Books I Read Aloud to the Kids, November, 2018

This month we did a lot of driving, so we smashed out a ton of great audiobooks!

Books We Read

We had four novels going in October, and we were able to complete all of them but one this month:

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague is the third book in the series and nearly 475 pages long.  While this book was still good, I’ll be honest in that it wasn’t my favorite book.  In this book, a plague is on Fablehaven, and it is turning all of the creatures dark and mean.  There is a fun twist in this book in that one character, who died long ago, is able to come help thanks to a time machine, sort of, but overall, this wasn’t my favorite Fablehaven book.

Intruders at Rivermead Manor: A Kit Mystery by Kathryn Reiss

My girls love American Girl mysteries the same way I used to love Sweet Valley High books when I was young.  Honestly, I’m kind of over American Girl mysteries, but the girls keep picking them!

Intruders at Rivermead Manor is one of the better American Girl mysteries.  Kit is helping her great uncle by cooking and cleaning for him.  Since this story is set in the Great Depression, her family welcomes the additional money.  Her great uncle’s neighbor, an eccentric woman whose house was part of the Underground Railroad and who believes in time travelers, needs help, too.  Kit is intrigued by the secret passages until she starts to see small footprints in the dust.  Are there really time travelers?  And if not, who is regularly coming to the house?

This book was a good mystery, but it was also a great history lesson about how difficult times were during the Great Depression and how we all need to help one another.

Message in a Bottle: A Julie Mystery by Kathryn Reiss

In Message in a Bottle, Julie and her mom go to help her mom’s sister, who lives on a commune.  They soon find suspicious activity and suspect someone outside the commune, but when Julie’s cousin goes missing and is found trapped in an old mine, they begin to suspect that they’re looking for someone within the commune.

This mystery never really interested me, but there was a sweet little love story as part of a minor sub plot.

Audio Stories We Listened To

We listened to a number of really good audio stories this month, and one that wasn’t so great:

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

In The Sign of the Beaver, Matt and his father come to Maine to set up a new house.  Matt’s father leaves Matt, a 12 year old, to tend the homestead while he returns to bring the rest of the family to Maine to settle.  Matt is confident, but soon the weeks stretch into months with no sign of his father or family.  Luckily, he’s rescued by a local Indian chief when he’s stung by bees, and Matt strikes up an unlikely friendship with the chief’s grandson, Attean.  This is a great adventure book, and we all enjoyed it.

This audio was 3 hours long.

Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare

I didn’t even realize, until writing this up, that Calico Captive is by the same author as The Sign of the Beaver.  In Calico Captive, Miriam and her sister, Susanna, and Susanna’s family are abducted by Native Americans.  Heavily pregnant, Susanna ends up giving birth in the woods while the Indians are marching the family north.

While they live in the Indian village for some time, when Miriam rebuffs an Indian’s proposal of marriage, the family is no longer welcome and they are shuttled and sold north in Montreal.  There, their lives all taken very different turns.  This is based on a real story.

This audio book was 7 hours long.

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

If you’re going to listen to Stone Fox, make sure to bring the tissues!  Willy lives with his grandfather, but one day, his grandfather just–stops.  He doesn’t get out of bed, he barely eats, yet the doctor can find nothing wrong with him and pronounces that the grandfather no longer has a will to live.  Willy is desperate to encourage his grandfather while trying to maintain the family farm and bring in the harvest.

Later, Willy receives a bill for $500 in back taxes, and suddenly he understands why his grandfather is so despondent.  He decides to enter a local dogsled race to win the prize of $500, but things don’t go as he expected.

This audio book was 1 hour long.

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Eggs was my least favorite audio book this month.  Eight year old David lives with his grandma while his dad works out of town; his mother recently passed away.  Primrose is 13 years old and has never known her father; she despises her fortune telling mother.  The two form an unlikely friendship and wander the town late at night, unbeknownst to their families.

While I realize that this book was supposed to show two lost kids who find each other and fill in a need each of them has, the story mostly just grated on my nerves.  David is rude and disrespectful to his grandma; Primrose is also rude and dismissive to everyone, and together, the kids mostly just fight like siblings.  It was not pleasant listening to this audio.

This audio was 4.5 hours long.

The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

In The Littlest Bigfoot, Alice Mayfield is an only child born to wealthy, indifferent parents.  She’s chubby and has crazy curly hair and a unique mind.  Every year she’s shipped to a different private school or boarding school, and every year she struggles with being bullied and not fitting in.

Millie Maximus is a Bigfoot and lives deep in the forest.  Her entire clan tries to avoid humans (or No Furs, as the Bigfoots call them).  But Millie thinks differently from others in her clan, and she is curious about the No Furs.

When Alice saves Millie from drowning one night, an unusual friendship forms.  The girls and I really enjoyed this whimsical story.

This audio was 6.5 hours long.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

 

Another month, another audio by Christopher Paul Curtis.  Seriously, we just can’t get enough of his books.  They’re fabulous!  We first learned of Deza Malone in Bud, Not Buddy, and this time, she has her own story, The Mighty Miss Malone.  She and her family live in Gary, Indiana during the Great Depression.  Times are tough, but the family is tight knit, and Deza is an excellent student.  One day her father, against her mother’s wishes, takes a boat trip on Lake Michigan to fish, and there lives are never

the same.

The family begins a journey to Flint, Michigan, but over the months, their lives twist and turn in unexpected ways.  This is a poignant story that stayed with me long after it was over.

This audio was 8 hours long.

Jingle by Gordon Korman

Jingle was a strange little mystery.  Griffin Bing and his friends are requested to be Santa’s elves at an annual holiday extravaganza that lasts several weeks.  None of them are happy about this, but they are unexpectedly freed from their duties when the Star of Prague, the $10 million dollar centerpiece of the extravaganza, is stolen.  Griffin and his friends are on the case, and find an unlikely theft.

This audio was 5 hours long.

Books read aloud in June – November: 25

Audio stories listened to in June – November: 24

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