Two for the Show
We have been thinking of trees — green, leafy, blooming, buzzing trees. It’s not that we’re tired of winter. We love winter. Phyllis even has snowshoes — and uses them! Jackie loves walking in the snowy quiet and the nearly monochromatic landscape. We both love candles, sweaters, and hot soup. But every now and then we think of green.
We’re snowed under right now, what with teaching and writing and, well, snow, so we thought we’d offer up a blizzard of books about the white stuff that falls from our skies. Curl up with a child, a cup of warmth, and enjoy winter in the pages of a book. The Snow Party by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers and
Phyllis: Winter has come down like a snowy blanket, and animals in our world have migrated, hibernated, or are shivering their way through the months ahead. But animals in picture books have other ideas. Why not be a part of December’s celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice or help a friend in frozen need? These books make us feel
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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