Thrifting Swoon/On Challenging Your Children

I went to the Goodwill yesterday saying a little prayer as I went in that there would be some decent pants in the sizes of my two middle sons... they are in desperate need of some fresh knees to rip through.

No such luck. God, in His infinite goodness, did not allow such a mercy. But He did allow me to find a book that has been on my want list for a very, very long time:

Pagooby Holling C. Holling is the very first living science book that I read aloud to my children when my oldest was six years old. It was a very surprising hit. Kind of like how I was shocked when my six year old requested that we read Pinocchio (the original version) where the language is archaic and challenging, but they loved it! Children really ought to get their ears trained to hearing excellent vocabulary though. Don't make the mistake of thinking they always need to be talked (read) down to. They will rise to the challenge. And when I taught myself to read at age four, whenever I came across words I didn't know, I just sort of ignored them until they slowly came to meaning based on context. That's how readers and writers are born. They get challenged with the words in their natural setting which they are exposed to often. If you yourself are uncomfortable with reading challenging books with your children, get the audio version! Play it in the car where they can't escape the words which might ordinarily make them disinterested only because they are unfamiliar...

But I digress, I think if I were to read Pagoo again with their ages now (9, 7, 5), it would be even more popular. As it is, Holling C. Holling books are one of the more superior options you have in teachable stories. I mean, a lot, lot, lot of picture books really double as educational too... but these are something special. Each one is a perfect science or geography lesson in and of itself with a story wrapped up in it. And the art, which is usually a color spread on every other page, and more nature-journal black and white sketches with captions in between... is super. Do not expect a typical 15 minute story however, they are fairly dense. We spread our reading of it out over a week.

Pagoo is about the life of a hermit crab. We learned all about tidal creatures, life cycles of hermit crabs and fun little facts here and there. It was really easy to make it come alive for them when we went to the aquarium and could see real hermit crabs up close... and then I reinforced it with buying this excellent little companionfor our toy animal bin too.

Other books we've purchased (albeit full price) from this author are Minn of the Mississippiand Paddle-to-the-Seawhich we began reading when we studied the beginnings of European explorers in Canada last year. Excellent, excellent books. And who really needs pants when you have books?

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