And with that, the long, hot summer holidays are over. I may not be looking forward to making school lunches or doing homework, but I think we are all ready for school to start. Jossie is excited to wear a new uniform and ride her bike to school and Toby and Bethany are keen to get back to their friends. Toby is starting Middle School so we have three separate schedules! Having largely exhausted our holiday childcare options, Bethany came to work with me twice last week! She sat in our lunchroom reading, drawing, playing her DS and watching movies on my laptop.
I remembered another book that I read while we were away - The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin. I was hoping to take The Help away with me but someone had already borrowed it so I turned to NoveList to find something similar and it suggested The Queen of Palmyra. When I was very much younger, I used to love books set in the american south - To Kill and Mockingbird, Cold Sassy Tree, The Grass Harp, that sort of thing. These days I prefer the UK or France, India, China, Japan or Africa so it was a departure for me. It is a rather grim story, really, as you might expect for Mississippi in 1963, but I found it quietly moving. There is no sweetness, no endearing relationships but a gritty look at some big issues.
Something with a little more sweetness and lots of whimsy, wit, adventure and beautiful illustrations is The Windvale Sprites. Kristy brought this to our last book club meeting as she is reviewing it and when I realised who wrote it, I had to read it. Mackenzie Crook, you delightful man! We loved The Office and Gareth was such a fabulous character. You really couldn't dislike him thoroughly because he was so fragile looking and the episode when he cried..... anyway, The Windvale Sprites is a completely lovely children's book and I hope he writes many more.