Jun 17, 2009

Saying Yes! To Michigan

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spending summer weekends at my aunt's cottage on Lake Huron. It was a magical place. You could do close to nothing all day, but still have the time of your life. As children, my siblings, cousins, and I would dig for hours in the sand, play frisbee, and wade out to the sand bar that was at times only ankle deep. I can instantly recall the sound of the waves lapping the shore, the smell of the pine forest, the sight of a billion stars and the Northern lights. It's calling me.....
In four days I will introduce my children to the magic that is Michigan in the summer time. Of course a week at the beach would not be complete without some summer reading. I think I'm going to finally get enough down time to start the Twilight series. For the kiddies, I bought my son, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. It's a great book for boys, and a great book for a trip to the beach! My daughter gets one of my all time favorites, The Secret Remedy Book. So, those are my kids' beach reads. What would be on your list for your kids?

Jun 10, 2009

Blooming Butterflies

My daughter just finished kindergarten, and one of the last things they studied was the life cycle of butterflies. What a treat for her and my son when my dearest friend Christine ordered a Butterfly Pavilion for her kids, letting my kiddies experience it too! The Pavilion is a pop-up, netted habitat that comes with the caterpillars and some other supplies. The kids were able to watch the caterpillars form chrysalises and then waited for them to "bloom" (that's what my son was calling the hatching of the butterflies, and I think it's great terminology for it!). After they bloomed, Christine put orange slices in the pavilion, and the children rubbed their fingers on the oranges to attract the butterflies. They loved being able to have the butterflies land on their fingers!

There are numerous picture books about butterflies out there, but I'd like to recommend two in particular, Hurry and the Monarch and Butterflies on Carmen Street/Mariposas en la calle Carmen.
What makes Hurry and the Monarch stand out is the beautiful watercolor illustrations, the pages almost drip all those amazing colors of butterflies in bloom. The story itself is the tale of the journey a monarch makes to lay its eggs. Along the way, one of the butterflies meets a tortoise, this sets up a nice juxtaposition of the briefness of the butterfly's life with the longevity of the tortoise's life.
I came across Butterflies on Carmen Street while researching publishers for my own book. This charming book is about a girl named Julianita who is studying butterflies at her school (much like my own daughter). Julianita's homework is to bring home a caterpillar, watch it form a chrysalis, hatch it, and release it when it's ready to make its journey to Mexico. With the help of her wise grandfather, Julianita is able to let go of her butterfly (which she named Tiger) so that it may make its journey over Carmen Street and on to Mexico. I loved seeing Julianita's town from Tiger's eyes. Even more, I love experiencing the world through my children's eyes, their joy is contagious!