Some books are not suited for reading aloud. George Müller: The Children’s Champion goes in this category, in my opinion. We read this biography aloud as part of our history studies this month, and while the content is good, it was laborious to read out loud. I can’t put my finger on why – it just didn’t flow well for oral reading. Next time we cycle back around to the 1800s, I’ll just assign it as independent reading.
We recently got a free trial of Audible (and the promptly forgot to cancel it or negotiate a lower rate prior to the month rolling over–Audible loves people like us!) and in the course of our membership got a free download of The Snow Queen (it’s still free as of this writing, if you haven’t gotten it yet). This version is quite well-narrated, and the children enjoyed it. I hadn’t heard the stories since I was a child, and it was fun to remember that I had seen a televised dramatization back then, and still remembered scenes from it as we listened.
We continued our E. Nesbit fandom by reading The Railway Children (note: free on Kindle, but I’m not sure if that includes the marvelous original illustrations, so perhaps better to find a library copy or buy a paper version if your e-option is unillustrated) aloud for our bedtime reading book. It’s a fabulous adventure of a family of three kids whose father mysteriously disappears, causing the mother and children to relocate to a cottage near a railway. Although living in straightened circumstances, the children do have some lovely times and capital scrapes and reinforce our love of early 1900s British parlance. When I later hear my seven-year-old tell his sisters “Don’t lets be horrid to each other! Let’s have pax!” my heart warms. As the one who does the reading aloud, I so appreciate that Nesbit’s books have well-contained chapters. Each chapter contains an event and a micro-story, such that you get good pacing and plot development, but still can shut the book and pack everyone off to bed. We highly recommend the entire repertoire.
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