Upcycling Casualties

It's been a brutal month on the Western Front. Three... I say again, three deaths of library books for which I have to pay. Every year or so we lose a book or maybe one gets a cup of water spilled on it accidentally but to have three casualities in a single month is a new, sobering reality. It is a reality that brings me shamefaced to my husband once again, who shakes his head and threatens to ban the library altogether unless we can get our act together. And like any good commander, I take full responsibility and tell him with all sincerity that we'll do better this time! I have a plan! My platoon was poorly trained, in truth. One young soldier thought it was okay to sit a 5 month old grabbing, teething baby on his lap and read a book to him. It is okay... encouraged even. But the young lad failed to grab an appropriate board book from my shelf... or even one of those annoying books that I have to keep because they were gifts. No, he grabbed a library book. It was one that isn't worth a title mention, for better or worse, as one of the kids tossed it in my book pile before I checked my holds out at the library. Being such a nondescript book, I couldn't even have the pleasure of salvaging beautiful artwork to frame.

Then, we lost something that came to us with a loose binding to begin with. Readers, let it serve as a warning to always check the condition of a book before you check it out! It's easy to hand something off to a librarian for repairs before it's on your account! But should you do any further damage to such a book, you will pay. So, we bought one of the Where's Waldo? books once a couple good yanks from the same teething, grabbing baby got a hold of it when his siblings left it on the floor in too close of his reach. While I never buy Waldo books or I Spy books because their merit lies solely in their novelty, I can use this remains of this book in a constructive way. Waldo backgrounds would make for fun homemade wrapping paper or envelopes for letters that I write (believe it or not, I'm among the dying breed that sometimes still handwrites letters!)

The third loss came when the two year old found a pair of scissors and decided to shred the pages of Raining Cats and Dogs which was a delightful and very well illustrated book of idioms. There are some pages left with which I could do something crafty I'm sure... but it really is a book that needs to be appreciated in its whole; a single page out of context just won't carry even half the charm as the whole thing. Still, I'll hang on to it and toss it in my scrap paper bin for a while at least.

Finally, I am sad to say that the two year old was on quite a spree this month and also ruined my personal copy of a book which is a sweet delight: A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog which is one of my very favorite wordless books out there featuring one of my favorite illustrators, Mercer Mayer. So that was fairly depressing. The book is too small to make envelopes with and I suppose I could matte and frame a series of photos... it would be lovely artwork in a child's bathroom or even bedroom... or I could use the images for gift tags, address labels on packages or mod podge them onto some blocks or a piece of furniture... hmm, here's a sweet bunting idea... what else? I suppose that when it comes to repurposing books, there's quite a bit that can be done. Ideally though, books are best left in their original form. Time to go write a check to the library... *sigh*... the pain of being a bibliozealot can be fierce indeed.

Thrifting Swoon/On Challenging Your Children

I went to the Goodwill yesterday saying a little prayer as I went in that there would be some decent pants in the sizes of my two middle sons... they are in desperate need of some fresh knees to rip through.

No such luck. God, in His infinite goodness, did not allow such a mercy. But He did allow me to find a book that has been on my want list for a very, very long time:

Pagooby Holling C. Holling is the very first living science book that I read aloud to my children when my oldest was six years old. It was a very surprising hit. Kind of like how I was shocked when my six year old requested that we read Pinocchio (the original version) where the language is archaic and challenging, but they loved it! Children really ought to get their ears trained to hearing excellent vocabulary though. Don't make the mistake of thinking they always need to be talked (read) down to. They will rise to the challenge. And when I taught myself to read at age four, whenever I came across words I didn't know, I just sort of ignored them until they slowly came to meaning based on context. That's how readers and writers are born. They get challenged with the words in their natural setting which they are exposed to often. If you yourself are uncomfortable with reading challenging books with your children, get the audio version! Play it in the car where they can't escape the words which might ordinarily make them disinterested only because they are unfamiliar...

But I digress, I think if I were to read Pagoo again with their ages now (9, 7, 5), it would be even more popular. As it is, Holling C. Holling books are one of the more superior options you have in teachable stories. I mean, a lot, lot, lot of picture books really double as educational too... but these are something special. Each one is a perfect science or geography lesson in and of itself with a story wrapped up in it. And the art, which is usually a color spread on every other page, and more nature-journal black and white sketches with captions in between... is super. Do not expect a typical 15 minute story however, they are fairly dense. We spread our reading of it out over a week.

Pagoo is about the life of a hermit crab. We learned all about tidal creatures, life cycles of hermit crabs and fun little facts here and there. It was really easy to make it come alive for them when we went to the aquarium and could see real hermit crabs up close... and then I reinforced it with buying this excellent little companionfor our toy animal bin too.

Other books we've purchased (albeit full price) from this author are Minn of the Mississippiand Paddle-to-the-Seawhich we began reading when we studied the beginnings of European explorers in Canada last year. Excellent, excellent books. And who really needs pants when you have books?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...