Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, is a favorite Autumn book in our house.  In the story a tiny fox named Fletcher is extremely concerned about the leaves changing colors and falling off of his favorite tree.  So concerned, in fact, that he tries desperately to keep the leaves on the tree even though his mother keeps telling him "Don't worry.  It's only Autumn."  In order to keep the leaves on his favorite tree, Fletcher tries catching them, tying them to the tree and even holding on tight to the very last leaf, but nature wins and the last leaf dries up and pops off of the tree.  Fletcher mournfully carries this leaf home and takes it to bed with him.  The next morning the tree has a surprise waiting for has been covered with sparkling ice.  Fletcher is amazed and relieved!  Emmy and I love the ending of this story as Fletcher begins to understand that seasons come and go and with each comes such beauty.

When Emmy was three and a half, she experienced her first New England Autumn.  She loved watching the tree outside of her bedroom window change from bright green to a vibrant red.  Emmy liked to say that the tree was all dressed up and ready to go to the Ball. When she asked me how the leaves changed color, I could have told her the science behind the transformation, but instead told her that the fairies came during the night and painted the leaves all of these beautiful colors.  Her response was why didn't the fairies use pink paint!  Just like Fletcher, Emmy became sad when the leaves started to fall off of the tree.  She, too, thought of ideas to keep the leaves on the tree including tape and glue.

This year's Autumn performance was once again absolutely gorgeous.  Everything burst with its last beauty as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.  Now most of the leaves have fallen off of the trees and we have begun to see a very different landscape.  There are many things we have noticed in our urban neighborhood since the leaves have fallen such as, the bright blue dome of the Greek Orthodox Church two streets away and the calm, emptiness of the Merrimack River as the boats have been brought onto land.

Emmy and I welcome each season with such enthusiasm.  Most of the people around us are already complaining about the cold and the snow that will fall very soon.  There are no complaints from us. We are eager to wear our puffy coats and warm boots, drink hot cocoa under cozy blankets and see the snowflakes settle on the bare branches of the trees.

We hope all of you are enjoying Autumn wherever you may live.

"Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance." 
--Yoko Ono

For a few more Autumn books check out our post about Apple Farmer Annie written in September 2009, our Favorite Autumn Books written in October 2009,   and our post about author Zoe Hall written in October 2010.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Satchi and Little Star

Living in the town just next to ours is author Donna Marie Seim.  Emmy and I had the honor of meeting her awhile back at our local toy store where she signed copies of her heart-warming book Satchi and Little Star.

Along with Seim, we also met Susan Spellman, the illustrator who brought Satchi and her beloved horse to life.  Seim and Spellman were so delightful and made Emmy feel so very special.  Along with signed copies of the book, each child received a small plastic horse that looked just like Little Star! Emmy keeps her horse on her bedside table.

Seim, who spends much of her time in the Caribbean, was inspired by the beautiful wild horses that roam the island of Grand Turk.  

In the book, Satchi sees the wild horses run past her house every day and wishes that she could catch and tame one.  The horse that catches her heart is the littlest one with a white star on his forehead and one white sock.  Satchi is determined to make this horse her own despite her mama's and papa's wise words that "wild horses are meant to be wild."  

Beginning with cool water, Satchi attempts to lure Little Star close to her gate. 

"Oh, little one with the white star, I am Satchi, island girl!  
I will be your friend!  If I could tame you, I would name you Little Star!"

When that doesn't work, she tries crunchy carrots.  Since the horse was not interested, Satchi saves her sweet jelly bread from lunch and gives that a try.  

"Little Star stepped forward, sniffing the sweet jelly.  
His nose tickled Satchi's hand.  
Then, as quick as quick could be, the jelly bread was gone!"

Satchi continues to bring jelly bread to Little Star every day for a whole week.  One day, Satchi tosses a rope around the horse's neck in the hopes of taming him.  This was met with much disagreement by the horse and he quickly pulls loose and gallops away.  

When Little Star is not seen for several days, Satchi goes off in search of him and finds the horse in a thicket of thorny briars with the rope laced around a bush full of thorns.  Satchi frees the horse, tends to his wounds and lets him go understanding that Little Star is meant to live in the wild.  

"Oh, Little Star, wild horses are meant to be free!  
I am Satchi, island girl.  I will always be your friend!"

This story is absolutely loved by Emmy.  She has such empathy for the horse and will tell Satchi to let him be free every time we read it.  With barrettes and pony tail holders, Emmy likes to make her hair just as beautiful as Satchi.  Sadly, I don't have a photo of her with her Satchi inspired hairstyle, but believe me it is adorable!

When Emmy was three years old, we spent a week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where we saw wild mustangs roaming free.  It was a magical experience for me as we watched these powerful horses grazing on sweet grass.  

If you'd like to learn how you can help save our wild horses, check out the work of America's Wild Horse Advocates (AWHA) whose mission is to promote the preservation, protection and welfare of wild horses and burros on Public Lands.  

"The horses paw and prance and neigh,
Fillies and colts like kittens play,
And dance and toss their rippled manes
Shining and soft as silken skeins;..."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

**Emmy and I would also like to recommend two more books by the duo Seim and Spellman**