Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kingfishers and Sheldrakes in Natural History

As part of AO Year 3, we are reading William J. Long's Secrets of the Woods, a natural history selection.  It's one of our favorites.  Not only is this a wonderfully written living book, it also sparks our interest to find out more.  We're been reading last week and this the chapter on kingfishers.  After our first section, we looked up kingfishers in our bird book.  Then we conducted more research online, and found this wonderful YouTube video (I love the narrator's accent!):

In today's reading, Long talks about sheldrakes. What's a sheldrake, you ask?  So did I, and turns out it's a type of duck.  Here's the link to a Wikipedia article on the same.

Many of the chapters are long, so I break them up into logical (to me, at least) sections and read one or two sections per week. This helps with my children's narrations and also their absorption of the material.  We're taking our time to savor this book, one of the reasons I espouse a literary education.

One drawback, in my humble opinion, is Long's use of the then-popular (1902) pidgin English for native American speech.  Think of Tonto, and you'll know what I mean.  When reading aloud, I amend these incidences, but that's my personal decision.

If you're interested in taking a look at this excellent book, Secrets of the Woods is available free at the Baldwin Project.  Click here to take a look.

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