Tuesday, February 28, 2006

How cute - Sophie was patiently waiting in front of the sliding doors this a.m. Once the doors opened she wasn't so cute though - I think she was telling me all about her evening with the other cats in the neighborhood - at the top of her lungs. Not a great thing at 6 a.m., especially when you are not a morning person. Yesterday I spent part of the afternoon brushing burrs out of her fur. She was both indignant and thankful.

We watched Batman Begins last night. At first I was a bit bored with it - just seemed like another violent film and then I got interested in it when the good cop got involved. And, how can you not like Morgan Freeman as the guy who makes all the cool stuff Batman uses, including a "car" that looks nothing like the Batmobile as we know it. Michael Cain as the faithful Wayne butler was wonderful and added some comic relief to the darkness of this movie. Katie Holmes just seemed to "cutesy" and young to pull off the role as a lawyer in the DA's office.

I am looking at the cover of The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer. Nothing fancy - a black cover with the title, with a green frog looking up at it. But, it caught my fancy. Then when I saw that it is an Arthur Levine Imprint from Scholastic I knew it was my next read. When I get a box of Scholastic books, these are the imprint I look at first. Levine has a tendency to go for the international titles that will knock your socks off. This one didn't do that - it just stunned me into silence. I read it a couple of days ago and had to let it sit on my desk so I could think about it. The first thought I had is the old saying about the best gifts coming in small packages. At 101 pages, this is indeed a small package, but oh what a gift. Set in the Netherlands in 1951, the Dutch are still dealing with the effects of WWII. Thomas is the son of an abusive father and a devoted mother. Due to the strict and abusive atmosphere in his Jewish home Thomas often flees to his own little world. He sees things that no one else can and writes it all down his The Book of Everything. Jesus appears to him on occasion, with comments such as "I'll never let myself be nailed to the Cross again, I just won't. I've had enough of it." He knows their next door neighbor Mrs. van Amersfoort is a witch - he has floated around the room with her when they listen to Beethoven. Thomas is sure that someday he will marry beautiful Eliza with her artificial leather leg that creaks when she walks. But Thomas' power climaxes after his mother receives a horrible beating for standing up for him against his father. Thomas unintentionally brings down the plagues of Egypt upon their home. John Nieuwenhuizen's translation has kept the beauty of the story - it is flowing, poignant, and unforgettable. There is so much in these 101 pages I cannot even begin to express, but the bottom line is - Thomas has learned that the first step to happiness (what he wants to be when he grows up) is to stop being afraid. I honestly don't know how this book will be received by older children and teens, but this adult loved it intensely.

That's it for today. Another long day at Montessori inputting MARC records. Cataloging the local Caribbean titles is not much fun.