Saturday, June 23, 2012

After 2 weeks of vacation Smarty is at 20 books read on her own, a mixture of chapter books and picture books. In fact, the number is much higher, but we are not recording “repeat reads” from our own library or books she is reading in her Y summer camp. Interestingly, she refuses to read non-fictional “fact books” lately claiming that she loves fantasy more. It’s quite a reversal from a few months ago when she was finding fantasy too scary. We are still reading plodding through 101 Read-Aloud Bible Stories (we finally got Joshua and his people to Canaan), but I started to insist on reading one picture book in the evening in addition to two Bible stories, because I wanted some variety for myself Smile
Friendship According to Humphrey
Humphrey series by Betty G. Birney continues to be a big hit here. The books are long and technically targeted to older readers, but the story (that Smarty correctly deemed to be a fantasy and not a real story) is very engaging, and even though I am not a big fan of hamsters, I can’t help but root for the main character of the book. There are many subplots introducing various problems that Humphrey solves very successfully. I wish some adults were as good at solving problems as this hamster!
A South African Night
Smarty finally chose the next country for our “read around the world” program – South Africa. Unfortunately, she didn’t like A South African Night too much, since it doesn’t contain a lot of text and better suited for younger children, but illustrations by Rachel Isadora (who is also an author) are beautiful and show great contrast between busy Johannesburg and wild life in Kruger park. The good news is that we read another book about South Africa that Smarty loved, and I will review it in a separate post.
Sarah Plain and Tall
My husband picked up Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan following a librarian’s recommendation. I had to start the book with Smarty to draw her in, but she read most of the book and all the sequels on her own. This is a nice series for older kids who like Little House books. From some things that Smarty told me I could see that she doesn’t comprehend all the complex family dynamics fully, but she read some of the books several times trying to get deeper into the story and figure things out. Maybe after we are finally done with the Bible Stories (a good month away!), we’ll reread Sarah series together.
Lots of Lice
Smarty was so amused with Lots of Lice by Bobbi Katz that she insisted on reading it aloud to me. She never knew about lice before going to school, but now Y performs lice checks every so often. As many children her age, she is fascinated by gross things. The book is told in verse, and the narrator is a louse. It gives readers advice on what to do or what not to do, which is, of course, the opposite of what you would do to fight lice. It’s a pretty funny book and good for a lesson on lice if you ever need one.


Joyful Learner said...

So funny how Anna and K are like yin and yang! K only wanted to read fantasy for a long time but these days she's all over the nonfiction books. But I find that she prefers the non-fiction picture books but for fantasy, it's all chapter books. I've been recording what she's read but these days she will read books and forget to tell me. Imiss those days when she would leave me a nice stack of books to record! Rooting for Anna as she's making her way to her goal!

Kelly said...

Great books! I remember reading and enjoying Sarah, Plain and Tall when I was little. I find it hard to keep track of what the kids read anymore. Hope you guys are having a fun summer!
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

MaryAnne K said...

"A South African Night" sounds lovely for Lily. And I hadn't realized that "Sarah, Plain and Tall" was a series - I remember reading the first book as a child, though.

Ticia said...

My kids go on odd kicks with books too. They're pretty much always wanting to get non-fiction.

Julie said...

The Humphrey book sounds really good. I'll have to check it out. As for the lice book, I never knew there was anything like that but will definitely look for it if we have another issue in the schools with lice. Luckily we haven't had any personal experience with it but both kids had it in their schools this year.

Mom and Kiddo said...

Again a list we haven't read. I definitely have to get some Humphrey books now.

Christy said...

I love your book lists. I am struggling with wanting to start a new blog so that I can write about books and fun things again - I just don't know if I have the time to maintain it. Ugh.

I used to teach 8th grade English and we read Sarah Plain and Tall in class! It is sad that I didn't realize there was a series; hopefully, I knew that then and just forgot about it!

hey said...

For a South African author try Niki Daly. I think Anna would like her character Jamela. I like these books because the setting is South Africa but the characters are "real" children and real situations you can find all around the world.