Colonists on the Coffee Table Part II

I placed new books on the coffee table Monday, and we’ve been enjoying them nearly a week.

Some of the books in the picture carry-over from the last batch.  I’ll skip over those and just focus on the books that have been recently added:    (Scroll down past the picture to read my rambles about each.)

Colonists Part II

Our Colonial Year by Cheryl Harness:

Simple and sweet, this picture book gives a taste of the Colonial Era to the youngest children.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

A sweet story of a young colonial girl in a strange new world.  Gentle lessons in friendship and courage and in overcoming preconceived ideas fill these pages.  We enjoyed this as a bedtime story.  Even Keianna retained enough that at lunch she gave her daddy a delightful unsolicited narration (without giving the poor man any context or telling him she was talking about a book!  Poor Ken was a mite confused about who Sarah was and why she had an Indian daddy while her daddy went to get her mommy…)

Daniel Boone and the Exploration of the Frontier by Richard Kozar:

Like the others in this Explorers of New Worlds series, there isn’t a speck of fluff in this book, yet it is engaging.

Elin’s Amerika by Marguerite de Angeli.

De Angeli is a favorite children’s author of ours!  While this book is fiction, Gov. Johan Printz, was the actual third governor of New Sweden from 1643-1653.  Like all de Angeli’s works, this is a treasure.

Handel at the Court of Kings
by Opal Wheeler:

I had to insert Handel and Bach into our Tapestry studies, because the Enlightenment just isn’t the same without them.  These books by Opal Wheeler are a delightful way slip them in.  Mrs. Wheeler has a glorious gift for expressing the story of the history.  Kaira and Kendra’s narrations on these books have been especially detailed and joyous, a sure sign that the book is indeed a “living book” in the truest sense.

Hostage on the Nighthawk: William Penn by Dave & Neta Jackson:

A fun historic-fiction snack.  Much more fiction than history, but the flavor of the era is captured.  The adventure made it one of Kaira’s favorites thus far from this batch.

Indians of the Longhouse: The Story of the Iroquois by Sonia Bleeker

This was a wonderful surprise from our public library.  Published in 1950 it has a nice balance of perspective, depicting the lives of the Iroquois in a changing world.  Conversationally told, it introduces the reader to the Iroquois in a natural manner.

Iroquois Indians
by Caryn Yacowitz:

Colorful snapshots in text and images depict the Iroquois then and now.  A wonderful introduction to an interesting people.

Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco

This story about an Amish farm girl has been a “bedtime story” favorite of the girls for some time.  Although set in modern day Pennsylvania (on an Amish farm) it gives a nice child-sized depiction of Amish culture that hasn’t changed dramatically from the colonial era.

Joseph Hayden: The Merry Little Peasant by Opal Wheeler

From the same author as Handel at the Court of Kings, and just as good!  Tapestry suggested a book on Hayden, and it looks great but I went the “use what we have” route.  (Which is yet another reason I love Tapestry.  The curriculum focuses on the subject matter, not on specific titles, and it flexes so easily to let me do it my way–I’m a pill about having to do things my way. HA!)

Life in New France: Picture the Past
by Jennifer Blizin Gillis

Text interspersed liberally with pictures,  and captions as fascinating as the pictures themselves, this book truely does enable the reader to “Picture the Past.”  For such a slim volume, it packs a lot of punch.

Life on a Southern Plantation by Sally Senzell Isaacs

From the same publishers as Life in New France, and in the same style.   To me, these books are “must haves” (or at least close) for grammar stage children studying this era.

Marooned: The Strange But True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the Real Robinson Crusoe

by Robert Kraske

I’d not heard of this until I stumbled upon it when searching our local library (online) at the beginning of this unit.  This little book has been fascinating!  Selkirk was the real life model for Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and his story is, perhaps stranger than the fiction it inspired.

Mr Bach Comes to Call (Audio CD) by Classical Kids

An imaginative presentation of Bach.  I like this series, and the children have a lot of fun with them.  For every unit we study I like to have one or two audio or video supplements to pull out as a special treat when I have a migraine day or when the children are run down.

Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling:

The adventures of an Indian boy’s hand-carved toy canoe as it journey’s from the Lake Superior to the Atlantic.   These books make learning rich indeed!

Peter the Great
by Diane Stanley:

Wow!  This book is brilliantly done.  Because we’ve enjoyed Diane Stanley’s Joan of Arc and her Shakespear book, I expected we’d like this one too, but I was still amazed!  The pictures are georgous, and Stanley weaves together incidents both small and large from the life of this fascinating Tsar.  Did you know that he was proud to have been given papers certifying him as a carpenter?   I didn’t.  So many interesting tidbits fill these pages.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (Eyewitness Classics from DK publishing)

I typically dislike abridged versions, and will make sure we get the delight of the original on our next voyage through the ages, but…  this Eyewitness Classics version is well done.  If I were reading it aloud, I’d go with the original. (Alas, our read-aloud time filled up fast this unit!)  For Grammar stages to read alone though, this one is superb!  Perhaps I was able to get past my usual abridged aversion because this does more than just boil down the original.  Through the captioned pictures, and side notes, it is more of a study of the story than a condensation of it.

Sebastian Bach, The Boy from Thuringia
by Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher

Ah, Bach!  Once again Opal Wheeler’s delightful story telling makes for an enchanting biography.

The Silversmiths (Colonial Craftsmen) by Leonard Everette Fisher,

Almost as good as a field trip to a real smithy!  The illustrations, also by the author are wonderfully unique.  They are black and white, and appear to be ink stamps or plate prints.  (I’ll have to google and see if I can figure out the artist’s technique.)  However they are done, they have a striking bold simplicity, yet remarkable detail.  The silversmith’s tools, and even the expressions on the faces of the customers come to life.  The text is as interesting as the pictures, completing the virtual field trip.

Skippack School
by Marguerite de Angeli:

Set in German Town Philadelphia, this is another story rich in Colonial history and de Angeli charm.

Thee Hannah by Marguerite de Angeli:

A Quaker girl finds her bonnet plain, but begins to see beauty in it as the story unfolds.   (Have I mentioned that I like de Angeli?)

William Penn: Founder of Democracy
by Arthur M Schlesinger, Jr

While well done, I’d have said that this book is a bit dry; reading more like an encyclopedia than an interesting story.  It must have some hidden charms though, because both Kaira and Kendra chose this one when told to choose one of our two William Penn books for their reading and narrations.  It is packed with detail  They certainly chose the more scholarly of the two books I had on the subject.

William Penn Founder of Pennsylvania
by Steven Kroll

A beautiful biography that is half picture book.  I still am bewildered that my children bypassed it in favor of the other William Penn book.  The narrative in this is done in beautiful story, making the biography not mere facts, but personal.  The illustrations are rich and full of life.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Another Newberry from Speare, this historic fiction is a good way to introduce the complicated and tragic history of the witch trials.  It will be next week’s read aloud for us.  (Tapestry spreads it over several weeks, but we tend to gobble more at a time, lest we lose context.)

The Warrior’s Challenge: David Zeisberger by Dave & Neta Jackson:

Kaira enjoyed the other Trailblazer book from the library (Hostage on the Nighthawk) so much that I grabbed this one as well.  I’m glad we got it.  It is based on a tale of The Moravian Indian Boy, and deals with the incidents of peaceful converted Indians who were brought to Philadelphia for protection but weakened from illnesses and ultimately suffered massacre at the hands of the colonists.


2 thoughts on “Colonists on the Coffee Table Part II

  1. Thank you for outlining these. I'm always looking for new titles, having a voracious grammar level reader. Some of these are available at my local library! Hurray!


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