Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Borders Bargain Bin Finds

Because the students at my husband's school so thoughtfully donated a Borders gift card to our family after the apartment fire, I have had a good excuse to go lurking around the bargain shelves there lately. Today I happened upon two great finds for our family!

The first one I just love already and can't wait to delve into more deeply. It's The Original Girl's Handy Book was first published in 1887 and written by two of the founders of the Girl Scouts. It's a regular compendium for rediscovering lost arts.

Listen to some of these fun topics: Easter egg dolls, how to host a corn roast, quiet games for hot weather, how to make a hammock, nutting parties, the Maypole dance, bran pie as a means of Christmas gift distribution, a heap of rubbish and what to do with it.

Not only do there appear to be lots of fun ideas for actual use, but it is so delightful to read about them in the quaint style of the 19th century, complete with Victorian illustrations. I love the resourceful femininity that it celebrates! (Apparently, there's a boy's equivalent out there that was published much earlier that would be fun to acquire at some point too)The second find I recommend for more pragmatic reasons. I don't know how many of you are like me in that you have found yourself with a baby you wanted to sing to, but discovered that your reserve of lullabies and fun rhymes was pathetically lacking. When M was born I found myself only half- remembering songs that I heard growing up and just generally wishing I knew more children's music.

Wee Sing Classic Rhymes and Lullabies is a good way to remedy this deficiency and a great tool for preparing for a baby on the way. It comes with two song books "Wee Sing for Baby" and "Wee Sing Mother Goose" as well as two CDS with recordings of the songs.

In listening to the CDs I found that the Wee Sing company has "jazzed up" their music a little from what I remember as a child, but generally they do a good job keeping the songs simple, melodious, and sufficiently slow to be appropriate for children. (I don't like a lot of children's music that's made now because it tends to be so percussion-heavy and seems more geared toward turning kids into cool teenagers than letting them enjoy the simple sweetness of childhood).

Even though M seemed to enjoy the CD pretty well when I played it in the car this morning (especially in comparison to the talk radio that I normally listen to when we drive) I would have to say that I think that the CDs are more useful for parents than for children. After all, what's so wonderful about baby songs is how interactive they can be. There's so much touching, tickling, and giggling with the baby that a CD just can't do.

Here's a cute example from Wee Sing that I hadn't heard until just this morning and can't wait to try on M:

Knock, knock (knock on baby's forehead)
Peek in, (push up baby's eyebrow)
Open the latch (push up the tip of baby's nose)
And walk right in. (walk fingers to baby's mouth)
How do you do, Mr. Chinny, Chin, Chin? (wiggle baby's chin)

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