Reading the World Challenge 2009 – Book Number One (x3!)

It seems to have taken a while to get this year’s PaperTigers Round the World Reading Challenge off the ground in our house – but we’re flying now! We’re following a similar pattern to last year: a readaloud and the boys each reading their own choices…

The book we all read together was Planting the Trees of Kenya, which I blogged about a couple of weeks ago…

Older Brother, 10½, has read The Cat who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth and illustrated by Raoul Vitale (Aladdin Paperbacks, 2008). First published in 1930, this is a short, beautifully written fable which centres around the Buddhist legend that the Buddha blessed all animals except the cat because a certain cat “was not overcome with awe”. It was a Newberry winner and was discussed recently, as it happens, in a fascinating post on The Newberry Project blog, which is where my quotation above comes from. The story certainly worked its charm on Older Brother:

It’s about an artist in Japan and his housekeeper bought a cat instead of their food with their money. They were very poor so the artist was not happy with her at first but then after a while he was able to start selling paintings. Then a priest came to his house and ordered a picture of the Buddha’s tomb and all the animals he blessed. He blessed every animal except the cat so the artist did not draw the cat at first – but his cat always looked upset that there wasn’t a cat in the painting so the last thing he did was paint a cat in it… and I’m not going to tell you what happened but there was a miracle.

It is actually a beautiful story. You know, there was a shelf in the artist’s room and the cat sat and looked at a special statue of the Buddha belonging to the artist and they both prayed in front of it. I like art and I thought that I was actually standing there watching it happening (that happens to me quite a lot in books, by the way – sometimes I think I’m the main character, sometimes I’m up in a tree watching).

And Little Brother, just turned 8, read Grandpa’s Indian Summer, the second of Jamila Gavin’s three Grandpa Chatterji books (Egmont, 2006 – and you can read PaperTigers’ full review here):

I loved this book. Especially the bit where Sanjay eats all the cakes and then he gets scared because all the ants come and he jumps onto the metal chest with all the cakes in. Everyone’s looking for him. And he’s got two cakes in his hands and he eventually gets found. Then Grandpa Chatterji gets into trouble because he’d been eating cakes and Sanjay found him and wanted to have some too, so it’s all Grandpa Chatterji’s fault!

I really liked the last page. The last sentence was the best!

It made me want to go to India because it’s a wonderful, colourful place. And I also like peacocks, although there aren’t any in the book. I also want to play cricket – and that is in the book!

Do let us know how you are getting on with our Reading the World Challenge – or if you haven’t started yet, here’s what it’s all about – there’s still plenty of time…


4 Responses to “Reading the World Challenge 2009 – Book Number One (x3!)”

  1. Corinne Robson Says:

    I always love reading Older and Little Brothers’ comments!

  2. Annie DC Says:

    I love Elizabeth Coatsworth’s poetry and her book, The Cat who Went to Heaven! I like how you’ve included your children’s impressions of the books.

  3. Marjorie Says:

    Thank you, both. The boys enjoy the process of seeing their words hit the blog (they dictate, I type!) – and they will get a real kick to reading your responses from the other side of the world.

    Annie, I haven’t read anything else by Elizabeth Coatsworth – I will have to seek out her poetry.

  4. Anna GC Says:

    Since Korea is in focus right now on Paper Tigers I’d like to recommend a wonderful book by Kim Hyangkeum and Choi Sukhee, World within the Map. I don’t know if you have it in English translation yet, but it’s been translated into Swedish. It’s about maps and their history. Wonderful pictures that kids love!