Tag Archives: Children

Out of the Mouths of Babes – Pride & Prejudice

I love this Jane Austen book – it was the first I read and well it does the soul good to sit through 6 hours of the BBC’s adaptation of Pride & Prejudice – cue an excuse for a picture of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy 😉"and your parents? are they in good health?"

SC first saw chunks of this about 2 years ago and now, every time it’s on (fairly regularly it would appear on the Drama Channel) he loves sitting and watching it with me. He does a very good impression of Lizzie saying “Mr Darcy!” – which cracks me up no end 😉

Anyway I thought you might like SC’s take on the cast list:

Mr Wickham – Boo! Hiss! Pantomime villain.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh – “she’s a mean old lady mummy!”

Mr Collins – “he’s quite nice, but a bit annoying.”

Mrs Bennett – “mmm, she’s OK, but I wouldn’t want her as a mummy.”

Lizzie Bennett – “she’s lovely. Just like you mummy.”

Mr Darcy -“oh, he’s very nice. I wish he was real mummy, so that you could have a happy ending, just like Lizzie.” (Lord, love him 😉 )

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CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW: Winterling Series by Sarah Prineas

winterling

  • Stars: If I could give a million I would
  • Would I recommend it: In a heart beat
  • Age range: 8-12

 

Wow! Wow! and WOW!

Oh my goodness, SC and I have read some fab books but these would most definitely be in the top 3. Possibly even number 1!!

I bought “Winterling” for him a few years ago – as is my normal book buying method I just thought the cover looked interesting – and one night I had to go out so Grandpa was in charge of night-time reading. When I got home I asked my dad whether SC had enjoyed the beginnings of the book to be met with a grunt and “Didn’t make any b****y sense! He didn’t think much either.”

Hmm! I was a little bit surprised as I thought he would like it.

Flash forward to September last year and after ransacking the library over the holidays and devouring pretty much their entire back catalogue, I said we would read “Winterling”. “But Mummy,” came the responding whine, “I didn’t like it before.”

So, I suggested maybe we should give it another go, with me reading this time and if he really didn’t like it then we would read something else the following night.

45 minutes later he was hooked 😉

I won’t give any of the plot away, because that’s not fair, but it’s full of magic, adventure, mystical lands and at the heart actually lies a story about being true.

It’s perfectly written for children (and adults – I’m hooked too)

The best part is you actually start to care about the characters and what happens to them.

Well, we finished Winterling and then found out there were 2 more books in the series – Summerkin and Moonkind. So at Christmas I bought them for SC.

We couldn’t read them straight away as we had a backlog of library books again, but we started them as soon as we could.

And we were not disappointed – you know how sometimes sequels can be a bit of a damp squib? Not these books.

Action-packed and full of magic.

Well, we finished the final book – with both of us blubbing and cries of “But Mummy, I need to know what happens next!” – that’s how much we care about the characters.

Thankfully, one quick email to the lovely author I was told that there was a final book, because so many readers had asked the same question. It is only available as an e-book, so I had to download to my mum’s Kindle (I prefer holding a book!).

And yes, this resolved all the questions and they all lived happily ever after 😉

These were the most amazing children’s books we have read, to date, and I cannot recommend them enough.

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CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW: “The Apothecary” by Maile Meloy

  • The ApothecaryStars: 5
  • Would I recommend it: YES
  • Age range: 8-12 (although for younger readers you can skip the soppy stuff!! and maybe the ocassional “bl**dy”)

I picked up this book in the library to read with SC. The cover looked pretty and the blurb on the back had me thinking it could be quite a good page-turner of a book.

“Janie Scott has just moved to London from sunny LA, and she’s finding it forbidding, dreary and cold. That is until she meets Benjamin Burrows who dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father – a mysterious apothecary – is kidnapped, he entrusts Janie and Benjamin with a powerful book, full of ancient spells and magical potions.

But there are others who seek the book’s secrets – spies in possession of nuclear weapons that could destroy the world …”

Oh my goodness!

We were not disappointed – and I will try not to give away any spoilers.

This book is a fabulous story.  It has it all love, adventure, excitement, magic, history and above all the idea of keeping your mind open to the possibility that anything is possible!

It created quite a bit of discussion in this house, and me having to hark back to school and remembering my History classes about the aftermath of World War 2. I had to explain about the McCarthy Witch Hunts that took place in the States, what the Cold War was, why there was a theoretical “iron curtain” hanging down the middle of Europe and the fact you couldn’t cross over it and even nuclear weapons and how they worked in theory – my goodness my brain got quite a workout – although I think I may have to do a bit of reading up on nuclear physics (it was never my strongest subject at school)

So, on top of all that background history going on throughout the story, there was an exciting adventure and a race against time, intertwined with alchemy, magic and herbal lore.

When you reach the end of the book it does leave a few questions unanswered, but thankfully having look up on the internet there are 2 more books that are sequels to this one – so thankfully we will be able to read on and see what happens 😉

So that’s a quick run-down on what the book has inside without mentioning anything specific about the plot.

There’s just one quote from the book that struck a chord with me:

“… we should not stop at our desire to protect our own children in their immediate world. we want the streets they walk to be safe, and the walls around them to be sound, and we want to be able to put food in their bellies. These are natural desires.

But if we truly want them to be safe and well, we must make the greater world a different place. As it stands, we are all threatened, at every moment, and nothing we do to lock our own doors and earn our pay and tuck our children in bed will make the slightest difference.”

As a parent, you want nothing more than to protect your child from harm. You will move heaven and earth to keep them safe. Sometimes, our best endeavours are not enough and the unimaginable becomes reality. I cannot comprehend how that must feel and I can only imagine that such an awful reality must leave a huge hole in a parent’s life that can never heal.

But I think the above quote cuts deeper than just that of being a parent, and that is being a human being.

This story is about the Cold War, nuclear weapons and the power of fear. However relevant the quote is for that period in time, it is also extremely relevant in today’s world.

There may not be an Iron Curtain, and the Cold War may well have thawed somewhat over the years, but nowadays the threats come from other sources – so how can we protect our children and each other?

It has been said that in order to change the world, we must start with ourselves and become the embodiment of what we want the world to be.

If we fight hate with hate, hate wins. But can we fight hate with love? And if so, how?

So let’s all try to make the greater world a different place – maybe all it takes to start is a smile – it can’t hurt, right?

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Out of the Mouthes of Babes – Time Travel

“Mummy, do you know time travel forwards is possible!” pipes up SC on the way home from school last night.DeLorean

“Ummm, no?”

“Well, what you need to do is go up into space at 99.9% of the speed of light and spend 4 months hanging around a black hole, and then when you come back to earth all your friends will be 24 years older!”

And there was me thinking all you needed was a mad scientist, a flux capacitor and a DeLorean 😉

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Who has made an impact on your life?

As the song from the musical “Wicked” goes:wicked

I’ve heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are lead to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.

And it’s also true that until we learn the lesson we are meant to learn, we will keep making the same mistake.

Something SC said to me this morning struck a chord.  He mentioned a friend of mine he had met once, for only a couple of hours, with such affection it got me thinking.

So, I think it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter who we meet in our journey through life, some people will always make an impact for better or worse and whether they are in your life for a long time or a short time.

SC has made a positive impact in my life in more than one way. For him to grow up to be the person I want him to be, I have to be that person myself, so he has forced me to do a lot of soul-searching about positive ways to live my life and be happy, so he can grow up to be a confident young man.

My headmaster at junior school made a big impact on my life. It was him who helped me develop my love of all things numerical.

I credit one guy (I can’t even remember his name) with making me realise what I wanted to do with my life. After watching a movie, which I spent several minutes dissecting (as is my want sometimes), he turned round and said to me “acting’s what you want to do, isn’t it?” Up until that point, theatre was something I just did. I’d grown up dancing and having drama lessons as a means of working off energy and developing a clear speaking voice. But that one comment made me realise that, yes, that’s what I did want to do. Writing it down now, some 20 years later, still makes me dream. Yes, I went to drama school and did a bit of professional stuff. Nothing major, but I never lose hope that one day … maybe 😉

So, who has made an impact on your life, in a positive or negative way?

And I might as well finish with another quote from that amazing “Wicked” song, and, yes, I confess this is the point in the show where I am blubbing like a baby into my tissue, and just reading the lyrics makes me well up – so if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave you with the lyrics, whilst I go and find a tissue (sniff, sniff)…

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a hand print on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you’ll have rewritten mine
By being my friend.

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.

 

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Out of the Mouthes of Babes – Aerodynamics!

Well, we were driving along the motorway today and SC pipes up, “Mummy, do you know why our car is faster than lorries and vans?”aerodynamics

“No…” (obviously thinking that the reason is probably because my car is a lot smaller and not quite as heavy!)

“It’s because we’re streamlined!”

“Streamlined?”

“Yes, our car is lower to the ground and smoother, not like that van over there with its big windscreen going up”

(Am I hearing correctly???)

“See that car is not as streamlined as ours as it isn’t going as fast as us.”

(Mmmm, hold on, maybe that car is just going slower to conserve more fuel, after all I am in the outside lane doing no more than 70mph 😉 )

“But that lorry is really tall, and going really slowly, that’s why we’re streamlined!”

(Move over Adrian Newey!)

“Isn’t that right mummy?”

“Yes darling, in a roundabout way, of course it is!”

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Friday Poem – Art

A poem by the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

A poem that celebrates man’s imagination and creativity, and that through art, in whatever form, man gives his life importance.

Art

Give to barrows, trays, and pans
Grace and glimmer of romance;
Bring the moonlight into noon
Hid in gleaming piles of stone;
On the city’s paved street
Plant gardens lined with lilacs sweet;
Let spouting fountains cool the air,
Singing in the sun-baked square;
Let statue, picture, park, and hall,
Ballad, flag, and festival,
The past restore, the day adorn,
And make to-morrow a new morn.
So shall the drudge in dusty frock
Spy behind the city clock
Retinues of airy kings,
Skirts of angels, starry wings,
His fathers shining in bright fables,
His children fed at heavenly tables.
‘T is the privilege of Art
Thus to play its cheerful part,
Man on earth to acclimate,
And bend the exile to his fate,
And, moulded of one element
With the days and firmament,
Teach him on these as stairs to climb,
And live on even terms with Time;
Whilst upper life the slender rill
Of human sense doth overfill.

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