It’s been quiet ’round these parts this week, huh? We’ve been diligently doing our lessons each day, in hopes that by doing this we’ll finish our math curriculum in the next couple of weeks and call kindergarten officially done. We’ve actually completed our minimum required number of days, but I have this little box-checker in the back of my brain that tells me I need to finish this level of math before we move to the next. Thankfully, our phonics book is supposed to last through several grades, so I feel no pressure there.
So, what have we been reading? Lots! That’s good, right? If you’ll notice over in the left sidebar, I even have an Amazon link posted to our current chapter book read-aloud. I’m going back a few weeks, with this Read Aloud Thursday post, though, and highlighting a little thematic unit we did on cats. Yes, cats. This group of books started out as a Five in a Row unit, but I think I’ve finally decided that it’s not my thing to do Five in a Row formally. The books are great, though!
The FIAR title that we started off with is Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley and illustrated by Itoko Maeno. This is a fun story set in Venice, Italy, about a tomcat that reluctantly takes a couple of orphaned kittens under his wing and ends up with a family. It’s one of those stories that has a somewhat heavy-handed message (most likely to be used by a counselor or teacher), but we simply read and enjoyed it several times. I like that it is set in Venice, so there are plenty of opportunities to discuss what makes this city different from others, etc. Papa Piccolo is a great story and one I’m glad we have in our home library, but I don’t think it was the girls’ favorite.
Top honors definitely would go to this book: Oscar, Cat-About-Town by James Herriot. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read a James Herriot book until I read this one to the girls. He really is a charming, very personable writer. Oscar, Cat-About-Town pairs nicely with Papa Piccolo because both cats have busy social lives. 🙂 Oscar, Cat-About-Town is told from the perspective of a village veterinarian (Herriot himself, I’m assume). He and his wife adopt an abandoned cat, and they both quickly become fond of him. Oscar, however, has a life of his own, and he quickly becomes well known in their village. Ruth Brown‘s illustrations are particularly warm, and the story has a feel-good ending. Lulu especially loved Oscar and requested it over and over again. I think we need more Herriot in our lives!
Counting on Calico by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes is one of those books that surprised me. I just picked it up at the library because it is obviously about a cat. However, it’s much more than that! It is a counting book, so at first glance it’s rather simplistic. However, related to each number and topic is a paragraph of interesting factual information about cats. It’s a great way to communicate factual information to the youngest audience! I even learned a thing or two about cats that I didn’t know before, and I’m not that young. 🙂 Cat lovers of all ages would enjoy this one!
I’m sharing this next book not because it’s a stellar piece of literature, but because Lulu herself read this one aloud to her sister and me! Ringo Saves the Day!: A True Story is a Ready-to-Read book (‘though our library copy is marked as a level 1, not a level 2, as the one pictured here is) by Andrew Clements, better known for his juvenile fiction works. Lulu definitely gravitates toward true stories, especially historical ones. This one, though, piqued her interest because it involves an abandoned cat that becomes a hero. I have loved watching her blossom as a reader these past few months, and I will remember this book as one of the first ones that she truly enjoyed reading herself.
We carried the cat theme over to our chapter book read-aloud, too. After our last chapter book, I was ready for something a little lighter. 🙂 Beverly Cleary’s Socks was perfect for us in several ways, not the least of which is the fact that for most of the book, Socks is adjusting to having a new baby in the house. The girls loved this book, and I had a good time reading it. My girls haven’t had much exposure to Beverly Cleary yet–last year we read Ribsy, and they have listened to Henry and Ribsy in audio. I’ve hesitated to share Ramona with them because a little part of me wants to save some of these great books for them to discover on their own. Socks is short with short chapters, so if attention span is an issue, this would be a good one to share.
That’s it for our jaunt through the feline world. Appropriately enough, one of my parents’ cats (Baby Cat, not to be confused with her mother, Mama Cat) just had kittens a few weeks ago, and the girls were set on bringing a couple of them home. However, Baby Cat (who has sort-of been renamed Mama Cat, just to make it more confusing) has yet to bring the kittens down to the house. My parents have searched the barn and surrounding areas to no avail, so this story doesn’t sound like it will have a happy ending. (Except maybe for Steady Eddie–he doesn’t particularly like cats. 😉 )
As always, please sure with us what your family is enjoying together these days. You may leave a link to your blog below, or simply leave a comment.