Monday, June 27, 2011

Books of the Week: The Faraway Tree Stories, You Can Count on Monsters

Here are our favorites from last week:

Tintin (8) and Johnny Boo (5)

The Faraway Tree Stories
Author/illustrator: Enid Blyton/Jill Newton
Publisher: Egmont Books (July 2002)
Source: Public library

The Faraway Tree Stories comprises three books: The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, and The Folk of the Faraway Tree, originally published in 1939, 1943, and 1946, respectively. Joe, Beth, and Frannie (the girls' names were changed from Bessie and Fannie in the version we have) move to the country and find the most amazing tree in the woods behind their house. The Enchanted Wood is full of talking animals, elves, and whispering trees, while the Faraway Tree is home to the Angry Pixie, Dame Washalot, Mr. Watzisname, Moon-Face, and a fairy named Silky. The children become especially friendly with Moon-Face, Silky, and the Saucepan Man, a funny man covered in saucepans and kettles who moves in with Watzisname. Every chance they get they climb to the top of the tree, past all kinds of fruits and nuts, up a ladder and through a hole in the clouds, until they reach a new land. They explore the Land of Take-What-You-Want, the Land of Secrets, the Land of Treats, and many others, and if they're not careful the three children and their friends might get stuck in one of these lands when it moves away from the Faraway Tree and a new land comes to stay. Sometimes the lands are full of fun, like the Land of Birthdays, and sometimes they're full of danger, like the Land of Tempers, but there's always an adventure to be had.

The Faraway Tree Stories has now become both boys' "favorite book ever." I 've been reading it to them during breakfast and snack time, and every time I'd come to the end of a chapter and read the next chapter title, I'd hear, "Do it! Do it!" It's the perfect read-aloud for children, from preschool to middle grade, and I'm pretty sure my boys would have me start it all over again if someone else hadn't already put a hold on it at the library.

Tintin's note: It was a good adventure. The Faraway Tree Stories is the best story adventure.

Johnny Boo's note: It's my favorite book ever.

Find it: Amazon

You Can Count on Monsters: The First 100 Numbers and Their Characters
Author/illustrator: Richard Evan Schwartz
Publisher: A K Peters, Ltd. (January 2010)
Source: Public library

The goal of You Can Count on Monsters is to teach children about prime numbers and factoring, and to give them a fun and creative way to learn multiplication. Tintin has already mastered many multiplication facts, thanks in part to an excellent video game adventure called Timez Attack, and Johnny Boo is nowhere near learning about multiplication (he has threatened to quit school after 1st grade so he won't have to learn it), but this is a great book for both of them. Tintin can still learn a lot from this book (once he stops focusing solely on the illustrations), and until he becomes more interested in math, Johnny Boo at least has a unique art book to look through. They absolutely love the monsters, each of which represents a different prime number. The prime number monsters combine to form a new scene with composite numbers. There is also a monster for the number 1, but it's "a bit disappointed because it doesn't get to interact with any of the other monsters."

Tintin's note: The monsters were totally silly and awesome.

Johnny Boo's note: It was a totally silly book.

Find it: Amazon, IndieBound

1 comment:

Shelsie17 said...

Interesting books, especially the Faraway Tree Series!