Tuesday, December 18, 2007

tales of Santa, Christmas spirit reborn, and an itty-bitty mouse

Finally whittling down that list of "currently reading" books! We managed to finish up When Santa Fell to Earth, The Tale of Despereaux, and A Christmas Carol over the last two evenings.

First of all I should say, don't let the amount of time it took us to read When Santa Fell to Earth or The Tale of Despereaux lead you to believe that these books aren't enjoyable. For we found them both to be purely delightful! Reading to the boys is simply a long, drawn-out affair. Partly because Maxidoodle is simply not known for his long attention span. A chapter or two is generally his limit. And partly because, rarely can we get through even a single page without multiple questions or comments issuing forth from the mouth of a sweet young boy. Granted, this can get to be quite distracting, and it definitely messes with the flow. However, I just couldn't dream of stifling their boundless curiosity and enthusiasm when it comes to the written word. (Don't worry, they do know how to be quiet and listen politely at school.)

Anyway, back to the books...

When Santa Fell to Earth, by Cornelia Funke, is a sweet, charming, unique little story. There's nothing overly complicated about the tale...two somewhat awkward children manage to save Christmas through their bravery and belief. I don't want to give away the story itself, but suffice it say, that it's a book that will hold appeal to people of all ages. (The boys were particularly taken with the grumpy, foul-mouthed elves.)

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, is one of those children's books that will unquestionably become a classic. Such a special, special book. The story is wonderful, but it is the writing that is truly priceless. This is the first of DiCamillo's books I've read, but it surely won't be the last. Gray very much enjoyed this story as well, but I'm afraid at five years of age, the writing was at times a bit hard for Max to understand. And still, he definitely enjoyed the book. Perhaps a rereading in a few years will be in order.

And finally, Rich, Annie, and I finished up Dicken's A Christmas Carol. This was also my first Dickens. I don't know why, but I've always been a bit leery of Dickens. I've had this preconceived notion that I just wouldn't enjoy his writing. Bad Debi, for making such assumptions! I loved this book! Of course, like everyone, I knew the basic story. But I didn't know how fun his writing would be! It was more than heart-warming, it was very humorous. And even though I knew how it was going to end, I simply couldn't suppress the smile on my face throughout the whole last stave. We're now going to watch three films versions, a more classic version, The Muppets Christmas Carol, and Scrooged. Seems like a fun way to wrap up this homeschool literature selection.

Well, three down feels good, but I hope a can knock a few more off my current reading list before years end as well. After all, there's an awful lot of fun challenges beginning with the new year!


DesLily said...

I'm going to have to get the Cornelia Funke Christmas book.. I think she's a great story teller..

hmm, enjoyed reading Dickens eh? I may have to try that too.. maybe next Christmas. I'll add those to my wish list (*groan*)

~**Dawn**~ said...

The George C Scott version of "A Christmas Carol" was always one of the movies I really looked forward to at Christmastime. It was my favorite version out of all the classic ones. I couldn't find it on tv anywhere this year though. =(

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

You know, I've never read Dickens either. After reading this, maybe I shouldn't be so leary of it :) So glad you guys read together, and that you're getting some on your list read.

Have fun in the new year with all of the challenges!!!

Merry Christmas!

Chris said...

I'm so glad y'all enjoyed your books :) Especially Despereaux! Isn't it a great little book? I always thought it would be my favorite of hers forever until I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. That one's even better!

I can't wait to get my hands on the Funke book! I'm hoping to be able to squeeze it in before Christmas :/ If not, I'll save it for next year. I have a lot I want to squeeze in by the end of the year...you know how that goes!

Enjoy your "A Christmas Carol" viewings :)

gail@more than a song said...

You're doing a lot of reading! Good for you....I've fallen way behind in mine.

Boudicca said...

I read this after you posted it ...and went out to the library to get the Cornelia Funke book :P My ADD is in full swing these days.Whee!

Melody said...

Now you really made me want to read those books! And speaking of challenges, I can't wait to dive into "What's In A Name?" Challenge hosted by Annie! ;)

Carl V. said...

I'm considering trying to squeeze A Christmas Carol in before the 25th as it has been forever since I've read it. I got the bug after watching, oddly enough, A Muppet Christmas Carol last night for the first time in many years. Such a great, fun film.

I can guarantee that you'll like DiCamillo's book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I thought Despereaux was my favorite until I read this one. They are both so marvelous.

Carl V. said...

And I had to crack up as I didn't read the comments beforehand and Chris and I almost said the same thing word for word regarding DiCamillo's books. Ha!

Nymeth said...

I definitely agree that Despereaux will become a classic!

I thought the writing on A Christmas Carol was very readable and humorous too, and I was also somewhat surprised by that. I need to read more Dickens!

And Scrooged! That was probably my favourite Christmas movie growing up. It's so much fun!

Anonymous said...

i think its brilliant the way you read with your kids making comments and asking questions all the way through!

it makes it much more fun as they interact with the story more and you interact with them.

and this despereaux story... i've heard so much about it. i really have to give it a go!