Saturday, October 22, 2011

A freckle-faced, red-haired girl...

We are getting ready for Halloween around here. Betsy is dressing as Pippi Longstocking, and Felicity is dressing as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

Felicity's costumes are hand-me-downs from her cousin Mallory. Mallory and Felicity are our girly-girls around here. Every year Mallory picks out a new princess costume, and then a few years later Felicity wears it. April goes for the nice, Disney-store costumes, so they hold up well. So far Felicity has been a clown (which is a family costume that we all have to wear our first year trick or treating), Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and now Belle. Mallory has been Cinderella, Rapunzel, and this year is being Ariel, so we have a trove of costumes still to go through (Felicity can't wait to get her hands on the Cinderella costume).

Natalie is stuck being the clown this year.

Betsy is always interesting when it comes to her costume choices. She, of course, had to be the clown one year and also the Dorothy costume was hers. That was back when she was 2 and I could still pick out her costume for her. Once she hit 3, she started picking out her own costumes. She has been the Tin Man, Glinda the Good Witch, Tinkerbell, and a doctor. This year she is so excited to be Pippi. It was an easy costume to put together, really. We bought a red haired wig (the package said it was to dress up as a rag doll) and put wire in it and braided it to make Pippi's hair. Then I just picked out a denim and plaid dress that looked Pippi-ish from her closet, and we bought some striped tights. She's going to wear my boots.

(There will be pictures on my Facebook page, if you are interested in seeing it.)

We love Pippi around here. We have read Pippi Longstocking (the original book) by Astrid Lindgren twice. It is my favorite of the Pippi books. There are 2 sequels, which we are just finishing. Pippi on Board and Pippi of the Sounth Seas. The South Seas one was obviously written at the request of children wanting to know what Kurrkurrdutt Island is like (it is the island where Pippi's father is a canibal king).The books are a bit dated and certainly not totally politically correct. But they are very well-written, clever stories with a girl as the heroine, which I'm sure is more than half the reason Betsy likes them.

We also have the movie The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. It is an okay movie. I liked it a lot as a kid, so I understand why the girls like it so much. As an adult, I find it somewhat cloying and nowhere near as good as the books. But there is nothing objectionable in it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Walking into spiderwebs...

I have had a lousy week. One thing happened after another, culminating in a trip to the hospital yesterday with what ended up being a kidney stone. My kids are sick, the weather is lousy (especially considering that we had to sit at the football game Friday night in the rain so that Betsy could cheer), I am afraid that I have taken on too much with my volunteering for the year. I'm whiny.

Anyway, I did finish an excellent book last Saturday and had every intention of blogging about it before my nightmare of a week reared its head. It is called The Story of Charlotte's Web: E.B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic by Michael Sims. It is a really fascinating look at E.B. White's life. He was so interested in animals and spiders and really getting what he was talking about right.

Betsy and I have read Charlotte's Web twice now. I like to read it to her just before we go to the fair. It gives us such an appreiciation for what all goes into raising an animal. It is an excellent choice for kids who aren't quite ready to sit still for long periods of time because the chapters are quite short. (Betsy always says read more, we are used to long chapeters around here). It is such a moving book. Betsy cried the first time that I read it. It gets right to the point-Charlotte dies all alone, and no one ever knew that a certain spider had had so much to do with the outcome of the fair.

E.B. White based Charlotte's Web on his own farm and also on his childhoods spent in Maine. His whole life sort of culminated in this book. He also, of course, wrote Stuart Little. I read this to Betsy a while ago. My only experience with it prior to that was the movie with Michael J. Fox. The book is very, very different and downright odd. The biography illuminated me as to why and what White was trying to say. I think that I will get so much more out of it the next time we tackle it.

White wrote only one other book, The Trumpet of the Swans. We own it but have yet to read it. Sims only spends a few pages on it, so I still know little about it. When we get to it, I'll tell you my opinion of it.

I'm glad that it's Saturday, I'm ready for a new week. Hopefully it will go a little better...