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It’s time for Book Fair!

Do you recall the Scholastic flyers that came home in our backpacks as kids? Circling your choices, Christmas coming every six weeks or so — remember this was in the era before a mega bookstore was on every corner. Then there was the Book Fair — a room at school converted into a wonderland full of books to purchase. Once I pulled all my savings together and bought the classic EB White trilogy (Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little & Trumpet of the Swan) at a price a 10 year old girl could afford. It was wonderful.

For the past seven years, I have either helped to coordinate or volunteered at a Fair for the girls’ schools. Watching all the children discover the same thrill of finding a book that is “theirs,” clutching that last little bit of change to buy a gift certificate for a beloved teacher — how can you contain the delight?

Speaking of thrilling delights (or not) — today’s poet is known far more for his adventure novels than his poetry. This lovely little bit of whimsy evokes cozy nooks, and treasured friends of the paged persuasion. Austen, Dumas, and Thurber are among those with whom I can cuddle. Who brings on your snuggle?

The Land of Story-books by Robert Louis Stevenson

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

book list: Adventures in Solitude (the New Pornographers — surprisingly well crafted hook); It’s Only Make Believe (Sam Moore’s version is kick butt); The Book I Read (Talking Heads — what can you say, creative & quirky); More Adventurous (Rilo Kiley — I love her stuff); The Book of My Life (Sting with Anoushka Shankar — he could sing about shoe leather); Makes Me Wonder (Maroon 5 — tasty bubblegum, don’t you think?); Beauty of Uncertainty (KT Tunstall — she would appreciate Stevenson); The Story Book Ball (Maria Muldaur — bluesy singer who created some amazing children’s music); My Little Brown Book (Duke Ellington & John Coltrane — right now I’m trying to find an album with Duke, ‘Trane & Miles together); Bookends Theme (Simon & Garfunkel — off an almost perfect album); I Could Write a Book (from Pal Joey — illusions shattered in that it’s Jo Ann Greer who sings for the ever gorgeous Rita Hayworth); Storybook Children (Bette Midler); Wishin’ and Hopin’ (Dusty Springfield — such a great talent); Wishing Well (ok, I like the Terence Trent D’Arby version); Sitting, Waiting, Wishing (Jack Johnson) and Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic rules with this one).

From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover you have wings. –> Helen Hayes

Take care,
Aly

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