Saturday, I was still not feeling so well, and with my wife away at a concert, I had the kids for a few hours. One thing I could do, however, was read the books I got from the library a week ago. With my daughter nestled against me on the couch and my son banging things together as he seems to want to do in every waking hour, we shared the four books. I have copied my GoodReads reviews for each book below.
This is a wonderful story of how things change and stay the same. It follows the journey of a quilt made from a family’s clothing as it is passed down mother-to-daughter over the generations and finally is in the hands of the author, Patricia Polacco. The spare use of color in the illustrations highlights the quilt, and the subtle changes in the people around it as the time passes is reflected both in the pictures and the text. This story resonates on a few personal levels with Jewish Russian ancestry and with a quilt hanging in my bedroom made from the clothes of my wife’s mother and which served as the covering of our huppa (as the quilt in the book did several times). I hope our quilt can be a treasured link to past generations just as the one in the book did.
For quite a while, Corduroy has been one of my daughter’s favorite characters, and we regularly read the first book in the series. It was a favorite of mine from childhood, and I have come to love it again as an adult. From the presence of a spunky, African-American girl for the main character opposite Corduroy to the bear’s constant wonder and joy in the world. I also love the depiction of life that includes apartments, laundromats, and other features that feel authentic to me. In this tale, Corduroy spends the night at a laundromat and eventually gets a pocket with his own name in it, and in the tale, all of the characters are genuinely nice and caring.
My daughter is four. Toooften, but developmentally appropriately, we often hear, “Mine,” coming from her lips. There are some nice books that deal with the idea of ownership, and this is one of them. The little squirrel wants to keep a glittery snowflake, represented on the pages by a textured and glittery snowflake, all to itself. Once it builds a nest to keep control of the flake, the squirrel misses out on life and finally decides to let go of the treasure in order to be with the other squirrels. It is a simple story, but the illustrations and text make it work without being too didactic.
A friend recently commented on my makeshift garden fence that its floppiness was a good groundhog deterrent. So far it seems to have kept out the rabbit that was eating my pea plants, and I suppose it has kept out groundhogs as well. In this lushly illustrated book, all of the regular garden assaulting animals instead grown their own gardens that are overflowing with produce. Squirrel teaches Groundhog how to save seeds, sow them in the spring, care for the plants, and harvest the results. Of course they share the food with friends at the end. I really like the messages and amazingly detailed illustrations and can even get past the fact that the characters in this book are more likely to devastate my garden that can’t hold a candle to the one in the book. There is lots here for my daughter and me to come back and read again.