Goldfish Memories

Bernadette drops in on Paul.

Bernadette drops in on Paul.

We returned from vacation and our black goldfish was orange. My brother let out a wail, “Blacky!” Our babysitters/pet sitters had kindly replaced my brother’s fish when he met his maker. They just forgot to keep it the same color.

You can’t blame them. They were teenagers and our pets seemed to always implode when we traveled. Our hamster escaped, pooping all over the house, chewing things up. Our cat threw up, strayed from his litter box, and set off the burglar alarm. Once we arrived home, our neat freak dad would, well, freak out.

At least the Kleinfeldt girls replaced the fish. When I went to college, my family forgot that my goldfish, Fred and Ginger, were in my room where they were left to a sad fate. I learned about it on a call home.

These goldfish memories attracted me to Rosy Lamb’s book Paul Meets Bernadette, a story about fish. (And my brother’s name is Paul.)

Bernadette shows Paul the world.

Bernadette shows Paul the world.

The jacket description alone pulled me in. It states that Lamb “painted the pictures for this book while her baby daughter slept by her side.” And the painter and sculptor, “lives in a studio with tall windows on a quiet street in Paris.” These idyllic descriptions match Lamb’s lovely paintings.

The story is not only pretty – it’s funny. Paul swims around in circles, until Bernadette is dropped in and shows him a different way of looking at the world. As they swim around the bowl, they examine items on the breakfast table and Bernadette incorrectly identifies objects. A banana is a boat. A teapot is an elephant feeding her children. Reading glasses are a butterfly. Max and Calvin find this hilarious. They howl, “That’s not an elephant!”

But the sweetness of the story isn’t lost on them. Paul loves Bernadette and thinks, “Bernadette, you are my star.”

“He loves her,” Max points out. “Do fish kiss?”

Where to find the book and more info
We found this book at the Public Library of Greater Cincinnati at the Clifton branch. You can buy it here and watch a video reading of the book. Visit Rosy Lamb’s website to see her sculpture and paintings.

Speaking of local libraries, our branch is moving right around the corner from us in May into the Parkview Manor!

Things have been gross but we’re still reading

The cow takes a ride.

The cow takes a ride.

When the plague hit our house last week, my blog took a backseat. Ok, it wasn’t the plague but the throw-up bug the boys and I got sure felt like it. At least to me; they seemed to recover so quickly.

Right after I got sick, Calvin wanted me to read him a book. He carried it into me as I slumped on the bathroom floor. Max was a little more sympathetic, telling me, “Mama, I take a deep breath when I don’t want to throw up.” However, the next day he was over it and asked me, “Why are you lying around so much?”

As Max and I sprawled on the couch after he caught it, he asked me to get him some olives.

“Olives? Baby, that might upset your stomach,” I said.

“Just get the puke bucket,” he shrugged.

Grossness aside, here’s a quick recap of the books that are on our minds this week.

Moo! written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. LaRochelle wrote one of our favorites, How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans. (Read about it in a previous blog post.) LaRochelle successfully uses one word all the way through a book (moo) to depict a cow going on a joyride. The only other word used is baa when the cow tries to blame crashing the car on an unsuspecting sheep. The boys like it because it’s funny, they know the word moo, and can read it themselves.

These kids invite their large friend to tea.

These kids invite their large friend to tea.

If you were having a tea party what would be better than inviting T. Rex? I selected Tea Rex written and illustrated by Molly Idle because Max loves dinosaurs. The mishaps of the tea party are funny and in the end the kids get invited to T. Rex’s house for tea. They also meet his friends! Of course Max points out, “Those dinosaurs didn’t live in the same era!”

Ah, my little scientist.

Where to find the books and other info

You can find Tea Rex at Powell’s. Idle has a great website and another dinosaur book, Camp Rex. And here’s an awesome interview about Tea Rex and the process of creating it on Debbie Redpath Ohi’s blog. (She’s a great illustrator too.)

Check out Moo! The Moo-vie on LaRochelle’s website. And you can find Moo! and more on Mike Wohnoutka’s site. They won the 2014 Minnesota Book Award for “Moo!”

Here’s some other info: I’m happy to say that I had a piece published in The Mid. Please click on this link to take a look. If you’re wondering what it’s about….it’s an essay on my return to aerobics and Jazzercise. Like what you read? Please share it!

Glasses are cool

Paige says she can see just fine.

Paige says she can see just fine.

If your kid brought home a skunk, thinking it was a stray cat, you’d probably have his or her eyes checked. This is what happens to Paige in I Can See Just Fine by Eric Barclay.

I picked this book up at the library when we found out Max needed glasses. Believe me, he wasn’t having trouble adapting. There was a fight at our house about the glasses. As twins, my boys always want what the other one has. So, Calvin wanted glasses too.

“But you don’t need them,” my husband and I would explain. “But I want them!” he’d protest. Calvin is stubborn. He used to whisper, “I do,” thinking he could bend us to his will with his Darth Vader voice. He wasn’t going to give up on the glasses.

After several hilarious antics, including the skunk, wearing two different socks, walking into the boys’ restroom (my boys LOVE this one), Paige’s parents decide to have her eyes checked. She picks out her frames out of wall of glasses. That’s where Calvin found his glasses too. “I want those,” he said, pointing to a pair of pink cat eyes.

Paige and Calvin like lots of options.

Paige and Calvin like lots of options.

Paige got her glasses and could see. Max got his glasses and could see. And Calvin, poor buddy, had tubes put in his ears. “Will they stick out of his ears like straws?” Max asked. Calvin could hear just fine but he still wanted the glasses.

One night during the holidays, I popped into a local shop and there on the wall were child size, pink, cat eye sunglasses!

Everyone's happy!

Everyone’s happy!

I’m not sure Calvin can see just fine – he wore his new specs for a while on cloudy days. But hey, he’s happy!

Where to find the book and more info

You can buy I Can See Just Fine from Eric Barclay’s website. His book Hiding Phil looks funny as well.

Another great book about glasses is Calvin, Look Out! A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Keith Bendis.