Perfect Pairings from our current studies. May we suggest:
Pairing No. 1: “The Wednesday Wars” and “The Complete Shakespeare“
This is our second time reading Gary D. Schmidt’s “The Wednesday Wars”…I had forgotten what a clever, multi-layered work this is. So far, the teacher in the book has forced “The Merchant of Venice”, “The Tempest”, “MacBeth”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and “Julius Caesar” onto the protagonist. And he LOVES them. Well, how can we not want to see what the excitement is about? We really lucked out with The Complete Shakespeare (an Usborne book, Melbourne/Surducan). This reference provides a two-page spread at the beginning of each play, identifying characters with a brief description and winsome illustration. We refer to these pages every night before we continue reading each very thorough play synopsis. First-rate resource for those of us who would be overwhelmed by the prospect of explaining every line of the original Shakespeare.
Pairing No. 2: “125 Animals that Changed the World” and “Cat Stories“
From the National Geographic Kids Book “125 Animals that Changed the World”:
- we now know what the Dickin Medal is! (a British award bestowed upon an animal for “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty”)
- based on this book, the animal my son and I want to know more about: homing pigeons
Graphically, “Animals that Changed the World” is loud, cluttered, and jarring (nonetheless, we DO like opening this book and cheering for the animal-of-the-night). The perfect foil for this chaos? The calm, reflective, soothing chapters of James Herriot’s “Cat Stories”. Purrrrrr.
Pairing No. 3: My son’s toothbrush and Jason Chin’s “Gravity”
I have been responsible for brushing my son’s teeth FOREVER (no cavities folks, no cavities), then OUT OF NOWHERE, last month, my son grabbed the toothbrush I was holding, took the tube of toothpaste, unscrewed it, spread it on the toothbrush, pressed the button to make it vibrate and dipped it under the faucet! And he has been doing this night and day ever since. ONE TINY THING: when he holds the toothbrush under the faucet, he has the bristles facing downward and guess what happens? So we read through Jason Chin’s beautifully illustrated book on gravity to see if that would rectify the situation. It didn’t. Still, the book is lovely.
Perfect Pairings at the Local Diner – Story problem: To beef up orders during the pandemic, the local diner is having a “Perfect Pairings TO GO” special: Miss Carolyn’s Chicken Pot Pie teamed with the diner’s famous Super Cinnamon Apple Pie. If each pie has a top and bottom crust, how many crusts need to be rolled out every morning if the diner sells 50 “Perfect Pairing” orders daily?
A. 50 pie crusts B. 100 pie crusts C. 200 pie crusts D. 400 pie crusts (answer at bottom of post)
Classical Music Time – Perfect Pairings: The Expected and The Unexpected
Pairing No. 1 –
The Expected: Gustav Holst’s “Country Gardens”, from “Morris Dance Tunes, Set 1”, of 1910. It is such an expected “let’s make nice” melody. Don’t be taken in by Percy Grainer’s “Country Gardens” (basically the same melody as Holst’s) composed a full 8 years after Holst’s! The scoundrel! This tuneful, sweet, repetitive piece gets a shot in the arm in this particular recording, speeding along at a faster tempo than usually performed –
The Unexpected: Gustav Holst’s “Mercury, the Winged Messenger” from “The Planets”, composed in 1916. Oh boy, do we love this short, unexpected, erratic piece, and apparently the conductor (Susanna Malkki) in this video footage has caught the fever, too –
Pairing No. 2 –
The Expected: Luigi Boccherini’s “Minuet”, AKA String Quintet in E Major, movement III, composed in 1771. Syrupy sweet, but a lively play in this performance –
The Unexpected: Luigi Boccherini’s “Fandango” from Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D major, composed in 1798, a far cry from the conservative minuet. This intricate, warm, romantic (I am not going to say “sexy” in front of my son) piece was inspired by Boccherini’s days as a court musician for the Spanish royal family. This is the recording we have listened to about 200 times. We like everything from the LA Guitar Quartet –
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH
(story problem answer: C). 200 pie crusts)