Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Poppet Book Review

Do you read to your kids?
I assume if you're the blog-reading type, you do. It still amazes me that we get notes home from school (as we did in Oz) reminding parents to read for 20 minutes everyday to the kids. This is a no-brainer to me, but obviously there are parents out there who aren't reading at bedtime, or in the morning or whenever. Tut tut.
It has been such a priority for us, that we started the bedtime-reading routine when Poppet was about 6 weeks old. When she was sitting up unaided, she would look at books and knew which way was up and how to turn the pages. She was never allowed to chew on a book or (heaven forbid) write in one. But the most important point was that we spent quality time together every single day with books, and have continued to do so ever since. 
Sometimes she reads to me (the other night I had a migraine and couldn't see the pages properly) and I love that because she does lots of fun character voices. We are currently working our way through "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and her Yorkshire accent is pretty amusing.
I've been looking for a way to include Poppet's input in the blog, and decided that our love of books would be the best way to go. We have an insanely large collection of children's books. 

We have amassed this collection since arriving in October. We had to leave a huge bookcase full of them in Oz. For now.

This is the amount of books we usually get from the library. Guess who gets to lug them home...

So, today I'll share the first Poppet Book Review. 
She has her own designated notebook, and I put together some questions for her to answer regarding her book of choice. She even came up with a rating system.

* I do not like it.
** I like it a little.
*** Pritty good.
**** Good!
***** Great!

This is our first book. I bought it for her primarily for the incredible illustration, but it's also a Robert Frost poem and we've been exploring poetry a little more these days. Who doesn't love a book which rhymes?!
And of course it's about snow. Incredibly, it's snowing today, hasn't done enough of that this winter in Toronto. And we really, really love the snow. Really.

"Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers.
Here are some pics of the illustrations, and I've included the poem for your perusal...

"Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

There are a few different 'readings' of this poem, if you're a grownup. Is the narrator dying, just holding on to finish things before he 'sleeps'? What I like about reading poetry to a child is that they are blissfully ignorant of these 'deeper' and more 'intellectual' meanings. Instead, the child simply reads the words and derives their own meaning and pleasure from them. 

Here is Poppet's understanding of this text:
1. What is the poem about? "A man that went to the forest and saw snow and liked it."
2. What is your favourite page and what do you like about it? "The one where he makes a snow angle (angel). Because he makes a snow angle (who doesn't like snow 'angles'?).
3. Does the book have a message? What is it? "Yes. Gron-ups (grownups) like snow and so do kids."

**** Good!

If you're interested, you can purchase this book here.

So, there you have it. Poppet really loved this book, as did I. She was very taken with the illustrations, and I think she will get more out of it as she gets older. It's the kind of book you keep and give to your grandchildren. But then, aren't they all?


  1. Hi Jen, It is wonderful that you have maintained that daily reading routine. I am nowhere near diligent enough! You have kicked my butt into action (or at least to just ponder about action). A couple of weekends ago Riley picked up 'The Witches' and read it over the weekend. He walked everywhere with his head in that book. From bed to couch to car and back again. I think it was a milestone that will be as memorable to me as when he first walked.
    I am looking forward to Poppets next book review. Her writing and comprehension are fantastic.

    1. you're welcome mel. if riley is doing a book in a weekend, i think you're on track! that's the great thing about roald dahl, he really gets kids' attention.
      we read a book or two, or a chapter or two (depending upon what we're reading) every night before bed. if it's a late night she still insists on a "Grug" book or something similar...

  2. Great post, Jen and I look forward to Poppet's future books reviews!
    There is nothing better than hearing your child read aloud. Michaela (3) 'reads' constantly, we're on a Mr Men bender at present. With two teachers in the house, our kids have no choice!

    1. i am the progeny of teachers and university literature-studying types. perhaps that's the reason we're so 'bookish'. it's a great shame if people can't find the time to read with their kids, even if it's just once a week. it's all about being in the moment and enjoying one another's company.


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