Books We Are Loving – December 2019
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The Thirteen Days of Christmas by Jenny Overton
The Thirteen Days of Christmas by Jenny Overton is a slightly madcap story about a man, courting the woman he wants to marry, told from the point of view of her family. The man is a merchant with a fleet of ships and an inability to buy anything in less than a dozen, and the story takes place across the twelve feasting days of Christmas. Last year we read each chapter on that specific day, but this year we’re reading it now. Either way it’s charming and fun, and we’re really enjoying reading it again.
Trap Door Mysteries by Abie Longstaff
We are big fans of The Fairytale Hairdresser around here, so I was thrilled to find out Abie Longstaff has also written chapter book series for 5, 7 and 9 year olds too. Trapdoor Mysteries is all about Tally, an 11 year old orphan who works in Mollet Manor and sleeps in the kitchen sink. Mollet Manor is full of secret passages that can only be found by solving puzzles, which Tally is very good at. And in A Sticky Situation, Tally solves a puzzle that leads her to the Secret Library – her first clue to her past and her parents’ identities. The library also helps her solve the mystery of the missing treasures with the help of a little animal magic.
Each book has both a self-contained mystery and clues to the larger mystery of Tally’s past. There are opportunities for the reader to solve puzzles along with Tally and learn new animal facts too!
Miss Six and Mister Ten are both completely drawn in by the mysteries in this series and we have hardly stopped chuckling since the introduction of a new animal friend in The Scent of Danger (book two). I personally love that Tally heads for the library whenever she has a burning question and that Abie Longstaff has cleverly introduced the uses of footnotes to readers!
This series would be great to read alongside any spy studies or the like.
Spoiler: As the series goes on, it becomes clear that Tally was born out of wedlock. If this is not a discussion you wish to have with your children right now, do not read past the first book (though that will be hard as Abie Longstaff appears to be great at cliffhangers!).
Moonstruck Edited by Roger Stevens
Moonstruck is a collection of poems about…the moon! This collection was realeased earlier this year in honor of Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary and it is intended for children. Mind you, this does not mean the poems are all funny, but that they are easy to understand whatever form the author has chosen.
Miss Six preferred the poems that rhymed and attempted to be amusing or funny. Mister Ten and I bothed liked to see the variety of poems – shape poems, haikus, poems translated from a different language and much more. There is certainly some beautiful and evocative language in this collection and it is well worth a read for ages seven and up.
This would be great to read alongside any of those awesome winter unit studies like astronomy, space or space travel!
The Twelve Birds Of Christmas by Stephen Moss
In The Twelve Bird Of Christmas, nature writer Stephen Moss uses the carol as a backbone to talk about a variety of birds. From the grey partridge and the domestic chicken, to the (head-drumming) woodpecker and the (golden) yellowhammer. Combining folklore, culture, history and bird behaviour this book has been a good seasonal addition to our morning time, as we welcome back the birds to our bird feeders, now that the bounty of autumn has past. (I have found that it’s worth keeping Tweet of the Day on hand, so that you can hear how each bird sounds. As well as searching for decent supplementary images online, since there are only black and white illustrations at the start of each chapter.)
What have you been reading this month?