Friday, February 22, 2008

Three Recommendations

Animated Tales of the World is a show on HBO Family. Fantastic, fantastic show. Today's episode was a combination of stop-motion animation and CGI, and told a beautiful German version of Beauty and the Beast, called "The Enchanted Lion," and also the story of Persephone and Hades, from the Roman myth. Amazing costumes, light and accessible dialogue, excellent production values -- I highly recommend.

This is a great toy. You can find it online as a "Buddha Board" or "Water Wizard" or repaintable canvas. It's like an aqua doodle, but portable, looks like a laptop, and firmer, easier to use. There's a refillable water pen with a felted tip that goes down in the little groove at the bottom of the board, and stays put, so you can fold this and put it in your diaper bag. The board feels cool to the touch, like a thin slab of stone covered with a thin film of paper. Swiping the water pen across it creates a bold, dark line which immediately starts fading. I took it to the car dealership on Wednesday and the kids played with it the whole time our oil was getting changed.

It slices, it dices, and it homeschools. We do math on it, spelling on it, letter practice on it. Doing math on it is actually fun -- if you put a two digit multiplication problem on the board, the boy has to hustle to work it on out before it starts fading off the board. This also causes a fair amount of giggling. Giggling is good, in math. It helps. I got our Buddha Board at The Nature's Child.

Joshilyn Jackson has a new book coming out. It's called The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. I think you'll quite like it, but don't take my word for it. Here's the Publisher's Weekly Review:

Jackson matches effortless Southern storytelling with a keen eye for character and heart-stopping circumstances. Laurel, a high-end quilt maker, sees the ghost of a little girl in her bedroom one night. When it leads her to the backyard and a dead girl in the swimming pool, the life Laurel had hoped to build in her gated Florida neighborhood with her video-game designer husband, David, and their tween daughter, Shelby, starts to fall apart. Though the police clear the drowning as accidental, it soon appears that Shelby and her friend Bet may have been involved. Bet, who lives in DeLop, Laurel's impoverished hometown, was staying over the night of the drowning and plays an increasingly important role as the truth behind the drowning comes to light. Meanwhile, Laurel's sister, Thalia, whose unconventional ways are anathema to Laurel's staid existence, comes to stay with the family and helps sort things out. Subplots abound: Laurel thinks David is having an affair, and Thalia reveals some ugly family secrets involving the death of their uncle. What makes this novel shine are its revelations about the dark side of Southern society and Thalia and Laurel's finely honed relationship, which shows just how much thicker blood is than water.

If you're already a fan, Joshilyn's first novel, gods in Alabama, is shortlisted for being World Book Day's "Book to Talk About" in 2008. Her book is the *only* book from North America that made it to the top ten. If you have read this book and think it is a book worth talking about, please go vote for it.

1 comment:

  1. That board looks cool! We have the aquadoodle and the kids lost interest in it really quick.
    Thanks for the book recommendation too! I'm always on the lookout for books to add to the to-read list. :)