The morning of her seventh birthday Bella exclaimed: Oh I just love books! It’s a good thing since they were the bulk of her presents. Because I love to read and to share book lists, here’s what she got:
2. The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Thomas Aquinas Maguire
No idea where I saw this one, but it’s more of a work of art than a children’s book. It comes in a nice box, necessary because the “book” is one long accordion pleated page. Yes. All one picture. It’s just gorgeous and we’re going to have fun exploring it. But it’s also something I’m going to want to keep safe from little hands.
3. Forest Has a Song: Poems by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (another Melissa Wiley recommendation, actually a Rilla recommendation.)
Bella was rather skeptical at first when I grabbed this book and offered to read it this morning. As I started to read her posture was very distant, leaning away from me at the corner of the couch. As I read she crept closer and closer until she was leaning over the book and then finally she took off and began wandering about the room, orbiting the coffee table and returning to glance at the pictures every once in a while. Speculating aloud about who was speaking the poems. She loved the Fiddleheads poem both because we love to eat fiddleheads in season but also because she’s been observing the ferns sprouting at the back of the house. Oh I can tell this book is going to be a favorite. Tonight at bedtime she brought it to me, carrying it in her arms like a treasure. Oh I just love this book, she sighed. When I gently teased her about he initial unfavorable impression, she said she thought it was just going to be a story about a girl who goes for a walk. She conceded that she’d been wrong.
4. St. Jerome and the Lion“St Jerome and the Lion by Margaret Hodges
We love several Margaret Hodges books and I thought this would be a nice addition to our collection. I’m always looking for good picture books about the saints. This fanciful story of the lion was a big hit. Sophie kept wondering aloud: “Where did the donkey go?”
4. Hansel and Gretel by Lisbeth Zwerger
I love Lisbeth Zwerger’s soft, fanciful illustrations, but this story might have been a miscalculation. Perhaps it is a bit too scary for my sensitive girls. As I read it Bella got the shivers and Sophie retreated to listen from the other room. Oh she listened bu at a safe distance. I had always thought the witch was the scary part. And the girls certainly seemed to think so. But this time through it was the stepmother that really chilled me. Oh I do think it important to stress that the children overcome evil. My girls already do know that evil exists. To know that it can be conquered by the week and small of the world is a good lesson. But I suspect this book is not going to be requested very often. Not until it’s needed, which who knows maybe someday it will be.
5. The Story of Icons by Mary P. Hallick
We haven’t read this yet, but a glance through it showed beautiful color plates. The text looks elevated but still aimed at older children rather than adults. Bella has responded well to the other icon book we have. This looks a bit more advanced. I really want my children to appreciate icons as more than just a form of art, but as a means of knowing God. Bella is my artist, my sensitive one, who loves to draw pictures of the crucifixion and of the tomb. She already uses art to meditate on the Gospel. Perhaps one day she will learn to write icons.