I was sharing with a co-worker the other day my knack for singing the wrong lyrics to songs, Christmas songs in particular. He told me about the book Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. This adventure begins when Olive, the dog, is listening to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and confuses the lyric “All of the other reindeer ” with “Olive, the other reindeer”. Convinced she is supposed to be one of Santa’s helpers she heads to the North Pole. Olive enthusiastically joins Santa on his Christmas eve flight, helping him by using her doggy talents of sniffing, fetching and chewing to save the day.
I’m glad my blunder introduced me to Olive. We are already fans of Seibolds other book Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf. Another clever and funny story about how the big bad wolf learns his manners.
Books are a big part of my life. I like to read them, look at them, feel them, smell them… And I love giving them as gifts – especially big, glossy coffee table versions that create an impact. Added bonus: I find that a fabulous book is a great choice for those on my list who are hard to shop for. Here are a few that I’m considering that might be right for the challenging giftees on your list too:
For the culture vulture: Vanity Fair 100 Years
For the fashionable one: The Kate Moss Book
For the aesthete: Slim Aarons: La Dolce Vita
For the music lover: Rock ‘N’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip
For the dog lover: Shake
For the proud Angeleno (or enthusiastic transplant): Los Angeles: Portrait of a City
For the cook with a taste for adventure: Jerusalem a Cookbook
One of the best books ever! I remember reading Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Sivlerstein as a kid and I have fond memories of reading it to my own children when they were little. My son still loves this book of poems. He reads it with his sisters and they all giggle endlessly. What’s better than that? Nothing, maybe flipping through the pages and realizing you still enjoy them as an adult.
“No matter where you are or who you are, there are four main things that you have to do if you want to make good friends and keep them: You have to be HONEST You have to be FAIR You have to be STRONG and you have to be WISE And there is no good in trying to fool yourself. All that isn’t so easy.”
This is one of my favorite quotes/lessons from Munro Leaf’s classic book, How To Behave And Why. It is also the reason I decided to buy it and it’s companion, Manners Can Be Fun, when Miles was 6 months old. Granted, it may have been a bit premature, but I wanted to be prepared when he got to an age where he would understand. I am a stickler for manners (as my parents were with me) and I thought it might be a cool way for Miles learn the basics.
Both books are sweet and thoughtful, with cute (but not cutesy) stick figures and illustrations. Characters like the “Mefirsts” and the “Whineys” give easy to understand examples of behaviors that are unpleasant and unkind. Clear directions and easy encouragement teach kids how to conduct themselves in a variety of situations – from meeting new people to sitting at the table to playing on the yard at school.
If you’re looking to make the process of learning manners and thoughtful behavior enjoyable and snooze-free I highly recommend these!
Back to the Table by Art Smith is truly one of my favorite cookbooks. I have used it so much the pages are falling out and are smudged with food stains. To me that is a sign of a good cookbook, it’s used and lived in. There are so many wonderful recipes like the Bibb Lettuce Salad with Pecans, Blue Cheese and Pears, Grilled Shrimp on Arugula with Lemon Vinaigrette, Spiced Pork Loin with Vidalia Onion Sauce and Mashed Potato Casserole to name a few. ( and the few I named are some of my most loved) The Potato Casserole has also become a favorite at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This dish is decadent, filled with lots of butter, cream cheese and then more cheese! There are so many enticing recipes to try with lot’s of beautiful pictures as well, which I like because It helps me to see what I am aiming for. As that last sentence reveals I am still a bit of a novice cook. I have found all of the recipes I tried from the book to be very doable, but more importantly they all turned out tasting really good too.
In honor of the end of the World Series, I thought I’d share an old post about a good baseball book. (Even though the Giants won…)
I’ve just started reading The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, and although I wasn’t sure I would like it, I have to say, I’m really engaged. It’s a beautifully written novel about friendship and opportunities and love – with a dash of baseball thrown in. Normally, this wouldn’t be a selling point for me, but now that Miles is “all little league, all the time” and Rob is one of his coaches, it behooves me to have some sort of interest in what they are doing. This book is not only a captivating read, but it also gives me a bit of perspective on a game that heretofore I never cared about unless I was guaranteed hot dogs and nachos while I watched.* So, if you’ve lost your household to “the boys of summer”, you may want to give this satisfying novel a try.