Sunday, November 15, 2009

Children's Book Monday

Whilst my boys are employed in the discovery of melting snow and I've enjoined my daughter to make use of her pencils at table and it pleased God that the baby should also asleep be, I've seen well to make much good use of the time gained to share a book we've enjoyed this fortnight past.

Not my usual style? ~smile~ Simply my silly attempt at the old King's English we are enjoying in this week's selection! Let's just allow the professionals to handle the language, shall we?

Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrim's Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620
by William Bradford and Others of the Mayflower Company
edited by Margaret Wise Brown

The words I used in my introduction were most noticeable to my children; after a time, we began to keep count! This journal was first published in 1622, under the unwieldy title A Relation or Journal of the Proceedings of the Plantations Settled at Plymouth in New England. The author was cited as G. Mourt, however it was soon discovered that no such person existed among the Mayflower's company, and the general consensus was that Governor Bradford, Edward Winslow and others were the colonists who really kept this journal.

Under the masterful editing of another favorite, Margaret Wise Brown (Good Night Moon, Big Red Barn, Fox Eyes, A Child's Good Morning Book, and so many other sweet delights), the original "vigorous" King James English has been retained whenever possible while being also somewhat modernized for an easier read in this day and age.

Pen and ink sketches by Mary Wilson Stewart decorate the pages, enhancing the story with their simplicity. My boys' favorite picture was of William Bradford, his foot caught in an animal trap laid by the natives (warning: the word used is savage; takes but a moment to explain the reasoning behind a name such as this at the time); the sapling is bent nearly to the ground, a noose around his ankle, pulling the leg up and causing one arm to flail about. It looks as if we've snapped a photograph just before he is swept onto his back!

This journal begins on September 6, 1620, as the pilgrims "loose" from Plymouth. (I had to pause on numerous occasions to decipher a word; in this case, the author describes being courteously used by "divers" friends there dwelling. I read it silently several times before I realized that the definition of this particular word was of different character, rather than an occupation involving sea creatures and diving equipment. Again, ~weak smile~!)

As we read through the many hardships, adventures, births, and firsthand accounts of sorrow laced with great faith, the story of the events leading up to the Thanksgiving we celebrate today was enriched by these words straight from the mouths of those who were there.

Eliana is even enjoying the reading; although her grasp of the old English is lesser, she enjoys the names as much as I do... Remember, Desire, Resolved, Humility, Love... Our hearts meet with such people whose relationships with their God translate to the precious task of naming their children.

Corban is also reading Robinson Crusoe right now, and Micah and I are making our way through the original Pilgrim's Progress, so we are a little more familiar with the language than some, but when read together, with a lilt and excitement in your voice, perhaps an accent or two, it doesn't take long to suddenly be following the cadence of the story, and comprehension follows soon after.

Read-aloud ages 4-10

Happy reading!

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