Loving Living Books: Lois Ehlert


This past September, Naomi and I started her homeschool preschooling.  It’s been quite the ride, and a lot of fun.  As a lover of books myself, I was thrilled when I discovered the Charlotte Mason Method of homeschooling, along with it’s copious free resources (a frugalite’s dream!).  Our days are fairly peaceful for the most part, and involve a lot of time spent enjoying beautiful stories and books.  Charlotte Mason described them as “living books”, meaning a book written by an author who obviously conveys a true passion for the story she or he presents.  A living book uses hearty words, pleasant stories and beautiful, original artwork. The opposite of a living book, as described by Charlotte Mason, is “twaddle”.  Twaddle is a little tougher to define, but you know it pretty quick when you read it.  If it bores you to tears, if the pictures are made by computers, if it contains cartoon characters, etc., well, it’s basically twaddle.  To be honest, one of the best ways to describe “twaddle” can be found in the adorable movie, “Despicable Me”, as illustrated by this video.

  So I thought I’d share with you some of the books we’ve been reading lately.  It’s been quite an experience to sort through the local library and find beautiful books that I enjoy reading to them, and that they enjoy hearing.  Some authors write one or two books that you might describe as “living” and others write whole series’ of books.  So I thought it would be fun for me to feature some of the wonderful authors and their books that we have come across and share them with you. This week, we have been really enjoying books by Lois Ehlert.  Lois is an artist who writes and illustrates beautiful books mostly based around nature, and often using natural items like leaves in her artwork.  Her books are so simple, with lovely language that is simple and easy to read, often in rhymes.  But what I love about her work is that in each picture, she labels what she has illustrated, and then at the end of the book, goes into deeper explanation about the animals and plants in her stories.

Feathers For Lunch tells the story of a hungry cat out looking for a delicious snack.  Each page features a variety of beautiful common birds found throughout Canada and the United States.  Each picture of a bird is life size, and displays the birds doing or eating things they normally do in the wild.  At the end, each bird is listed and includes it’s relative size, diet, and habitat.  Naomi and I really enjoyed this as we were able to identify several common birds that we see regularly in our back yard or on nature walks.

  Growing Vegetable Soup is so vibrant in color and describes the beauty and adventure in growing the vegetables to make a humble pot of vegetable soup.  This was a very relevant story for Naomi and I, as Michael is an avid gardener.  We grew almost everything she featured in the book this year, including carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli and we even tried corn.  At the back of the book is even a complete recipe for the vegetable soup she describes.  Naomi and I plan to make it later this week.

  Leaf Man is a beautiful collage of pictures using a plethora of fall foliage, cut and shaped to tell the story of the autumn winds stirring leaves and blowing them across the countryside, over various animals, plants and trees.  At the beginning and end of the book is a sample of the various kinds of leaves and an identification of each one.  It’s a very inspirational book, and Naomi expressed a desire to run right outside to get some leaves so she could make her own “Leaf Man”. We actually have a stack of other stories by her that I cannot wait to flip through as we snuggle on the couch this afternoon.  Lois Ehlert’s books will definitely find themselves on our shelves in the future, and likely be mimicked in our own art projects and story ideas.  Her work is touching, warm and inspirational, a true testimony to what a living book should be.

This post is part of…

Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot
I Choose Joy!
Cozy Reading Spot at Fun For Reading List. Homeschool Link-Up by Squishable Baby From House to Home by I Choose Joy

Disclaimer: Yes, I am compensated for some (but not all) of the purchases made via the referral links in this post. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.

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