April Books

Picture Books

I read this book a few years ago to EJ but picked it up again to read to JD. Both boys got a kick out of the playful little kitten trying to take a sip of the bowl of milk in the sky and eventually ending up soaking wet in a pond.

I haven’t read any Maurice Sendak except for Where the Wild Things Are so I thought I’d pick this one up. It’s a cute story about a young boy having a rather strange dream about the Night Kitchen where rosy cheeked bakers are making the morning cake. JD was particularly tickled by the naked boy, weenie and all.

I really enjoy reading every Jane Yolan book we borrow. We recently finished reading The Magic Elements Quartet by Mallory Loehr. The final book Fire Dreams involves a visit by Goddess Athena and a retelling of the Greek myth Pegasus and Bellerophon. I thought it would be fun for EJ to hear something close to the original myth. The twist at the end was an added bonus as the boys gradually realized that the beggar telling the story was Bellerophon.

I didn’t realize it until just now, but we read a second Jane Yolen book this month. I really enjoy finding interesting folklore in picture book form. I have always been drawn to mythology and I hope that my kids enjoy them too. The Sea King is a tale introducing classic Russian characters; the witch Baba Yaga, and Vasilisa the Wise. This was a favorite of JD.

Tonight we read The Seven Silly Eaters.  I recognized the artwork immediately as the work of Marla Frazee, her drawings of people are quite distinctive. It’s a cute story about a mom with seven very picky eaters. The end is a bit of a surprise for the whole Peters family.

A few others that JD enjoyed are Let’s Count it out Jesse Bear, Thelonius Monster’s Sky-High Fly Pie. He particularly enjoyed Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken and asked for many times.

Literature/Chapter Books:

When EJ was young we were given several different sets of Pooh books, but they were mostly reworked Disney versions. It was interesting to listen to the boys as they discovered the stories they already knew told in a different way. It’s a classic and I’m so glad we finally read them as they were written by A.A. Milne for his son Christopher in 1926.

We read Gilgamesh The King as part of our Mesopotamia history study. The illustrations are beautiful but I have to say that this book didn’t really capture anyone’s imagination much.

I mentioned in my previous post that EJ seems to have had a breakthrough in reading and it’s thanks to the Secrets of Droon series. I’m sure if you are reading this blog you are familiar with the series but if not definitely give it a try. It’s in the same vein as Magic Tree House and at just about the same reading level.

My Reads:

I’ve been on a bit of a kid lit kick for quite some time. Probably because I seem to have a short attention span these days. But they are fun! After reading the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, I decided to try The Underland Chronicles. I really enjoyed both series a lot. I think Underland is appropriate for a younger audience than Hunger Games although it has similar themes. I can see EJ enjoying Gregor and Boots in a year or two. I recently finished reading the Septimus Heap series through Queste, book 6. In some ways these remind me of Harry Potter, but the themes are a bit lighter in tone. The books are well written and the characters engaging. This is a great series for kids for whom Harry Potter might still be just a bit dark for.

I discovered a new author recently. The Name of the Wind is the debut fantasy by Patrick Rothfuss. I wasn’t familiar with it but saw a review of his new book Wise Man’s Fear, and it sounded very intriguing. The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear are the first two books of a trilogy. There are over 900 reviews on Amazon so I won’t go into detail about the story here, but I really devoured this book and I’m excited to read the second book soon.  The characters are engaging and complex, the story is well written. This is not a juvenile fantasy world of dragons, elves, and dwarfs (although I like those as well). If you enjoyed Harry Potter you might just give In The Name of the Wind a try.

Finally a poetry selection. We read one or two poems each week from Caroline Kennedy’s A Family of Poems: My favorite Poems for Children.  This month’s favorite was

The people Upstairs
                                   by Ogden Nash.

The people upstairs all practice ballet.
Their living room is a bowling alley.
Their bedroom is full of conducted tours.
Their radio is louder than yours.
They celebrate weekends all the week.
When they take a shower, your ceilings leak.
They try to get their parties to mix
By supplying their guests with Pogo sticks,
And when their orgy at last abates,
They go to the bathroom on roller skates.
I might love the people upstairs wondrous
If instead of above us, they just lived under us.

As an apartment dweller for many of my years I can certainly relate to this poem. The boys and I had fun imagining the goings on of some wacky upstairs neighbors.

So that’s a little, or maybe a big taste of what we’ve been reading lately.

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One response to “April Books

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