A Weekend in Maine

A Weekend in Maine

We went to Maine this weekend, to visit Dom’s mother and his sister, Francesca.  We left early Saturday morning and returned late Sunday evening.

On Saturday afternoon Bella had a great time when we stopped by a farm stand, just up the road from their house. They had a small petting zoo and she got to make friends with a llama, a donkey, and some goats. Evidently the proper greeting for all three species is “miaow, miaow, miaow”. So says Miss Bella.

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Well, maybe not quite so friendly with the llama. He tried to eat her hair.

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I bought a carton of wild blueberries. Evidently they’ve had a bad growing season and they’ve been hard to come by this year. The kind lady who sold them said we were lucky enough to get one of six cartons that had been delivered that day. They were ambrosial, the sweetest berries I’ve ever had. Bella gorged herself and made a lovely mess of her hands and face.

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After that we stopped by a fun little park in Portland. Grandma loved watching Bella cavort on the slides and laugh on the swings. As much as she likes the pictures, getting to see it live was much better. Bella was quite the daredevil. The highest slides didn’t faze her one bit.

We had a nice lobster dinner on Saturday evening and a dip in the pool Sunday afternoon. It was fairly quiet, a nice getaway. Though it got rather cold Saturday night, which I wasn’t prepared for. Next time I must remember to bring socks.

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  • Melanie,
    Thank you for this review. I have looked at these books in the homeschool catalogs for several years, but hesitated to buy them for some of the same reasons you shared. I am very interested in finding well-written young     fiction with solid moral grounding for my teenage boys to read. Do you think boys would like the story? Or does it seem to be written more for   s?

  • Finding good fiction for boys is definitely harder than for girls and not just because I was a girl and therefore have a harder time knowing what would appeal to them. My husband also finds himself stumped. We like to give books as presents and usually find ourselves in a quandry when it comes to the teen-aged nephew who is quite the bookworm and once declared that he’d read all the good books, since he’d finished The Lord of the Rings.

    Would teenage boys like Waking Rose? I’m not sure. My gut says it’s a book that would appeal more to girls and most boys would be fairly disinterested, but tastes differ. You certainly know your sons and their tastes better than anyone else.

    The point of view switches back and forth between Rose and Fish, the male and female protagonists so there is plenty of time given to a male point of view. And there’s plenty of swordplay and dashing rescues, dark intrigue and such masculine pursuits.

    But the driving force behind the plot is still the Sleeping Beauty story and romance is the hinge on which everything turns. Maybe that’s just what I noticed most as I read because it’s what interested me. Maybe there is enough action and adventure to keep a boy reading through Rose’s dreams of romantic love. In my experience, however, boys are not only disinterested but actively put off by romantic interludes and “girly stuff”. I have visions of the boy in The Princess Bride complaining that “they’re kissing again”.

  • Judy,

    Well, depending on your budget and your time constraints, you could always do what I do…. buy the book now in trust for your daughter when she gets older. After all my Isabella is only 15 months old and already I’ve got a library full of Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, L. M. Montgomery, and many, many more waiting for her to grow into it. In the meantime, who can fault me for taking occasional dips into “her” books?

    I’m also trying to collect good “boy’s” books as I find them. Sure, we don’t have a boy yet; but one day I hope to. And if God never blesses me with a son, I’ve always got nephews or I’m sure I can find other worthy boys to bestow them on. Or maybe Isabella will be a voracious reader like her mother and devour everything in sight with no concern whether it be more masculine.

    There is one other series I just discovered that I’ve just discovered that is pretty boy friendly and have not yet blogged on. Are you familiar with the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome? I just read the first book and am eager to get hold of the next one. It was published in the 30’s and follows a family of four kids summering in England’s Lake District. They camp on an island and have adventures sailing up and down the lake. Nothing objectionable in it at all, a good wholesome adventure story.

  • Darn. I guess I’ll have to wait until my daughter is older to check these out.

    You’re absolutely right about books for boys. They’re much harder.  At the high school level, our boys enjoy the Jeeves & Wooster books by P.G. Wodehouse. They were suggested by my younger brother, who, incidentally, is a UD grad grin. Also Ivanhoe. As they get older, it gets easier again, because they are more capable of discernment. Then there’s so much good fiction they can read and discuss with you. Oh, I know of another good series; our oldest, who graduated last year, really enjoyed C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy when he was a sophomore or junior.

    Early teens are harder, especially after you finish Redwall, Narnia, and LOTR. Arthurian legend and historical fiction (Emmanuel Books carries many good ones) are good for some boys, not so interesting to others.

    It is a challenge. Which is why I am always on the lookout for good books.  Well, that and the fact that I am a bit book-crazy. wink

    Thanks again for your thoughts. It’s always nice to hear a reader’s opinion when I am thinking of buying a book.

  • Funny you should mention it. Swallows and Amazons is on our shelf, but I never got around to reading it. Since I didn’t stick it under the nose of my second son, he hasn’t taken a look at it yet either. He enjoys reading, but isn’t very adventurous on his own. So now I know what to do this coming weekend wink

    Last night, looking at Real Learning, I was reminded of Jean Craighead George’s books (My Side of the Mountain and lots of others) and Rascal by Sterling North. There are a lot of good books for boys out there, it just seems to take longer to think of them.

    I like your suggestion about buying the Rose Red books “in trust” for my daughter. Maybe over Christmas break, I would have time to read all three.

  • Judy,

    I know it’s been two months, but I got a lovely response from Regina Doman in the email last week that I wanted to pass on.  In it she passed on a very positive review of her first novel, The Shadow of the Bear, by a male reader. I’m posting that response as a new blog post here.