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 spring stories, for the 13 weeks of spring.
It is the first sunny day after several days of rain. All the water from the rain and melted snow has flooded Martin and Sylvia’s brook. When the water finally recedes, it leaves behind a trail of mud and hidden treasures!
It’s Spring! The birds have lots of energy, the squirrels have lots of energy, and so do Martin and Sylvia. What this family needs is a “Spring Sillies Day” — where everything becomes an opportunity for good laugh. Who will be the silliest of all?
The Chicken Coop
Spring has sprung on the Brown’s Farm, and this year, one of their hens is going to have chicks. Sylvia is particularly excited and counts the days until they will hatch. But when a wind storm blows through and damages the brooding coop, brother and sister have a single day to help the Browns make repairs before the chicks arrive!
Go to Sleep Fairy
Martin is grumpy; he simply hasn’t been getting enough sleep. He explains to Momma that he is just not sleepy at night. Everyone has some advice, from warm milk to special stories, but it is his sister who saves the day (or night!) with her delightful introduction to the ‘go to sleep’ fairy.
Martin and Sylvia love the classic story so much that one morning, they are inspired to create their own stone soup experience — complete with stones, vegetables and the collaboration of neighborhood friends. At the heart of the stone soup story is the happy accidents of what people bring to the community meal — and though brother and sister have a plan, they are delighted and surprised with the results.
Martin is inspired by one of Sylvia’s fairy houses and decides to build a child-sized house of sticks in the woods. Sylvia helps collect sticks and then has an exciting idea: “Maybe we should make everything with sticks. We could make stick beds and chairs and toys!” Luckily Momma is into the fun too, and even finds a way to serve lunch on a stick!
No Boo Boo Day
Sylvia notices that there have been a lot of bumps, bruises, scratches and scrapes lately — what with Martin riding his two wheeler bike and Sylvia working with rocks and sticks. So Daddy proposes they have a “No boo boo” day where “safety first” is the goal of the day. The day he chooses, however, is the day they decide to build two raised garden beds. Can they do all the necessary hard work without a single boo boo?
Momma takes the family out to eat at a nice restaurant in celebration of Daddy’s big news. There they meet a French mother and her three children who are enjoying their “L’Apertif” at a nearby table. The French Woman invites them to join tables and experience a proper French meal where all the food is tasted slowly in several courses. Though the night lasts longer than they expected, Martin and Sylvia’s family come away with an experience to remember.
A Case of the Giggles
Momma is presenting a lecture on “Long Horned Beetles”, and the whole family wants to attend. Daddy explains to Martin and Sylvia that they’ll need to be still, quiet and attentive during the lecture. Just in case they should be beset by “a case of the giggles”, he teaches them a technique to help calm and quiet themselves. But, as it turns out, it is not the children who end up with “a case of the giggles”!
It’s a beautiful morning, and brother and sister want a playdate. Momma agrees to call their friends Jonathan and Sasha, but Martin and Sylvia can’t agree on what to play. They insist on their own ideas, until Momma gives them a challenge: find a way to incorporate everyone’s wishes into one inclusive activity. How do you combine bike riding, imaginative play, drawing and botany?
One morning Martin notices how Sylvia looks a little like Momma, and a little like Daddy, and then a little just like herself too. This begins a day of appreciating faces — friend’s faces, family faces and faces of people downtown. They notice similarities and differences in every face they see — including the face of a boy in a wheelchair they meet in the grocery store. At first they only notice the differences, but it doesn’t take long to discover all the things they have in common.
The Grumpy Day
It is a big gardening day, and everyone in Martin and Sylvia’s family is feeling grumpy. The air seems heavy and hot and sticky, and brother and sister don’t want to work. Daddy can’t find his belt, and Momma is concerned about the weather. What are they to do? When the sky darkens and it starts to rain, everyone scrambles to finish the gardening. What with the pouring rain, and some family silliness, they find that their grumpies are washed away.
It is a beautiful day, and Martin is excited about having some friends over to play. His sister Sylvia wants to play too, but older brother is not so interested. When Daddy explains to Martin what it is like to be a younger sister, he realizes the opportunity and responsibility that comes with being older.