Category Archives: Bedtime Stories
Bedtime Stories: Jumanji
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg.
You’ve probably never heard of this book before. Chris Van Allsburg is an obscure 18th Dutch children’s author from the town of Blokzijl. The word “Jumanji” is an archaic term from an obscure dialect meaning “to harness one’s sorrows and transform them into hopes”.
—Hang on, I’m getting a message:
What’s that? Oh, it turns out that Chris Van Allsburg is from Michigan and his books have sold millions and Jumanji was made into a best-selling movie starring Robbie Williams—sorry—Robin Williams.
Well, I can’t introduce you to something new every week, now can I???
Well, my kid got the 30th anniversary edition of Jumanji for his birthday. I can’t believe it’s over thirty years old now! Anyways, this particular edition came with an audio version of the book read by
Robbie Robin Williams. Honestly, he does a pretty good job reading the story. He is an actor, after all. There’s some weird saxophone thing going on during the intro and at the end, but otherwise it’s perfectly fine. I was thinking about all this tonight as my son cried and cried to please listen to Jumanji. Again. After all, like I said, it’s pretty good.
But not that good.
Bedtime Stories: Where’s Waldo?
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford.
I know what you may be thinking: this isn’t a story! There’s no words! There’s no plot! It’s just a bunch of busy pictures! Yes, well be that as it may, this is my book review and I can do what I want! Anyways, this is a new discovery for my four-year-old and he loves to look this book over every single night.
I never got into these books as a kid but they are pretty fun to look at. For one thing, I didn’t realize that there are a few regulars on every page. There are a couple that we look for in each new setting. There is the the lady Waldo, and she’s okay. But Felix’s and my favorite is what we have dubbed Evil Waldo:
There is also a wizard and a whole bunch of silly other goings-on on each page. Although we are likely to already know Waldo’s whereabouts on half the pages, there are so many different things to look for, stories to make up, and Where’s Waldo books that I think we will be entertained for a good long time with this series.
Bedtime Stories: Gone-Away Lake
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ahh, summertime. Or rather, ahh, summertime when you are a kid and have nothing to do but to run around and explore and discover. I love those old-fashioned stories of children embarking on summertime adventures, roaming around, unraveling mysteries, where parents are but a peripheral part of the tale. Upon hearing of my love for The Penderwicks, a librarian friend of mine suggested Gone-Away Lake published in 1958 by Newbery-winning author Elizabeth Enright.
Ten-year-old Portia Blake and her six-year-old brother Foster get to ride the train alone to visit their favorite cousin, Julian, and his family in Western New York. Portia and Julian quickly set off into the woods behind Julian’s new home and make amazing discoveries, including a row of abandoned once-beautiful homes on the shores of a bog which used to be a beautiful lake. To their delight and surprise, a pair of elderly siblings, who lived on the lake in its prime, have returned to the erstwhile lake and the children begin a summer of new friendships and new discoveries.
So much of this book is things that most parents today would NEVER allow their children to do: wandering off in the woods on their own; going into strangers’ homes; drinking homemade sherry at strangers’ homes! If this book were written today, the reader would be waiting to find out what horrific secrets the old lady and her brother were hiding. SPOILER ALERT: they’re not hiding anything. They’re just really nice people.
A lovely, fun, innocent book of childhood, summertime, and the passage of time.
Bedroom Design: Tips for Designing A Contemporary Bedroom
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Carefully planned contemporary bedrooms look great, but can be hard to pull off. The reason most contemporary bedrooms fail is lack of follow through with the vision. If you decide you are going to design a contemporary bedroom, you have to be sure that it carries through in every aspect of the bedroom. For example, a contemporary bed frame placed amongst chunky, ornate furniture won’t look right no matter how cool the bed is. If you’re looking to create a contemporary bedroom, below are four areas you should focus on with tips to help get you started.
You should limit the palette of your contemporary bedroom to one or two neutral colors. White is the most common color, because it is bright and clean feeling. Neutral colors also give you an ideal background that will make your statement pieces really pop. You want to limit your statement pieces to one or two items, so choose them carefully. Examples of statement pieces include a colorful piece of art, a standing vase, headboard, loveseat, or even the curtains and bedspread. When choosing a statement piece, brighter is better.
2. Bed Frame
Most contemporary bedrooms feature a low profile, platform bed. Clean lines and smooth surfaces are essential. You have a number of colors to choose from when selecting a bed frame, but the most common are white, black, or wood. Headboards are also optional, but unless you want your headboard to be the main focus of the room, opt for a color that matches the wall.
3. Light Fixtures
Having the right light fixtures shouldn’t be overlooked when designing a contemporary bedroom. Unless you want to make your light fixtures a focal point of your bedroom, you should look for pieces that are understated and blend in with the color of the wall. If you are having trouble selecting a color, it’s hard to go wrong with brushed stainless steel or glossy white. While it’s important for the fixtures to match the design of the bedroom, it is even more important that your light fixtures be functional.
4. White Space
There is no room for clutter in a contemporary bedroom. When designing a contemporary bedroom you need to be thinking minimalist. It’s easy to get carried away in decorating your contemporary bedroom with a lot of great pieces; however, this will hurt the effect you’re trying to achieve. Use negative space to your advantage, it will keep your bedroom looking clean and contemporary and really help your statement pieces pop.
5. Keep it Personal
Ultimately, your contemporary bedroom should reflect your personal taste. There are a variety of flavors within the broad category of contemporary that you can explore. Settling on one design approach that you like best, and that also fits in with the overall design of your home can be a real challenge. However, as is with any design project, remember that it’s a journey, not a destination.
Bedtime Stories: Squid and Octopus
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu.
There are lots of children’s books about dynamic friend duos, from Arnold Lobel’s classic Frog and Toad books to the more recent Elephant & Piggy series by Mo Willems. This new picture book by Tao Nyeu contains four vignettes about the friendship of Squid and Octopus. Like most children’s friendships, there is fun, conflict, and joyful resolution.
Squid and Octopus live under the sea (naturally) but enjoy many of the terrestrial comforts, such as cameras, pencils, books, and even a goldfish bowl! In one story they disagree over whether they should wear mittens or socks when it’s cold; another story reveals worry over what good or bad is waiting in a fortune cookie. The illustrations are, remarkably, silkscreens so I can only imagine how much work went into each of the lively and funny illustrations.
We just got this the other day as a birthday present and it is a big hit in our house. I would be surprised and disappointed if we didn’t see more books featuring this hilarious pair in the future.