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 for my 3rd grader, and even the kindergartner listened with interest. I cried at the end of both books–more so with Witch, one of my favorite books of all time. I read it over and over again when I was growing up, and Nat Eaton remains one of my top five literary crushes. (To be honest, I don’t think I can even name any other literary crushes so maybe he’s it.)

My husband was recently out of town and missing our girls, so he went to Barnes and Noble to buy them books. He had read a bunch of Roald Dahl to our older daughter when she was younger, so he picked up three more books of his that he knew we didn’t own as a present to our 5 year old. Because she’s a super tough kid and not scared of anything except dogs, her first pick was The Witches. I had never read it before and was shocked (in a good way) by how macabre and funny it was. Dahl pulls no punches in his story of witches basically out to destroy all children, and he’s not afraid to end things without a truly tidy resolution. She loved every minute of it, and I had a great time reading it to her (though the voice I had to do for the Grand High Witch did make me cough a bit).

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