WRB—Children’s Literature Supplement, Sept. 2023
sunshine and toast crumbs
Sarah got to live every 5-year-old boy’s dream the last two weeks as she was surrounded by construction vehicles of every kind. Part of her new apartment complex is still being built, and she was treated to the sights and sounds of backhoes, dump trucks, and concrete saws each day. Honestly, though it was noisy, she found it fascinating. Seeing something be built makes you appreciate the time and materials it takes to create so much that we take for granted. Case in point: Who knew a drainage hole could be so big and require so many dump-truck loads of soil, gravel, and rocks—and that there is indeed a specific order to the dumping? Whether you have a five-year-old boy in your life or not, check out Sarah’s recommendations for the best construction-themed books in today’s CLS, learn about angels, and stay for a sing-along or two.
If you build it . . . :
The Way Things Work by David Macaulay (1988, updated and revised 1998 and 2016)
Cathedral by David Macaulay (1973)
Angelo by David Macaulay (2002) [Are you sensing a theme? I’ve always been entranced by Macaulay’s works, and plan to have a longer piece about him over on NRO next week.—Sarah]
Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry (1968)
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton (1939)
Stephen Biesty's Incredible Cross-Sections by Stephen Biesty (1992)
Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson (2006)
September, in the Catholic world, is simply crammed with wonderful feast days, from The Exultation of the Cross on the 14th, to the Sorrowful Mother on the 15th, to St. Joseph of Cupertino on the 18th. September is also the season of Michaelmas, which, if you’re like Sarah, you thought was Christmas-related. Michaelmas is actual the 29th of September, the Feast of the Archangels (Sts. Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel). For a more in-depth explainer of these powerful angels and their importance, here is a good read.
If you and your children are feeling especially adventurous, here are some recipes you could make to celebrate the day (scroll down and look under the “St. Raphael” heading).
If you’d rather just read books about angels, however, here are a few to inspire and charm.
Pascual and the Kitchen Angels by Tomie dePaola (2004)
Angels, Angels Everywhere by Tomie dePaola (2005)
Choirs of Angels by Katherine Sotnik (2012) [A very neat coloring book! —Sarah]
What Miranda Knew by Gladys L. Adshead (1944)
The Angels: God's Messengers and Our Helpers by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik (1978)
One year, many moons ago, Sarah’s mom decided to use the Flower Fairy Alphabet by Cicely Mary Barker (1934) to teach the young Schuttes their letters. Part of this plan included Friday afternoon teatime, where she’d make a snack that corresponded to the letter they’d been studying all week. Think chocolate for “C,” M&Ms for “M,” and strawberries for “S.”
There would often be a fun drink to go along with the occasion, and then everyone would slurp and nibble while Mrs. Schutte read a chapter of the current read-aloud.
A tea party (or any sort of feast) is nearly always a good idea, and here are some books to inspire your next afternoon or evening gathering.
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