Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Workboxes - Pt. 2

Two books featured prominently in the kids' workboxes over the last week or so.

DD (8) throughly enjoyed Christmas around the World, by Mary D. Lankford. In the first section of the book, the traditions of twelve different countries are highlighted, with each country receiving a two-page spread. The countries covered are Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, The Philippines, Sweden, and the United States (Alaska). The second part of the book features crafts from window stars to pinecone pine trees (to be attempted this week--wish us luck!). A glossary of terms from advent to yule, a pronunciation guide, a list of Christmas superstitions (e.g., wearing new shoes on Christmas Dy will bring bad luck), a bibliography, and an index fill out the remainder of the book.

I gave an unabridged copy of A Christmas Carol--Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, by Charles Dickens, and gorgeously illustrated by P.J. Lynch, to DS (11) to read over the course of last week, and it made its way out of the workbox up to the top bunk in the boys' room, which is always a good sign. When the book was finished, DS read a short biographical sketch about Dickens from abcteach and answered some reading comprehension questions to go along with it. Now I'm searching to see if there is a "real" biography of Dickens out there that is both engaging to and appropriate for an almost-twelve-year-old. Two I'm looking at are Tales for Hard Times, by David R. Collins, and Dickens (The Great Writers), by Nicola Barber.

A couple of read-alouds this week: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, by Frank L. Baum (oh, the rich language in this one!), and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss, to prove to DD (8) that the Grinch is not as scary as Jim Carrey's creepy interpretation in the live action movie, which she has never seen except in commercials. But she did get completely freaked when the Grinch slithered his way across the screen in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade one year, and that was it--no more Grinch for her. I'm hoping that the read-aloud combined with the gentler animated version from 1965 will get her past her prejudice, as the story is one of my all-time holiday favorites.

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