This was one of the books that I read aloud to Jefferson. But then someone else read him the last chapter and put it away, so I needed to go grab it aThis was one of the books that I read aloud to Jefferson. But then someone else read him the last chapter and put it away, so I needed to go grab it and read the last chapter before I counted it. That actually happened months ago, but I didn't get around to that last chapter until just now.
Jefferson likes stories and games with knights and wizards, so I thought I should read him one of the originals. But when I started this with Jefferson, I thought I'd picked another miss, because it seemed so dry, and I thought I was going to have to put it away until he was older. But then he would ask some question that would prove he was paying careful attention, or he would leap up for a dramatic reenactment to prove that he was definitely captivated by the story.
So these stories weren't exactly what I was expecting, but Jefferson loved them. And I enjoyed becoming more familiar with the Arthurian legends. ...more
So, I've decided to start counting the books that I read with Jefferson at bedtime. Partially because he's getting old enough that we get to read "reaSo, I've decided to start counting the books that I read with Jefferson at bedtime. Partially because he's getting old enough that we get to read "real" books that deserve to be counted, and partly as a means of keeping track of them. I thought briefly about getting a new book journal just for Jefferson, but at this point it would be all me keeping it up, and let's face it, I barely keep up with this. Maybe in a few years I'll encourage him to start his own book journal. RIght now it would be too much work for both of us.
Anyway, this book I found in the Newberry section when I was on a quest to add some other cultures to Jefferson's book shelf. The fact that the particular culture for this book is Chinese (as he is learning Chinese) is a nice bonus. Grace Lin is a Chinese-American, and the Chinese folktales she listened to growing up, and her travels to China & neighboring countries inspired this book. It is the story of Minli, a young girl living in a desolate, infertile area with a discontented mother and a father who loves stories. When she buys a goldfish and it turns out to have the ability to speak, it inspires her to go on an adventure to improve her family's fortune. Woven throughout the text are legends and folktales told by various characters, and these stories of course turn out to be very important to her adventure.
It's a delightful story. Minli is plucky, loyal, and brave. Lessons are taught about hospitality, being happy with what you have, and generosity. Adult readers will see the end coming a mile away, but it's still lovely when it happens. I particularly enjoyed the afterword - Behind the Story - where the author talked about her inspirations.
I've had this book for a few years now. This winter I put it, along with most of our "children's" chapter books on a bookcase at the top of the stairsI've had this book for a few years now. This winter I put it, along with most of our "children's" chapter books on a bookcase at the top of the stairs. Lately, this book started trying to stare me down as I climbed the stairs. Then, when Emma recommended it to me, I finally gave up and put it at the top of my to-be-read pile.
I loved it. Many times I'd sit down on the edge of the bathtub to read a few pages while I brushed my teeth before bed, only to get up half an hour later with a chapter or two read and cold and sore from balancing on the edge of the tub that whole time.
Really, this book is just wonderful, and I can't recommend it highly enough. The art is fantastic, the storytelling is fascinating, familiar, and new, all at once. The blurb on the back is right, it is "about being a hero in your own home." It's about standing by your loved ones, and being decent to everyone, even those you don't like very much.
I had been reading this book to Jefferson FOREVER. It was perhaps not the best pick for reading aloud, or at least not committing to the entire seriesI had been reading this book to Jefferson FOREVER. It was perhaps not the best pick for reading aloud, or at least not committing to the entire series at once. It made me truly hate Welsh (sorry). All these Welsh words thrown in and I'm just making up pronunciations, and then suddenly there is a two page discussion on proper Welsh pronunciations and "Argh! I hate you!" After a bit I gave myself permission to just skip all the Welsh. That helped.
Jefferson really liked it.
Maybe I am just too old. Maybe reading it aloud dragged the story out too long. Maybe I would have felt more accomplished reading it as individual books, but I just kept thinking of all the other books we could be reading. Like, I think we should start on Narnia soon. Or another fairy tale collection. Some science fiction. Watership Down.
But we are finally through to the other side! I can now appreciate some moments as good. I loved Bran (if not for the Welsh). I really quite liked most everything about the ending. I liked Jane, and Barney. Mostly, I like that we're done. ...more
Read this book aloud on car trips to Jefferson and Andrew. I thought most of it was over Jefferson's head (well, a lot of the humor really was), but tRead this book aloud on car trips to Jefferson and Andrew. I thought most of it was over Jefferson's head (well, a lot of the humor really was), but then when we finally finished the book, Jefferson kept asking about it. We started reading another book in this series, but misplaced it not long ago. Time to go on a hunt so we can see how it ends!...more
Still working through the Narnia books for Jefferson's bedtime stories, only with this book picked up Andrew (my husband) as a listener as well. ReallStill working through the Narnia books for Jefferson's bedtime stories, only with this book picked up Andrew (my husband) as a listener as well. Really, I had remembered almost nothing from this volume, so the story unfolded as a surprise. Some parts were quite lovely, but then the depiction of the Calormen was definitely problematic. So now I have to find a book with some positive Arabic characters for Jefferson as a counter-balance.
I like the narrator-talks-to-the-reader thing, even if Tolkien does it better in The Hobbit.
If only all the Orientalism could be somehow lifted from the rest of the story. I did so like Hwin. And saying her name, reading aloud. And Jefferson loved Prince Corin.
I'm just feeling kind of meh, about it all. ...more
**spoiler alert** The latest Jeffersonian bedtime story. I didn't think I remembered very much from this, but it all became very familiar again as I w**spoiler alert** The latest Jeffersonian bedtime story. I didn't think I remembered very much from this, but it all became very familiar again as I was reading it with Jefferson. (Compared to The Magician's Nephew, or The Horse and His Boy, which we are reading now.) It did seem much more allegorical than it did the last time I read it. A very satisfying fable for children, with happy endings for all the Queen had turns to stone. All the darkness is erased by Aslan.
I read this whole series long ago. As a young adult, I think. I remember liking the stories but being annoyed by the aggressiveness of the religious aI read this whole series long ago. As a young adult, I think. I remember liking the stories but being annoyed by the aggressiveness of the religious allegory. Still have my set from then, and recently I put this on the shelf of books Jefferson chooses for his bedtime story.
It was good. As we've read some recent books, I kept thinking that they didn't stand up to the Narnia series, and I was right. This was good, imaginative, and well-paced for reading aloud. Jefferson enjoyed it, and I think I actually enjoyed it more the second time around.
I was shocked, though, when Jefferson didn't choose the next book in the series as his next bedtime book. Maybe he didn't like it quite as well as I thought? But maybe that's not it. He's never been as sequential a reader as I am. ...more