Monday, July 4, 2011

End of blog...

Marcus and Gabriella have officially started tracking, rating, and commenting on their books using  I love this site because:

1.  Their information and books are only seen by friends.
2.  They can mark books as read, to-read, or currently reading.
3.  They can rate books out of five stars and leave comments about the books they read.
4.  I no longer have to keep track!

So, if you join goodreads and would like to befriend Marcus and Gabriella to see what fun things they are reading, please let me know by leaving a comment here, and I will send you their email addresses.

ps.  For you adult readers out there, I highly recommend goodreads as a way to not only keep track of the books you read, but also to get wonderful recommendations.  I am hooked!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Gabriella finished Mattimeo (432 pages), Brian Jacques.
Marcus finished Mariel of Redwall (387 pages ), Brian Jacques.

This summer I am reading Shakespearean plays to the children.

I found a book called Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, E. Nesbitt, that is wonderful, in narrative form, and easy enough to follow.  We have read:  The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As you Like It, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and The Taming of the Shrew. 

At the end I ask, "Did the story go from bad to good or good to bad?"

If they answer, "good to bad," then the play is a tragedy.
If they answer, "bad to good," then the play is a comedy.

Very simple, yes, but it gets the job done.

I also really like the series that is based on the animated tales as seen on HBO years and years ago.  Shakespeare, the Animated Tales is abridged by Leon Garfield, and has fun illustrations.  The stories read like plays, and keep much of the original language and poetic forms.  Our library even had four of the animated tales (vhs tapes!) that we checked out and watched.  The kids LOVED watching the tales after reading the plays. 

A short series that Marcus and Lella read and enjoyed is called The Buddy Files, Dori Hillestad Butler.  Each book is about 130 pages, and super easy to read.  There are five books in the series, and Marcus and Lella have read three of the five.  The main character is a Golden Retriever named Buddy, and he solves mysteries.  "Buddy speaks "dog" so all humans hear is barking," Marcus commented.

Gabriella has been enjoying these two series (easy reads):
Houndsley and Catina, James Howe - Gabriella enjoys them, "because they are funny have lots of adventure in them."
Bunnicula and friends, James Howe

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Anne of Green Gables, C.S., and Jacques...

Believe it or not, I never read Anne of Green Gables (304 pages, L.M. Montgomery) growing up, so I decided to finally check it out from the library and read it with the kids.  It was grand!  Some things we loved...

We loved how Anne said "Marilla" all the time, how dramatic she was, and how she always overcame trials with a new outlook on life.

"Oh, Marilla, you look so elegant!"
"This is the most tragical thing that has ever happen to me."
"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

We also liked how first and last names were used in speaking, Ruby Gillis, Gilbert Blyth, Josie Pye, Moody Spurgeon, and how wonderful the names sounded when we read them aloud.

We fell in love with Anne, of Green Gables, and will always cherish this book.

"There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting." 

Gabriella finished Mossflower (376 pages), Brian Jacques.  It was slow going at first, but then she flew through it in a week or so.  Marcus finished Mattimeo (432 pages), Brian Jacques and is onto the next book in the Redwall series.  Marcus is obsessed with The Redwall Cookbook (104 pages), Jacques, and is constantly reading recipes to me.  "Mama, do you think I would like Mole's Favourite Deeper 'n' Ever Turnip 'n' Tater 'n' Beetroot Pie?"  So cute.

Steve and the children finished The Magicians Nephew (208 pages) and The Horse and His Boy (240 pages), C.S. Lewis.  Of course, they loved them both.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Farmer Boy, Little House in the Big Woods, The Fire Within, and Mossflower

Gabriella really enjoyed Farmer Boy (372 pages), Laura Ingalls Wilder.  She became interested in reading this book after reading an excerpt from Little House in the Big Woods in our writing curriculum.  Farmer Boy is based on Wilder's husband's childhood in the late 1800's in upstate New York.  Marcus also recently finished Little House in the Big Woods (238 pages), Wilder.  Marcus learned quite a bit about pioneer life, and how hard, but oh so sweet, it can be. 

Marcus also recently finished The Fire Within (340 pages), Chris D'Lacey.  This is actually a series, but I would only recommend the first one here.  He enjoyed the book quite a bit in the beginning, but his interest waned.  He did finish it and seemed to like the story.

Finally, Marcus finished his second book in the Redwall series, Mossflower (376 pages), Brian Jacques.  This was a prequel to Redwall; aren't prequels wonderful?  He LOVES this series.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's time for a change...

I have been faithfully posting all books Marcus and Lella read for two years now, and it's time for a small change.  I will now be posting some of the books the children read, highlighting their favorites.  They read so many books, and life is busy, hence the change.

Book 1

The children and I just finished Redwall (351 pages), Brian Jacques.  The children loved this book about a young mouse, Matthias, and his quest for the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior.  Cluny the Scourge, an evil rat, is out to overthrow Redwall Abbey, where many kind woodland creatures live. I suspect they will read all of the books in this series.

Book 2

Steve and the children recently finished C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair (243 pages), their fourth book in the series.  This has been their favorite book so far in the series, and they particularly like Puddleglum.  I know I have said this before, but Marcus and Lella absolutely love the Narnia series.

Book 3

Marcus recently finished Merlin (91 pages), Jane Yolen.  This was the third book in The Young Merlin Trilogy, set in medieval times, written in poetic language.  Marcus enjoyed this series and particularly liked reading how Merlin matured in each book.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Completed Books 3/1/11

History (both):
Cathedral Mouse, Kay Chorao
Vasco da Gama, (23 pages) Tanya Larkin
The Foolish Men of Agra and Other Tales of Mogul India (48 pages), Rina Singh
Three Samurai Cats, A Story From Japan, Eric A. Kimmel
Katie and the Mona Lisa, James Mayhew
Moon Rope, Un lazo a la luna, Lois Ehlert
The Spirit of the Maasai Man, Laura Berkeley
How a Book Is Made, Aliki
Musicians of the Sun, Gerald McDermott
Leonardo's Horse, Jean Fritz
Cuckoo, Lois Ehlert
I am Lutheran, Erica Bradley
Jackal's Flying Lesson, Verna AArdema
The Life and Work of Leonardo da Vinci (32 pages), Sean Connolly
Leonardo and the Flying Boy, Laurence Anholt
I am Catholic, Philemon D. Sevastiades
Da Vinci (32 pages), Mike Venezia
Rembrandt (32 pages), Make Venezia
You Wouldn't Want to be an Aztec Sacrifice! (32 pages), Fiona Macdonald

Other Reading (both):
The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue, Jan Wahl
Bones and the Clown Mix-up Mystery (32 pages), David A. Adler
The Giants Go Camping (46 pages), Jane Jolen
Amazing Animal Journeys (48 pages), Laura Marsh
Humphrey's Bear, Jan Wahl

Lella LOVED this sweet little book about farm life.

Lella Reading:
Little Fur, A Fox Called Sorrow (245 pages), Isobelle Carmody
Shakespeare Can Be Fun! Romeo and Juliet for kids (63 pages), Lois Burdett

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Marcus just finished Hobby (90 pages), Jane Yolen, after I did the post below.  He really likes this series and I hope I can find the third one for him today at the library!

Books Completed 2/15

History (both):
Three Ships for Columbus (32 pages), Eve Spencer
Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey, James Rumford
Brendan the Navigator, A History Mystery about the Discovery of America (31 pages), Jean Fritz
Stories from India (48 pages), Vayu Naidu
Foolish Men of Agra and other tales of Mogul India (47 pages), Rina Singh
Ghana (24 pages), Lucile Davis
Count Your Way through India, Jim Haskins

Reading (both):
Amazing Coin Tricks, Kirk Charles
Assistance Dogs, Elizabeth Ring
If You Ever Meet a Whale, Poems selected by Myra Chon Livingston
***This is a very fun book!

Lella Reading:
The Dragons of Wayward Crescent, Gauge (105 pages), Chris D/Lacey
A.A. Milne, Author of Winnie the Pooh (45 pages), Marlene Toby
Nature's Children, Frogs, Ivy
Nature's Children, Cats, Ivy
Persian Cats, Stuart Kallen
Really Radical Reptiles and Amphibians, Leslee Elliott
State Birds, Elaine Landau

Marcus Reading:
The Mystery of the Silver Dolphin (45 pages), Elspeth Campbell Murphy

Monday, February 7, 2011

Explore Museums Around the World

The Young Merlin Trilogy and Books Completed 2/7/11

Marcus recently finished the first book in Jane Yolen's The Young Merlin Trilogy called Passager (76 pages).  He is now reading the second book and very much enjoys them.  He said he liked the books because they were "adventurous and mysterious."

Another series that the kids are really enjoying are The Dragons of Wayward Crescent by Chris d'Lacey.

They have both read Gruffen (112 pages) and Glade (96 pages), and Marcus recently read Gauge (112 pages) and Grabber (96 pages).

Finally, Marcus and Lella finished Voyage of the Dawn Treader (248 pages), C.S. Lewis.  Again, they are reading the Narnia series aloud with Steve and get so excited when nighttime rolls around and they are able to lay on the couch and read with Daddy.  Fun.

Gabriella recently finished:
The Apple and the Arrow, The Legend of William Tell (80 pages), Mary and Conrad Buff
The Best-Loved Doll, Rebecca Caudill
***Chandra - she received this for Christmas and has read it through multiple times already.  She loves it as much as Anastasia.
Michelangelo, Diane Stanley

History Completed (both):
Christopher Columbus (32 pages), from the "First Biographies" series
Follow the Dream, The Story of Christopher Columbus, Peter Sis
Young Christopher Columbus (32 pages), Carpenter
Bernal and Florinda, A Spanish Tale, Eric Kimmel
Journeys With Elijah (75 pages), Barbara Goldin
Fa Mulan, Robert D. San Souci
Africa Calling, Daniel Adlerman
Savitri, A Tale of Ancient India, Aaron Shepard
Sundiata, David Wisniewski

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shakespeare for Children and Completed Books 1/29/11

We recently listened to A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew as told by Jim Weiss.  The kids LOVED it.  Weiss did an amazing job with the character's voices and the stories are simplified, but far from simple.  This is a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare for younger children.

Completed History (both):
People of the Middle Ages:  Blacksmith (32 pages), Lilly
The Hunter, Mary Casanova
The God and Goddesses of Ancient China, Leonard Fisher
The Great Wall of China, Leonard Fisher
Bitter Dumplings, Jeanne M. Lee
Kids in the Middle Ages, Lisa Wroble
The Middle Ages, Jane Shuter
Fa Mulan, Robert San Souci
Three Sacks of Truth, A Story from France, Eric Kimmel
The Duchess Bakes a Cake, Virginia Kahl
Joan of Arc, The Lily Maid, Margaret Hodges

Books Completed Lella:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (GIC - 238 pages), Robert Louis Stevenson
My Secret Unicorn, The Magic Spell (118 pages)
Gus and Gertie and The Missing Pearl (48 pages), Joan Lowery
Gus and Gertie and The Lucky Charms (48 pages), Joan Lowery
Boss of the Plains, The Had that won the West, Laurie Carlson
Chipmunk Song, Joanne Ryder
The Junkyard Wonders, Patricia Polacco
Gregor Mendel, The Friar Who Grew Peas, Cheryl Bardoe
Lizards Weird and Wonderful, Margery Facklam
Really Radical Reptiles and Amphibians, Leslee Elliott

Other Books Completed (both):
Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Cat (again!), Sara Miller
Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Dog (again!), Sara Miller
Picasso, Jennifer Fandel
***LOVED this book from the Xtraordinary Artists series.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Prince Caspian, Follow My Leader, Poetrees and Completed Books 1/21/11

Marcus and Lella just finished their second Narnia book, Prince Caspian (223 pages), C.S. Lewis.  They had several favorite parts.  This is what they said when I asked them...

First favorite:  Peter's battle with King Miraz
Second favorite:  When the bulgy bear is promising not to put his paw in his mouth, but while he's promising, his paw is in his mouth.
Third favorite:  When the kids get pulled into Narnia.

My friend, Chandra, recommended Follow My Leader (191 pages), James B. Garfield.  We bought it a while ago, but Marcus recently decided to read it.  He LOVED it.  The story is about Jimmy, a boy blinded in an accident with a firecracker and his dog Leader.  Marcus read this book every night before bed and didn't want to put it down.  It's a wonderful story about friendship and forgiveness.

Marcus also finished another book in the series "The Ten Commandment Mysteries" called Carousel Horse (43 pages), Elspeth Murphy.

While Marcus has been consumed with his Physics Workshop he received for Christmas, Lella has been doing a lot of reading:

Harry the Explorer (79 pages), Dyan Sheldon
Lella's summary for interested readers, "Harry is an alien cat from a different planet who likes to go on adventures.  He likes to visit Earth and visit his friend Chicken.  Chicken's real name is Sara Jane.  She is called Chicken because she dragged a stuffed chicken around when she was little."
There are a series of the aoove Harry books and I plan on getting her more of them.
The Dragons of Wayward Crescent: Gruffen (104 pages), Chris d'Lacey
The Snowman's Path, Helena Pittman
Our Wildlife World: Lizards, Ivy
The Wretched Stone, Chris Van Allsburg
On the Mayflower, Kate Waters
Sugar Cane, A Caribbean Rapunzel, Patricia Storace
Wonder Horse, The True Story of the World's Smartest Horse, Emily McCully
Poetrees, Douglas Florian

This book is ripe with poetrees,
They're grown to educate and please.
You'll see a cedar.
Oak tree too.
Birch and banyan,
Pine and yew.
Palm and gum
And willow tree,
Plus more you'll love tree-mendously!

Gabriella and I had so much fun reading this together.  Marcus and I are going to read it together too!

Nature's Children Series: Each book is approximately 50 pages, all written by Ivy.
Mallard Ducks
Old World Monkeys

Gabriella loves Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa books, Betsy Lewin.  Although they are way below her reading level, I get them for her because she enjoys them so much.  She recently read Horse in the House and Spring Babies.

She also LOVES Richard Scary books.  Again, these are far below her reading level, but she enjoys them so much.  I hear her laughing often when she reads them.  She recently finished:
A Big Operation
The Cat Family Takes a Trip
The Treasure Hunt
The Snowstorm
Richard Scarry's Best Story Book Ever:  82 Wonderful Round-the-Year Stories and Poems

Completed History (Both):
*Most of these books aren't numbered.  

The Clay Pot Boy, Cynthia Jameson
Lian and the Magic Paintbrush, Demi
Raisel's Riddle, Erica Silverman
The Weaving of a Dream, Marilee Heyer
The Paper Dragon, Marguerite W. Davol
Little Johnny Buttermilk, after an old English folktale, Jan Wahl
Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, Marianna Mayer
A Perfect Pork Stew, Paul Brett Johnson
Magna Carta (32 pages), C. Walter Hodges
Geoffrey Chaucer: Canterbury Tales, Barbara Cohen
The Dragon Prince, Laurence Yep
Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse, Leonard Fisher
The Empty Pot, Demi
The Girl Who Lost Her Smile, Karim Alrawi
Joan of Arc, Josephine Poole
Welcome to Russia, Schemenauer
The Toy Brother, William Steig
The Red Balloon, A. Lamorisse
***The kids read this book multiple times.  It was one of their favorites.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Narnia and Completed Books 1/4/10

Steve and the children are reading through C.S. Lewis' Narnia series.  They look forward to it every night and absolutely love everything about the series.  They recently finished The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (176 pages).

Marcus history:
Robin Hood in the Greenwood (53 pages), Jane Louise Curry
Chess (63 pages), Daniel King

Lella history:
The Adventures of Robin Hood (comic book style), Marcia Williams
Heroines, Great Women Through the Ages (78 pages), Rebecca Hazell
Bard of Avon, The Story of William Shakespeare, Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema
The Canterbury Tales (117 pages), Geraldine McCaughrean
Castle Diary (60 pages), Richard Platt

Lella's ther completed books:
The Animal Rescue Squad, Kitten Alert (118 pages), Ellen Weiss
The Animal Rescue Squad, Hand-Me-Down Chimp (123 pages), Ellen Weiss
Nature's Children, Weasels (47 pages), Ivy
The Animals' Merry Christmas (69 pages), Richard Scarry
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, Kerley and Selznick

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Moffats and other completed books 12/22/10

We recently finished The Moffats (261 pages), Eleanor Estes.  The children originally became interested in this book after an excerpt was used from the book in their writing curriculum.  We decided to listen to the book on CD while we followed along.  The CD was FANTASTIC!  All of the characters had different voices and there were times when we all laughed out loud. 

Summary from Amazon:
Who else but a member of the Moffat family could, during kindergarten recess, accidentally hitch a ride out of town on a boxcar? Or wind up trapped in the breadbox outside the delicatessen store? Or kindly offer to escort the Salvation Army man to his destination--only to accidentally bump him out of his own horse-drawn wagon? The Moffats is a paradigm of old-fashioned family fun. 

Marcus has really enjoyed The Ten Commandment Mysteries series by Elspeth Campbell Murphy.  He has read:

Second Map (39 pages)
Silent Idol (45 pages)
Double Trouble (48 pages)
Vanishing Present (46 pages)
Tattletale Parrot (45 pages)

He also finished Gulliver's Travels (GIC - 240 pages), Jonathan Swift.

Gabriella very much enjoyed Uncle Wiggily's Story Book (247 pages), Howard R. Garis.  There are 36 chapters in this book and each chapter is a unique story detailing the adventures of Uncle Wiggily, the bunny rabbit gentleman, who understands people talk, and dedicates his life to helping other animals and children.

Another series that Lella is enjoying is The Animal Rescue Squad series by Ellen Weiss and Mel Friedman.  There are only a few books in this series, but she just finished Kitten Alert (117 pages) and is halfway through the next book.

Other books Lella finished recently:
Why do Volcanoes Erupt, Chris Maynard
Safari Journal, The Adventures in Africa of Carey Monroe, Hudson Talbott
Timothy's Tales from Hilltop School (64 pages), Rosemary Wells
Fairy Tale Lunches (29 pages), Jane Yolen
Fairy Tale Desserts (31 pages), Jane Yolen

Micro Monsters, Life Under the Microscope (48 pages), Chris Maynard
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, Kerley and Selznick

History Reading (both):
Chanticleer and the Fox, Barbara Cooney
The Making of a Knight, Patrick O'Brien

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Completed 12/6/10 and some favorable mentions...

At night, I have been reading poems from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses.  The illustrations are by Brian Wildsmith and are beautiful watercolors which complement each poem.

Some of Lella's favorites are:
Travel, My Shadow, The Land of Nod, The Dumb Soldier, Nest Eggs, My Bed is a Boat, Looking-Glass River, The Cow ,Little Land
Time to Rise, and North-West Passage, Escape at Bedtime, Foreign Children, and The Moon.

Other books completed by Marcus and Lella:
On Beyond a Million, An Amazing Math Journey, David M. Schwartz
You are the First Kid on Mars, Patrick O'Brien
Megatooth, Patrick O'Brien

The Year at Maple Hill Farm, Alice and Martin Provensen
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Jumping Frogs (69 pages), Donald J. Sobol
Go Figure, A totally cool book about numbers, Johnny Ball
***Marcus LOVED this book.  He learned some really neat math tricks.

Why do seasons change?, Christopher Maynard
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Treasure Hunt (91 pages), Donald J. Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Handprints (90 pages), Donald J. Sobol
Jenny goes to Sea (128 pages), Esther Averill
The Best Book of Dinosaurs, Christopher Maynard
Amelia Earhart, The Legend of the Lost Aviator, Shelly Tanaka
Fairy Tale Cookbooks, Fairy Tale Dinners, Jane Yolen
The Children on Troublemaker Street (99 pages), Astrid Lindgren
***Warning:  Astrid Lindgren is one of Lella's favorite authors (Pippi Longstocking, The Children of Noisy Village, etc...) and she enjoyed this book, however she came to me when she was finished and said that she thought she learned a bad word.  I couldn't imagine what the word was, but sure enough, one of the children says, "Damn it!"  This is the second book in this genre of literature from the early 60's that I have found unfavorable phrases in.  So, just be aware that it is in there.

Completed History Reading (both):
The children loved Eric A. Kimme's Sword of the Samurai, Adventure Stories from Japan.  The book is 120 pages and full of short samurai stories.
Food and Feasts in the Middle Ages, Imogen Dawson
The Girl Who Loved the Wind, Jane Yoland
Little Mouse and Elephant, A Tale from Turkey, Jane Yoland