The rocket book by Peter Newell

We continue the serie of events related to Hallowen with a tricky business: launching a rocket in the basement of a 21 floors building! In 1912’s New York, after the janitor’s son lits up a rocket that goes up ‘til it reaches the top flat.

It is not SF, nor a dream of mine; it is not even a TV commercial or animation. It is the “ Rocket book” by Peter Newell, one of the fathers of children illustrated books.

I believe that in every aspect of life we need to look up to the pioneers and the ones that took things at the highest level.

In the world of children illustrated books, Peter Newell is one of them. He illustrated Mark Twain and Lewis Caroll, to name two of the famous writers he worked with. What I loved the most about this book is the attention he paid to details, the expresivity of his characters and the ability to create a scene without overloading the illustrations. And the use of objects and words that are now lost from our homes and vocabulary.

It is a book to have and to read, at any age, I would say.

My 7 yo daughter had an interesting reaction to the book. She asked me why all the people in the book were so amazed and had eyes so big. And then she wondered what it would happen if we lit rocket in our building’s garage 🙂

I didn’t respond the obvious, that we would fly from there as soon as the rocket in the book did…


Or should I just write Hallowen?

Until a few years back, I didn’t knew much about this celtic celebration of the deads. It was the movies and my daughter who gave the only meaning to this evening: we would dress in costumes, carve a Jack-o-lantern pumpkin and go “trick or treat”. Because throwing a Hallowen party in the pandemic it can be a little … tricky.

We are orthodox, not by choice, but by birth and we celebrate the deaths in the last Saturday of October. And we have some similar traditions for this evening too: we light candles ( not in pumpkins) and we prepare some food ( not only candies) to give away ( to treat). And we go to the cemetery and we light a candle to the graves of our relatives or friends that are no longer with us. We remember them and we celebrate their live. It’s the “Saturday of the deaths”

This year we kept the tradition: we made a pie, found a witch ( a small and very pretty one) and we carved a scary faced pumpkin. We took the little witch and the pumpkin and we went trick or treat.

We had some dinner and the story says that the pumpkin didn’t return home with us…

Lampa muscata de caine

Stam intinse pe pat si povestim. Eu ii spun ca in casa in care ne aflam acum a locuit mai demult un catel. Ar vrea sa aiba si ea un catel, dar stie ca doar cand ne vom muta intr-o locuinta la curte va putea avea unul. Dar asta nu inseamna ca nu ii plac in continuare toate istorisirile, povestile sau interactiunile cu caini si catei. Bunicii ei au de cateva luni un pui de caine tare dragalas si nazdravan si se bucura mereu sa se uite la filmuletele cu aventurile micului patruped.

La un moment dat imi zice:

⁃ Mami, din lumanarea noastra a muscat un caine!

⁃ Care lumanare, frumoasa mea?

⁃ Asta de deasupra patului!

⁃ Asta este o aplica!

⁃ Da, lampa asta, vezi? E muscata de caine! Uite acolo!

⁃ Si cum crezi tu ca a ajuns un caine pana sus acolo sa poata musca din ea?

⁃ S-a urcat pe o scara?

⁃ Ma intrebi sau banuiesti?

⁃ Eu nu banuiesc! Eu vad acolo o muscatura de caine si iti spun! Nu ma crezi, uita-te tu singura!

Ma uit, mai mult amuzata de imaginea unui caine atat de aventuros si de curajos care, dupa ce s-a catarat pe o scara atat de inalta, mai are chef sa si muste din lampa… Si imi aduc aminte de cainele meu din copilarie care imi rodea caietele de teme si manualele. Iar profesoara nu ma credea niciodata cand ii spuneam ca el a ros tema la mate.

Dar micuta mea are dreptate: lampa noastra chiar arata de parca a muscat un caine din ea! Ii raspund si mai amuzata:

⁃ Uite vezi, de asta nu vreau eu sa avem un caine. Daca se dezechilibreaza si cade de pe scara cand se urca el acolo sus sa muste din lampa?

⁃ Mama, cainii nu se urca pe scara!!! Am spus si eu o poveste! Lumanarea aia am stricat-o eu cand am aterizat de pe luna mica! Prin tavan am aterizat cand s-a stricat racheta, ai uitat?

N-am uitat, cum sa uit tocmai povestea aterizarii ei de pe luna mica? I-am scris si o carte, tocmai pentru a nu uita niciodata cum a venit ea in lumea asta a noastra, unde uneori adultii uita sa mai creada in povesti…

Sfanta iubirii

Este onomastica domnisoarei noastre dragi, fetita care a venit de pe luna mica. Se joaca cu tatal ei in timp ce eu ii pregatesc in secret un tort de clatite. Nu stiu reteta exacta pe care o folosesc Pettson si Findus, personajele indragite din cartile lui Sven Nordqvist, dar sper sa ii fac o surpriza placuta.

Il ornez, improvizez un soi de lumanare si o chem sa sufle in ea. Emotionata, isi pune o dorinta si apoi sufla. Ne asezam in jurul mesei sa savuram fiecare din felia de tort impartita de tati.

⁃ Mami, azi e sfanta mea, nu?

⁃ Da, iubito! Este sfanta ta.

⁃ De ziua mea adevarata facem noi doua un tort adevarat?

⁃ Desigur! Dar asta nu e tort adevarat?

⁃ Este… dar tot clatite sunt. Clatite pot manca oricand, nu doar de ziua mea… Urmatorul sfant al cui e?

⁃ Al meu cred, ii raspunde tati. Si apoi urmeaza ziua ta de nastere.

⁃ Si sfanta lui mami cand e? Mami ce sfanta are?

Pufnesc in ras la gandul unei sfinte cu numele meu. Domnita poate, dar nu sfanta.

⁃ Mami nu are o sfanta, ma scoate tatal ei repede din incurcatura. Ea are doar zi de nastere.

⁃ A fost ziua ei de nastere! I-am desenat o felicitare si am mancat tort la terasa. Dar vreau sa aiba si mami o sfanta. Daca nu este o sfanta cu numele ei, va fi sfanta iubirii! Ea ne iubeste cel mai mult pe lumea asta si are grija de noi. Vrei mami, sa fii sfanta iubirii?

Sunt oameni care stiu exact ce vor fi cand vor fi mari. Altii isi doresc sa fie piloti sau doctori. Unii se nasc cu talente si abilitati de genii. De conducatori, lideri sau campioni.

Eu nu stiu ce altceva mi-as fi putut dori sa fiu in viata asta. Ma bucur doar ca sunt mama fetitei asteia minunate si ca de acum am si eu o sfanta, cea mai importanta dintre toate: sfanta iubirii.

3 Iunie, Ziua Nationala a Bicicletei

M-am bucurat sa aflu ca astazi este prima Zi Nationala a Bicicletei! Este activitatea noastra preferata ca familie, avem toti trei biciclete si ori de cate ori timpul si timpurile ne permit, iesim sa ne dam cu bicla prin oras 🙂

Noi fetele avem biciclete mici si usoare, rosii si cochete! Precum personajul favorit al fetitei noastre, Lotta de pe strada Zurbagiilor. Cum care Lotta? Lotta lui Astrid Lindgren! Mai bine zis a lui Ilon Wikland, caci ea a imaginat si desenat asa minune de fata.

Acum asteptam cuminti sa mai crestem si sa ne inlocuim bicicletele mici de oras cu unele mai performante. Si apoi vom putea sa ne plimbam pe dealuri si prin paduri, departe de zgomotul si aglomeratia orasului.

Astazi nu este deloc cea mai luminoasa sau calduroasa zi, dar este numai buna pentru o plimbare cu bicicleta.

Iar pentru lectura de seara stiu sigur ce carte vom alege. Lotta, desigur!

Eric Carle’s magic butterflies

From time to time the world makes place for a very special guest, whose life will be a celebration of beauty, joy and colour. One of these special creators was Eric Carle. The illustrations that he had imagine and drew, all the stories behind every line or contour he ever made, were stories of life. Pieces of his heart and playful soul. Because one cannot imagine The hungry catterpillar or see the world through The brown bear’s eyes if he didn’t have a warm, loving heart. To share with others.

I first encouter Eric Carle’s magic books when I was 40 years old 🙂 I know, a little too late, but it wasn’t too late to fall in love with his beautiful and colorful work.

My daughter loves his books, all of them in the same way. She learned to count with the hungry catterpillar and to tell the time along with the grouchy ladybug.

As his star went up in the sky, from where it came to brighten our world, we are left sadden and more alone. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to cherrish his stories, maybe now more than ever before.

If I could ask him just one question, I think it would be: Brown bear, what do you see from above?

Siblings Day

On 10th of April, in US at least, is celebrated Siblings Day.

I don’t have a sibling, but as a child I wanted so much to have one so at 3 or 4 years old I invented myself a brother. When my kindergarten teacher asked my mother why my brother doesn’t live with us, I knew I’ve gone too far with my imaginary brother.

As teenager and then young adult I tried to have a sister women or even more. But somehow our sisterhood would always fall apart.

Now I finally have a sister girl. We have the same last name, we speak the same language ( too much sometime), we sometimes get on her Dada’s nerves with the same things that we do. We are two girls growing together, hand in hand. We see the world through the same lenses and we smile at all the beauty life has given us.

I reviewed today our books about siblings. We have a few, some or them are great children’s books. And the first siblings I wanted to share with you are the ones in Astrid Lindgren’s books. Lotta and her siblings, Madicken and her sister and of course, the children from Noisy Village.

Now is the siblings that went on a bear hunt turn to greet us. And Laura Ingalls Wilders characters from the “A little house” serie to present their adventures. The Aaron Becker trilogy , “ Journey”, “Quest” and “Return” is another opportunity to find out how the siblings we find along the journey can change our life in more ways than our real siblings do.

And, of course, are the siblings from the animal kindgom that we love so much: Martin Wadell’s Owl Babies and Ian Falconer’s Olivia and her little brother. And the ducklings from Robert McCloskey’s book. Or Hans Fisher’s character, Pitschi, a little kitten who, unlike his siblings, wanted to be something else.

I couldn’t end the siblings parade without Maurice Sendak sisters or Shaun Taun’s brothers from the “Rules of summer”. Or Judith Viorst’s Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And the seven silly eaters that Marla Frazee illustrated. We have them in Romanian, but the adventures and the fun are the same.

But the most iconic book about siblings and the magic of joy and play is somehow related to Mary Poppins and the two brothers that were lucky enough to had her in their lives.

So, today will be a great day to hug your siblings, if you’re lucky enough to have them in your live. To tell them that the love is still there, even if you live on different countries or continents. Or you are estrange from some time now.

And if you didn’t had a Mary Poppins in your life so far, is not late to go out there and find one. To teach you that the sky is the limit for your adventures and discoveries. And all of your dreams. Away from the worries, viruses or problems. That will help you see the beauty you already have in your life and all the magic around you.


I still remember now, after 30 years, my mother’s smell when she would hug me, after a day spent apart. I am sure that her hugs used to calm me and heal my broken heart, knees or bruses.

I am fortunate enough to be able to hug my daughter whenever I want. And I can only hope that when she will grow, she will still let me hug her whenever I want.

When I’m not feeling well she would come to me and hug me, to give me energy.

“Mama, say when you feel energetic again, I gave you all my energy”.

And we have a special family hug, it is called “the love sandwich”. Me and her father are the bread and she is the filling. Somehow she just knows that this is what a good hug offers: energy, warm, love.

I found out a few years ago that exist a job as a hugger. You go to the hugger, who can be a total stranger to you, take all the good energy from his hugs and then you go back to your daily life. I guess that the pandemic made it impossible for a lot of hugs to happen. And it is so sad, to waste so many hugs!

Today we celebrate International Day of Hugs! So, stop whatever you are doing right now and give a big hug to someone! And if it is not physical possible, send a virtual hug to someone you love.

Big hug!


12 years ago, in this exact same day, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44 President of the USA.

Since then, he did a lot for the american people and the world. He opened paths that had to be opened, even if now some are still desperately trying to close some of them.

He lead a nation, he educated people that wanted to be educated, he was the voice for the many who weren’t heard before. He was a commander and a force. The number one on the planet.

But, I guess, in the evening, he would still be the housband and the father. He would still had to listen to how the days of his girls went. Or the dramas at school; the gossips about a nice boy, or maybe two…

At the time I was amazed by some of his achievements as the greatest leader of the world. As I still am of his latest projects. But I am more amazed that he took the time and effort to make public some of the letters he wrote to his daughters.

He put them together in a book called “Of THEE I SING”, illustrated by Loren Long.

The love and pride he feels for his daughters is everywhere in the book. The care and encouragement he give them, not trying to impose, just guide.

For a man, even if he is the most powerful on the planet, to show so much devotion and love for his daughters, is certainly a sign of true courrage.

I hope the history will be able soon to put other great name along his. And for me to be able to read another beautiful sign of devotion as this book is.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

I didn’t knew exactly what the Twelve Days of Christmas are until a few years ago, when my daughter listened to a LionGuard version of the song. She asks me why there are twelve days of Christmas and not only one, so I did my research and found out the story behind them.

They start in the first day of Christmas ( December 25th), as the song begins, and they end on January the 6th, that is called The Epiphany. A religious celebration in the Western Christianity, the day the 3 kings visit baby Jesus. In the Orthodox religion January 6th is called the Baptism of Jesus, that was performed by John the Baptiser in the Jordan river. It is one of the most important religious celebrations of the Orthodox year and it is said to be a very cold day of the winter. After this day we can take out all Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree, sign that the Christmas is really over.

The song, that it is said to be originated in France, somewhere between 1500-1800, was first mentioned in a book in 1780s, as a memory game for children. The first child sang the first verse, the second child had to repeat the first verse and to add the second one and so on until the twelve verse. The child who would forget one or more verses would lose and be out of the game.

And because my daughter learned all the twelve verses of the LionGuard version, I though she has to at least listen to the original song too. Because, if not for other reasons, a partridge in a pear tree is more likely to be received than a rhino in a baobab tree. And legal, I believe…

So I bought her a very, very beautiful illustrated book, by Gennady Spirin, a russian painter and children’s book illustrator, bestknown for his depiction of the Nutcracker, The Velveteen rabbit or Little Red Riding Hood. He has a very unique way of painting and illustrating, using watercolors and colored pencil.

The book, called The Twelve Days of Christmas, was published in 2009 by Marshall Cavendish Corporation. The illustrations are so beautiful, is like looking at a paiting on each of the book’s page. The details, fine lines and colors are so lively and so gorgeous that it was a feast for the eye and soul to read this book.

We are still working on learning the verses, hope we will master them until the last day of Christmas.


The twelve days of Christmas, Gennady Spirin