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Pandora strikes Lily-Ann mute!

Okay, so y’all are probably getting sick of me mentioning the Goddess Girls series…  well…  too bad!  LOL  Today the challenge was to photograph something that I’m reading, and that’s what I’m reading.  Book nine:  Pandora the Curious.

Our copy of Pandora the Curious by Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub.

Our copy of Pandora the Curious by Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub.

Usually we’ve been inside the heads of the popular girls, but the last couple of books have taken us inside a couple of secondary characters (the girl and I ADORED Medusa the Mean).  Pandora, along with Medusa and Pheme are the anti-heroines to the cool clique of Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite and Persephone.  So it’s kinda fun to get to see inside their lives.

This book, in particular, is awfully special to Lily-Ann.  The first time she saw it she was actually rendered speechless for the first time in her five and a half years…  well…  since she uttered her first word (which happened to be “woof”) at three months of age anyway.  😉  What exactly caused her awestruck silence?  Take a peek:

There she is, the first name on the third line...  Lily-Ann S.

There she is, the first name on the third line… Lily-Ann S.

Kid kid managed to keep her wits about her when she saw that it was an autographed copy (she has a couple other autographed books too)…  but seeing her name actually inside the book?  Her jaw dropped and her eyes nearly bugged out of her head.  She just stood there and stared at it for several seconds, completely mute.  It was pretty amazing.

Lily-Ann LOVED the little heart.  :)

Lily-Ann LOVED the little heart. 🙂

So, that’s what we’re reading right now.  And I imagine we’ll keep on reading the Goddess Girls books for as long as Joan and Suzanne keep writing them.  I do have to admit…  I really look forward to the day that kid kid goes back on her own to read #1 all by herself.

You can keep up with Joan and Suzanne at the following addresses:  www.joanholub.com   www.suzannewilliams.com

Lily-Ann (hat hair and all) proudly showing off her Goddess Girls books.

Lily-Ann (hat hair and all) proudly showing off her Goddess Girls books.

 

Suzanne and Joan thank you so much!  You’ve given the girl and I many wonderful memories and are helping to build a love of books in a new generation – and that is something that deserves much appreciation.

Join me tomorrow as I share a little “happiness”:

photo a day challenge for january

A hat and scarf kinda day.

I’m exhausted.  My sister in law, Tabatha, and my niece Eliana and nephew Leandro just left.  I got the girl ready for bed, and Damon is in there reading to her.  Normally I’m in there too, but this is a book he picked out and is reading to her – and I don’t want to interfere.  While it’s not the first time he’s read to her (he had to take over when my TMJ got so bad that it forced me to stop reading out loud) but this is the first book he picked out and bought for her, so it’s kinda special.  🙂

Yesterday’s challenge photo was “letterbox”, which I’m assuming is the same as a “mailbox”.  😉  So here’s ours.  It’s dirty, dusty, and dinged up…  but it’s cute and charming just like the rest of our new house.  And hey!  It even had some mail in it when I snapped this picture:

our little blue mailbox, hanging on the side of our blue and white house

Today’s challenge was to photograph something I wore.  Well…  I didn’t have to give this one much thought.  With my hair badly needing to be washed (it’s super flat and greasy right now, just ask my SiL – whom I’m sure was amazed I’d be seen with it like this) I threw my hat on before heading outside earlier today.  I really love my hat.  And with the weather unseasonably warm for January (try -10 or -15 when it’s usually -30 or -40) I haven’t been having to wear a super heavy scarf.  So I threw on the one my sister Riki and her girlfriend Kate bought me for Christmas, it’s right up my alley and I just love it.  Here they are:

my hat and scarf, sitting on our couch

Just found your way here and have no idea why I’m sharing pictures of such unusual items?  Check out the January challenge list below:

photo a day challenge for january

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

Our Odyssey into Chapter Books

The kid and I have been reading chapter books together for over a year now.  Our nightly adventures have taken us many places included Mistress Lily’s fairy school, Mount Olympus Academy, and we’ve even been to the Underworld a few times.  We’ve uncovered clues leading us to discover who’s dog was frightening the sheep of a local farmer, and had dinosaurs come to our aid when we were chasing bad guys in a kayak.  We’ve helped a mom who’s baby was under a strange enchantment, rode winged ponies to and from the realm of humans on several occasions,and winged sandals?  We’re old hat at wearing those.

To be honest, I’d never really sat down and thought about all the places chapter books have already taken the little girl.  After a lifetime of reading you can lose sight of the magic a little bit…  take it for granted, I suppose.  But tonight we were looking at some of the chapter books she owns (many of the ones we’ve read were borrowed at the library, but she’s getting quite the collection of her own books too).  As she touched the spines of several of them, one at a time, she’d mention the name of the hero:  “Athena, Aphrodite, Persephone, Artemis, Odysseus…”  I didn’t realize how much we’d read that came from stories of the ancient Gods and Goddesses, until I heard her mention four or five names in a row.   We’ve read older stories, like Black Beauty and Beauty and the Beast, and newer chap books like The Goddess Girls and Tales from the Odyssey.

One love this has rekindled for me personally is my childhood love of book orders.  I remember waiting every month for a new order form, browsing through the current offerings, getting to pick out one or two every time… and then waiting impatiently for them to come in.  I again get to order books, excitedly from Scholastic every month.  I forgot about the great deals (or maybe I never realized just how well priced they always were).  We just got the first five of the Goddess Girls books for fifteen bucks vs the five or six bucks a piece you’d pay for them at the book store.  We’d only read the first three from the library, so we’re both excited to continue with the series.

I don’t know where I’m going with this.  It’s a bit of a ramble.  But if I could say nothing else, it really has been an odyssey.  An exciting, fantastic, wonderful odyssey.  🙂  So get reading!  You could be helping your child start a life long love affair.

Telling Stories

I’ve always been a story teller.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve been telling tales.  When other kids brought things from home (like a new toy, or their stamp collection) to share during show and tell, I’d make up glorious adventures about dragons, and ogres, and trolls, and unicorns.  I really can’t remember a time when fantasy didn’t draw me in totally and completely.

When asked to read aloud in class, I did so with vigor and excitement.  My voice filled with drama reflecting the mood of the story.  It never occurred to me there was another way to read.  I told my own stories with fervor, why would I not give the same commitment to the words of another?

I remember the first time I read out loud in grade eight.  It was a significant point for me.  I’d transferred to a new school that year, and for the first time I was in a class full of kids who didn’t know me from Adam.  I began reading, filled with pride – I was always such a great orator.  When the class erupted in laughter I was completely taken aback.  I remember pausing, looking around to see what had everyone in stitches.  When I didn’t see anything, I picked up where I’d left off.

The teacher cut me off when the class fell apart into peels of laughter for the second time.  I’ll never forget her words:  “Maybe we should let someone  else have a turn.”  It was at that moment that I realized that the laughter was directed at me.  Me.

I sat down, completely in shock.  Everyone had always been in such awe of my tremendous reading and narration  skills.  This was one of the few intellectual areas where I had truly excelled.  I was an advanced reader, and had always impressed my peers.  So the fact that this area of pride was – in this new arena – an embarrassment was… well…  dumbfounding.

I learned quickly to dumb myself down when talking to people.  No one wanted to be outshone…  especially by a girl.  There were only eight girls and forty boys in the two grade eight classes in the school.  And the girls all seemed to take pride in their lack of intelligence.  It really was a turning year for me.  Strange, and peculiar in so many ways.

I love now having the chance to again be reading fantasy adventure…  with excitement, emotion, and enthusiasm.  The way these stories were meant to be read.  Giving value to each line.  Giving voice to every character.

The wee girlie loves reading “chapters” at night with me.  Tonight we couldn’t help but read four (rather than our usual two).  We’re at an exceptionally exciting part of the story…  and it can be hard to put it down.  Lily-Ann may only be three, but I never have to worry about dumbing down a story for her – like I used to do for those eight graders.  We relish the experience together, and I know she’s in for a life-time passion for the written word.  It’s something that thrills me totally and completely.

We’re currently on book three of the Keyholders series.  And I heartily recommend every book we’ve read so far.  There have been times that she has jumped, cried out empathetically, busted a gut laughing…  She’ll shout out:  “It’s a dragon!!!”  “Bring bells!!!  You need bells to scare them away!!!”  “The queen is coming!  RUN!!!!”  And that says sooo much to me about the quality of this series.  It’s one I’m sure she’ll come back to when she’s able to read it herself.  For now though, I’m happy it’s something we can share together.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I imagine I’m not the only person who recalls with fondness a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that didn’t feature the likenesses of child actors on it’s cover.  Just the same, it’s this new cover image that adorns the copy I’m now reading to the wee girlie.

Last night we finished the last book in the Fairy Blessings series by Suzanne Williams (which I’ve mentioned here previously), and I thought it might be time to take on something a little weightier…  but still within the fantasy realm that the girlie so enjoys.  So I found a copy of the classic novel by C.S. Lewis at our favourite library branch.

We’ve only just begun reading it tonight, but have found ourselves FIVE chapters in.  That puts us roughly a third into the book.  The girlie was asking for the sixth chapter, but I promised her we’d continue it tomorrow.

I have to admit, I don’t recall it being so difficult to slug through when I was younger.  Mind you, back then I wasn’t reading it aloud.  While it’s relative easy language flows within the mind, reading it aloud is a little clumsy at times.  The children’s voices favour language simply not used today, so I find myself translating slightly here and there to a more modern english.

I don’t think we’ll pop into the rest of the series just yet, so likely in a few days we’ll be looking for another book.  Any recommendations?  Lily-Ann may only be three, but so far she’s enjoyed stories aimed at readers who are 8 – 12 the most.  And she is definitely drawn to a fantasy world… one full of fairy-folk, flying horses, and other mythos.

What are your favourite early novels, or your children’s favourites?  We’d love to hear from you.

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