We’ve finished a couple more read-alouds this week — One for the boys, and one for Miss M. Mr. E spent a good portion of last week with Grandma Karen (my mom). I sent the book Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary for them to start together. Mr. E loved it and was eager to continue it once he got home. Mr. K listened quite often as well, as did Miss M (who caught up reading on her own all the parts she missed).
Henry Huggins was not an entirely new character to us, as Miss M and I read the Ramona books aloud when she was a 2nd grader, and she has re-read them many times since. Henry appears as a minor character in the Ramona books, and Ramona and Beezus appear in the Henry books as well. Henry Huggins covers one eventful year in Henry’s life when he first gets Ribsy, his beloved dog, and has all kinds of other funny adventures as well. Fans of the Ramona books or other “episodic life adventure” sort of books will probably like the Henry series as well.
I have, so far, been generally choosing books to read aloud to Mr. E that feature boys as main characters, since he is just getting his feet wet with chapter book listening and I am trying to hold his interest as much as possible. It fascinated me, however, that he requested I read Betsy-Tacy next after finishing Henry Huggins. We’re about seven chapters in to that book (1st in my all-time favorite children’s book series!), and he and Mr. K love it. I think I am one lucky mom to have boys who like Betsy-Tacy too. 🙂
With Miss M, I decided to take a departure from our fairy tale and fantasy read-alouds for something of a bit more serious nature. I picked up Tanglewoods Secret by Patricia St. John at a book sale this year. It’s actually the second book by St. John that I acquired…but the first one (received in a box of random books given to me by a friend who was “cleaning out”) had such an odd cover and no description on the back that I didn’t even give it a second look.
I was clued in to what I missed out on when I read this post by Amy about another St. John book, Star of Light. So, this time, when I found another book by the same author, I didn’t pass it up.
In Tanglewoods Secret, Ruth and Philip are living with their aunt and uncle while their parents are serving overseas. Ruth is fairly hot-tempered, and this gets her into trouble pretty frequently. One night in a fit of rage, Ruth runs away rather than face her Aunt (who threatened to send her to boarding school), after sleeping the night in a church, Ruth meets a clergyman who tells her about the Good Shepherd who can find his lost sheep, no matter where they are or how far they have run away. This starts Ruth down a path of “belonging to the Good Shepherd”, which influences her entire family and helps a friend and his family through a time of grave crisis.
I’ve never been big on “Christian Fiction” per se, but this was done pretty tastefully. The story of the Good Shepherd and the theological ideas presented fit pretty naturally into the storyline — though the explanations were a bit muddled at times, and sometimes required just a bit of theological/Biblical explanation on my part to make sure Miss M was left with the right idea. Miss M shares a few things in common with Ruth in terms of having a fiery temper, so I am hoping maybe a few of the ideas in the book sink in beyond it just being a good story. 🙂 Miss M enjoyed it and asked if I could find more books by the same author. I was bummed that our library doesn’t have any of St. John’s children’s books, so I will be investigating used book stores (and patiently requesting via Inter Library Loan).