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Two for the Show

Mr. Cookie Baker

Cookies 

Jack­ie: Novem­ber is a month to cel­e­brate food and fam­i­ly, to cel­e­brate mak­ing meals and eat­ing togeth­er. Phyl­lis and I both love pie. And we often review pie books in Novem­ber but we are run­ning out of pie sto­ries. (Writ­ers out there: more pie sto­ries, please.) So, this year we decid­ed to look for cook­ie sto­ries. Who

Wild Berries

Sense of Wonder 

In her book A Sense of Won­der, Rachel Car­son wrote: If I had influ­ence with the good fairy who is sup­posed to pre­side over the chris­ten­ing of all chil­dren, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of won­der so inde­struc­tible that it would last through­out life, as an unfail­ing anti­dote against the

Ostrich and Lark

Birds 

Watch­ing birds is one of the joys of the out­door year (or the indoor year, giv­en the right win­dow place­ment). Emi­ly Dick­in­son notes the “inde­pen­dent ecsta­sy” of their songs. And we can dis­cern per­son­al­i­ties in cer­tain birds. Jays will peremp­to­ri­ly take over a feed­ing sta­tion. Chick­adees perk­i­ly fly in for a seed or two or a sip of

Celebrating the Square Pegs 

This month the two of us are actu­al­ly in the same place at the same time, and we’re hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about square pegs. We are all not just square pegs and round pegs. We are tri­an­gles, pen­tagons, hexa­gon, oval, rhom­boids, stars. There are shapes for every­one and places, too, where each of us fits best.

Jerome By Heart

Friends, Friends 

Jack­ie: We two friends have been doing this blog since 2015. Yet, we’ve nev­er done a col­umn on books about friends. We know there are many, and many clas­sics, such as the always-sat­is­­­fy­ing Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, or William Steig’s Amos and Boris, or James Marshall’s George and Martha. But today we want

Come On, Rain!

Weathering Weather 

Phyl­lis: Min­neso­ta has had a win­ter full of weath­er this year. We’ve just fin­ished the snowiest Feb­ru­ary on record, and now March is blow­ing down on us with the promised of wind and rain and (most like­ly) still more snow. An anony­mous British poet wrote of the weath­er, “We’ll weath­er the weath­er what­ev­er the weath­er.” We

Thank You, Omu!

Making Something Out of Nothing 

Jack­ie: We are in cold, cold win­ter. Too cold to read seed cat­a­logs – spring just seems too far away to imag­ine frag­ile green. We are con­fined to cab­in. What to do but think of repur­pos­ing, mak­ing some­thing out of noth­ing, or next to noth­ing? Stone Soup by Mar­cia Brown has always been one of my favorite

Too Many Mittens

Knit One, Purl Two 

Phyl­lis: Two sticks and some string. That’s the most basic def­i­n­i­tion of knit­ting. The sticks might be met­al or wood. The string might be yarn or flax. But in the hands of a knit­ter, even an unskilled one such as I, they become mag­ic. In the chilly months, we bun­dle up in cozy sweaters, snug mit­tens, hats

Hush!

My Little Love-One, What Shall I Sing:
Looking at Lullabies 

Phyl­lis: Win­ter in the north is made of longer and longer nights. What bet­ter time to think about lul­la­bies, those songs we sing to our babies to help them sleep? Research has shown how sim­i­lar lul­la­bies are all around the world in the sounds and rhythms they use to soothe babies. So we thought we’d

Pie and Gratitude 

Novem­ber is a month of grat­i­tude — and, for us, a month to cel­e­brate Pie. We all have a favorite. Many of us have child­hood mem­o­ries of good times and pie. We all wait for the days when we can eat pie for break­fast. So we two thought this would be the per­fect month to look at pic­ture books about

Lucille Clifton: All About Love 

Poet Lucille Clifton in a 1998 inter­view “Doing What You Will Do,” pub­lished in Sleep­ing with One Eye Open: Women Writ­ers and the Art of Sur­vival, said, “I think the oral tra­di­tion is the one which is most inter­est­ing to me and the voice in which I like to speak.” Asked about the most impor­tant aspect of her

Chasing Peace: Refugee Stories 

This sum­mer, deeply trou­bling sto­ries about migrants and refugees at the US-Mex­i­­­can bor­der have come to us in news­pa­per sto­ries, record­ings, pho­tographs, and videos. In choos­ing to sep­a­rate chil­dren from their par­ents, our gov­ern­ment has shown a dis­turb­ing lack of empa­thy for peo­ple flee­ing vio­lence and tur­moil in their home coun­tries. It is our hope that

Woodpecker Wham!

Taking Time for a Close Look 

Jack­ie: Phyl­lis is on the road with her beau­ti­ful and infor­ma­tive new book Search­ing for Minnesota’s Native Wild­flow­ers. [While Phyl­lis is out of the room, I will say that I love this book. It makes me want to get out and find flow­ers. Iowa has many plants in com­mon with Min­neso­ta and I look for­ward to tromp­ing with Phyllis

Summoning Spring 

Jack­ie: Spring is a lit­tle late com­ing to the Mid­west this year. But we can remem­ber sun­ny days with vio­lets and tril­li­um bloom­ing and rainy days that turn the grass green (instead of the snow we con­tin­ue to get in mid-April). Rainy days make us think of ducks and we are going to beck­on reluc­tant spring

Dearie Darling Cuddle Hug: A Tribute to Wendy Watson 

When our chil­dren were young we both spent many hours with them pour­ing over Wendy Wat­son’s illus­tra­tions for her sis­ter Clyde’s rhymes in Father Fox’s Pen­nyrhymes and delight­ing in the sounds and the silli­ness of the rhymes them­selves. We felt as though we had lost a per­son­al friend when Wendy Wat­son died, even though we had

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