Saturday, January 8, 2011

What we are reading today...

I confess that I am not much of a winter person. The boys are eager to get all decked out in 12 layers of clothing and plow through the snow, whereas I hate to be all bundled up, and tend to bring a coat only in case I end up in a ditch somewhere. In my mind, snow is lovely to look at from the warmth of the fireside, curled up with a cup of tea and a good book....I know, it is shameful for a Canadian Woman to feel such things, but there you have it.

Anyway, the snow keeps the kid outside during the day, but the early sunsets draw them inside to my lair for some snuggles and reading before it gets too late. Here is what we are enjoying right now....

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel (1970). Will loves the Frog and Toad books - perfect for beginning readers. There are enough words on each page, and enough of a story that it feels like a 'real book', but it is easy enough that he doesn't get discouraged. We both get incredibly frustrated with the leveled readers you find in book stores and the local library, for the most part - they are either too complicated for his level right now, or the stories are dull and excruciating for us both to read and listen to.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S.Lewis I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be reading this series (the Narnia books) with the boys. We both felt a bit of a let down after finishing Harry Potter and wanted another series that we could dive into and know that we wouldn't have to come up for air for quite a while. As an added draw, these were the favorite books of my sister and I when we were young. Mom would read through the series with us, and as soon as we finished The Last Battle we would be begging her to start at the beginning again.

Stranger in the Woods by: Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick. If you have never come across this book, it is worth searching out - especially if you have nature / animal lovers in the family. It is a lovely story about woodland animals discovering a snowman in their forest. It is full of photographs rather than illustrations, and they are breathtaking. Deer, chickadees, porcupines and owls fill the pages in beautiful photos that really make the story come alive.

Mummies in the Morning by: Mary Pope Osbourne. Do you have any of these books in the house? Twaddle (isn't that the word that Charlotte Mason uses?)that somehow snuck into the house without your notice, and now the kids don't want to get rid of them? Thank goodness the kids don't ask for these books all that often but Charlie seems to be on a bit of a binge these days. These books are not what I would call stimulating, but at least they are short....

Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart. I came across this book on my shelf a few days ago, in my pile of 'to read' books that I have picked up at used book stores, garage sales,etc. The authors other book Away is one of my favorites of all time, and although I am just getting started in this one, I am loving it too. Her language is beautiful and is as much of a feast for the senses as you can get from a book. Changing Heaven also floats back and forth between different times and places, which is a trait that I love in books, when it is done well.

Possum Living - How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money by Dolly Freed. This gem was on my Christmas list, and I am so thankful to have family members who went to the trouble of tracking it down. It was written in 1978 by an 18 year old girl with a 7th grade education, and tells how she and her father, "The Old Fool" live outside of normal economic society. You need to, of course, take this tale with a grain of salt, but it paints a wonderful picture of an alternative way of life. This is not one of the back-to-the-land books typical of the time, but definitely the musings of a younger writer whose approach to things is less than completely thought out. None-the-less, a fun read if you are into this sort of thing.

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