The playhouse is a spaceship. The garden is a jungle. And the brook is a home to fairies and other magical creatures. Join Martin and Sylvia — two delightful and all-too-familiar children — as they explore the infinite possibilities of their sweet home in the woods. These stories follow the rhythms of family life through the four seasons, delighting in the creative endeavors and sweet adventures of the much-loved brother and sister.
About the Stories
This is a collection of 13 autumn stories, for the 13 weeks of autumn.
In this year’s downtown Art Walk, it’s not only Daddy that has artwork on display — Martin and Sylvia do too! Brother and sister decide that they are going to be artistic in everything they do during the Art Walk — from what they wear to what they eat. They even find “art” in their especially unique treat at the end of the day!
When Martin and Sylvia learn about legendary treasure buried by pirates, they begin to wonder if pirate treasure might be buried in their own yard. Brother and sister don their explorers hats and belts and set out to look for clues as to where treasure could be. Their expedition takes many twists and turns but eventually leads them to an unexpected treasure, but treasure indeed.
Daddy discovers that the local fairgrounds are holding a big dog show where visitors can bring their own dogs! Brother and sister are excited to bring their old dog Billbill, though they understand he will need lots of rests throughout the day. At the show, they see all sorts of dogs — big, little, fluffy, short — dogs that jump high, dogs that jump long, racing dogs and hunting dogs — but it is on the way home they realize what kind of dog they own — a snuggling dog!
A Better Bird Feeder
Brother and sister are curious why bird feeders look the way they do. They don’t look like anything in the natural world. Why would birds be drawn to them? Momma suggests they take a nature walk and study how birds eat — and then — perhaps design a better bird feeder. Martin and Sylvia enthusiastically take up the challenge, but they meet with unexpected trouble:squirrels!
Rainy Day Help
Martin and Sylvia’s family gets a phone call one chilly afternoon from Mr. Brown, wondering if they could help him pick the last apples in his orchard before a hard frost arrives. Brother and sister don’t want to leave their cozy couch to potentially get wet in the rain on a chilly afternoon, but they join Momma and Daddy anyway. Over the course of the next few hours, they are filled with the special warmth and strength that come from helping a friend in need. And the special treat at the end of the day fills them up too!
What is that sound? Martin and Sylvia hear children’s voices next door at the Brown’s farm! When they investigate further, they find that a ‘field trip’ from the local school has come to help with farm chores. Mr. Brown welcomes brother and sister as his helpers, and the two enjoy conversations with the other children about school-at-home and school-at-school.
One dark and stormy night, Martin decides to cut his weekly chores a little short and leave the trash bag by the garage instead of fetching the plastic garbage bin. In the morning, he discovers that something has gotten into the bag and has spread trash all about. “Was it a bear?” wonders Sylvia. “Too big,” says Daddy. “A mouse?” wonders Sylvia. “Too small,” answers Daddy. “I know,” she says, “it was Trash Fairies!”
A Very Big Mess
Momma is away for two days, and Daddy has some fun things planned. But before they go on any adventures, Daddy needs a nap. He charges brother and sister with the responsibility of making a snack while he snoozes on the couch. “Just make sure it has something substantial … and please clean up after yourselves, no big messes.” Well, Martin and Sylvia makes some creative and innovative snacks and then are faced with clean up. My, what a mess!
Living Room Camping
Brother and sister look out at the gray late autumn landscape and long for summer again. They miss the easy play, the summer adventures - and most of all, they miss camping. “You can still go camping!” says Daddy, “You can go living room camping. It’s the same as outdoor camping, but just … inside.” Martin and Sylvia are inspired and immediately set to preparing.
The Special Magical Day
There are days that are special because they are holidays or birthdays or celebrations of important events. And then, once in a while, there are special days just because they are special. One morning Martin wakes with the singular thought that it is going to be a Special Magical day. And so he and his sister spend the rest of the day discovering the magic around every corner.
A Frosty Walk
Brother and sister wake one morning to see that everything in their yard is covered in shimmering frost crystals. It looks like a frost fairy paradise! When Daddy takes them on a walk to their neighbor’s house, they discover Jack Frost’s work along the sides of the brook, on the tips of every branch, and especially at the edges of a pond. They are so grateful for the beauty and wonder, that they decide to give the frost fairies a gift of their own making.
Momma has a family tradition — all of the aunts and uncles and cousins in her extended family bake a fruitcake every winter and send it to Nanni and Poppi to taste. This year Momma wants to make an extra special fruitcake — one that Nanni and Poppi will never forget! And so she enrolls Martin and Sylvia to help create a new recipe. They talk about all sorts of possibilities — when suddenly Sylvia begins to empty the pantry and refrigerator of everything sweet, nutty and fruity, declaring that they will use “All the Things”. “All the things?” Momma asks. “All the Things,” Sylvia replies - and so they set to work.
The Shortest Day
Where Martin and Sylvia live, the nights are getting longer and the days are getting shorter. When Momma suggests they spend more time outside with the sun, brother and sister decide to invite the daylight into all their play. They go sledding, build fairy houses, do farm chores, and build a bonfire all with an eye on the sun — celebrating its shortest day of the year.