Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Find

Last night, we went to the big city and did a bit of shopping. I needed to get Virginia some socks, and there were a few other things on our list.  We ended up in Barnes and Noble (of course), and I found this book for John Thomas.  He loves history, atlases and information about the great cities.  This book seemed to have it all.

The author, John Julius Norwich is not only an historian, but has had quite a celebrated life.  He served in the British Foreign Service and is a member of the House of Lords.  He was also a BBC personality.

In any case, John Thomas loves all of the marvelous pictures, maps and artwork that make up this handsome book.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Patrick Stewart's Scrooge

This year, we have decided to let Patrick Stewart do our reading of A Christmas Carol. We were able to download an abridged version of this great actor reading this great story. I can't tell you how much he brings to this role. We can almost see Marley's face on the door!

We have turned this annual reading project into a full-fledged unit study. I found a reading comprehension workbook full of vocabulary and writing exercises as well as information about Dickens and 19th century  England.  We even have one of the very inexpensive Dover coloring books we will be using. 

After we finish, we will all watch the Patrick Stewart version of the tale.  We bought this last year; it is still available on Amazon for under $7.00.  I have never seen a better adaptation.

Patrick Stewart had a marvelous one-man-show of this several years ago; I would love to have seen that.

Anyway, when we are finished with A Christmas Carol this season, the children will have something to add to their literature notebooks.  Many home-school families study the great literary works this way--this approach adds so much to comprehension and enjoyment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fan Art From A Redwall Fan

Hey, everyone! James Martin again. As you know, the last time I posted, I posted about the novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. I am also a huge fan of the Redwall books by Liverpudlian author Brian Jacques. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Jacques in 2006 when I attended a release celebration for his book, Voyage of Slaves, that is a part of another series he is working on. Here is some fan-art drawn by me, based off of the fight at the end of his book Redwall:

I based the art style off of a screen capture from the Redwall TV Series. I just finished reading that book for the third time in my life. It was great!

Thanks for reading and may your swords stay sharp! (Try to guess where that comment came from! *wink*)
James Martin Justus

A Very Rainy and Windy Day in the Willows

Wow! What a rainy and windy day.  Yes, it is the middle of the week, but I have decided to let the children have a day of reading today.  We will make up the day over the Christmas break.  I just think that this will be a great day to read, color, listen to Christmas music and have some hot chocolate.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Time for Dickens!

Well, the time of year to read Dickens' A Christmas Carol has arrived!  This will be the third or fourth year the children and I have read this together.  Last year we read it and then watched Patrick Stewart's presentation.  That was the best interpretation I have ever seen.  This has been a great school term--Washington Irving, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens!