I hope everyone had a happy Memorial Day! We spent ours in southern Maine. Our plans for spending the entire weekend there were dashed by a wet-spirited Mother Nature but we did manage a day trip. It was beautiful, although not swimming weather. No matter; the kids spent hours throwing rocks into the ocean and lugging around pails of sand and shells, happy as clams (ha ha). We ordered scooter pizza for lunch and lay around on the grass in the front yard of the house. (Scooter pizza = pizza delivered by a guy on a scooter.) When we got home, I broke out the Maine-and-beach-themed books I’d put aside for an overnight:
I also looked for The Beachcomber’s Book by Bernice Hunt, but seem to have lost my copy. I used this book a lot as a child visiting my grandparents on Cape Cod. It had a recipe for beach plum jelly, instructions for making bayberry candles, and ideas for how to make mobiles and little sculptures out of shells. Oh well. There’s always ebay.
Both kids laughed out loud over the wordless Wave by Suzy Lee, and I “read” it a few times to them. A little girl goes to the beach and she and a playful wave taunt each other. You can guess what happens. =) It has a gentle ending, though, one that mirrored my own children’s goodbye to the beach earlier in the day.
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey kept The Boy’s interest thanks to lots of topics relevant to a five-year-old: there’s a loose tooth (something he’s starting to anticipate), a baby sister (something he has), a boat ride (something he’d like to try), and chocolate ice cream (something he always wants). I love the old 1950s black and white illustrations.
I think I read Burt Dow, Deep Waterman more for myself than for the kids! It’s long. It’s wonderful and silly. I can still see the colors of Ginny Poor’s pantry and hear the clackety-BANG of the Tidely-Idley’s engine and the tee-he-he-hee of the giggling gull. The fact that Burt hooks himself a whale and ends up taking a ride in its gullet is a whole ‘nother matter….
For me, I had pulled out Bright Island by Mabel Robinson. It’s a Newbury Honor book from 1938, re-released in 2012. Like my beloved Witch of Blackbird Pond (see this post), it’s a coming-of-age novel that resonates across the decades. Thankful Curtis is a free-spirited Maine islander who finds herself reluctantly separated from her home for a year of schooling on the mainland. The private school is difficult for the fiercely independent Thankful to puzzle out, and even as she finds her way at school her island home continues to tug at her thoughts. As she reconciles her new education to her upbringing, Thankful settles in to who she is and what she wants to become.
We didn’t get to reading A Time of Wonder by my old friend McCloskey, but this illustration reminds me a little of the beach we were at.
I’ll leave you with this detail from the cover of When Is Tomorrow?. Sunny skies and peaceful shores —