A Modern Classic: SpReAd the Love Children’s Book Challenge

I was originally planning to post on a book from my own childhood – Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  I bought a copy to re-read it and then promptly misplaced it.  I highly recommend it for the tween and up set, but it’s been so long, that I can’t remember the details.

There are a ton of books that I read to my kids that I remember much more clearly.  You’ve already heard about Mini Me’s pick.  My son is bit harder to crack…he refused to acknowledge that there was a “timeless” book from his childhood (because at 15-1/2, he clearly considers himself well removed from *that*).

While I was contemplating books of impact on the boy, Jazzbaby1 and I were chatting and laughing about a particularly “glamorous” aspect of parenting….the intensive interest the bodily functions of other people.  I don’t think there’s a parent in the world who has not, at one point or another been concerned with their child’s …ah…output, or lack thereof.  And then it came to me – the perfect book to profile on behalf of my son:  Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi.  When I mentioned it to him, he laughed and then expressly forbade from doing it…oh my son…you may as well have double dog dared me to!


I had actually heard about it long before I had children, but for any parent who has a child struggling with potty training, or an older child struggling with public “performance” this book is fantastic.  It is a straightforward, colorfully illustrated book that takes the mystery out of a process that a lot of kids find scary or embarrassing, by making it funny and universal.


I’m glad we cleared that up…

The book addresses questions about the poop of one hump camels versus two hump camels and ponders the nature of whale poop.  My son always laughed the hardest at the following page:

Maybe it was the prose, or maybe it was the reader furnished sound effects...

Maybe it was the prose, or maybe it was the reader furnished sound effects…

The book takes the reader through all sorts of animals and their various poop styles concluding simply,

“All living things eat, so…


P.S.  If you like Everyone Poops, you won’t want to miss The Gas We Pass!   😀

Second choice for spReAd the love book challenge: Green Eggs and Ham / Hop on Pop

One of my kids’ favorites too!

Me + Richard Armitage

LogoForSpeadTheLove_Transparent Here’s a second post in response to the 2014 spReAd the love book challenge . Sixteen posts on all kinds of books have been made already in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd. You can find links to all of them here ! If you enjoy these posts and would like to participate in the challenge yourself, let me know. I can host a guest post; other Armitage bloggers are also ready and waiting to host you.

GreeneggIn honor of the spReAd the love kindness campaign, and the daily inspiration Richard Armitage provides me, a copy of Green Eggs and Ham (1960) has been donated to the Golden Learning Center Library in Balmertown, Ontario, which serves 210 students in grades K-8. If you’d like to help them out, their exceedingly modest amazon.ca wish list is here. They request in particular donations of books on the Olympics…

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Manus multae cor unum…

“Many hands, one heart…”

A similar photo of my parents on their wedding day inspired this shot...

A similar photo of my parents on their wedding day inspired this shot…

I have a bit of a thing for hands.  Whether pampered and manicured or weathered and work worn, I think they are beautiful, powerful, often evocative instruments…whether ancient, or not so ancient.

Royal Hands

Relief sculpture of the arachnodactylic (spider-like) hands of an Amarna Period royal

Relief sculpture of the arachnodactylic (spider-like) hands of an Amarna Period royal

Porter hands

Strikeback 1.3

Strong, yet delicate…Strikeback 1.3

Beautiful bronze hands

Detail from the Charioteer of Delphi

Detail from the Charioteer of Delphi

Talking Hands

TDOS Press Tour

TDOS Press Tour

Working Hands

Detail from "The Boxer"

Detail from “The Boxer”

Kissing Hands

North and South...as if you could forget!

North and South…as if you could forget!

Can those really be marble?! hands

bernini hands

Bernini – Hades and Persephone

Tying Hands

Glamour December 2012

Glamour December 2012

Iconic Hand

Detail of David by Michaelangelo

Detail of David by Michaelangelo

I don’t really know why…I just like hands…



There’s a Wocket in my Pocket Sam I am!: SpReAd the Love Update


The Children’s book challenge is well underway…as of yesterday – Monday March 3, we’ve had 16 posts each of which has highlighted a different beloved children’s book ranging from the classic to the sublime.  Jazzy listed and linked them all up here.  There are a few more posts in the hopper for this week and there is still time if anyone would like to write a post or report a book donation.  To date, including the posts, the hosts and the donated books, the SpReAd the Love Children’s Book Challenge has totaled up $37 that we’ll take from the pocket of our anonymous donor and give to one of Richard Armitage’s Just Giving Charities…not bad for a first time around.

Speaking for JustGiving…look what popped up

The first installment of our initial $200 matching gift...

The first installment of our initial $200 matching gift…

Last week Jazzy threw out a little side challenge the prize for which was a donation in the winner’s name to Adam Brown’s London Marathon Just Giving page which is raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, in honor of Adam’s late father.

and the winners are...

and the winners are…

In fact, if one were to scroll through the list of donors on Adam’s page, one might find some familiar names reaching out in support.  Best of luck and all good wishes to Adam in his run!

While I’ve loved all of the great children’s book memories, this past week was bittersweet for me personally since it marked the passing of my Grandma Anna.  You may remember that I recently gave a shout out for her 101st birthday.  I can’t really be too sad…she lived a very long and very fruitful life and simply slipped away in her sleep last Thursday night…no suffering, no pain…a gift really.  I would like to take a moment and thank the almost 200 people who came yesterday to the mass celebrating Grandma Anna’s life, many of them whom I’d never met, all of them who had something nice to say.


So, counting the 37 Book Challenge kindnesses and the collective kindness extended to my family and me yesterday, we are up to a grand total of 264 kindnesses…almost halfway to maxing out our second anonymous matching Sugar Mama/Daddy pledge.  Keep up the kindness Armitageworld – we are really SpReAding some Love now!!

SpReAd the Love – Five Little Peppers

I’m glad you joined the party Marie Astra!

Obsessive Behavior

five little peppers

I was reluctant to participate in Spread the Love Book Challenge, not because I didn’t support the idea of gifting a beloved children’s book to a child or organization, but because there were so many books that I loved as a child! It’s very hard to pick one. There wasn’t one book that was a special favorite. So I looked over the lists online to refresh my memory, and it made me laugh to see how many of them I’ve read and loved!

I had a beloved aunt who gave me lots of books. All the classics – Treasure Island, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Gulliver’s Travels, The Swiss Family Robinson, Heidi, Kidnapped, The Wind in the Willows, The Call of the Wild, Bambi. Wow. Loved them all and even more. But that was when I was old enough to read them on my own. My parents were working people…

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SpReAd the Love Book Challenge: Recommended by Alice and Guylty

Gulty weighs in with a children’s favorite on a “classic” subject!

Guylty Pleasure


When I first heard about the Spread the Love challenge, I thought it was not for me. A beloved children’s book to review and then to gift to a library or an individual child – great idea! But all the children’s books that I loved myself and/or read to my own sprogs were in German. (I was quite strict with that because bilingualism is fragile when you are the only person who speaks the so-called minority language, surrounded by another, much stronger majority language that dominates the children’s language acquisition.) But I wanted to get behind Obscura’s and Jazzbaby’s laudable drive for spreading the love and doing good. What to do? Lie? But then the perfect book dropped into my lap mind. A book much beloved by me, my kids, and Alice.

Alice? Who the f*ck is Alice? Well, peeps, you all have heard of this book before! That…

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Mini Me speaks…literally! SpReAd the Love Children’s Book Challenge

I had asked my children to pitch in on this effort, and Mini Me agreed but asked if we could do her contribution interview style, specifically an audio interview.  I have a handy dandy gadget to do that, so without further ado, Mini Me talks books:



Click here to hear Mini Me’s literary thoughts:  

(I seem to have lost some sound quality in converting to a format that WP will allow, so you may need to crank it up 🙂  )



little house bw

I Love Those “Little Women” SpReAd the Love Book Challenge

Another great classic story…

the armitage effect

When asked to choose one book that had a particular impact on me as a child for the SpReAd the Love Book Challenge, several actually came to mind.


I grew up in house filled with books. The big built-in bookshelves in the living room were overflowing, not to mention the stacks of books on our bedroom shelves, the ones on the bedside tables, under the beds . . . well, you get my drift. My parents had me enrolled in a book club as a preschooler, with my older sisters reading the stories to me. I almost feel as if I came out of the womb loving books.

So, while I adored Beryl Netherclift’s “The Snowstorm,” a story about a set of modern-day siblings encountering several 18th century ghosts in their eccentric aunt’s old house in the English countryside, and enjoyed a charming Civil War-era tale about a spirited young girl, “Miney and the Blessing,”  ultimately it was Louisa May Alcott’s…

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Fun Day Sunday: SpReAd the Love: Cinderella Fairytale by Perrault, March 02, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #523)

Thanks Grati! Great discussion of a well love fairy tale!

Something About Love (A)

The SpReAd the Love (STL) 2014 RA Fandom campaign is designed to help us celebrate random acts of kindness with each other in the RA Fandom and the random acts of kindness for and from others outside the fandom.   To find out more about the SpReAd the LogoforSpeadTheLove_transparent2014Dec2713GisbornesBoy_200x101sidebarLove campaign, visit Jazzy at Funky Blue Dandelion blog or Obscura at Ancient Armitage to learn more about it.  And in honor of would have been  children’s book author’s Dr. Suess’ 110th birthday March 2nd (today), the first STL  challenge event is to review a favorite children’s book, then donate it to a child or school or library.  So several bloggers are sharing their reviews and hosting others’ reviews on their blogs.  I had hosted Trudy Brasure’s Guest Children’s Book Review last Sunday.  So now several weeks in, the STL Book Review/Donation Challenge is in full swing.

And today, I…

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It got me again! SpReAd the Love Book Challenge


Last year, when my daughter was in second grade, she brought home a book from the school library that she was insistent I read to her.  I resisted initially since the book was within her reading level.  Her reply?  “I’ve already read it Mom.  I want *you* to read it too.”   And so I discovered the wonderful book that is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

For the next week at bedtime, I read a chapter…sometimes two, of the story about a china rabbit as he is lost and found and lost and found again.   When it was time to return the book to the library, we were only about halfway through it. Ordinarily, MiniMe can renew library books, but there was a waiting list for this one, so she needed to bring it back.  That night at bedtime, she asked if we could go to the bookstore over the weekend and buy the book, but by this point, I was hooked and could do one better…”Why don’t I just buy it from ibooks?” I asked.  I love to hold a book in my hands, but in this case, the instant gratification of the ebook was a wonderful compromise.  Minutes later, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was happily resting on a “shelf” in my ibooks library.

This is a story of the transformative power of love.  When he is introduced to the reader, Edward Tulane is a child’s toy – a three foot tall china rabbit whose owner, ten year old Abilene Tulane loves him deeply.  Each day after she dressed Edward in his beautiful clothes,  she would set him up on a chair in the dining room so he could look out the window and watch for her to return from school.  Despite the loving care of Abilene, Edward’s inner monologue betrays his vanity and self absorption:

from Chapter 1

from Chapter 1

One night at bedtime, shortly before the Tulane’s are set to embark on a sea voyage to Europe, Abilene’s grandmother tells Abilene and Edward a rather ominous story about how a failure to love those who loved her resulted in a beautiful princess being turned into a warthog.  The point of the story is lost on Edward Tulane…for now.   The next chapters tell how Edward is separated from Abilene and passes through the lives of all sorts of different people, learning to love and be loved along the way.

I was initially put off by Edward…such a vain, preening character, but with each chapter and each new experience, the story of Edward’s journey to love drew me further and further in.  I remember the night we reached the final four or five chapters of the story.  Mini Me and I were cozied up in her small bed as I read.  She must have been unusually tired, because she dropped off to sleep as I was reading – ordinarily, she is a challenging child to put to bed (some days I think the book Go the F**k to Sleep was written with her in mind.)  and I am more than ready to be about my business before she is ready to let me go.  That night though, as she rolled over, zonked out, I could not stop reading…I had to find out how the story ended.  By the end of Chapter 19, I was sniffling, and when the story closed in Chapter 27 I was gulping back sobs.  In the morning I told Mini Me that I’d finished the book…she nodded sagely and asked, “Did you cry?”

A colleague of mine who teaches literature was telling me about a conversation she’d had in an adult ed course.  One student was describing how a particular book had moved her to tears and another, who had previously admitted to never having finished a book, interjected perplexedly, “How can a book make you cry?”  I think this is one of the most profoundly sad things I have ever heard.  “How can a book make you cry?”  I think that I would have to respond in Socratic fashion and ask, “How can you not be moved emotionally by certain stories?”  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is that kind of story for me…a book that never fails to move me.  A book that I will never forget.  A book that I am so excited to pass on to a new audience.