Monday, December 14, 2009

Book Review - Fairest

This story has many similarities to the tale of Snow White.

Gail Carson Levine wrote this heartwarming tale of a maiden named Aza. Aza was abandoned as a baby and left at The Featherbed Inn where she is taken in by the family who owns and runs the Inn. They adopt her, love her, and raise her as their own daughter.

Aza has the loveliest and most enchanting singing voice, which in the musical kingdom of Ayortha is very admired. The kingdom holds regular "Sings" where villagers compose songs, gather, and spend the time singing their songs in turn. They also spend a great deal of their time singing as they go about their day to day activities.

Aza has one obstacle which is constantly on her mind. She is not beautiful, she is not even pretty. In fact, many people stare at her because of her odd looking appearance. Her greatest dream is to be beautiful.

Aza visits the castle where she meets the bewitchingly beautiful queen, and is made her lady in waiting, she encounters a prince who likes her for who she is, and finds a magic mirror where she beholds an image of her beautified self.

Does Aza get her wish? Is it really what she wants?

Aza is imprisoned, escapes, goes on a journey, and discovers there is a lot more to true happiness then outward appearances.

This is an enjoyable tale of love, jealousy, confidence, mercy, and doing the right thing. To me it was well worth the read.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Artist Rob Gonsalves

I made a post a few days ago about a picture book I enjoyed, Imagine a Day. Well it turns out there are three books by this author and illustrator. Imagine a Night and Imagine a Place.

Rob Gonsalves was born in Toronto, Canada. Some refer to his paintings as"Magic Realism" and some call it "Surrealistic".

Whatever you want to call it Gonsalves obviously shows a sense of magic in each of his works. Right now he has 64 paintings and is working on more. This is one exhibit I would love to attend!

These illustrations fascinate me so I thought I would post a few of my favorites. My local library only has the one book but I look forward to reading the rest.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chopping Down the Christmas Tree

Today we donned our winter coats, and tromped through woods filled with evergreens in search of the perfect Christmas tree. This is our second year for this adventurous new tradition.

Deeper and deeper we trudged. To short, to bare, to yellow, to Charlie Brown. Finally we found it. My husband took the cover off the hand saw and freed the spruce from its captivity.

One of my favorite parts of Christmas are traditions. Cutting down your own tree, drinking egg nog and listening to Christmas music while you fill the tree with color. Singing Christmas carols while you drive around the neighborhood filling your eyes with red, green, yellow, blue, and orange lights. Sipping a cup of homemade hot cocoa while you sit by a warm fire and gaze at the tree and decorations. And who can forget watching the classics? White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, or Charlie Brown's Christmas. Don't you just love tradition?

Anyone have a favorite Christmas tradition?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Book Review - Imagine a Day

I've never had a favorite picture book. There were many I enjoyed, but none have stood out in my mind as much as this 2005 Governor General's Literary Award for Illustrations book. Written by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by Rob Gonsalves.

This book comes alive as you turn the pages. The fifteen illustrations by Gonsalves capture you and the words compel and lift you off to a wondrous place where only the imagination can live.

My whole family read the book and we each picked our favorite page. None was the same. Mine was the last.

imagine a day...

... when a book swings open
on silent hinges,
and a place you've never seen before
welcomes you home.

Imagine . . . today

I wish I could have put some of these illustrations up for you to see for yourself. You will just have to use your own imagination. But this book is worth checking out at your local library, or if you have children ages 6-10 buying for yourself. I know I will.

I also discovered there is another one like it by the same team. Imagine a Night. Can't wait to check that one out as well.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fifteen Years of Bliss

Today, my husband Larry and I celebrate fifteen years of marriage.

Fifteen years ago on this day, my beloved and I stood on a stage of a chapel in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. We committed to love each other and be there for each other for the rest of our lives.

We both took those vows very seriously. Because of that, our marriage remains strong in spite of storms and trials.

When I stood before my husband, our pastor, and a room filled with witnesses, I knew our marriage would last. No matter what came our way, we would love each other through it, and work it out together. Because that's what marriage means. Yes it can be tough, but commitment doesn't mean staying together because you still FEEL the oowwee, goowwee, feelings of love. I am committed to this man, until our lives on earth are done.

So this is to the wonderful man I married. Who can still make me laugh, who can still surprise me with flowers for no reason, and who I cherish watching be a father to our children. And I know he loves me too.

I love you Larry! Happy Anniversary!