Whistle-pig and Fartiste

You learn a lot about yourself as a parent.  Good things, bad things.  All kinds of things.  Even more astonishing is how much you learn about a million other aspects of life, tiny glittering shards of data that you never before noticed in your pre-parenting days, tripping along as you were with no agenda, no bedtime, nobody else’s bowel movements to consider.

I am learning a lot of things right alongside my kids as they learn them.  For example, Liam recently decided that he would really like to learn Italian.  The preliminary poking around that I’ve done into preschool language acquisition has me convinced that I should aim to acquire all of my life skills and knowledge from materials that are aimed toward preschoolers.  The preschool brain and the middle-aged undercaffeinated mother brain apparently have enough in common, especially in terms of attention span.

Speaking of my attention span, did you know that another name for a groundhog is a whistle-pig?  I learn a lot at preschool storytime even though I am the bad mother who is sneaking peeks at my Facebook feed on my iPod.  Apparently when the colony is endangered, the groundhog earns his nickname by making a sound not unlike a 3 year old who has recently had a Lego Storm Trooper wrenched from his chubby little palm by an unrelenting older brother.

We walked to the library today despite the fact that we are under a blizzard warning.  Let me put that another way.  We walked to the library today because, despite my tender attention to my Facebook page, I somehow missed that we are under a blizzard warning.  We trudged home with the wind whipping around us, snowflakes stinging our eyes, my leaden backpack filled with sixteen picture books, two DVDs, and all of the other accoutrements necessary when venturing out into the world with two small boys.  Were my children whining?  No, they were not.  It’s not possible to whine when you are shrieking with laughter over the book that your mother read to you just before leaving the library, recommended to us by the unparalleled Victoria, Children’s Librarian Extraordinaire.

I present to you… Fartiste by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, illustrations by Boris Kulikov.

Fartiste is the true (!!!) story of the French flatulist (according to wikipedia,  that means ‘professional farter’) Joseph Pujol.  A baker by trade, Pujol also had the ability to do sound effects as well as melodic performances with his, um, sphincter, going on to be a headlining performer at the Moulin Rouge.  At the height of his fame in 1894, he was making 20,000 francs a night for his performances.  Also, the word ‘butt’ appears in the first few pages which sent Liam rolling from the get go.

And the best news of all?  This blizzard means that I will reading these sixteen books over and over for the next couple of days and I don’t even mind because, handselected as they were by Victoria, they’re all really good!

The other books we got today, if anyone is interested:

The Secret of the First One Up by Iris Hiskey Arno, illustrations by Renee Graef
Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day! by Abby Levine, illustrations by Nancy Cote
Me and My Shadow by Arthur Dorros
Tiny’s Big Adventure by Martin Waddell, illustrations by John Lawrence
The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler, illustrations by Will Hillebrand
Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick
Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock
Adele & Simon in America by Barbara McClintock
On Top of the Potty by Alan Katz, illustrations by David Catrow
The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessy, illustrations by Boris Kulikov
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
How to Be a Good Dog by Gail Page
The Dangerous Snake and Reptile Club by Daniel San Souci
Snow Music by Lynne Rae Perkins
Dog and Bear: Three to Get Ready by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

As for me, I am hurtling toward the ending of the excellent novel Run by Ann Patchett.  Next on my list is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.  I  loved her short stories in The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and her novel An Invisible Sign of My Own and one of my friends recommended the lemon cake one this morning on Facebook.  Predictably, I now have a mad craving for lemon cake.  And did I mention the blizzard?  Banana nut muffins will have to do.

Happy reading!

4 thoughts on “Whistle-pig and Fartiste

  1. I love, love you new digs! It looks awesome!
    you had me laughing, especially about “professional farter-no wonder the boys were laughing all the way home.
    As I read this post I could just see you all-at the library, reading-we miss those library times with you all and really the IC and Coralville libraries are so great (the one here is good too) but I think I’m biased because we made so many great memories at those places.

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