Lock and Key: the Initiation

James Moriarty is one of the greatest criminal masterminds the world has ever known. But before he became the scheming, remorseless villain he is now, he was just my older brother, James…At Baskerville, an elite private boarding school founded by our ancestors, James started drifting to the darkness. It was there he met his roommate, the insufferable Sherlock Holmes. From the very beginning, the two were at each other’s throats, literally and figuratively. But as much as the two frustrated each other, an incident at the school – and some would say destiny – forced the two together. 

One fateful day, during a vicious game of hide-and-seek (played the Moriarty way), Moria – along with her big brother James – hears something secretive being moved around in their father’s study. After an attack on the house, their father sends them to Baskerville Academy with instructions for Moria should the worst happen to him on his “travels”. But what travels would send kidnappers, a secret society, and mysterious thieveries into their lives? Meanwhile Baskerville Academy has its own brewing trouble. What with the impetuous Sherlock Holmes on the move, a seedy headmaster, and more family secrets, Moria isn’t sure who to trust. It’s a shadowy game against time, mysterious players, and uncertain forces that ends in a fantastic conclusion that will have you begging for more.

I should have reviewed this book before as I enjoyed it so much. I devoured it in one day, completing it despite the fact that we were out from about eight to three in the afternoon. It was so good and had me hooked from the first look (I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but…). This book is so well-told and actually sort of funny in some ways. I already am a fan of Ridley Pearson, having read Peter and the Starcatchers many, many times. I’ve also read Kingdom Keepers a lot – probably more than the previous series – so I was looking forward to the contents of this book. I was not disappointed.

The contention between the ever-darkening James, know-it-all Sherlock, and clever Moria adds to the story and I found it interesting that the author does emphasize the point that many of us think about Holmes: he’s intolerable. Don’t get me wrong; he’s a brilliant detective. But as a person, it’s hard to like him for the way he acts. He is insensitive and often rather annoying in the fact that he always presumes to know things (though even more frustratingly, he’s usually correct). So I thought it interesting that not only is it James who can’t stand him, but Moria as well. I thought it even more intriguing that she finds herself trying to prove to both Holmes and James that she is more than – in her brother’s mind at least – a stupid girl. Her relationship with Holmes (that of him annoying her and yet still giving her credit where credit is due) is also intriguing because Lock and Key shows us a side of Holmes that is less puffed up. The fact that he becomes friends with Moria makes him more human, which is to be appreciated.

As for readers, I think you will highly enjoy this. I believe there are a couple cuss words, so parents be forewarned. However, for older kids or parents, this is a highly enjoyable book with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end and begging for a second book.

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Willy’s Stories

Every week I walk through these doors and something incredible happens. I go on amazing adventures. 

Come with me and I’ll show you…

With colorful images and a fun, quizzical way of telling the story – or stories, one might say
– Anthony Browne’s Willy’s Stories is a wonderful book. As usual, I found this book while volunteering. This book is whimsical, well-paced, and interestingly told. It caused me to think and I’m sure it will cause you as the reader to want todo a little research. As with next week’s pick, this book really shows us the power of a good story. I know I am as captivated as this monkey when I read.

Chime Time: Which stories with anthropomorphic characters have you read with a fun twist?

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Cleopatra in Space

What do you get when you take one of the most famous characters in history and mash it up with science fiction? Cleopatra in Space

The first graphic novel in the series introduces us to our spunky heroine, depicting her discovery of a mysterious tablet which jets her into space thousands of years in the future! With no way to get back home, Cleo must try to navigate her way through an intergalactic military school, a prophecy surrounding her, and the looming threat of evil aliens on the horizon.

Book two picks up almost immediately after, giving us more information on the prophecy, the sword of Kebechet, Octavion (hint: he’s the evil mastermind), Cleo’s best friend Akila, and more! Packed with a ton of action and an amazing library, Cleopatra in Space: The Thief and the Sword is a sequel that will not disappoint!

As usual, I found this series while volunteering at our local library. The colorful art caught my eye and I was delighted to see after finishing the first book that it was a series. This comic series is extremely interesting, funny, and well-told. I also like that the artwork is highly saturated. Sadly, I have only been able to find the first two of this series, though there are four books out. Like The Nameless City I’m still waiting for the rest of the books to come to our library.

Your Turn! What odd genre mashup have you ever read and enjoyed?

 

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Ivy

In the charming, perfect little town of Broomsweep, magic is underfoot. Ivy and her grandmother are healers, and they welcome everyone into their home. Even magical 51nlUjeQS7L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_beasts. When an injured griffin crashes onto their doorstep, pixies flit in, and a dragon with a cold drops by, the people of Broomsweep demand Ivy and their grandmother demand they turn their queer patients out. Ivy has grown to love the sweet Cedric, wise Balthazar, and the pixies in her garden, but with the arrival of the new queen and a pack of mischievous trolls on their way, what can Ivy do?

This book was so cute and so enjoyable! Written by Katherine Coville, wife of Bruce Coville (I reviewed his book from The Magic Shop series HERE), this book is filled with whimsy, sweet moments, and a valuable lesson. I loved the characters and the small illustrations throughout. It’s a short enough read for younger readers to enjoy as well. I recommend it highly; you will not be disappointed.

Chime Time! What magical creature would you want to take care of?

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Missy Piggle Wiggle and The Whatever Cure

Dear Missy, As you know, my husband, Mr. Piggle-Wiggle was called away some years ago by the pirates. After waiting so long for him to return, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and find out what happened to him. I’ll be leaving tomorrow. While I’m gone, could you stay at the farm and live in the upside-down house?

With this note from her aunt clutched in hand, Missy Piggle-Wiggle arrived in Little Spring Valley. Here in this world of magic and childish pleasure, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has worked her magic again and again. Now it’s her niece’s turn. Along with Lester the pig, Wag the dog, Penelope the parrot, and Lightfoot the cat, Missy Piggle-Wiggle takes her aunt’s place to fix all of Little Spring Valley’s mischief makers and mend all of the town’s bumps. In this volume Missy provides the “Whatever Cure”, the “Know-It-All Cure”, the “Gum-Smacking Cure”, and more!

9781250071699_custom-ae79202f54eba232b3596cb464a3f4d0d733066f-s400-c85I don’t know about you, but when I was little, there were several fictional women I had great respect for. I believed Mary Poppins was magic, that Nanny McPhee was scarily amazing, and that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle was trouble’s worst enemy.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that there was a book titled Missy Piggle-Wiggle. It’s a fresh start on one of my favorite children’s series, but I have to admit, I was slightly nervous when picking it up. We own all four of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books and I was sincerely hoping that this new author would respect the delightful books preceding it. I was pleased to see that Ann M. Martin honored the spirit of the original books with a wonderful book. This book is a fount of enjoyment. Families can read this, kids can read this, adults can read it. Anyone can sit down with this book and enjoy the simplicity and time-old wisdom of small-town America. It’s fresh, funny, and above-all a sweet ride with manners, kindness, and just plain quirkiness throughout.

I highly recommend this book and commend the authors and illustrator for creating such a lovable read. I will surely be looking for a sequel in the future.

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Happy Easter!

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May you be blessed today as we celebrate the bringing of new life and new hope. I hope we would all remember the real reason to be joyful this fine Sunday: Jesus’ gift of salvation. Whatever traditions you might hold or memories you might cherish, I pray we bring them before the Lord as we remember everything that he’s done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you.”  – 1 Peter 1: 3-4

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The Adventurer: Staff of Emperors – A Fan Fiction Sequel – Part 4

Here’s part four of my fan fiction sequel.  Next week I will be returning with regular book reviews, but for now I’m going to do the lazy thing and post something I’ve already written.

Hope you guys enjoy it.

 

That night, Mariah woke to hear strange noises.

He lay still, listening. The clatter was quiet enough that he might mistake it for the staff down in the kitchen; but they had all left. He sat up, grabbing his bedrobe and shrugging it on before stepping out of the room. The hall was quiet and dark, but he could hear furniture moving around downstairs. Was Mrs. Prewitt still here?

He kept going, pausing when he heard a creak at the door to the stairs. His breath pounded in his ears, even as a voice inside chided him for being ridiculous. There was another noise, this time from behind. He turned, breathing out when he saw it was just the open window. Turning back to the door, Mariah reached out, fingers closing on the cold knob and pulled quickly, hoping to catch the perpetrator off guard.

To his surprise, Felix was on the other side of the door, finger held to his lips. The younger boy crept to the banister of the stairs, where the loud noises were more evident.

“Someone’s downstairs,” he hissed. “They’re looking for something, I heard them.”

The scepter. They were looking for the scepter. But they wouldn’t find it.

“We have to get out of here, all right?” Mariah whispered.

Felix nodded and turned to move when they heard a rough voice from below, calling to an accomplice to check out the rooms up the back way. That meant they’d reach Sacha’s room first. They had to get to her.

Motioning to his brother, Mariah led the way towards her room, looking back just long enough to hear heavy footsteps in – He tripped right over the upper table. The urn fell to the ground as if in slow motion, shattering. The sound rocked in Mariah’s ears. He paused, breath catching.

The sounds below were quiet. For a dark moment, he wondered if they were coming up, but then he heard the slam of the pantry door below. Good, they hadn’t noticed. The two boys kept going. They were just near Sacha’s room when a large man stepped out from the back stair.

He was large, towering over Mariah, with a blemished right cheek and twitching left eye.

“Got ya then,” he leered.

The two stopped. Mariah felt his brother’s frightened grip on his arm. His gaze flicked from the stair to the bedroom door back to the man. Even if he could make it, Felix couldn’t. And he wasn’t about to leave him again.

“What do you want?” He demanded, though he knew full well.

“Just your li’l package,” the stooge smiled.

Behind him, Sacha’s door opened. She held her heating pan, quietly creeping behind him. Mariah’s gaze flicked from her to the goon before him. Behind him, Felix’s grip on his arm tightened.

“Sir,” the older boy started.

The man grunted.

“Have you ever been hit by a heating pan?”

A confused expression crossed the man’s face. “Wha’?”

Sacha swung, the pan connecting perfectly. With a dazed eye roll, the man slumped on to the floor. Mariah and Felix stepped over him, the former taking the heating pan from her and looking down the back way.

“We have to leave,” he whispered. “Stay behind me.”

The other two nodded as he descended down the dark staircase.

Below, the kitchen was dark, the noise of a search coming from the sitting room. A muffled thud came from their left, behind the pantry door. Mariah approached, opening it quickly. Mrs. Prewitt was laid on her side, gagged and bound. Sacha gasped, reaching down to help untie her feet. They removed the kerchief from her mouth, indicating she be quiet. The older woman was breathing heavily as she got back onto her feet.

“What happened?” Sacha asked, looking at her with concern.

“I don’t know,” the older woman shook her head, looking close to tears. “They just came from behind and shoved me inside.”

Felix looked at the kitchen door worriedly as Mariah instructed her to get the police. While he helped Mrs. Prewitt quietly escape through the back door, Sacha and Felix were searching for some kind of light and weapon.

“I don’t understand,” Sacha hissed as Mariah came over. “Why do they want that scepter so bad? What does it do?”

Felix looked up, eyes big as he waited for the answer.

“I don’t know,” the older boy replied honestly. “I think”-

Sacha shushed him, holding a finger to her lips. There was no noise coming from the next room. Felix quivered, waiting. They relaxed when they heard the thud of footsteps on the stairs. The second man had gone up then. They straightened and turned.

Sacha yelped.

A gun was held to their faces. Behind the older two Felix cried out as the second man grabbed his shoulder. Mariah stepped forward and pulled his brother towards him, glaring darkly at the two men. The second scowled back, a large lump on the side of his head.

“So.”

They turned to look at the first man, a smaller, more smoothen-shaved sort. He smiled nastily as he pointed the gun.

“Here’s what we’s gonna do,” he smiled. “You tell us where the scepter is and we don’t hurt your li’l brother and girlfriend. Clear enough?”

Mariah’s throat felt closed up, no words available even if he were to speak. Felix spoke first, blurting out the words.

“It’s in our parents’ room!” He spilled. “We thought no one would look there!”

Sacha looked quickly from Felix to the man.

The first man grinned at Mariah. “Seems your brother is the smart one in the family, ain’t he?”

Whistling, he motioned for the second man to go upstairs. They sat there, waiting nervously for him to come back down and affirm that there was no such package. Mariah had hidden the scepter under the bed in his room. He was sure that they would have no trouble picking off one of the three before they’d gotten the answer.

Just as he was starting to think the other man had left, the stooge appeared, holding a golden rod in his hand. Mariah’s heart sank until he realized that it was not the scepter they had receieved that morning. It was not even a scepter. It was a rod carried by an Egyptian priest, one of the many prized artifacts their parents had kept.

“Found it,” he said, a proud smile on his face.

The first man looked at it, then looked at the three, who tried to look blankly back at him.

“You have your package, now leave,” Mariah demanded.

The thug grinned. “You think I’m some kind of dope? I know what’s what and that ain’t it.”

“Well if the likes of you two keep searching, you’ll never find it,” Sacha stated matter of factly.

Felix glanced at her, with a mixture of pride and shock that she had spoken up. The second man looked stung, but the first simply smiled, pointing his gun at her instead.

“I’ll take care of you jus’ for your smart mouth,” he said. “Unless you’re willing to tell me where that scepter is.”

Sacha recoiled, putting her hand on Felix’s shoulder.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.

“Righ’. Well, then. Say your last goodbyes, precious,” he returned, squeezing the trigger.

Just then there came a sharp rapping on the front door.

“POLICE! OPEN UP!”

The two men glanced suspiciously at the kids, backing up towards the staff door.

“Keep quiet, ya here?” The man with the gun ordered.

He opened the door and turned to run, only to find himself staring at an official uniform. The goon started to run the other way, but was stopped by the men who had come through the front door. It was over.

Mrs. Prewitt rushed into the kitchen, sobbing tears of relief. As soon as she’d seen they were free of bullet holes, she went to the iron stove and began to toast some bread. Putting the kettle on seemed to be the housekeeper’s answer to everything, Mariah thought, amused. She related her adventures in a hushed tone, like that of an adventuress. She gabbed on and on about her harring escape and the daring plea she made to the bobbies. Mariah noticed several men politely rolling their eyes.

Once they’d taken the criminals away, the police came back to ask a few questions. Sacha and Mariah were seated in chairs in the sitting room, while Felix comforted Rishi, whose screeching had apparently annoyed the neighbor so much that he’d called in.

“No, we don’t know who they are,” Mariah answered for the third time.

“Can you think of any reason as to why they’d attack you?” The lietuenant asked, jotting notes down.

“No.”

The three had already agreed that they were not going to give away the reason. If pressed they would assert that they had assumed them to be common thieves.

“And you, miss, did any of these men have a connection to you?”

Sacha shook her head. “I told you before. I don’t know why they came.”

As the questioning continued, Felix fed Rishi some left over scones from the afternoon’s tea. The tiny monkey dove to the floor for the remaining crumbs, then scampered off towards something white on the floor at the doorway. The boy followed, watching his pet excitedly pick up what appeared to be paper. He unfolded the letter, reading quickly.

“Mariah!”

The older boy stood, concerned. “Felix?”

“Look at this,” his brother enticed, holding it out eagerly.

Sacha stood first, taking the letter from his hand and scanning it. Her eyes widened slightly as as she read.

“You’d better see this,” she agreed.

He stepped over, the officer watching with curiosity as the young man took the scrap of paper. On one side was a name, or part of it at least:

He stared at the slashing tail of the G, so severe and dark. Turning the paper over he saw part of a letter, but only the left side of the first paragraph. It mentioned a scepter and then, two lines down, a name. Or rather, the name of two very distinguished people no longer of “worry to them.”

Mundhi.

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The Adventurer: Staff of Emperors – A Fan Fiction Sequel – Part 3

I’m sorry it’s been so long between these posts, but the holidays came up and the school year started all over again. On top of all that, I forgot. Oops! But I’m back now with part 3, the first portion of the fan fiction that’s not a prologue.

I hope you enjoy:

 

London, 1885

A postman approached the door of a rather exquisite house. From within he could hear the quiet sound of an inexperienced piano learner attempting to play a small composition.

The door opened and a rather stout woman frowned down at him. The postman held out a package to her, doffing his hat out of respect.

“Package for a misters Mariah and Felix Mundhi,” he said in a thick accent.

Her lips twisted as she took it from him, closing the door and bobbing into the sitting room. Felix Mundhi, the younger of the two boys, looked up, his thin face peaked with curiosity. He was so much like their dear mother, she sniffed to herself. She passed, approaching the eldest Mundhi. Also like his mother, Mariah had the same dark eyes that could at turns become deathly serious or light with an amused glow. And, like his handsome father before him, he had the same chin and smile. A pity about the Mundhis. Such kind, genteel folk. And professors of Oxford too!

“Package, sir,” she said, holding it out.

He turned, removing his gaze from the paper in his hand.

“Thank you,” he smiled politely, taking the long, thin box.

Felix waited until the housekeeper had left to jump up.

“What is it, Mariah?” He asked.

The older brother shook his head by way of answer. The girl at the piano, Sacha, looked up, a small smile flitting across her face.

“Well, why don’t you open it and find out?” She asked, her tone teasing.

He smiled back, removing a small card tied to the brown paper.

       For my trustworthy compatriots, keep this guarded at all costs. Don’t let anyone know of its existence until you hear from me. 

                                                                                                                                                 Will

The smile on Mariah’s face gave way to a curious expression as the words died on his lips. Sacha looked up from where she’d moved to stand to his right. Felix, at his left, wore the same expression as his brother.

He tore the brown paper with clumsy hands, eager to see what lay beneath. Felix helped, tearing at the bottom and Sacha reaching for the ribbon at the top. Soon they had pulled all of the packaging paper off, revealing a rather strange looking object, a scepter of some kind.

“What is it?” Felix asked.

Sacha looked up at Mariah, whose gaze was fixed on the golden sheen.

“Mariah?”

Power.

He could feel it radiating from the staff, almost palpable, as if he could reach out and grasp it.

“Mariah?”

He shook his head free, lowering the scepter. “Sorry, I”…

At that moment, there was an urgent knocking on the door. Mrs. Prewitt, her ever present scowl locked on, approached the door. Will stepped into the house.

“Hullo, did I miss anything?” He called cheerfully. His gaze landed on the scepter and the brown paper that had been hastily torn and strewn on the floor. “Ah. I see you got my package then.”

Mariah put the staff on top of the piano, stepping forward to shake hands with his friend. Will’s impish grin was enthusiastic as he looked at Mariah. Charity had had that sort of look the first time they’d met, before he’d dropped to the boy’s feet from a wound. That day had led to an extraordinary turn of events: their parents going missing, Felix’s capture by a power-hungry hotel owner, Sacha and Mariah’s investigation of a mysterious artifact called the Midas Box, and much more.

Will looked chipper as ever as he winked at Mariah’s younger brother.

“Haven’t been routing any more villains, have you, old chap?”

“No, sir,” Felix replied, smiling.

Will, spotting Sacha, removed his hat and moved closer to take her small hand in his.

“A pleasure to see you again, my dear,” he said politely.

She shook his hand back, clearly unaccustomed to gentlemen doffing their hats. Sacha glanced at Mariah, who grinned back. She’d just have to get used to it, if she was going to look the part of a fine lady. And she does, he thought.

“Will you be staying for dinner, sir?” Mrs. Prewitt asked, holding out her hand for his hat.

Charity glanced from one face to the other, gaze finally flicking to the staff. “Yes, I think I shall.”

The three smiled and Felix launched into a description of his most recent ventures. As they approached the dining hall, a small monkey launched itself onto Will’s head, wrapping its tiny paws around his forehead. Felix and Sacha started to laugh, watching Will struggle to pry his tiny hands off.

“Rishi, heel,” Felix called through his giggles.

The monkey leaped off their guest’s head and onto the boy’s shoulder, still chattering happily. Will, his face still a little pink, looked at the creature with frustration.

“Mother and Father got him from their trip to India,” he grinned.

“Oh, yes, I remember now,” the adventurer shot the monkey a look. “He’s the little fellow who crawled down my trousers.”

The tiny animal screeched excitedly, jumping up and down on Felix’s shoulder. Mariah and Sacha laughed and Will amiably chuckled along, shooting the monkey another dark look as Felix passed on ahead. Mariah noticed that the older man’s gaze swept back over the staff, as if reassuring himself that it was there, that it was safe. Safe from what? Mariah wondered.

Will was cheerful over luncheon, talking vividly about his days in the Caribbean islands. Mariah’s little brother hung on his every word, narrow face flushed with excitement.

“…Well, there we were right in the middle of the tribal camp of cannibals, as it were! Lucky the boys were good shots or I would never have made it out of there alive.”

“Did you really get captured by cannibals?” Felix asked, eyes wide with curiosity.

“Multiple times, if my memory serves me correctly,” Will said, obviously delighted to have an interested listener who enjoyed his dramatics.

Sacha and Mariah exchanged a smile. She’s so much happier, he thought, recalling the first time he’d met her. Then her hair had been pulled back in a tight bun and she had worn a severe look as befitted a girl of her position. Sacha looked very much different now, with her golden-brown hair shiny and loose down her back and an easy twinkle.

“Wouldn’t you agree, Mariah?”

They broke their gaze, turning to look at the other two.

“Sorry?” The older boy glanced at his brother, who gave him a knowing look.

He shot Felix one back before turning back to Will.

“I was just remarking to your brother about how you’ve had your fair share of adventure, wouldn’t you say?” Charity leaned back in his chair, eyes bright. Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 6.56.07 PM

“Didn’t you have enough fun on our last venture, Felix?” Mariah teased.

They adjourned to the sitting room after dinner. Sacha and Felix sat at the piano, the latter trying to show her a certain piece and the former following along slowly. Will stood next to Mariah, who was watching them with an absentminded smile. Charity turned to him, smile settling into a determined line.

“If I could have a word,” he murmured under his breath.

They stepped to the side and the older man’s amused look vanished.

“Mariah, it’s very important that you get away from here,” he hissed urgently.

The youth stopped, attention acquired. “What?”

Will glanced into the room, where the two were practicing peaceably.

“You’re in grave danger, all of you. You have to get away and take the scepter with you,” he ordered.

“Why is it that every time you show up I find myself on the run and involved with some kind of magical object?” Mariah asked, trying to sound light despite his warning.

Charity smiled wryly. “It is getting a bit dull, isn’t it? Remind me to bring you a monster next time, those are fun.”

A monster? Mariah thought dubiously, unsure whether the explorer was joking.

Looking serious once more, Will accepted his hat from Mrs. Prewitt.

“Remember, you must leave. I can’t contact you, it’s too dangerous. You’ll have to get away on your own, but if you’re low on funds, go to the National Bank and ask for a claim under the bureau. They have separate files for each of their agents.”

Charity turned, smile flashing on again as Felix and Sacha stepped into the room.

“Are you leaving so soon?” Felix asked, face falling in disappointment.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon. In the meantime, look out for one another, won’t you?” He winked at Sacha, sweeping out the door.

The three watched as he walked out onto the cobbled streets, cane swinging in his hand. After a moment, Sacha and Felix stepped away, but Mariah stayed to see where the explorer went. He paused before a strange hansom and a man stepped out to speak to him. He couldn’t help but notice the way his friend’s hand tightened on the handle of his cane. Mariah wondered if something was wrong, but then Will stepped in.

In the sitting room, Sacha and Felix were practicing again, looking up as he reentered the room. Mariah went straight to the scepter resting on the piano, gazing at its glossy sheen.

What about it could cause us so much danger? He wondered.

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Mama Seeton’s Whistle

I recently found this book at the library. SO cute and such a well illustrated, good read.

One day as Mama Seeton came out to call her young son, Skippy, she couldn’t find him. mammaseetonThough she looked everywhere, he wasn’t to be found. And that’s when it happened. Without even thinking about it, she puckered her lips and whistled. Though the whistle wasn’t fancy or loud, Skippy Seeton heard it and came.  From then on, when Mama Seeton came onto the back porch and whistled, he came. And when Sheldon, Stewart, and Sophie came along, the whistle called them too. As they grew older, the Seeton kids would wander all over town. But whenever Mama came onto that back porch, chocolate cake in hand and whistle ready, they would come. The years went by and the Seeton kids grew up. They left Mama Seeton to become big adults. And thought she was happy for them, Mama missed the old times. She longed to touch a face. Finally, Papa urged her to stand on the back porch and whistle. “Are you goofy?” She asked. He smiled. “If you just pretend it’s the old days maybe you’ll feel better.” So Mama Seeton whistled. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t loud. But it brought the Seeton kids back home.

This book was so sweet and so well illustrated. I love that it’s a period piece (somewhere around the 50s or 60s) and the family story. One of the best picture books I’ve read in a while. I highly recommend it, even to adults. It’s a warm story that will touch your heart and if that doesn’t get you, I’m sure the colorful illustrations will.

Chime Time: Is there any significant quirk of your childhood that you still remember?

 

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First Flight Field Trip

Recently we were blessed to be able to partake in the First Flight Field Trip, hosted by the Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center. This field trip centers around the dynamics of hockey and is a fun, educational trip to remember.

In the months leading up to the trip, my mother received several packets, containing what was required for science experiments dealing with the logic of building and maintaining an ice rink. It was tons of fun to build our own ice rink, make ice cream, learned about kinetic energy and heat transfer, reviewed the different forms of water, and much more. It was extremely generous of our benefactors to send these over.

The day of the trip finally arrived. After packing everything up the night before, we headed471d2bafa3.jpg to bed. The next morning, at 5:20, the day began. It was time to get up and at ’em! We arrived at the church bright and early. The group quickly worked out our route and then we were off. When we arrived at the stadium it was about 8:00 am. The sun glimmered on the horizon and the chilly morn air nipped at our noses. IN the large parking center of the Ducks stadium hundreds of kids milled about, taking part in various activities. Our first stop was sledding. The rush was exhilarating as we fly down the snowhill, slowly shifting from side to side. It is an uncertain, slightly wild ride, but a fast and thrilling one. Then it was over.

We wandered, taking in SWAG and learning about the science dynamics of hockey. PBS channel was there, as well as a college and Toyo Tires. Each generously helped kids learn more about what goes into being an ice engineer. Inside the center we trailed through the gift shop, perusing the merchandise and getting a glimpse of a virtual reality headset. Over the din of the crowd we lined up. Into the stadium we went. It was surprising how warm it was in there.

We settled into our seats, taking a nibble of this and a sip of that, before the event begins. Up on the video screens, random sections of the audience were filmed. Their reactions at their faces, for all to see, were hilarious and cute at the same time. Then suddenly the lights dimmed.

The event had started.

Kids were encouraged to make some noise and the volume level was crazy in there. Then suddenly the big video screens came to life again. Kids got to see a small video explaining about there being a lack of engineers. Kids were asked to help the players figure out what an ice engineer does. Booming, dramatic music filled the stadium, the lights went out and a massive Zamboni entered, upon which Wild Wing our our host rode. They jumped off and launched into an explanation of our role in the activities taking place.

Kids were shown what goes into making and maintaining a hockey rink. Friction, thermodynamics, and heat transfer are just some of the topics covered, complete with interactions from students. Then we got to watch hockey players explain the science of ice cream, after which was a quick “dance break”. Then came the Skill Competition. Kids were divided, the audience becoming four different teams: Team Black, Team Red, Team Orange, and Team White. On the ice, hockey players from each “team” competed. These players, all Anaheim Ducks, skated cheerfully around the cold rink. In the first round, they shot pucks, each allotted a certain amount of points, into the nets. Our team won! In the next skill, “Hardest Shot”, players must try to shoot the puck at 100 mph. Once more White won, followed closely by Team Red and Team Orange. In the final round, a relay race, players must take the puck around obstacles and back to the other end of there ink. Orange was moving fast, coming up quick, but suddenly White rushed by. We’d won! A cheer rose, ending the excited chant for our team.

Once more kids were encouraged to make some noise, then thanked for participating. Teachers were cheered for as well before a final, wordless roar of approval. It is clear this field trip sat well with the students gathered. Excited chatter filled the stadium as the audience filed out. We said goodbye to our friends and filed out, two things on our mind: the trip and the pursuit of greasy cheeseburgers.

All in all, it was an exciting, well-planned trip. It was spectacularly fun as well as informative and made me want to go to a real Ducks game. I’ll be looking forward to next year in anticipation.

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