Monthly Archives: September 2015
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. Illustrated by Beth Krommes.
Carrying on with the themes of darkness and night we explored last week, today I bring you The House in the Night whose etched-looking black, white, and yellow illustrations won Beth Krommes a Caldecott Medal. This is possibly the hardest review I’ve ever written. I cannot begin to try and explain what this book is about. It begins with the “in the dark is a house, in the house is a light, in the light is a room, etc.” From there it kind of goes into this nonsensical trance and I’m not terribly clear what is going on anymore. The child picks up the book and then she’s flying through the darkness on a bird’s back. Maybe this is her imagination as she reads. Maybe it’s dream imagery. “On the moon’s face shines the sun/Sun in the moon/Moon in the dark”
That said, I do really like the illustrations. They remind me of those art projects where you cover a page with India ink and scratch away an image. It’s particularly impressive that Beth Krommes was able to make meaningful imagery from the fairly meaningless, or at least vague, text. A good story to read to a little kid, maybe two to four years old. They will appreciate the cadence of the words and appreciate the striking images.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Another gorgeous and beautifully animated movie for the whole family comes to us courtesy of Tomm Moore. If you don’t know the name, he is behind the movie The Secret of Kells, a visually arresting animated movie about a young boy living long ago in the Monastery of Kells in a scary, beautiful, magical world. I could watch it over and over just for the beauty of the animation.
His newest movie, Song of the Sea, was nominated for best animated picture last year, for what it’s worth. Taking on Irish legend, the movie tells the story of a boy named Ben and his little sister Saoirse, who is mute. They live alone at a remote lighthouse with their father. One day Saoirse finds her mother’s sealskin cloak in a trunk and puts it on, then runs out to the sea. She dives in and is immediately transformed into a seal. She is a Selkie, one of they mythical creatures who can shed their seal skin and become human for brief periods of time. When her father finds her cold and shivering on the shore the next day, he locks up the cloak and sends the children to their grandmother.
But Saoirse has a shell flute from her mother and its song alerts faeries, both good and bad, to her presence. Soon it becomes clear that Saoirse is unwell and must don the sealskin cloak to survive. Good big brother Bed stops at nothing to keep her sister safe and save the faerie folk from the wicked Macha and her owls who turn them to stone.
This movie is full of so much and yet it never gets muddled or confusing. Half tale of lore, half tale of love of a boy for his sister, Song of the Sea is a lovely and beautiful movie to watch as a family. Watch it in bed and you’ll have the loveliest dreams.
Cottages can be rustic or posh, charming or roomy. They can be decorated in crisp, colorful chintz or draped in sumptuous white linen. Most have hardwood floors, and some come with board and batten walls. Cottages can overlook a sandy coastline or be nestled deep in the woods.
I’ve stayed in several beach cottages over the years, some practically primitive in design and amenities, and others offered every imaginable modern convenience. I adore them all.
Although I live in a small city apartment, if I’m dreaming of a home in my future, it’s a cottage. When I did a search for unique cottage bedrooms, I found too many to count, but these are a handful of the most interesting rooms I’ve found.
This all-white 1940s bayside cottage in Tampa once donned brown carpeting and pink walls. Thank goodness for paint! The bold chandelier makes a design statement.
Cleverly designed, this simple bedroom introduces four colors through the bedding. Clearly, this room is for sleeping only.
What’s not to love in this modern Philadelphia cottage? From the color combination to the use of pattern and beautiful, natural light, this room wins all around.
Maine might be considered the quintessential cottage state. This quaint Portland bedroom is rustic in every sense, and the open storage alcove adds to the room’s charm.
Renovated to look and feel old, this cozy cottage uses black throughout –– often an unlikely color choice in smaller spaces, but it works nicely in this home.