Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Audio Books and Craft Books

Regarding Audio Books-

What would a road trip be without them? How would I have convinced all of my children to stick with Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising in the most appropriate month of December? Now, we all point out when the rooks are gathering. How would they have learned about eye-crosserosis from Hank the Cowdog? How would we have learned how to pronounce "Hermione"?

When it comes to audio books, I have three words to say: Full Cast Audio.
These are the books read by a cast of talented actors. Each character has it's own voice. These are a cut above the rest. That's not to say that there aren't fabulous recordings of single reader audio books, too.

Some of my favorite audio books are:
The Castle in the Attic
by Elizabeth Winthrop, read by the author and a full cast
The Battle for the Castle, the sequel, also by Elizabeth Winthrop, read by the author and a full cast
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, read by James Avery
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, read by Alex Jennings
Half Magic by Edward Eager, read by a full cast
Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson, read by the author (hilarious!)
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit, not sure who it's read by, but click on the link for a free audio book
The Story of the Treasure Seekers, also by E. Nesbit, also available for free
Little House in the Big Woods as well as the rest of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
All Creatures Great and Small and everything else by James Herriot ever wrote, read by Christopher Timothy (who played Herriot in the television series)

Plus, here is a list from my dear friend, Miss Amy, who works at my local public library, purchases the audiobook collection, and enjoys audiobooks with her lovely family too.

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Tale of Desperaux by Kate diCamillo
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell, read by a full cast
Half Magic (again)
Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor Reynolds
Season of Gifts (warning: may contain Santa spoilers) by Richard Peck
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
Stuart Little by E.B. White
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

And now for a word about Craft Books.

We don't own many. The titles we own were purchased because we were borrowing the library's copies ALL THE TIME. We needed our own copies, plus they make excellent gifts.

Cartoon Cute Animals: How to Draw the Most Irresistable Creatures on the Planet by Christopher Hart
Pair this book with a sketchpad and some nice pencils or markers. My 12 year old daughter and 8 year old son are still using it one year later.









Draw the Marvel Comics Superheroes from Klutz
More advanced skill is required for this book than the Christopher Hart book above. Hmmm...I wonder if Christoper Hart has other How to Draw books....
In general, I love all of the Klutz books.







Tiny Treats by Julia A. Monroe
Cooking on a teensy scale. Adorable!










The Kid's Cookbook by Abigail J. Dodge
We've owned it for years. Honestly, they have the best birthday cake recipe on the planet.










Kids Knit!: Simple Steps to Nifty Projects by Sarah Bradberry
This book taught me how to knit, an obsession which continues to this day, which is why I couldn't help my girls with the projects in the next book.








Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful by Narumi Ogawa
My daughters have made the bunny on the cover, as well as some hats and scarves. The patterns are super adorable, though it helps if you have an experienced crochet master in the house, which we don't. Thank God for grandmas.








Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting on a Loom by Isela Phelps
Last year, for his 8th birthday, my son got one of these looms and some thick red yarn. He spent several winter days working on a baby blanket for his yet unborn baby sister. Knitting with a loom is like working with tools. Manly. Also, my daughter got a hat and scarf for Christmas that her friend had made her on a loom like these.






My motto for this year's Christmas shopping is less technology, more books, music, sports equipment. Every one of my children (except the baby) has a sketchbook and sketch pencils. They love them dearly. The ligers, the lettering, the anime, and the battle scenes they draw are done during the blissful silence of unplugged moments. Sketchbooks work in the car, and never need to be charged! If you're going to get sketchbooks for your kids, get them the bound book-like kind, not the notebook kind. Make them feel like real artists, which they are.

Have a blessed Advent!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In Honor of the Veterans

Here are some my favorite novels for children about the conflicts in which my relatives have fought for freedom.

The Revolutionary War:
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

The Civil War:
The River Between Us by Richard Peck for High School and up
Charley Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith

World War I:
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Yes, this is the book that the stage production and the Steven Spielberg movie are based on. The movie is released on December 25, 2011. I loved this book and have been passing it around to my children and godchildren. Told in first person from the point of view of the horse, remember Black Beauty? Everything I read by this author ends up recommended on this site.
Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

World War II:
Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo


Four other books about World War II

Vietnam:
Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roarke Dowell

Afghanistan:
Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
Trent Reedy is an English teacher from Iowa, who served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. His first-hand account of an Afghan girl with a cleft palate is both moving and at times difficult to read. I had the privilege of hearing Trent speak at the Anderson's Bookshop Annual Children's Literary Breakfast.

Extra Credit by Andrew Clement

Unfortunately, I have not read any books about Iraq, where my son's godfather, Lt. Col. Paul White, M.D. served with the U.S. Army.

To my great-grandfather, John O'Brien (WWI), my grandfather, Frank R. O'Brien Sr. (WWII), to Paul and to my cousin, Edward Russo, who served in Afghanistan, thank you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Audio Books and Craft Books

Regarding Audio Books-

What would a road trip be without them? How would I have convinced all of my children to stick with Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising in the most appropriate month of December? Now, we all point out when the rooks are gathering. How would they have learned about eye-crosserosis from Hank the Cowdog? How would we have learned how to pronounce "Hermione"?

When it comes to audio books, I have three words to say: Full Cast Audio.
These are the books read by a cast of talented actors. Each character has it's own voice. These are a cut above the rest. That's not to say that there aren't fabulous recordings of single reader audio books, too.

Some of my favorite audio books are:
The Castle in the Attic
by Elizabeth Winthrop, read by the author and a full cast
The Battle for the Castle, the sequel, also by Elizabeth Winthrop, read by the author and a full cast
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, read by James Avery
The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, read by Alex Jennings
Half Magic by Edward Eager, read by a full cast
Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson, read by the author (hilarious!)
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit, not sure who it's read by, but click on the link for a free audio book
The Story of the Treasure Seekers, also by E. Nesbit, also available for free
Little House in the Big Woods as well as the rest of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
All Creatures Great and Small and everything else by James Herriot ever wrote, read by Christopher Timothy (who played Herriot in the television series)

Plus, here is a list from my dear friend, Miss Amy, who works at my local public library, purchases the audiobook collection, and enjoys audiobooks with her lovely family too.

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Tale of Desperaux by Kate diCamillo
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell, read by a full cast
Half Magic (again)
Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor Reynolds
Season of Gifts (warning: may contain Santa spoilers) by Richard Peck
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
Stuart Little by E.B. White
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

And now for a word about Craft Books.

We don't own many. The titles we own were purchased because we were borrowing the library's copies ALL THE TIME. We needed our own copies, plus they make excellent gifts.

Cartoon Cute Animals: How to Draw the Most Irresistable Creatures on the Planet by Christopher Hart
Pair this book with a sketchpad and some nice pencils or markers. My 12 year old daughter and 8 year old son are still using it one year later.









Draw the Marvel Comics Superheroes from Klutz
More advanced skill is required for this book than the Christopher Hart book above. Hmmm...I wonder if Christoper Hart has other How to Draw books....
In general, I love all of the Klutz books.







Tiny Treats by Julia A. Monroe
Cooking on a teensy scale. Adorable!










The Kid's Cookbook by Abigail J. Dodge
We've owned it for years. Honestly, they have the best birthday cake recipe on the planet.










Kids Knit!: Simple Steps to Nifty Projects by Sarah Bradberry
This book taught me how to knit, an obsession which continues to this day, which is why I couldn't help my girls with the projects in the next book.








Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful by Narumi Ogawa
My daughters have made the bunny on the cover, as well as some hats and scarves. The patterns are super adorable, though it helps if you have an experienced crochet master in the house, which we don't. Thank God for grandmas.








Loom Knitting Primer: A Beginner's Guide to Knitting on a Loom by Isela Phelps
Last year, for his 8th birthday, my son got one of these looms and some thick red yarn. He spent several winter days working on a baby blanket for his yet unborn baby sister. Knitting with a loom is like working with tools. Manly. Also, my daughter got a hat and scarf for Christmas that her friend had made her on a loom like these.






My motto for this year's Christmas shopping is less technology, more books, music, sports equipment. Every one of my children (except the baby) has a sketchbook and sketch pencils. They love them dearly. The ligers, the lettering, the anime, and the battle scenes they draw are done during the blissful silence of unplugged moments. Sketchbooks work in the car, and never need to be charged! If you're going to get sketchbooks for your kids, get them the bound book-like kind, not the notebook kind. Make them feel like real artists, which they are.

Have a blessed Advent!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

In Honor of the Veterans

Here are some my favorite novels for children about the conflicts in which my relatives have fought for freedom.

The Revolutionary War:
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

The Civil War:
The River Between Us by Richard Peck for High School and up
Charley Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith

World War I:
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Yes, this is the book that the stage production and the Steven Spielberg movie are based on. The movie is released on December 25, 2011. I loved this book and have been passing it around to my children and godchildren. Told in first person from the point of view of the horse, remember Black Beauty? Everything I read by this author ends up recommended on this site.
Rilla of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

World War II:
Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo


Four other books about World War II

Vietnam:
Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock

Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roarke Dowell

Afghanistan:
Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
Trent Reedy is an English teacher from Iowa, who served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. His first-hand account of an Afghan girl with a cleft palate is both moving and at times difficult to read. I had the privilege of hearing Trent speak at the Anderson's Bookshop Annual Children's Literary Breakfast.

Extra Credit by Andrew Clement

Unfortunately, I have not read any books about Iraq, where my son's godfather, Lt. Col. Paul White, M.D. served with the U.S. Army.

To my great-grandfather, John O'Brien (WWI), my grandfather, Frank R. O'Brien Sr. (WWII), to Paul and to my cousin, Edward Russo, who served in Afghanistan, thank you.