Earth Day is this Friday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to do a Story Time on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. We are huge Silverstein fans in this house. His poetry is one of the myriad ways I introduced the Littles to verse. This particular book… It is the consummate environmental children’s book. It is so lovely, the idea that a tree could love a boy so much she would give him everything. When you think of all the things trees do for us–provide us with warmth, with our very homes, give us shade and fruit, even supply the very paper you might print my freebies out on–when you consider all that, you have to also remember that there isn’t an unlimited supply of trees on the planet and we should do our level best to replace what we use.
Why? Well, I believe Silverstein would tell you trees have feelings, too. And I would have to agree.
We’ve done a couple story times that involved snow (both The Mitten by Jan Brett and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen), so let’s move on to that other resident of winter–nighttime. Because we all know night lasts for about 3 years every day during January. And if you’ve never read this great book by Cheli Durán Ryan–and illustrated in pen and ink by the great Arnold Lobel–then you’re in for a real treat.
The best lesson you and your littles can glean from this book is one of tolerance. You may be wondering where I’m going with this, but it’s a really good book for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (or as Littlest calls it, Milk Day–get it? MLK-Milk?). Hildilid hates night, so she hates all things associated with night-“bats and owls and moles and voles and moths and stars and shadows and sleep.” She tries a ton of ways to get rid of night, but night will not go away. It really gives you a good place from which to jump start a tolerance conversation. Hildilid is going to have to learn to live with night, just like we should all learn to live with one another’s differences. So that’s lesson number one. I mean, you’re welcome. There’s a lot more fun stuff to do with this book, so stay with me.
Halloween is over. It’s a little sad, but now we’re on the downhill slide to Thanksgiving, the one day a year I refuse to diet, so it’s all pretty good. This is the time when I start to plan the enormous feast we’ll have. I love to cook; have I ever told you that? It is one of my great joys. Many years ago, when it became obvious that trying to fit in both families by driving to Martin’s family over an hour away and to my family who are very close made for a miserable Thanksgiving for all five of us, we decided to just have Thanksgiving here. Unfortunately, my house is too small to fit either family in let alone both, so that decision meant we have to have Thanksgiving on our own. Sometimes it hurts my heart, but we make a big celebration of it anyway, and we don’t have to spend 2 hours on the road or be unfair to one family or the other, and we get to relax for Thanksgiving. Well, all the boys do. I am busy, busy, busy that day. But I like it that way.
I told you, I love to cook.
It is still autumn, though the days are shorter and it may be getting quite cold where you are. (Unless you’re one of my Australian readers, then you’re enjoying the slide into spring. Lucky.) It hasn’t gotten cold here yet; we’re still hovering between 60 and 70 degrees, which doesn’t bode well for deer season, so if the weather gods could do me a favor and have the temperature go ahead and drop in the next couple weeks? Thanks. With the time change the world is bright again at 7 a.m. instead of dark, but I know that will only last a few weeks. Then winter will set in, and a whole new set of adventures will befall us.
However, since it’s still autumn and Halloween is over but it’s not quite time for Thanksgiving, let’s do a Story Time about another autumn book.