Monday, January 30, 2017

January Addendum

As par for the course, since I got our / my January reads up last week in a timely manner, I've now got a couple additions to make! (Truly, though, this is a rarity). However, we did finish another read aloud on Friday and I made time over the weekend to read a short Newbery honor book and I would hate to leave those off my reporting lists. They are worth sharing about!

Since it was Friday, we went for a quick little read aloud that we could finish on one sitting ... The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh. 🐻 Perfect length and subject matter for an animal loving 6 year old boy. #readaloudrevival

On Friday, we decided to pick a (super) short read aloud so that we wouldn't be starting something that would have to sit over the weekend. Sometimes I find that when we start something new, we need several days in a row to dive into it or we lose momentum. The boy picked The Bears of Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh off our shelves, and since it was short we dove in. This is the story of young Jonathan - a boy growing up at the base of the Hemlock Mountains. These mountains are full of all sorts of wonderful animals that Jonathan observes with his favorite uncle, James. Except for bears - of course, there are no bears on Hemlock Mountain! (Or are there?) No one will speak definitively on this matter, but Jonathan is soon sent on an errand over the mountain to collect a large pot from his aunt. Will he find bears or won't he? This was a fantastic read for one sitting and our animal boy LOVED it. The illustrations in the version that I linked are also fantastic. I can see this being something that we will pick up again and that the boy will enjoy reading when he is off and reading independently.

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The other book I finished this weekend is one that I chose for Amy's (@ Hope is the Word) Newbery Challenge. This is her 3rd(?) year of hosting this challenge and I have been a very sporadic participant. I am going to try my best to jump in when I can this year and with that in mind, I decided to read The Windy Hill by Cornelia Meigs this weekend. It was the perfect length. You can find the book in print, however, I read it on Kindle because I already had that version (and it was free). An honor book for the Newbery in 1922, it tells the story of Oliver and Janet who are spending some of their vacation with their cousin Jasper. However, there is a family mystery and of course they need to get to the bottom of it! It is full of stories within a story as the children learn about their family history with a little bit of a puzzle to thrown in for good measure. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this - definitely time well spent this weekend!

I don't foresee finishing any more books before January is over, so I'm feeling pretty confident about pressing publish on this post! Then it is on to February!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January Reads for 2017

Happy New Year!

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I had good intentions of writing sooner than the last week in January. I miss this spot and some times want to peck a few more keys that I am allowed on Instagram. I guess we'll just warm back up to posting with a quick post on what I read in January, and it will be short and very sweet.

Evening reading.

This month, I got through four books - three of them were read alouds with various and sundry children, and I got through ONE book personally. Why only one, you ask? Well, I bought myself a new edition of Little Women for Christmas and my January goal was to reread this beloved favorite. It did not disappoint. It has been several years since I read this ... I want to say that the last read of this book was with the girls and we only read the first half of the book with promises to return and finish the second half. (Ahem, apparently that has never happened!) Reading this book over and over through the years as a teen, then as a young adult, as a mama to littles, and now returning to read as a mama of one little and a handful of (gulp!) middles, it has something for me in every age and stage of parenting and loving my family well. Working through anger and impatience (like Jo); being graceful, patient and willing under affliction (like Beth); running a happy home and loving my husband and children well (like Meg); and using the small talents that God has given me in whatever small way that I am humbly allowed (like Amy) - this book never fails to inspire.

And now I want to read Little Men. :)

The three read alouds that we read this month were so randomly and fantasticly different.

Not the bedtime reading I would have chosen but the boy and I finished this tonight at bedtime.  #readaloudrevival
  • Animal Planet Chapter Book: Sharks - The boy and I had been reading through this at bedtime. (Not my first choice for bedtime reading, but he seemed to suffer no ill affects). This was actually a book sent to me by the Amazon Vine program to read and review and it got two (make that four) thumbs up from us. Lots of facts and pictures for my animal loving boy and we are going to hunt for a few more of these books for him.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - This is the first time that I have read this book aloud and B (age 9 1/2's) first time through the book. I think she has seen this movie once, but with our older two, the general rule was that had to read through the books to get to watch the movies. (And that usually resulted in getting to stay up late after other siblings went to bed for a private showing with Daddy. Super cool privilege). :) I'm pretty sure that B has been grandfathered in to a few viewings as a younger sibling, and honestly she hasn't been as interested in diving into the series as they were. She is my one that has not jumped into reading as fast as the bigger girls. The first time that she expressed interest in the series, I handed her the hardback from the library. The sight of so many pages completely overwhelmed her! We solved that problem by an offer to read it aloud together at bedtime AND we read the book on Kindle. Problem of an overwhelmingly big book solved! We finished it up yesterday and are looking for a night where we can watch the movie together.
  • The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton - this is a delightful stand-alone story that was recommended to me by a fellow homeschooler on Instagram. It is a blend of nonsense and wordly wit that reminds me of the great Roald Dahl. There were so many lines that I wanted to go through and flag so that I could read them to my grammar class that I teach in our Classical Conversations community - fantastic uses of alliteration, rhyme, -ly adverbs, etc. The author is a crazy, talented illustrator in her own right AND is the sister in law of Andrew Peterson, author of another of my favorite series, The Wingfeather Saga. So many good signs that pointed to us loving this book. And we did. Highly recommend as a read aloud and for your library.
There were several that I wanted to read in January that I just didn't get to ... Little Women consumed all my time, and I just didn't have as many spare minutes this month. Luckily next month has a week of winter break for us and I always try to spend some down time with a book when we aren't doing as much school. I'm already looking forward to it. :)

Linking up with Amy at Hope is the Word who is bringing back a once-a-month Read Aloud Thursday roundup. Yay!