This past week (reading wise, anyway) was more like four days because it took me so long the week prior to read the fourth of the Harry Potter series. I don’t currently own the fifth book in the series so at this time, I will not be reading it. I also feel like I need to allow myself some time to focus on other books on my list. So, I listened to The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo and read both Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
I really enjoyed being able to listen to the audio book of The Tale of Despereaux while I attended to other activities. This book is so fun and imaginative and I am sure it will capture the hearts and minds of young readers. It follows the story of a young mouse who lives in a castle. Despereaux is not your typical mouse. He has rather large ears, does not scurry like mice should and has what most mice would call an obsession with love. His parents and the rest of the mice in the castle don’t understand Despereaux and do not show him any love or affection but rather shun him. Despereaux finds himself falling in love with the princess and going on an adventure to rescue her. This book contains so many wonderful themes for children such as love, bravery, and being proud of who you are even when you are different. I would recommend this book for children in 4th or 5th grade.
While I listened to Despereaux as I drove in my car or cooked supper, washed dishes, etc., I also spent some of my down time reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. This book was a childhood favorite of mine and although it is not as deep in its messages and themes as some of the other books I’ve read, it is a fun and amusing read and is easy to relate to. Peter is a nine year old boy whose little brother, Fudge, causes him loads of trouble. Peter often feels like everyone pays much more attention to Fudge than they do him. Peter finds that even though Fudge is quite a pain, he does love him. This book offers children a glimpse into the life of a fictional child who most likely experiences some of the same dilemmas as they do. I would recommend this book for children around 3rd or 4th grade.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis has long been a favorite of mine. I have read this book numerous times and would read it again at the drop of a hat. I have even written full lesson plans on this book for other classes I’ve taken. This book, which is the first in a series, is a magical tale of four children who are sent to stay at a mysterious old mansion with a lovely professor during the war. The children stumble across an old wardrobe and find that it leads them into a completely different world where an evil witch claims to be queen and has put a spell over the whole land that causes it to always be winter but never allows Christmas to come. The children meet all kinds of creatures here in Narnia who can talk to them. They do their part to help the King of all the land, Aslan, to fight the White Witch so that Narnia may be a peaceful land once more. This book is a classic children’s novel which has been speculated to carry messages of Christianity through its symbolism. I do believe this message can be applied and can personally appreciate that message. However, as a teacher I would not suggest that message to students. The themes that I would point out and teach on are bravery, loyalty, sacrifice, and justice. There are of course many other themes here such as honesty and glory and even selflessness. I would recommend this book for children in 4th grade or higher.
I plan on starting From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg here in a few moments and hope to finish it by this evening or tomorrow after at the latest. I will be sure to give my review of it and any others I am able to read next Monday! Happy Reading!