Category Archives: Books

Boys take note, King Arthur said, “Let her decide”

The adventures of the legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table definitely add a masculine glamour to medieval times. But the story that has piqued my interest has nothing to do with adventures or fighting, but more of a lesson on relationships. The message: Keep your woman happy. Let her decide.

For boys and men alike, take note on the story’s wise advice.

Curious? Here’s how the story goes.

The Green Knight, illustration (image credit: Sphere Magazine)

The Green Knight, illustration (image credit: Sphere Magazine)

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For all foodies, read McGee’s “On Food and Cooking”

Many good ideas start with a simple: “Why?”. Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, first published in 1984, comes from wondering about cooking questions such as: Why do eggs solidify when we cook them? Why do we use brown sugar in certain cookies?

There are several On Food and Cooking editions. The first edition emphasizes the relevance of cells and molecules to cooking, the second edition (2004) has been expanded to cover a greater range of ingredients and their preparation methods. McGee’s work, unmatched in accuracy, is a kitchen classic for all avid kitchen dwellers.

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The original Mary Poppins is not so supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Many of us are probably familiar with Disney’s 1964 musical-film starring Julie Andrew as the delightful, simply wonderful nanny, Mary Poppins. While Disney’s Mary Poppins is indeed supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (even more so with her philosophy that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”), you would be missing out if you have never met the original Mary Poppins.

Written by P.L. Travers with illustrations by Mary Shepard, the original Mary Poppins is actually not all sweet and delightful. Travers describes Mary Poppins as a woman who “never wastes time being nice,” and the children, Jane and Michael, are actually surprised when their nanny is nice. Hence enters Mary Poppins, bringing adventures, enchantments and excitement to the Banks house (and to you)!

Mary Poppins (written by P.L. Travers with illustrations by Mary Shepard)

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First comes the wheel, then comes storks — “The Wheel on the School”

Why would you want to put a wheel on top of the school?

If you are wondering “why,” then congratulations, you are starting at a very good place—be curious, ask questions. Curiosity is the beginning of a great many things. Our story, which takes place in a little Dutch fishing village of Shora, begins with Lina, the only girl in the little Shora school (with five boys, and one man teacher). Now, the story does not begin with Lina because she is the only girl, but because she writes a composition on storks:

Do you know about storks? Storks on your roof bring all kinds of good luck. I know this about storks; they are big and white and have long yellow bills and tall yellow legs. They build great big messy nests, sometimes right on your roof. But when they build a nest on the roof of a house, they bring good luck to that house and to the whole village that the house stands in. Storks do not sing. They make a noise like you do when you clap your hands when you feel happy and good.

That is all Lina knows about storks because storks never come to Shora to build their nests. Like Lina, all her classmates (the teacher included) are now curious about storks and why they do not come to Shora. Okay, so we’ve taken care of the first step, curiosity, then what?

Then, you Ask Questions.

Why don’t the storks come to Shora? They did before, but why not now?

The Wheel on the School By Meindert DeJong & Pictures by Maurice Sendak

The Wheel on the School
By Meindert DeJong & Pictures by Maurice SendaThe Wheel on the School

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