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Read Aloud Thursday

We have quite an eclectic mix of books in our library basket this week, and really, most of them are just so-so.  We did thankfully end up with a few winners, though.

My favorite of the week is Dahlia, written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. This is the story of a little girl named Charlotte who has no use for the fancy doll give to her by her Aunt Edme.  However, after a day of outdoors, rough-and-tumble play, Charlotte realizes that Dahlia (christened such because she looks like Charlotte’s mother’s huge dahlias in the garden) might be a worthy companion after all.  Aunt Edme arrives at the end of the day, and the story ends with a sweet surprise.  The story is completely charming, especially for little girls who prefer messiness and rowdiness over being prim and proper.  The illustrations are delightful in an old-timey storybook kind of way.  This one is really a keeper!

My second favorite book of the week is a surprise to me, really.  I associate Kevin Henkes with Lilly, Wemberly, Owen, Chrysanthemum, and I love them all.  I really do.  However, I have not read Henkes’ books to my girls because I was waiting until the girls are a little older.  I picked up A Good Day because of the illustrations, which are really what make this book so great.  This is a simple story about how a day that starts out to be not-so-good turns into a good day.  The bold-but-simple watercolor illustrations are gorgeous.   Highly recommended!
I was a little hesitant to pick up Cindy Ellen:  A Wild Western Cinderella because I didn’t know if adoration of the Disney princess Cinderella and familiarity with her story (only through books; we’ve yet to make it through the movie due to an intense cat-and-dog scene early on) would be enough to bridge the gap for my girls.  I shouldn’t have worried, though.  I actually read Cindy Ellen aloud to third or fourth graders when I was an elementary librarian, and I can’t say that they were as delighted with the story as my four-and-a-half year old was.  Lulu loves this book!  This is a great book on many levels in terms of teaching, too.  The author, Susan Lowell, uses lots of “wild west” slang that would be interesting  to discuss with older children, and of course, the concept of fractured fairy tales is one that is good for lots of mileage.  This book can definitely stand alone as a fun read-aloud, with or without the more in-depth treatment , and the illustrations by Jane Manning are perfect.
This last book really surprised me.  I picked it up because I thought it would be interesting to learn something about chameleons, and I am always looking for nonfiction titles to grab my girls’ attention.  Martin Jenkins does a great job at making this book interesting and accessible, more like a story than a science lesson.  For example, did you know that chameleons don’t just look grumpy, they really are grumpy?  Or that their eyes can look in different directions at the same time?  Wow!  This book is particularly fun to look at, well, because chameleons are fun to look at!  Sue Shields captures their odd but entertaining physiques in a bold and colorful way in this great science read-aloud.

That’s it for this week, folks!  What have you and your family enjoyed together this week?  Tell us about it in the comments or leave a link to your blog post.  I’d love to hear about it!

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9 Responses

  1. We finished Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean tonight before bed. My 6 1/2 yo was able to follow it and seemed to enjoy it. We’d read more of a picture book version last week before starting this version.

    As luck would have it, he picked up a random CD of SOTW today and it was the story of Gilgamesh on it. He told me we needed to hurry up and read our book, because we hadn’t gotten to ‘that’ part yet!

  2. Chrysanthemum is my most favorite book ever. 🙂

    This week we have been reading Jataka tales, which are stories of the Buddha’s former lives. These complement our SOTW study, which is India and China. The kids have really enjoyed the Jatake tales because they are mostly animal-based. There is a now OOP series by Dharma Publishing that is very good, and luckily our library had 12 of the series in storage. Also to complement our history studies we are reading Chinese Children’s Favorite Stories by Mingmei Ye.

    We finished up The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, which both kids thought was great and particularly enjoyed because Julian’s family is black.

    We’re just about finished with Edward, Hoppy, and Joe, by Robert Lawson, and then we will start The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes.

  3. I posted mine!! 🙂

  4. What a fun way of keeping track of the books you read! This week, dd11 and I started reading H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. Dd3 and I have a weekly theme of “rain” this week, although it should have been snow! My favorite books that we read together were: In the Rain with Baby Duck; Splosh! (a Little Kipper book); Red Rubber Boot Day; and In the Middle of the Puddle. All of these are listed on my blog this week on the right hand sidebar.

    ~Angie (runningirl71 @ WTM forum)

  5. Mine’s up!

    http://www.readingtoknow.com/2009/01/read-aloud-thursday-felix.html

    BTW, I just saw Chrysanthemum at the bookstore the other day and WANT it! It looked so cute! (Anne, of course.)

    And good to know about Chameleons are Cool.
    That one looks like something we might enjoy!

  6. We still read aloud with our high school aged boys — what a blessing and a privilege! Today we will finish the toughest book we’ve done together: All Quiet on the Western Front. Beautiful and poetic, but emotionally and thematically very tough. It prompted one boy to ask, “Why are we reading this book?”, which led to a wonderful discussion on the great privilege and responsibility as parents we have to walk alongside our children, and to expose them carefully, with prayer and discussion, to the hard and ugly and difficult things in this world, in order to equip them as adults to be able to think through, decide, understand the world they live in.

    Older son and I just finished Animal Farm (“fairy tale” as a commentary on communism) by George Orwell together, which he loved, and have started “The Giver” (utopia/distopia) by Lois Lowry, which is also sparking a lot of discussion. We have a theme of “worldview and sci-fi” this year, having also read aloud together: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Christian view of sin); Frankenstein (romanticism and gothic themes); and The Time Machine (evolution and socialism).

    Younger son and I just finished reading aloud Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Wakefield”, and will be starting The Hobbit next week — what fun!

  7. Lori,
    What fun to still be reading with your high schoolers! I taught high school English a LONG time ago, so this really appeals to me. I’ve never read All Quiet, but I always used to show the old, old movie to my world history students.

    In some ways I am very anxious for my girls to be old enough to read and discuss works like this together, but mostly, I just want them to stay little for as long as possible!

  8. I saw this Henkes book, but we haven’t read it yet. Thanks for the recommendation!

  9. […] while looking for Dahlia ,written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Dahlia was recommended by Hope is the Word and is a wonderfully illustrated book about a tomboy-type girl who receives a frilly doll as a […]

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