Sunday, January 21, 2018

God King by Joanne Williamson*

I read this book aloud to my boys during our study of Israel and Assyria.
Egyptian Taharka, a very minor royal son, loves the study of medicine and healing and is thankful that he will never be Pharaoh, bound by regulations and rules.  To his horror, when his father dies, the wand points to him as the next Pharaoh.  As he quickly learns his duties and responsibilities, he realizes how much he despises this kind of life and longs to be free.  Conspiracy abounds and it seems like the Assyrians are plotting to kill him.  But is there a foe within his own court and family?  He escapes with an Israelite, Amos, and meets two kings, Sennacherib, the Assyrian king and also Hezekiah, the king of Judah. 
Very exciting and a great way to bring history alive!
*Highly recommend.
-I own this book.

Bound by Ice by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace*

A True North Pole Survival Story
This husband-wife team relates their careful research in an engaging narrative.  Their writing style will disprove anyone that claims historical accounts are dry!
After the Civil War, explorers were obsessed about reaching the North Pole.  Many theories were spouted about the North Pole, including that a tropical sea surrounded it.  George W. De Long led an expedition to discover the mysteries of the North Pole.  The men encountered danger and mishap continuously.  Out of the 33 men who left on the expedition, only 12 survived.  Sadly, George W. De Long died in Siberia along with several of his men.  Although many men died and they did not reach the North Pole, De Long's  journal and record keeping continues to aid science and researchers. 

As I read this exciting account, I was amazed by the men's good cheer, perseverance and willingness to endure physical hardship for the sake of science and discovery.  Do individuals exist like that anymore?!
This quote from George Melville, the Chief Engineer, summarizes the attitude of these men well. "If men must die, why not in honorable pursuit of knowledge?  Woe, woe to  America when the young blood of our nation has no sacrifice to make for science.
*Highly recommend.
-Borrowed from the library.
The library has this book categorized as "young adult".

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Marco, a curious fox, ventures out on the antlered ship to find different foxes to answer his deeper questions.  The crew consisting of deer and pigeons and Marco, of course, spend days at sea experiencing adventure.  Marco finds his answers in a different manner than he expected.
What I like most about this book are the illustrations and the detailed map. 
Great book to read aloud when introducing and implementing "asking questions" strategy.
-Borrowed from the library.

Image result for the antlered ship
Image result for the antlered ship

Friday, January 19, 2018

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot illustrated by Edward Gorey*

Cat lovers will adore these humorous poems about various cats.
Great vocabulary opportunities abound!
The musical Cats was inspired by these poems.
*Highly recommend.
-Borrowed from the library.

The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Kathryn Brown*

An old woman names various items she owns, but only items that will outlive her.  She has outlived all of her friends and refuses to become attached to anything else that may pass away or become worn out before her.  Then a stray puppy arrives outside her gate and shakes up her well ordered world!!
*Highly recommend.
-I own this book.
Strategies: mentor text for personal narratives; character traits

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills*

Minna longs to attend school but feels like she cannot since she does not have a coat.  When her father dies from the miner's cough, the local ladies gather their rags and sew them together to make a coat for Minna. 
Points to discuss: death, the children at school are cruel to her and make fun of her
*Highly recommend.
-I own this book.
Strategy: A perfect book to utilize when introducing inferring.  One can infer the feelings Minna has throughout the book.

Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr*

Aissa is born with two extra floppy thumbs.  She is the first born of the priestess and is destined to lead the island in worship and life.  Can a future priestess be imperfect?  The midwife sent to throw her over the cliff cannot bear the task so she leaves Aissa with a fisherman's wife who just lost a baby.  Four years later, raiders from Crete arrive destroying Aissa's adopted family's home.  Her mother hides her in a bush, telling her not to speak or make a sound until she returns.  Her mother never returns and thus begins Aissa's inability to talk.
After she is discovered, she is taken to the great Hall where she lives a life of physical, mental, and emotional abuse.
Can she redeem herself and prove that she is worthy when she willingly leaves with the Bull King to be a bull dancer on Crete?  Can she and Luki free the island from the yearly tribute to Crete?

This book is well researched and submerges the readers into the Bronze Age.    The style is a mix of prose and free verse.
Points to discuss: The island people are extremely cruel to Aissa and abuse her without consequences.  She begins her menstruation  cycle and the author gives details about it.  The bulls kill some of the characters and the bloody fights are described.
*Highly recommend.