Books We Are Loving – June 2020

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Guardians of Magic, Chris Riddell’s first book in a new series, The Cloud Horse Chronicles, is reminiscent of Just Add Magic if, like me, you have fans of that show in your home. Only one of the Guardians cooks though, and his spoon is magical, not his ingredients. And other than that, this is completely different to the show. Ha! So, nothing like Just Add Magic at all, but it was enough to entice Miss Seven into something new. The other Guardians make magic with a Worpal sword and a cello bow. And Worpal sword isn’t the only thing Riddell borrows from other famous works of children’s fiction. But don’t worry, this story is completely original.

There isn’t an awful lot about Cloud Horses in this volume, but we really enjoyed meeting the Guardians and spotting all of the borrowed fictional characters and the like. Everyone appreciated Riddell’s artwork, not just our visual Miss Seven. And everyone from Miss Seven up is looking forward to volume two!

We read a lot of graphic novels in our house, and all my kids enjoy drawing, so it was a bit of a no-brainer to pick up Maker Comics: Draw a Comic! for christmas last year. In fact, my 9 year old and I worked through it as part of her table work this winter. Part story, part how to guide, this book leads you through making your first three panel comic, all the way to printing and distributing your own multi page comic book. It ends with a great list of ‘where to go now’ resources that we are slowly exploring.

I’m not a big fan of textbooks, but sometimes I panic we’re not doing enough of a particular subject and go look to see what’s out there. And sometimes that turns up some useful resources! In a quest to find some good UK based geography resources for primary aged children I came across the Collins Primary Geography series. These slim books cover 7 units as part of primary humanities, with each unit comprising for three two-page lessons.

While these are designed for the classroom, a lot of the work suggested is map and discussion based, especially in the earlier books, and therefore works really well in a home setting. The lessons are short, but can also work as an interesting starting point to other resources you might already have, or educational videos on youtube. (A discussion recently about fresh water in our house led to us watching a mini documentary about desalination plants in the US.)

Assuming we do a couple of lessons a week (which we tend to do in a single session as each lesson is pretty short), I expect each book to be about a term’s worth of work. It’s been really easy to add it into our routine for that limited time, giving an overview to a subject that can often gets overlooked in the primary years.

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