Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | A.A.Milne

Skinny Dip with Amy Baum

gr_sleepy-hollow-moonWhat keeps you up at night?

The Dis­ney ver­sion of The Leg­end of Sleepy Hol­low. I had to sleep in my sister’s room for 6 months after that ter­ri­fy­ing car­toon.

What’s the first book you remem­ber read­ing?

Lit­tle Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. I loved Lit­tle Bear and his very func­tion­al fam­i­ly. Also, I thought it was sim­ply mag­i­cal that all of the let­ters spelled out a sto­ry. I am still a fan of large type (though that could be my age).

Dis­claimer: There was one sto­ry that caused many sleep­less nights: “Gob­lin Sto­ry” in Lit­tle Bear’s Vis­it. I high­ly rec­om­mend read­ing this sto­ry dur­ing a clear, bright day. A big shout out to Kim Fau­rot at the Saint Paul Pub­lic Library Children’s Room.

What’s Your favorite hol­i­day tra­di­tion?

Giv­ing Presents for all occa­sions – I am most cer­tain that there is a hol­i­day packed into every week of the year.

Were you a teacher’s pet or teacher’s chal­lenge?

Oy, such a chal­lenge. I have dyslex­ia, but that wasn’t a “thing” back in the six­ties – hence I was trun­dled off to speech ther­a­py. It was great fun. We did a lot of pup­pet shows with Steiff pup­pets – and while they were very itchy I was a proud por­cu­pine.

Do you like to gift wrap presents?

gr_aaxmanwithlogoYes, shop­ping, presents and hol­i­days all go hand-in-hand. I have a clos­et full of cool gift wrap which I buy all year round. I must admit to using gift bags on unwieldy items. Though one can get some swell box­es at The Ax-Man sur­plus store. It also delights me to watch the painstak­ing mea­sures some recip­i­ents will go to in an effort to pre­serve the wrap­ping paper. You peo­ple know who you are.

What 3 children’s book authors or illus­tra­tors or edi­tors would you like to invite to din­ner?

Such an unfair ques­tion. I would require the capac­i­ty of the Algo­nquin Round Table and I would try to accom­mo­date SOME list of some of my heroes:

  1. Mau­rice Sendak
  2. Ursu­la Nord­strom, aside from being a fab­u­lous edi­tor she wrote one of my favorite books of sec­ond grade, The Secret Lan­guage.
  3. Edward Gorey
  4. ph_wedgewoodMar­garet Wise Brown
  5. A.A. Milne
  6. E.L. Konigs­burg
  7. Eric Car­le
  8. Nan­cy Ekholm Burk­ert
  9. Wal­ter Dean Myers
  10. Beat­rix Pot­ter – I eat off her Peter Rab­bit Wedge­wood every day
  11. E.B. White
  12. Tomi Unger­er
  13. Char­lotte Zolo­tow
  14. Dr. Seuss
  15. M.E. Kerr

I am quite cer­tain that I am leav­ing sev­er­al impor­tant guests out. By the way – I would not cook out of def­er­ence of my guests – cater­ing all the way! I do not use my stove – I occa­sion­al­ly dust it.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

It is not often that some­one comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”– Charlotte’s Web

What book do you tell every­one to read?

The Phan­tom Toll­booth, Mr. Rab­bit and the Love­ly Present, The Nut­shell Library, The Moon Man, A Proud Taste for Scar­let and Miniv­er. It depends on who my audi­ence is and what their needs are at the time.

Are you a night owl or an ear­ly bird?

Both – night­time is for read­ing and hang­ing with my faith­ful dog. Morn­ing is for “catch­ing up.”


Skinny Dip with Virginia Euwer Wolff

book coverWhat’s your favorite hol­i­day tra­di­tion?

I have so many favorites. One of them is the hang­ing of the Christ­mas stock­ings. My aunt made felt and appliqué stock­ings for my two tiny chil­dren in the 1960s. Thir­ty years lat­er, my daugh­ter made felt and appliqué stock­ings for her hus­band, their two chil­dren, and me. She designed the appliqué motifs to reflect each fam­i­ly mem­ber. For instance, my son-in-law’s has an abstract paint­ing in felt pieces; mine has a vio­lin, com­plete with frag­ile strings made of thread. We hang these old and new stock­ings on Christ­mas Eve. The youngest fam­i­ly mem­bers go to bed. The old­er gen­er­a­tion sneak to the man­tel, one by one, and put Santa’s gifts into the stock­ings. San­ta gives small sur­pris­es that will fit in the stock­ing, sou­venir post­cards, car­toons, lac­tose pills, always a can­dy cane, always a lump of coal. First thing on Christ­mas morn­ing we open our stock­ings, one by one with every­one watch­ing. Many laughs, many mem­o­ries of pre­vi­ous Christ­mas morn­ings, and Christ­mas spir­it in abun­dance.

Were you a teacher’s pet or teacher’s chal­lenge?

gr_campfireAs a small child whose father had died when I was five, liv­ing in a rur­al com­mu­ni­ty where every­one knew my fam­i­ly, I was at first han­dled care­ful­ly and ten­der­ly by teach­ers. As a painful­ly shy per­son and the last child in my first grade class to learn to read, I must have need­ed some extra cod­dling. And it turned out that I was a good read­er (at long last) and a very good speller. Those went a long way up the rungs to teacher’s pet. That and pity for our wid­owed and orphaned fam­i­ly in wartime, as well as the pub­lic fact that our moth­er was now run­ning the orchard busi­ness and play­ing the organ for church and serv­ing in the PTA and super­vis­ing our Camp Fire Girls’ group and see­ing that we had music lessons and Sun­day School. (And we didn’t have elec­tric­i­ty yet.) Soon, though, That Thing hap­pened to me. That mys­ti­fy­ing Thing that some mid­dle school girls are sus­cep­ti­ble to. I became a prob­lem. Loud, irri­tat­ing, gos­sip­ing and whis­per­ing, near­ly blind to the beau­ties of sci­ence and math. And it turned out that I was actu­al­ly hav­ing to study in order to suc­ceed aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly. Oh, cru­el world, to have thrust such bur­dens upon me. These extremes, teacher’s pet and teacher’s irri­tant, have stood me in good stead as a watch­er, lis­ten­er, teacher, and sto­ry mak­er.

What’s the first book report you ever wrote?

We did some some oral ones in ear­ly grades, but I can’t remem­ber a writ­ten one till a ghast­ly hor­ri­ble inad­e­quate one I wrote in sev­enth grade (Jane Eyre), or maybe it was the ghast­ly hor­ri­ble inad­e­quate one I wrote in eighth grade (A Tale of Two Cities). Both still make me ashamed, which may be why I can’t remem­ber which was which, try­ing to dilute the guilt by drap­ing a cloud over the mem­o­ry.

Do you like to gift wrap presents?

I LOVE gift-wrap­ping presents. Like iron­ing, it’s a craft that can sat­is­fy in min­utes. Unlike writ­ing a book or learn­ing a sonata, which can take years (and the grat­i­fi­ca­tion with these lat­ter two is nev­er com­plete), gift-wrap­ping is its own reward. I iron papers and rib­bons from pre­vi­ous gifts, and in our fam­i­ly we often wrap in maps from Nation­al Geo­graph­ic.

What do you wish you could tell your 10-year old self?

Get a grip. Read more broad­ly, more deeply. Prac­tice the vio­lin much, much, much more method­i­cal­ly. Leave less and less to chance. In a cou­ple of years you’re going to find that math is get­ting hard­er and you’re going to have to have more tenac­i­ty than you’ve even dreamed of. Learn at least a cou­ple of new words each week. Yes, you will get breasts. Yes, you will even­tu­al­ly get your peri­od. No, your father is not going to come back to life. Be con­sid­er­ably more grate­ful to your moth­er, who’s work­ing hard­er than any oth­er five moth­ers you know. On the oth­er hand, you’re begin­ning to do some things OK: You’ve already learned at your mother’s knee that all peo­ple are cre­at­ed equal, but you will have to keep re-learn­ing how to deploy that truth. You’ve got some basic opti­mism; hang on to it. And anoth­er thing: Even­tu­al­ly, you’ll learn the word ‘hal­cy­on’. And then you’ll know the name for these sum­mer days on the lawn, read­ing about Bet­sy and Tacy and Nan­cy Drew, and play­ing with the cat and dog, and look­ing up at fly­ing squir­rels dart­ing among the tow­er­ing Dou­glas firs at the edge of the world.”

What 3 children’s book authors or illus­tra­tors or edi­tors would you like to invite to din­ner?

Ter­ry Pratch­ett, Ash­ley Bryan, A.A. Milne.

Where’s your favorite place to read?

Any­where. The light has to be good, though. Indoors, out­doors, upstairs, down­stairs, in libraries, on trains, on porch­es, in the woods, on beach­es, on air­planes, in bed­rooms, in air­ports. At break­fast, at sun­set, in the mid­dle of the night. With clas­si­cal music in the back­ground or silence. And I love being read to, so in my car I always have a book going.


Old Bear

Old Bear

A cou­ple of weeks ago, I wrote about our family’s obsession—I mean love—of Christo­pher Robin’s Sil­ly Old Bear. Our fam­i­ly also has a deep and abid­ing love for Old Bear by Jane Hissey and I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about it. We’ve found that too many peo­ple do not know about […]