Monday, October 18, 2010

Plum Puddings and Paper Moons by Glenda Milllard

Magic is left over from childhood … we are all born with magic in us but many of us forget about it when we are grown up.”

When I read books to young children I often feel this kind of magic. I want to start this blog with three seemingly disconnected thoughts/events.

A young boy gave me a very special gift today – a bar of chocolate all the way from Belgium where he had recently travelled with his family.

Every so often a book arrives in our library that is so precious it leaves me breathless with anticipation. I have to begin reading straight away.

I don’t come from a large family but if I could choose a family to join this would be a very easy decision. I would choose the Silk family. They are incredibly special people who I have come to know and love through the skillful and magical writing of Glenda Millard.

Gifts? Yes I really did receive a lovely gift today. A gift chosen especially for me (a chocolate lover) and a gift given in kindness. The book that arrived today was the fifth book about the Silk family called Plum Puddings and Paper moons. At its heart I feel this book is about gifts even though the gifts are expressed as wishes. There are two kinds of wishes – those that are deep and dark and made aloud wishes that are usually for fun and not important at all. The silks call this second kind “Red kite wishes”.

Scarlett the oldest Silk sister wishes for peace in the world. The catalyst for this is a young refugee boy who has come to live in the town of Cameron’s Creek. Scarlett asks an important big question and hears the horrible truth about Anik’s family. “When I return home there is only smoke and fires. My village is burning. My house is gone. I hear guns and I run very fast.” Anik’s words spill out like hot soup. Scarlett needs to take action so she uses her worn out school tights to make wishbands. She sells these for fifty cents to all the people in Cameron’s Creek and on Christmas eve over three hundred people from the town gather in a quiet demonstration for peace.

Afterwards, in true Silk tradition, everyone gathers for a shared meal under the Cox’s Orange Pippin and for this Ben Silk has made a new table. It is so large and long nine men are needed to lift it out of the workshop. The table is made from the wood of an old bridge. Bridges have featured very prominently with us this year in school across Australia. Bridges do bring people together.

Finally I need to mention cakes, I love to cook cakes and one I regularly cook is an Armenian Nutmeg cake. Glenda Millard calls it an Armenian love cake and she kindly includes the recipe in the back of the book. I can tell you this is a delicious cake and just as delicious is the idea that Amber (another Silk sister) makes cakes to show her true feelings when words don’t come easily. Silver milk bottle tops also feature in this story and they were certainly a part of my childhood.

If you haven’t discovered the Kingdom of Silk find these books and start from the beginning this is a reading journey that will linger with you for a long time.

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