I read and loved this when I first picked it up years ago as a young adult. And now, six children later, and a middle-aged mom, I spotted it again whiI read and loved this when I first picked it up years ago as a young adult. And now, six children later, and a middle-aged mom, I spotted it again while searching for something memorable to read aloud to my eight-year-old who was listless with the flu this week. I wondered if she would enjoy it as much as I remembered liking it.
Let's just say that my daughter had no appetite for food, TV, or even sitting up for three days straight. But every time I asked her if she wanted to hear more of Thimble Summer, she mutely nodded her weak little head, "yes."
The mesmerizing chapter where Garnet gets to stay up all night visiting the lime kiln in the woods with her father and brother was especially poignant. I slyly watched my daughter's expressions as she listened to the account in which Garnet hears of the orphan, Eric's, life experiences/hardships of hitch-hiking and train-hopping across the country working from hand-to-mouth without family or a friend in the world to provide for him. My daughter's eyes were wide and thoughtful as she listened, and I have to admit that I think we both felt much more grateful for our myriad blessings after remembering there are millions each day who have a much, much harder path than we walk. And (SPOILER ALERT!) hooray, that Garnet's family was so kind to take Eric in. It's just plain uplifting to hear of people living the golden rule--it gives one hope that we can all act so altruistically when faced with similarly difficult situations.
So, there isn't much of a "linking thread" that ties the stand-alone stories of this book together. No real plot to speak of. But...Enright's lyrical prose and accurate details of life are so spot-on, that I could devour this book again and again.
For instance, I laughed aloud this week while reading about Garnet loving to visit her friend Citronella's house. Because, as the narrator puts it, there are certain smell's to every home, and Citronella's home smelled like cleaning soap, and baked goods. And there was always a cake to be found at the right time in the Hauser's kitchen. Even the description of Citronella's thick curtain of yellow bangs flopping on her forehead as she comes down the stairs, to greet Garnet at the door, made me smile. Great details that capture life on the page and give us a peek into the slow country ways of a young girl in the Wisconsin backwoods of the the 1930s.
An enchanting story of youth. If you haven't read it yet, you're in for a treat!...more
This picture book was a pleasure to pore over. I know it's a delight from the get-go when I find myself asking my three year-old if we can read it befThis picture book was a pleasure to pore over. I know it's a delight from the get-go when I find myself asking my three year-old if we can read it before bed each night. "Hey, why don't you go find that Bunny book and we'll check out the farm section?"
As a former freelance illustrator, I was impressed with the design, charm, and style of the illustrations--they're like a chic version of the Richard Scarry drawings from way-back-when. There's even a "bad guy," Benny Badger, that fascinated my daughter. (I don't know if that's good or bad, but she wouldn't rest until she'd spotted him on each page.)
Over all, a pleasant find from the library....more
If you're feeling overwhelmed as a mother (swamped with housework, homework, potty-training, diaper changes, lessons, practicing, dishes, or meal-prepIf you're feeling overwhelmed as a mother (swamped with housework, homework, potty-training, diaper changes, lessons, practicing, dishes, or meal-prep, etc.) this is the book to read (in the five minutes you have to yourself before zonking off each night, right?).
So if you haven't already read this story, it makes a person just happy to be physically able to fold laundry, fix a lunch in the morning for one's own sweet child, or be able to button a small coat. Because frankly, usually, as mothers we CAN do those things, and just take them for granted. Or may even feel burdened by many those many responsibilities. This book reminds us what an honor it is to serve the little chubby-cheeked cherubs in our lives....more
My two year-old cannot get enough of this book. I'm going to have to hide it or return it to the library tomorrow.
As ever, Simon James's illustrationMy two year-old cannot get enough of this book. I'm going to have to hide it or return it to the library tomorrow.
As ever, Simon James's illustrations are footloose and fancy-free. Darling! And I love almost anything by Simon James, but this book just isn't one of my faves. However, it must be doing something right if little Miss Q. wants to read it every nap and night. ...more
I checked this book out for my two year-old, wishing all the while that her older brother (who thinks he's too big for such lovely little books of disI checked this book out for my two year-old, wishing all the while that her older brother (who thinks he's too big for such lovely little books of discovery and childhood now that he's reading his own chapter books) would enjoy it as well.
In the end, the book did draw-in "Mr. Sophisticated." As I read the charming stories to his little sister, my son crept over and listened and commented throughout while the characters in the book set up shop in their summery backyard.
Today my son, thinking back on Alfie in the story, made a fort and sold and accepted various items through the delivery window. I wanted to say, "See, you are just a toddler still, by George(!), so act like one and enjoy it before you start school and your babyhood is over forever!"
These little tales were so sweet and truly relatable (like Frog and Toad, but with humans) that I think my older kids would even enjoy them. I'll have to ask my eleven year-old to sit down and read them to his younger siblings. For the little ones, of course. Wink wink....more
I loved it from the moment I heard the introductory quote, "If no sweetness at the bottom lie, who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?"
And listenI loved it from the moment I heard the introductory quote, "If no sweetness at the bottom lie, who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?"
And listening to the book on CD narrated by Jayne Entwistle was a pure delight. Ms. Entwistle's bubbling voice is filled with such pleasure at each one of Flavia de Luce's chemistry-related fetishes that it made Flavia nearly pop-off the page (annoying tendencies and all!).
The story was quirky and sometimes over-the-top, but always entertaining with humorous tidbits of art history, classic architecture, scientific discoveries, and human relations throughout British history thrown into the mystery's plot. "How much of this is fact?" I kept wondering.
I think this Alan Bradley guy knows a thing or two about chemistry, and at times Flavia's acute understanding of the field (as a tween-aged, pig-tailed girl) made it a little hard to swallow and suspend my disbelief.
Oh well! It's fiction, and it's fun. And I can't wait to listen to the next one!...more