"B" is for Betsy

What a fun little surprise this was!  I pulled the book thinking that it would be a cute, easy, summer chapter book for Stella and I to read.  The cover art made me a little nervous, it's a new cover with new art and I assumed that it was a mid-'90's kid-lit.  I had no idea what a gem I had picked up.  Just goes to show that you really CAN'T judge a book by it's cover!  It's a sweet little story.

Anywho... "B" Is for Betsy was written by Carolyn Haywood and first published in 1939.  I immediately relaxed.  This would be safe.  The children were respectful, the perspectives refreshing. There was some independence, some rebellion, but also remorse and reparation.

Stella begged for more chapters, and even Bruce sat through most of it.  She couldn't wait to find what Betsy would do next!  I really enjoyed it also!  We would whole-heartedly recommend this book to any family with kids in the early chapter book years.

It's also a series, and we are looking forward to the next few books!

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The Three Ninja Pigs

This week at the Library we borrowed the book The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz.  A little back-story: I am married to a man with a second degree black belt and a love for all things Japanese, karate, or ninja related.  I love fractured fairy tales.  So when I saw this book, I knew we'd all love it.  And we did.

It was funny.  It rhymed (well).  It taught the concept of follow-through, and working hard to accomplish a goal. But without being preachy.  Some of it went over the kids heads I'm sure, but the pictures are great, and the story easy to follow.

I do think it helps a kid to know the original fairy tale before reading the fractured fairy tales.  Otherwise they aren't nearly as funny.  So I asked Stella to tell me the original story.  She's a good story teller.

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Tuesdays at the Castle

So, I'm late getting this post up, since we actually read this book almost three weeks ago!  But we loved it.  It was a little advanced for Stella, and there were parts that she was a little nervous to read through.  But I persisted and we finished this delightful book by Jessica Day George.

I am a huge fan of fantasy of this sort.  I mean, really, who isn't fascinated by a magical, growing, living castle. The fun part of Tuesdays at the Castle is that it makes the castle, the setting of the book a major character in the story.  The heroine of the book, 11 year-old Celie is a bright, fleshed out, child.  I loved that she was simply a girl, she didn't act or speak like an adult.

Stella's favorite parts were where she was escaping from the "bad guys"! 
We are looking forward to the sequel, Wednesdays in the Tower
There are some heavier themes in this one, so be aware of that. Celie's parents are presumed dead for much of the book, there is an attempted coups by some advisers and a foreign prince.  And her older brother is at school to become a wizard.  With that said, we would highly recommend this book for 1st grade and up.

What are your favorite books fantasy books for kids?

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The Secret Garden

I love, love, love, The Secret Garden !  I have loved it since I was a little girl.  There is something so captivating about it. The opening of tragedy, but the quick almost skimming over of it.  The idea that there were no toys or even children to play with once she arrived at her uncles home.  They mystery. The Secrecy. The coming alive of heart and mind and garden all together.  And the language!  The delightful fun of trying to make my very American tongue say words with not only a proper British accent, but also the Yorkshire slang of the characters.  Delightful.

It was a joy to introduce this book to Stella.  Some of it went over her head.  And she never chose to read it.  But when I would insist on a chapter, she would beg for more.  I really do think that she enjoyed it, if it was a little advanced.  But she has started to incorporate a British accent into her imaginative play.  And at 5 if that is what we take from books... I'll take it!


Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children

We loved this book!  James Herriot's stories are exceptional.  Stella, like all little girls, loves animal stories.  And I have loved James Herriot since high school.  So when my Aunt Sue gave the kids James Herriot's Treasury for Children for Christmas I knew we were all in for a treat.  I hadn't realized that he had written for children.  And maybe they aren't written for children, but they are certainly appropriate for them.  He writes in a way that makes the country and the people and the animals come to life and the illustrations by Ruth Brown and Peter Barrett add to it.  This is a delightful book and we all enjoyed.  Even Bruce wouldn't wander too far, and for some stories he even sat with us.  Out of eight stories we enjoyed, well, eight.  Super sweet, and fun.  I would highly recommend this to anyone! 

 Have you ever read any of James Herriot's books? 


In which I list books for me to read in 2013

Yesterday I posted about the books I want to read the kids this year.  But I also set a goal for myself.  I would like to read at least one non-fiction, non-cookbook book per month.  So 12 books.  I have 8 selected already and I am open to suggestion for the last 4.  I would like to read at least one biography, yet to be selected. In no particular order:

What do you suggest I add to round out my list?

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In which I list the books we will read this year

I have set a goal to read at least 18 good read alouds with the kids this year.  I have selected 16 of them already.  I think I will ask our local children's librarian for more suggestions for this age/stage We're looking forward to getting started on these!

  1.  Adventures of Little Bear by Else Minarik and Maurice Sendak
  2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  3. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  4. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  5. The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett  (Completed in February)
  6. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  7. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  9. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  10. Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary
  11. James Herriot's Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children James Herriot  (Completed in January)
  12. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O'Brien
  13. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
  14. American Girl - Josefina and Samantha, specifically.
  15. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  16. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh 
I will come back and update this list with the last two books, just as soon as I choose them!  I'm totally open to suggestions, too.  What would you read to a kindergartener or first grader?

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