April 25, 2011
The weed grass made a fuzzy carpet of seed shoots in our backyard. This little guy who came visiting rather liked it.
Oh, how he loved those seed shoots.
to his little heart’s delight.
(See the little pink tongue?)
He explored all around the house too, exciting the cats.
He even came to join us for lunch. Perhaps he smelled the cabbage we were munching. Honest, it wasn’t all chips!
He was very curious.
But we didn’t offer him anything, so he dug himself a whole under the fence and left to see what the neighbors had.
Bye, bye, little cottontail.
April 16, 2011
The girls and I were treated to a little springtime nature show this past week.
This beautiful morning dove,
kept fluttering in and out of our backyard. What is he up to, we wondered.
He would appear on the fence,
land on the hill, and start searching
Aha! He was collecting twigs!
Off he would flutter, stick in his bill.
No less than 10 seconds later, he was back.
flying off, and returning. After about an hour of this, the tuckered out little guy rested for a long time on this rock
and flew off for good.
April 9, 2011
Posted by ellagerman under Uncategorized Leave a Comment
I’ve created two new animals. Hopefully they’ll figure into a new story I’m working on with my Pearl and Bear characters (the sock and glove cats).
Here’s zebra, made of gloves.
And monkey, made of socks. I haven’t been able to think of good names for either of them yet. I want monkey to be a girl and she doesn’t look particularly girlish yet — I thought maybe giving her a headscarf or dress might help. But she’s just so cute naked…
See more pics of them here and here.
April 9, 2011
Posted by ellagerman under Favorite Books 1 Comment
I’m soooo bad about judging a book by its white cover. I had a pile of 30 or so library books waiting to be read this past week. This small paperback, a generic looking white cover with red type and a little black boy walking, I kept passing over. Of course, when I finally got around to reading it, I fell in love with it halfway through page one!
South African Niki Daly is new to me. Not So Fast Songololo, published back in 1985, is the first children’s book I can recall reading that is set in his South African homeland. It’s wonderful to hear the local terminology – “rands” for currency, “tackies” for sneakers, “gogo” for grandma.
The boy, Songololo, is asked to help his grandmother navigate the buses and crosswalks so she can do her shopping in the city. Songololo watches out for his Gogo as best as he’s able, and she watches out for him, rewarding him with a purchase of something new (overlooking her own need for the same item). This act means all the more for a family that doesn’t have a whole lot of money. It’s a touching tale.
I can attest to the universal appeal of this story as, worlds apart, it reminded me of my own grandmothers. Gogo utters “Shu!”, “Hai”, and ”Haai!” when she’s tired or disgusted with all the unstoppable hustle of the city. I could hear my Babas saying “Ptew!” “Oye,” and “Aych!” The story also reminded me of how one Baba would cut up a precious ripe mango (which she loved) and give all of it to me. She’d then go to the kitchen and eat the remaining bits over the sink by scraping off what was left clinging to the husk. Everything for a grandchild!
This book exemplifies voice. Daly employs the present tense and an informal way of telling the reader to listen to this and look at that, making the narration feel as if it’s told partly through Songololo’s and Gogo’s eyes. “Here is a shoe shop. See, tackies! Shepard looks down at his old tackies and then at the ones in the window.”
In that same scene, both the boy and his grandma stop together to look at the shoes in the window. In the foreground of the illustration, a man on a motorcycle speads by – ”Quicko” is the advertisement on the back end. A woman is passing on the sidewalk. Gogo, a little hunched over, is looking down thoughtfully at Songololo’s old, ratty shoes while Songololo is brightly looking up at the new ones. This quiet scene of both grandma and grandson pausing together speaks volumes. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition of the young and the elderly, the new and the old, the fast and the slow, the hope and the despair.
Some of Daly’s written descriptions are irresistible as well. “Gogo is old, but her face shines like new school shoes,” he writes. And the line I enjoyed the best, with the boy in the shoe store, ”Shepherd feels so happy that it hurts him just to sit still.”
This is my library pick of the week.