My latest earworm isn't by Taylor Swift or Blake Shelton. It's the children's song “Mr. Golden Sun” with lyrics “Oh, Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun,/Please shine down on me."
That miraculous, amazing, warm orb that we try so desperately to avoid in the depths of summer now holds so much promise. Rare recent sightings increase expectation and intensify the longing. Until the cloudy days are gone, enjoy some sun-filled books.
“Like Butter on Pancakes” by Jonathan London is a charming, rhyming picture book celebrating a young boy’s day in the sun. London perfectly captures the joy of being awakened, not by a shrieking alarm, but instead as “First light melts like butter on pancakes, spreads warm and yellow across your pillow.” The sounds of the day beckon our young protagonist to “do the pajama dance in a puddle of sun.” Even the cat gets in on the action, purring and “rolling in the light.” The language is a joy to read, it “sizzles” and “whistles” and “ka-ka-kadoos,” while G. Brian Karas’ pencil and watercolor illustrations, colored with the softest palette, are so warmly drawn you can almost feel the warmth.
At first snow days are a blast, but when they recur day after day, week after week, joy can quickly devolve into boredom. Luckily, the public library offers a variety of family fun from great books for reading aloud, audiobooks for listening and DVDs for family movie nights to end the day. Here are some books guaranteed to entertain even on snow day number three.
Louie is a picture-book character who notices the little details. A Perfectly Messed-Up Story begins to tell Louie's tale, but the book does not get very far before our hero discovers a startling fact that derails the entire story. There's a big, nasty jelly stain on the page!
Running is one of the easiest ways for you to stay fit and have fun. If you practice running, you can keep up better in all kinds of sports. You can also run in local races sponsored by the Fredericksburg Area Runners Club.
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole is exactly what it sounds like. Two boys start digging a massive hole to see what they might find. Such an activity is a tried and true milestone for any child explorer, but few make it as deep as this pair does.
The Terrible Two is a devious satire of middle school life where no one is spared. Miles Murphy was the prankster king at his old school, then he had to move to boring, old Yawnee Valley, famous for its abundant cow population. Miles is not happy. He will have to establish his pranking cred all over again.
You Are a Lion! blends yoga instruction with gentle, easy-to-follow images of boys and girls performing several positions. Children may pretend to be any number of wild animals while also participating in a full lesson that combines moving and reading into one peaceful activity.
Battle Bunny is an exercise in sheer picture book anarchy. Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett have struck gold by inventing a sweet story called Birthday Bunny, reminiscent of the Little Golden Book series, then drastically adapting it for their own twisted purposes. We learn from a note on the title page that the book Birthday Bunny was a gift for a boy named Alexander, who has made some severe editorial changes with a lead pencil...starting with the cover.
Image courtesy of Paula Burch's All About Hand Dyeing, http://www.pburch.net/dyeing.shtml
Feel like putting a little free spirit in your summer? Get on your oldest clothes, grab some buckets and rubber gloves, and head for the backyard to create beautiful tie-dye crafts.
You can use natural or artificial dyes, depending on whether you want your design to be a real eye-popper or something subtler that bespeaks being at one with nature. You can use a tie-dye kit or collect wild things from nature for earthier tones. Heck, even unsweetened Kool-Aid can be used as a dye to produce vivid color.