Emma Walton Hamilton is our featured June 12 x 12 author. Several of the picture books she’s written with her mother, Julie Andrews, have already been included in Perfect Picture Book Friday, but my selection, SIMEON’S gift, holds a special place in my heart because it’s given me special moments with my children. Then, in an interview on Beth Stilborn’s blog, I read that Emma and her mother wrote the first draft of this book when Emma was only five years old. Now I love the book that much more!
Harper Collins, September, 2006
Suitable for: Ages 5+
Themes/Topics: Music, Love, Travel, Nature, Performing Arts, Adventure, Europe
Opening/Synopsis: From Kirkus: “In a time of “castles and monasteries,” a poor young man named Simeon plays his lute for all and loves a noblewoman, Sorrel. He’s ashamed that he has little to offer her, so he goes on a journey to open himself to more music...” I also love the opening lines: “A long time ago, when castles and monasteries dotted the land and knights went forth to do brave deeds, when women wove beautiful tapestries and minstrels played for pauper and prince alike, there lived a humble musician named Simeon. Though uneducated and penniless, he was a gentle, nature-loving man, and music was his passion.”
Activities: Sit outdoors with your children and listen for “music.” Have them compose music using items from nature – sticks, stones, rubbing leaves together. How many sounds can you make? The Julie Andrews Collection website also has an interactive game based on the book. You can also buy the version with the CD of Julie Andrews reading the book, which is so wonderful.
Why I Like This Book: This book gave me a very special moment with my son, which you can read about here. But it’s just a beautiful story that will engage both younger and older children (my nine year-old loves it). The illustrations are sumptuous and fascinating. I also love that I can let the kids listen to it while I’m cooking dinner or doing other chores around the house. They are always more relaxed after listening to it than they were before.12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Children's Books, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books · Tags: 12 x 12 Featured Author, 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews, Julie Hedlund, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books, Writer