If you ever loved A Wrinkle in Timeor any of its book siblings, if you love a lonely-child-fulfills-her-dreams story, or if you’d like a peek at how granddaughters see a famous grandmother, I have just the book for you!
Whimsical is not a word I have often applied to myself, but in this one instance . . .
The setting for Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Hackl is a ghost town smack dab in the middle of Mississippi.
I find their on-time arrival amazing every year. How do Gulf Fritillary butterflies know when July 1 arrives? They seem to have lurked somewhere waiting for the yard to be ready.
I didn’t know what I had started when I planted three maypop vines to grow along the carport lattice several years ago. My intention was to have shade for the west part of the house, some beautiful passion flowers, and maypops in the fall for bursting with grandchildren. Also called a passion flower vine, my plants multiplied and fulfilled all those expectations for a couple of years before adding a bonus.
I discovered an orange caterpillar with black stripes and spikes munching its way around a leaf one morning. Following the pattern of its species, it was eating its way around the leaf down to the center. Thanks to Google, I quickly identified this as a stage of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly. A picky eater, as many caterpillars are, this one feeds only on the maypop vine.
Life on the lattice since then has taken on a pattern. The vines begin to pop out of the ground to start their climb in early spring, covering the lattice in lush green by the end of June when maypop flowers begin to bloom. Watching their calendars closely, the earliest butterflies show up the first of July and begin laying eggs. As the caterpillars emerge, the feasting begins. By the time fall comes, the vines are little more than stems, but I’m fine with the trade. I provide adult fare for the butterflies in their favorite lantana bushes scattered about the yard and watch them flit from one to the other. (They have a hyperactive gene and never sit still for long.) They hang around until it turns cold, which may be pretty late in the fall in South Mississippi.
Gulf Fritillaries don’t get as much publicity as their cousins the Monarchs, but their underside stained glass design is beautiful and their antics are fun. If you’d like to share the pleasure, you can order a few passion flower vines as I did, or if you’re in my neighborhood, stop by and we’ll dig a few. Did I mention that the vines are prolific and invasive?
The first butterfly showed up this week right on time. The fun begins – at least for everybody except the vine.
The dragon Grisha, real name Benevolentia Gaudium, was born in 1803, the last year of dragon births special or otherwise. His story told by Garret Weyr in The Language of Spells will suit anyone who loves a good old-fashioned fairy tale, although the suggested audience is for middle grade readers.
We are just back from a trip featuring a couple of nights in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”) Island, and I feel a need to confess a pretense to my closest friends.
I admire people who seemingly have an instinct for the exact right present for friends and family. For instance, a friend brought me a book from a trip to England called The Jane Austen Writers’ Club.
As is our traveling habit, we loaded the car and headed out at the crack of dawn to put an hour or so behind us before we stopped for breakfast. We took our break at Ward’s in Magee,
There have been biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle before, but none quite like Margalit Fox’s Conan Doyle for the Defense. Looking at the true story about one specific incident in Doyle’s life in this book, Sherlock Holmes himself could be proud.
Shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing, the quirky name for this pursuit, does not require the removal of your clothes. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to wear long sleeves and pants since chiggers and ticks may be involved.
Sometimes classifying a book can become difficult as is the case with Lillian Li’s Number One Chinese Restaurant – at least beyond the ethnicity!
With no affluenza to interfere, Shakria Hall has a full ride to Harvard on a Bill Gates scholarship. She grew up in Mississippi, a state not often put into prestigious rankings, in the town of Bassfield, not widely known even in Mississippi.
In a collection of interviews, Conversations with Will D. Campbell, University Press of Mississippi brings us an irascible and irreverent character saying what he thinks exactly like he thinks it in twelve interviews from 1971 to 2009.
If I may alter a phrase from Forrest Gump’s mother, “Husbands are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” On this sixtieth anniversary of acquiring one, I can prove my point.
The first time I remember Gary Alipio reading his work aloud in our SCBWI critique group, he had the voice down pat of a middle-school boy in deep trouble who had to finish an essay as punishment – 10,000 words if I remember correctly.
I seldom repeat a blog, but Richard Peck has died. He had been a long time favorite author for me and my junior high students, and I considered it a high honor in 2010 when I was his chauffeur at the Kaigler Book Festival.
The words of this title might describe the life goals of author Elaine Magliaro who worked as an elementary teacher for more than thirty years and finished up that career with three years as a school librarian, but they actually do something quite different.
Little by little. A flood starts with a drop of water. A beach begins with a grain of sand. A novel opens with a single word. I don’t have to tell you we live in a stressed-out world that leaves an individual wondering what one person could possibly do.
The degree of intrigue in the title of Jess Butterworth’s novel, Running on the Roof of the World,is no match for the tale she spins. Set in Tibet where Tash must follow rules of the Chinese soldiers, problems come out into the open when a man publicly sets himself on fire to protest the occupation.
In a disclaimer right up front, neither my mother, my daughter, nor I could claim to be “birders,” but that doesn’t keep us from being interested in them, especially mother birds which seem just right for my blog before Mother’s Day.