I walked into the grocery store today and was met with the most beautiful sight – a display of tulips. If we are going to be accurate, it really wasn’t the most beautiful sight. In fact it was a bit picked over, and several of the holding containers were completely empty. The bunches left were a tad pathetic and wilted. Clearly I’m not the only one that needs a breath of Spring at this point. I quickly picked up the most promising bunch and added it to my basket.
You see, where I live we have many meteorological advantages –no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no tsunami risks or volcanoes, tornado free and low wildfire risk, non-existent mudslides and minimal river flooding. We know how to handle snow, and it takes a defined blizzard to cancel school. But we also don’t get Spring until late May. Some years we don’t get it at all. I mean, yes it’s “Spring”, but we have a tendency to skip over the actual season. Which means Winter goes on forever. Entering the grocery store this morning I trudged through a cold, hard rain that was making little progress on the snow piles still lingering. Last Sunday, the final weekend of March, we woke to 6 inches of snow. Not a dusting, not flurries in the air, 6 whopping inches that required the snow-blower to clear the plow pile blocking the driveway.
I make no attempt to hide the fact that I openly dislike Winter, but at this point even my skiing, snowboarding and hockey loving friends have had enough. So for someone like me this is getting to be unbearable. On Monday I wore a baseball shirt, to celebrate opening-day, in hopes of lifting my spirits. This is a sure sign of Spring as the “boys of summer” take the field, right? I painted my toenails – gearing up for flip-flop season, and found the ensuing dry-time unbearable as my toes froze. Regardless of my attempts to usher in this new season the world outside my window is definitely dreary. Everything, from sky to trees to grass, is dull brown monotone misery.
Which brings me to the tulips. I brought them home, and they really brighten things up. It is amazing how a simple cut flower can turn the spirits. They are a bright purple-pink spark of what is to come. Soon I’ll see flowers outside my window, I just know it. Until then I plan to check out these books about the home of tulips since the 1600’s, the Netherlands.
Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems is the third tale in the endearing Knuffle Bunny series. This time Trixie takes Knuffle Bunny to visit her grandparents, Oma and Opa, in Holland, but Knuffle Bunny has different travel plans in mind. PB
Hans Brinker by Bruce Coville is a retelling of the classic 1865 story by Mary Mapes Dodge and its transition to picture book is enhanced by the illustrations by Laurel Long. Hans quest to win a skating competition on the canals of Holland is woven with love and caring and a moral tale of generosity. PB
Thea Stilton and the Great Tulip Heist is part of the series that features the Thea Sisters, students of Thea Stilton who travel the world and solve mysteries together. This time they are off to Holland to help new friend Jan find his missing father, a world famous botanist and his most recent discovery. Their best clue is linked to the famous Black Tulip! ER-3
The Black Tulip is a classic novel by Alexandre Dumas. Although not as full of jam-packed adventure like Dumas’ other books, the Black Tulip tells the story of Cornelius von Baerle who seeks to cultivate the elusive black tulip. Murder, politics and treason land Cornelius in prison, but the jailers daughter helps him continue his quest. Written in 1850, and set in 1672 Holland, The Black Tulip is full of historical detail and intrigue. This classic is definitely for older readers, willing to tackle the language and content, but a worthy read. YA