book review

Tasha Tudor’s Garden

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Tasha Tudor’s Garden written by Tovah Martin, lavishly photographed by Richard W. Brown and featuring Tasha Tudor’s famous watercolors, is one beautiful book. The book is astonishing, you’ll feel transported to Tasha Tudor’s home and her garden.

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But what I found most endearing was it’s practical tone, for it’s more than a tour to dazzle the senses and leave you feeling an inadequate gardener indeed, it’s instructive. What’s her secret to those towering foxgloves?

Bernideen's Tea Time Blog: "OPEN HOUSE": Wintertime Means A Stack Of Garden Books

 Simple, manure tea.

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 This intimate and yet practical book will make you feel as if you have discovered the secret garden itself – but is that any surprise?

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-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper Jr.

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Art Study Rubens: St. George and the Dragon

 

We Use Time Life Library of Art Books for our Art Studies:

These books are perfect for picture study, I love using them! Each term we study a new artist and I bring out a new art book for our studies. It’s nice to bring the books out one at a time, instead of having them always available, the change seems to spark more interest in the term’s artist. I only have one left at my etsy shop but they are also available on amazon

 

Quick Bedtime Stories For Toddlers

Here are some books I turn to when bedtime is running late. I enjoy reading them and they are always well received.

Pat the Bunny

Pat the bunny is such a classic. One that I did not grow up with and was happy to discover with my first toddler. It’s an Interactive book that maintains a certain simplicity and elegance. Children love it and it’s fun to read. My favorite page is the little book within a book.

Time For Bed

A sweet rhyming goodnight story. Peaceful and soporific. Jane Dyer’s illustrations are beautiful.

 

Little Donkey Close your eyes

Another rhyming goodnight story, this one is by the beloved Margaret Wise Brown. It is similar to Time for Bed in it’s lulling verse and tender illustrations. A cozy read.

Each Peach Pear Plum

Here’s another interactive book, it’s an eye spy in verse. The rhyming makes it easy to read out loud and children love finding the different fairy tale characters on each page.

Fierce Bad Rabbit

Beatrix Potter’s Fierce Bad Rabbit a concise cautionary tale of a very naughty rabbit a bedtime story for when brevity is key.

-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper, Jr.

A Bedtime Shadow Book

I stumbled across this book today at a local thrift store. When I opened it up I knew  I had found that perfect gift for my girls. I’ve never seen a book like it with its window illustrations designed to cast shadows on the wall as you read. I quickly bought it  along with some glow in the dark flashlights -Yes, glow in the dark flashlights!-The story line itself, although short, is rather sweet and among the light and shade you will find fireflies, a skunk, a night owl, a raccoon, a  girl and a cat.

-Mrs. Cooper

Some Recent Discoveries

 

 Poems An Early-Start Preschool Reader

This is a great little reader. In the front it has a very handy list of the 107 words used inside. The book itself contains famous little poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, some short stanzas from Tennyson and some famous nursery rhymes.  I must admit having my daughter practice reading from this was  a nice break from the  Dr. Seuss and Frog and Toad readers. The Rhyme and meter seem to help beginners anticipate the next word, making their reading voice smoother and less labored. The selected verses are very accessible to small children, the illustrations are well matched. My only complaint was it’s brevity which is hardly a complaint at all.

Dogs & Dragons 
Trees & Dreams 

 Dogs & Dragons Trees & Dreams is currently out of print which is a pity. Karla Kuskin (Author of Roar and More) has complied some of her poems for children to create a great introduction to poetry. Throughout the book she gives quick synopses and talks a bit about poetry. Her commentary is informative, concise and easy to skip over if you just want the poetry to speak for itself. (She even gives you permission to ignore them.)  In this book you’ll be happy to find funny poems, somber poems, romping poems, nature poems, narrative poems, descriptive poems, even counting poems.

-Mrs. Cooper

The Romanov Sisters

The bulk of my personal reading time last month went to a book about Russian history: The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. I’ve been wanting to read more history for awhile — and failing to. This book however has the pace and human interest of a novel. One of Rappaport’s stated goals was to bring the characters of the four daughters of the last Imperial family of Russia out of their brother’s shadow and into clear focus. She sought to extricate them as individuals from the family group and from “hagiography” that erases human vividness. To do this, she drew richly on personal letters and diaries. In the process, she also gives a wonderfully sharp portrait of their parents — and their brother too. (For me, in many ways, he even remained the most compelling character among a cast of characters each thoroughly compelling.)

I fell completely in love with the entire family. Rappaport struck me as more critical of Alexandra, the mother, than of the others, but I found her intensely sympathetic and the criticisms, one and all, beside the point.

The Russian Orthodox Church canonized the whole family. One can look at that with skepticism but I was convinced, by this deliberately non-hagiographic account, of their real sanctity. They were spiritual relatives of the Martin family (what might have happened if Louis Martin had been on earth the King he was in his daughter’s eyes). And the only possible consolation for the wrongness of their murders will be to see them reign with Jesus King of Kings forever.

Mrs. Aldertree

In Noah’s Ark by Rumer Godden

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I just finished In Noah”s Ark by Rumer Godden and thought this Book Review captured the book’s charm rather well:

“No two people will read this with even similar reactions. To some it will be sheer enchantment of poetic flight of fancy. To some it will be symbolic, a philosophic and satiric approach to the world’s conflicts. To some it will be a fairy tale, extension of the folktale of all people, imagination off the beaten track…. To others it will be an irritation, pot-pourri of childhood jingles, phrases clipped from a book of quotations, woven together with tongue in cheek. To others it will be a parable, difficult of interpretation, signifying what you will. …. Who but Rumer Godden could have conceived Pegasus-uninvited- the disturbing element among the survivors of earth’s inhabitants, alone and single, owning no man as master. A story-teller who now beguiles the other creatures with his tales — and now disturbs their fancied peace with new and revolutionary ides. Ham has clipped his wings, Pegasus is himself, restless, unsure. And then death comes; the scorpion has slain a duckling; the whisper spreads that Pegasus is to blame; the court sits in judgment- death the verdict. A flame goes up and Pegasus disappears, no ash remains. Only a great restlessness over all…until at last the ark comes to rest on Ararat, and the faithful dove brings back the leaf of green. A new Rumer Godden is here. But then- to those for whom she always holds magic, there is always a new Rumer Godden. Don’t sell as “”a story in verse”” — but as Rumer Godden. Format promised as “”worthy of its distinguished content.””

A Review: Marie Kondo’s Master Class

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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Marie Kondo’s  second book, “Spark Joy an illustrated class to the art of decluttering and organizing.” After consuming her first book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying and setting forth on my tidying festival almost two years ago, I was ready to be disappointed by this book, what advice could she possibly have left to give?  But I loved it.

The principles remain unchanged and there’s a lot of overlapping material. She even recommends skipping over parts if you feel the need. But what makes this book work so well are her stories about her clients, family, and marriage. They bring her method to life and are sure to bring a smile to your face.

Though her focus has always been on surrounding yourself with things that spark joy she also talks about appreciating things that you don’t love but others in your household do, as well as creating a joyful place with the things you wish to keep. For example she gives you permission to go ahead and keep those useless things that spark joy but recommends finding other uses for them if only decorative. There is also a wonderful section dedicated to the kitchen which I found helpful.

The book  has some very cute illustrations that are useful. My children took to them immediately and the folding diagrams inspired them to fold their clothes. Magical?  Joyful? you bet!

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Do you need this book in order to complete her tidying method? No, the first book will do just fine. But if you enjoyed her first book not just for her practical advice but for her humor, her light and yet fierce spirit, you’ll love this one.