the water babies

5

May 25, 2015

Happy Monday my lovelies and for those of you in the States, Happy Memorial Day. I spend part of the weekend looking through some old books and I found 'The Water-Babies' by Charles Kingsley. It's been in my collection for years and years and years (and it looks it) and gasp - I've never read it!

So, cough, I can't really give any kind of coherent plot synopsis for you. But I flipped though it and friends, this is a wacky tale. And I'm thinking I might read it aloud to Julia once we get through a couple more of our 'Little House' books.

The ART. Is bonkers-ville in my copy. (the artist in my edition is Linley Sambourne, which is a Very Cool Name.) It's really surreal, sometimes creepy, and very very cool. As I was flipping the pages, I felt like I had found some magic book that had been placed on my shelves by fairies. The whole vibe of it just seems 'Other'. Sort of 'Alice in Wonderland'-ish. Written in 1863, 'The Water-Babies' is considered to be one of the Victorian age classic fairytales, along with 'Peter Pan'.

Ok see the below picture? That's way creepy, yo.

After reading more about it, I'm very intrigued. The gist is that a 12 year old poverty stricken and abused chimney sweep is somehow pulled into a magical sea world and transformed into a 'waterbaby'.

Apparently, it's not an easy read, even though it was written for children. There's supposedly a ton of Victorian moralizing going on in it. Like, be clean. Get baptized. Stay pure. Become educated. Hey, look - Evolution! Whatever you say, Kingsley, but can you please explain what is going on WITH THAT LOBSTER?? (This is all interwoven into the hero's quest through the undersea fairy world.) And there are overt racial, anti-Irish and anti-American putdowns and references. FASCINATING. Oh those pesky Americans.

People seem to either love this book beyond all imagining, or think it's the most boring thing they ever read. I can't speak to either one of those camps. The Victorian era morals subtext doesn't faze me, even though I'm not at all inclined towards religion and am closer to being a feng shui specialist (cosmic interior design sounds like a great idea! I'd join that party!). All I know is that the art in this one is CRAZY and I'm more than a little intrigued by a chimney sweep boy becoming a little waterbaby fairy thingamajig and then returning eventually to his human state.

 (um hello. I needs me that 'The Romance of King Arthur' edition that's illustrated by Arthur Rackham, like, YESTERDAY.)

So, has anyone read 'The Water-Babies'? Care to enlighten me further? Did you like it? Was it boring? I care more about whether it's boring than if it's offensive, ha ha ha. Here's a link to an abridged copy that has lots of sprightly reviews of the story, both positive and negative. Amazon describes it as "one of the strangest children's stories ever written."




cool stuff i like

4

May 22, 2015

Happy Friday!! And a happy long weekend for those of you who have it! I've had a glorious first week on Instagram. So many pictures of people's breakfasts. I can't believe I haven't been on it lo these many years. Guess who I'm following! NIGEL SLATER! It's so great! I can see what he ate in Japan! I told a friend that so far, Instagram is kind of like Facebook, without the annoying.


Online goodies this week:

Imagination Soup has a summer reading list for every age! Here's the one for the 4th grade age.

SO excited about this show. 

EVEN MORE excited about this show!

A new summer cookbook.

DID I MENTION I'M ON INSTAGRAM NOW?

Just found Cooking with Amber - what a fun, cool website for kids and families! Just found out this is the sister of a friend of Julia's!

I also found the loveliest blog with lots of pretty, food, and books. I'm in heaven.

Rock cakes. 

What a delightful looking picturebook by Tomie DePaola. I didn't know about this one!

A new take on strawberries and whipped cream.

The Fairy Tale Girl. I can't wait.


Cool Book of the Week: 'The Secret Life of Squirrels' by Nancy Rose is a recent find I spied in the bookstore and it is utterly delightful. The author has photographed real squirrels and put them into a variety of dollhouse-sized settings, which Rose apparently constructed in her backyard. Watch this video to see more! You can see our hero, Mr. Peanuts, as he goes about his day mailing a letter, taking a bath, and having a picnic. It's amazing what she's done here. I gasped out loud at the extreme cuteness of this one - it's one of the most darling things I've seen in the past year or so.

 Have a lovely weekend! I've been patiently waiting for reviews of 'Tomorrowland' to come out, to see if it would be good to take Julia. The weather is looking gloomyish, but I feel like making indoor forts (so hard in our house! nothing to string sheet material over) and eating cookies on the floor and playing with paper dolls. I used to have a set like this one of paper dolls and I loved it with all of my being.

~Melissa




Hamlet and The Tales of Sniggery Woods

7

May 19, 2015

This is another one of those books that I've been meaning to share with you all....for the last THREE YEARS. I don't know where the time goes.

Have any of you seen 'Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery Woods' by Maggie Kneen? Guess what. It's delightful. Old fashioned charm and there's a darling piece of art on every single page. And the book is kind of smallish-sized, which makes it extra sweet. Because mini-sized anything is adorable. Like mini cookies. Or mini cakes. Why FOR ALL THE WORLD'S PANCAKES (that's my version of a swear) aren't there mini Twinkies??? I would eat an entire box of mini Twinkies.

This book is kind of the perfect storm of awesome for me because it has the trifecta of amazing art, a storyline about FOOD, and it's precious and quaint. I like things that are precious and quaint and I won't apologize for that. (I realize that no one's asking me to, but if anyone was....well I won't! It's ok to like precious and quaint! I'm going to be the cutest little old lady in the whole world someday. Actually Andrew would say that I'm already a little old lady.)

What's super cute is that this little book has ONLY THREE CHAPTERS. That's it! I will tell you what they are: 'Hamlet's Pantry', 'Bee Juice' and 'King Heron's Birthday'. It's the sweetest thing in the world for the preschool and kinder set.

The rundown on the story is this - little Hamlet loves food. He oh so fortunately finds a lucky horseshoe, which then leads to Hamlet inheriting his uncle's rundown cafe. Even though he has no clue as to what he's about, he lines up friends and neighbors and relatives to assist him. After getting the cafe ready (IN ONE DAY), Hamlet realizes that the cafe-next-door has more business than he does. But the King of the little village (oh, Hamlet used to be the King's gardener, so they're best buddies) takes pity on him and goes to the cafe for lunch. Instant clientele!

Then two seconds later, Hamlet decides to also open a COOKERY school in the cafe. (they totally call it a 'cookery' school.) Or maybe the cafe BECOMES the cookery school? I have no idea. It doesn't matter. It's all so cute. The last chapter has something to do with making cakes for the King's birthday party. And the cakes turned out to be pies. But the King was delighted anyway. Hurray!

Did you see the map up above? There's a darling map at the back of the book. I love maps. You guys should totally get 10 copies of this book and hand them out like candy to any and all kids that you like. IT'S AS AWESOME AS CANDY.

I didn't think sweet little books like this were created anymore. They are.




100 days of summer

4

May 18, 2015

Hello sweet friends -- have some EVER so epic news today - I'm maybe the last person on earth who is blogger and a photographer to join Instagram! I LOVE IT. Already. I tried with Twitter, I really did, but I just never got Twitter. Great place to hear news about books, but I just couldn't keep up with it. But I adore adore Instagram. And I want to also tell you about my latest photo project - 100 Days of Summer. A picture a day, for 100 days. It'll be a great way to build up my Instagram account. I'm so slow, I had to start a week or so early, to make sure I got everything in before September.

And here's the tricksy part - I'll be spreading it around. Some of my 100 days photos will be here. Some will be on Instagram. And some will be on my Melissa Glynn Photography page on Facebook. It will be like a little scavenger hunt to find my photos, ha ha ha! The first one is already up on Instagram.

Do you like my wee flowers? They're all from my yard! Some are probably weeds, but they looked pretty anyway. I LOVE MY PITCHER. I found it in a local antique store. I went in looking for blankets or quilts, I'm trying to build up a collection for photo sessions, and instead I found this tiny little pitcher or creamer and it was shaped like a little cottage. I COULDN'T LEAVE IT IN THE STORE FOR GOODNESS SAKES. Andrew totally didn't understand that, foolish man.

I got it, put posies in it, and gave it to Julia for May Day. It looks kind of giant in these pix, but it's this tiny little thing, maybe three or 3 and a half inches wide? So adorable.





cool stuff i like

10

May 15, 2015

Happy Friday! How do you like these crazy carrots?? Look at the top row -- they're purple on the outside and orange in the middle! Can someone explain that to me? How does that happen? You'd think these lovely colors would have made a beautiful carrot soup, which is what I did with these lovelies. But you'd be wrong. My soup looked like sludgy greyish purple goo. It tasted just like my normal soup, but the color was so appalling it made the whole thing very unappealing. Also, the purple carrots stained my cutting board. I think I SHAN'T get any more purple carrots.


Things I found for the shares this week:

This recipe looks lovely and springy.

No way to articulate how happy this news makes me.

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake.

Here's an interesting article about 'Twin Peaks' (which Andrew and I are currently re-watching).

Fairy tale chapter books.

When this book comes out, it will be my go-to present for tiny tots!

A kids' room at Grandma's house.

Really cute looking early chapter book series.

Blue things.

Really want this cookbook. 

I would give almost anything to have a beautiful little film like this of my daughter when she was tiny!


Cool Book of the Week: I got 'A Perfect Day for a Picnic' by Tori Finch about a year ago, and it's one of my favorite cookbooks to look at. Have I already talked about it? No idea. Those of you who regularly hang out here with me might guess what I'm going to say next -- Haven't made one thing from it!! But I greatly enjoy the book, the recipes, and the lovely photos done by Georgia Glynn-Smith. This summer I'm actually going to make something from it! Like Basil, Mozzarella and Orzo Salad. Or the Gooey Triple Chocolate Brownies. There are ten different themes of picnics - like a 'Woodland Walk Picnic', a 'Bike Ride' picnic, a 'Vintage Garden Party' picnic, and a 'Teddy Bears' Picnic' just to name a few. Super delightful!

Have a lovely weekend! Did spring just FLY by for you? It seems to have FLOWN by. I feel totally and completely unprepared for summer to begin in about a month! I'm totally missing my Project 52 series, and I'm thinking of doing a 100 Days of Summer photo series - I think I need to set up an Instagram account for something like that.

~Melissa




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