Saturday, January 7, 2012

Books and Tea {Of New Faces and Shiny Gold Keys that Unlock Wishes}

Yesterday night was the first meeting of the Mother-Daughter Bluebell Bureau.

This image found here 

My mother and I started our own little book club, just for the two of us. We read the first two chapters of The Scarlet Pimpernel, a seemingly thrilling tale set during the French Revolution. This book brings back memories for my mom, who read it as a kid and loved it ever since. (She tried to memorize the whole book but only ended up memorizing the first paragraph. She still remembers it to this day and, because she repeats it so often, so do I :)

This image found here

I named our little duo of readers the Bluebell Bureau because it sounds enchanting. Here are the rules for the club:

1. We have to read every night for at least 10 minutes
2. We discuss the book afterward
3. Exceptions from the club are only emergencies

It turns out that my little friends in the Tiny Tea Room were inspired by our Bluebell Bureau, and decided that they needed tea and books of their own.

This is what I found in my room when I walked upstairs after our meeting had adjourned:

Snow the Man, Holly the Dolly, Teddy the Bear, and Bunny the Rabbit were all in a heated discussion about the book that they were reading for their club. (They called themselves the Tea Cup Book Club, although Snow was all in favor of Snowman is Awesome Book Club, but the others turned him down.) Their first discussion centered around Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I warned them that it was a huge novel to conquer because there were other fairy tales in the gigantic volume, but they insisted.

Anyway, there were having a heated argument about something, so I inquired what it was. Holly (she's from Slovakia, imported) told me that Bunny and Teddy thought that the entire novel was just a fantasy and that there really was no entrance to Wonderland (they are a very practical group) while she and Snow argued otherwise--they thought an entrance really did exist, that the novel was based on a true event. (Snow's from France, so I call him Frenchie sometimes.)

I poured myself a cup of tea and sat down with them. "Well," I began. They all looked at me inquiringly, wondering whose side I would take. I decided it would be best to remain neutral in this sort of argument. "Wonderland was created by the man who wrote this book, Mr. Dodgson, or, as we know him by his pen name, Lewis Carroll," I said carefully. "Although he created the world from his imagination, why does this mean it could not exist?"

This question puzzled them. Finally, Bunny spoke:

"If Wonderland only existed in Carroll's head, how can it be real?" he countered.

"Of course it's real, to him," I told Bunny.

"Yes, but not to the rest of us," Teddy added, and Bunny nodded along.

"Sure it is," I laughed, and they all broke out in cries of triumph and agreement and outrage and argument. 

"Settle down, settle down!" I called over their bickering, still laughing. "What I meant was, Wonderland exists if you believe it exists. What Lewis Carroll did was amazing. In his story, he wrote of a little girl who travels through the realm of her imagination. Her adventures took place solely in her mind, but does that mean they aren't real? Are you willing to argue that the man who wrote this book did not think the thoughts he did in order to put the words on the page?"

"Well no, but that's beside the point--" began Teddy.

"In your head, you have the ability to imagine whatever you want. If you think the thought, it is real. The thought that came up in your mind was real, therefore, the thought itself was real. Maybe it doesn't exist in the literal meaning of the word," I said, eyeing Teddy and Bunny, "but that doesn't mean we can't image that it does and keep believing that there really is such a place as Wonderland.

"And the great thing is, we don't all have to visit Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. We have the ability to create our own Wonderland, tailored to our individual wants and imagination. All in our mind."

I tapped my temple, smiling.

"I guess I never thought about it that way," muttered Bunny grudgingly, not wanting to admit defeat but having to speak his mind.

I picked up the book and opened it to a random page. 

"Whether or not a rabbit hole to get into Wonderland exists or not, we can still visit it through these pages," I concluded, tapping the book. Teddy and Bunny sighed. 

"I suppose you're right," they said.

"Ha! Take that!" cried Snow and Holly triumphantly.

"But she didn't actually say that Wonderland existed--it's just in the mind," Teddy arugued. "You guys thought that the rabbit hole was real!"

Bunny reinforced him and the back and forth started up again.

"I give up," I muttered under my breath.

"I think I now how we can settle this," I finally shouted over their bickering, "I'll introduce another vote, and whoever he sides with will be the winner."

They all quieted with anticipation.

"Here he is..."

"His name is Snoopy, and I brought him home today," I told everyone. They chorused "hi" at this newcomer and waited for him to give his opinion.

"I don't know about Wonderland existing," Snoopy said, not wanting to make a bad impression on either opposing force, "but I do have this little key, and it has to open something! So I thought that maybe you would help me find what it opens up."

Snoopy offered them his key and they readily agreed. Quickly they were divided into teams (they are so competitive!) to see who would find the place that they key unlocks first.

I decided to pair up the Believers with the Non-Believers, so Holly and Teddy were together...

and Bunny and Frenchie.

And they quickly split up.  Bunny and Frenchie headed to the east side of the room while Holly and Teddy ventured to the west side of the room, hoping to discover something that the key could unlock.

Snoopy decided to go with Holly and Teddy. They headed to my desk.

From their perspective, the shelves look very treacherous, but the group was determined.

Snoopy volunteered to do the climbing and the others gave him a boost up.

When he reached the top....

He noticed a Wish Jar with a lock that perfectly fit the key!

When he announced to the others that he had found it, they rounded up Frenchie and Bunny to tell them the news. There was a little note beside the jar that said:

Your most wonderful wishes,
Your deepest dreams,
Should enter this jar--
You’ll see what it means.
Keep reading and growing,
Imagination afloat.
One day you’ll find the entrance,
Across the treacherous moat.
Don’t worry, young friends,
If you can’t See right away.
Some are open-minded,
And others astray.
But you shall all find your way
If you open your eyes and say:
Look at me world, It’s a new day,
I’m ready to play!
Never doubt the mind,
For it is our greatest tool.
We can do anything we want—
Amid these dreams there are no rules.
So listen up and listen well:
Wonderland is close.
Keep dreaming and wishing
And you shall find the thing you want most.


They all stared in awe at what was they had just read.

"I guess Wonderland does exist after all," I said smugly.

I fill up my wish jar every day--do you? 

After all, Wonderland is just a hop and a skip away. :)

Have a wonderland weekend!

Ta ta for now,
Jess xoxo

P.S. I found Snoopy at Hallmark and couldn't resist picking him up. Also, Holly really is from Slovakia and Frenchie may not exactly come from France, but he was made my a French woman.

P.S.S. My grandpa sent me a juicer a few days ago and I got it yesterday! I made lemonade from the homegrown lemons my mom's friend gave her and it is GOOOD!

P.S.S.S. Read. Read every chance you get and allow your imagination to grow. Even if you don't have anyone to read with, read by yourself and go to Wonderland every day, if only for a little while. Your Wonderland is unique and solely yours. The other worlds that people write about are just variations of their very own Wonderland. Take Narnia, Neverland, the Inkworld, Oz, The Hundred Acre Wood, Harry Potter--all of those wonderful places are the works of brilliant minds who share their ideas and worlds with us through words. But you can make your own Wonderland too. Just believe. Fill up your Wish Jar and dream.

P.S.S.S.S. Books I have read recently, want to read, and am reading right now:

Beautiful Days, by Anna Godbersen (Reading this now--if you are a Luxe or Bright Young Things fan this sequel to Bright Young Things is great so far!)

The Reading Promise, by Alice Ozma (Just finished reading this--super good! That's where I got the idea to start my own reading streak with my mom :)

Alice in Wonderland and Other Tales (I've read Alice in Wonderland before, but the other tales are a mystery to me, and it looks good :)

The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephans (This one looks really good and I ordered it today :)

Princess Alyss of Wonderland by Frank Beddor (Thanks for introducing this to me, Jenn! I really want to read it now!)

Reckless, by Cornelia Funke (I seriously recommend this book, it is sooooo good! One of my favorites!)


  1. wow jess, you hav outdone yourself with this post!

    I loved the story about your furry friends, and how they found the keyhole, something that always intrigues me!

    Also, that poem was soo cute, did you write it? very inspiring

    Well, i now have a post in my head, ready to type up and very much inspired by you!

    See you tomorrow my friend!

    xoxo, Ariel

  2. Why, thank you so much! Really a lot of fun :) and I will make sure to check out your blog! Can't wait! (And yes, I did make up the poem...just a little something that popped into my head and I figured I'd include it :)

    Ta ta for now!


  3. Dear Jessica,
    This post was so cute. The idea of stumbling upon your little furry friends having a book club meeting is the sweetest thing imaginable. I really really loved this whole story. It's so nice that you and your mom have a book club. I'd love to do the same but most of the books I read these days are for my university courses. Ick. HAHA! Not really though, I just wish I could read something I actually wanted to every now and then! I loved the poem you wrote. It's so true, wonderland is within you. I think we can live in whichever world we choose. Sometimes I flick on the news, and I just see the types of worlds some people live in, all the bad stuff happening... Those kinds of things don't even exist in my universe. I don't let them in. I see you do the same, and fill your world with beautiful, light filled ideas and things. Never let the world dull your spark. It's sweet and pure, just like you!
    Lots of love,

  4. I hope both book clubs continue on. Way back when.... I'm thinking somewhere in the 1980's the BBC aired a TV series based on the Scarlet Pimpernel. I think if you go to NetFliks(sp?) and do a search it could be found. Something you and you Mom might also enjoy.
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie