The Children's Book Quote of the Day

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Too much learning May 31, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Kristi @ 7:40 pm

Too much learning breaks even the healthiest. (from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren)

This quote is dedicated to all of my teacher friends out there on their last week of school (except for my brother David, whose school had too many snow days and therefore has extended into the summer a bit more–sorry, David). Have fun, you guys! You’ve earned it.

For those of you out there who think teachers have it easy because of the long summer break….you have no idea how they’ve earned it. To expand on the Pippi Longstocking quote a bit, too much teaching breaks even the healthiest.


Flies May 30, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Shanna @ 9:49 pm
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Hardly anybody around the farm had a good word to say for a fly. (from Charlotte’s Web by EB White)

It’s that time of year again when there’s enough moisture and enough heat to bring the flying insects out en masse.  As much as they irritate me, I’m glad to be able to go inside, but my poor horses just have to stand outside and deal with the flies and gnats that are simply swarming at times.  And as much as I want to believe that even flies are part of God’s creation, I can’t think of a good word to say for them.  Wishing you a fly-free Memorial Day tomorrow!


War May 29, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books,Young Adult — Shanna @ 5:38 pm

War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. (from The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien)


Not this house May 28, 2010

Filed under: Baby books,Picture Books — Kristi @ 8:32 pm
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“There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.” (from The Napping House by Audrey Wood)

This is not my house. Benjamin did not take a nap today. He dozed while I nursed him for about thirty minutes, but he did not take a nap. This makes a mama tired. Something about reading The Napping House by Audrey Wood relaxes me. Maybe it’s the rythm or the sleepy pictures. Or maybe it’s simply the promise that somewhere in the world, someone is taking a nap…even if it’s not me. Or my child. Somewhere there is a house where everyone is sleeping. And if it could happen for them….


The Places we go May 27, 2010

Filed under: Classics,Picture Books — Kristi @ 8:59 pm
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You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. (from Oh! The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss)

We were selecting a pineapple for pineapple quesadillas when an entire marching band blasted into the supermarket, marching three by three, and playing full stop. And just behind the drummers came the flag twirlers, with red, blue, and silver flags waving. This isn’t something I “saw on Mulberry Street.” (In other words, I’m not exaggerating.) I don’t know why the band was there, but Benjamin and I sure enjoyed it.

It seems lately that we’ve been finding fun wherever we go. Just last weekend, at my friend’s medical school graduation, we happened to choose the seat just in front of a lady with a foam clown nose in her purse which she used to endlessly entertain our child. And this evening at a Mexican food restaurant, we sat beneath a “flock” of brightly painted wooden parrots. They’ve surely always been there, but I didn’t really notice them before because I didn’t have a fifteen-month-old who was captivated by them.

I love being the mother of a toddler. It’s like putting on 3D glasses. If there’s a clown nose in a purse or a boom band playing, we’ll find it.


Strange adventures and getting wet May 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 8:50 pm

Strange adventures, and getting wet, and carrying on alone and that sort of thing are all very well, but they’re not comfortable in the long run. (from Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson)

Well, I’ve never (yet!) read Finn Family Moomintroll, but this quote was just perfect for today. Benjamin and I have had a very strange and fun day. This morning, while I cleaned up the kitchen after breakfast, Benjamin discovered the joy of basking in the sunlight streaming in from the window. He just splayed out on the kitchen floor in the spot of sunlight and rested while the clothes dryer vibrated the floor. I thought, “It seems like this is going to be a nice, relaxed day.” <<<Insert laughter here>>>

I thought about saying, you’ll never guess the things we saw today, but that’s silly. It would be much more fun to give you a chance. Which of the following do you suppose we saw while selecting produce this morning at the grocery store?

A. A woman with a boa constrictor wrapped around her middle under her jacket.

B. A high school marching band (complete with flag twirlers) marching and playing.

C. A man (in chaps) with what I’m pretty sure was a real gun in his holster.

D. A man with a foil hat and a t-shirt that said, “They’re coming.”

What do you think we saw? Guess in the comment section, or in your own head. I’ll tell you the answer tomorrow.

This evening, our Bible study ended with the sound of thunder and sudden rain. As I looked out of the door to the rain coming down in sheets, I actually thought, “I wish my husband was here because I’ll probably look kind of cute and sexy running through the rain in my dress. It will be like a movie moment.” <<<<insert laughter here>>>> It was not cute. I was drenched in a non-movie star way. I lost my sandal in a huge (mucky) puddle and had to run back for it. I also lost my cell phone in the puddled parking lot, but didn’t realize it until a kind lady called my husband at the number saved as “honey” in my phone.

Anyway, all of this to say that strange adventures, and getting wet, and things of that sort are all well and good, but not comfortable in the long run. It was a fun day, but I’m extremely relieved to sink into a warm bubble bath with a good book that I’ve read a hundred times and counting. Comfortable.


To help May 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 8:29 pm

We are in this world to help one another. (from The Adventures of Pinnochio by C. Collodi)


The only thing you can do easily May 24, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books — Kristi @ 9:36 pm

“The Mathemagician nodded knowingly and stroked his chin several times. “You’ll find,” he remarked gently, “that the only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that’s hardly worth the effort.” (from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster)


The History of a Kid May 23, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books — Shanna @ 2:23 pm

But that’s okay because the history of a kid is one part fact, two parts legend, and three parts snowball. (from Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli)

Today my church had our annual “Senior Sunday” service, which is all about the graduating high school seniors.  We sing the songs they pick, say prayers and blessings over them, and give them all Bibles.  During the presentation of the Bibles, each senior comes to the front of the room, one by one.  Baby pictures are displayed alongside their senior pictures on the screens, and the youth minister reads out a little information about the student, including future plans, influential people, and–the part I like best–favorite church memories.  These memories are almost always nothing more than a fragment, a brief mention of some trip or tradition, but I always feel a sense of the story looming in those sparse words.

Of course, I rarely know what those stories are, which is okay with me; I’m content to smile at the mystery.  But I think what I like about it is that it reminds me of my own favorite memories from childhood.  The things that my friends and I wrote on our Senior Sunday information sheets, and the stories that were retold in those few words among those of us who had experienced them, hidden in phrases and behind secret smiles and shared laughter.

This morning I was reminded of how the stories from childhood seem always to take on the quality of legend–both the ones we tell about our experiences and the ones our families tell about us.  Superlatives are liberally peppered into the story.  Commonalities and coincidences become miraculous.  And somehow the tale’s capacity to entertain is never diminished, even when retold again and again over the years.  Childhood stories are glorious things.

But somehow, we lose that way of perceiving life as we grow up.  As we develop a larger awareness of the world, our own stories no longer seem worthy of superlatives; it really wasn’t the funniest thing ever, or the longest trip.  What we might have once described as miraculous is wrestled back into coincidence and relegated to the realm of the explainable.  We come to feel that there is a statute of limitations on the retelling of adult stories.  And adult life seems to be so busy and go by so quickly we rarely have time to soak in an experience enough make it into a story at all.

And for the most part, I think that’s okay.

But sometimes, just every once in a while, wouldn’t it be nice to slow down enough to savor our experiences?  Wouldn’t it be fun to assign a sense of epic to the small and mundane things we do?  To be animated and enthusiastic when we tell our stories?  My hope is that, in my twilight years if I am asked what some of my favorite memories are, I will be able to smile slyly and utter fragments and phrases that are heavy with the sense of stories comprised partially of fact and partially of legend and entirely full of life.


Finding Gravity May 22, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books — Shanna @ 8:54 am

My darling child!  she’s found her gravity! (from “The Light Princess” by George MacDonald)

Okay, so this one needs a little context.  In the beginning of the story, the princess is cursed by her evil aunt, who deprives the girl of her gravity.  So she goes through her life as light as air and with various other problems to boot.  But she finally finds her gravity when she falls (seemingly literally) in love with a prince who had been willing to sacrifice his life to save hers.

Today, my friends Stacie (practically my little sister) and Nat are getting married.  They found their gravity in each other.  They’ll make promises and covenant commitments today before God and their friends and family.  And I pray that all their lives together, they will remember not only the words but the force that drew them together in the first place.