Archive for January, 2009

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

Board books are generally pretty boring. Every so often you get a really funny one but for the most part, you have to read them so many times that even the best start to feel tiresome.

And then there are the bedtime books. My 3 year old still insists on hearing Goodnight Moon every night — so we don’t even read it anymore, it’s one of the “stories” he gets to hear when he’s in his crib (yes, he still sleeps in his crib — truthfully, I’d keep him in there until he’s 10 if it will keep him from getting out of bed!). So it’s high praise when I call a board book one of my favorite bedtime stories.

It's Time For Bed
Time For Bed

Time For Bed by Mem Fox is a perfect bedtime story. The words are lilting, there isn’t too much text and it’s sweet without being too sappy. It has this soothing rhythm that could honestly put my to sleep if I let it and Jane Dyer’s soft illustrations are a perfect complement. If you are dealing with a child who is too awake, there’s also a lot to look at in the book — you can point out all the animals and their animal parents, etc. And it’s the perfect message for the end of the day:

It’s time for bed little mouse, little mouse,
Darkness is falling all over the house.

It’s time for bed little calf, little calf,
What happened today to make you laugh?

Unfortunately, at the end of the day (for that’s what it is when you read this book), even a great bedtime book can’t ensure a great bedtime. Sad, isn’t it?

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Light Years by Tammar Stein

Like many people, I’m thinking a lot about Israel these days. I think that this week, as I get back on track with blogging, I’ll focus on some great Israel books. I’ve already blogged about my new favorite YA Israel novel — Freefall by Anna Levine — now it’s time to go back a bit and blog about one of my other favorite YA Israel novels: Light Years by Tammar Stein.

Light Years

Light Years

Light Years tells the story of Maya, an Israeli young woman who is just finishing her army service when a suicide bombing blows up a restaurant where her boy friend was waiting for her. The trouble is: she was trying to figure out whether to tell him she was going to still go to the U.S. to go to college, even though he didn’t want her to go.  The story is wonderful — the way it carries you back and forth between Maya’s present, where she’s in college in Virginia, and her past, in Israel with Dov in the time leading up to and following the bombing. It’s a great love story — as Maya remembers what it was to be in love with Dov, and what it means to now be falling for someone else.

But more than anything else, it takes you right back to Israel. To the way it feels to be in Israel — not with the threat of bombings, but rather with the taste of the food, the smell of the air, the way people relate to one another. It’s one of those books you don’t put down once you start reading it, that captures you. It’s one of those books that even in the cold beginning of January, in the safety of America, you remember what it feels like to be back in Israel.

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