Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Gruffalo.

I am incredibly picky about children's books. This isn't surprising, since M and I spend a good bit of time each day reading to the Numa and if you have ever had a child pick a terrible book as a favorite, you know how long those sessions can feel. He has gotten some truly awful books in the past, either from me because the description sounded good or as gifts from people who hone in on his current favorite thing and choose a book solely for its inclusion of that thing. For instance, he is really into cats (probably because we have two of them) and a good friend got him How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? People really seem to like this series and as an adult, I understand the concept of presenting the wrong way of doing something immediately followed by the right way to illustrate a point. However, I happen to think that the beginning of this book is just mean and has the potential to inspire bad behaviors. When I got to the part about "giving the cat a throw," I immediately put this one in the Goodwill pile.

Another beloved book that I just cannot stand is Pat the Bunny. My Amazon review provides a summary of my impressions:

Not only is it boring, it's also overpriced and cheaply made

I am at a complete loss as to why this book is a classic. Is it just because it has been around so long? The story is non-existent and the language is halting and awkward (and yes, I get that repetition is good for language development, but not if you can't stand to read it more than once). "Bunny is eating his good supper." Really? In addition to it's lack of charm, the book itself is cheaply made, smells funny and can be unsafe, as the plastic binder is easily removed by determined little hands. There are far better books for $10.

According to the one comment generated by my review, I am "over-analyzing just a smidge" but I don't think so. Who wants to own books for their toddlers that are uninteresting, cheaply made and smell like drugstore perfume?

On to my new favorite kid's book is The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. The language in the book is engaging and lively and the cast of characters gives me the opportunity to do multiple voices, which Numa loves. He especially enjoys my Gruffalo voice, and we both end up laughing so hard we cry every time I read it. I love the cadence, I love the drawings and I love the mouse, who is crafty and creative. I highly recommend this book and am going to order The Gruffalo's Child even though the reviews aren't quite as good.

Here's hoping you are reading a book you love tonight.

Be well,


Monday, January 9, 2012

We bought a house. For real this time.

Wow. So November 2nd is the last time I remember feeling okay while also having free time. Lots has been happening here, not least of which is that we bought a house! And this time, it is really happening. The inspection went really well, money has changed hands and barring a horrible natural disaster, it will be ours for good on February 3. We are excited and scared and very, very poor.

The house is a split-level, mid-century modern built in 1969. It has 4-5 bedrooms (depending on how we decide to use the space), 3 outdated and extremely ugly but functional full bathrooms, a large family room, lots of windows and a full basement. The kitchen, like the bathrooms, is outdated and poorly laid out and will be the only big project we tackle before we move in late March. We are in the process of interviewing contractors and choosing all of the kitchen elements and I will share all of them here. We want to be true to the clean, mid-century beginnings of the house but also want it to have touches of us (which for me means handmade), so the final product will be a little of both. I expect that there will be many trips to IKEA in our future...

Until we meet again, enjoy this picture of the master bathroom. In particular, I would like to point out that the toilet seat and cover, while both clearly an ugly powder blue, are stained and faded and do not match the ugly powder blue of the toilet itself. This bathroom is WINNING.

Master bath.

Be well,