Passing on Books

I’m sitting here thinking about the books I read when I was kid. Before I picked up novels there were books like this one…

Talk to Me Reader

Talk to Me Reader

Mom says I loved to read along with this. Thanks Fisher Price! That’s the reader on right. You used the reader with Talk-To-Me books, which had a 2-inch plastic record laminated on the bottom corner of each page. You line up the player with the record and pressed play. After a mechanical KA-CHUNK, the record would start playing to read the page to you. Man, I still wish I had this. I bet my boys would love it. If they didn’t I sure would!

Once I did read novels, from what I can remember, I preferred fiction. I still have Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary waiting for my sons to read and hopefully enjoy as much as I did. Actually, I was big fan of Beverly Cleary. I think I wanted to meet her. She also wrote a three book series about the mouse, Ralph S. Mouse. I read The Mouse and the Motorcycle, the first in the series, and I was hooked. Then there was Matt Christopher. Being the somewhat athletic kid I was, I really connected with these. There might even be one two of his books here patiently waiting to be opened by the next generation.

Then there were books on the lesser known side that I enjoyed and often read more than once. One such book was Bones on Black Spruce Mountain by David Budbill. Then there were Choose Your Own Adventure books. In real life, once you make your choice, that’s it, it’s a done deal. It’s not like that in a book. Didn’t like your choice? Go back and pick the other one! I may have cheated a few times to make it to the end.

Quality reading? I’m not sure it really matters. I was reading. My parents let me choose what I wanted to read, with some guidance, of course. I do the same with their grand kids (2 of them, anyway). Hopefully, they’ll learn to love reading the same way their parents do.

bones       mr henshaw

The post “My Early Novel Reading Days” by I Read Encyclopedias ignited this post. I found the comment I writing for his post was turning into a post of my own. Thanks Jay!

Home Alone (sort of) (for a little while)


RacetrackFinally! Everyone is nearly back to good heath. Crash and Bang were down with fevers the past 7-10 days. Crash missed 5 days of school, effectively gaining him an extra week of Christmas vacation. So now it’s just me and Bang at home during the day. Today we played racetrack (see photo at left). We modified the track a little later so Bang could race some marbles down it instead. We also played trucks. We played A LOT of trucks. Cement trucks. Dump trucks. Garbage trucks. An Excavator. His favorite is the garbage truck. No one touches the garbage truck and no gets hurt. I wish Crash would learn this lesson. Crash likes to play with said garbage truck when Bang isn’t looking. Then Bang looks and all hell breaks loose. Crash tries to pull the “But I had it first” routine. So I make Bang ask for it nicely. Once this occurs Crash has to return the truck to its owner, albeit reluctantly.

Anyway, we delivered Crash to the bus stop and saw him off then played in the snow. More specifically, we played on the big ice patch in the backyard. Slipping and sliding and spinning. We did it again after Crash got home from school. The weather had warmed to +2 Celsius and it was raining a bit so the snow was perfect for snowballs. Many got thrown. Bang knocked on the door. Mom opened the door to see what it was that he wanted and she found herself being pelted by his snowball. His laughter was contagious. We’re getting more snow tonight and I can’t wait.

KnufflebunnyThe rest of the day was pretty boring… Took Crash and Bang with me to get a new headlight and wipers for the car and stopped by the library to exchange some books. We found one of our favorites… Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. It was one of the first books Crash learned to read. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it. I guarantee you’ll want to read Knuffle Bunny, Too and Knuffle Bunny Free. Crash and Bang are now silently asleep and I’m headed there myself… night night folks.



In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Call Me Ishmael.”

I am in all truthfullness attempting to be cheerful about this whole topic, though most people find themselves hindered in believing me, no matter my protestations.

That’s the opening line of “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. I love the point of view he chose to write through. It’s amazingly appropriate for the setting of the story.

Though Zusak personifies death, I like to personify writer’s block. Block. It would be a he. Definitely. He would knock on your door, perhaps. Or maybe he’d walk right in, sit himself down next to you and start reading over your shoulder. You’d hear him breathing, feel his presence, and suddenly your pen, your pencil, your cursor, or your ribbon stops. Not a single letter persuaded to be produced. He over stays his welcome and drinks all your tea. But what can you do? he’s already here, might as well join him. Maybe he’ll leave sooner than you think. Or not.

The Block. Like that dream you wake from that felt so real, but you can’t remember a single, lonesome detail. Like Zusak’s Death, Block is invisible to all but those he comes visit. So you sit there staring, lost in thought. Daydream much? No, I was just trying hustle Block out the door.

I loved this idea of using the first line of my favorite book as the first line of my post. Then I felt his presence behind me and all I could write were the words of Zusak. Here it is a full eight hours later and I’m just getting Block out the door so I can continue. The Book Thief is my favorite book. I even made notes in the margins so when I read a second and third time I would find things I didn’t see the first time. I love books like this. They don’t happen often. Thank you Mr. Zusak.

P.S. Another of his books “I am the Messenger” is on my list of top 3 favorite, though it has my favorite ending of all.