Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What we're reading...a day early

1. The House of Arden by E. Nesbit.
When I finished reading The House of Arden, Nick said, "Well, that was fun!" I've been a big fan of Enid Nesbit over the years, discovering her from DYOCC's book list with my favorite,  Five Children and It, and second favorite, Railway Children.
HoA was Illustrated by H. R. Millar

We haven't read Nesbit in a year or two as a read aloud. I can't read too many treasure seeking adventure books by the same author in a row, without comparing stories too much or just missing the previous group of kids.

Nesbit knew children, and how to talk and tell stories to children, making her so distinct in her time when children should be seen and not heard. She was friends with a few other innovative and inspiring authors of her time: CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.

She loved to encourage children's natural curiosity and logical minds. My kids love to discover and reveal her hidden messages; regarding behavior, natural consequences and diligence in studies. In the House of Arden, the brother sister adventurers can't go ahead with an adventure if they quarrel, and they discovered on their own it would have been better had they paid attention in history class to know the outcome of a certain historic scene they found themselves in. She also encouraged a love and study of nature.

If you haven't read Nesbit, you can't go wrong, but you might want to start with Five Children and It, mostly because once you've come to know the characters you hate to say goodbye, and there are two sequels: Phoenix and the Carpet and The Story of the Amulet. Most of her stories involve siblings together in the adventures with occasional help from adults, showing the character of the adults from the child's perspective.

The House of Arden is a fun, fairly quick read about a brother and sister raised by an aunt, who found themselves inheriting a castle in ruins with the possibility of finding the hidden family treasure that could rebuild the castle and help the surrounding neighbors. Exciting adventures wait for them in different times. A fun story if you are one who doesn't dwell on the "how exactly does time travel work" question and the "how does magic work exactly" question and can roll with the imaginative adventures that unfold. 

Euly said this story ended as a cliffhanger. There were some loose ends that weren't wrapped up. Some stories we come to love the people so much, as new friends, then suddenly, every thing is neatly wrapped up and too quickly we hear: The End. And we're left wondering, what about tomorrow, what happened to Cousin Richard, was it all imaginings and what does"happily every after" look like? Shouldn't the story go on to the next year... ? I know the feeling, we've lived in their world, we hate to say goodbye. I am so happy when my kids feel the same way about a story.

2. The Defenders by Ann McGovern
Story/biography of three Indian leaders who tried to work out ways to live at peace with the White man in a time and place in our United States history when coexistence of these different live styles proved to be impossible. We can't fully understand this time of such vastly different cultures clashing, so we read many books from different perspectives. Both sides could be cruel and break promises. I'm glad we read it, it inspired some great discussions.

3. Cari's book:
Pope Awesome and Other Stories,
I couldn't wait for it to be delivered in print, so I ordered on Kindle.

I read until very late at night, until I had to get some sleep, then picked it back up first thing in morning!
Loved it! I felt like I was reading the story of a very good friend, she's so natural at telling her story, bringing us in to her life and home.  How natural her and Ken's conversion were, just as natural as having six kids in such a short time after not thinking they would have kids. Well, natural for their being big open hearted people changing their lives how the Holy Spirit led them! I love the way she retells these events in her life, showing God working in their life decisions, her and Ken's acceptance. 

I thought it was funny, a girl from Michigan finding her Catholic faith in the South. I learned so much about my faith spending time in Michigan after growing up in the South. Truly, the Lord meets us where we are.

If you read Cari at Clan Donaldson, you will be happy to see her humor in her book as well as her blog, the personalities of her children and how the family works together.

Get a copy, you still have time to enter Iris' giveaway.  but hurry, as in: go. there. now, it ends Wednesday.

For Lilly
Caps for sale. A book I remember loving from my childhood, it has become part of our family culture. When any of us read this book aloud, "Caps for Sale, Fifty cents a Cap!" is yelled as the cap seller would yell it , and everyone in the house joins in. Maybe it's just one of those things you can't explain. We love it, we love the cap seller's perseverance and the monkeys' silliness.  I'm glad to see it is still in print.


  1. Nope, we totally get it. Caps for Sale is a favorite for us too!! We like to act out the monkeys. Whenever we start reading my 18 month old goes and gets his monkey stuffed animal. Though I think he learned about stomping his feet in anger from the book, it's better than hitting right?

  2. We've listened to some Nesbit audio books, Railway Children, Treasure Seekers, but I've never read/listened to the ones you mentioned. Have you read The Saturdays? Sort of similar. The Defenders brings to mind Ghost Hawk, which I reviewed this week. So much to unpack in the natives vs. settlers time period. We are on a big Millions of Cats kick over here.

    1. Millions of Cats is another story that once one starts, the other's can't help but join in the chanting...

      I've read the Saturdays and the kids loved Four Story Mistake best, secretly wishing we'd happen upon a place like that someday.