Ariel Bradley: Spy for General Washington by Lynda Durrant (Vanita Books, 2013) is a historical fiction early chapter book based on a real experience. Since Raisin and I are learning about American history this year, I decided it would be a perfect choice for reading aloud together during our school time.
In many ways, Ariel Bradley’s story is a fun and exciting one. Ariel is a young boy, with two brothers who are a part of General Washington’s army. He wishes he could be brave, but his life is still at home. When his brothers come to visit, though, they have a special mission for him to perform for General Washington himself! As Ariel acts like a country bumpkin and stumbles in to the British war camp, he knows he can be a spy for General Washington and do his own part to help the country.
I liked the story. It showed how a child helped in the war effort. It showed my son the different way someone could help the Patriot cause. As we read, we looked up unfamiliar words and talked about what Ariel Bradley was doing. Raisin was very excited to see General Washington, and I believe he enjoyed the suspense of what would happen next.
It’s been a few weeks since we finished and Raisin tells me now that he does not remember it. I know he liked it, but apparently the story was not a memorable on. There are many historical fiction stories based on real events that relate to the American Revolutionary War. This may not have been the strongest choice out there, but Raisin and I did enjoy it when we read it. We found it to be a fine book to tie in to our American history studies.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration from the publisher via netgalley.com.
I was able to time our American History learning to correlate to the Thanksgiving Holiday! We recently finished learning about the pilgrims, which works out very well for us since we’re taking the next week slow, as a holiday from lots of school work.
Before we got the pilgrims, though, we read a few books about Roanoke and Jamestown. (more…)
Raisin Reads is a column with thoughts on children’s literature straight from the mind of a kid!
About the author: Raisin is five years old. He likes to read, and he wants to be a construction worker when he grows up.
I like Mercy Watson to the Rescue because when the fire department comes, Mr. and Mrs. Watson think Mercy called the fire department! But she did not! Eugenia Lincoln called the fire department instead!
Mercy is a pig. In Eugenia’s opinion, pigs belong on a farm. Mercy does not live on a farm. She lives in a house. Eugenia does not like Mercy because of that. At the end, Eugenia still does not like Mercy. But Mr. and Mrs. Watson like Mercy. They think she is a porcine wonder because they think she called the fire department.
My favorite part is the very end of the book. I think other people would like the book too.
Mom’s thoughts: Raisin read this book by himself, then he listened to it and read it at the same time. I am a big fan of audiobooks, and for a beginning reader, listening and reading together helped him recognize words, learn correct pronunciation (he had not encountered phrases like “porcine wonder” before), and better grasp the big picture of the story. The Mercy Watson series is a perfect follow up to shorter early readers like Mr. Putter and Tabby and Henry and Mudge. Mercy Watson’s story is longer (it has twelve chapters) but the sentences are well geared toward a young child beginning to read. There are a few sentences on each page, and the type is large. As in the early chapter books I mentioned, most two-page spreads have a color illustration. In Mercy Watson, these are illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, and there are also a few full two-page illustrations in the book. This makes it very accessible for the early reader too. There is something about color illustrations and large text that say “Come read me, I’m not that hard!” Besides all that, the story is fun!
What other chapter books for early readers are like this? We’re looking for large text and color illustrations, and yet less than 100 pages and plenty of easily accessible amusing story!
Raisin narrated the above review to me. Do you have any comments for him? I’ll pass along any messages.
We have been “officially” doing unofficial kindergarten at home for a little over a month now. I’ve been teaching Raisin at home for much longer, of course, but I had to call it official at some point.
I have been looking forward to introducing my son to the favorite books of my childhood, and I’m delighted to find he is finally old enough to appreciate them!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (originally published 1978) is a perfect chapter book for young readers. The chapters are less than five pages, the stories are compact and yet still inter-related, and the silliness factor meets the needs of a child. My son loved the time we spent reading these together, and as soon as we finished it, he took it from me and informed me he was going to read it again to himself. He is more than half way done.
As an adult, I still enjoyed it. It is silly and yet it does play off of realistic challenges: adults telling you to do things that seem impossible (going to take a note to a non-existent teacher), falling asleep when you should be awake, getting along with other kids, and overcoming stereotype, for example. I really enjoyed revisiting it as an adult. (more…)