Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Lone Ranger - a Little Golden Book Classic, I Am Pilgrim, To Kill a Mocking Bird and an Origami Yoda

I love this one. Such a welcome change from Transformers, Batman, Spiderman and all the other characters my boys have had a fixation on over the past decade.
It is exactly what you would expect. Young Tom Mason sits on a rock and waits to wave to his brother, who is due to pass by. He's Bill and he drives the stagecoach. But hang on a second, here it comes, but the drivers seat is empty!
Luckily, the Lone Ranger and Tonto are not too far away. "Listen Tonto!" the Lone Ranger cried. "That youngster's in trouble!" It transpires that a dastardly gang have stolen the stagecoach with its cargo of gold and seem to think they have got away scot free....
"That may not be their fire," the Lone Ranger said. "But if it is, those varmints are mighty sure of themselves. Let's check."

They do a whole lot more than check! They ambush and catch those filthy, no-good thieves! Excellent stuff. For ages four and up.

Elsewhere in the house is more edge of the seat material.
This is currently on sale in Tesco for under seven euros and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.  I've just finished my annual re read of this,
and am hoping it will be a move from the sublime to the ridiculously exciting.

And here we have an actual Origami Yoda...
Do you have kids aged eight and up who have not read this series? Well, you shouldn't. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!"

The second my thirteen year old finishes The Princess Bride, I'm going to buy the movie. I can't wait to see it again and I think most of my kids are old enough for it. Thus far he says he really likes it. "Its quite good, actually," he said.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell.

I've made a few false starts on this blog post. The Animal Family is hard to describe without feeling I am not doing it justice. Its a different read. And its a definite read aloud. A story about a hunter, a mermaid, a bear, a lynx and a little boy, it is quite simply very, very beautiful. I know this isn't a word that tempts most kids to a book but I will say that when I read this aloud, over three night, my three youngest(four, nine, eleven) were silent. The book was on the shelf since last Christmas and none of them were tempted to try it themselves so I wasn't expecting that at all. And even though it does have great reviews, neither did I expect it to be so beautifully written. Often, when I read aloud, my voice gets tired, even with "good" books. But with this, it just didn't.

I was about thirty pages in when I read the reviews on the back dust cover and wasn't expecting to see one by P.L. Travers. I had assumed the book was written in the seventies or eighties but no, it was 1965 and the author of Mary Poppins must have worked at the New York Time Book Review at the time. She loved it too.

It has only "decorations" (by Maurice Sendak) rather than illustrations so the beauty is almost all in the story and language (and actually, the hardback cover. See below.)
But its a beauty that will lend a lovely glow to any bedtime. For ages four to adult.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie

This is how the last days of the Summer holidays should be spent - lounging in the most comfortable bed in the house at eleven on a Thursday morning, reading.
I've mentioned the Origami Yoda series before and its no secret that we are big fans.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookie is great. Like the Wimpy Kid books, its just as good as its predecessors and even though it just came in the post yesterday has been read by two out of the three readers in this house. Perfect for anyone from seven or eight up and even more perfect as a present if paired with any of the Star Wars movie collection or preferably, them all.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sticker books and school books

I don't cover school books anymore. I did try once, using the see-through sticky stuff, but managed just a few workbooks and gave up. Life was too short. I do put on labels though and spent today sitting on the kitchen floor putting white labels on each book, writing the child's name and class on it and then adding a batman sticker. Make sense?
Ok, the way I see it, for the first few years of school, the books go in on the first day and usually stay in a pile in the middle of the table for the rest of the year. The kids then use them throughout the day and learn(hopefully) to put them back neatly in the pile so they can be found again the next day. Now for the first year or two the kids may or may not recognize their name label so, as each book looks the same I thought of putting a sticker on, so my guys could find theirs easily. I should add that I have absolutely no idea if this works as my kids come home from school and tell me NOTHING but anyway, I think its a great idea. Also, it doesn't cost much as there is always in my house, an abandoned sticker book around, like the batman one above. Maybe this is just in boys houses though? Maybe girls actually complete sticker books?

However, having said that, when I was rooting around for the batman one today, I found these two.
Now the stickers in the Sticker Dressing books will never be left over to be used on school books. Even in houses only populated by boys. I got these two to bring on holidays, and they were fantastic, especially the Knights one. Actually, I think it was the success of this one that led to many more boy themed ones. They are informative and easy to use and interesting enough that they will be completed. What higher praise can a sticker book get? 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Books from our camping trip

 In the days before making friends, reading X Men Misfits and American Born Chinese.
 I read this on the Cork to Roscoff ferry and can think of  no better way to pass a long day.
 We get one of these Drawn and Quarterly Moomin books every holiday. Small, light, easy to pack and read by everyone.
 I LOVED this. Pride and Predjudice from the servants point of view. Really brilliant. Remember how Elizabeth liked tramping through the mud without a care about  her appearance? Well in this book we hear from those who had to clean those boots. And didn't really think it was such a charming habit.
 I think this might have been the best kids book I bought with us. I think all three older boys(13, 11, 8) read it twice. Well, maybe joint first prize with The Great Brain, a lot of which I read aloud with a torch when everyone was tucked into their sleeping bags. Highly, highly recommended.
This was a nice poolside read, for those into American fiction. I had a few very enjoyable sunny days in its company as did another mum at the campsite. Its really nice when you pass a book along to then see it being read day after day on a sun lounger.