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See you again soon Eva Nine! We’ll miss you!

Okay.  It happened.  I didn’t think it ever would, but it has.  I’ve been ruined.  Yep.  You read that right.  Ruined.  I can no longer read juvenile fiction without comparing it to the amazing The Search for WondLa.   Tony DiTerlizzi has ruined me.  From this point on, his magnificent work is the yardstick by which all other chapter books will be measured.

The truth is, I fell in love with DiTerlizzi’s prose and word-use within the first few pages of The Search for WondLa (which you may remember me raving about HERE).  I enjoyed reading it, if for nothing else, than his easy way with language, the way the words dripped off the page and onto my tongue like some sweet honey made just for my delighted writerly senses.  That would have been enough.  But then he made me fall in love with his characters as well.

Rovender Kitt?  Seriously, seriously love him.  I love the lessons of interconnectedness he bestows on Eva, which so closely resemble the things I’ve hoped to instill in, and inspire with, Lily-Ann.  I’ll miss this particular character even more than I’ll miss Otto, the giant water bear, who speaks with kindness and gentleness telepathically to our young heroine, Eva, whom kid-kid enjoyed so very much.

Tomorrow we have to begin another book.  The second book in the WondLa trilogy, A Hero for WondLa, isn’t available at our local library, and we don’t have the funds just now to run out and purchase it (or I would).  We would so like to linger on Orbona a little longer, but it is what it is.  I know whatever we choose to read, it won’t absorb us like the fluid, easy, natural flow of language that is Mr. DiTerlizzi’s masterpiece.  However, I also know that we WILL make it back to read more about Rovender, Otto, and Eva…  even if we are pulled away for a while, and that?  It’s a very nice thing to know.

the search for wondla, ipad wallpaper

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We’ve Begun our Search for Wondla

I had forgotten what it was like to read something so beautiful that the words alone remind you of what it is to be passionate.  How they are strung together, the choice of each so careful and deliberate that your heart soars with each syllable.  So used to the simple choices of most children’s books I had abandoned the memory of things so attentively scribed.  Tonight I thrilled in the sublime usage of words divine.

Ahhhh….

Truly.

It has been so very long since I read something where the words alone thrilled me so.  We’re only two chapters into The Search for Wondla but already my writerly self is more fulfilled and ecstatic than it’s been in a very, very, VERY long, long, long while.  LOL

I’m sure for some folk this may not make even a lick of sense, but for those of you who do get it?  I know your hearts will be leaping along with me on this little discovery.  It really is so rare these days (among literature of ANY kind) to find work that makes your heart leap.  Awesome stories?  You bet, there’s a lot of them out there.  Fabulous characters?  Even more so.  Intricate worlds?  There are still a few new places to explore.  But words worth reading just for the sake of how beautifully they are composed?  It has been decades since I read something where the words alone made my head spin with possibilities.

I’m aware that The Search for Wondla is juvenile fiction, but if you’re any kind of word-nerd, head over to wondla.com right now.  Order a paperback, hardcover edition, or even the ebook or audiobook.  Trust me.  Like I said, we’ve only begun to dive into our search for Wondla – we’re only two chapters in…  and already I know it’s going to be unforgettable!

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi

The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi

Waiting too long for a good thing…

As many of you already know, I read chapter books to my daughter every night.  It’s just part of our routine.  It’s a time both she and I equally enjoy, a time we both look forward to all day.

Well…  We’d heard a lot of good things about the Magic Tree House series.  And then at a big consignment sale a couple of weekends ago I was able to pick up five of the books (used) for only $1.50 (and not each, that was for the bundle), so we nabbed them.  Tonight?  Tonight we read one from cover to cover.  Yep.  The whole book.  At least the two we read before it had lasted a couple nights (3/4s of a book in the first night, 1/4 of it the second when we also got through 1/2 of another, finishing it the next night).  So in 4 nights, we’ve finished three books.  I have to say…  I’m really glad we got them used for what we did.  LOL

I think this really was an instance of waiting too long to check out a good thing.  The books are charming, but I think they’d have been more appropriate when she was on the cusp of turning three.  At four and three quarters we’re reading things like the Goddess Girls, Mary Pope Osborne’s take on the Odyssey – Tales From the Odyssey (just a side note, Osborne’s also the author of the Magic Tree House books), Harry Potter, and The Wide Awake Princess.  They all make this series seem a little too juvenile.  However, I do think they may still be a good fit for when she first begins reading chapter books on her own.

So yeah.  An entire chapter book in one evening is a pretty good sign that it’s time to pick up something else.  Damon is reserving the second Harry Potter book for us, and hopefully it will be ready for pick up tomorrow or the next day (love our little library, they’ll bring in anything for us that they don’t already have – even if they have to bring it in from elsewhere in the province).  And on Thursday our next book order is due in, and we’ll be ordering the next Goddess Girls book, “Medusa the Mean”.  So we’ll be set for the next while again.  🙂

Yay for reading!

Chihuahua with a Mustache

Today there was a book fair at the girl’s school.  She and I spent a great deal of time checking out all the titles on the tables.  Very honestly, there wasn’t much there that was even worth a second glance.  It was highly disappointing.  I knew we had to find something though.  The fair helps support the school, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards getting new books for their classrooms.  That, and the kid knew she was allowed to get a book.

Back and forth between the chapter book tables.  One mundane sounding description after another.  Then we wandered back to where we started – with the picture books.  We don’t read that many of them any more.  We read for a half hour (sometimes more) a day, but that’s almost all devoted to novels.  That’s when I saw it!

It was hidden beneath scores of boring paperback children’s stories…  a hard cover, only one letter of the title peeking out – but I recognized the font instantly.  “Lily-Ann!  What’s this???”  I slide the book out just a titch, so that two letters are now revealed.

“SKIPPYJON JONES!!!!”

I’m sure her animated shout could be heard throughout the main floor of the school.

Yep.  We found a copy of Skippyjon Jones; Class Action.

We love Skippyjon.  We read a lot about him at wegivebooks.org.  I remember the first time she saw the cover of the original Skippyjon Jones, she said “Momma, that cat looks like a Chihuahua.”  This sticks with me because I poo poohed her, assuming it was just the illustrators style… but very quickly found out I was wrong.  And yes, I made sure to apologize for it.

We’re Chihuahua nuts around here (as I’m sure you’ve guessed).  So these absolutely adorable books, with their smart stories, and rich characters?  We ❤ them in a big way.

So yay!  The kid now has her very own Skippyjon Jones book…  and we popped the CD in to listen to it being read while we drove to get her Daddy from work (it was interesting to hear someone else’s take on the characters voices and the songs – her mom voice and my mom voice are VASTLY different, and curiously enough we were pretty dead on for every other character and the songs).  We’ve now heard it six times.  And it’s no less charming on it’s sixth than on it’s first, though I’m not sure her Daddy would agree.  LMAO

Anyway…  instead of sharing a book cover as I often do when I’m writing about a book we enjoy, I’m going to share a picture the girl did up yesterday.  She took a photo (using the iPad) of Deedee, and then proceeded to edit it.  So here’s Deedee, or as the girlie put it – giggling hysterically:  “She’s a Chihuahua with a Mustache!”

A Chihuahua with a mustache

Little Dog Lost: a must-have book for every child’s library

I’ve already blogged about We Give Books and their amazing program that allows you to both read books online for free AND to donate a book to charity for every one you read.  So I won’t go into it any more than I just did.  But I do have to share about one of the books we read today, Little Dog Lost.

screen shot from the book Little Dog Lost by Monica Carnesi

Little Dog Lost is based on the true story of the heroic little dog known to the world as Baltic.  I don’t know how many of you would have followed his story on the news a couple years ago, but I know I did.  As mom to some amazing furkids I found it absolutely terrifying to know this poor little one was lost out on the ice flows of the Baltic sea.  Thankfully his story had a very happy ending, and it has now been immortalized in this beautiful book.

As we read, Lily-Ann was so moved by the words and images.  You could see her concern visible in her face and body language, and hear it in her voice as she asked questions and read along with me.  The story asks “Is it a seal?”  And just as the book declares, she too would say “No!”

This one is one of the few children’s picture books that I believe will become a classic.  Definitely a must have for every child’s personal library, and a must have for every school and daycare library.  Wonderfully written, and gorgeously illustrated!

Go check it out, and give a book to charity at the same time:  http://www.wegivebooks.org/books/little-dog-lost?auto_launch=1

back cover from Little Dog Lost

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