Catch-up mash-up

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates during the past week. My internet service has been spotty, and I have had little time for extracurricular activities.
So, to make up for the neglect, I will pack three updates into one.

The first item of business: Children's Book Spotlight

There are rows upon rows of children's picture books in the library, and I have heard of very few of them. When The Monkey (my four year old girl) is choosing the books for herself, she invariably picks something because the cover has a cute animal on it (or because it's her favorite color-- pink), only to be disappointed or bored with the content when we sit down to read it together. When I am choosing the books I usually have very little time (or patience) to wander the stacks, and end up grabbing two or three books randomly off of the shelves for her. It's a hit-and-miss thing. Last week I got lucky, and I picked a good one. The Monkey loved it, so I thought I would share it here. I am also going to start a weekly Children's Book Spotlight. let me know if you have any books that you would like me to share here!

The Show-and-Tell Lion - Written by Barbara Abercrombie and Illustrated by Lynne Avril
Recommended for: Kindergarten-1st grade

It's Matthew's turn for show-and-tell and he doesn't have anything to share, so he says the first thing that comes to his mind: "I have a lion." His classmates think that this is wonderful. They ask him questions about his lion, and want to take a field-trip to his house to see it. Matthew has to think up more and more lies to answer his friends' questions and explain why they can't visit his pet lion.
Eventually, Matthew learns that it best to tell the truth.

This was a very cute story, and one that I will probably buy for my daughter, because she keeps asking me to reread it. The illustrations were wonderful. Matthew and his friends were painted in acrylic, while the lion (and all of Matthews lies about it) were drawn in chalk pastel, making it seem less substantial than the reality of the children and their classroom. I recommend it.
My Rating: 8/10

Next up: Audiobook Review

I love Audiobooks. Not as much as a real-life-hold-it-in-your-hand book, naturally, but... still, they are wonderfully handy things. I constantly have one on my iPod. I listen to audiobooks while I wash the dishes and fold the laundry. I listen to them while I run errands. I have so far avoided listening to them while I shop, as I am afraid that would cause chaos and result in my forgetting to buy several of the items on my list; but I might be tempted to try it, eventually.

A while ago my friend Ashlie recommended that I listen to the audiobook version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I was hesitant. I have never read the book. I was put off by the Disney movie, which I found disturbing as a child. As an adult I watched the movie again and could only deduce that it was illustrated by someone on an acid trip. Not my kind of thing. But I eventually succumbed, because I like Ashlie and we have very similar taste in literature. And the book was not bad at all. I do wish that I could have found the version that was read by Jim Dale, as I loved listening to him read Harry Potter, but I wasn't able to do so. The version that I was able to get was read by a woman named Devina Porter. Her voice was grating to me at first, but I got used to it soon enough. She did do a wonderful job using different voices for every character... except for the Chesire Cat. His voice just irritated me.
But, all in all, I thought that the book was much nicer than the movie; more a child's nonsensical dream and less a drug-induced hallucination. If you haven't read it before I would urge you to give it a try. I plan on reading Into the Looking Glass as soon as I have the time.
My Rating: 8.5/10 (Though I wonder if it would be higher if I had heard it read by a different person, or simply read it myself.)

and lastly, as promised: Poetry Friday- The Slow Language Movement

Just a warning. This next poem is one that will not be enjoyed by everyone. The theme is very overtly (though not explicitly) sexual. But I find it a wonderful expression of desire, of yearning and of intimacy. I am captivated by the idea of being marked by your lover, of walking through markets and knowing that even the blind man knows whose wife you are, because you are marked by the scent of your husband's profession and by his desire for you. It is a beautifully written piece of poetry.

Michael Ondaatje

born September 12,1943


If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbor to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
-- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grasscutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume.
and knew
what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in an act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.


Brooke said...

A lovely Poem! I wish all Men were like that to some degree, Possesiveness can be a wonderful thing! :)