Kids Book Corner

  • Goose Girl
  • Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
  • Peter and The Shadow Thieves
  • Peter and The Star Catchers
  • Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
  • Stella Brite and The Dark Matter Myster
  • The Island of The Blue Dolphins
  • The Phantom Toll Booth
  • The School Library Journal
  • The Sisters Grimm
  • Tuck Everlasting


Monday, January 17, 2011

Don't Tell Time By A Twin...

That is your Noahism fortune cookie of the day. The back story for this little tidbit of wisdom goes like this:

In second grade Noah had one of a pair of, very identical, twins in his class. "If we were outside and to make sure the whistle hadn't been blown I would look around for a classmate. If I saw one of the twins I would say is that the one in my class or her sister. I would say, "Oh, for the love of Pete!" and give up and look for someone else in my class.

I hope this public service announcement helps someone.


Monday, January 10, 2011

I Soak Up Information Like a Sponge...

Unfortunately, that sponge happens to be something akin to Spongebob. I am continually frustrated by my inability to remember specifics about things that I read,or hear. I can vaguely recall if something is on the right track, or if something is bogus. I all too often have to tell the kids to ask their dad, who has an amazing ability to recall information. I really love to read non-fiction books and listen to history and skeptical podcasts. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Wait Wait, when they were making a joke about the size of the human brain shrinking. I can't remember their take on the joke (no surprise that I can't remember), but I did remember enough about the article I read that theorized that the shrinking of the human brain relates to diminished aggression. I was shocked that I could recall that. Michael was proud of me too. Anyway, here are a couple of new book reviews and some of my favorites from 2010:

This book is the story of Calpurnia Tate and her discovery of her grandfather and his discovery of her. It is told about a well to do family in Texas in 1899. Callie Vee, as she is sometimes called, is the middle child flanked by brothers. Callie's mother often has to take some of her Lydia Pinkham's tonic after dealing with her rambunctious family. Calpurnia's grandfather and his library, and shed are quite an enigma to the family. Calpurnia begins to ask questions about some observations she has made about the differences she sees in the grasshoppers in her yard. She asks her grandfather who encourages her to figure it out for herself by observing and writing detailed notes. She uses the journal given to her by her oldest brother. As the summer progress Calpurnia becomes closer to her grandfather and becomes his partner in an experiment and a discovery in botany.
The characters throughout the book are interesting and well written. I found myself as anxious as the photographer to find out if the botanical discovery was, indeed, new. I also wondered if Calpurnia's grandfather's pecan distillery would ever produce anything decent. Most of all I was intrigued by the story of a girl who wants to use her mind and make an impact on her world through science in an age where that is uncommon and frowned upon. She does have a grandfather who supports her, but a father, mother, siblings, and house staff that have an all together different idea about the place of women. There is the spark of hope that she goes on to be able to make her discoveries in the world, but I know enough about the nature of humans to oppress each others' spirit of discovery to feel like she will end up sipping Lydia Pinkham's tonic with her own passel of kids. I harbor the idea that her grandfather leaves her a trust fund in his will that instructs it to be used only for her university education. That last idea gives me hope.
This book was thoroughly fantastic and I have it on my wishlist.

This book was one we just finished for family reading at the insistence of Noah who had already read it. Rachel also had finished the book. The story explains that there is a place called The Seems that actually controls what we perceive as reality. In The Seems there are people to help us sleep, create our dreams, and try to manufacture ways for us to meet the people we are destined to be with. Some people are born in The Seems that work for these purposes, but sometimes there are problems that try to circumvent The Plan. To help counteract problems there are people recruited from our side called Fixers who have a seventh sense. In this book their is a glitch in sleep that threatens to tear the fabric of time.
Noah was enthusiastic about this book, but the rest of the kids were rather blandly listening. I thought the authors' use of word play was funny and great for kids. The story was just fantastical enough and the age of the characters gave younger children a hero close to their own age. If you want a pretty cool fantasy, sci-fi, alternate reality book I think this would fit the bill.

*************************Books of 2010...Some Stand outs*****
My account shows that I read 65 books last year. No wonder people at the park think of me as the book lady. Here are some that I particularly liked:

The entire Tripods series by John Christopher a sci-fi collection of stories about human natures ability to become easily herded and the handful of people who use their brains to overcome. The constant battle to save people from themselves, too.

Extremely well written and thoroughly fascinating:
The Poisoner's Handbook
Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
by Deborah Blum

Fascinating history and would love to understand more than just the basic math concepts:
Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
by Charles Seife (Author)

Historical fiction that hits a lot of the right notes:
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (2009)
by Jamie Ford

Full of gorgeous illustrations and a great folktale akin to The Wizard of Oz. Also a great read aloud:
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009)
by Grace Lin

An upstanding gentleman that I would love to meet:
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (2010)
by Helen Simonson

I still cook atrociously, but this book is put together like a masterful recipe:
The School of Essential Ingredients
by Erica Bauermeister

Totally fascinating look into why malaria is so hard to erradicate:
The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
by Sonia Shah

History is written by the victors and sometimes by those impertinent enough to try and set the record straight:
Lies, damned lies, and history : a catalogue of historical errors and misunderstandings
by Graeme Donald

I like to call this one the time traveler's wife without all the smut. Really cool science fiction:
When You Reach Me (2009)
by Rebecca Stead

A classic doctor Seuss that I waited entirely too long to read, but so glad I got around to:
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
by Dr. Seuss

If you are looking to donate time, and or finances to charity give this book a read:
The Power of Half One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back
by Kevin Salwen (Author), Hannah Salwen (Author

Fascinating history:
Troublesome Young Men (2007)
The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England
by Lynne Olson

Fascinating history + pithyness:
The Wordy Shipmates (2008)
by Sarah Vowell

Assassination Vacation (2005)
by Sarah Vowell

The Partly Cloudy Patriot (2002)
by Sarah Vowell

Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities
by Paul Yeager

Absolutely love this entire series. This is a definite read aloud:
The Inside Story, The Sisters Grimm Book 8
by Michael Buckley

Dystopian at it's most fashionable:
Uglies, Pretties, Specials, & Extras ( 4 separate books)
by Scott Westerfeld

******************WII Just Dance****

I just finished showering after a head to head dance competition with Eve. We did 11 songs and I one 4. I totally kicked it on Pump Up the Jam. Rachel played once, but wasn't feeling to well. She had been playing out in the snow with her friend Lydia.

Now to just chill...I suppose literally and figuatively.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Hey, You Bought A Bunch of Milk...Why Not Order...

Some Girl Scout Cookies to go with it. And if you buy Girl Scout cookies it will make you want to walk off the calories. If you walk off the calories you will feel good about yourself. If you feel good about yourself you will want to help others. If you want to help others you think about organizations that inspire people. When you think about organizations that inspire people you might think about young girls. If you think about young girls, you may think about being a kid yourself. If you think about being a kid yourself you may have fond memories of milk and cookies. If you have fond memories of milk and cookies you may think about Girl Scout cookies.

If any of these are you, please consider ordering Girl Scout cookies from Rachel, or some other fantastic girl.

Trying to stay safe and warm this chilly evening and I hope y'all are too!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Noah's Evening Epiphany

"Have you ever noticed that when you think about anything it makes more sense."

Noah Taylor
age 10 :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

It Makes a Momma Proud...

...when her ten year-old asks for help on coming up with a jingle for class about suffrage. First we watched this for inspiration:

He made it clear that we could not plagarize anything (proud, again!)

When we asked for Michael and Rachel's two cents they broke into this song, separately:

This was the final product:

You trust us with your house.

You trust us with your kids.

So you should trust us to help the government.

:::::::::::::::You are What You Read::::::

I was in the waiting room while Aaron had his dental cleaning yesterday and picked up the January 2011 issue of The simthsonian and was introduced to the painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo. I was surprised and intrigued by his use of still life objects...fruits and vegetables to great portraits. He used other objects, such as, sea creatures and books. I am completely enamored with this one:

Time for Girl Scouts...later, gators!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Naivete...Taylor Style

Adventures in Conversations with my kids:


Noah came in after watching some show we picked up from the library and started explaining how someone might survive a fall from 100 stories. It entailed standing on top of a plank of wood and jumping up at just the right distance from the ground to avoid a deadly impact.

My response: "Your superhero days await you."

Noah's reply: "I wouldn't try it...I'm not sure what a survival distance from the ground is?

Michael then explained to him that no one would survive a fall from that height. Apparently, Noah couldn't figure out how he would be able to jump up from the board during the fall.


We will be selling Girl Scout cookies by the end of the week and I was picking Rachel's brain for some ideas for the annual ad. I thought a retro, or vintage style ad may be fun. Eve was hanging out with us by the computer.

I said: "I need to find a vintage Girl Scout picture."

Eve matter of factly: "Go to"

Rachel quipped: "Like that would work."

I googled the terms and got a link to vintage

Eve said: "I told you."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year Noahism...

We plied Eve with 2 tsp. of Advil and she and Noah went down to watch Dr. Who. About an hour later Noah came into the room and very matter of factly said,

"Hey dad, the way I see it ...if a guy takes out one of your eyes and you take out one of his eyes eventually all you will get is a lot of blind people!"

Michael asked Noah to come over and stand by him because he wanted to show him something on his laptop. Michael pulled up this quote by Gandhi, "An eye for an eye, only ends up with the whole world blind."

Hear, Hear!
Happy New Year!!!