Books We Are Loving – February 2020

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Books we are Loving - February 2020

Jane Austen’s Persuasion by Narinder Dhami and Eglantine Ceulemans

This is a wonderful re-telling of the classic book and a great introduction to the world of Jane Austen. As someone with huge affection for the original novel it was great to share it’s story with my children, who – despite many, many jokes about kissing – really got invested in the characters. We followed it up by watching my favourite tv version of the story.

(I have the version of Pride and Prejudice on hold at the library, which we will be reading in about two books time, so expect to see me talking more about this series soon.)

The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackery

An inspirational book with beautiful drawings to complement the beautiful words about kindness, friendship, contentment, gratitude, and so much more. Each page will touch your heart, whether you are 5 or 50. We have enjoyed reading a few pages every night at bedtime and the discussions afterwards have allowed me to peak into the souls of my children as they have trusted me with their fears, hopes, and wisdom, much like the boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse share theirs with readers. A wonderful book to be savoured by all.

(You should also check out his instagram page for more beautiful drawings and words on there too

Air is Not Oxygen by Bill Morelan

We take a much more relaxed approach to home education in January in general, but especially when it comes to science. That’s why we have really been enjoying this book as part of our morning basket. The chapters are short and informative, and there’s an experiment to do if you’re up for it. We recently did the Heat and Conduction one where you test different spoons (metal, plastic, wooden) to see which one melts butter the quickest when heated, and why. So if you’re looking for a 10-15 minutes science lesson for your 6 – 12 year olds, this book is for you!

A Little, Aloud, for Children by Angela MacMillan

This is a 400+ page collection of prose and poetry to be read aloud… to children.  Excerpts from children’s novels and a handful of short stories make up the prose of this book.  Each prose piece is then followed up by a poem that is along a similar theme.  The recommended age range for this collection is nine to 11 years.

The book opens with Neil Gaiman’s Instructions, which is what sold me on the book when first I picked it up.  It had to be good.  And it is.  It’s great!  The themes of this collection are unexpectedly quirky – Sailing Away, Mice is Nice, Go to Bed, Worst Christmas Puddings, The Undead, Convicts Bound in Chains and so many more.  Each reading pair takes about 20 minutes.  My husband and I took turns reading aloud as the children finished dinner and there was definitely danger of choking on food whilst laughing aloud on more than one occasion. 

We’ve since added to our long list of books we would like to read thanks to some of the excerpts.  There are books in this collection I was never aware of before.  We used to read poetry at the end of dinner all the time, but the children put the kibosh on that after about two years.  This collection was a lovely way to sneak some back in with a fresh perspective on the poetry and some new poets to look up.  None of the subject matter was beyond Miss Six-Nearly-Seven or too childish for Mister Thirty-Five-Going-On-Sixty, so a great one for all ages and at any time.

You’re Strong with Me by Chitra Soundar

A beautiful picture book recommended for five to eight year olds.  The story is told from the point of view of a baby giraffe in the African savanna as she expresses her hesitations about the oxpecker, the smoke, the leaping fish and the long stretch down to drink the water.  To which her mother replies, “You’re strong with me.”

As one would expect for a young age recommendation, the words to this book are short and sweet and the message of parental support in braving new experiences is driven home.  I pulled this book from the library shelf based on the cover.  This picture book overflows with masterfully stylized artwork, full of colours, shapes and patterns and yet feels like an authentic African work of art.  Poonam Mistry, the illustrator, was shortlisted for the Kate Greeenaway Medal for this book and I must find out what could possibly have beaten this feast for the eyes.

Miss Six-Nearly-Seven requested this book over and over again.  She pulled it out before bed to flip through the pages and pore over the illustrations – there is so much to see!  Mister Ten even sat for this book more than once.  If your children are well past this age range, it’s still one for the back pocket should you ever need an example of beautiful stylized art, shape or pattern art, or African art.  In fact, I think we shall have a go at making some of our own stylized art before our copy is due back.

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