Yikes, I’m falling a bit behind on reporting back on this year’s PaperTigers’ Reading the World Book Challenge – but we have been cracking on so I hope I’ll be back in a week or so with Book #3. How are you all doing out there? For those of you who haven’t picked up on it, or need reminding, check out my initial post here – there’s still plenty of time to join in…
In the meantime, here’s what we’ve read for our books #2:
Together we read Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia by Sally Pomme Clayton and illustrated by Sophie Herxheimer (Frances Lincoln, 2006). We loved it! Sally Pomme Clayton is a performance storyteller as well as a writer. Her storyteller voice makes these tales a joy to read aloud and she unobtrusively inserts cultural details, which deepen understanding, as well as some of her own experiences while gathering the stories on her travels through Central Asia, most notably in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. We learned the legend of how felt was invented; added to our growing collection of beautiful creation stories; marvelled at magic; revelled in riddles; and sought out the mythical storyteller whose presence wove itself through the different stories. Herxheimer’s beautiful illustrations help to convey the magic and even after we had listened to the story we had to go over each one again with attention fixed on the pictures.
Older Brother, 10 1/2, read Ice Trap! Shackleton’s Incredible Expedition by Meredith Hooper, illustrated by M. P. Robertson (Frances Lincoln, 2000) (and I think it’s published in the US as The Endurance: Shackleton’s Perilous Expedition in Antartica by Abbeville Kids, 2001). Here’s what he says about it:
I enjoyed this book a lot because of the excitement. In 1914 Shackleton set sail to Antarctica as he wanted to be the first person to walk all the way across the Antarctic Peninsula but his ship was caught in pack ice. Then their ship was crushed by the ice. They sailed in lifeboats to Elephant Island, which was uninhabited, then Shackleton took five men in a lifeboat. They wanted to sail to South Georgia but in sight of the cliffs they got caught in a hurricane, which blew them to the wrong side of the island, so they had to climb over mountains to reach the town. Then eventually everyone was rescued by a steam boat.
It was very exciting because a lot of unexpected things happened and also it’s true, which makes it even more exciting because it’s about Man against Earth and people belong to Earth. And Earth/Nature is stronger than Man and actually, they couldn’t control the ice.
I think they were brave. It was nearly the first time anyone had tried to get there. And there was a stowaway on board, which made it harder for them to survive because there wasn’t enough food. Not a single person died in two years. I’ve read this book three times – once my Grandad read it to us. That was special because he spent a year in Antarctica a long time ago.
Little Brother, 8, read Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter (new edition, Knopf Books, 2008):
Peg Leg Joe is a sailor with a missing leg and he sings a song which will help lead slaves to freedom. It’s called “Follow the Drinking Gourd” – the Drinking Gourd is a constellation which we call the Plough and in America it’s called the Big Dipper and it’s part of the Great Bear. It points to the Pole Star so it always points North. There’s a slave who is about to be sold the next day away from his wife and children who are in slavery as well. That night they all follow the Drinking Gourd. It’s not an easy journey and in the pictures there are some Wanted! posters of them. Then they meet Peg Leg Joe at a river in a boat. He rows them across the river in his boat and then he goes back to collect some more slaves who have also followed the Drinking Gourd, leaving the family at a trail he calls the Underground Railway. It’s a trail of houses with safe places to hide. They hide and rest in the day and move at night so they can follow the constellation and also so they can’t be found so easily. They make it to safety and freedom.
This really happened. I knew that there were people who used to be slaves but I never knew they tore families apart. I’m glad that some people escaped to freedom but slavery is wrong and everyone should have the right to be free.