Books, Sips and Pet Tips for June


The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman opens in the early 1960s in Manhattan. Frances “Franny” Burke-Owens, her sister Bridget, known as “Jet,” and their brother Vincent are perceived as “different” by the other children at the Starling School. Their father is a psychiatrist and their mother is a Daughter of the American Revolution. They have rules. The children are not allowed to wear black, no burning of candles, no books about magic, no red shoes, no falling in love. The siblings never reveal to their parents that Vincent can see the future; birds will come to Franny unbidden; and sensitive Jet can read other people’s thoughts. The tumultuous nature of their growing powers parallels the upheaval of the Vietnam Era. A prequel to Hoffman’s 1995 Practical Magic, this novel will make truly mesmerizing summer reading.

Request these books any month of the year at your local library or bookstore.

Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.


So when you’re packing your summer picnic basket with delicious goodies, don’t forget a few tasty sippers. While I’m absolutely a fan of sharing a great bottle of vino in these scenarios, nothing beats a great can of wine to lighten the load. The can game, if you haven’t heard, is currently at its best.  From the small “shorties” to the “tall boy” section, top notch canned wine is being produced around the globe.

One of my favorites for your summer solstice celebration is Field Recordings’ Hans Grüner (Grüner Veltliner) from Edna Valley, CA. Vibrantly delicious backed with fresh bits of lemon and lime, topped off with juicy notes of a perfectly ripened yellow apple, this wine will make you and your summer very happy—enjoy!

Look for similar selections at France 44 and Edina Liquor.

Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm, Amusee; and Sip Better Wine Club.


Is your pet afraid of thunderstorms? Your dog or cat may feel the barometric changes hours before you notice the storm clouds. Some studies show it’s the feeling of static electricity tingling through their fur that’s uncomfortable.

So prepare your pet with these tips:

•Take your pet to a water source area like a laundry room or bathroom. Water neutralizes the electromagnetic waves during a thunderstorm.  

•Try placing them in the bathtub.

•Gently wipe their coat with an unscented dryer sheet although this should not be done frequently.

•Relax. Exhale and be conscious of your breathing. Play soft music. Speak in a low, calm voice.

•Do not give your pet excessive attention. This reinforces the behavior.

•Give Rescue® Remedy to everyone—people included (This can be purchased at Whole Foods, GNC).

•Picture your dog relaxed, sleeping, or resting near you. It is amazing how changing your mind can change your pet’s behavior.

Ann Platt is owner of Pets Are Inn, an award winning pet lodging business in Edina.