Martin and Sylvia live in tall house with lots of windows. In their backyard is all a five and a seven year old could ever want: a brook, a tree swing, a playhouse and a garden full of magical friends. Join this enterprising brother and sister for a year of delight and wonder. Whether it's the heat of summer, or the deep snows of winter, every day is an adventure!
ABOUT THE STORIES
This is a collection of 13 autumn stories, for the 13 weeks of autumn.
Martin and Sylvia’s friends have a mountain cabin in the woods. The whole family is invited to join them for a weekend of blackberry picking! Everyone is excited to hike the many trails to the lake and waterfall, except Sylvia. Sylvia is tired. Sylvia’s feet hurt. Sylvia would rather stay at the cabin and play games. When Momma teaches her how to have ‘fox feet’ and ‘deer ears’ Sylvia suddenly finds the woods full of possibilities and indeed, animals.
Goose Eye Wilderness School
Martin is looking for more adventure in his days: he wants to live in the woods, hunt for his own food, and fashion a sword with his own hands. When Momma and Daddy enroll him in a local wilderness school, Martin has the opportunity to experience adventures in the wild — both unexpected and satisfying.
During a trip into town, Martin sees a crew of workers installing some big stone goblin-looking sculptures on the front of the Town Hall. He learns that long ago the stone goblins, which are called Gargoyles, were often placed on buildings to ward off anything scary. Martin thinks that a Gargoyle might be just the thing to help protect him from his new fear of noises in the night.
PARENT NOTE: This is a story about facing night-time fears, but using something that is traditionally perceived as being “scary” to find courage. So the topics of night-time fear and “scary things” run throughout.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown, the farmers who live next door, are hosting an apple pie contest, complete with games, stories and a lot of apple pie eating. All families must bring a pie to be judged. This year Martin wants to make his own pie in addition to the pie Daddy and Sylvia are making. In a flash of inspiration, Martin knows exactly what his secret ingredient will be. Will his unique concoction win the competition?
The Sit Spot
After a day at Wilderness School, Martin tells his sister and Daddy about finding a ‘sit spot’ or personal spot in the woods. Sylvia is inspired to find one herself, as is Daddy — but Momma is feeling she needs to focus on getting the house ready for guests. But in the final moments before the guests arrive, she decides to find a ‘sit spot’ and has the most magical moment of all.
Why is it that Daddy never seems to tire when he’s raking? This is what Martin wonders out loud. Does he have superpowers? When Daddy answers the questions with more questions, Martin decides for himself that he really does have super strength, Sylvia really can fly and Momma really can become invisible. Or can she?
A Trip to the Doctor
Sylvia falls from the rope swing and lands funny. And Momma notices that, though Sylvia isn’t complaining about her arm, she isn’t using it. Momma decides to take Sylvia to the doctor to take x-ray “pictures” of her arm. This is the first time Sylvia has ever had x-ray pictures and is feeling nervous. Both she and Momma use a special imagination game to help them feel brave and relaxed, and, in the process, even delight the hospital doctor.
Martin and Sylvia wake to see a dusting of snow outside, with more falling all around. They speedily dress and eat breakfast so they can go outside and play in the snow, perhaps to sled or make a snowman! But this is autumn snow — which Daddy says doesn’t last. When it stops snowing and they haven’t so much as a snowball play with, their friends Jonathan and Sasha come up with an idea that melts all disappointment.
Downtown is a fun place for Martin and Sylvia. There is the library, the bakery, Momma’s office and the Town Community Center, where they will occasionally serve soup and bread to those who need a little help. On this visit to town, however, it is little Sylvia that unexpectedly needs a helping hand.
Parent Note: In this story, Sylvia gets momentarily separated from her family. There is a moment of nervousness when Sylvia realizes she can’t see her parents. But Momma and Daddy have taught her what to do in this situation, and she does it beautifully. She is very quickly reunited with Momma, Daddy and Martin. The story teaches smart choices for “lost” children, and gives a picture of a loving and helpful community.
Martin and Sylvia’s family have special friends named the Webers. They camp together, and go on trips together, and play games together. When Mr. Weber has surgery on his knee, they decide to cook for the Weber family. Momma suggests they cook “comfort food”, and the family delights in learning how to and teaches cook carefully, slowly and how to fill the food with love.
It is almost winter and their neighbors, the Browns, are not able to supply Martin and Sylvia’s family with milk. They decide to try a new farm that is run by three families and is much bigger than the Brown’s farm. Martin and Sylvia are resistant at first — they like the little farm and the animals next door! But then they visit the new farm and find not only milk, but cheese, bread, and so many wonderful people, not to mention lovely cows. How the farm offers much more than they thought!
Winters Little and Big
The first snow is falling! Brother and sister announce that it is time to get the Winter Books from the back attic. It’s the family tradition! They dive into the box, and discover not only books that they dearly love, but also treasures that inspire sweet memories of years past. They were once so little! Both Momma and Daddy marvel at how big their “littles” have become.
It’s autumn: the days are getting shorter, and the dark comes earlier. Martin is feeling nervous. He can’t see as well at night, and he worries about shadows and things he can’t see. All of it makes it difficult for him to go to sleep at bedtime. Momma encourages him to use his other senses, and guides him through a hearing, smelling and feeling exercise that not only reassures him, but relaxes him enough to fall deeply asleep.