I’m reading Fairy Mom and Me by Sophie Kinsella to #2 (she’s almost 6). She has actually laughed out loud at this book and asked me to read – something she’s only ever done with the Mercy Watson/Tales from Deckawoo Drive chapter books, so this is big. So far I think it’s a cute book, nothing amazing but super silly and perfectly written for its audience. I do appreciate books as a reflection of reality, and I think I have just found one of my favorite books lines! This made me laugh out loud – and I’d like to tell you that according to Fairy Mom and Me, my messy house is actually useful:
Our house has lots of useful things, all just where you need them. Like Ollie’s toys all over the floor and a pile of coats on the bench in the hall. There are books everywhere, because you never know when you might want a book. (pg 51-52)
For your entertainment, I have included some photographs (taken this morning) illustrating just how readily available I keep these useful things in my house:
Toys all over the floor:
A pile of coats on the bench in the hall:
So no, I will not be winning any awards for a tidy house – but look how easily the kids and I can find what we need!
Earlier this year I picked up The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl to read with my daughter (who is now 8), having been under the mistaken impression that it is a children’s book. Eek – it is NOT. It’s a good book, and I’m glad I read it, but I’m equally glad that she lost interest after a couple of stories.
The book is an interesting mix of stories, including several fictional stories as well as an autobiographical story and one true narrative. Overall, though, my feeling about the book is that it’s pretty dark. One story in particular follows young boys as they strap another child to a train track and watch as the train passes over him (!) – this story prompted my daughter to ask, “Mom, why would someone write that story?” My response was something along the lines of how there are bad people in the world, like those mean characters, and sometimes writers will write those stories to help them understand the bad things in the world. I told her that all stories present some truth from the world and have something to teach us, but that we don’t have to read those stories if we don’t like them. That was the last story we read together in the book, but I went on to finish it myself.
I give the book three stars, because it was well-written, engaging, and interesting…but not amazing and slightly disturbing. The autobiographical story is illuminating as to the author’s life though repetitive if you’ve read part of his autobiography (as I have). I do think it should be clearly advertised as NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK, though!
I Smile for Grandpa, written by Jaclyn Guenette and illustrated by Kathryn Harrison, is the sad but powerful story of Buddy and Grandpa, and how their relationship changes as Grandpa succumbs to dementia. The highest praise I can give this book is that I passed it on to a friend whose mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers because I thought it could be helpful for her to read with her children. I read it with my children, who don’t know anyone with dementia, and it led us to have some great conversations. The illustrator’s decision on dressing Buddy is genius – it’s never mentioned in the story whether Buddy is male or female, and the clothing could go either way. To my daughters, Buddy was “clearly” a girl because “she” wears purple; truly, though, I think a young boy could just as easily say Buddy is “obviously” a boy. The simple but powerful language combined with the illustrations that allow all children to see themselves as Buddy make this book a great tool for talking to kids about dementia. I highly recommend this book, and thank illustrator Kathryn Harrison for gifting me a copy in exchange for a (very, very, very overdue) review.
Find more information about the book and how it supports the Alzheimer Society of Canada, visit ismileforgrandpa.com.