Friday, March 16, 2007

Today We Lunch In The Tub: What We're Reading

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub is a treasure. Written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood, King Bidgood is a charming story and great fun to read aloud.

"Help, help!" cried the page when the sun came up. "King Bidgood's in the bathtub, and he won't get out! Who knows what to do? Oh, who knows what to do?" The members of the court try all kinds of ideas to entice the king out of the tub, but he simply won't get out until the page himself comes up with a common sense solution to the dilemma. The illustrations are charming and detailed, fun to look at over and over, and the story has a wonderful rhythm.

The fine young gents favorite part: "Come in!" cried the King, with a yum, yum, yum. "Today we lunch in the tub!" The idea of lunch in the bathtub is hysterically funny.

Speaking of lunch in the tub, It's Okay to be Different, written and brightly illustrated by Todd Parr, is another favorite with the younger set. Each page begins with "It's okay to..." and lists a new way that it's ok to be different. "It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub" gets giggles from the gents. "Noooooo...." they say. "You can't eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub!!!"

Other stories we read for lunch in the bathtub storytime: The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee (a favorite from the very first What We're Reading post), Pumpkins by Mary Lyn Ray, The Pokey Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey (one of my favorites!). I was so inspired by The Pokey Little Puppy that I made rice pudding for dessert that evening.

Lovely young lady, 11, is reading a biography of Helen Keller for school reading. She says it's "okay." I did notice that she's actually spending most of her reading time reading instead of looking around the room, fiddling with her earrings, making faces at her brothers or staring out the window. Progress! She's been interested in Helen Keller since her fourth grade teacher did a Helen Keller study. Lovely lady still likes to pretend that she's signing into my hand. The Childhood of Famous Americans series seems to be well-written, engaging and informative.

In her free time she's reading The Limited Too catalog. *sigh*

Her lovely sister just finished reading The Hobbit (Tolkien). I read it to her three years ago, but decided that it was time for her to read it herself. She wrote a glowing review in her reading journal. I'd quote from her review, but she's writing in the journal right now. She's moved on to a new book, Bloom: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up. Written from a Christian perspective, Bloom addresses issues ranging from fashion to sex and dating to money. I originally ordered it for lovely younger lady, but felt that many of the themes were too mature for her. Lovely lady, 14 yesterday, is more mature and handles discussions about growing up with grace. Not only that, but she'll probably be returning to public school in the fall, and we both want to make sure that the door stays open and that we continue to create opportunities to discuss things like boys and values and God. She's been writing an entry in her journal after each section of the book, and recently wrote that she finds approaching the issues raised from a Christian perspective to be refreshing and challenging in a good way.

I'm making my way through Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. Perfume is the story of young Grenouille, born into the stench of a Paris fishmarket, with a highly developed sense of smell, and his single-minded quest for the perfect scent. I find myself alternately fascinated by the character Suskind has created, repelled but not quite repelled enough to stop reading, and bored. I'm having a hard time believing wholly in the main character and his story. I'll keep on reading, though, because I'm intrigued enough to want to find out how his story plays out.

Marie Antoinette: The Journey, by Antonia Fraser. My mother-in-law had this biography out on her coffee table. I picked it up, and she sent it home with me. Marie Antoinette is both far more interesting than I'd imagined, and far less complex. I've learned that it is highly unlikely that she actually said, "Let them eat cake," that she was a devoted mother, a gracious hostess, and at best an ineffectual politician who became the scapegoat for France's financial and political pains. The account of her early marriage to Louis XVI is almost painful to read, as I Fraser paints a vivid picture of Antoinette as a young girl married to a stranger and torn between her allegiance to her strong-willed manipulative mother's political ambitions and her completely disinterested and not very attractive husband. I do find at times, as with most biographies I read, that the author's ideas about Marie Antoinette lead her to speculate perhaps a bit farther than is supported by the evidence, at least the evidence presented in the text, but overall this biography has been a pleasure to read.

We're nearing the end of The Children of Green Knowe (Lucy M. Boston). I'm going to miss reading this one when I finish. (More posts about this book here, here, and here.)

"Can we give them a present?" said Tolly.

"What would you suggest?"

The first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, A partridge in a pear tree.

Tolly was thinking aloud.

"I think that would be perfect, but a little difficult. Not absolutely impossible. It would be difficult to get a live partridge and harder to make it stay in the tree. It ought really to be a tame one."

"It could be in a cage, and we could tame it afterwards."

"I'm sure they never had a partridge. Linnet would love it, with all its brood running after it like tortoise-shell thimbles with legs. Let's try, Tolly. It's a perfect idea. We'll advertise: 'Wanted, live hen partridge, preferably tame.' And I'll write to a gamekeeper I know in Scotland. Bring me my writing paper, I'll do it at once."

Tolly and she enjoyed themselves writing what seemed ridiculous letters. They also chose out of a catalogue a pear tree described as havving 'juicy melting flesh, delicious flavor.'


1 comment:

Laura said...

I remember reading Perfume about 15 or more years ago! Has it been reprinted? Weird story!

We love the Green Knowe books!