Rating: 4.5 stars
We just returned from a big ol' family trip to Northern California. It was the first time I'd ever really been there (does a two day stint in San Francisco in college for a conference and a ten hour layover in Los Angeles really count?) and I was blown away by the beauty and hipness of the place. I suddenly realized how uncool I am here on the East Coast!
But rather than go on a tangent about my lack of cool, I'll try and focus on books. Before this and any trip, I try to find a bunch of books about our destination so to provide a context for the kids. Since they have few or no expectations and little experience to draw upon, I really think giving them picture-filled books to show them what we'll see is helpful. Plus sights fly by their window so quickly, I like for them to...pre-steep, if you will...in the city as much as possible.
So, Maybelle the Cable Car. This is one of my favorite books by Virginia Lee Burton--it is charming, interesting, and informative. Can't beat that! In this book, the city fathers are thinking about retiring the cable cars in favor of buses, which are "newer and faster and more economical." Maybelle is one of those cable cars, and she and her sisters are immediately dismayed at the news. While some of the people are glad for progress, others are just as sad as Maybelle. "We'll miss them...what a pity...We'll be like any other city."
So they call a public meeting and put it to a vote! Obviously the cable cars win, but only after Big Bill the bus, the not-so-horrible enemy in the book, tries to climb the hills in the middle of the night. At first, he thinks there's nothing to it. But on a damp and foggy night, he slips, slides, and gets turned around. He suddenly has a little more respect for those cable cars. So he concedes like a gentleman and beeps his horn to congratulate the cable cars as they take a victory climb up the hills of San Francisco.
|Lorelei's I'm-on-a-cable-car grin.|
Anyway, a really good book even if you're not heading to San Francisco, but required reading if you are!
P.S. In a man-I-wish-I-had-seen-that! moment, I found a nice little list of children's books (click here) about San Francisco on the blog www.SFKids.org. But I did find this blog post useful about kid-friendly activities and sites around the city.