Monday, February 23, 2009

Winter Must-Reads

Lately, we've had lots of time to read because winter has lost, shall we say, a touch of its thrill. Of course, we do enjoy our outside time around here, but now in these waning days of February, with the snowpants mostly covered in mud (but unable to be abandoned on account of the remaining snow), we spend less time out, and more time in, 'recovering' in front of the fire with good books, hot cocoa and popcorn.

Kids' favorites include a variety of chapter books, especially Jack and Annie in The Magic Tree House series, Wishbone the Dog in an adventure about Beowulf, and The Artemis Fowl series, adventurous and funny books about an Irish boy and his obsession with faeries.

Luke and Owen devour graphic novels by the bagful since our library gave this genre its own shelf a few months ago; graphic versions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Shrek, the Incredibles, and the Star Wars Clone Wars series top their lists right now.

When they want more than a book, but not quite a full-blown unit study, we pull out the Lithgow Paloozas Boredom Blasters, kits with great ideas that children ages 5(-ish) and up can do mostly themselves, and that younger kids enjoy at their own level, too. I first blogged about the Boredom Blasters back last February, when we visited my folks in the Rocky Mountains, and they continue to thrill us all now. Thank you, John Lithgow!

I'm learning about randomness and probability in a great, readable book by Leonard Mlodinow, The Drunkard's Walk. I say readable because, while I'm not a big math person and therefore not a likely candidate to comprehend probability-speak, Mlodinow makes the concepts of probability understandable and - more importantly, I think - pertinent to my life. I have laughed out loud while reading this book, reason enough to endorse it, but I learn as well while I read.

The books that have obsessed me most this winter, though, at least until I finished the fourth in the series and must now wait until the author publishes the next, are those in the 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' series; the first is called The Lightning Thief. These books, about modern day teenage demi-gods, have taught me almost as much about Greek mythology as Luke knows from reading the myths themselves. Author Rick Riordan brings the gods to light, for anyone interested in Greek mythology, but even if you're not they are just great, light reading.

So, these are the books that we've been obsessed with this winter; any books you can't put down? Tell me about them, and happy reading!


Melissa R said...

A few series that my six year old son has been enjoying:
Joe Sherlock
Horace Splattley
Jigsaw Jones
Magic School Bus Chapter Books
Franny K Stein
Black Lagoon Adventures
Captain Underpants
Ricky Ricotta
And old copies of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

The Stone Age Techie said...

Ohhh, I loved Choose-Your-Own Adventures when I was a kid! Thank you for the suggestions, I can't wait to get reading with my boys...

jayne said...

I came across your request for book suggestions through LEAF. You mention the children are aged 6 - 10 years. And I have to suggest the "Little Tim" series beginning with "Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain" by Edward Ardizzone. I and my son were captivated and beguiled by the little adventure stories and the illustrations are works of art.

Also, you mention graphic novels, so I don't know whether your little ones have already been reading the "Tin Tin" books by Herge?

My son is now 14 and we still talk about the joy we took in reading together when he was small.

The Stone Age Techie said...

Jayne, we just got our first TinTin book out of the library a few weeks ago, and both boys LOVE it. But the coolest thing is watching my husband read it, because he read those books as a boy - he is transported back to his own childhood just by opening the book, and it's obvious how much he loved them then.

We'll get some of the Little Tim ones from the library, thanks for suggesting it :-)

Adele said...

On the read aloud side of book recommendations I have to suggest The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. . . simply wonderful story with morality questions, play on words, vivid descriptions. We also pick up Bill Pete books for good stories with great illustrations.
On the adult side of things I am reading a graphic Novel series "Y: the Last Man" and it is very interesting for some light reading. I also picked up Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Tomas Hardy for the curl up on the couch with a good Victorian novel kind of days.
Enjoy reading,