Book Review: Blue

Blue

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019

The more I read this book, the more I liked it. The keyhole cutouts in the delightful thickness of these pages seemed unnecessary, but my daughter enjoyed locating them; the book’s square shape and the large, simple, bold font is perfection. The lush, sumptuous color—bright but not unnaturally so—so beautifully textured, is stunning. Most of these pages, given the panoramic treatment in double-page spreads that bleed into the spine, would make perfect nursery art: the deep, twilight blue butterflies were like something out of a Technicolor fairy tale, the water shooting out of the garden hose captured the summertime magic of childhood, the granular texture of the snow against the smooth, sable brown of the tree was striking, and the brushstrokes depicting the frothy whitecaps looked so real, I almost expected to feel seafoam.

Simply titled, Blue has a very organic feel—a certain spirituality and harmony with nature (including human nature). It is a childlike, coming-of-age tale.

The concept is rather interesting, for how many unexpected ways can we describe blue using the word blue (i.e. besides light, dark, powder, navy, etc.)? It’s almost like a series of paintings turned into a poem. Everything that was described as blue was connected with an emotion, a state of being, or something gifted to us by the Creator; Laura Vaccaro Seeger totally nailed midnight blue.

Though few words, it tells a story. Each two-word set “maybe blue,” “true blue,” etc., I treated as the title of the story that the pictures painted. Blue is open-ended enough where you can add to the story, but not so open-ended that there is no story. I’m not a fan of wordless picture books (and this was close to it), but the way I felt while “reading” this timeless tale of friendship—the boy growing up while his dog grew old—resonated with me. No preaching, no message—just life—distilled into the most poignant parts.

It was sweet that the boy (now a young man who had yet to befriend another dog) met his true love through their love of dogs—her dog actually seems to choose him first, as if it sensed another dog lover, leading (or rather, dragging) her to her destiny.

My daughter liked this one, and I enjoyed reading it to her. Blue is the kind of book I read when I want not just to make a memory but a connection. If there was a complete set on all the colors, I would buy everyone one of these books.

Suggested activity: Numbers, letters, shapes, and colors are some of the earliest building blocks of learning. When I was a child, getting Crayola’s 64-count with the built-in sharpener was something quite magical. Try having your child come up with naming their own colors (they don’t have to be blue; I was always intrigued by names like periwinkle and lavender; if your child is older, you can come up with double adjectives, like mascarpone-white or tiramisu-tan. Someone has to come up with all of those names, after all. For a field trip, go to a paint store and get a handful of paint sample cards (which I’ve used to make Christmas cards: https://onelittleproject.com/paint-chip-christmas-cards/). And take time out to visit the author’s website. It’s gorgeous! https://studiolvs.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37534395-blue

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#Micropoetry Monday: The Lighter Side

samuel-67197_1920

Although a mismatched pair of socks,
Lefty & Righty still served a dual purpose:
to keep their contents warm—
in winter & in summer,
in smelly times & in freshly-laundered times,
in plush times & in threadbare times—
for as long as they remained un-holey.

For the brunette bombshell
known as Buxom Brown,
Jenna & Barbara Bush
lived in 2 different zip codes,
but when Bux got her reduction,
all that double-duty heavy lifting
was behind her,
for this girl’s 2 best assets
were now known as Jen & Barb.

Sox the Cat & Shooz the Dog–
named for what they unraveled or chewed up–
sold for pennies on the pound.
When they crossed piddle & poo paths
with Cashmere the Cat & Jimmy Choo the Dog,
they were reviled for their generic breeding.
But Sox & Shooz were major leaguers,
for by their names alone,
they represented EveryCat & EveryDog.
So this ragtag duo got together
with all the other neighborhood pets & strays,
& the candy asses of Cashmere & Choo
were kicked to the curb
where the garbage can diet was the only thing
on the menu.

Book Review: Good Rosie!

Good rosie

As part of my Post-K Summer Reading Boot Camp:
https://sarahleastories.com/2019/06/08/post-k-summer-reading-boot-camp-2019/

When I opened this book and saw that it was it in comic strip form, I had my reservations; what’s more, the book is separated into chapters which was unnecessary–especially since each page is already broken up into panels.

Good Rosie! is about dogs meeting in the park.  That’s it.  

The illustrations were better than I could do, but I’ll stick to the Clifford the Big Red Dog series; even without a speaking part, Clifford has way more personality.  With the exception of the number of words on the page, Rosie reads like a Dick and Jane reader–text not necessarily meant to be interesting but to teach children to learn to read.

The author tries to be cute with Fifi (what I call a little “frou-frou” dog), but the humor falls flat–none of the dogs are interesting, especially the main one, Rosie, and that’s the smooch of death.  It’s all very Point A to Point B, checklist-type writing, with Maurice being the big dog with the deep voice, Fifi, the little dog with the high voice, and milquetoast Rosie being the happy/moderate/boring happy mid-sized dog.

This book tries to be about dogs making friends with other dogs, which, according to Rosie, if you want to make a friend, all you have to do is ask.  That’s it. Nothing about how to actually be a friend. 

I generally read children’s books more than once, but this was such a chore to get through, I didn’t wish to revisit it; likewise, my daughter showed no interest.  In fact, I disliked the illustrations so much, I had a tough time coming up with a suggested activity (for once, I will not be using an ALA book in conjunction with an activity).  

On that note, I suggest reading Clifford Goes to Kindergarten by Malcolm Bridwell.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23399252-clifford-goes-to-kindergarten?ac=1&from_search=true. 

Suggested activity:  In Clifford, the schoolchildren do several activities during the course of the day–such as answering questions using a yes or no board (I use flashcards).  You can blend this with a show-and-tell activity by asking your child yes or no questions pertaining to the toy, book, or object they’ve picked out (sort of an early version of true and false).  If you’ve ever seen the classic game show, “What’s My Line?” (e.g. “Is it bigger than a breadbox?”), that will give you a better idea on how to conduct this activity.  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26102488-good-rosie

 

Sweet Little Nothings

Teach your grandma to take a selfie

Eleanor Carter had been a real dish–
“like Wedgwood Blue china,”
she would say.
She had ripened into an Heirloom tomato,
ready for Jesus to claim
& pluck from the aging vine.
When she learned how
to take a selfie,
her poodle–
all ribbons & bows–
photobombed it,
becoming an Internet sensation.
And Eleanor found that she was no longer
the cat’s meow,
but rather,
Cuddles was the dog’s bow-wow.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #11. Theme: Animal

“Just as we teach our children to serve others,
we teach our pets to do the same. 
All they ask for in return is love,
and from that, everything else comes.”

Prince Harry’s Little Princess

I am her eyes,
and she is my heart.
I am her servant,
even as she is mine.
When she was nine,
I promised to love and
protect her,
for as long as I lived.

When she turned twenty-one,
her sight was restored.
I was old then,
and as she brushed the russet fur
that grew so long on her head,
she looked into the mirror
at the wonder that was her,
for she had remained a child
in her mind.

When the house bells rang,
her hind legs flew down the stairs.
A young man told her
all the things I could never say,
but expressed to her in so many ways.

As my eyes started to close in nap,
I felt the warmth of a whisper
in the soft flap of my ear.
“I can still see I need you.
Rest well, Prince Harry.”
Have fun, Princess, I thought,
as the drowsy ways of an old dog
overcame me.