Friday, May 28, 2010

Poetry Friday: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Best Thing in the World

What's the best thing in the world?
June-rose, by May-dew impearled;
Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Love, when, so, you're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world?
--Something out of it, I think.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

While I'm not sure yet whether or not the poem plays a pivotal role in Maisie Dobbs's investigation of the death of American cartographer Michael Clifton, I did enjoy coming across this gem while reading The Mapping of Love and Death, by Jacqueline Winspear, just last night.  I especially love the word "impearled," and hope to work it into conversation during the weekend's festivities somehow. ☺

Poetry Friday is being hosted this week at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Sharing Monday - The 101 Dalmatians

We have a new read-aloud, in addition to Book Two of the Ulysses Moore series.  I can't decide if I want to read it myself or get the cds (on which the story is read in a charming British accent that I have no talent for mimicking), which are currently on the shelf of one of the libraries we frequent.  Dodie Smith wrote The 101 Dalmatians in 1957, and it was her first work for children.  Her first novel, I Capture the Castle (1948) was  introduced to me a few years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed the author's style and especially her descriptive writing.

The edition of The 101 Dalmatians that we have is a recent edition with pencil-drawn illustrations by Michael Dooling.  His Cruella is quite menacing-looking!

Book Sharing Monday is hosted by Serendipity Homeschool.  Find a great book to read today!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More postcards--The International Postcard Swap

We've now received all of our postcards from the swap, and are pleased to have gotten cards from Germany, Australia, Cornwall, and Canada, as well as ones from our fellow Bay Staters.

Two of the cards were homemade--one from a two-year-old girl in Germany (we've already checked out and read her first book recommendation, and it's a good one):

and another from a family in Ontario (theirs is almost like a Magic Eye picture--if you look closely you can see the national animal of Canada):

And then there were the cards depicting lovely scenes from Victoria, Australia:

and Cornwall:

which only make us want to visit the UK and Australia even more than before.

My hat's off to Playing by the Book for organizing the swap.  Hopefully the exchange will happen again, as I think we may have some budding postcard collectors here!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Poetry Friday: Haiku

My eldest child gave me a book of Japanese Haiku for Mother's Day (how well he knows me!) and I've been enjoying reading it.  Here are a few favorites so far:

On the surface
of petal-covered water--
frogs' eyes

Recited on and on,
the poems of the frogs
have too many syllables

Its face
looks like a horse--
the grasshopper

Flower petals
set the mountain in motion--
cherry blossoms

photo by O.L.K. (age 12)

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Laura Salas at Writing the World for Kids.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Sharing Monday - Wee Gillis

We are beginning a small unit on Scotland to go along with the formal introduction of the music of Mendelssohn I have in mind for June.  Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony and Hebrides (or "Fingal's Cave") Overture are the two pieces I'm planning to highlight first.  So I've been searching for children's books from or about Scotland, and have come across some fun books so far.

The Story of Ferdinand is a favorite in this house, so I was happy to find that that tale's author also wrote a Caldecott Honor book about a boy who tries to decide if he wants to be a Highlander or a Lowlander.  The book begins thusly--
Wee Gillis lived in Scotland.
His real name was Alastair Roderic Craigellachie Dalhousie Gowan Donnybristle MacMac, but that took too long to say, so everybody just called him Wee Gillis.
Like Ferdinand, Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf is a charming book, even if the above sentence took a bit of practice and still made me stumble through it.  : )

Book Sharing Monday is hosted by Serendipity Homeschool.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

International Postcard Swap - Postcards from Boston!

That's right, our first postcards to arrive were from just a hop, skip, and a jump away, but didn't overlap with any we sent, though some of our selections were from Boston as well as Concord, another historic town nearby.  This particular family sent a card to each child, so we received three, but by the time I scanned them in, only two were among the findable.

Boston is a fun city to visit, though I confess we do not make it in as often as we might, living so close.  As the youngest family member gets older, I suspect trips into the city will become more frequent.  Two places we do tend to visit are the Museum of Science and the Museum of Fine Arts.  The former, with all its inherent craziness, is beloved by my kids and spouse, while I generally prefer the quiet and open spaces of the MFA.

A favorite Newbery book set in Boston is Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes.  It is the tale of an apprentice silversmith living in the colonial city as the Revolutionary War approaches.  For more children's books set in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts, go here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Parting Glass

I'm feeling a little nostalgic today.  Lyrics below.

Oh, of all the money that ere I had,
I spent in good company,
And all the harm that ere I done,
Alas it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To memory now I can't recall.
So fill to me the parting glass--
Good night and joy be with you all.

Of all the comrades that ere I had,
They were sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts that ere I had,
They wished me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not,
I'll gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Book Sharing Monday - Talking to the Sun

Talking to the Sun, an Illustrated Anthology of Poems for Young People, selected and introduced by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell, with art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

First published in 1985, this book has been around for a while, and it's one that we've checked out of the library several times.  When I saw it on a used curriculum post a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance of having our own copy, and am really enjoying using it as part of the stealth-homeschooling practice known as coffee-table strewing.  It's a lovely, lovely book filled with poetry from the classics through the modern age, and the art, oh, the art!  Makes me want to run to the nearest art museum and feast my eyes.

Book Sharing Monday is hosted by Serendipity Home School.  See what other beautiful books are being blogged about today!