great book

Wise Bear William is Wise Indeed


One of the best things that has come out of having a blog is the wonderful connections that I have made to people that are in far-flung places, people I may never have met otherwise. Here is a true and lovely story of how I met the author of Wise Bear William, Arthur Wooten.

I was working on a post for book blog tour for WOW (Women on Writing) about Melissa Goodwin– she wrote the lovely book The Christmas Village – and Melissa was so nice! She wrote thank you notes (you know your mother always told you to and she was right) and we started an email conversation that led to us realizing that we were both bookish girls from the same small town although did not know each other – different ages. Small world, yes? Through Melissa I met Arthur Wooten (also from same hometown – they knew each other when) and he offered to send me a copy of the book to review. As we started corresponding, I realized that I went to elementary school with his brother such a long time ago!

Anyway, Arthur very kindly (he is also very polite) sent me a copy of his new book, Wise Bear William. It turns out that he wrote this when he was in his twenties and put it aside arthur wooten wise bear william on capability mom blogwhile he did other thingsĀ  – like writing books: Fruit Cocktail, On Picking Fruit and Birthday Pie. Over the years he thought of different ways to present this story and I am so glad it is as a picture book. The lovely message is lightly told but deeply felt. Without preaching the story shows that the important things in life are acceptance, friendship, loyalty and love.

The story begins with an exclamation from bouncy Rag Doll Rose (these are talking toys) and the energy continues as you are drawn into the lives of these toys in a charming attic (if we had an attic I would like to be like this one). From Bean Bag Bunny to Wise Bear William, the characters are beautifully drawn and captivating. The illustrations are rich in detail, warm and complement the story perfectly. Wise Bear William is encouraging, kind and brings out the best in the other toys (who are a bit worse for the wear) as they prepare for a visit from the children who are visiting in the house below. As a tradition, every year the children come up to the attic to choose a toy from those in the attic to have as their own until they are too old to play with it, then the toys come back to the attic. When you read a children’s book you think you know what will happen (and usually I do) but the surprising ending is a delight. Go read this book now (you can find it on Amazon by clicking the book below). A lovely story for a lovely time of year. Enjoy the holidays!

Wise Bear William is destined to become a classic.

Townie (by Andre Dubus III) – My Book Group Pick

Andre Dubus and Nancy BrownMy book group picked Townie and we were fortunate enough to have a field trip to The Newton Free Library to hear author Andre Dubus speak last month and read from Townie. He is an incredible speaker; engaging, funny, touching,great book by andre dubus III Townie on capability mom blog serious, irreverent and also nice to look at (oh, you were thinking it!) and I am having trouble putting down this book – I even chose it over my iPad in jury duty hell room today although it may have been easier to concentrate on the iPad in that small, loud space). I also grew up in the Merrimack Valley so many of the places he writes about have a familiar ring (Zayre’s, Demoulas Markets) but luckily I don’t come from such a dark place and find it amazing to realize that his reality was so different from my own.

He writes and speaks with honesty and sensitivity about a difficult family life and his own behavior which had to be tough even this far away from it. He has a natural charismatic way about him and is sweetly down to earth and genuine. He teaches creative writing as an Associate Professor at the University of Lowell (another connection – my father taught there too, but not in the same department or even at the same time) and his class must be a joy to attend. He understands how the creative process works and the necessity of being open to the process and he described it as lovingly and respectfully as I have ever heard it described. This is a tough book to read but even more difficult to put down.

For the holiday party of our book group, Pragmatic Mom had a great idea to bring a gently used/loved book to swap at our event. Love a Yankee Grab and especially one with books! Of course it is at the same time as the Library’s Friends Holiday party, so I will make an appearance at each event.

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