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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | agriculture

Bookstorm™: Giant Pumpkin Suite

Giant Pumpkin SuiteCom­pe­ti­tion is a part of young people’s lives: art, sports, music, dance, sci­ence, cup-stack­ing … many chil­dren spend a good part of their day prac­tic­ing, learn­ing, and striv­ing to do their best. Giant Pump­kin Suite is about two types of com­pe­ti­tions, a Bach Cel­lo Suites Com­pe­ti­tion and a giant pump­kin grow­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Rose and Thomas Bruti­gan are twelve-year-old twins … but their per­son­al­i­ties and inter­ests are quite dif­fer­ent. It’s a book set with­in a neigh­bor­hood that pulls togeth­er when a seri­ous acci­dent changes the tra­jec­to­ry of their sum­mer. We meet so many inter­est­ing peo­ple, chil­dren and adults, in this book. It’s full of hold-your-breath plot turns. 

The book is writ­ten at a lev­el for 5th to 8th grade read­ers (and adults) and it has many ties to pop­u­lar cul­ture, math­e­mat­ics, gar­den­ing, and the nature of com­pe­ti­tion. It’s an excel­lent choice for a book club dis­cus­sion.

In each Book­storm™, we offer a bib­li­og­ra­phy of books that have close ties to the the fea­tured book. You’ll find books, arti­cles, web­sites, and videos for a vari­ety of tastes and inter­ests.  

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You’ll find more infor­ma­tion about Melanie Heuis­er Hill on her web­site.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach. Rose Bruti­gan focus­es on an upcom­ing Bach Suites Com­pe­ti­tion by prac­tic­ing … a lot. Who was Bach and why is his music still with us 260 years after his death? Resources include books and videos of our best cel­lists play­ing the Bach Cel­lo Suites.

The Cel­lo. More about the instru­ment Rose plays, with a num­ber of videos you can share with your class or book club.

Charlotte’s Web. This book is a favorite of Rose and her neigh­bor Jane. Charlotte’s Web pro­vides a major turn­ing point in Giant Pump­kin Suite. Learn more about the book and its author, E.B. White.

Giant Pump­kins. Thomas and his neigh­bors work togeth­er to grow a giant pump­kin. Today, these pump­kins (not grown for eat­ing) can way over 2,000 pounds—more than one ton. Books, videos, and arti­cles share sto­ries and how-tos for grow­ing giant pump­kins com­pet­i­tive­ly.

Japan­ese Tea Cer­e­mo­ny. Mrs. Kiyo shares this beau­ti­ful cer­e­mo­ny with Rose. The Book­storm sug­gests a video for your stu­dents to watch.

Math­e­mat­ics and Bach. Are you aware that Bach used math and physics when cre­at­ing his com­po­si­tions? Your stu­dents can delve into this fas­ci­nat­ing aspect of the com­pos­er!

Movie Musi­cals. The music from musi­cals of the 1940s and 1950s is very impor­tant to Jane and Mrs. Lukashenko—they sing and tap dance at the least sug­ges­tion. We pro­vide three sug­ges­tions for watch­ing these movies.

Music Com­pe­ti­tion (Fic­tion). There are a num­ber of excel­lent books about young peo­ple prepar­ing for, and play­ing in, music com­pe­ti­tions! 

Music in Mid­dle Grade Books. And more nov­els in which music is an impor­tant part of the plot. 

Neigh­bor­hood Books. We sug­gest books in which the peo­ple and places of a neigh­bor­hood are inte­gral to the plot of a book. Per­haps you’ll find your favorites.

Tap Danc­ing. Who can resist a good tap dance? Anoth­er strong plot point, we sug­gest books and videos to share with your stu­dents.

Let us know how you are mak­ing use of this Book­storm™. Share your ideas and any oth­er books you’d add to this Book­storm™.

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Tucked In for the Winter

Sleep Tight Farm

Sleep Tight Farm by Euge­nie Doyle illus by Bec­ca Stadt­lander Chron­i­cle Books ISBN 9781452129013

Every detail in this book is heart­warm­ing. You know that the author and the illus­tra­tor and the book’s pub­lish­ing team put a lot of love and respect into bring­ing this sto­ry to read­ers.

From the moment you see the open­ing end papers, a for­est and pas­ture ablaze with fall col­or, until you dis­cov­er the clos­ing end papers, that same for­est with the snowy skele­tons of those trees, you sense the care with­in.

It’s a sto­ry of a farm fam­i­ly who are very busy tuck­ing their farm in for the win­ter. Unless you live on a farm, you like­ly have no idea there’s so much to do! Har­vest­ing, putting food by, pro­tect­ing the fields, prepar­ing the hoop house, keep­ing the bee­hives safe from mice and wind … from big chores to small, this family’s love for their farm wraps around the read­er like a fluffy quilt.

The book will open eyes for chil­dren who don’t know about farm life, but it also neat­ly tucks the details around us, giv­ing us a sat­is­fy­ing look at a fam­i­ly who raise a vari­ety of veg­eta­bles for them­selves, win­ter mar­kets, and their own farm­stand. You sense the family’s deep lev­el of car­ing for the land, the birds and ani­mals, and the farm that sus­tains them.

Dad cuts back the rasp­ber­ries before wind and snow can crack the canes. … The promise of late summer’s plump fruit lies in roots tucked under­ground. Good night, rasp­ber­ries, rest­ing below.” So fine.

I was drawn to this book by the cov­er and illus­tra­tions. It’s those fine­ly detailed, draw-the-read­er-into-the-world-of-the-book, gen­tly instruct­ing paint­ings that com­plete the spell of Sleep Tight Farm.  Those details include the icy white­ness of the book’s title on the cov­er and the infor­mal friend­li­ness of the body text. The farm kitchen is fas­ci­nat­ing with stacked wood, a col­lec­tion of paint­ed pot­tery, rugs on the floor, and a fire in the pot-bel­lied stove.

Sleep Tight Farm

When “We board up chinks in the chick­en coop and set a timer to give the hens the light they need to lay eggs all win­ter” even the straw that lines the chick­en coop and the feed for those chick­ens are includ­ed in the details. We learn a great deal about the farm by obser­va­tion. How are eggs col­lect­ed from the coop? Mom is pound­ing nails to “board up chinks.” There’s a vari­ety of hens and a beau­ti­ful roost­er. The fam­i­ly is wear­ing boots for their work. There’s a fence around the chick­en yard. A chick­en-strut­ting ramp leads from the coop to the ground. “Good night, chick­ens, snug in your coop.” 

After read­ing this book, I feel calmer about the win­ter to come. And I want to vis­it this farm. Warm thanks to author Euge­nie Doyle (whose fam­i­ly oper­ates The Last Resort Farm in Ver­mont) and illus­tra­tor Bec­ca Stadt­lander and the team at Chron­i­cle Books for cre­at­ing this respect­ful, lov­ing, and infor­ma­tive book. What a joy to read! It’s a keep­er.

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Gifted: Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table

Farmer Will Allen and the Grow­ing Table writ­ten by Jacque­line Brig­gs Mar­tin illus­trat­ed by Eric-Shabazz Larkin after­word by Will Allen Read­ers to Eaters, 2013 Intro­duc­tion My sec­ond pas­sion in life after books and read­ing is sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and organ­ic farm­ing. There are a few good books for chil­dren on this top­ic, but I’m always delight­ed […]

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