I’m finding it hard to believe that we are almost done with our journey through the Middle Ages. We only have three lessons left in Mystery of History Volume II (if last week and this week would have gone as planned, we would already be finished!), and MOH Volume III arrived yesterday.
I think we’ll still have a few read-alouds yet this year that take us back to the Middle Ages — I just keep finding more books I’d love to read related to this time period.
Our history read-aloud this past week was Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley. Both Mr. E and Miss M enjoyed this in-depth story with beautiful illustrations. (Mr K on the other hand had to be “bribed” with the iPad in order to keep him quiet enough for us to finish this book. He tried very hard to convince me not to continue reading it!).
Having read a somewhat extensive lesson about Joan of Arc in our Mystery of History book, I wasn’t sure if Miss M would want to devote even more time to learning about Joan. I gave Miss M the choice as to whether or not we would read this book, and she was pretty eager to read it. She was fascinated by the idea of a woman fighting for her country back then. Stanley’s story of Joan of Arc provided additional details that were not in our history lesson and made this famous story seem even more amazing. I would have to say, though, that the illustrations were my favorite part. The are done in a style somewhat reminiscent of an illuminated manuscript and are very bright and colorful.
In recent weeks we also read Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole and The Chanticleer and The Fox by Barbara Cooney as quick history-related read alouds. Ms. Frizzle’s castle adventure was about what you would expect — a fun, silly story with some real facts thrown in here and there. The Chanticleer and the Fox was a bit of a disappointment to me. When I requested this one from the library I was envisioning a picture book with poetic text, but Cooney’s book is more of a retelling of Chaucer’s story in non-poetic form.
Tangentially related to our history studies is a book the boys loved this past week: A Good Knight’s Rest by Shelley Moore Thomas. In this story, the Good Knight (who is featured in several books by Thomas) needs to take a restful vacation, but his pals the little dragons make that a challenge. I like the “Good Knight”/”Good Night” pun (and don’t quickly tire of it), so that makes these books bring a smile to my face. 🙂
And finally, not at all related to the Middle Ages, is the boys’ other favorite book this week: The Donut Chef by Bob Staake. The Donut Chef is a story in rhyme about a chef who opens a donut shop, only to be challenged by a competing shop that opens next door. The two shops try to out-do one another:
“We’ve donuts laced with kiwi jam and served inside an open clam! Donuts made with huckleberry (Don’t be scared, they’re kind of hairy). And donuts made from spiced rum pears, so popular with millionaires!”
It’s hard not to smile at rhymes like that. After trying many, many flavors and shapes, the donut chef finds out what the most popular kind of donut really is.
What books did you discover this week?
I’m linking up with Read Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!
I must say, donuts made from spiced rum pears sound realllllllllly yummy!
Joan of Arc is a really interesting figure that continues to intrigue historians. I remember being fascinated by her when I was about 7 or 8; I read a biography of her, one written for young readers. Was she hearing voices because she was experiencing mental health problems? Or were they really the voices of saints and angels? Modern society struggles to reconcile the two – or seeks to find a way to explain it all with science. A fact that – if Miss M were much older – might be an interesting point to pursue.
I am visiting from Read-Aloud Thursday.
We read Joan of Arc during our last school year. We had also read a shortened story in our main history text. My kids enjoyed it, though my daughter was upset that she had to read about her “dying again.”
Those are some really good books on the Middle Ages – we liked most of those titles as well! Though it does lack a poetical style, I liked The Chanticleer and the Fox as an introduction to the story line and Chaucer’s writings. The Donut Chef sounds like great fun, and I will have to find that one in our library!