Tag Archives: family life

A Sleepover at Grandma’s: A Review of ‘The Napping House’

“A house needs a grandma in it.” – Louisa May Alcott

Reading Level

AR 2.8 (0.5 points)

Interest Level

K-3

Review and Comments

A sleepover at Grandma’s house is a very special occasion. The Napping House describes one of those memorable yet somewhat unusual nights with Grandma. 

Expressive, large illustrations show Grandma asleep in a very comfy bed. Soon everyone else in the house wants to join her.  First, a child snuggles up to Grandma. Then, a dog, a cat, a mouse, and finally a flea pile on top. Each page shows the characters in different sleeping positions and it seems that everyone is comfortable and having a restful night. That doesn’t last long, however, because the flea suddenly bites the mouse.  Each character in turn is disturbed until no one is napping, not even Grandma.  Even though there is considerable confusion, the boy and Grandma smile and seem to actually enjoy the whole experience. What a fun Grandma!

This story is a great read aloud book because of the repetition, similar to the style of The House that Jack Built.  Young readers will also have great success with the repeating phrases and enjoy the imaginative illustrations.

Possible Concerns

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion

Art: Make stick puppet of:  Grandma, child, dog, cat, house, and flea.  Retell the story using the puppets or act out the story using the puppets as it is read aloud.

Questions:

Why do you think everyone wanted to sleep with Grandma?

Why did the flea bite the mouse?

What did Grandma and the boy say when everything calmed down?

Do you think Grandma will let all the characters sleep with her again?

 Awards for this book: Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text

Catholic Resources

  • Saint Anne is the patron saint of grandmothers.  Her feast day is July 26.
  • Check out the Catholic Grandparents Association whose main goal is “to help Grandparents pass on the faith and keep prayer in the heart of family life.”

 

A Change of Focus: A Review of ‘Surviving the Applewhites’

“Embrace everyone and everything that helps you become a better version of yourself and you will live a life uncommon.” – Matthew Kelly [The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic]

Reading Level

AR 5.5 [7 points]

Grades 6-12 [Scholastic]

Review and Comments

The Applewhite family can be described as unique or extraordinary, but those words really don’t capture the nature of the family well enough.  Idiosyncratic is the word that expresses the dynamics of the Applewhites much better.  A few members can even be described as egocentric.  Each person in this extended family has such a distinctive personality that their individual stories are quite interesting.  Their creative passions seem to divide the family, but when a theatrical crisis occurs, the Applewhites have to pull together and eventually resolve those problems.

The reader is introduced to the family by twelve year old Edith Wharton, or E.D., as she prefers to be called. She describes her family as “a spontaneous group of people who love chaos and crave freedom.” Her family even decides that the children’s education should be different because after all they are not like other people.  Their motto is:  “Education is an adventurous quest for the meaning of life, involving an ability to think things through.” So, they start the Applewhite Creative Academy where “creativity and individuality are paramount,” and the children develop their own study programs to accommodate their personal interests. 

Continue reading A Change of Focus: A Review of ‘Surviving the Applewhites’

Two Inches of Determination: A Review of ‘Stuart Little’

“It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”–J.R.R. Tolkein

 

Reading Level

AR 6.0 [3.0 points]

4.25 [Leveled Books Database]

Interest Level  

Grades 3-5 [Scholastic]

Review and Comment

E.B. White’s classic tale Stuart Little is about an extraordinary, diminutive mouse. Stuart has a tenacious spirit that emboldens him to confront all the challenges a two-inch mouse naturally faces and some very surprising adventures. Continue reading Two Inches of Determination: A Review of ‘Stuart Little’

A Determined Spirit: A Review of ‘Stone Fox’

“A small body of determined spirits fired by unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Reading Level: 

Grade 4-5 [according to common core]

Grade 3.2 [according to Scholastic]

Grade 4    [AR level]

Interest Level:

Grades 3-5

Review and Comments:

Stone Fox is a story about courage and determination.  It is a story about a young boy’s love for his grandfather and his dog that will touch the heart of the reader. Continue reading A Determined Spirit: A Review of ‘Stone Fox’

Middle School Perception: A Review of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’

“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some people will hear today.” — St. Francis of Assisi

Reading Level:  

Grades 4-5 [according to common core]

Grade   5.2 [according to Scholastic]

Interest Level:  

Grades 3-8

Review and Comments:

Greg Heffley reluctantly begins a journal at the same time he starts middle school. The journal is a very detailed record of his private thought process, observations, desires, and schemes. The reader also learns that the journal is primarily a record of his life so when he becomes famous he will only have to reference this history to recall his life story.  From the beginning, he realizes the transition to a new school is an uncertain one and brings with it many challenges.  His anxiety is on high alert as he tries to tread lightly and yet at the same time survive and fit into the intimidating world called middle school. Continue reading Middle School Perception: A Review of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’