Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Round Up, Mid-March Edition

Please, indulge me. Allow me to jot down random thoughts about books here and there and, if you're so inclined, respond. Tell me what you're reading. Tell me if you've read what I have read or am reading, and if your thoughts are the same as mine. I don't belong to any book clubs, so favor me, if you will, with your thoughts and recommendations.

Jane Ray's edition of Snow White is enchanting and Elisabeth has been requesting it be read to her a lot lately. The illustrations are lovely and Ray's adaptation is much more faithful to the original than the Disney-fied versions of late.

Madeleine is reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and it has spurred a lot of interesting discussion in our home. And, to show how pathetic my memory is these days, I can't even remember if I toured the Anne Frank museum when I was in Amsterdam many moons ago. Madeleine wants me to dig out my pictures of that trip so we can we can see what, if anything, I saw. Is it possible I visited Amsterdam without visiting the museum? It seems unlikely; I read and was moved by Frank's diary as a young girl myself. How, then, can I not remember. Frustrating.

Ballet Shoes is my read and it's for our next Mother/Daughter book club meeting. I wish I could say I was loving it, but I am persevering. On the other hand, Madeleine enjoyed it immensely.

Joe bought himself a copy of William F. Buckley's book The Reagan I Knew with some Christmas gift cards. I hear him chuckling a bit when he's reading it. I suppose it would be difficult for a Reagan fan to not enjoy reading his personal letters and exchanges with a friend.

The Saddle Club book is (was?) Madeleine's late-night, my-mom-and-dad-think-I'm-asleep-but-I'm-really-reading book. She tears through this trash at light speed and I think this is the one she's on right now. She has other Saddle Club and Nancy Drew (the old, original ones) waiting in the wings.

We read The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo as a family and uttered the final word just last night. This one was a heart-wrenching, emotional journey versus an adventure sort of journey and it gave our family a lot to talk about when it concluded. I do love the stories DiCamillo weaves, but I am thankful we read this story out loud so that I could edit language I would rather not have included in children's books. I'm no prude and I know my children have heard me mumble an expletive or two under my breath, but I don't understand why they're ever necessary in children's literature.

We're thinking of The Jungle Book as our next family read aloud. We'll try a chapter or two out and see if it grabs us. I suspect from previewing the first few pages that it will.

Out Stealing Horses. What can I say about this book? Oh, is it ever lovely. The story is building slowly, but the writing is captivating. The book is so engrossing and so haunting that I have been forcing myself to read more slowly, to treasure every moment and ensure that it not end too soon. I am only halfway through, but so far I adore this book.

The Seventeenth Swap and McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm are what Madeleine and Hank are reading for their assigned, school reading. Madeleine says the The Seventeenth Swap is horrible and boring and dull. Hank is ambivalent about McBroom's Farm, but I suspect he's enjoying it more than he's letting on based on his guffaws while reading and how he becomes so engrossed while reading it that he reads more than assigned.

Save Hank, we all like to read. And, well, Hank doesn't know it yet, but he likes to read too. I am convinced he could not possibly enjoy being read to as much as he does without one day growing in affection for the activity itself. So, the Hankster doesn't read for fun. But lately, as he has been staying up later, we've been insisting on some quiet time before bed. Sometimes we read aloud as a family, sometimes Madeleine or Hank will read a book to Elisabeth or sometimes we all sit together but read independently and, because of that, Hank does have a book he's reading right now that is not an assigned school book. He chose Jake Drake, Know it All. While I don't find Clements' writing to be all that challenging, his plots to be all that sophisticated or his characters very layered, there is no denying the fact that kids enjoy his books. Hank is reading a book. For fun. I'm counting this as a win.

Ah, Duck on a Bike. All of my kids have gone through a Duck on a Bike phase, and I suspect Caroline will too. Something about the barnyard animals and the repetition... I don't know, but my kids have all loved it.

That's it, for now. I don't know what I am going to tackle next; I suspect I'll make my decision as things come with my holds at the library. What are you reading?


Elephantschild said...

YOU WILL LOVE THE KIPLING. Read it, right now. It's fun for kids, and hilarious for adults because of the wonderful wordplay.

My dad read the Just So Stories to me and my siblings over and over again. They are wonderful.

Susan said...

Right now, Maggie and I are on Betsy-Tacy stories. I think next after that will be the Penderwicks, which sounds good even though it's new.

Cate said...

Oh, goodie, now I'm looking forward to starting The Jungle Book.

Susan, Madeleine loved the Betsy-Tacy series and she gave a big thumbs up when I told her you were moving onto the Penderwicks next; she says you'll both really enjoy it.

Katie said...

Madeleine sounds like the kind of reader I used to be. I hope she can continue reading like that for many years. I have lots of comments on your book choices. First, I know Clements is an easy read, but I love him. I went to school for elementary ed, so I have read many a children's book. Frindle is one of my faves. I also love Kate DiCamillo, but I haven't read the one you just finished. It excites me to hear you talk about family read alouds. So far my Little Duck only lets me read board books to him. He's antsy! Anyway, as far as suggestions, if you are looking for good novels, Elizabeth Berg is an author whom I've enjoyed lately. I'd recommend The Year of Pleasures. Do you have any book suggestions for someone who is interested in homeschooling?

Cate said...


I have been thinking about your question for a few days now and still haven't come up with anything. Not because I haven't read book about home-schooling-- I have-- but because there was no one book that blew me away or that we strictly adhere to following (or even sort of follow, for that matter).

I have read The Well-Trained Mind and it gives a person a lot of think about, but for a lot of people it's overwhelming and could make a person want to stay away from hsing instead of pursue it b/c of its rigorous suggestions. John Holt's books? Interesting, especially in combination w/TW-TM, but I disagree with a lot of that, too.

I've read a lot of "how to get started home-schooling" books that our library had and there was nothing that stood out.

Not so very helpful, am I.

At this point, I would recommend checking out some books that your library has on hand. When I was considering hsing I was very interested in what our actual day-to-day life would *look* like, so I read a lot of blogs and jotted down interesting ideas and book suggestions.

Erin said...

I love these book round-ups. Please continue!