ROAD TRIP: Carl Hiaasen’s Florida

ROAD TRIP: Carl Hiaasen’s Florida

Carl Hiaasen audiobooks became a family favorite of ours long before Junior was born. Since my partner had worked at Disney, I checked out Native Tongue before we embarked on a long drive. Hiassen’s hysterically funny satirical take on Disney World and rapacious Florida developers clicked with her memories and we spent the rest of the trip laughing over bumbling mango-vole-thieves-turned-habitat-defenders.

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Spinning magic and thread: The things we create

Spinning magic and thread:  The things we create

“The yarn Jacob was now tying to a bush at the entrance of the labyrinth came from a tailor’s shop in Vena, and there was nothing magical about it except for the skill involved in spinning common sheep wool into a firm thread.  This was going to be their thread of life….”  So opens Chapter 43 of Cornelia Funke’s Fearless

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Unleashing the Forces of Gothic Horror

Unleashing the Forces of Gothic Horror

One of Junior’s classmates told me excitedly that her afterschool group was going to see It. I didn’t think the school would be screening any Steven King movies and I told her so. Her mother rolled her eyes and said, “She wants to see It, no matter how much I remind her that she doesn’t like feeling scared.”

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ROAD TRIP: Review of Mr. Popper's Penguins

ROAD TRIP: Review of Mr. Popper's Penguins

A two-hour road trip to the beach? With three kids under seven? My mind automatically went to audiobooks. But the only one suitable for elementary schoolers at the library was Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Junior had been studiously avoiding the chapter book version on our shelves at home. I remembered it as a funny book about a man with a houseful of penguins—but didn’t remember any other plot details. Would a book published in 1938 keep everybody’s attention?

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Go see Hilary Knight!

Go see Hilary Knight!

If you're like me and pick up a book with Hilary Knight illustrations to read without even looking at the text, you're in luck! Two New York museums are currently featuring exhibitions of his work. The New York Historical Society is running Eloise at the Museum through October 9, and the New York Public Library’s Performing Arts Library showcases Hilary Knight’s Stage Struck World through October 14.

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Beginning at the Beginning

Beginning at the Beginning

My biggest tip for parents of young readers is:


Have books around that everyone likes to read.
 

Everyone is the operative phrase here. If you can't stand the book, you're not going to like reading it to anyone. If your child doesn't like the book, she or he is not going to want to sit and read it. When you're building your family's library, be very selective. It's not you--90% of kids' books are terrible.

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Beach reads!

Beach reads!

My family took me to the beach for the first time as a baby. My parents commented about it later, “You thought the beach was wonderful! You tried to eat everything on it.” At the end of the day, when my parents were packing up the car, I started to cry. My diaper was dry, I refused a bottle, and I wasn’t hurt. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Finally, they put me back down on the sand… and I stopped crying. Today, when our family isn’t at the beach, often we’re reading about the shore. Below are some of our beach favorites. I’d love to hear about yours!

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ROAD TRIP! Review of How to Train Your Dragon

ROAD TRIP! Review of How to Train Your Dragon

For the past six months, our family’s been under the spell of a small, crotchety, and almost entirely talentless dragon. Toothless—that’s right, a dragon with no teeth—belongs to Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, who is destined to become a Viking Hero even though he is “small, and red-haired, and very, very ordinary.” Hiccup and Toothless’ lack of athletic ability and most other Viking/dragon talents* (whoever heard of a Viking who can’t build a seaworthy boat?) lead them into all sorts of adventures involving treasure, monstrous beasts, and Romans.

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