Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lion Mini-Unit

I pulled an old favorite from the shelf the other day. It was "Andy and the Lion" by James Daugherty. Remember that one? I love the graceful illustrations: the swing of Andy's books from their tether, the torment in the lion's face as Andy pulls the thorn; and the relief afterward... Troubles, Missy and the 3 year old I babysit listened to the story.

Then we watched this clip, this clip, and this clip on YouTube. After the little one went home, we watched this amazing video. We were astounded! The next day I read "Lion" by William Pene Du Bois (and discovered that I have two copies each with different covers) and "The Monkey, The Lion and The Snake" by Kurt Werth.

We learned that ancient people drew lions on the walls of caves:

We learned some new lion-related words: pride, savanna, predator, mane, carnivore. We located where lions live on the map. The Littles created lions out of playdough:

We printed off a lion coloring page.

We read about Jesus being called the Lion of the tribe of Judah and discussed why he would be called that. We also recalled how David killed a lion that threatened his sheep and that Sampson defended himself against an attacking lion and killed it.

Other books that will be read together over the next few days are:

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and A Prologue by Maurice Sendak (sang by Carole King in this clip)
The Happy Lion by Lousie Fatio
The Happy Lion's Quest by Lousie Fatio
The Tawny, Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson
Herbert the Lion by Clare Turlay Newberry
Various Aesop's Fables with lions as characters (there are many!)
A Peaceable Kingdom illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen (not really about lions, but the cover is beautiful!)
Dandelion by Don Freeman
The Big Cats by Herbert Zim (Lion section only)
ZooBooks: The Big Cats (Troubles has been most fascinated by this one)

ETA more books (I can't believe I forgot about Bill Peet!):
Randy's Dandy Lions by Bill Peet
Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure by Bill Peet

Saturday, December 25, 2010

How I Organize My Books

Since I have so many books, I need to have some method of organization so I can find them when I am looking for a particular book. My library is the same size as our bedrooms, lined with bookshelves. When you walk in, if you begin at the left side, you are in the science section. I organize this section by The Days of Creation. First are topics that have to do with light, creation, etc. Then subjects like atmosphere, weather, etc. Next comes geology, water systems, plants, seeds etc. Then astronomy topics, oceans and all water creatures, birds, land animals, dinosaurs (I put fossil, evolution and paleontology books here) , reptiles, amphibians, insects, bacteria etc. Finally, I have all topics related to man, such as anatomy, human biology, digestion, etc. here. I follow these sections with groupings of books about technology, architecture, locomotion, medicine etc. etc. Basically, science-related human accomplishments, I guess, for lack of a better term.

Once past science, I begin my author/illustrator section. I collect many different authors and illustrators and keep them in alphabetical order here. Some pose a problem, like Margaret Wise Brown books illustrated by Barbara Cooney. In this case, I think of who I would first associate the book with, the author or the illustrator and shelve it accordingly. This is the funnest section of the library, I think.

Following the author/illustrators, comes some miscellaneous shelves. One holds living math books, one poetry, one musical arts (ie: composer biographies and related items), some hold series (ie: The Bible Story, The Book of Knowledge, The Picturesque Tale of Progress), one folk and tall tales, one Brothers Grimm books, one past times and how-to books (ie: drawing books, how to play chess, how to perform card tricks and illusions, etc), one Christmas books.

Next come my favorite shelves: historical. I begin this section with the Ancients. Ancient Greece and her stories, Ancient Rome, Ancient China. Each historical book I get goes on these shelves in the proper timeline order. I can find any particular book quickly since its chronological. I can also pull a section easily for a topical study. This is the largest section of the library.

Finally come the novels. Lots and lots of novels. Poor double shelved (and more, sometimes) novels. The novels begin here, but many are also shelves on bookcases in the older childrens' rooms. On occasion, I switch all the novels shelves around. This leads to the older Lambies finding books they had overlooked or never seen before.

Books that are used for our curriculum (Ambleside Online) are shelved separately in the family room by Year. I can easily move a child up or down in books, as needed, since they are already pulled and ready.

Easy reader books are in the bedroom of the child or children that are at that level. Board books are in a wicker basket in my youngest sons room. I've given away most, since he's five and we have no babies. I've kept any that are good literature for visitors and future grandchildren. Troubles looks at them still, too.

I hope you have enjoyed a peek into my library. Please tell me about your organizational system!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Books: Shift Two

It's time to change out the Christmas books! To be enjoyed this week:

The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier illustrated by Francisco Ordaz
Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Child illustrated by Brinton Turkle
Plum Pudding for Christmas by Virginia Kahl
The Three Begger Kings by Rosalys Haskell Hall illustrated by Kurt Werth
Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev
Christmas in the Stable by Astrid Lindgren and Harald Wiberg
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Ilonka Karasz
The Holy Night by Aurel von Juchen illustrated by Celestino Piatti
Good King Wenceslas by John Mason Neale illustrated by Christopher Mason
The Christmas Mouse by Elizabeth Wenning
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer AND Rudolph Shines Again bu Robert L. May

Shift One Books   Shift Three Books

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Storybooks

The Fisherman and His Wife by The Grimm Brothers, retold and illustrated by Wanda Ga'g
Seahorse by Robert A. Morris illustrated by Arnold Lobel
The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Me and My Flying Machine by Marianna and Mercer Mayer
Who Put the Pepper in the Pot? by Joanna Cole
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Barbara Cooney
The Story of Christmas illustrated by Jane Ray
Good King Wenceslas by John Mason Neale illustrated by Christopher Mason

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Books: Shift One

We are gearing up for the month of December here. I do not even think of Christmas decorating until December 1st. I have, however, already begun thinking of Christmas books and decorated my blog! I have lots of Christmas books, so I usually pull them off the shelves in shifts of about a week. I will set out the Christmas basket of books along with the decorations.

First Shift books:

The Christ Child by Maud and Miska Petersham (my very favorite!)
The Story of Christmas by Felix Hoffman
A Wreath of Christmas Legends by Phyllis McGinley illustrated by Leonard Weisgard
The Friendly Beasts illustrated by Tomie de Paola
The Story of Christmas illustrated by Jane Ray
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie de Paola
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Tasha Tudor
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
A Pussycat's Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Helen Stone
The Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes illustrated by Tasha Tudor
On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Beni Montresor
Take Joy: The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book

Shift Two Books    Shift Three Books

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Not to Buy

My friend, Vee and I are wrapping up the book collecting series. I'll be doing one more post, highlighting illustrators that I collect, despite the author. Today, we are discussing "What Not To Buy".

Vee said almost everything that needed to be said about in her recent post, (sorry!  Homeschoolblogger is no more and all her great articles were lost! This is a tragedy!) but I'll have a go with a post, too.

1. Twaddle, of course. However, what is twaddle in my home may be beloved in yours. For example, we adore Little Critter. Some folks don't. I don't care for David Shannon's books and despite winning the Caldecott medal, I think they are ugly both in text and visually. Investigate lots of different books even if they are 'twaddle' to others. Don't feel bad for getting rid of books that everyone else loves if they are not right for your family.

2. Abridgments. You simply miss out on what makes a great story great. Reading abridgments can also make your child a lazy reader. They are dumbed down and fail to inspire. They are also often missing references that the author made about the Lord, so a great Christian story becomes just another story.

3. ALL the books in a series. So many times a great story is conceived and written, and then the franchisement of it begins. Book Two is pretty good, Book Three is just ok, Book Four is downright silly Book Five stinks. However, there is still Book Seven. Eight, Nine and Ten to go! When a series goes downhill, let it go without you. Inkheart (but please read the first one; it's fantastic!), Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children (after #19...get #1-19!) come to mind when thinking of series that go downhill fast.

4. Exclusively pristine hardcovers with dustjackets. Please don't be a book snob! Books are meant to be handled and they will get grubby. Hardcovers are expensive and it's much harder to find them used. Is it better to have only a few really great titles, high on a shelf where they are safe, or to develop a love of reading in your tots with books surrounding them? I like a hardcover as much as the next person but I won't ever pass up a softcover copy of a book I want simply because it's not hardcover.

5. Disney and other adaptations of classics. Vee mentioned this and it goes hand-in-hand with twaddle and abridgments. Please read the original versions of stories. There is so much more to them than can be expressed in a movie, and the Disney books will almost always be simply printed versions of the movie.

Do you have any guidelines to add? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Organizing Project

We're taking some time off for Thanksgiving, so I am undertaking a HUGE project. I am noting the titles (and other information) of ALL of my books, and reorganizing them. I began a couple of days ago with novels. Here's the stack that the Lambies brought:

This isn't all the novels, by all means, but they are the ones from my elder daughters' room and from several of the library shelves. I can only work with so many at once! By Friday afternoon I was done cataloging them and putting them back into order. That stack had 840 books in it! I even found a small stack of doubles and "I don't really need this one, I guess" 's. School books will be next, and then I'll begin the science section.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shipwreck and Treasure Hunting Mini Unit

We watched a couple of episodes of "Treasure Quest" on Netflix last night. It's an interesting show that makes treasure hunting look very exciting! Today I pulled out some appropriate books and let the Lambies spend some fun time learning about various shipwrecks and treasure. I thought I'd share the books so you could share them with your family!

True Life Treasure Hunts by Judy Donnelly
Sunken Treasure by Gail Gibbons
The Treasury
Treasure Hunt by George Sullivan
The Mutiny on the Bounty by Russell T. Clement
EyeWitness: Shipwreck
Ghost Liners by Rick Archbold
True Tales of Buried Treasure by Edward Rowe Snow
True Tales of Terrible Shipwrecks by Edward Rowe Snow
The Vasa Saga by Bertil Almqvist
Vasa published by the Vasa Museum in Stockholm
The Swedish Warship Vasa published by the Vasa Museum in Stockholm
The Martyr of the Catacombs by an Anonymous Christian-found on an abandoned sailing ship in 1876

The Little Lambies made some treasure, too. Crowns, scepters and necklaces were made from paper and crayons, and lots of "what-if" stories were made up. The Legos are out, so I bet there'll be some sailing adventures soon. Their imaginations have definitely been sparked by this study! Too bad my camera battery is dead. I think we'll watch some Gillian's Island this afternoon.

We'll see where this interest takes them over the next few days! Do you have favorite books on the topic? Please share in the comments.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Storybooks

The Bun: A Tale from Russia by Marcia Brown
Once a Mouse by Marcia Brown
The Queen with Bees in her Hair by Cheryl Harness
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by P. C. Asbjornsen and J. E. Moe illustrated by Marcia Brown
The Elves and the Shoemaker by Freya Littledale illustrated by Brinton Turkle
Steven Kellogg's Yankee Doodle by Edward Bangs
The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight by Robert Quackenbush
Curious George by the Rey's
Fannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson
The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer
Crictor by Tomi Ungerer
Amelia's Fantastic Flight by Rose Bursik
The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat by Lucille Colandro
Happy Birthday, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom
Sleeping Beauty illustrated by Felix Hoffmann
Thorn Rose by The Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Errol Le Cain
Sleeping Beauty- Rand McNally Publishers- illustrated by Elizabeth Webbe
The Story of Ping by Marjorie Flack
Brother and Sister by The Brothers Grimm, from The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm by Lore Segal and Maurice Sendak
The Three Lucky Ones from More Tales of Grimm translated and illustrated by Wanda G'ag
Curious George Rides a Bike by H. A Rey
The Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
In The Forest by Marie Hall Ets
Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham
Tom by Tomie de Paola
Mousekin's ABC by Edna Miller
Little Nino's Pizzaria by Karen Barbour

Whew! We read a lot this month!

The Declaration of Independence

Now to get them read the Constitution!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Where, Oh Where Do You Get The Books?

Veee and I are continuing our books series with the topic of where to get books. For me, this is easy. I am a frequent customer of all the Friends of the Library sales in our area. The Friends of the Library takes donated books, DVDs, etc. as well as culled library books and sells them to benefit the library. We have two libraries in close proximity. One has a monthly sale and one sells twice a year. If I want to drive an hour away, I can find three or four more. Use Swagbucks to search for your town or county's FOL sale!

There are a few other book sales in our area that I go to. The AAUW sale is a week long, twice annual one I never miss. You can find sales around you by using BookFinder. I found several sales that I hadn't heard of by looking here.

Thrift stores are another good source of books. You must check them over carefully to check for missing pages, scribbles and other damage. Also, smell the books. They might be smoky or have been peed on by an animal. Not all folks who donate are thoughtful about their donations, nor are the staff of every store always observant. We have three thrift stores in our area that I shop every couple of weeks. There are other stores in my town and the next, but their prices are too high or selection too limited.

Yard and garage sales are my next favorite. You can usually find good books for a dime to a quarter. Do watch for scribbles or rips. My favorite technique at a yard sale that has many good books is to offer to buy the whole box or lot. Often, they just want to get rid of things and aren't looking to make a huge amount of money. Look through to make sure it's worth it, then ask something like, "Hey, would $5 buy the whole box? You don't want to drag it back inside tonight, right?" Almost always they consider and then agree. This kind of purchasing leads me to my next place to get books:

Paperback Swap. If you don't have an account, click the link, join (I'll get a credit for referring you) and post some books! It's a wonderful place to get books. I have even gotten treasures! Remember all those Lois Lenski's I got a couple of months ago? I got all for the price of three little credits from a sweet lady in New York who had collected them for her grandchildren. I have gotten very expensive books for our curriculum from PBS and unusual children's books. I have my 200-spot wish list constantly full. I'm so glad I found it!

When I find good, inexpensive books at a thrift store or garage sale, I often post the ones I don't want to keep on PBS. You can search the wishlists section to see if it's wanted. If you simply post it, it will be held if it's on someones wishlist. By being attentive to oft-wished-for books, I can usually keep my credits up to a comfortable level. Since I have so many books on my wishlist, I hate to be low on credits when something becomes available! PBS is my go-to when I read about a neat book on someone's blog.

When all else fails and I really want a certain book, I turn to the Internet. My online sources are mostly well known. Amazon (my favorite, due to my free gift cards), Half, Ebay, Vegsource, Abe, Alibris, and occasionally Craig's List are all decent places to find books. You will likely pay shipping, though, so you have to know what you want to pay and stick to it.

I also ask on my local homeschoolers Yahoo loop if anyone local might have what I am looking for for sale. You never know what other homeschoolers might be done with and want to pass along! I recently bought Pre-Algebra MUS TM and DVD for only $40. It was in brand new condition, too! I also asked her to consider contacting me directly next year when she was ready to sell Algebra. Her only hs'ed child is just one year ahead of my eldest, so it works well. She said she would!

Do you know have any tips, or know of any other great places to get great books? Please share!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Favorite Children's Fiction Authors

Favorite Children's Authors is the next topic Veee and I are writing on. What a topic! I have so very many favorite authors. I took the camera into the library and just chose a few. Some that I considered will be featured in a later post about Favorite Children's Illustrators, since they also illustrate stories for other authors. In no particular order....

We'll start with the great Marguerite de Angeli. Her most known books are Door in the Wall and Yonie Wondernose, but she has many other gems. I grab them every and any time I see one at a sale. Her tales and illustrations are always gentle and soft, even when dealing with tender topics. She seemed to love the Amish, the Mennonite, the Quakers and other hardy, simple folk. Her illustrations are luscious and I can look at them and dream of simpler times. You can find her first works, The Ted and Nina Storybooks, online, with illustrations included. Not as good as a paper copy, but better than not seeing them at all!

One of the newer series in my library, the Hairy Maclary books are Lambie favorites. I blogged about them already once. I love, love, love the complex, but readable rhymes. Poetry is not my strong suit, and I often struggle to get the meter of the words correct. These I can read aloud with confidence.

Next up is Patricia Polacco. I found my first one, Babushka's Doll, about three years ago at a book sale. I liked the look of her illustrations, so I grabbed it. It was a cute little story. I liked that she wrote a lot about family stories and historical topics. When I learned that she couldn't read until the age of 14, I really liked her! I love when an author brings personal stories into their books. Pink and Say is my favorite Polacco story so far. It actually made me cry, and HAS every time I read it. If you hurry, I saw that there are two copies of Thundercake available on Paperback Swap!

Finally in tonight's reviews is Bill Peet. Bill Peet worked with Walt Disney on many of the early cartoon movies we know so well: Pinocchio, Fantasia, Cinderella. He didn't really enjoy the work, though, and began writing and illustrating his won books. I'm so glad he did!

Now his books are not great literature. They may even be considered twaddle by some. I, however, appreciate his unusually stories and rich vocabulary. How could you go wrong with titles like "How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head"? Bill Peet died several years ago. He left many unfinished stories. I'm so glad that he finished as many as he did!

Who are your favorite children's fiction authors? Who do you think I should have included in this post? Who would you like to see featured in the future?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October Storybooks

I totally forgot to begin Octobers list on the first! Guess we'll be several days short of documented stories this month.

Nibble Nibble Mousekin by Joan Walsh Anglund
Elizabite by H.A. Rey
Selections from The Glorious Mother Goose
I Like Caterpillars by Gladys Conklin
Alexander by Harold Littledale
Sir Kevin of Devon by Adelaide Holl
Rain Drop Splash by Alvin Tresselt
Spotty by Margaret and H. A. Rey
The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnson illustrated by Tomie de Paola
Cranberry Halloween by Wende and Harry Devlin
Lucky Ladybugs by Gladys Conklin
Witch Hazel by Alice Schertle illustrated by Margot Tomes
Nobody's Cat by Miska Miles
Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel
Little PeeWee or Now, Open the Box by Dorothy Kunhardt
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
We finished Winnie-the-Pooh. We'll begin "The House At Pooh Corner" next week.
Sylvester, The Mouse with the Musical Ear by Adelaide Holl
Selections from Aesop's Fables illustrated by Boris Artzybasheff (please get this edition if you can. It's OUTSTANDING!)
Calf, Goodnight by Nancy Jewell
The Teeny Tiny Woman by Margot Zemach
The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons
Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O'Neill
We began "The House at Pooh Corner"

Monday, October 4, 2010


Veee wrote a wonderful post about the treasuries she owns. What a nice selection! I have some of the same books (Aesop, The Real Mother Goose, Herriot) and would LOVE to get Milly, Molly Mandy. I am not a huge fan of treasuries. I like stand alone books better. They are easier to read, lighter, have all or most of the original art and seem to be more likely to be pulled off the shelf and used. I thought I would have only a few to post about but as I went over my shelves, I found more than I expected.

These are some of the tall tale type of treasuries I found.

I have the Dr. DoLittle Treasury because it has one or two stories that I have not yet found in singletons. I will pass it on when I find them. Yankee Doodle Cousins is a recent acquisition. It's full of American tall tales. It is written by Anne Malcomson and illustrated by Robert McClosky. You can't go wrong with that pairing! I have read a few of them and like her style. Tall Tale America is written by Walter Blair and my copy is illustrated by the great Glen Rounds. There are a lot of great stories in these two books!

Poetry anthologies are the easiest kinds to find at library book sales! After looking for a long time, I finally found the Oxford Book of Children's Verse. It's our main poetry tool. I have blogged before about the many manifestations of Mother Goose that grace our shelves. This one, illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen, is one of my favorites. I love the folksy style of their drawings. The Boys Book of Verse by Helen Dean Fish and The Girls Book of Verse by Mary Gould Davis are also worth sharing with your children. They are what we used for the last couple of school years.

Bullfinch's Mythology is a collection of his three great works: Age of Fable, Age of Chivalry and Legends of Charlemagne. These books are used extensively in AO beginning in Year 4. I was lucky enough to find a copy of this collection at a library books sale and then another at a garage sale. I also had an illustrated version that I thought my art-loving ninth grade daughter would like. It had classical illustrations (read that: some folks was nekkid here and there!) She wasn't at all comfortable with that! I passed it along.

Great Stories Remembered and The Moral of the Story were both books I won from our local radio contests, long ago when I listened to the radio. I don't think I have read the Great Stories one. Looking at the price on Amazon makes me want to, though! I'd pop over to E-Bay if I was looking to buy that book. I did read The Moral of the Story at least twice. I liked it very much. Hero Tales was a gift from a friend of our family. These are nice, short character sketches. This book is well used in the homeschool community. I like to read it occasionally during lunch while everyone is sitting around the table.

How did that picture flip? Why can't I flip it back? :sigh: Oh, well. Here are the children's treasuries I have. Curious George was purchased at Costco for a Christmas gift to my eldest her second year, Beatrix Potter and Pippi Longstockings were library sale finds. The Potter book is suffering from the cheaply-made malady Veee mentioned. When it was taken down last a big chunk of pages separated from the spine and fell out. I'm not too worried about it. I have all the books in singletons. George gets used by each Lambies as they go through the right phase. Pippi hasn't caught anyone's eye yet. Perhaps I'll leave it out on the livingroom table for a few days and see if someone 'takes the bait'!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hymn Study: All of the Way My Savior Leads Me

Fanny Crosby was a very prolific hymn writer. She was blinded as a newborn, but said as an adult that she would not be sighted if she had a choice. She said she might not have written and sang hymns of praise to the Lord if she had been distracted by all the beautiful things around her. How many today would have such a humble and contented attitude? I doubt I would.

"Oh what a happy soul I am,
Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don't;
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot, and I won't."
All of the Way My Savior Leads Me was written in response to an incident from Mrs. Crosy's life:

This hymn came to Fanny as a result of a prayer. Struggling financially, she desperately needed some money. As her usual custom, Fanny began to pray. A few minutes later, a gentleman offered her five dollars, the exact amount she needed. Later recalling the incident, she said, "I have no way of accounting for this except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money." The poem she wrote afterward became "All The Way My Savior Leads Me" - Aldrin Lapitan

Here are some resources we used to study this great hymn and hymnwriter.

Sang by the late Rich Mullins

Performed by Chris Tomlin

Played beautifully on a piano

A Biographical Sketch


All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Crustacean Dissection

The Lambies got their hands dirty today. Several are studying crustaceans in Apologia, so yesterday we bought a cooked crawdad at the grocery store.

Today they dis-assembled it.

They removed his compound eyes and their stalks, the antennae and antennules, the chelipeds, the swimmerettes, the walking legs, the tailfan and other body parts. They prepared slides and observed some of those parts under the microscope.

Here's a pic of after the removal, before they took off the carapace and examined the innards.

So much fun and learning for 14 cents! Some of the braver Lambies even tasted the tail meat. Polly took apart one of the chelipeds and picked out that meat. Most thought it agreeable enough. One of these days we'll have to go mudbuggin' in the mountains.

Book Collections Part Two

Part Two begins with the Dr. DoLittle series. What delightful, fun little stories! Our collection was hiding beside and behind Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series. It's an excellent acquisition, itself. I bought "The Grey King", read and enjoyed it. I didn't realize it was the middle book of a series! I have been collecting them ever since. When I get all of them, I will be reading them. I'm still missing one. Back to Dr. DoLittle.....I have read the first one to most of the kids for school. It is a free read selection in Year Two of AO. A few months ago, I snagged all of these titles at the Friends of the Library sale. Yay! I don't think that any of the Lambies have pulled these down, yet, but I will be pointing them out as possibilities when they ask what they should read next.

Black Beauty is a classic, but did you know that Walter Farley wrote many more stories in the series? Nineteen in all. I grabbed these all at one shot at a library sale. I haven't read any but the first, but I think they are worth the shelf space. One of the Lambies will be enthralled by it one day.

For the younger readers, Paddington Bear can't be beat. I have many more to find. Polly likes Paddington very much. I am running out of time, so I will simply link to other favorites. There are so many...but I will limit it to five series and favorite authors:

The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black
The Greene Knowe series by L. M. Boston
Jean Fritz
Robert Lawson
Rosemary Sutcliff

I hope you have enjoyed this topic. Next up will be a post on Treasuries.

Book Collections Part One

I am teaming up with my friend, Veee (Veee, not Zeee) to talk about books. The hows', whys' and whos' of our collections, more specifically.

We were asked by a mutual friend: "What books do you collect? What have you gotten the most mileage out of? When you are somewhere where there is a vast quantity of used books available cheap, what is your criteria for choosing what you choose? What do you NOT buy? Where do you get books to fill in your collections? When do you just go with what the library has? When do you give in and buy new?

That's a lot of questions. We are starting with the first: What books do you collect?

You can see read Veee's first post here. I own every one of the collections she listed (except the Francine Rivers, of which I have no knowledge). I won't be duplicating her list, but if I had posted first, her most of her choices would be here.

Narrowing my focus down to longer stories and chapter books, I will begin with The Grandma's Attic Series by Arleta Richardson.

My parents bought me the first book in the series when we were driving from my home-town in Oregon to Whidbey Island, WA for a visit with family. I remember choosing the book off a rotating rack in a gas station and begging for it. I remember sitting in the back seat and beginning to read, then I remember finishing it, closing it with a contented sigh, looking up and realizing that we were waiting in line at the ferries. I had read the entire trip! When I was an adult, I learned that there were more books in the series, and of course, I had to own them all!

Here's the list of titles in the series:
  1. In Grandma's Attic
  2. More Stories From Grandma's Attic
  3. Still More Stories From Grandma's Attic
  4. Treasures from Grandma
  5. Away From Home
  6. A School of Her Own
  7. Wedding Bells Ahead
  8. At Home in North Branch
  9. New Faces, New Friends
  10. Stories From the Growing Years
I have a daughter who is a horse lover. This next collection was obtained with her in mind. C. W. Anderson wrote The "Billy and Blaze" books that are so great for beginning readers. He also wrote many, many chapter books about children and their horses. She enjoys them very much. In fact, there are quite a few missing titles in this picture. They are on her bedroom shelf. You can get a full list of his works by clicking his name above.

Hans Christian Anderson is another that I have made a point to collect. What wonderful stories he told! How he sparks a childs imagination! One of the first 'big' books my daughter Polly read was "The Little Mermaid" She has read it several more times, too. With 168 works, there's a lot of collecting to do still. I have more of his work on other shelves, but this is the bulk of it. I like to use his books to show the Lambies how different illustrators can make a story 'feel' so differently.

Lloyd Alexander is another of my favorites. His "Chronicles of Prydain" are included in the Ambleside Online curriculum. They are excellent. He also wrote many other series' and stand alone books. I have read half or more of the ones I have collected, and enjoyed them all!

I will be sharing a few more favorites in my next post. My friend Veee is already onto Treasuries, so I am behind. Watch for Part Two soon!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Frogs and Toads Mini-Unit,%20it%27s%20ridiculous.jpg

My son Troubles is a frog-fanatic. He is fascinated by frogs. We caught one a few weeks ago in our yard. It was only about 2" long and FAST! We tried to hold on to it, but it jumped everywhere, including onto Troubles' cheek. He laughed and laughed about that! We managed to get it into a glass jar and observe it that way. We noted its colors, its smooth skin and especially the pads on its tiny little toes. Well, ever since, he's been talking frogs almost daily. We have learned and learned about frogs. I thought I'd share some of the frog activities we've done.
I made a coloring page out of the picture above. I added "Frog are amphibians. Toads are amphibians" as a copywork activity.

We watched frogs eat different things here.

We read quite a few books: the Frog and Toad series, How Do Frogs Swallow With Their Eyes?, Tadpole and Frog, Eyewitness: Amphibians, Frogs and Toad by Herbert Zim, The Tale of a Tadpole, From Tadpole to Frog, and some others I don't recall.

I printed off this Frog Dot-to-Dot.

Here's a bunch of frog themed math ideas.

There were a few cute links at FrogLand.

We listened to a bullfrog sing here.

Since Troubles loves anatomy so, I let him (and everyone else, of course) play around on this virtual dissection site. I found quite a few dissection sites that had real pictures. I didn't really want them to play there.

This has been a fun little study, and not too intensive since it was spread over a few weeks, along with others interesting studies. I'm pretty sure The Littles interest in frogs and toads will continue. I'll likely be adding links and/or pictures as time goes on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Way Home

I received this DVD from Thomas Nelson to review.

Dean Cain stars in this Christian film about a family that loses their two year old son. It's a very gripping story that is appropriate for all family members. It may be a little scary for sensitive little ones not old enough to understand the premise. There are lots of scenes of folks crying and one character in a flashback is killed, though nothing graphic is shown.

I disliked the mother's character. The family was supposed to be Christian, and yet she spoke rudely to her husband and had usurped his place as head of the household. She was critical, demeaning, bossy and overbearing. I used that as a teaching tool to explain to my daughters how ugly a selfish spirit is and warned my sons to watch out for a woman like that.

I loved that it is a true story and they showed pictures of the real people during the credits and included interviews with them in the special features. I will be glad to recommend this film to others.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels

I found this list at Our Little Library. I thought I'd play along. I have marked in bold all the books that I own and have already read and marked in italics the titles I have but have not read. Any in regular font I either do not yet own or have no wish to own. I'll note the ones I think are not worth shelf space.

Top 100 Children's Novels (as voted on by students, teachers and librarians)

100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1966)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)

89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)
88. The High King – Alexander (1968)

87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999) (Not in my library!)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964) (EXCELLENT SERIES!)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)

75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelace (1940)

69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)

63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)

62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)

61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003) (This is a great book. The second is eh-ok, the third is awful. Stop at the first and forget it has sequels, in my opinion.)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)

57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Selznik (2007)
51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)

49. Frindle – Clements (1996)
48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)

45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995) (I wouldn't read this book if I was paid to read it! I've heard it is totally antichrist.)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)
36. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)
(I count these as two separate books!)
26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)

21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005) (I'd like to get this series. I enjoyed the movie very much.)
20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)

16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)

15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)

14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)

11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)

10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)

6. Holes – Sachar (1998)
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

Well, I am at 50 of the 100 read. I have to say, I am not that familiar with newer fiction. There were a few titles near the top that I have not heard of. I won't be buying or reading the Rowling books. I've never been fond of most Cleary or Blume. I have the Mouse and the Motorcycle series, but not others. I don't want any of Judy Blume's books. Her characters seem to be mouthy, disrespectful and rude. Am I wrong? Is it just the couple I looked at years ago and the others are great?

There are some that I thought would be on the list, but are not. I'm glad to see Gone-Away Lake and The Little White Horse, but where were Peter Pan and Heidi? Where were Treasure Island and Robin Hood? Where were Swiss Family Robinson and anything by Lois Lenski? I'd have to disagree with some of the titles they chose for this list. I think I'd place #4 in the #1 spot, too. Want to play along (Veronica and Kelly)? Leave me a link so I can read your list!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Author-Illustrator Lois Lenski

I have been asked to expound on why I collect Lois Lenski's books. How to express why I like her work? Well, who could resist art like this?

Her "Small Family" series is cute and the stories are short. They are just right to read to toddlers. Her illustrations capture a folksy simplicity that I adore.

I think her historical books are a great way to teach. I can set a child down with one of her books and not have to worry about anything inappropriate. They are very accurate in their details. "Puritan Adventure" was one of, if not the very first Lois Lenski books I purchased. I have read it to every one of my children when they were studying that time period. "Indian Captive" is another one that I have read several times. It also enthralled one of my daughters. She read it, then almost every other 'child-taken-captive-by-Indians" book I had on the shelves.

I so appreciate that for her American Regional and the Roundabout America series she traveled to the places she wrote about and actually lived with local families. Their real-life experiences, as a whole, are the books, with names changed. I had only a few until recently and had read only a couple. I am looking forward to becoming more familiar with this series during the upcoming winter. Here's a list of all of Lenski's books by series.

You can learn much more about Lois in her autobiography: "Journey Into Childhood". She wrote it at the request of librarians and teachers.

As an aside, I came across this neat story while reading up about Ms. Lenski: "Sometimes It Pays To Ask The Right Questions."

Here's another list of all the books she wrote and/or illustrated, with some cover images included: Lois Lenski's Books and another, easier to print version, is here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Lois Lenski Bonanza!

I have been collecting Lois Lenski's books for a long time now. They are usually hard to find and all but a few are fairly expensive to buy. Our library began shedding Lenski books last year and I grabbed up as many as I could. I did pretty good, collecting seventeen of them. I managed to get two more from Paperback Swap. Here's a pic of all of the Lenski on my shelf.....

...until today! A couple of weeks ago, I saw "Cotton in my Sack" listed on Paperback Swap. I was surprised to see it there and quickly ordered it. Then I bragged to a friend of my find. I was saddened to hear that the book had been on HER wishlist for a long time. I had snatched it away somehow! Oops! That should teach me to brag. Sorry, Veee.!

I received the book and was very happy with it. I thought I might go on PBS and see again if there was anything else wonderful listed. Among other things I ordered that night, there were TWO of Lois Lenski's regional books posted! I ordered them as fast as I could! I PM'ed the person who was offering them and discovered it was the same lady who had just sent me "Cotton in my Sack". I asked her if she might have more Lenski's to post. She did! We made a deal and she sent me a box. It arrived today, bearing all these Lenski's:

Oops! I noticed that Cotton in my Sack is in this pile. I received it a couple of weeks ago, not today.

What a blessing! I am so excited to snuggle down and read these with my Lambies I never expected to be able to enjoy all of these wonderful titles. We are Lois Lenski RICH now!

OOPS AGAIN! I realized I had three more Lois Lenski's on other shelves (Strawberry Girl, Puritan Adventure, Indian Captive). The historical ones I have were all shelved in their appropriate places according to their story. Now they are with all the others.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marvelous McBroom!
We enjoy the McBroom series by Sid Fleischman a great deal. I never read these gems as a child, and didn't even discover them for my children until a few years ago. I happened upon one or two at our monthly library book sale. Why the library is shedding these books, I'll never understand. Of the ten in the series, we have eight. The other two are on my Paperback Swap wishlist. There are some of them available right now. 

Here's a list of all the McBroom Family Adventures for all you collectors:

You can thank me later. I hope you enjoy Mr. McBroom and his family as much as we do!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wee Gillis: A Mini Unit

We began this study after reading "Wee Gillis". I am so fond of Robert Lawson's illustrations! The Little Lambies: Troubles, Missy and Jack all listened and learned quite a bit about Scotland just from one reading.

We looked up the location of Scotland compared to our location in California and Israel. We always address geographical locations from these two points. We named the seven continents and they deduced which continents Scotland is located on. We spoke of what countries are to the north, south, east and west of Scotland.

We Google-traveled a road or two and looked around on street view. How green it is! Of course it's because it rains so much.

We looked at Loch Ness and discussed the Monster. I read to them a few appropriate pages of Jaws, Claws and Dinosaurs by William Gibbons and Kent Hovind.

We listened to bagpipe music. We listened to other traditional Scottish songs, too.

We learned about haggis. The children decided they did not want a sample of that!

We looked at pictures of long-haired cows and Scottish stags.

The Flag of Scotland was built out of Legos (thanks to Renee for the idea!).

We spoke about kilts and why men wear them. We discussed plaid and tartans and their meaning. This craft seemed appropriate.

I made a coloring page out of this image of Wee Gillis.

We practiced blowing balloons up in one breath to show how very strong Gillis' lungs must have been!

This was a fun little study. I think the Little Lambies learned a lot!