Sunday, April 13, 2014


We are listening to The Penderwicks again, a bit earlier this year than in previous years.  I came upon the kids cozied up in our bed, listening early one morning.  As I moved about the room, I realized that we were back at the beginning of the story, despite listening to a a section from the middle of the book when I was making dinner the night before with them.

Are we back at the beginning? I asked.

Yup.  I wanted to hear the beginning again, explained Julia.

And the end is kind of sad, said Elliott.  So, since we already know that part, we decided to listen to the happy parts.

As I stood there, the Penderwick family was just arriving (just arriving but for us going on perhaps our 8th listening of their just arriving, at least) at their rented cottage on the grounds of an estate called Arundel.  The other times we have read this book, Jonathan or I have been reading it aloud, and we have always pronounced the estate's name like the town here in Maine, Arundel (ah-RUN-dull).  Emphasis on the second syllable.  This morning, the story was just describing the gardens and grounds of Arundel and the narrator pronounced the word ever so slightly differently (AH-ren-dell).

Nicholas turned to me and said: Arundel.  It sounds like the name of a city in Middle Earth. 

It turns out there is no such city, though in Nicholas and my minds just then it was the name of the elven city, which is actually Rivendell.  But for a moment there, Nicholas and I thought we were so cool to have figured that out.

Elliott said, I think Jeanne Birdsall did that on purpose.  Because in the Penderwicks, Arundel is like an elven city.  The gardens and the animals and all the magic that happens there. 

Julia, jumped up.  And it's the name of the city in Frozen (the movie).  Arendelle.  

So it is.

And so, even before breakfast, we were talking books.  Well, books and movies.  But let's go with stories, and the shared stories between us, and making connections between them.  And the enthusiastic love of these stories we know from reading together creating more connections between us.  All brought to us by really knowing our stories, and reading and rereading them together.  All this before we got out of pajamas.

I couldn't get them to stop reading, or listening.  And so, I compromised and told them they could bring the story with them and get dressed while still listening.  It worked.

And so our day began.

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