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    Books Read in May

    June 7, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    It has been so fun to have my son keep this record of his reading. We are talking about his beloved books now more than ever, and sometimes his favorites surprise me. The month of May was strange because we basically unschooled–and are currently unschooling–in order to finish up our AO year. We had so many special events–birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day–and so many appointments and dinner guests, not to mention our short annual vacation. Because our lessons were informal and less lengthy, E.-Age-Ten had time to do what he loves to do: read, and work in his garden.

    Because there were so many books this month, I had him pick two favorites instead of just one.

    May Books

    Little Lord Fauntleroy by Francis Hodgson Burnett
    May Favorite #1:
    Dandelion Fire
    by N.D. Wilson
    Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson
    The Story of Joan of Arc by Jeanette Nolan
    Liliuokalani: Young Hawaiian Queen by Shirlee Newman
    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
    The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
    The Reb and the Redcoats by Constance Savery
    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew by Josephine Peabody
    Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
    Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
    The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
    Miss Hickory* by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
    The Killer Cat {Sugar Creek Gang Series} by Paul Hutchens
    A Book of Discovery by M.B. Synge
    May Favorite #2:
    The Puritan Twins
    by Lucy Fitch Perkins
    The Runaway Rescue {Sugar Creek Gang Series} by Paul Hutchens
    Lost in the Blizzard {Sugar Creek Gang Series} by Paul Hutchens
    Locked in the Attic {Sugar Creek Gang Series} by Paul Hutchens
    100 Cupboards** by N.D. Wilson
    Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten
    The Puritan Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins
    The Story of the Greeks by H.A. Guerber
    The Story of Winston Churchill by Alida Sims Malkus
    Stories from Greek Tragedians by Alfred John Church
    Redwall by Brian Jacques
    Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston
    Alexander the Great {Makers of History Series} by Jacob Abbott
    The Story of Annie Oakley by Edmund Collier
    Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson
    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    At least with this child, I wonder whether he is less or more educated when I keep almost completely out of the way. I suppose I did make him do math and a few other important things. Hmmm…

    *Second reading this year–I still think the ending of this book is bizarre
    **He read this a year ago, and it was too much for him. This year, it was much better. 10 is my minimum age for reading Wilson.

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  • Reply ...they call me mommy... June 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I think I just figured something random out…it’s NOT Andrew Peterson who wrote those books! I believe it’s his brother! LOL! Maybe a TWIN brother…he goes by A.S. Peterson, but I think his name is Pete? Peterson! Anyhoo, I was poking around The Rabbit Room and that is what I think I discovered. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mystie June 11, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Andrew Peterson is one of my favorite artists and, I like to say, poets. I haven’t gotten his books, yet, but I have them on my watch list for used copies.

    My husband just finished reading Wilson’s trilogy, and he said he thought Wilson’s world felt more dangerous than Middle Earth; it seemed more unpredictable and less known, less familiar.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts June 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      That is a good way of putting it! I have been thinking about this some more, and one of the things I came up with as far as differences between Wilson and LOTR {other than pacing} was that there were fewer havens. LOTR has these delightful places full of elves and Bombadils and such, and Wilson pretty much skipped that–the places that *were* havens were brushed over quickly and we didn’t get to savor them as much.

      I will have to try and test drive a Peterson soon! I am so glad for these suggestions!

  • Reply Anonymous June 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    …They call me mommy beat me to it…yes, he is wonderful, and I first knew him as a christian songwriter and performer. His music is BEAUTIFUL and DEEP..and you should definitely watch the Dancing in the Minefields video that she referenced…my husband and I dance to it regularly and it always makes me cry…because I knew him as a songwriter, it wasn’t a stretch when I found out he had written books. I plan on reading them aloud this fall, as my son grabbed them and finished them before I could even begin chapter one. The reviews on Amazon are EXCELLENT.
    Thanks for the response…this is much of what I do as well…just gather books from respected bloggers, etc. Cindy being one of them! So thankful for those who have walked this path ahead of me! And for the ones that are on it now!

  • Reply ...they call me mommy... June 9, 2012 at 2:09 am

    The Wingfeather Saga (trilogy), The Fiddler’s Green, and The Fiddler’s Gun are his books, I believe. πŸ™‚

  • Reply ...they call me mommy... June 9, 2012 at 2:05 am

    I’ve heard really good things about Andrew Peterson’s books also. He is actually a Christian music artist…he has a great song about marriage that I really love. HERE:

    I can’t WAIT to read his books with my kids!

    We are reading a series by Chuck Black also, called The Kingdom Series…so far we enjoy it.

  • Reply Anonymous June 8, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I was intrigued by your note about the 100 Cupboards** by N.D. Wilson as well as the sequels and went to Amazon to check out the reviews – have you read the books? Is the “goryness” (Is that a word) as harsh as some of the 1 & 2 star reviewers say? We are using Ambleside for school & I downloaded as many of the fairy books (green, orange etc. etc.) as I could find and my boys (8 & 10) and read most of them, so I know they’re not super sensitive to it, just not sure about it myself πŸ™‚

    Also, I downloaded the 100 kindle book promotion from the publisher of classic books (man – their name has completely slipped my mind :P) and I see they have several adaptations of classics that are on the Ambleside list – I’ve told my boys they can’t read the adaptation until they’ve read the originals of those & wondered if you have the package (since your son has read the twin books πŸ™‚ and what your thoughts are on this?


    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts June 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

      Though it has been at least a year since I last read the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien, I do not think the 100 Cupboards books were any more gory than LOTR was. I *do* think that they felt more scary to me, for some reason. Maybe there are more encounters with evil per page than in LOTR? It definitely has that faster pace of modern books, whereas LOTR has more pauses, I think. Adrenaline is all the rage these days, I guess.

      I put the 100 Cupboards series in the same category as LOTR {not The Hobbit} and Narnia’s The Last Battle {which has a pretty creepy scene with Tash}. If a child is sensitive to those, or if you are purposely waiting for those, this will bother them or be a problem, too. My girls will likely need to wait until 12 for these books because stuff like this freaks them out and frankly I do not want to be up at night with them! πŸ™‚

      As far as the Kindle promotion, you are probably thinking of the Yesterday’s Classics package? I haven’t bought it because I own at least a third of them in hard copies since I’ve been collecting books for a while. For me, it wouldn’t be economical. However, the Twins books were free Kindle copies that I found. The formatting isn’t great, but it serves its purpose.

      I have mixed opinions on adaptations. For instance, my children all read Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Taylor before reading the real thing. For me, this is like reading Lamb’s and Nesbit’s Shakespeares before the real deal, or reading the summary before seeing the opera. But most adaptations are shoddy workmanship and so I try to avoid those. I’m not sure exactly what you are talking about, though, so it is hard for me to give an opinion! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Anonymous June 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Great list!! Can I ask how you select books for him? Are you working off of a booklist? I have not heard of a lot of these. I, too, have a 10 year old son who is an avid reader. I struggle to keep enough books around for him, so he ends up rereading many, which I think is fine, too. But I always love to introduce him to a new titles as well. Has your son read the triology by Andrew Peterson? My son just read those, and loved them!
      Julie in St. Louis

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts June 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      I guess I’d say I am working off of a booklist, but it is my own list. Anytime a blogger I have come to trust {such as Cindy!} mentions a book for boys that promote virtue, for instance, I add it to my watch list. I also use the free reading lists for Ambleside {a few of the titles above were from that–Amos Fortune, Reb and the Redcoats, and Bambi}. I also try to keep up with living books lists–for instance, I learned once that Guerber had been a top consideration for the AO curriculum, so I began to watch for Guerber titles. It is all very organic. A lot of the biographies on this list are there because Cindy mentioned them when my oldest was only *four* and I’ve been collecting them ever since. When he was in kindergarten I think we had five, but now we have between 15 and 20. I also often reference the 1000 Good Books List.

      The hard part is that I read most of them first in order to make sure I know what he is reading, which seriously limits my own reading time, BUT over the years I have authors and editors I have come to trust. For instance, I never worry about anything edited by Enid Meadowcroft.

      I haven’t even heard of Andrew Peterson. Have you read them? Should we be watching for them?

    • Reply Anonymous June 9, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Thanks Brandi, that gives me a good reference & since we have listened to LOTR as a family and they weren’t bothered by it at all, I think I’ll go for it πŸ™‚


  • Reply ...they call me mommy... June 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    WOW. Awesome, Brandy! (or should I say Brandy’s son! πŸ˜‰ ) I confess posts like these could make me just a *wee* bit insecure about my own children…good thing I refuse to give way to insecurity! πŸ˜‰

    I added some of these to our goodreads list! THANKS!

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts June 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      If I let it, it’d make ME insecure about my own reading! He is just a crazy reader. Of course, that is what makes it fun to type up his lists. I can only type up a list once per year or else it’d be boring. Want to see the two books I read last month? πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ordo-Amoris June 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    This is a fantastic list. I want to just hand it to Alex πŸ™‚ I am surprised by the Twins pick. I may have underestimated those books. I think I read one out loud years ago.

    I thought the same thing about my oldest. I wondered if I had taught him anything. I am pretty sure he was completely educated my his reading.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts June 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Well, our family library is partly inspired by you, so I’m sure that is a lot of it! πŸ™‚

      The Twins choice pretty much shocked me! But he hasn’t fallen in love with all of them–in fact one I know he didn’t really like. I think what happened is that he was fascinated with the Puritans. They were mentioned in our history this year, but not much detail.

      I will console myself with the fact that without me he wouldn’t be able to add and subtract! That is my sole self-justification.

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