Saturday, 26 November 2011

Kids' Stuff

Finished November 26
1. Something for Christmas by Palmer Brown
This short classic from the New York Review Children's Collection is a feel good tale of Christmas giving told with the characters of a small mouse and his mother. The small mouse wants to give someone special a gift for Christmas and his mother helps him realize the best gift of all is love.

2. Beyond the PawPaw Trees by Palmer Brown
Another classic from the New York Review Children's Collection is the story of young Anna Lavinia. Anna lives with her mother in a large house with many rooms surrounded by a field of pawpaw trees, enclosed by a wall. Anna's mother spends her days making pawpaw jelly and missing Anna's father. Anna Lavinia misses her father as well, and reads the books he left behind. Anna's mother tells her to "Never believe what you see", but her father left the instruction to "Believe only what you see", and Anna is inclined to her father's views, even though her mother cries when she thinks of him and tells Anna Lavinia he is off chasing rainbows.  She eagerly awaits the day he will return, sure that it will happen on one of the special days when the sky is lavender blue, since interesting things always happen on those days. When her mother sends her off to visit her father's sister, Aunt Sophia Maria, Anna Lavinia is thrilled. She has never been outside the wall before and is eager to have adventures. Her mother takes her to the train station and returns home, and Anna Lavinia is off on her adventure, and a good one it is. I had never come across this book before, but it is a lovely story (albeit the long-suffering mother) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From cats to camels, tea cozies on trains to mirages off cliffs, Anna Lavinia sees a lot and believes it all.

3. The Houdini Box by Brian Selznick
This short book is inspired by Harry Houdini and tells the story of ten-year-old Victor who wants to be a magician just like him. Despite a lack of success, Victor keeps trying to get himself out of locked trunks and walk through walls, and is thrilled when he has a chance meeting with Houdini himself who promises to teach him some secrets.

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