Monday, August 1, 2011

July Book Report

Bambi by Felix Salten (requested from

Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil is a book that should not be out of print. Mater Amabilis recommends this book for our People and Places study in Level 1A. It's a mystery, both exciting and beautiful. I'm excited to read it with the children next year. (library copy)

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry would be an excellent book to read with younger children portraying the bravery of the Danes in aiding their Jewish friends and neighbors to escape Nazi soldiers during World War II.  Though there is death and fear, the horrors of the Holocaust are not portrayed or described. I'm going to make a note of this book as an option for a read-aloud when we study World War II in a few years. (I think this book would be acceptable for First Son next year, in second grade, but it will be better for the girls when they are a bit older. He'll be better prepared for it as well.) (library copy)

Happy Little Family (Fairchild Family Story) by Rebecca Caudill is a lovely little story I plan to read aloud next year, mainly for the girls. Little Bonnie is a sweet four year old who tries very hard to grow up like her older brother and sisters. She's a darling and I'm happy to introduce her to my children. (purchased used at

Along Came a Dog by Meindert Dejong is the story of a friendship between a stray dog and a poor little red hen who has recently lost her toes. Told from the point of view of the animals, it is an insightful look into the lives of chickens (and dogs, I suppose). This is a distinct possibility for a read-aloud for us next year, though I fear the children might not find it very exciting. It is wonderfully written, though, and I think true-to-life-chicken books are rare. (library copy)

The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald is the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin. It takes place about a year after the first book, but covers much more serious themes. The king is surrounded by disingenuous advisers who are plotting to overthrow the kingdom. Curdie is sent on a quest by the princess with a faithful servant by his side to save the kingdom. While I think First Son might enjoy this book next year, as a second grader, I believe he'd gain more from it when he's a little older. Currently, I have this on the list for third grade. (free Kindle version)

Washington Square by Henry James seemed like the easiest to read of the James novels I've read, though perhaps I'm just getting used to his writing. Or maybe it's because it's quite a bit shorter. I enjoy his style quite a lot and think a novel of his may be useful for high school aged young women to read as a warning. All of his heroines seem to suffer much from poor decisions, many of which are warned against by male guardians or father figures. This book portrays a father who seeks to protect his daughter from an unworthy suitor (though not solely out of fatherly love). Catherine, who adores her father though she does not understand him, must choose between them. (free Kindle version)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (library copy)

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick (library copy)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a retelling of many fairy tales in one (mainly Cinderella). An infant girl is given the gift of obedience by a fairy at her birth, but it's more like a curse. If someone gives an order, Ella has to follow it, even if the order is from an ogre who intends to eat her. She sets out on a quest to free herself of the curse and instead falls in love. The story was clever and seemed appropriate for readers a bit older than First Son. (It is a love story.) Though the writing isn't fantastic and God isn't mentioned at all, I think it could spark interesting discussions on the meaning of free will and why God does not demand our love or obedience. (received as a free book from Borders for their summer reading program)

Otto of the Silver Hand  by Howard Pyle is the story of Otto, who is raised by his great-uncle, the abbot of a monastery as his father, a robber baron of Germany in the time of armor and sword battles, seeks revenge for the death of his wife. Eventually, his father returns and joyfully brings him home where Otto learns much and is happy despite his father's violent lifestyle. Then, when his father is away, Otto is kidnapped and mutilated by yet another revengeful robber baron. Otto's rescue gives his father a chance to redeem himself. It's a thrilling tale, complete with sword fights, courage, sacrifice, loyalty and holiness. It's on our read-aloud list, though we may wait until First Son is in third grade because it is a little violent and both of Otto's parents suffer, in addition to poor Otto's injury. (free Kindle version)

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