Category Archives: Books To Read

From an old, beloved book

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– The Velveteen Rabbit

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The Curious Case of Supposed Poultry

This morning, I took some time to understand Athos’ current book series obsession, Beast Quest. As far as I can tell, it’s a fantasy with the usual battles between good and evil. And thus ensued this conversation:

Pilgrim Mom: You know, a lot of modern fantasies are inspired by classics like “The Lord of the Rings” and the “Chronicles of Narnia”. [We chat about common themes, and land on betrayal.]

PM: Remember how Edmund betrays his siblings in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”?

Athos: Yah, all because he likes…what was it…Chicken Supreme?

PM: Eh?!?!

Athos: Isn’t it Chicken Supreme?

PM: No, it’s Turkish Delight!

Athos: Oh, it’s turkey then!

I couldn’t stop laughing for a long, long while. We were on the way to the optometrist so it’s a mercy that I didn’t crash….

Pilgrim Discovery: Storyline Online

Please stop everything you’re doing and go over to Storyline Online. It came up in one of my feeds today and after reading a few of the raves, I had to go over and check it out for myself.

Utterly delightful.

The concept is similar to Tumblebooks (another website which I raved about in an earlier post) – children’s books read aloud online. But in the case of Storyline Online, the reading is done by established screen actors like Sean Astin and Elijah Wood (from the “Lord of the Rings” movies), Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”), Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”), and even Al Gore.

Nothing like being read to, and I was completely captivated.

The stories comes with suggested activities and a downloadable activity guide, and some also have reader’s theatre versions.

Please check it out. It’s just wonderful.

And While I’m On The Subject…

Continuing on the theme of the previous post, we were at the library a few weeks back. While at the dinosaur section (the only section we visit without fail), I idly browsed the facing shelves and found this gem:

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Originally in Japanese and translated to English, the book describes factually a normal bodily function, without embarassment nor disdain. And somehow manages to be humorous as well. I read it out to Athos and Porthos and we laughed so hard I was surprised we were not kicked out of the library!

If your kids, like mine, have an inexplicable interest in things scatological, I also highly recommend “The Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business” – which I reviewed in this earlier post.

Of Garage Sales And Wondrous Treasures

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Our 6th multi-family charity garage sale flew by on the blessed wings of gorgeous weather, generous donors, faithful helpers and bargain hunters. We had items of every category from 27 (!!) families, and a steady stream of customers, especially on the first day. And I am delighted to share that we raised almost $2,500 for missions work in the Philippines!

One of the things I love about garage sales is the serendipitous discovery. For me, this mostly happens in the books section. And this garage sale did not disappoint. Continue reading

You Are Special

Thanks to a cousin, we got free tickets to I Theatre’s production “You Are Special“.

Based on best-selling author Max Lucado’s book of the same name, it features an original script, original music, and a cast that is on the whole very strong. All the actors/actresses were unknown to me so I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the ensemble. They adopted standard American/British pronunciation and the accent didn’t slip at any point (not obviously anyway), which is rare for a mostly-local cast. There was some slapstick and melodrama, but none of the awkwardness that sometimes accompanies inexperience. Although a few of the songs weren’t especially melodious, they were well-sung. I was especially taken by the strong vocals of Dwayne Lau (Punch) and Juliet Pang (Lucia). Dwayne in particular had excellent stage presence and carried the show. Candice de Rozario was delightful as the colourful and comical Mayoress. The message of the story is the production’s strongest selling point – that all of us are special because we are loved.

Athos and Porthos enjoyed it, and there were points when Athos guffawed so loudly that those in the neighbouring seats turned to look. The actors also came out to mingle with the audience after the show which was quite a thrill for the boys.

The show is running at the Drama Centre and ends on 18 Nov. Tickets range from $23 to $38. Catch it if you can!

Primary One, Here We Come

Yesterday we reached a huge watershed – Athos registered for primary school.

Primary school! The words bring back a flood of memories – of classrooms and chalkboards, friends and enemies, teachers and homework, school fields and tuckshops. There were days I loved school, days when I hated it, and days when I didn’t have much energy left to feel anything.

As we made our way to register, I wondered how Athos would take to school. Continue reading