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!