Sylvie and I have been reading a lot of fairy tales at bedtime lately -- we're particularly fond of James Marshall's versions of them. Last night we read Cinderella.
Sylvie sensibly pointed out to me that things could've been much simpler. While we were gazing at the picture of the prince trying the shoe on one of the stepsisters, she said, "That's why, when you meet someone, you should always tell them your name right away. And you should find out theirs."
I'm really looking forward to seeing Her, that creepy/sad/romantic movie starring Joaquin Phoenix in which he falls in love with his computer's operating system. However, I am not remotely concerned about the possibility of anyone falling in love with Siri, Apple's "intelligent personal assistant." Siri is the most irritating virtual creature in existence -- the only remotely human thing she actually seems to do is enjoy taunting our four-year-old, Sylvie. For some time now, Siri has refused to address Sylvie by name, which really should be a very simple matter. Here's the latest update, from about a week ago, in the ongoing Name Wars with Siri.
David: I can fix this! [addressing Siri] Siri, my name is Sylvie! Siri: Your name is David. David: I am Sylvie! Siri: You told me your name was David. Luke: Let me try. [addressing Siri] Siri, my name is Sylvie. Siri: Your name is Sylvie. All of Us: YAY YAY! Good job, Luke! Sylvie [addressing Siri]: What is my name? Siri: Your name is David but you asked me to call you Sylvie.
See that? That's Simply Read's spring 2014 catalog, with an illustration from my first picture book, called If I Wrote A Book About You, on the cover! I'm so excited!
I can't wait to have this book in my hot little hands. It was illustrated by the talented Denise Holmes -- you can see more of her lovely work over at her blog. Many thanks to my dear, wise friend Sara O'Leary, who held my hand throughout the whole process, and to my lovely editor Kallie George at Simply Read.
Luke talked so much about the The Elf on the Shelf last year, I finally caved this year and bought one. The kids LOVE. IT. Thankfully, David is kind of into it, too, otherwise the thing would never move. I keep falling asleep whilst reading the kids their bedtime stories and forgetting all about it. So thank you, darling. Yet another reason I married the right man.
Browsing Pinterest just now, I stumbled upon this horrifying book:
At first I thought it was some sort of spoof, but no, it is a real book: Krampus: The Devil of Christmas. Apparently, Krampus was Saint Nick's helper in early European Christmas traditions. While Saint Nick would visit good children and reward them with presents, Krampus would visit the naughty ones. I see a direct line from Krampus to the Elf, don't you? He even looks a little like Krampus, minus the horns and tongue. Thankfully, my kids don't seem too worried about the reports the elf is making nightly about their behaviour although Luke does find it "freaky and just a little creepy, Mom" that the elf moves around the house at night. I'll just have to make sure he never finds out about Krampus...
These. The Cazelet Chronicles. Written by Elizabeth Jane Howard, who, at the age of 90, still gets up every morning to write them. Apparently there are now five in the series and I'm only in the middle of the second, which fills me with great joy. There's nothing better than the thought that you've still got a lot of a great story left to read. No matter what I have to slog through during the day, the thought of these waiting on my bedside table keep me going. Apparently, this family saga, which starts two years before the second world war, is based on Howard's own family. My beloved Hilary Mantel is a fan, too.
Although I've got them on my kindle, the covers are very pretty:
I don't know why I find reading about the second world war so comforting -- obviously it wasn't at all comfortable for those living through it...