Tuesday, January 24, 2012


* I took K to see Beauty and the Beast 3d last week. It was fun to have the opportunity to take her to see another Disney princess movie in the theatre. We could have done completely without the 3d - the best I can say about it is that it didn't take away from the experience much. I mean, I recognize that even seen in the theatre, after 20 years (!) of revolutions in animation, including seeing what Miyazaki can do with hand-drawn animation it wasn't going to blow me away the way it did when I saw it the first time. But it's still a beatifully drawn movie, and the 3d made me think of some sort of 70s animation gimmick that doesn't quite hit the mark. Note to Disney: landscape that looks like a bunch of flat layers propped up in rows to give the illusion of depth as you move past them isn't what I would call an effective 3d experience.

* Alec often will sit and "read" books to himself, which has progressed in detail from the early days of merely going through books of animals and making the noise for each animal he sees to going through each page of Sandra Boynton's Doggies and saying "One dog - woof! Two dog - woof, yap!" etc. Today, he was reading through Peter Spier's Oh, Were They Ever Happy! (a childhood family favorite which serves as an excellent cautionary tale on what an ominous sentence "But the sitter never showed up" can be) by saying "Uh oh, paint!" on every page. Which just about perfectly sums up the plot of the book.

* I reached 26 weeks yesterday, the cusp of the third trimester. How did that happen? Mercifully, the pelvic pain hasn't kicked in yet, but my back (and sciatic nerve) is starting to realize that I'm pregnant. According to every test in this overmedicalized pregnancy, Godric is doing fine and growing well. He led the ultrasound tech on a merry chase for 45 minutes during the fetal echocardiogram (his heart is fine), and then lay sleeping sweetly nestled against my hip during the growth ultrasound two weeks ago (his growth is also fine), nicely covering up several parts that needed to be measured. He is certainly related to his big sister, the queen of ultrasound non-cooperation and fetal contrariness. I saw the cardiologist my ob wanted me to see last week and my heart is fine too (it always has been, just overenthusiastic). Meanwhile, Godric continues to happily kick away.

* I found the most fantastic children's series today at work - The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. It looks exactly like one of the various happy family series written between 1920 and 1960 (The Moffats, All-of-a-Kind Family, The Bobbsey Twins before they started solving mysteries, etc.), but actually started in 2005. In fact, I passed it up the first time I saw it in our booksale room because I was sure we already had it in the library because we have all of those classic series. But no, it's actually a modern series, although it's next to impossible halfway through book one to figure out when it's taking place because there's been no mention of technology.

I think the thing I love about it is that it has all of the good aspects of those classic series without many of the drawbacks. The four-year-old, for instance, is captured wonderfully, without the horrible tweeness that seems required for this sort of book. All of the characters, in fact, so far seem to have a realistic blend of good and bad points and I suspect even the villain in the end will wind up being not so bad. Their problems are real problems, not nonexistent issues created solely in the minds of children because ha ha, children are Like That, aren't they and isn't that what makes them so funny? Best of all, a modern author means I've been able to read without wincing my way through rampant sexism and racism. I'm already looking forward to getting to B's library tomorrow to check out the other two books in the series as well as what looks like an absolutely charming picture book by the same author about a girl and her little brother who get blown away by the wind.

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