Raisin and I are only done with a little more than 40 of the lessons for the Kindergarten language arts program Logic of English Foundations. However, he enjoys it so much that I feel it is time I discussed it briefly on this blog.
LoE Foundations is an “all in one” language arts for 4-6 year old homeschool teachers or classroom teachers. Beginning with phonics, Foundations teaches children to read, to write (both a manuscript and a cursive instructional workbook are available for the handwriting instruction), and to grasp the basics of spelling. So far, I have not encountered any grammatical instruction or lessons on the mechanics of writing but neither of those are typically included in a kindergarten level program, I don’t believe. The program is to have about 180 lessons. After the first 40, students have learned how to write the 26 lowercase letters of the alphabet and can successfully read a large number of words by sounding out the phonograms. (more…)
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan (Bloomsbury, 2012) is a literary theory light book for the masses of Austenites around the globe. But I hope that does not scare casual readers away from it, because What Matters in Jane Austen? is full of observations about the novels to help even the most casual of readers fall in love with Austen’s well crafted novels once more. (more…)
I really enjoyed reading the first Hereville graphic novel, so when I saw the next one on netgalley, I was eager to revisit Mirka’s somewhat bizarre world. Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (published November 2012) is another look at the spunky young Jewish girl who has fantastic adventures in her small community.
In the first volume, Mirka fights a troll in order to win a sword, but her battle ends up being different from what she expected! In this second volume, Mirka learns that a meteorite is coming to the earth. The witch helps her by transforming the meteorite, but it was not quite what she was expecting! Once again, Mirka must come to terms with herself in the humorous challenge she faces in this volume.
Hereville is such a blend of creativity that I really enjoy reading it, and I imagine the intended audience (young middle grade readers) loves it far more than I do! It has a strong strand of Jewish culture, but it also is a fantasy, an adventure, and a tale of a girl dealing with bullies, family, and basic pre-teen difficulties. I am not Jewish and I loved the glimpse at an Orthodox Jewish family and community. In general, I really like the world Barry Deutsch has created, and I’m glad he’s continued Mirka’s saga in this second volume of her adventures.
Note: I read a digital review copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.
Sequels are always tricky.
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, 2012) is a follow-up to Klassen’s highly successful I Want My Hat Back, which was about a bear searching for his hat among his forest friends … and ended with a spot of rabbit fur. I Want My Hat Back provided a regular pattern: asking, answering, and large text to help my budding reader. It flowed in a wonderful way.
This is Not My Hat changes the scene a little bit. Now a small fish is telling the reader about the hat he has stolen from a large fish, convincing the reader that the other fish will not know who it was who took his hat. The illustrations tell otherwise.
For me, though, the story, while similar and clever much as This Is Not My Hat, seems to lack the same sense of pattern. Reading it aloud with my young reader does not provide the same feeling of reading along. While my son actually wanted to “sing” I Want My Hat Back because of the feeling of pattern he got reading it, This Is Not My Hat failed to provide that same feeling. It was clever, yes, but it ultimately fell short of fantastic for me. There was no underlying passion such as I felt when reading I Want My Hat Back.
Many people seem to love this book just as much as the first, however. Please talk with me about it.
- What about this book makes it stand out to you?
- If you were unfamiliar with the first book, would you love this book as much as you do?
- What about this book makes it successful for you?
I get the humor, and I enjoy the minimalist artwork. But it just did not do much for me or my son as we read it together. Compared to other books published in the last year, this one just fell flat for me.
As I’ve scoured the lists of books about revolutionary America for a book to read for my own education, I struggled to find one that covered a variety of people (I love biographies, but I can’t read one about everyone!) and eras (I would love to learn about all eras of the revolution, from the pre-revolution, the actual war years, to the beginning of the republic and later political fall out). At the same time that I’m I’ve been searching for the perfect book about the revolutionary era, I remembered I had picked up a used copy of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis (Vintage Books, 2000) in a previous year’s book sale. I decided it was the book to read right now.
I was expecting Founding Brothers to be a collection of mini-biographies about the “brothers” of the revolutionary generation. Or maybe it would be about the Constitutional Convention and how they all worked together. Honestly, I did not know what it was, but any expectations I did have were far surpassed in Ellis’s complex portrait of the generation that founded the country. His work is both thorough and completely readable. (more…)