Thursday, April 30, 2015

Read-Aloud Thursday: Penrod and Penrod & Sam by Booth Tarkington

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

Penrod Schofield was neither overwhelmingly bad nor the complete little gentleman. He was an ordinary twelve-year-old boy growing up in early twentieth-century America: mischievous, adventurous, and irreverent. In the Penrod stories, Tarkington created realistic boys' stories not unlike the adventures of Tom Sawyer. With his friends and fellow gang members--Sam, Herman, and Verman--and his long-suffering dog, Duke, Penrod romps through adventures and misadventures. He endures the embarrassment of school plays and dance classes, escaping when he can to his secret hideaway to write gory adventure stories. With the help of the gang, Penrod stages his own theatrical featuring Duke (the Indian Dog) and the Michigan trained rats. His escapades have delighted generations of readers.

In Penrod and Sam, the imaginative adventures of Tarkington's ten-year-old Penrod Schofield continue. Penrod's sidekick is Samuel Williams, and together they improvise, causing general mischief and disorder wherever they go. In picaresque fashion, a fencing battle takes them all through the neighborhood; they narrowly escape serious injury while making boastful demonstrations with a loaded gun; they indulge in dubious "'nishiation" practices for their secret society; they steal food for the starving horse concealed in the Schofields' empty stable; they attempt to fish a cat out of cistern using a pair of trousers; and they cause general chaos at Miss Amy Rennsdale's dance. This is a delighfully nostalgic look at Tarkington's turn-of-the-century Indiana.

I read  Penrod and Penrod and Sam by Booth Tarkington both in a matter of a few weeks to Chantry (12) and Destini (15). From the first chapter they were totally engrossed into these stories that kept  begging for more one moment and trying to plug their ears the next moment since Penrod's escapades can be quite, umm, shall I say interesting at times.

These are books are definitely a product of their time and like Mark Twain's  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer they do include thoughts and words used concerning African-Americans at that time. Don't let that put you off, though. Outside of changing a word here or there I read the book as written, because Tarkington does an excellent job of showing that this wasn't an issue with the boys in his book even if it is a little jarring for today's day and age. I also feel that these are more appropriate and will be appreciated by older kids about 11 and up.

I don't think my kids will ever forget these stories. We had many evenings where we laughed and laughed at Penrod's exploits (and let me tell you it is hard to read-aloud and laugh at the same time!). Tarkington shares about a life that unfortunately doesn't exist anymore, but kids can still read his books and have a glimpse and experience this wonderful piece of the past. I highly recommend Penrod and Penrod and Sam!
On a side note: While reading Penrod, the first book in the series, my kids noticed a commented on how Penrod reminded them of the character, Wesley, in the films On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. After a quick Google search I discovered that Wesley was based on the character of Penrod. The main focus of the films are on Marjorie, the sister, but the character of Wesley does get his fair share of Penrod moments. I found this clip on YouTube and though this incident doesn't happen in the book it does it does show the spirit of Penrod.

Also, check out my Wednesdays with Words where I share some excerpts from Penrod and Penrod and Sam:
Penrod - Part 1
Penrod - Part 2
Penrod - Part 3
Penrod & Sam - Part 1
Penrod & Sam - Part 2

See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesdays with Words (The Mitchells: Canadian Summer)

Canadian Summer - Exodus Books

Our latest read-aloud has been The Mitchells Series by Hilda von Stockum. We just completed reading book two in the series, Canadian Summer. In the midst of enjoying all of the children's adventures that they experience during their summer I came across this lovely description.

To give you a little background:  The Mitchell children are visiting Mr. Magee, an artist, who has invited them over for a party.
"...This is a pleasure to me. I don't often entertain children. And this is the loveliest time of the year. Have you noticed how beautiful it is everywhere? Isn't it as if the colors have voices, shouting a message to us? I can't keep up with it. God is a better artist than I am.

"Sometimes I think," said Mr. Magee, taking his glasses off and polishing them, "sometimes I think He starts every year again with clean white sheet of paper. That is during the winter and early spring. He draws the trees with their network of branches in pencil, then when spring comes, He puts the leaves and flowers in with pale watercolors. For the fulness of summer He starts in oils, and at last, to use up His palette, He throws every color He has on the canvas, and this is the triumphant end." (pp. 135-136)

Monday, April 27, 2015

What's On Your Nightstand - April

What's On Your Nightstand

We started off the month of April going ninety to nothing which wasn't very conducive for reading. Thankfully life finally started to slow down and I'm pretty excited at how much I ended up reading.

I only picked one non-fiction for May since I want to take Consider This by Karen Glass slowly. Of course, if I finish early I have more non-fiction books on my shelf just waiting to be read. Baseball season is in full season and I wish I could say it afforded me more reading time, but alas, I feel the need to socialize! Here is what I have been reading lately:

For May:

From March's Nightstand:
I also read:
  • The First Rumpole Omnibus by John Mortimer - This caught my eye, but I must admit I didn't find Rumpole very thrilling. I did get a kick out his calling his wife, "She-who-must-be-obeyed." 
  • The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall - Can I just state here I much I enjoy the Penderwicks? This book was definitely different than what I had expected. It did have a different feel with the three girls being older and not so much in the story as the previous books, but the author put a nice climax to bring them all together. I got a kick out of my 15 year old daughter who listened to the audio book and  kept checking in with me to see what I thought. Highly recommended!
  • More Things in Heaven and Earth: A Novel of Watervalley by Jeff High - I saw this recommended right here at 5 Minutes for Books and since I really enjoy books like this I asked my local library to order it. This was a good read--not a favorite, but still enjoyable. 
  • Canadian Summer by Hilda Von Stockum - Wow! We got two read-alouds in this month. Book 2 in The Mitchell series. Just as enjoyable as the first. A great series for kids.
  • Teaching Will: What Shakespeare and 10 Kids Gave Me that Hollywood Couldn't by Mel Ryane - This title caught my eye a while back and piqued my curiosity and I finally ordered the Kindle edition. I really enjoyed this book and was quickly drawn into Mel Ryane's world when she volunteered to share Shakespeare through a Shakespeare Club with a handful of unruly kids. (Please note that their is some language included.)
I listened to:
  • Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie - My last Poirot book, since I am refusing to read the last book. Christie always manages to amaze me with her variety of mysteries she can come up with. I do think you can tell that she was weary of Poirot in the last few books. I even figured out the murdered in this one (though I didn't figure out motive).
  • The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer - Thoroughly fun and enjoyable read!

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesdays with Words (The Complete Book of Marvels) 


A few weeks ago we started Complete Book Of Marvels by Richard Halliburton. Since I have always wanted to read it I am reading it aloud to my 12 & 15 year old. So far this has been a big hit and my kids are loving it. In chapter 15 we read about Iguazu Falls in Argentina and loved Halliburton's description.
...And this climax is so dramatic that no one who sees it, ever forgets that the Iguazu surpasses all other rivers in the sublime beauty of its last hour, and becomes of the wonders of the world. In order to achieve this glory, the Iguazu moves with dignity toward destruction. It keeps its torrent in hand. There is no quick plunge, no single mad, headlong dive. The River divides itself carefully and quietly into a thousand channels; and then, when every water-drop is ready, with one mighty charge along a front ten thousand feet in length, it hurls itself, cheering, over the brink, in superb cataracts of foam. (p. 152) 

We explored the falls through Google (I am thankful for Google since reading this book really gives me the urge to go globe-trotting.) and really enjoyed all the pictures found here and here.  My favorite tidbit I learned was when Eleanor Roosevelt first saw the falls she exclaimed, "Poor Niagara!"

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Competitions, Celebrations, & a Concert

It has been quite a while since I've done any kind of homeschool or family post. I had a vision at the beginning of this school year of having a little bit more time to dedicate to school work with my other kids since Caleb had graduated. Huh!! Right!! I am busier than ever and am still having a hard time finding time to work with Delani. I feel like taxi driver extraordinaire with Caleb working part-time and taking a class each term at out local community college. He is trying to save up money to pay for his insurance and is also paying for his college classes so it has been slow going. If you pass a crazy woman muttering, "This too shall pass, this too shall pass..." then you know it is me.

We have been on a crazy whirlwind ride as our Destini and Chantry prepared for the West Coast ACTS Student Convention, a competition that we have participated in the last 4 years. We did pretty well keeping up with school work and doing convention projects, but by March we were down to a bare minimum of school work as the deadline quickly approached.

We completed the competition the last week and this week we had a pretty easy week of school while trying to catch up on some sleep. Next week it will be time to put the nose to the grindstone.

Here is a look of what has been happening the last few weeks:
April 18

1. Easter Sunday - The kids each received a bag of candy and a book. Here are the books that were given as gifts:
2. Chantry has gone through a major growth spurt. He is feeling pretty good that he is as tall as his sister. 
3. Baseball has started!!
4. Chantry preaching for ACTS Student Convention.
5. Delani was involved in a homeschool choir from January through the beginning of April. Her concert happened to fall right in the middle of Chantry and Destini's competition. Delani and I were able to slip away for a few hours while she sang in the concert. 
6. & 7. In the midst of a concert and competitions Delani celebrated her 7th birthday. I can't believe that my baby is 7 years old. We celebrated are few days later with her requested birthday cake--Strawberry Shortcake.
8. Even though the last month has been heavily focused on practicing poetry and preaching and hand crafts we have kept up our readings for history, literature, and geography. We also got quite a free reads finished (We finished reading Penrod , Penrod and Sam , Ben-Hur, and we started Five for Victory.
9.  This is the closest that Caleb will resemble anything from Star Wars. He is taking a welding class and this is his fancy head gear. He is also taking CAD 1.

Check out how Chantry and Destini did at West Coast ACTS Student Convention here.
Collage Friday
Weekly Wrap-Up


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