I was on one of those baking-hot family vacations, back in the days when having air conditioning in a car was optional. Seriously. My sister and I were probably the only kids at school whose parents would not spend the extra dollars to have it installed.
“Roll down your window,” they’d say, “and poke your head out if you’re hot.”
Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but the coolest air my sister and I enjoyed in the back seat was called WD50 which translates to windows down at 50mph.
I’m remembering one vacation out in Colorado when we drove through the Rocky Mountains. The meadow flowers bowed in the breezes, the sun blazed over us, and the views were spectacular. Up in the passenger seat, my mother glanced up from her map to gaze out the window. (Yes. These were the days before cell phones. How did we manage to live back then???)
“STOP!” my mom ordered. “There’s no one behind us. Back up about one-hundred feet, and pull over.”
Of course, we all thought Mom had spotted an injured animal and asked what we were backing down the mountain to rescue.
“I saw a (insert LONG Latin name of a botanical species found in Colorado EXCEPT at that particular time of year).”
Dad pulled over. Mom popped the trunk and pulled out a small pail and trowel. (These were standard equipment in our car when traveling with my mother.) Mom marched up the hill, flashed us her triumphant smile, knelt, and dug up the rare species to bring home for her rock garden. I don’t think there was a plant she didn’t know the proper botanical name for. That goes for bird names, too.
As always, my story ties in with today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review. Yes, my story was about my mother, who, like my dad, amazed me with all she knew–just like the child in today’s book who feels amazement at his father’s extensive knowledge.
My Father Knows the Names of Things is written by Jane Yolen, the beloved, award-winning children’s author of more than 370 books and illustrated by the imaginative, award-winning illustrator, Stephane Jorisch.
Title – My Father Knows the Names of Things
Written by – Jane Yolen
Illustrated by –Stephane Jorisch
Published by – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers – 2010
Suitable for ages – 3-7
Topics/Theme – Learning, sharing, father and child time.
My father knows the names of things,
Each bird that sings,
Their nicknames, too,
He knows the names of dogs
And seven words that all mean blue.
Amazon Review HERE – From each bird that sings, to every kind of cloud, to all of the planets, the father in this story knows the names of them all–and takes the time to impart his knowledge to his child. As they walk together outside, the father points out which mosses are the fuzziest and which insects are the buzziest, which flowers are the tallest and which beetles are the smallest. Jane Yolen’s lyrical text is complemented by Stephane Jorisch’s soft artwork, a pairing that is touching without being overly sentimental, which makes this the perfect choice for fathers and children to share.
Learn more about Jane Yolen HERE.
Learn more about Stephane Jorisch HERE.
Until next Friday!