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spires from Carfax

books approaching five

Books + Ideas, — November 2017

This will probably be my last book update before Helen is reading herself, though I expect to be reading to her for a long time as well. (She's at the point where she can, if motivated, puzzle out pretty much anything with sensible orthography, and with the early reader books — Russell Hoban's Frances books are current favourites — I'm now helping her with the hard words rather than getting her to read one or two words.) Here are some of the books we've enjoyed since my last update.

None of the others were as engrossing as The Robber HotzenplotzThe Little Witch was probably our favourite — but we've read all of the four Otfried Preussler novels for younger children (Krabat can wait).

Roald Dahl's The Twits was a great success, but Fantastic Mr Fox less so. James and the Giant Peach went down well, but Helen would rather reread The Twits than start on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The six short Sophie books by Dick King-Smith (borrowed from the library) were a big hit, and we followed them up with the same author's Ninnyhammer and The Hodgeheg.

We've kept on reading the Moomin novels: Finn Family Moomintroll was the one Helen liked best (and I think is the best starting point for younger readers), but we have also read The Exploits of Moominpappa and almost finished Tales from Moomin Valley. In many ways I think these are the most sophisticated of the books we've been reading.

I've written separately about Greek myths, but since then we've read Hugh Lupton's The Adventures of Odysseus and The Adventures of Achilles and Roger Lancelyn Green's Tales of the Greek Heroes. Next up we were going to read RLJ's The Tale of Troy, but we have instead ended up reading the Iliad itself (in Barry Powell's translation)!

We've read two versions of the Ramayana: the Indonesian Ramayana Indonesian Wayang Performance, which frames it as a puppet performance (and has Sinta instead of Sita, Lesmana instead of Laksman, and so forth), and Sanjay Patel's Ramayana: Divine Loophole. Helen didn't bite at Bulbul Sharma's Ramayana for Children.

Recommended by our friends Nadia and Frieda, we enjoyed Ulf Nilsson's Detective Gordon: the First Case.

We re-read Esther Averill's Jenny and the Cat Club stories, then tackled the two books in the series we hadn't read, Captains of the City Streets and The Hotel Cat. Helen gets to read Jenny's Birthday Book and The Fire Cat herself.

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