Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Inspired by Literature

But Francois could not wait for the others to finish their evening meal...he stretched out before the hearth and with a piece of charred wood, began to copy the pictures that he found on [their Bible's] old worn pages.


Though we don't use a unit study approach in our homeschool there always seem to be plenty of natural connections and much to inspire us in our daily readings. A few of our recent favorites that had our boys and me busy when free time came around:

Without a doubt, Millet Tilled the Soil by Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher has been our favorite artist story-life to date. Millet lived through happy days and tragic days, laughter and suffering, and we are moved by both his life and art. If you love Opal Wheeler's composer series you won't be disappointed with her artist biographies and -- if you thought your children couldn't possibly spend any more time drawing -- they can.



Bone Button Borscht is a Hanukkah-inspired version of Stone Soup by Aubrey Davis. A hungry beggar is hard-pressed to receive a meal so plucks off the buttons from his coat to start a soup. Dusan Petricic' witty illustrations gradually change from black and white to color as a town's greed changes to generosity.



We used the borscht recipe from Oleg's grandmother and Luca lent us buttons from his collection. We were sure to add the beets last to see the soup change a vibrant color.

Now borscht, even the bone button variety, is quite easy to pull off in a Russian-American household but when the boys received Norman Lindsay's the Magic Pudding from our favorite Australian kidlit reviewer I was way out of my element. Not having either kidney or suet (not even a frozen pot-pie) in the house, I attempted to satisfy my pudding-demanding crew with a simple Yorkshire variety that night. Ah, the disappointment in finding that our puddng was not, in fact, magic.



Given the honor of introducing Lindsay's the Magic Pudding in the newest edition, Philip Pullman states, "This is the funniest children's book ever written" and this may be the only point on which I ever find myself agreeing with the man. Make no mistake, no matter where you are from on this great spinning blue marble you.will.laugh.out.loud. Belly laughs. Oh, and your children will begin to speak in non-stop rhyme. We're already on our third read through - now if I could only find a shop that sells suet.



Last comes mom's read as my lip-smacking summer issue of Donna Hay's magazine arrived in the mail. The irony of a 12-page-spread on popsicles while experiencing record snowfalls and ice storms leaves me no other choice than to show our friends in the southern hemisphere how we have adapted Donna's recipes...


10 comments:

Sarah said...

Wonderful to here all that is happening in your home. xxx

Heather said...

Oooooo I cant wait to check out some of those books that you mentioned. We are in need of some new family read alouds!

Nick Manson said...

Any grocery store with a meat counter a la Fareway should have suet available. Beware the prepackaged suet, though. It contains starch and won't work the same with old timey recipes. Kind of like substituting butter when a recipe calls for shortening, or vice versa. Butter contains water; shortening does not.

Now I'm hungry...

Richele said...

Yes, now if I could only find a Fareway.

Pam... said...

I just received and order and posted a bit about Opal Wheeler's composer books! I'll have to look up the artist ones, though I did order some from other authors that were likely less expensive. Hopefully they are worthy also!

joyfulmum said...

We read The Magic Pudding to my dd last year and she still talks about all the characters with fond and funny memories:) I'm sure we'll read it again here. I want to read it again to her when she's a little bit older as I think she'll get more of the humour next time around.

Melissa said...

It's always such a marvelous feast when you place before the books you are engaged in. Can't wait to dive in!

Nancy said...

The cover - the cover, Richele! Do you have an old edition of Millet? Sometimes I set my edition out, just to look at the charming dust jacket!

Thank you for bringing up titles that I now get to seek out. Your home sounds like a place where everyone loves learning!


Sursum Corda,
Nancy

Richele said...

The cover - yes, I should have put up a picture of that as it is a first edition with the boy-sower on front.

Were you peeking Nancy?

If you remember where our book advent calendar was in the study, we normally have book stands there with favorite books and art on display. "The Burgess Flower Book for Children" is up as well - reminding me this winter will not last forever.

Laura Lou said...

Richele, Lately, I have been taking more moments to enjoy your posts and pages. I'm so inspired by you! Your blending of SCM and AO is exactly where the Lord is leading me. I'm so glad to glean wisdom and knowledge from you! Keep reaping! :)