February’s florilegium is particularly fragrant, friends. We finally got to back to the library on a weekly basis, so our book-list is more varied and interesting than it has been for many a month.
In history we’re studying China in the Middle Ages, so we read lots of Chinese folk tales and some Chinese poetry. Here were a few of our favorites:
Lord of the Cranes by Kerstin Chen and Jian Jiang Chen
This is one of my favorite Chinese tales: a beautiful story of kindness extended and returned.
Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong
Jane loved this fun folk tale about a magic pot that doubles everything you put into it, including you!
Maples in the Mist: Poems for Children from the Tang Dynasty by Minfong Ho; illustrated by Mou-Sien Tseng and Jean Tseng
Gorgeous illustrations adorn these simple, evocative children’s poems from the Middle Ages. I’m curious to know how they sound in Chinese: like Mother Goose rhymes? or are the Chinese more erudite than my European ancestors?
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie, illustrated by Ed Young
I love Ed Young’s illustrations. Jane loves Cinderella. A perfect pairing.
For Christmas, my sister gave us Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. We didn’t plan the synchronicity of our bedtime read-aloud this month corresponding so neatly with our history studies, but so it was.
Lin’s lovely book weaves together Chinese folk tales (and some of her own folk tales, too, I expect) with the story of young Minli’s journey to find the Man in the Moon and change her family’s fortune. I’m so glad we own this one—and in hardback, too. (Thanks, Jen!)
We also found a couple of beautiful books whose words come directly from the Bible.
Barry Moser illustrated Psalm 23 with gorgeous watercolor images of a shepherd on an island in the Caribbean.
And Gennady Spirin illustrated the Creation story in the rich style of Renaissance Russian paintings. I highly recommend both.
Our other reading this month included a second visit to the Little House in the Big Woods to play with Laura and Mary Ingalls, and our second trip to Middle Earth. The kids loved The Hobbit so much they insisted that we start on The Lord of the Rings. We’re now about a third of the way through The Fellowship. May I say again how rich and delightful Tolkien’s prose is? Reading it out loud makes it all the clearer what a brilliant and vivid writer he was.
We read many more books this month, too many to list here, but I’ve discovered a good use for Pinterest: as a visual and annotated “list” of books we’ve read.