and to go along with all the sunshine and promise, i have three great picks for you today.
first, for the little ones, is The Monkey and the Crocodile: a Jakata Tale from India, by Paul Galdone.
i really enjoy reading the mythologies of different places, and India is a country rich in fantastic fables. annika really likes this story because both the crocodile and the monkey are very clever, and what ensues is a battle of jungle wits. will the wily crocodile trick the monkey into being eaten? or will the monkey escape, after he himself, tricks the crocodile into giving him a ride over to the island where all the best mangos grow? pick up a copy with beautiful illustrations, and be sure to do all the voices!
we did a fun little craft to go along with the book. (if you're looking for older kid or grown-up book recommendations, feel free to scroll past all this :)
Annika wanted to reenact the story, but we were shocked to find that we didn't have any crocodile animal toys.
so we made our own crocodile out of the most versatile of upcycle materials - an egg carton.
we cut off that extra flap part, and set it aside.
then we folded that extra piece over and stapled it to the end of the carton to make the mouth.
and then it was time to paint! we mixed green and brown to achieve the perfect shade of crocodile.
Anni loves to paint. (wallyrhino looks on with interest)
ignore the messy living room in the background...
a little red for the mouth...
some dots for the eyes (we were out of googlies)... and viola!
one clever croc.
after he was done, anni wanted to make a monkey.. she decided to cut out another egg carton piece and paint it brown. we drew him a little monkey face, and went hunting for something to use as a tail.
and now for the reenactment:
we celebrated with some mango juice in honor of the clever primate. :)
for middle-sized kids, today's pick is L.Frank Baum's wonderful Wizard of Oz.
I love the old illustrations SO MUCH! i have a set of notecards with these illustrations that i have saved since i was in 7th grade. :)
the book has such a different feel to me than the movie. the narrative voice is delightful, and plus, after you finish this one, you can go on to read the rest of the series! (there are 14 books!)
meet Ozma, TicTock, and so many other Ozian friends, as you follow dorothy, toto, and the gang on their many adventures.
last but not least, the grown-up recommendation for this balmy saturday is by the brilliant John Irving. He has written so many books, and each one is a perfect little shining world all in itself, that it was hard for me to decide which one to recommend. in the end i chose A Prayer for Owen Meany because it was the first book of his that i ever read. i fell in love with it (and with irving's vibrantly alive characters) so much that i went on to read... pretty much everything else he's ever written. :)
this is the story of owen - a boy of unusual and amazing talent - a small (oddly small) boy with a voice that people can neither describe nor forget. follow owen through a maze of mystery, death, family secrets, and taxidermy armadillos.
wonder with him, that through it all, there is a sense of absolute and growing certainty that he was meant for SOMETHING. some special purpose, some fated duty that will bring him and his family both honor and redemption.
you will laugh (out loud... really) at the wildly ridiculous circumstances; you will pound your fist and shout (out loud... really) 'NO!' when good is thwarted (as it so often is); and you will drop a tear or two (perhaps silently) as the astounding story of owen meany unfolds.