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.
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ABOUT THE STORIES
This is a collection of 13 summer stories, for the 13 weeks of summer.
When Martin and Sylvia learn that the Browns will not be able to hold their annual Midsummer’s Eve festival, they are very disappointed. But then they realize that they could hold it themselves — in their own back yard! They need to plan it in such a way that Momma and Daddy get excited about it too, so they are faced with the question, “What do grown ups like to do?”
Martin and Sylvia wake one morning to hear Momma talking to a friend on the phone. What’s that she’s saying? A puppy is coming to visit? For a whole day and night? Brother and sister are thrilled at the idea of having a younger dog around to fetch, play tag and other fun doggies games. They are surprised to learn, however, that puppy sitting is a lot more work than they expect!
Daddy has borrowed Mr. Brown’s telescope with the intention of seeing the full moon. They all decide to stay up late that night, but Martin starts to worry he might get scared in the dark. When the sun finally sets, however, he is dazzled by the magic of the night.
House in the Brush
Momma and Daddy decide to turn part of their overgrown side yard into a flower meadow. They enlist Martin and Sylvia’s help in clearing out all the weeds, saplings and thicket. Brother and sister begin by making pathways and soon discover big rocks that they claim as their new ‘pioneer homes’. But when they realize Momma and Daddy intend to clear the entire field, they must figure out a clever way to save their new homes.
This summer, Martin enrolls in theater camp, where the campers learn fun drama games and rehearse for a real play to be performed at week’s end. Sylvia is not old enough for theater camp, so she reluctantly goes to dance camp. By week’s end, she loves dance camp, and is completely surprised and excited when Martin invites her to theater camp for a one-day cameo performance in a very important role!
One morning Daddy wakes brother and sister early in the morning to hike Mount Mooseberry. He and Momma give them the added challenge of leading the way up the trail to discover magical secrets the mountain may be saving for them.
Martin and Sylvia get a joyful lesson in the importance of working together when they get to sail on a big sailboat with their friends, the Webers. They see how everyone has an important job, and that the boat won’t sail properly without everyone’s help. The biggest lesson of all is that working together is not only important — but lots of fun.
Martin and Sylvia’s next-door neighbors, the Browns, are clearing out their barn and organizing a tag sale! They invite Martin and Sylvia’s family to join them. Martin enthusiastically chooses toys and books he no longer uses to donate to the sale, but Sylvia is troubled by the idea of giving her old things away. In the end, she is surprised how much fun and satisfying it is to see other children love her things as much as she did.
Backyard Water Park
It is hot, and Martin and Sylvia want to cool off. “Can we go to a water park?” asks Martin hopefully. “I don’t think we have a water park around here,” answers Momma. But Daddy recollects how he and his brother used to make their own water parks in their backyard. This inspires brother and sister to pull out all sorts of materials and structures to create a cool solution to the summer heat.
While at the State Fair, Martin marvels over the many amazing disappearing tricks the magician plays on the crowd. From that point on Martin wants to learn tricks and figure out how to make something really disappear and then reappear. Martin, Sylvia and Daddy all demonstrate their best attempts one night, but it is Momma who proves to be the most powerful magician of all.
Morning with Momma
After a long soaking rain, Sylvia is excited about joining Momma on an early morning adventure, foraging for mushrooms in the woods next to the Town Lake. When the morning comes, however, she just wants to sleep later and have pancakes with Daddy and Martin. Reluctantly she gets up joins Momma on the adventure - and what an adventure it turns out to be! Mushrooms, Muffins and a Moose make the Morning with Momma full of Magic.
A Map of the Year
It is the first week of school and in Martin and Sylvia’s house, that means transforming the dining room table into the homeschool work table. Everybody is excited about new books, new materials and indeed, new subjects to learn. This year, Martin is nervous that he will not learn the same things as his friend Sasha who attends the neighborhood school. Momma and Daddy suggest they make lists of all the things each family member wants to learn this year. They compile all of the lists into something like a map. A Map of the Year!
A Kitchen of Canning
It’s the end of tomato season and the beginning of apple season in Martin and Sylvia’s house — which means it is time to can food for the winter. When Sylvia expresses some hesitation about all the work involved, Momma inspires her sense of adventure through every step of the process — including clean up!