Tuesday, 16 September 2014

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Author:  E. L. Konigsburg

Illustrator:  E. L. Konigsburg

Era:  1967

Published:  1967 (Atheneum)

Award:  Newbery Medal 1968, William Allen White Children's Book Award 1970

Age Range:  9 and up

Review:  ★★★★

At 12 years-old, Claudia Kincaid is the oldest child in the Kincaid family, her other siblings being three younger brothers.  Feeling unappreciated and tired of the mundaneness of life, she decides to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Joining her is her middle brother, 9 year old Jamie, whom she decides to take because he is reasonably easy-going and is also the only one in the family with money, which he continually makes by adeptly cheating at cards.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
source Wikipedia
As they adjust to life at the museum, they discover by chance a marble statue of an angel.  Upon further investigation, they find that it was sold to the museum by a Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and, even more exciting is the fact that it is suspected of being carved by none other than the famous Renaissance sculptor, Michelangelo.  Claudia sets out to discover the truth and, at the end of her search, finds something that she never expected.

Greek & Roman galleries
source Wikipedia
Genre:  Children's Fiction

Title:  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  Why would Konigsburg choose this title for her story?  We understand finally that the secret of the statue comes to light from Claudia and Jamie's search through the Mrs. Basil's files, but there is more than this one "mix-up" in the novel.  Claudia is mixed-up as to what she wants and the actual story behind the statue, Angel, is mixed-up between fact and fiction as well.  But just as Mrs. Basil's mixed-up files that had appeared so secretive have a purpose and come out right in the end, so, too, do the other conflicts in the novel.

Setting:  The book is set in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  As the children's spend time there, the reader is introduced to information about the museum.

Point-of-View:  The story is told from a first person omniscient point-of-view by Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, yet one could almost call it third-person, as most of the story she relates is about Claudia and Jamie.  The narration takes the form of a letter to her lawyer, Saxonberg.  Why might the author have chosen an old lady who didn't actually share in the adventures of the story to tell it?  Well, in the first place, Mrs. Frankweiler has wisdom and experience.  She is not only able to inject nuggets of wisdom into the narrative, she also has more knowledge of the museum and pieces in it, than the children might have and can occasionally communicate that knowledge to the reader.  And being a rather mentally youthful old person, she is both able to understand the children's motivations and desires, while guiding them in their search.  She understands both what they want and what they need.


Claudia Kincaid:  At 12 years of age, she is the oldest child of the Kincaid family and a straight-A student.  Claudia is dissatisfied with her life, feeling the pressures of being an older sibling, and she longs for something other than the sameness of her life.  She comes up with the idea to run away to the museum.

Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:  An 82 year-old widower who is the narrator of the story.  She's a little crotchety, but also spunky and wise.  She doesn't give the children what they want easily which teaches them the value of hard work.  Like Claudia, she likes secrets.

Jamie Kincaid:  Claudia's 9 year-old younger brother.  She chooses him as her companion because he has imagination, but mostly because he is the sibling with the most money.  He is also witty and thinks on his feet.  Claudia may be more academic, but it is Jamie who has life skills.

Saxonberg:  the lawyer to whom Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler addresses her letter (which is the novel).  The reader never meets Saxonberg, who instead remains an ambiguous character.  But since this book is full of secrets, is it surprising that he remains cloaked in mystery?


What does the central character want?

    Angel by Michelangelo
    early works
    source Wikipedia
  • Claudia wants to escape the mundaneness of life and the injustice of being an older sibling.  She desires to have an adventure that will change her so she can return home a different person from the one she was before.  When they discover the statue and its possible history, Claudia sees this as a chance for excitement and notoriety.  She is driven by this goal and finds out everything she can about the statue.  Her drive and dedication to this task could be compared to the effort Michelangelo gave to honing his craft and creating Angel. Claudia believes that if she can solve the mystery of the statue, she'll finally be someone; she can return home a celebrity, impress her family and finally be different than the old Claudia.

What keeps her from getting what she wants?

  •  Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler impedes Claudia from reaching her goal by making it difficult for her to find out the truth about Angel, and then demanding secrecy.  Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler says, "I admired her spirit; but more, I wanted to help her see the value of her adventure.  She still saw it as buying her something: appreciation first, information now."  Mrs. Frankweiler is trying to help fix Claudia's "wrong thinking".  If Claudia's focus is on being famous, that fame could be gone in an instant, but the effort that went into reaching her goal was by far more valuable.

How does Claudia finally get what she wants?

  • By having to work so hard to accomplish her goal, Claudia finally realized that public approval, or getting praise as an end which will only last for awhile, is nothing to the personal satisfaction of hard work and achievement that can last forever.  She learns that the only true way to be different is on the inside.

Conflicts:  Man vs. Man   There is conflict with Claudia and Mrs. Frankweiler as to whether to reveal the secret of the statue, and there is also conflict with Claudia within herself as she struggles with how to be a different person.

  • Dissatisfaction
  • Self-Reliance
  • Dreams
  • Secrets
  • Family
  • Character
  • Art


E.L. Konigsburg
"Secrets are safe, and they do much to make you different. On the inside where it counts. I won't actually be getting a secret from you; I'll be getting details. I'm a collector of all kinds of things besides art," I said, pointing to my files.

"I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal.  But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything.  And you can feel it inside of you.  If you never take time out to let that happen, then you accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you.  You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them.  It's hollow."  

"Having words and explanations for things is too modern."

Further Investigations:

© Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel, Years 2014 - 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

"On a morning in mid-April 1687, the brigantine Dolphin left the open sea, sailed briskly across the Sound to the wide mouth of the Connecticut River and into Saybrook harbor."

Author:  Elizabeth George Speare

Era:  1687

Published:  1958 (Houghton Mifflin)

Award:  Newberry Medal (1959)

Age Range:  8 - 14 years old

Review:  ★★★★

In 1687, upon the death of her grandfather, Kit Tyler travels from her home in Barbados to stay with her aunt and uncle in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  A long way from everything that she's used to, Kit finds the Puritan community austere and not particularly welcoming, but finds a friend in Nat Eaton, the captain's son, and also befriends an outcast, a Quaker woman named Hannah Tupper.  But when Kit is accused of witchcraft, she must use all her wits and the friendships that she has made in her new community to prove her innocence.

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Background:  In the face of religious persecution in England, many men, women and children travelled to the New World and settled in colonies there.  In autumn of 1635, a number of sixty men, women and children travelled from Massachusetts and settled at Wethersfield, Windsor and Hartford. In 1636 the Connecticut colony was set up for a Puritan settlment.  The Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony eventually merged with Connecticut Colony.  In 1662, Charles II granted the Connecticut colony the right to their charter (like their own constitution) and to administer their own government, until Sir Edmund Andros arrived in 1686 under King James II.  He had plans to increase the king's power by uniting Massechusetts and Connecticut, therefore revoking their charter and setting up a new government.  This caused political turmoil in the Colonies.   On Halloween of 1687, Andros appeared in Connecticut with plans to remove the charter and convene a new government, but during a meeting, the charter disappeared under mysterious circumstances and, according to legend, was hidden in a hollow oak tree.  In the end, the new government concentrated more on New York and Massechusetts, and Connecticut, in return ignored the new government.  When James II was deposed by William and Mary in 1689, Boston sent Andros back to England in chains.

The Charter Oak, Hartford
source Wikipedia

Setting:  Wethersfield in 1687.  It is a strong Puritan community but the settlement is relatively new and survival is still an arduous task.  People are wary of strangers and resistant to new ideas.

17th Century Puritan Meeting House
(Old Ship Church, Hingham, MA)
source Wikipedia


Katherine Tyler (Kit):  she moves to Barbados to live with her aunt and uncle in Wethersfield.  Initially, headstrong and lacking self-control, through her experiences and contact with the people of Wethersfield, Kit learns patience, kindness, and temperance.

Nathaniel Eaton (Nat): son of the captain of The Dolphin.  He helps Kit to mature and grow as a person while challenging her actions.  He often seems to be present in times of trouble.

Hannah Tupper:  A Quaker who had been driven from Massachusetts and has settled in Wethersfield but is still shunned and persecuted by the community, who says that she is a witch.  She is befriended by Kit and is also friends with Nat.

Matthew Wood:  Kit's uncle.  While severe and quiet, he has a silent nobility that is not easy to see.  He is loyal and sensible, however, and sticks by Kit during her troubles.

Rachel Wood:  Kit's aunt, her mother's sister.

Judith Wood:  Matthew and Rachel's daughter.  Proud and haughty, she is draw to luxuries and dislikes her life of toil.

Mercy Wood:  Matthew and Rachel's second daughter.  She is lame, but her sweet and giving nature is truly attractive.

John Holbrook:  son of a tanner and unable to pay the tuition for college, he has come to Wethersfield to study under the Reverend Bulkeley.

William Ashby:  a wealthy young man in town who singles out Kit to be his future wife.  He is staid and practical and unimaginative.

Prudence Cruff:  a small, scrawny child who is neglected by her parents, particularly her mother, Goodwife Cruff.  Kit gains her admiration by rescuing her doll and covertly teaches her to read and write.

Historical characters:

Reverend Bulkeley: an ardent Royalist, he was faithful to the English king.  His philosophy collided with Matthew Wood's and later, Holbrook's, his student.

Mr. Eleazar Kimberly:  a schoolmaster in Wethersfield from 1661 to 1689.  He married three times and had five children.

Governor Edmund Andros: sent by King James II to the Connecticut colony, his purpose was to remove the colony's charter, threatening their right to self-government.

Captain Samuel Talcott: very little information on this character

Buttolph-Williams House - Wethersfield
considered the house where Kit lived
source Wikipedia

Quakers:  Another break-away sect from The Church of England, and called The Society of Friends, Quakers believed that a person could communicate directly with God and therefore, there was no need for ministers, priests or traditional church customs.  They were often persecuted even more harshly than the Puritans in England.  Some colonies refused to allow them entry.

Children would use Hornbooks to practice their letters
source Wikimedia Commons


What does the central character want?

  • Kit wants acceptance from her new family and from the community.  She also wants them to broaden their outlook so it fits with the society and expectations that she was used to in Barbados.

What keeps her from getting what she wants?

  • The community's austere, traditional views and suspicious nature prevent them from accepting Kit.   Kit's own impetuous nature and sometimes reckless actions also keep her from getting what she wants.

How does Kit finally get what she wants?

  • From learning self-control and by developing an understanding of the people she comes to live with, Kit learns to find peace in the community.  Most of the people also show signs of greater tolerance and more acceptance of new ideas than they had hitherto shown. 

Conflicts:  Man vs. Society   Kit does not understand her new community and comes immediately into conflict with it.  Hannah, also, does not fit into this community.  The community's lack of tolerance and quick judgement enhance the conflict.

  • Intolerance
  • Superstition
  • Identity
  • Judgement
  • Acceptance
  • Friendship
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Understanding

This book truly has so much depth to it, that you could spend weeks studying it.  From the history of Connecticut, to witches in 17th century America, Barbados, the historical characters, etc., the amount of possible "rabbit trails" is endless.  A truly fascinating book and a classic in its own right!

Elizabeth George Speare

Quotes attributed to Elizabeth George Speare:

  • No, writing is not lonely.  It is a profession crowded with life and sound and color.  I feel privileged to have had a share in it.
  • Essentially and most simply put, plot is what the characters do, to deal with the situation they are in.  It is a logical sequence of events that grow from an initial incident that alters the status quo of the characters.
  • I do not believe an historical novel should gloss over the pain and ugliness.  But I do believe that the hero ….. should on the last page ……. still be standing, with the strength to go to whatever the future may hold.

Further reading:  

© Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel, Years 2014 - 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Story of Ferdinand

Author:  Munro Leaf

Illustrator:  Robert Lawson

Era:  1936

Published:  1936 (The Viking Press, N.Y.)

Award:  none found

Age Range:  0 - 11 years old

Review:  ★★★★

A most popular children's book about a young bull who does not wish to go to participate in the bullfights in Madrid, but only wishes to smell the flowers in his field.  One day, a sting from a bumblebee causes Ferdinand to bolt and, being mistaken for the fiercest bull of the herd, he is captured and taken to the fights against his will.  Yet Ferdinand remains true to his nature and eventually returns to his beloved home.

A matador in full dress in Madrid
source Wikipedia

Background:  Leaf claimed that he decided to write The Story of Ferdinand to give his friend, Robert Lawson, a vehicle to showcase his illustrations.  Yet the book was released nine months before the commencement of the civil war in Spain, and it was taken as treatise on the promotion of pacifism.  The Spanish leader, Francisco Franco, and his supporters condemned it as propaganda, as did Adolf Hilter, banning the book in Nazi Germany.  In contrast, the political left embraced the book; in Poland it was the only non-communist book allowed by Joseph Stalin and, in India,  Ghandhi claimed it as his favourite book.

Setting:  Spain, the land of the matadores and toreadores.  Ferdinand sits in a country field yet soon he is taken to the city.  Contrast the two:

Country = pastoral fields, bees, flowers, peace, silence, time to play & romp,  time to think ……
City (Madrid) = captivity, loud shouting, crowds, busyness, attacks, violence, etc.


Ferdinand:  a young bull who does not behave like the other bulls; he wants to sit in a field and smell the flowers

The other young bulls:  they romp and play and want to be chosen for the bullfights in Madrid

Ferdinand's mother:  is understanding and nurturing, and supports his unusual nature

The Five Men:  arrive from Madrid and wish to find the fiercest bull to participate in the bullfights in their city

The bumblebee:  an innocent insect who is following his nature when Ferdinand sits on him.  He is at fault for Ferdinand's future troubles

The Banderilleros:  They cannot understand Ferdinand's passivity

The Picadores:  They attempt to make Ferdinand angry, but fail

The Matador:  Ferdinand reduces him to tears when he is unable to make him fight

Ferdinand is the protagonist and the matador the main antagonist.  A comparison of the two results in:

Ferdinand:  wants peace, quiet and to remain undisturbed.  He does not care about what people think of him.  He is easygoing and is able to remain true to his nature.  The end result is that Ferdinand is victorious.

The Matador:  wants the bull to fight so he can gain victory over his opponent, and therefore win the adulation of the crowd.  He relies on the bull to assist him in becoming famous.  He is incensed when life does not meet his expectations.  The end result is that the matador is defeated.


    What does the central character want?

  •     Ferdinand wants to sit in his field and to smell the flowers.  He wants peace and quiet.

    What keeps him from getting what he wants?

  • First of all, the bumblebee that stings him, makes him appear like he is a great fighter.  Then the five men from Madrid mistake Ferdinand's frenzied attempt to escape the pain of the sting and decide that he is the fiercest bull, the one they have been searching for.  They take him to Madrid.

    How does Ferdinand finally get what he wants?

  • In Madrid, Ferdinand stays true to his nature, in spite of the many forces pushing him to fight.  He refuses to fight and eventually is returned to his meadow.

   Conflicts:  man vs. nature (Ferdinand vs. the bumblebee), man vs. man
                    (Ferdinand vs. the five men and the picadores and matador),
                    and man vs. society (Ferdinand vs. the society that wants
                    him to fight)


  •     Pacifism
  •     Self-Contentment
  •     Individuality
  •     Staying true to your nature
  •     Challenging the status quo
  •     Steadfastness & determination
  •     Peace over violence (War)

Bullwrestling (1865-66)
Edouard Manet
source Wikipedia

Despite being embroiled in controversy, this book has remained a beloved favourite and has been translated into 60 different languages.

Hemingway wrote a somewhat odd rebuttal to The Story of Ferdinand, called The Faithful Bull.

Resources & Ideas:
    The Story of Ferdinand Lapbook
    Teaching The Story of Ferdinand from Five-in-a-Row (blog)

    The Story of Ferdinand - Wikipedia
    The Well-Trained Mind Questions

© Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel, Years 2014 - 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Sunday, 13 July 2014

All-of-a-Kind Family

Author:  Sydney Taylor

Illustrator:  Helen John

Era:  1910s-Lower East Side Manhattan, N.Y.

Published:  1951 (Follett Publishing)

Awards:  Follett Publishing Co. Award
               Kansas William Allen White Award

Age Range:  8 - 14 yrs old.

Review:  ★★★★

Author Sydney Taylor uses her own Jewish family as a model for this delightful story of an immigrant Jewish family living in New York at the turn of the twentieth century.  Instead of following a natural plotline, the book offers vignettes, allowing the reader private glimpses into the relationships of Papa, Mama, Ella, Henny, Charlotte, Sarah and Gertie of All-of-a-Kind family.

While Taylor portrays a lively, close-knit and loving family, she does not gloss over the struggles in the everyday life of a child. When a precious and costly library book goes missing, Sarah must conquer her fear and confess.  When Henny gets lost in Playland, how will she ever find her family?  And will the family ever find out the mystery behind Charlie the peddler and learn the reason for the sadness behind his eyes?

Jewish holidays are also included and the traditions and habits behind them are truly fascinating for the non-Jewish reader.  The Sabbath, Purim, and Succos are explained, and Taylor's personal touch makes you feel as if you are part of the excitement of the celebrations.

My favourite chapter was the story of Mama's inventive "button-game" to help the girls learn to dust the front room carefully and thoroughly. Cleverly, she came up with the plan to hide buttons throughout the room, and the "duster" would have completed her job, when she had found all of the buttons.  Mama's ingenuity turned the work into a game, and by it she avoided having to nag her children.

The Jewish Market - Lower East Side
 c. 1890-1901

This book is a truly enjoyable classic that can be read over and over.  And please read the continuing books in the series to enjoy more adventures with All-of-A-Kind family.

  • More All-of-a-Kind Family
  • All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown
  • All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown
  • Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family

Supplement Questions:

  1. The Hebrew word "mitzvot" means commandments or good deeds.  Can you find examples of characters performing "mitzvot" in this book?  
  2. The Hebrew word "middot" refers to good character traits.  What "middot" do you think the characters in the story possess?
  3. The stories in this book take place a long time ago, in the 1910's, however, are you able to find a situation in the book that might be similar to a present-day situation?  Find the commonalities between "then" and "now".
  4. Choose a Jewish holiday and either describe it in your own words, or write a short narration describing it.

Source:  The All-of-a-Kind Family Companion

© Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel, Years 2014 - 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Monday, 7 July 2014

Reading Questions for Children

As a guide for dialogue with your middle school child, the following questions may be useful:

For a Novel or Story:

Whom is this book about? (central character[s])
What do the central characters want?
What keeps them/him/her from getting what they want?
How do they/him/her get what they want?
Do they have an enemy or enemies?  Is there a villain?
What does the villain want?
What do you think is the most important event in the story?
What leads up to this event?
How are the characters different after this event?
What is the most important event in each chapter?
How many different stories does the writer tell?

For a Biography:

What kind of family did the subject come from?
What were his parents like?
Where did he go to school?
What did he want the most as a child?
As a grown-up?
How did he go about getting it?
Name three or four important people in his life.
Did he get married?  To whom?  When?
Did they have children?
What was the most important event in his life?
Name three other important events in his life.
Did he get what he wanted in life?  Why or why not?
Why do we still remember this person?

For Evaluation:

What was the most exciting part of the book?
What was the most boring part of the book?
Did you like the character(s)?  Why or why not?
Did you hope that he would get what he wanted?
Did any part of the book seem particularly real?
Did any part of the book seem unlike to you?
Did you hope it would end in another way?  How?
Would you read this book again?
Which one of your friends would enjoy this book?

Taken from The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer (2004).

All images from Wikiart
  1. Girl with a Book – Jose Ferraz de Almeida Jr.  
  2. The New Novel – Winslow Homer, 1877
  3. Merchant at a table near window -  Abraham van Strij

Friday, 4 July 2014

How To Teach Literary Analysis - If You Want To ..........

For anyone who is using this blog to find good books for children and who would like to help their children gain a deeper understanding of these books, I'm going to share an article that I wrote two years ago for a homeschooling group newsletter.

How To Teach Basic Literary Analysis – An Overview
by Cleo

            What is literary analysis?  This can be a controversial question; even the experts cannot completely agree as to its definition and application.  But the fact remains that your child will, at some point, be required to draw meaning from the texts he is reading, and be expected to apply this meaning to different mediums, whether it is an essay, a debate, or perhaps simply a problem encountered in everyday life. 
            In his bestselling book How To Read A Book (1972), Mortimer J. Adler explains that the author of a literary text is attempting to have a conversation with the reader, and it is the responsibility of the reader to search diligently to find out what that conversation is about.  This form of  “active reading” is essential for any type of analysis, as it assists the reader in reading for understanding, instead of simply for information.  In essence, literary analysis is not about WHAT is said as much as it is about HOW it is said.  So how do we go about teaching the basics of this skill, and what should our expectations be for our child at each of the developmental stages (grammar, logic and rhetoric)?
            During the grammar stage, literary analysis is rather simple.  A child is not yet able to think in the abstract, and an elementary approach will suffice for analytical exposure.  Basic questions can be asked such as: What was your favourite part of the story?  What did you like least about the story?  Who was your favourite character?  Who did you like least in the story?  If your child enjoys this process, you can begin to delve into why he made his choices.  At this age level, the analysis does not have to be limited to just words.  Encourage him to notice other aspects of the book, such as the illustrations and ask, for example, why he thinks the author decided to use a certain illustration to convey a particular message.  However, if you feel your child is consistently resistant to the process, leave it.  Your goals are simply to persuade your child to think about the book, and to begin a dialogue between yourselves, developing a pattern that will be invaluable at later stages.  
            When a child enters the logic stage, he should be working on reading, summarizing, and identifying terms of reference (i.e. fiction, non-fiction, novel, fable, biography, poem, etc.).   He is now ready to be asked questions such as:  Who is the main character of the story?  What did he want?  What prevents him from getting what he wants?  What is the most important event in this story?  You may want him to write a short response to one of these questions, but first ensure you discuss the question with him to fully develop his ideas; this dialogue will help him organize his thoughts before writing, and keep him from being overwhelmed.
            At the rhetoric stage, the student will be asked to switch from content-oriented reading (who, what, when, where, and the “obvious” why) to form-oriented reading (the form used to convey meaning, how specific ideas are expressed, etc.).  The student should work towards acquiring the ability to dissect a book.  This requires a level of abstraction, the ability to see beyond content into the organization of ideas, and to discover subtleties of thought within a book’s construction.  Start acquainting your student with basic literary terms.  Allow him to make notes in the margins of the book to acquire better understanding of the literature.  Assign brief one-page essays in the form of a formal essay, a biographical essay, an historical essay, or a response paper.  A response paper topic could be chosen from the following examples:  1) choose a scene, plot, or character, and tell why it helped or hindered the story; 2) compare the reading with another work and draw a parallel; or 3) argue that a character behaved in a manner that was ethically right or wrong.  Again, ensure the topic has been thoroughly discussed before any writing begins.  Eventually, your child will be well on his way to understanding and identifying the techniques that make a literary work effective.
            A basic proficiency in literary analysis will allow your child to move beyond elementary reading.  By developing these critical thinking skills, your student will benefit during his post-secondary education, as well as in his personal reading.  He will be able to distinguish between literary and non-literary works, being better equipped to judge a book according to its merits.  As Francis Bacon so aptly put it: “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”  Literary analysis can give your child a discerning “appetite.”  But whether your child is just setting off on this literary journey or has advanced to the composition of essays, your goals in teaching literary analysis are to ultimately foster a life-long love of reading in your child, and to help him acquire the skills to dig deeper within a book to find the treasures hidden inside.

Selected Bibliography:

Adler, Mortimer J.  How to Read a Book. New York, N.Y.; Simon & Schuster, 1972
Bauer, Susan Wise The Well-Trained Mind. New York, N.Y.; W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2004
Thanks to Ester Maria & Karen Anne

Recommended Resources:

Grammar/Logic:                  Deconstructing Penguins by Lawrence & Nancy

Logic/Rhetoric:                    Teaching the Classics
                                        TheWell-Trained Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer

Rhetoric:                                  The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer
                                        Essential Literary Terms by Sharon Hamilton
                                        How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler (This is a
                                                       dense book.  Keep in mind if you/your child only absorbs a
                                                      portion of it, you/he will still have learned a great deal.)

© Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel, Years 2014 - 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cleo and Children's Classic Book Carousel with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Monday, 16 June 2014

New Blog ……. New Theme ……

Children’s Classic Book Carousel

Welcome to my Children's Classic Book blog.  I've been blogging for awhile at Classical Carousel reading various classical literature.  However, I want to intersperse classical children's literature too and, rather than fit everything all onto one blog, I've decided to create a new one!

This blog won't be as active as Classical Carousel, but I hope to regularly add children's reviews as I can fit them in.  I'll be reviewing a number of classic children's books, from old favourites to ones that you've never heard of before.

So stay tuned as I enhance this blog by adding reviews, lists of books by age, and make new discoveries!  A new blog and a new journey!  Please come and join me!