Saturday, January 30, 2010

what we're doing

Here's what's happening at our house these days:

Being inspired

all of us: The Bauhaus show at MoMA. Two visits and two books later, we're all still talking and thinking about the show.


Me: The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill: Remember this book? I'm enjoying re-reading it and catching the vocal inflections of the characters this time around. I keep thinking about the Essex Street Market in our neighborhood, which was apparently started when the pushcarts were moved to a permanent location to get them out of the way on the streets. It's still a great place to shop.

Tsia: Socks, the last of our lengthy Beverly Clearly list. Now that we've reached the end, can anyone suggest other books for us? We prefer non-scary books that a four-year-old can relate to.

Todd: catching up on old issues of The New Yorker, which is also next on my to-read list.


Tsia: They Might Be Giants, No! This is a fun CD, in part, because she can play it on our computer and enjoy little games while she listens. I keep singing the little ditties to myself, too.

Todd and me: Radiolab. So interesting and thought-provoking. But we're public-radio geeks, I guess. Musically, Miriam Makeba is currently at the top of my want-to-hear list. Can anyone suggest a favorite album to try?


Doc Martin on We want to visit the little fishing town in Cornwall where this British TV series is filmed. Gorgeous. And a very funny show in that wonderful understated British manner. If there were more programs like this, we'd probably get a TV!

Helvetica documentary. I've been meaning to see this for quite a while.


Lots of questions (sewing-related and other) on formspring. Anything you want to know?


  1. have you tried the Little House series? my 3 year old LOVES the first three books... also, the first several Betsy Tacy books...

  2. Hi! I'm Becca--I adore your patterns! I had to reply because so many of my favorites are on this list! Have you read the Jenny Linsky books with your daughter? They are so charming and you can continue with the cat characters. Oh yes, and all the books are set in NY.
    Radio Lab--yes!!

    Happy weekend!

  3. Boxcar Children for Tsia? Mrs. Piggle Wiggle? Anything by Bill Peet (Capyboppy is our personal favorite).

  4. 4 year old friendly chapter books:

    The Melendy series by Elizabeth Enright about a family of 4 children. The first book is called The Saturdays and is set in NYC about 75 years ago.

    The Penderwicks another series about a family with 4 children.

    Clementine books (like Junie B. Jones or Ramona in tone).

    None of these are scary and are all really delightful family stories.

  5. These are all excellent suggestions. Thanks so much! I hadn't realized that she's old enough for several of these (Little House, Mrs. Pigglewiggle), hadn't heard of several (Melendy, Clementine), and had forgotten about others (Jenny Linsky), so this is really helpful. Thanks!

  6. Oh oh oh! I love "Pushcart War", and hardly EVER find anyone else who knows it! I re-re-re-read that all the time.such joy!

    I'd also reccomend - perhaps a bit old for her, but a great book to read to her to start her off - Arthur Ransome's "Swallows & Amazons", which starts a whole series of books starring a number of children, who get to mess about in boats, camp out, mine for gold, send pigeons off with messages, and have all sorts of wonderful adventures in 1930's England.

  7. Anonymous10:48 PM

    My four year old loves Fantastic Mr. Fox and we have read others (The BFG...).

  8. Anonymous5:39 AM

    And if you need more inspiration from woman of the Bauhaus, I recommend a book that I read last week:

    No recommendations on English children books, sorry. But if you ever need German ones, I have tons!

    Greetings, Elke

  9. I am also a Radiolab fanatic! My 4-year-old students are enjoying "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannet. It took them a little while to get into it, but they're loving it now.

  10. Hi,
    We just finished Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, The Little are a fun series. My son and daughter's favorite is Mr. PUtter and Tabby. We have read all of them at least three times. Also you might want to try Houndsley and Catina. She is probably too young for this one, but I read my son the Moongobble and Me series which my daughter listened to and loved (she was four at the time, my son was almost 7). I also read them Dick King-Smith like the Water Horse, A Mouse called Mozart, and the guinea pig books... I just get a bunch and try a bit and see what my daughter likes, and then we read a bunch of that series or by that author. We are reading Babe now, definitely not for a four year old, but now that she is six she likes it. Also, I read Stuart Little to both my kids when they were 4 or younger. I must have read Stuart Little getting trapped in the garbage can chapter every night for two weeks. My son loved that chapter, and what's great is each chapter kind of stands alone, so you can skip around if they subject is too big for them.


  11. I second the first of the Betsy-Tacy-Tib & Little House books - some of my childhood favorites.

  12. The Raggedy Ann & Andy books by Johnny Gruelle. I don't remember them as being scary.

  13. how about pippi longstocking? i'm not a mom but i think they're appropriate for her age... there is no one quite like ramona quimby though!
    and after Helvetica i recommend Objectified, which is the follow-up about product/industrial design. fun!

  14. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Is Tsia too young for "The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler?" It takes place in NY's Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Saturdays" is another good one, and might inspire some fun outings! I can also remember loving Louis Sachar's Wayside School books, or anything by Jean Little.

  15. i love radio lab, such a total geek out show. and great voices.

    i have to find some jenny linksy books soon.

    one plan is to try my hand at the jacket pattern, but we live in southern california and the boys do not need anything heavy. i thought it might be nice in a slightly heavier fabric, but do not know which direction to go from there...
    if this has been addressed somewhere already can you point me int he right direction?

  16. Betsy-Tacy series by Maude Hart Lovelace was my first chapter book love. I wasn't convinced when my mom bought my first copy but she was so right. Tsia will love the part about how Betsy and Tacy make paperdolls.

  17. I love radio lab. My absolute favourite program.
    I feel smarter everytime (the program about sleep is my favourite: learning that dolphins sleeps one half brain at a time was sooooo thilling!)

  18. Hy Liesl,

    When I was little I loved anything by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (the Velvet Room was my favorite) and I loved From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Franweller (by E.L. Konigsburg: about 2 kids who live in the Metropolitan Museum) and I still love the Anne of Green Gables books.

    Stopping to Home by Lea Waite is a GREAT book that I read aloud to my little sister (and was written by my Mom's neighbor, too!)

    These may be too old for her to read to herself, but they will keep you BOTH entertained if you read them out loud.



  19. Another excellent Bauhaus book is titled 'Women's Work.' It covers the history in an engaging manner, and has plenty of colour plates so you can actually look at everything the text describes.

  20. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks back through a friend's blog roll...this post in particular. We don't have a tv either so when you mentioned Doc Martin on hulu my husband and I gave it a go. We loved it! I'm very sad that season four isn't out so we can watch it.
    Feel free to suggest any others :-)