Monday, December 6, 2010

Secret Little House on the Poppins

One of the wonderful things about spending the entire day in the car on our trip to NC was that we were able to finish a couple of books on CD.  I don't have much experience with books on CD, so I was interested to see how it would go over.  The kids didn't follow the story quite as well as when I read to them.  It's harder to interrupt and ask questions when you're listening to a CD.

Our first book was Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers.  My, oh, my this is a strange book.  I'm sure you're all familiar with the story of the Banks family and their magical nanny.  Sadly, the Mary Poppins in the book is no Julie Andrews.  As Harrison put it, "Why is she being so mean to them?"  It is most definitely not a jolly holiday with Mary in the book.  At first I thought maybe she just sounded mean because of the reader's harsh British accent.  Nope.  She's just mean.  After a while Chloe was the only one who wanted to listen to it, so we turned the sound on in her back corner of the car and went on with our lives.

The Disney movie of Mary Poppins is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.  In my mind, this movie is practically perfect in every way.  The cast, the music, the special effects--it all still holds up after all these years.  My kids love it, too.  It's based on a random combination of stories taken from a few different books from the Mary Poppins series.  Apparently Walt Disney had to court P.L. Travers for a long time before she would agree to making it a movie.  He made her story beloved and probably turned her into a kagillionaire.  Well played, Travers.  Well played.

The other book we listened to on CD was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  Harrison objected to this one, too.  I think in his mind gardens equal girls.  He listened reluctantly and the rest of us loved every minute of it.  The Secret Garden is the story of a young brat named Mary whose parents die and she is sent to live in a mysterious mansion with her cranky and absent uncle.  And also there's a secret garden.

I had been warned by Chelsea that the Yorkshire dialect is difficult to read aloud, so I saved this one for a road trip.  I'm really glad I didn't try to read this one aloud.  Yikes.  I had also checked out a beautifully illustrated copy of the book from the library for the kids to read along.  They still had difficulty paying close attention.  Jeff and I were happy to have something to concentrate on while driving in the dark.  Also, we enjoyed playing the Dicken Rocks drinking game.  (Anytime someone says something nice about Dicken, you drink.)  We were four pages from the end of the book when we finally arrived home. 

Years ago I had seen the movie of The Secret Garden and the stage musical.  They are both very nice.  I asked the kids if they wanted to watch the movie on Youtube with me.  Harrison lasted five minutes but was able to identify every single character on sight.  Busted.  Chloe lasted a half hour and then asked if she could go make sure Harrison was okay.  There are some minor differences between the movie and the book, but the story and characters are all there.  I think I'll give this one another try whe they're a couple of years older.  It seemd a bit dark and slow for them.

During our trip we also finished Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Other than the fact that it was long and there were some tedious chapters, (An entire chapter devoted to Pa making a door?  Really?) it was a great book.  It was the perfect book for this season of gratitude and giving.  The Ingalls family had so many struggles and were grateful for every teeny, tiny blessing in their lives.  The kids were able to see how blessed we are.  Orange you glad you have glass in your windows?

Our library has the entire Little House on the Prairie t.v. series and I borrowed a few episodes.  I had forgotten how family-centered it is.  What I mean is, it's really a show for the whole family.  Do they even make those, anymore?  Chloe was sick on the couch one afternoon and watched the whole disc.  She kept asking who everyone was and what was going on.  Harrison watched a couple of episodes.  They both really enjoyed episodes about the kids and were bored when there were grown ups on camera.  Also from the library I borrowed a Little House on the Prairie Cookbook.   I made them some of Ma's Cornbread with our soup.  It was tasty, but I'm glad I have more to eat than cornbread and rabbits.

NOTE: This post has been accompanied by pictures of our wicked awesome time jumping in Patti's leaves.  Thanks for the fun, Fall!

For a few holiday book reviews and suggestions, click HERE.

9 Wisecracks:

Nicole said...

Bridget was sporting some crack at the anniversary/birthday family party last night and I thought of Chloe. Represent.

I am keeping detailed notes of these book reviews. You're doing such a good job! Bridget and I read chapters from the real Winnie the Pooh stories and I've stifled a lot of laughs at how passive-aggressive Eeyore is in the books. He's not just gloomy, he's sarcastic, rude, not a good friend to anyone. It's awesome. Fun to know that Mary isn't a pleasure in the books.

What the comment?! Sorry so long.

Mom said...

That's a lot of books for one trip! So much for Patti's leaf raking - did you re-do the piles? Chloe's going to get you for this! Thanks for a delightful and informative post!

Annie Get Your Camera said...

We have the soundtrack to "The Secret Garden" musical and my kids love it. There was a good three or four months when that was what they insisted on listening to in the car. Good thing I happen to like it, too. I tried watching the movie with them, but they were bored in 2.5 seconds.

I'm interested in reading the Mary Poppins series now...

That last picture is perfect. :) "The end." *snigger*

Mom said...

Oh, and I love the pictures of your flying children.:)

melissa said...

Annie, it IS a good thing you like that music, too. Those songs really get stuck in my head.

Tammy and Alvin said...

What fun pics! And we really appreciate the book reviews as we try to pick goo read alouds for Miriam. Maybe Santa can leave a belt in Chloe's stocking. :)

Meredith said...

I cannot get over your amazing pictures! You are so talented Melissa. And you and your kids are CUTE.

allyn said...

amazing pictures. and hilarious reviews. that door was very important to them. otherwise they would freeze all winter behind a wool blanket acting as a door.
good job on your classics introductions. we have a version of the secret garden that is pretty good. i don't know who made it, but prof. mcgonagal is the head housekeeper.

melissa said...

That's the version of The Secret Garden that we watched. The only reason Harrison lasted as long as he did was because I told him Professor McGonagal was in it so he stayed to see her.

"Then Pa made another peg and placed that peg on the top left-hand corner to make a hinge. Then Pa made another peg . . . " Snore.