Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pippi Longstocking

People have been dressing up like Pippi for Halloween for YEARS, but I didn't actually know her character, and boy, is she fun!  Her mother died when she was young and her father got lost at sea, so Pippi now lives on her own in a small house called Villa Villakulla.  She becomes fast friends with the neighbor kids, Tommy and Annika, and with them she has many silly adventures!  

Hannah colored this Pippi coloring page according to the descriptions given in the book.

Had no idea this was a movie so we watched it when we were done reading!

Lions at Lunchtime

We read through the book all at once so it was a bit much to go through these review questions all in one sitting but there were some good ones in there, some including family discussion like...
   Tell about a time you and another person worked together.
   Tell about a time you felt frightened of something.
   Have you ever heard about an animal helping a person?

The word matches I did out loud and gave the kids a few choices to pick from. They did very well with it.

* Find Tanzania and Kenya on a world map. (we actually did this at the beginning of the book so we'd know what we were reading about)

* A crossword to review, making for a fun way to review vocabulary words.

* Fun facts about animals that migrate.

Fun activity: 
Let the kids use their fingers to make a peanut butter and honey sandwich.  (Hannah just did this since Eli hates peanut butter)

(currently out of honey so we used a lil Agave Nectar)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ordinary Princess

I decided to also start doing storytime with Hannah in the afternoons during her quiet time while Carter naps.  I choose girlier books and we read for about 45 minutes and then she does letter games, plays quietly, or looks at books for the remainder of naptime.  Our first book we read together was The Ordinary Princess.  

Really loved this story, and it was a fast read.  It's about a princess, Amy, who at her christening is "cursed" by a fairy with the gift of being just ordinary.  She then loses her blonde hair and curls and bright blue eyes and as she continues to grow up becomes increasingly ordinary. She has freckles and stringy brown hair and loves to just play freely out in the forest instead of doing pretty princess things in the palace.  Her parents, the King and Queen, happily marry off Amy's six older, and beautiful, sisters, but then comes Amy and every man that comes to pursue her immediately decides to leave as soon as they've met her.  Knowing a prince must be found, the King and Queen devise a plan to trick the boy into marrying Amy, but when Amy hears of the plan she escapes the palace and runs away to live in the forest.  A series of events leads her to meeting a boy just as ordinary as her, and they become fast friends.  He discovers she's actually a princess, and she ends up discovering he's actually a prince and they find a way to marry and live happily just as they are, ordinary.

Such a sweet story and it very much reminded me of the movie Penelope where the rich girl is cursed with a pig snout for a nose. It's believed that marriage would break the curse but every boy that comes to meet her instantly runs away.  In the end she meets someone who appreciates who she is snout and all, and it's not his love after all that breaks the spell.

So when we finished reading The Ordinary Princess we spent the next afternoon watching the movie Penelope and comparing the two with follow-up questions:

1. What things were the same between the two stories?
2. What things were different between the two stories?
3. Did Princess Amy like being ordinary?
4. What did Penelope finally come realize?
5. What things are good about being ordinary?
6. Read 1 Peter 3:3-5 and talk about what REALLY makes a girl/woman beautiful.

The Wind in the Willows

This one took us awhile.  The language was difficult. Many words I don't even know, and single sentences with such detail it was sometimes to hard to even know what was being talked about.  The overall story itself was enjoyable though so we plodded along.  The chapters were kind of long, each telling of an adventure with the characters Mole, Toad, Water Rat, and Badger.  Definitely a book of adventure, friendship, companionship, and loyalty, despite the personality differences that the characters had with one another. 

Aside from the wordy language the one other thing I disliked about the book was the frequent usage of the A-S-S word, in actual context like "stop being such an #&*" and I sometimes struggled to find a different word to replace it with on the spot.  lol

Would maybe recommend for slightly older kids.

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

I vaguely remember this from my childhood??  This is a silly book in which Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has potions and remedies for children's poor behavior when the parents are at the end of their rope and just don't know what else to try.  

It's a fun read, the language is easy.  The chapters are pretty long but each is a different little story and it's an opportunity to expand and then talk about the behavior and WHY it's wrong, maybe include some relevant Bible verses, and how we should be instead. I recommend! I believe there are other Piggle Wiggle books as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Trumpet of the Swan

Toward the end of summer the kids and I really were settling into a good routine of doing read-alouds.  Classics I'd found in a list on Pinterest.  And then school resumed, and while we can't do our reading in the afternoon, I've started putting Carter to bed 1/2 hr early, and then Eli and Hannah stay up an extra 30-40 minutes as I read to them. And then they're in bed almost by 8pm still. 

Our first non-Tree House book we read was The Trumpet of the Swan.  Really simple read, easy language. And here and there throughout the book we'd find demonstrations online, such as a sound clip of a trumpet swan, or the tune of Taps.  We'd look up the map of the places we read about and so on.  

It was a good book, filled with the adventures of a swan named Louis who is mute and cannot trumpet on his own.  His father goes to the trouble to get an actual brass trumpet for him to use instead, but it's stolen and Louis knows it, so he takes it upon himself to earn the money to pay the store for it and make things right.  He learns to write and read, gets job after job, and becomes well known across the cities until he can return home at last to his family.  I definitely recommend. Great example of integrity and being determined to do the right thing.