUHN!
The upshot: I'd recommend seeing this movie, if it interests you at all.
2. We are supposed to go to the movies this weekend. Anyone seen anything good lately? Bonus points for good kissing scenes (me) and loud car chases (my husband).