Monday, June 25, 2012

School's out for summer!

In my little corner of the world, this was the first weekday of summer vacation. How'd we all do? I would give us a solid sort-of-ok. We need to get ourselves organized, which for me mostly means creating lists of books. Then I like to check them off. Sometimes I like to write down the ones we have already read, and it is just glorious.

Three a piece to get us started.

For Claire Helen-
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
The Wind in the Willows

Wondla by Tony DeTerlizzi

The Little Grey Men by B.B.
(author's name not enough to persuade you? Here is what Dame Julie Andrews says-

"There was a little book that we found and my father leafed through it, and he said, 'Here you are, darling. I think you'll like this.' And it was a very small children's novel called The Little Grey Men, by an English author called B.B. And it was a very simple nature tale of the last four gnomes left on this earth in England. Very much like Watership Down, that kind of big nature study, and it was set in four seasons. It was a terrific adventure story. I swallowed it up." )

For Simon:

Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Twenty One Balloons, by William Pene du Bois

The Twenty-One Balloons

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants

I'll let you know how they are once I read them!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer reading

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the bigger beanlets, so of course we are gearing up for summer reading. If you're in Seattle, the public library has a lovely program-
Summer Reading Program

Every time you read 10 books you get a pony. Well, not quite, but it felt like it. We turned in one of Claire Helen's forms, and she came back with all manner of loot- including a trip for the whole family to the Burke Museum- and is quite energized to get stickers to put on her name tag on the library wall. Sign up, if you are local!

We're just back from a little family jaunt to Iceland, and mean mother that I am, I assigned the elementary schoolers "homework" for our trip, since they were missing school. For Claire Helen, in part that meant 2 books with attendant mom book group discussions-

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Fountas and Pinnell: level Z
Lexile: 830

I am an unapologetic judger of books by their covers, and this cover art absolutely drew me in. Isn't it lovely? Calpurnia is an 11 year old girl living in 1899 who loves science (especially botany), much to the frustration of her very proper mother. It had a very Anne of Green Gables feel to me- not quite so fuzzy/romantic, much more scientific, but similar spunky main character with modern morals overlaid.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Lexile: 750

The lexile level is deceiving- this is a difficult book. It's worth it, but it's not easy. Manhattan sixth grader Miranda begins receiving cryptic notes after a falling out with her best friend, which she has to puzzle through while dealing with her game show obsessed mother and keeping it together. A Wrinkle in Time makes an appearance, and there is time travel (!). We had some great discussions about it, particularly the way that the book discusses a book we already know. I'd recommend it, but it's worth talking about while they're reading it, for the bullying incident (mild, but focused on), if not to explain what the 20,000 Dollar Pyramid was, back in the age of dinosaurs.