Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This Week's Book Bag

Books, books, books, and a cup of tea and toasted blueberry muffins--because any night I have to battle Bruiser at bedtime for only an hour is classified as a win. And worthy of celebration with caffeine, carbs, and copious amounts of, you got it, BOOKS.

Tonight, I want to focus mainly on some children's poetry books that the bigger boys and I have been enjoying lately, but there are a few extras included because there is no such thing as enough reading material. So, in no particular order, I give you:

A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis, pictures by Alison Jay. Fantastic illustration work, but the big win was the text. Any book that can use flawless meter and rhyme to teach in an interesting way the difference between latitude and longitude or the names of the five oceans is an automatic win. Things I learned that I didn't know: the Sahara Desert equals the size of the United States, and the Great Pyramid weighs as much as 16 Empire State Buildings. The boys and I had so much fun with this one.

Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer, illustrations by Christopher Bing. I've said it before, I'll say it again: there are some books that are classics for a reason. This is one.  If you have baseball loving boys (or girls!), this will be an instant win. Great vocabulary and perfect for talking points, and the newspaper layout was a fun inclusion.

Peacock and Other Poems by Valerie Worth, pictures by Natalie Babbit. Just beautiful. A lovely  collection of short poems that allow you to pull up an image, a point of being in your mind. Beautifully accompanied by Natalie Babbit's pencil illustrations.

Wild Wings: Poems for Young People by Jane Yolen, photographs by Jason Stemple. Jane Yolen has been a long time favorite in our home, and this book was a lovely addition. While I don't necessarily love the presentation, the poetry is evocative, the photographs tasteful, and the small informational inclusions about each bird enjoyable. The boys especially liked getting to learn a little bit more about each of the birds Yolen described.

Leading Little Ones to God by Marian M. Schoolland, illustrations by Paul Stoub. The boys and I have been going through this book at night together. While I occasionally do feel the need to clarify certain points, on the whole it's been a really great fit. There is a short teaching section, a few questions that we discuss together, a memory verse, a scripture portion to read, a hymn, and a prayer. It takes us, tops, 15 minutes every night. I'm looking forward to doing the whole book. Incidentally, I rediscovered this book while babysitting for a dear friend--it was the one my mom worked through with me when I first came to Christ.

Matilda by Roald Dahl. I know we've been on a Roald Dahl kick, but I promise this is the last one. For now. I'm moving on...though I'm not sure what to next. I'm considering The Wind and the Willows, but I will be devastated if the boys don't like it so...I'm hesitant. ANYWAY, Matilda. We had a rip roaring good time (although I did edit out Dahl's "Oh my gawd"s and "ass"s, because I didn't want my very impressionable four year old adding to his litany of un-age appropriate words). Now the kids and I are debating whether or not they're up for watching the movie. Here's to reading big books, bigger books, and biggest books, solving impressive math problems, and moving things with your eyes.

I know this isn't my typical inclusion, but in case you guys haven't seen these, they are great options for your kids. My parents sent Littles the Usborne Big Doodling Book for his birthday this year, and he has loved it. It's also really fostered his creativity--and I've loved that. It would be a great inclusion for any kid, but especially one gearing up for a long trip or one whose mother demands long periods of afternoon quiet time because she's an introvert and yet somehow has four children... 

I'll close out with a few not pictured extras: 

Helen Lester's Tacky books are hilarious (and I really do wish I'd gotten photos of them because the illustrations by Lynn Munsinger are great). We also picked up one of her books about the Loch Mess Monster which cracked us all up. Tacky the Penguin still remains my favorite though. I skimmed through Amazon briefly to review some of the older books that we'd read about him, but all you need to know is that just seeing the covers again made me start laughing.

I did finish Major Pettigrew's Last Stand this week by Helen Simonson. It was beautifully written and incredibly thought provoking for me. I loved getting to momentarily be back in England, with all its quirks and foibles. And I also loved all the little jokes about Americans. There were some hysterically dry lines that just made the book for me, and I'm so glad that I finally read this, as it's been on my book list for months now. Don't read if you are incapable of laughing at yourself, doubting your hero, appreciating British humor, or just listening in on someone else's worldview for a while.

And that's it for tonight. Tune in next week for another peek into our stack of reading material.


  1. Neat! Great ways to teach your kids through good books. Makes me wish I were your kid!

  2. I know this blog has already inspired others, but I love the photo of C and her book. I'm looking forward to reading some of these (which I hope make it into your collection) later at your house, as these are not the types of books that tend to end up in pdf online. "Free"