House of Literature Bookmobile

This is the place I share book (movie) selections and reviews I have found worth mentioning. I'll also share gleanings of family life, faith, home education, and ongoing writing projects. Book selections will include children's books, books on home education, Catholic books, classics, series, raising children, and books that are made for reading under a shady oak tree with lemonade, in a bubble bath with a latte', or next to a snuggly fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Books Read Today

Is the season over yet? Or, rather, has the season begun yet? There is so much hussle and bussle in the weeks before Christmas. Doesn't Advent mean to wait with baited breathe? At any rate, the week after Christmas will be one of adoring the newborn infant with reverence, awe, stillness, and heavenly peace.

Today we had our own rush of morning errands to get to the dental appointments made a few weeks ago. Trouble with making early appointments is that by the time they get here, the plans have changed. One child is visiting in Texas, another child is with cousins to see Narnia, and another child is working. So I had the youngest two with me. The three of us got good reviews and stamps of approval---if you count the four-year-old getting her teeth counted---and the verdict is still out on the other three until January.

After stops at the post office and bank, I noticed the frequent disputes coming from the back seat of the car. The younger two do seem to squabble more than my original sets of boy, girl, boy, girl but everyone says that's to be expected when sisters are born in sequence. Okay, I never had a sister so I take this as hindsight 20/20 and try to keep the peace. But I also noticed that Starr was not her energetic, chipper-self today. She seemed to be the one picking the fights when it's usually the other way around. Too much Christmas and birthday partying, I imagine. But she has developed a slight cold complete with stuffy/runny nose and a bedtime cough. So I've gotten her on medicine early to ward off any serious, lasting effects. And I knew the medicine would do one of two things:

(1) make her hyper
(2) make her cranky and sleepy

Definitely # 2.

So what's a mother to do? A treatful stop at McD's was in order plus a stop at the local library where tapes aplenty were picked up plus some nice books that cry to be enjoyed on the sofa or in bed. Lots of picture art that the child can enjoy feasting her eyes upon after the reading because sometimes they "just want to look at the pictures." Of course.

I wish I had time to give a proper review of these books but, alas, we have yet another Christmas party to go to tonight and I have a covered dish to fix and, yes, more gifts to wrap.

In the Snow by Lindsay Barrett George is a perfect picture book for in-your-bed viewing. The artwork is stunning; as is all of George's other books which you really should check out for nature study. This one will get you all ready for the snowy months of January and February and for the snow unit soon to be placed at House of Literature.

Cobweb Christmas, The Tradition of Tinsel, a German folk story by Shirley Climo, was delightful despite the presence of hairy, creeping, crawling, long-legged spiders. I wasn't sure how my girls would take this one. Just yesterday, a huge, hairy, long-legged spider appeared in the toy bin under one of the living room windows. Drama Queen screeched and hollared and jumped around in distress and fright while Christmas Starr came on the run with her tennie shoe shouting, "Outta my way! I've got him. Move. I'll kill him!" Two totally different personalities. The spiders in Climo's story give the village "auntie" an unsuspecting gift and gives us reason to forgive them of their intrusive visit. It's a delightful book; strange to have spiders playing a role in a Christmas book but it's done so well that even my girls wanted to keep the book and look through it again and again. (They fought over it actually.)

Looking for the cover to share with everyone, I came across this book which we don't have and haven't read but I'm sure it would go well with the reading of Cobweb Christmas. Another one worth reading with these would be Night Tree by Eve Bunting.

The Christmas Cobwebs by Odds Bodkin/Terry Widener tells a story of "a poor shoemaker and his family move from Germany to Chicago with only a box of glittering glass ornaments. But when a tragic fire destroys their new house and shop, the family has to move into an abandoned shack, with cobwebs dangling from the rafters. Soon the shoemaker must sell his family's cherished decorations. But on Christmas morning, they all awaken to a shimmering surprise hanging from their tree. Spun by the Christmas spirit, a wonderful magic weaves throughout this holiday tale." (Publisher's comment)

The last, put certainly not least, is The Small One by Alex Walsh/Jesse Clay. The introduction by Kathie Lee Gifford reads, in part: "I don't know exactly how Small One came into our lives. I just remember my son Cody introducing it to me one night and loving every moment of it...We live in a violent, often selfish world where 'sentimental' is deemed corny and 'spiritual' mean ignorant. We seem to have lost our heart. But Small One reminds us that 'there is no greater love than being willing to lay down one's life for a friend.' What a wonderful message for today's world---and for today's children..." (Kathie Lee Gifford)

I will not say anything about this book other than, please read it to your children this Christmas season. It's an excellent story. The connection at the end is one of sacrifice, love and giving. There is also an animated version as well: Small One on video


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