Saturday, June 11, 2011

Books and Music!

Sorry (once again!) for my absence from blogging this week!  I had a good excuse this time--our power was out for almost 2 days.  As much of a hassle it is to be without power, it does have its little perks.  Like it's really quiet!  You don't realize how much noise all those appliances make until they're not on.  And without the TV, computer, movies, etc, I was forced to get to some books I've been working on!

We seem to have caught Paul Revere Fever around here.  Usually in the summer I gravitate toward reading patriotic books to the kids.  Memorial Day and Independence Day just seem to put us in the mood, so a few weeks ago I picked out Mr. Revere and I by Robert Lawson.  It's a fun, fast-paced (albeit largely fictitious) retelling of the events leading up to Revere's famous ride, told from the perspective of his loyal horse, Sherry.  And there are few authors that can move the reader to action through the words of a horse, but Lawson can pull it off:
"Mr. Revere was quite right when he said that my riding days were over.  Never since that day has he sat a horse.  He did, however, procure a beautiful little light trap which, on a fine day, he occasionally drives me in to Boston.  Despite my slight limp and the two scars which faintly mar my coat I think I can safely say that there are few turnouts in the city equal to ours in dash and elegance.
Sometimes on these occasions I am amused to think of the old hard days when we galloped over those very cobbles at breakneck speed, in rain, snow, sleet, biting cold or blazing heat.  They were hard, rough days, and nights, but never, either then or now, have I once regretted that day when I declared my independence and cast in my lot with the champions of Liberty and Freedom."
I highly recommend any of Lawson's books for children!  We have read Mr. Revere and I, Ben and Me, Rabbit Hill, and They Were Strong and Good.

Of course, I couldn't just quit with a book for the kids, so I checked out Paul Revere and the World He Lived In by Esther Forbes.  I am just getting started with it, but the first few pages were hard to put down!  Here's the first paragraph:
"There had been week upon week of the cold grey fury of the North Atlantic, for it was midwinter when the little refugee, Apollos Riviore, made its crossing.  At such a season only the hardiest of passengers ventured much above deck.  Bunks were dank, bread wormy, beef tainted, and the many of these small sailing ships never made port, but at least the Atlantic was crossed in great company.  God brooded upon the face of these waters.  His hand parted the mountainous waves.  He upheld the ship.  Even if one drowned, it was by the Providence of God.  Apollos did not drown.  He entered Massachusetts Bay either late in 1715 or early in 1716."
Finally...I'm at this very moment giving my first listen to Caedmon's Call's latest album, Raising the Dead.  I started listening to them almost 15 years ago and they have "been with me" through so many major life decisions: high school graduation, college, wedding, births of naturally I eagerly look forward to every new album they release.  So far I'm really liking what I'm hearing on this one.  I plan on doing a full review of the album after I let is soak in and simmer for a little while!

Here's an excerpt from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride", just to wrap it all up!

"So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere."

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