Annnnnnnd, we’re back! Since our last post, we have read about Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii (so refined, educated, and loyal to her people) and Genghis Khan of Mongolia (so unrefined, so uneducated, so loyal to himself. In his defense, the living was pretty uncertain on the Mongolian steppe (vocab) in the 13th century. We get the impression that there was no lack of unrefined, uneducated, and untrustworthy yurt (vocab) dwellers. My son and I are SO glad we didn’t live then and there. So glad.)
Current fiction – we loved learning about Charles Dickens last month, so we decided to tackle “A Christmas Carol”. So far, the book’s conversational style is a delight, although I need to interpret countless phrases and concepts on every page: door knocker, counting-house, Bedlam, workhouses, melancholy, tavern. This is not a problem! Bring it, Mr. Dickens.
Current non-fiction –
Reading only one page a night from Peter Grundy’s captivating book, “HUMAN BODY” gives us plenty of thought-provoking information. Example: on the page about the sense of smell, we learned that a human has 15 million olfactory receptors (vocab), most dogs have 1,000 million olfactory receptors, BUT a bloodhound has – GET THIS – 4,000 million olfactory receptors. So this led to a little discussion about why bloodhounds are the dog of choice for finding lost people, followed by a discussion about how people get lost. Graphics? Genius.
We are also reading through “MAPS”, by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. What a joy this gigantic book is. Again, one page a night is plenty. As we begin each new country, we find it on our globe, then we treat ourselves to the jillions of darling hand-drawn illustrations. Last night we spent time with the page on France and ended up discussing whether or not we would consider eating escargots.
Our story problem: Farmer Brown’s Halloween – Farmer Brown is giving glow-in-the-dark bracelets for Halloween instead of candy. He can purchase 300 bracelets for $24. How much will each bracelet cost?
If he gives the first 50 trick-or-treaters one bracelet each, but gives the next 100 children 2 bracelets each (because he really doesn’t want to end up with a bunch of bracelets at the end of the evening), how many bracelets should he give to the final group of 10 trick-or-treaters (so he doesn’t end up with any bracelets)?
Scary Music for Halloween –
- “Dance Macabre”, by Camille Saint-Saens, composed in 1874. The clock strikes midnight on Halloween, calling the dead to arise and dance until dawn. This splendid video showcases a most skilled youth orchestra from Poland. Well worth the view to watch for the marimba, xylophone, vibraphone, and orchestral bells – instruments of perfection for evoking the sounds of rattling skeleton bones.
- “Mars”, from “The Planets”, composed by Gustav Holst in 1914. This is the poster child for menacing music. We love this particular video – it is a simulation of a rover landing on Mars. We’ve probably watched this 10 times.
- “Masquerade”, movement 1 (the waltz), from a suite written by Aram Khachaturian in 1941. This video is a full-blown production number, dark and decadent, just like the music. For some reason, it is a bit out of focus, but this only adds to the Halloween creepiness.
Welcome to the best part of my day!
– Jane BH