Posts Tagged ‘Louise Spilsbury’

Ridiculous Avoidance

Friday, 7 November 2008

Still no camera charger, so I can’t show you the handbag I’m making, or the matching corsage (both from Erika Knight’s Essential Crochet, seeing as my flatmate gave me the book and the yarn – both deep purple! – at the same time. to put on my coat when I go out with it. I’m really quite happy with both, although there is some finishing up to do. I’ve bought lining material for the bag, and a friend has offered to sew it all up, so I basically need to decide what to do about a handle for it, and attach a safety pin to the corsage. I did the large size of the pattern for the latter, with a chunky wook (instead of crochet cotton!) so it will perhaps make more of a statement than I meant it to, but I think the pair of items are going to use the two skeins I was given quite well.

There are no visiting teddies here just at the moment, which gives me a few days to sort out charging the camera…

In the meantime, I have been reading a decent amount, although I’m still a couple of weeks behind the book-per-day aim.

276. Foul Play by Tom Palmer

Football fan and wannabe detective who doesn’t mind skipping school for a good clue to the current mystery, Danny is basically a good kid who squabbles with his older sister but gets on well with his father. He gets a bit too personally involved with the strange events happening at the local football stadium one night, however…

This book is absolutely calculated to appeal to reluctant boy readers, but it’s not bad for all that!

277. Akiva by Rabbi Meir Marcus Lehmann

I said a bit about this book last week, in comparing it to And Rachel Was His Wife. I think the main thing I’d add is that the latter is character driven, while this has imparting information and a point of view as its objective. It’s very good for all that.

278. Artist Trading Cards by Leonie Pujol

Maybe when I finish the Masters I could take up ATCs…

279. Graphic Biographies: Martin Luther King Jr by Gary Jeffrey & Chris Forsey

Any other day [than Wednesday – the rest of this post has taken me awhile] I’d ignore the current Politics (with a big ‘P’ – I don’t think one ever can fully ignore small ‘p’ politics), and focus on the ones discussed in this and the following few books, but I think every (American, but not only) politician who mentions dreams in a speech knows their listeners will think of Martin Luther King Jr (and the ‘American Dream’ too), and I am pretty sure Barack Obama wouldn’t mind that today.

280. Graphic Biographies: Harriet Tubman by Rob Shone & Anita Ganeri

It’s rather longer since Harriet Tubman escaped slavery, and helped others both in the journey and the life after slavery. America has had a long struggle towards full equality of all its communities, as has every country out there. I’d be interested to know of some that have really got there, even if only in law. While the explicit (and legal) inequalities Tubman (and King, and Mandela) fought against are now much diminished and more subtle, in many ways that makes them harder to fix.

281. Graphic Biographies: Nelson Mandela by Rob Shone & Neil Reed

So, after all the politics, the series of books is a good one! The graphic story is well told and drawn, and each book has a couple of standard non-fiction style pages before and after it, to give context. I haven’t read the ones on entertainers, many of whose stories, like Mandela’s, have not come to an end yet.

282. Who Was Mary Seacole? by Paul Harrison

Seacole was a visionary front line nurse. More front-line than Florence Nightingale, and well known in her day.

Still wading through all the books to be discussed in this post by Friday, and today’s Sheldon tickled me. (Although it’s now got me thinking that I have no good excuse for not having finished the Braille Primer yet…)

283. Natural Disasters: Forest Fires by Laura Purdie Salas
284. Blazing Bush and Forest Fires by Louise and Richard Spilsbury

Yes, these two are on the same topic. Both are good, and I can’t decide which one to recommend over the other. The first tends to briefly tell the story of a particular memorable fire in history, and from there give facts, whereas the second gives information and then shows example pictures and tales, so it really depends which approach suits your purpose, taste or child.

285. You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Victorian Miner! by John Malam

Quite true, you wouldn’t, especially as a child! This is a most informative, well done series. It’s also reminded me of a film I saw (on television) as a child, but that I can’t find on IMDB. It was about a small mining village in England (or possibly Wales) where the mine was to be modernised, or closed, or something, and the pit ponies were to be killed rather than bringing them back above ground, I think. The local children get very upset about this, and after their protests get them nowhere they go through one of the old unused mine shafts (?) and kidnap the ponies. Being a children’s film it all ends happily, of course, with the ponies allowed a field to retire into. I can’t remember the title or other details, so if anyone has any ideas, I’d appreciate it.

286. I Wonder Why Volcanoes Blow Their Tops and other questions about natural disasters by Rosie Greenwood

The focus here (which surprised me) is not volcanoes, but natural disasters, but all are interestingly described, with bright clear pictures.

287. Waiting for Anya by Michael Morpurgo

My plan is to gradually read my way through Morpurgo’s canon, because he presents big historical (and other) issues in affecting and enthralling stories that children and adults like. This one is set in a French village on the Spanish border during WWII. The adult men went to fight and many are now prisoners of war, including Jo’s father, so the women, children and older or disabled men are getting on with looking after each other and the sheep without them. Apart from this absence the war has stayed away from the village for three years, until a unit of German soldiers is billeted upon them to guard the border, and Jo discovers there are more impacts than he realised.

288. Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy

So, Scarlett is a very troubled twelve-year old who has just been kicked out of her fifth school since her parents split up three years previously. People do seem to recognise that counselling might help, or have helped, but since they only ever threaten her with it (rather than offering it to her) that isn’t going to happen. After cycling through living with her mother, her grandmother, her uncle and her mother again, this city girl’s latest ‘last chance’ is to be sent to her father, his new wife and stepdaughter in a cottage in rural Ireland, and she doesn’t want to go.

289. My Special Brother by Rena Schiff

Far better than I thought it would be (I have to admit to letting the garish cover put me off over the years), this is the slightly fictionalised story of a 1960s Orthodox Jewish family in New York who buck the expectation that disabled babies will be left at the hospital to go straight into care, and bring their youngest son (who has Downs) home to be a beloved member of the family. Thankfully most of these explicit expectations have now been overcome, and there is ever more provision and support for children and adults with disabilities to receive extensive education and live as productive respected members of the community [although there is a lot more for us all to do] but this family worked their way through the prejudices and ignorance, and then allowed their story to be told to explain things to the rest of us. I’m making it sound very worthy – really it’s a good story too.

290. Just Between Friends by Sara Wiederblank

A definite relationships novel, this has four friends in their mid twenties dealing with how their expectations have either not been met, or have been met but still don’t entirely satisfy. One of those frustrating (but often frustratingly real) tales where the reader wants to just make the characters sit down and talk to their spouses or other loved ones!

291. Ug: Boy Genius of the Stone Age by Raymond Briggs

Fungus the Bogeyman remains my favourite Briggs protagonist, but this is amusing. I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone who didn’t know a bit about the Stone Age already, as most of the story revolves around the anachronisms within our understanding of it.

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Nurturing Environments

Thursday, 5 June 2008

I finally got back to my log cabin blanket last night, as even though it’s big, it was the only single bag project I could find to take along to the group last night. We were back in Starbucks after the renovations, but in a different section, as they haven’t put back ‘our’ tables yet. I don’t know is this temporary or long term.

152. Shining Star by Chani Altein

This is a sweet but thought-provoking character novel, about Adina, the ‘ordinary’ middle child of a very talented family, who feels she should do something to make her stand out of the crowd, even though the many good qualities she puts to good use generally require the personal connection to be appreciated.

Adina has the support network of family, friends, teachers and neighbours we could all use, and enjoys the giving aspects of that just as much as the receiving ones, but that doesn’t stop her having some hard decisions of her own to make and stick to along the way.

153. Eco-Action: Buildings of the Future by Angela Royston

Scary-because-it’s-clear-and-upfront information on global warming and how our buildings do and should impact upon it, including lots of suggestions for small-scale changes. (Turning off lightbulbs, proper insulation and also writing to politicians to encourage the larger-scale changes.)

A good incentive to finish my blankets and shawls, and reduce the use of heating this winter!

154. Keeping Pets: Mice by Louise and Richard Spilsbury

Mice don’t need many lessons in insulating their homes – pet ones simply need to be provided with the correct materials! I never fail to be surprised how small mice really are; the pictures in this book do make them look very cute indeed.

155. Physical Science in Depth: Heating and Cooling by Carol Ballard

And here’s how it all works, through freezing, boiling, deposition and sublimation, to affect every substance and creature out there.

Still Reading

Friday, 23 May 2008

Three more books for you today, which should have come in somewhere during the last crochet/moving posts. I’ve found a tube from which to make a spool for the strap(s) of my gardening bag, but haven’t had a chance to actually make it yet.

126. Only a Show by Anne Fine

Beautifully illustrated (by Strawberrie Donnelly – isn’t that a great name?), this is about one of those small difficult episodes in the life of a shy child that adults or the supremely confident could also do with reading for added sensitivity. Anna’s class teacher gives them all a week to produce a five minute performance of their choice, and terrifies poor Anna, who is one of those children who quietly rubs along at the back of the class, never showing the talents she displays so abundantly at home. Her little brother Simon wants her to give a puppet show, just as she does for him every night before he goes to bed, but she isn’t confident enough to do it, so she considers a few other options along the way. She gets her grandmother to teach her to knit as something she might show her class, and that becomes significant later on. A fun book for progressing readers and their families and friends.

127. Keeping Pets: Dogs by Louise & Richard Spilsbury

Lots of information about how to assess the capacity of one’s family to look after a dog, and then if they can, choosing and looking after the pet, training and generally committing to it. I do like this series.

128. Tell Me About Sojourner Truth by John Malam

Sojourner Truth is one of those heroes of the Abolitionist movement in America 150 years ago whose name I have known forever. Still, that sentence about wrapped up my knowledge before yesterday. This is a short biography of a woman I think I’d like to learn more about. I hadn’t even realised she chose the name Sojourner Truth for herself when she began working for freedom for all.

It’s all over

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Game Final!
This is my completed NatCroMo game. Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part and made this work. I wish I’d used colours that went better together, but I like all the yarns individually…

Now I have to finish the Seraphina, and then I can try out some of my inspiration from the game.

91. Contemporary Papier Mache: Colorful Sculpture, Jewelry, and Home Acessories by Gilat Nadivi

I don’t think I’ve done anything with papier mache since I was a child, but this book is making me want to give it another go. It has a wide variety of project suggestions, giving a sense of the range of possibilities available. It doesn’t let you forget how important paint is in most papier mache.

92. Animal Groups: Life in a Herd: Elephants by Richard & Louise Spilsbury

These two really have written a lot of books, haven’t they? They write well, and this is an informative and interesting read. Elephants are beautiful creatures of great dignity, and both are well shown in this book.

Pensive on Purim

Friday, 21 March 2008

Purim is a time for fun, for dressing up and giving gifts (food to friends and charity/tzedaka to those in need), but it’s also a good time to reflect, to turn things over in one’s head, rather than just upside-down.

Reading the Book of Esther so soon after Parshas Zachor, and when I’ve been reading so much about the Holocaust (and other wars), and considering the ongoing and renewed conflicts across the world makes me think of how our lives can be overturned in an instant, and about how Yom Kippur is often glossed as Yom Ke-Purim, a day like Purim.

82. Trench Art by Nicholas J. Saunders

Simple evidence that whenever they can people will try to personalise, beautify the objects they use, perhaps more than ever in the the dehumanising atmosphere of front line war. (I actually read this yesterday, but didn’t get to blog it.)

83. Animal Groups: Life in a School: Dolphins by Richard & Louise Spilsbury

If even dolphins can regularly make the effort to help lift the weaker members of their school to the surface to breathe, what possible excuse do we as humans have for not caring for each other?

84. Hitler’s Forgotten Victims: The Holocaust and the Disabled by Suzanne E. Evans

And this is the book that has been overshadowing my mind for the last few days. I don’t even know what the most horrific part of this ‘programme’ was. I don’t even want to list the options, as it makes me feel sick to describe these disgusting ‘doctors’ who lost any vestige of humanity in their disregard for non-‘useful’ people and their leadership of the kind of ‘mercy’ killings such as starvation, gassing, botched sterilisations, experimentation and far more.

It’s not as if I didn’t know that anyone outside Aryan ideals was in severe danger in Nazi Germany/occupied Europe, but I hadn’t realised the extent of the systematic murder of hundreds of thousands of disabled people. Nor had I realised that the infamous experimenting and eugenic-obsessed ‘doctors’ like Mengele weren’t (apparently) rare aberrations, but a very significant proportion of influential medical leaders of the time and place.

So I’m sickened, and overnight I need to get back my joy in Purim and remember its message, that those who persecute will be overthrown, and in the end those of us considered lesser and worthy of extermination will survive and outlast our persecutors and their cultures. The Divine orchestration may be incomprehensible to us, but it will be worked out.

Bookworm

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

50. Drawing Now : Eight Propositions by Laura Hoptman

An exhibition catalogue (and more) from the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2002. 26 different artists were put into eight different categories (propositions). I read and perused most of this some months ago, but finished it today. Again, learning more about the state of modern art (and Modern Art).

51. Keeping Pets: Cats by Louise & Richard Spilsbury

I read and discussed the Freshwater Fish volume in this series yesterday, and this one is similarly well put together and written, with the same focus on the needs of the animal for proper care.

52. Great Britons: Leaders by Simon Adams

Each of the twenty ‘great leaders’ receives a double page spread, with chronological details, a picture or two (all in black and white) and a very short biography. On most spreads there is also a box with either an anecdote or a couple of lines on other figures of related interest. They are pretty much all the usual suspects (monarchs up to the modern era, then influential politicians, basically). It does make the effort to include both Scottish and Welsh figures of note, rather than just English (and explains that it isn’t including Irish characters from anywhere on the island).

53. The 1930s Scrapbook by Robert Opie

This is a fascinating series, in large format hardback (the quintessential coffee table book), with very short written explanations on each spread of the commercial packaging and advertising shown, showing how fashions and social feeling changed over the decade or period in question. I really like seeing how similar and different the products, brands and styles of advertising are now and then.

54. Step-Up History: Mary, Queen of Scots by Rhona Dick

This is one of the Scottish-focussed volumes of the Step-Up History series, and gives the details of Mary’s life, including the complicated politics she was involved in her whole life, with the impact that had on what would become the United Kingdom(s), and the other major figures involved. (The kind of stuff I mostly learned from and because of the historical fiction I read, it has to be said!)

More work

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

I like reading at work, although I’m glad the computers seem to be properly usable as of the end of the day. Three more books today, one more of the science books, one related history one for variety, and then a reprint of a short 1930 volume on children’s costume with nice pictures and descriptions from a proper Edwardian lady who (by the sound of her) was about upper middle class and only thought of those below that when she had to. Very clear about her subjective opinions of the outfits and fashions she’s discussing!

7. Step Up Science: Moving and Growing by Louise and Richard Spilsbury

8. Step Up History: Why did Henry VIII marry six times? by John Gorman

9. English Children’s Costume 1775-1920 by Iris Brooke

Back to work

Monday, 7 January 2008

The work done over the holidays was finished up today, which moved me from my desk, and so once I’d finished sorting the place out, I read three books (which is part of my job, when I have the time), which are going to go on my list. They are are from the same series of books, by Louise and Richard Spilsbury for Evans Brothers Ltd, aimed at key stage 2, with clear explanations, photographs and diagrams, and lots of suggested hands-on activities. Safety and care for others (including animals to be examined) is strongly emphasised, and there are guidelines for parents and teachers at the end of the books.

4. Step Up Science: Keeping Warm

5. Step Up Science: Circuits and Conductors

6. Step Up Science: Habitats