Thursday, February 9, 2012

What's Basbusa reading?

A Few Blocks has been one of the biggest hits we've had in our house lately. The story describes a sister and brother's short walk to school - but since Ferdie, the little brother, is in the middle of three different games at home and doesn't want to go at all, his sister, Viola, has to coax him there. She turns their walk into a game of superheros, and then of pirates, and then of knights and princesses... before running out of inspiration herself, when Ferdie steps up to return the favor. Basbusa adores this story because pretend-games are her favorite activity, and she loves watching the two children invent new surroundings instead of the ones they find themselves in. The illustrations are beautiful, too, with the real world in black and grey, but the children's imagined world in pretty pastels. For me, the caring relationship shown between the two siblings was another reason to love this book.

I found Andrew Henry's Meadow on somebody's list of vintage books that their child enjoyed, and I'll be checking out more of her suggestions as soon as I can remember where the list was! Andrew Henry, the middle child of his family, is an enthusiastic and talented inventor, but somehow his family don't seem to appreciate the giant contraptions he keeps building in the middle of the kitchen or hooking up to their sewing machines. So he decides to run away to a hidden meadow, where he builds himself just the kind of house he has always wanted to live in. He is soon joined by other children who have likewise have found that their parents disapprove of their somewhat eccentric interests. Andrew Henry builds each one a house corresponding to their passions and needs, and soon there's a whole little village of children in his meadow. But of course their families are terribly worried, and eventually find them and bring them back home, after a joyous reunion. Basbusa liked the story overall, and especially liked looking at all the different houses Andrew Henry built for his friends, and choosing which one she'd like to live in herself.

For Basbusa, I think the biggest attraction of Creepy Castle (and others by the same author, such as Naughty Nancy Goes to School and Adventures of Paddy Pork) was that the books themselves are so small. 5" by 8", maybe? She loves miniature books, no matter what the content! (Come to think of it, when she was a toddler, one of her favorite books was an empty miniature photo album, which she "read" over and over and over again, pointing out completely invisible goats and flowers...) But leaving aside the size of the book, these stories are exciting and accessible wordless adventures that Basbusa can easily figure out on her own from the illustrations. My only criticism is that the mice look a little too realistically ratty for my taste!

I think Mr. Pine's Mixed-Up Signs was another suggestion from that vintage list? The plot isn't exactly thrilling - a sign-painter loses his glasses, gets all the signs in the town mixed up, and then sorts them out again - but Basbusa liked it a lot, I think because it was so easy for her to "read." There were plenty of signs with words she knows, like "stop" and "go" and so forth, and the rest of the text was simple enough that she could improvise even if she didn't know the real words. I wouldn't actually have recommended this if it were just up to me, since I didn't find it particularly enthralling, but it definitely made Basbusa's list of favorites.

Linking up with What My Child is Reading and Read-Aloud Thursday.


  1. All new to me and the first two look like things we'd really enjoy! Thanks for the review.

  2. Oh, I think we've had one of those mice books before. Ah, yes--Naughty Nancy! What fun! Those vintage books look delightful.

    I really enjoy reading your reviews! Thanks for linking up to RAT!

  3. Hi .... wanted to come and visit you to thank you for your comment on my post. Both of my children went to preschool - we didn't homeschool until my oldest was in third grade and my youngest was Kindergarten. Their preschool was a BLESSING!! I am a firm believer that the RIGHT school environment is beneficial - it's sad that people will judge if you put your child in school. You do what is right for your child!!