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Learn About Restoration & Renewal by Reusing

Same Ax Twice --

When Agnolia stopped at the bookstore for the new Caldecott award winning book illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, A Child's Calendar, she saw Howard Mansfield's new book, The Same Ax Twice: Restoration and Renewal in a Throwaway Age. Curious about the origin of the title, Agnolia picked up the book. On the inside flap of the dust jacket she found the story behind the title -

An old farmer boasts that he has used the same ax his whole life--he's only had to replace the handle three times and the head twice. In an eclectic, insightful meditation on the powerful impulse to preserve and restore, Howard Mansfield explores the myriad ways in which we attempt to reconnect with and recover the past--to use the same ax twice.

When Agnolia realized The Same Ax Twice was a collection of essays, by a very skilled writer, about an important and often unappreciated subject, restoration and renewal--she decided to buy the book.

Before the twins arrived home from school, Agnolia had time to read about the restoration of the U.S.S. Constitution. She was surprised to read that "anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of Old Ironsides . . . is original." Agnolia thought about the field trip her junior high class had made to Boston to visit Old Ironsides, and she remembered watching the television coverage of the ships sailing on its 200th birthday when she read -

On the 200th anniversary of the ship's launch, July 21, 1997, a gray drizzly day, Old Ironsides sailed downwind for five and a half miles at almost four knots. Six new sails were set . . . The U.S. Navy was a little short on experience in sailing a three-masted frigate. On the first day of practice, it took three hours to set the sails. . . By the voyage, it took ten minutes.

Before closing the book, Agnolia looked briefly at some of the other essays. When she came to the essay called, "The Birds Keep Their Secrets" she stopped briefly and read that "a replica of a Wright Model B" that had "similar measurements . . . was made of aviation steel . . . was more than twice as heavy. . . had a powerful helicopter motor."

As Agnolia put down The Same Ax Twice so she could start dinner, she decided when she and Elwood finished reading The Same Ax Twice she would pass the book on to Edward and Rachael who could reuse the book and in so doing, learn about restoration and renewal.

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