Friday, June 25, 2010

Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Novel #93

I feel as if I have done the impossible.  I mean, I love to toot my own horn don't want to toot my own horn or continue to bore you with stories of my own personal feats of New Mommydom, but for the foreseeable future, you're going to have to pardon me. 

Friends, I read a chapter book this week. 

Say wha???

That's right.  I read a chapter book this week.  Granted, it was a child's chapter book but STILL, pretty amazing, yes? 

How did I possibly manage this what with, you know, the new baby and all?  Well...I am ALL ABOUT reading to Mini Mimi on a daily basis.  And get this - girlfriend digs being read to.  (Of course she does.)  She digs it so much that we end up flying through those board books.  It's never enough.  SOOOOOOO....since we're not yet ready to turn and talk or make inferences, I've decided that it doesn't really matter WHAT we read to her, as long as she gets used to being read to. 

Right? 

(There's that New Mom confidence, eh?)

Mr. Mimi has taken to reading to her from his business/entrepreneur magazines.  (Can you say "snooz-a-palooza"?)  (Okay.  To be fair, Mini Mimi loves it when he reads to her and it is pretty freaking cute.) 

Can you see where I'm going with this?  This week, I read Caddie Woodlawn to my newest little friend and I totally think she loved it!

Dude.  Apologies.  That introduction got pretty long there.  My mind is all wander-y these days so there ya go.

Novel number 93 is the Newberry Medal award winning Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink.  And talk about classic, strong, and fabulous female characters!

Caddie Woodlawn (Feel free to click on the image for a link to children's book online shopping paradise.)

Written about a family living in rural Wisconsin in the 1860s, this book focuses on the adventures of the young children in the Woodlawn family, the delicate relationships between white men and Native Americans and touches on issues of gender equity.  Sounds deep, no? 

At first, I was all, "I am so not a person who loves historical fiction."  However, I really enjoyed this novel.  (Mini Mimi did too.)  The language is accessible but still provides opportunities for some fabulous vocabulary work and the story line is intriguing.  In a nutshell, Caddie's father decides to raise Caddie with her brothers in order to improve her health (she was a sickly baby evidently) rather than push her to stay indoors and learn how to be a lady.  Caddie has tons of adventures with her little brothers - including crossing the river on a raft, horse back riding and playing tricks on a snooty snoots a lot cousin from Boston.  Yet there's more to this book.  It gives you a glimpse of pioneer life (Hello opportunity to compare then and now...) including some contentious issues such as prejudice against Native Americans (Caddie is pretty amazing and has a Native American buddy) and gender stereotypes.

I am TOTALLY feeling Caddie.  Girlfriend is pretty hot to trot.  She is easily frustrated by the inequities between girls and boys.  Throughout the book she goes through quite the journey of growing up which I think a lot of young girls could totes relate to.  Initially refusing to sew, cook and be genteel, Caddie prefers to run wild with her brothers.  Yet, she comes to the realization that there don't have to be such distinct lines and becomes comfortable with her constant evolution as an individual.  (My words, not hers.)

Here are some of her words from the very end.  I thought they were pretty inspirational:

"How far I've come!  I'm the same girl and yet not the same.  I wonder if it's always like that?  Folks keep growing from one person into another all their lives, and life is just a lot of everyday adventures.  Well, whatever life is, I like it."

Even today, this sentiment holds true, right?  Caddie may be something like 12 or whatever, but I feel as if her words hold true for me as I evolve into a mom and incorporate this new identity into who I already am. 

Or maybe I've just been cooped up in the house for too long...

Either way, I say totally grab this one for your classroom and share it with your friends. A guided level R, I would say this book would work as a read aloud or private reading text (when appropriate) in grades 3-5. 

Let's see if I can do it again next week...#92 is Ella Enchanted which I thought was just a McDreamy movie. 

Enjoy your weekends fellow book lovahs!

xoxo,
Mimi

3 comments:

ChrisinNY said...

A seem alike to Caddie is the Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (although I think it works for a slightly older audience).

Stu said...

Reading aloud to your children is the single most effective way to increase reading achievement. It's never too early to start...and they're never too old to listen.

Check out Jim Trelease, author of the Readaloud Handbook online at:

http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/default.html

His book belongs in the library of every new teacher...and new parent!

Tracy Novick said...

Don't know if you're nursing, but if you are, teach yourself to nurse and read. This can be key to sanity saving. :)

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