Friday, 22 February 2008

Here Comes Peter Cottontail....

1962. My iTunes reports this tally as the number of times I’ve listened to the song “Little Saint Nick” by the Beach Boys since November 21. Needless to say, it is starting to grate on my frayed nerves. This tune has been at the very top of Chi-Chi’s request list ever since he heard tell of dear old Santa. Christmas may have come and gone, but Chi-Chi and his red Santa suit are going strong.

Desperately grasping for some much-needed variety in my life, I wisely came to the conclusion that the time had arrived to introduce my little guys to the wonderful world of the Easter Bunny. Not surprisingly, the wide-eyed Chi-Chi listened attentively as I described the rituals of our fluffy friend. With his rabbit ears firmly fixed and a basket of plastic eggs in tow, he immediately set to work.

With my not-so-recent plastic elimination campaign in mind, the Wool Fairy engaged herself to seek out a more natural and aesthetically pleasing option to the traditional plastic Easter toys. My trusty crochet hook came in handy once again as I set to work. In no time, Chi-Chi and Muffy were proudly presented with their very own set of felted woolen Easer eggs. I used lusciously soft wool in a rainbow of colors. Each egg was stuffed with raw fleece and was felted to give it a heavier, firmer feel. Chi-Chi and Muffy are having a ball toting around their eggs. They chuckle to themselves as they sneak around the house, hiding their wooly treasures. They squeal in delight with each discovery under a cushion or behind the couch.

No doubt, my dear friend Peter Cottontail will be under my skin by the time summer rolls around...just in time for Christmas in July!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

For the Love of Lowly Worm

Many of my fondest childhood memories can be traced back to the endless list of books and stories I read during these tender years. I was a voracious reader as a child. I suppose the apple did not fall far from the tree, as my mother is a bookworm to the core. My parents indulged in my passion and ensured I had a plentiful supply of reading material to keep me satisfied. I was always seeking out quiet and private hideaways to delve into the latest tale, uninterrupted. I could often be found perched high among the branches of our backyard poplar tree, nose buried in a book.

One author/illustrator in particular who brings back a rush of warm memories is Richard Scarry. His detailed illustrations are captivating and amusing to the young and old. Scarry’s Storybook Dictionary tops Chi-Chi’s current reading list. He has spent hours thumbing through the fun filled pages of this 125-page book. He’s fallen in love with a number of the endearing characters and often portrays them through his role-playing activities. As adults, my husband and I have been enjoying story time with Scarry. My husband in particular chuckles at the unique sense of humor sprinkled among the pages. I personally appreciate the simple, idyllic and comforting view of life portrayed in the books. Scarry's illustrations provide me with a warm and secure feeling. They are like comfort food for my soul. I’d love to spend the morning in Huckle Cat’s kitchen sipping fresh squeezed orange juice and nibbling on pancakes alongside Lowly Worm. Busytown seems like a picture-perfect place to raise a young family!

I recently left my local library disappointed. It was slim pickins’ in the Richard Scarry department. I’ve managed to stumble upon a few super finds at our local thrift shop and have recently been scanning the EBay listings for my old-time favorites. I’ve been careful in selecting which stories are appropriate for our family. Because many of these books were written forty years ago, there are a number of stories that would likely be considered politically incorrect. I focus on the positives and simply omit certain passages as we go along.

Dusting off the dust jackets of our childhood favorites has been a fun way for the whole family to enjoy story time. While we all certainly appreciate the new classics of today's generation, we are all having a great time tuning into the "oldies".