Monday, May 09, 2011

Steve is trying to fix the mess I made on the other computer so I can't access a picture to add to this posting. Never download free anti-virus software 30 day trials is what I learned. The pop-up screen wanting me to purchase it is in an infinite loop and won't let me access a web site! Growl!!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. Steve took me out to lunch on Saturday instead, which is good as he was worshipping the porcelain goddess on Sunday due to some short term bug or something he ate. Couldn't been too bad as he wanted meat loaf for dinner! He also gave me the coolest "picture tree" that you hang small photographs on to help me keep my family memories alive. Very cool! Once I find the top of my desk again I'll ask him to set up the photo printer so I can start filling those little frames up. I am also going to scan in a bunch of pictures my mom gave me and one of Mic and Mary when they were kids. Then I'll have them to look at whenever I want without hauling out the boxes.

We chilled at home yesterday and watched the sub-titled version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which was wonderful. But, you can't do anything but watch closely when a movie is subtitled as you'll miss something. What a beautiful stark area the movie was filmed in. Reminded me a lot of back home, especially the cold! It's funny - I never had any desire to read the book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (might be the very unattractive cover) but now that I've seen the movie I'd like too. Steve read it and didn't care for it but he did appear to like the movie. I kept asking him what was going on so I think those who have read the book have a much better idea of what is left unsaid in the movie version. After watching this version I don't know how I'll respond to the U.S. version of it. Should be interesting to compare them. I just read the short synopsis for the other two Swedish movies and would like to see them as well. Who knows, maybe I'll end up reading all three books. I've certainly heard enough people rave about them.

Speaking of raving about a book. I can't say enough good things about David Wroblewski's The Story of Edgar Sawtelle Yeah - I'm a little late on this one as it is a 2008 debut novel, but I couldn't resist it on the Broward Regional Library book sale table when I saw it was set in Northern Wisconsin and mentioned towns I knew. I started reading it and basically spent every free moment with Edgar. It is one of those books you both savor and devour at the same time. You find yourself going back to read the beautifully descriptive passages yet barnstorming you way through it as you just have to find out what happens to this mute young teen who says more with his hands and his eyes than most people could ever dream of saying with words. Beloved by his mother and father, Edgar is raised on a rural dog breeding farm where the dogs are treated better than many people are elsewhere. The family's life revolves around breeding and training the legendary Sawtelle dogs that sell for well over $1000. They aren't any purebred, but through the years Edgar's grandfather and father have breed healthy, intelligent dogs that can be trained to do things many dogs will never be able to do. I have to admit, I wanted to skip over all the dog details to get to the good stuff - the dynamics of this unique family - but it is well worth slowing down and reading the details as they enrich the remainder of the book as the dogs are as rich, unique characters as the humans are.

As I set down The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, that did not end the way I expected it to, I realized had I not been browsing a table of $2 hardbacks at a library book sale I would have never read this book. The time spend browsing and serendipitously finding a treasure like this one is priceless. I wish we allowed our children and teens the pleasure of browsing libraries, book stores, etc. for treasure like this. No AR points involved, no preconceived notions of what they want to find, just browsing for a good book to curl up with.

A delayed treat after the Spring semester was put to bed was opening a box of Scholastic books. I found myself laughing aloud at Craig Smith's The Wonky Donky. This is a very cheap little paperback but worth every penny as I am sure it will be a story time and bedtime favorite if it isn't already as it was initially published in 2009. The illustrations by Katz Cowley are as funny, or funnier, than the text. It is a cumulative tale about a three legged donkey with one eye, who stinks, etc. My favorite double page spread is "I was walking down the road and I saw a donkey,
Hee Haw! He only had three legs, one eye... and he liked to listen to country music. Yee Haw! He was a honky-tonky, winky wonky donkey." The illustration of the yellow toothed, grinning donkey in a cowboy hat and a bolo tie with a guitar on it will bring a smile, if not cause a chuckle for any reader. There is a little funky looking yellow bird on each page and he's flat on his back as "he [the donkey] smelt really bad. He was a stinky-dinky..." You get the picture. Little ones will be "reading" this one on their own after a few read alouds. Cumulative tales are perfect for read alouds for this reason. The repetition is essential.

That's it for today. Steve is still working on the computer. Apparently there is a virus on it, smarter than the virus software already on it. Groan! He's going between computers and printing out directions to purge it. Thank goodness I am married to an IT guru!