Friday, April 27, 2012

Delphiniums (blue)

The Dormouse and the Doctor

There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)
And all the day long he'd a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
"Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say 'Ninety-nine' while I look at your chest....
Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?"

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
(When he'd said "Ninety-Nine") that he'd tried and he'd tried,
And much the most answering things that he knew
Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,
And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:
"What the patient requires is a change," and he went
To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view
 Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),
And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,
He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.
"Now these," he remarked, "give a much better view
Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)."

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)
And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
"And now," said the Doctor, "we'll soon have you right."

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:
"I suppose all these people know better than I.
It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,
And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.
"How very effective," he said as he shook
The thermometer, "all these chrysanthemums look!"

The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight
Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white)
"How lovely," he thought, "to be back in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)."

The Doctor said, "Tut! It's another attack!"
And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,
And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,"
And murmured, "How sweet your chrysanthemums are!"

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
"I'll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!"

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,
And saying, "There's nobody quite understands
These cases as I do! The cure has begun!
How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!"

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight
He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.
And all that he felt at the back of his head
Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)
If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,
You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies
Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.

-A.A. Milne

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Books Through the Seasons

I recently framed these pages from the book Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak, which got me thinking that it might be fun to follow up my post about spring books with one about books that cover all the seasons. This is one of our favorites (seriously, can you tell I love it? We don't even eat chicken!) for reading at the start of each month. Our original paperback copy was falling apart, so when I found a hardcover in nice condition, I grabbed it. Of course, it has taken me months to get a frame, but I think it turned out well. I love the illustrations, and I thought it would be nice to have each poem on display during its month.

Here are some of our favorite seasonal books that we keep on the bookshelves all the time. Some, like Chicken Soup With Rice and A Time to Keep, we read from at the beginning of each month. Some, like The Barefoot Book of Blessings, A Child's Calendar, and A Child's Garden of Verses, I use as sources for seasonal poems (as well as poems and blessings that fit in with our daily routines). Linnea's Almanac is a fairly recent addition to our library, but is I think it is going to be a great resource. The rest are just good stories that go through the seasons. Maxine is particularly enamored with The Flower Fairies Changing Seasons. I always thought the Flower Fairies books were commercial and gimmicky, but I kept seeing the alphabet book referenced on Waldorf blogs, so I finally checked them out and they're quite lovely (although this one has tabs you pull to change the pictures, so it is a little gimmicky). 

From left to right:

1. Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator
2. A Child's Calendar by John Updike
3. The Barefoot Book of Blessings by Sabrina Dearborn
4. A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor
5. Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
6. The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers
7. A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
8. The Flower Fairies Changing Seasons by Cicely Mary Barker
9. Linnea's Almanac by Cristina Bjork
10. Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow
11. Stories Around the Year by Thornton Burgess (this one is not pictured, but I wanted to include it because it's one of Max's favorites right now--which probably explains why I couldn't find it. It looks like it might be out of print, but can be found used fairly inexpensively).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Senior Prom

It is so hard to believe that I have a senior this year. Even harder to believe that the year is almost over. I don't usually write too much about her, because teenagers can be sensitive about that sort of thing, but I just had to share these pictures.

Isn't she lovely?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Reads

We have far too many books, so it is necessary to rotate them from time to time to keep the girls from getting bored and/or overwhelmed with the selection. Besides, who wants to read The Grinch who Stole Christmas in July, or Peter in Blueberry Land when it's snowing? I feel like some rotating is probably necessary no matter how many books you have.

Our book rotation system goes something like this: we have three big plastic bins we keep in the basement (that's not entirely true. We have a lot more than three--that's just how many we have that are full of books), and whenever the seasons change, we bring out the books for that season and pack away the books from the season before. This still leaves us with too many books in our book room at any time, but the girls largely ignore what's on the bookshelves which makes it easy to rotate within the seasons as well. I have two file holders that I use to display books facing out. I like to display some of their favorite books along with some "new" ones I think they might enjoy. I'd like to find something a little less industrial looking sometime, but these work fine for now.

In addition to all things Wonder Woman (except when those things are Wonder Girl, Wonder Tot, or The Cheetah, of course), here are some of the books Lissie has been enjoying lately. The Starry Bird and Eggs for the Hunting are both technically Easter books, but we got a late start on the second one and are still enjoying it (Easter or not, I say you can never go wrong with Tiptoes Lightly. And even though Maxine is a bit young for these, she has much affection for Jeremy Mouse). Miss Rumphius is one of my all time favorite books, but for some reason, we only have one other book by that author. Raggedy Ann is more age appropriate for Lissie, but almost always read while sitting between two girls, each cuddling her own Raggedy Ann doll (one large and handmade by my grandmother, the other small and mass produced; both equally loved and disheveled).

From left to right:

1. The Starry Bird by Reg Down
2. Eggs for the Hunting by Reg Down
3. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
4. Fancy Nancy Explorer Extraordinaire! by Jane O'Connor
5. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
6. Flower Fairies of the Spring by Cicely Mary Barker
7. The Faerie's Gift by Tanya Robyn Batt
8. Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle
9. The Snail's Spell by Joanne Ryder
10. Listen to the Farm by Mrs. Silas Bowman (this last is very short, and Maxine enjoys having it read to her. By Lissie, who recently started reading all on her own.)

Maxine is currently loving Knock at the Door and Baby Animals by Kay Chorao. The first one is a great resource for simple finger plays (which Lissie really enjoys doing). The Princess in the Forest and The Sun Egg have been in constant rotation since the girls got them for Christmas. Starlight Sailor, Little Fur Family (Ariana's old copy! I can't believe we still have it) and There and Back Again, are all recently discovered favorites. The last one was grabbed from the free bin at a thrift store by one of the girls a while ago. I wasn't at all familiar with it, but it's a cute story about a toy rabbit, and I love the illustrations.

From left to right:

1. Knock at the Door by Kay Choraro
2. The Princess in the Forest by Sibylle Von Olfers
3. A Day in the Forest by Honey Bear Productions
4. There and Back Again by Harold Jones
5. Baby Animals by Kay Choraro
6. The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown
7. The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow
8. Starlight Sailor by James Mayhew
9. Good-night Owl! by Pat Hutchins
10. Never Say Boo to a Goose! by Jakki Wood
11. Spring by Gerda Muller
12. Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown (not pictured is Goodnight Moon, which we have read almost every night since Maxine was old enough to express an opinion for a particular bedtime story. Runaway Bunny, however, is not nearly as popular around our house.)

Some of these are out of print, but available used for a few dollars on Amazon (or elsewhere, I am sure). The only exception would be A Day in the Forest which is, bizarrely, listed at $384.24 on Amazon. It's a fine book, but hardly worth that! I'd wait and see if it comes down $380 or so.

What about you? Do you rotate books? What are some of your spring favorites?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Graduate

I can't believe that Ariana is done with high school. It seems like just yesterday that I was driving her to her first day of sophomore year, and her first day back to "real" school!