Tag Archives: 20th Century

Roald Dahl, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Chains

My almost six-year-old and I have continued our Roald Dahl streak with George’s Marvelous Medicine, about a boy whose grandma is the meanest lady ever. Every day she drinks a horrible concoction so George decides to take everything in the house and mix up something truly dreadful for her–with unexpected results. It’s not as dark as The Witches but has that same trickster spirit. We both really enjoyed it. And we finally convinced big sister to join the Roald Dahl fun so now she’s listening…

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Everybody Rise, Burn Baby Burn, Rereading Roald Dahl

Sometimes as a parent you get those moments when you feel like you must be doing something right, and having my 5-year-old ask me to reread her The BFG and The Witches was definitely one of those moments. We enjoyed them just as much the 2nd time through, and now she’s eager to have me read The BFG a third time so that her big sister can get why we think snozzcumbers are so funny. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina hooked me right away…

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Tolliver’s Secret + The Bronze Bow

Two classics in our homeschool that were a big hit. Tolliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady was assigned as a read aloud in our Sonlight core, and all of us loved the story of the girl who dresses like a boy to deliver a secret message to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. There was a lot of action and suspense wondering if Ellen was going to make it, and my 8 year old loved the adventure of it all. It wasn’t the tearjerker that…

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BFG, Flora and Ulysses, Ben & Me, and Ender’s Game

Oh, I am hard-pressed to say which of the characters in these books for kids/young adults I love the most! The Big Friendly Giant, Ulysses the flying squirrel, Amos the mouse who lives in Ben Frankin’s fur hat, or Ender, the 6-year-old military mastermind. Okay, my feelings for Ender aren’t exactly affection or delight like I have for the others, but this is my most recent batch of books read for homeschool. The BFG was yet another Roald Dahl I’d never read before, and I’m…

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Witch of Blackbird Pond, Roald Dahl’s Witches, and Sign of the Beaver

In our homeschool, we just finished Week 12 with Sonlight Core D and we are still really happy with it. I have jettisoned a couple of books because I didn’t like them, but it was easy enough to substitute other books. We really loved the read-alouds Sign of the Beaver and Witch of Blackbird Pond, both by the tremendous Elizabeth George Speare. She brings such a deep humanity to her historical fiction, and is a master at building suspense. Both books brought history to life…

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Cormoran Strike, Dungeons and Dragons, and Creepy ‘Eileen’

I’m utterly enthralled by Cormoran Strike, the private detective at the center of JK Rowling’s pseudonymous crime series. The third book, Career of Evil, finds Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott the target of a psychopath with a penchant for dismemberment–and Robin seems to be his target. Rowling (as Robert Galbraith) understands that she can’t just deliver an intricately plotted crime story, she also has to take the characters further on their journey. At the end of the book, I was so heavily invested in…

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Homeschool 3rd Grade Weeks 1&2–Madeleine L’Engle & US History

We’ve hit the ground running with my 3rd grader. We read aloud A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, which remains basically one of the greatest books of all time, and it was so fun to experience again it through my daughter. I’ll be reading it later this fall with the 4th/5th graders and I think we’ll have some great discussions about sacrifice, fear, and flaws. The first two books we finished for Sonlight Core D were A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert…

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Fitz, the Fool, and Ann Rule

I like big books and I cannot lie This short story hater can’t deny That when a book comes in At 500+ pages My heartbeat starts to fly This week marked the release of Fool’s Quest, the second book in Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the Fool trilogy. In preparation I re-read Fool’s Assassin, the first book, and I wasn’t just info gathering knowing that Hobb will jump right in without making the reader slog through clunky backstory. I was deliciously swept away by the story,…

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Vacation = Gillian Flynn, The Group, Pretty Is, New Margaret Atwood !!!

Because my idea of relaxing is reading about women in desperate circumstances driven to make choices that aren’t really choices at all because they are WOMEN. Repressive society, nobody understands their inner life, maybe they don’t even have an inner life, and you have to escape your gallant kidnapper while your friends talk shit behind your back and if you’re lucky you’ll end up competing with a prostibot. Or, as Luscious Jackson put it, “When a man knows where he came from he can tell…

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Uglies Trilogy and Detectives in Togas

I had mad love for Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy back when I first read it. Imagine a dystopia where until age 16, you are “ugly.” Then you get a whole bunch of surgery to become beautiful, and then live in paradise until you die. All parties, no war. Everything is beautiful, and Tally Youngblood can’t wait until her birthday–until she meets Shay, who tells her about the world outside, and asks Tally to escape with her. Tally is a great character–I think she’s more awesome…

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