I checked out some books on CD to listen to in the car, as I had noticed that the kids were having more little spats as they are strapped in next to each other. I am a much calmer driver listening to quality children's literature with quiet children than I am when I am yelling "stop it, don't touch each other, look out your own window, etc".
So we listened to a very well read CD of The Van Gogh Cafe. It is a charming story of a cafe where magic happens - simple magic such as a cat that falls in love with a sea gull and very strange magic such as food that cooks itself and poetry that predicts the future. A ten year old girl works there with her father the owner, and she "sees everything" with her calm gaze taking in the world and all the people who come in to the cafe.
The story had another magical effect - it kept the kids spellbound as we drove around town! We had a few "driveway moments" when we had to stay in the car until a bit of resolution had come to the story, and we were all sad to come to the end of the story.
After the book ended, the CD ran the "credits" and said "written by Cynthia Rylant". Carbon exclaimed "Cynthia Rylant!? She's my favorite!" He hadn't realized why I checked out that story, but of course she is his favorite. He adores all the Henry and Mudge books, and when either of the kids plays with our dog they call it "playing Henry and Mudge". Carbon will also inform you that she wrote The Lighthouse Family books.
I think Santa may be slipping a Cynthia Rylant book into somebody's stocking this year ...