Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Hand That Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for ChildrenHand That Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for Children by Nathaniel Bluedorn

This slim little book is a treasure-trove of read-aloud ideas. There are many classics you'd expect, but also suggestions of authors and books I'd never encountered. I believe some of these may be out of print, as they were read to Mr. Bluedorn when he was a child, but I intend to try to find them.

I love that an actual description of the books is provided, so it's easy to read through and pick some for a particular child. (I'm saving some of the stories of young girls for when First Daughter is older and less distracted during our read-aloud time.) Mr. Bluedorn even indicates which were his mother's favorites to read aloud with her children. For each book, the time period in which it is set, the geographic location and the publication date are given. A numbered scale also indicates whether a book is best for all ages, those over 10 or those over 13, though parents should of course judge what is best for their own children. A list of the recommended books by subject is included at the end.

I didn't agree with every suggestion, of course. The Reluctant Dragon is listed. (I didn't like how St. George was portrayed, but Brandy at Afterthoughts articulated very well many other concerns with the book.) Also, I personally think Five Little Peppers and How They Grew is insipid and out-dated. We listened to it recently with the kids in the van (mostly without Kansas Dad, to his relief) and though the children seemed to like it, I wanted nothing more than to throw it out the window over and over again. (We did listen to the whole book because there's nothing inherently bad in the plot of the story. I just don't think it's stood the test of time very well. I apologize if it's one of your favorite books. I do remember liking it when I first read it.)

I wish my library had a copy. The inter-library loan copy they found for me came from Spokane. I'm going to suggest they buy one, so I can refer to it in the future. If not, I'll eventually purchase one for our household.

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