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Our Current Read-Alouds ~ Swiss Family Robinson and Homer Price

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Reading out loud together has really been something that has taken off over the last few months in our family. After reading The Underland Chronicles by Susan Collins, I wanted to find some other books to read that we would enjoy just as much and also wanted to mix in a few classics along the way.The Swiss Family Robinson (Great Illustrated Classics (Abdo))

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

As we were wrapping up our school year, we picked up the Swiss Family Robinson to read. The Great Illustrated Classic version of the story isn’t quite as intense as many of the other translations, but overall was great. Reactions to the story were mixed overall, because several kiddos loved The Underland Chronicles so very much ~ and Swiss Family Robinson was so very different {perhaps I should have read them in a different order ~ ahem}.

We put the book aside for a little bit this past month. When I attempted to start another book, we had a bit of a mutiny on our hands.

Apparently a few of my kiddos enjoy seeing things through to the end of the story and didn’t like to be left hanging.

We finished up the book this past weekend by the light of the campfire. Then this week we sat down to watch the Disney version of the Swiss Family Robinson to see how the story compared to the movie {on a sidenote, has anyone seen the tv series to recommend at all?}.

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Now that we’ve finished reading the Swiss Family Robinson, we’ve pulled out the book Homer Price by Robert McCloskey to read {you may recognize him as the author of Blueberries for Sal}. We’re about 2/3 of the way through the book and the kids are giggling at the funny short stories and antics all about Homer {they especially loved the mystery story about the robbery and the skunk}.

Next up is either The Borrowers series or another fun adventure book that I recently found…but that will be something I’ll have to share next month!

What are you all reading together?

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  • I thought this was funny because we just tried Swiss Family Robinson as our read aloud and we couldn’t stomach it–it was a bummer.  We’re taking a break right now but we plan on starting a modern series (name escapes me) to see what we think of that.  

  • Sandysing

    Just wondered what ages you thought appropriate to read aloud to together
    … I have a 4 and 6 year old boy and girl and would love to start reading a longer
    Book/series to them. Would love suggestions. Thanks!

  • Our youngest two are ages 5 and 7 and they love sitting down while I read {we’ve been doing it since they were the ages of your two}. Sometimes they will color while we read, sometimes play with legos, etc…but they are there and listening. On several occasions, especially when we’ve really loved the book, I’ve read for looooong stretches of time. The six year old will sometimes stop and ask me to explain things to him, but that shows he is listening! :) I know that the 4 year old isn’t grasping everything in the older books that we are reading, but he is still sitting with us and listening.

    You don’t have to start with such huge books either. There are some great chapter books that you can read aloud with them to keep their attention and get them in the habit of reading {i.e. things similar to Junie B, Adventures in Odyssey series, Magic Treehouse, etc… or other books that are similar in nature}.

    Does that help? :)

  • It wasn’t necessarily my favorite read either {which makes it harder to read out loud!!!}, especially because we ALL enjoyed the last five book series that we read together. :)

  • My kids (ages 8 and 6) really liked the Swiss Family Robinson.   Here’s one observation that we had after reading it.  I had picked up the abridged version from the Classic Starts series (
    http://www.amazon.com/Family-Robinson-Classic-Starts-Series/dp/1402736940/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337778995&sr=8-1). Now my husband has read a lot of classics to my children, usually from Dalmatian Press or the Great Illustrated Classics, and he (a writer by occupation) felt like the Classic Starts  was written much better than the others he had read to them. 

  • Thanks for that info, Sarah!! :) The abridged versions can be interesting {ummm..not so much} at times!

  • Stephanie H

    We’ve seen part of the Swiss Family tv series. It was on a family movie dvd that we got at Family Christian Store that along with 3 other movies. Anyway, we didn’t know it was a tv series, we thought we were getting a movie. We were a little bummed when the long pilot episode ended and the story was far from over. Our kids enjoyed watching it, it was family friendly and all, but of course the whole production wasn’t exactly Hollywood high quality, though that isn’t so important to us. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually read the book, so I don’t know how well the tv series sticks to the real story. I know I’d like to see the rest of the series, and I think our kids would too, there were lots of animals in it, which they always love.

  • I found out that even my teenagers like to be read to. When we were studying the Civil War I read Accessed Five Aprils. It was the first book that I had read to them in a long time. They enjoyed it.  Now we are reading Father to Nobody’s Children by David E. Fessenden. 

  • Cooperkelly4

    love both these books. We listened to Swiss Family Robinso last year on cd (unabridged). It got a little long, but the kids loved it and I saved my voice. It was a wonderful way for the whole family (including Daddy!) to enjoy it.

  • I have not seen the Disney version (that I remember) but I have seen the TV version when I was very young and remember really liking it. Also, side note, Crusoe was pretty good in the first few early episodes I saw too.  Crusoe: The Complete Series

  •  On the same note of what Jolanthe said, I’ve just (in the last week) started reading longer things allowed to my almost three year old. It started with Fancy Nancy: Super Sleuth and Peter Nimble (both considered middle grades chapter books). These have some B/W drawings every once in a while throughout. Also just longer picture books that I wouldn’t have thought she’d sit through and she does like the Storybook Treasury versions and such. We’ve gone from everyday picture books like Berenstain Bears and such to longer ones like Make Way for Ducklings. Right now her favorites are from Mike Mulligan and More. She is loving them all, especially The Little House which she has requested many times over.

  • Right now I’m just trying to keep up with our History read aloud which is With Pipe, Paddle, and Song and next up is Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.

  • Amie Fetzer

    We are currently reading A Mouse Called Wolf. It is cute and simple enough that my 5 year old easly follows along. We are also listening to the Audio book of The Long Winter and will be reading Farmer Boy  Goes West next.

  • Laura

    We are reading Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster.  It is the story of an orphan who is sent to college by a trustree of the orphan asylum.  In payment she is to write letters to him to share what she is learning.  It was published in 1912 and I have a first edition copy that I got as a child at a church yard sale. I remember reading this one over and over as a girl.  I just found out there is a sequel, which I have downloaded for free on my Kobo.  (Both books are available for free on a variety of ebook readers.)

  • Iamdaphy

    My son and I like to do the whole reading then watching the movie thing.  We are doing Swiss Family Robinson next.  Waiting on the book to come in from Amazon.  We had started this book before from the library and we seemed to both like it.  So I look forward to getting this one done.  I personally have never read this book, but I love the classics so I figure its one of those I have to read lol.

  • Kim

    We just finished reading Stuart Little. We, too, followed the book with watching the movie. Afterwards we made a Venn diagram comparing the two. I used pictures since my 4-year-old is just beginning to read :-)

  • ooo…a venn diagram. :) that makes the teacher in me smile!!

  • Oooo…that sounds like a fabulous book. I am loving these read-aloud posts because you all always have some great suggestions!

  • Hang in there, Paula and keep reading!! :)

  • Nicole – mama to 4 Blessings

    Storytime With the Millers!

  • Val

    We listened to the Borrowers and liked it, but we LOVED The Pushcart Wars. I remember loving that as a child too. We also loved By the Great Horn Spoon, about the California gold rush. Both authors have a very dry sense of humor, which we appreciate here. :-)

  • a few more books to add to my list! :) Thanks!!

  • Iamdaphy

    love the vinn diagram idea…. we did the outsiders too… read the book then watched the movie.  Good one for older kids.  My son got very invested in the whole story and loved it. 

  • Laura

    Our kids are 8 and 5 and we just got done reading The Hobbit and are now on to Robin Hood (Penguin Classics).  Have you heard of the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson? We read the first three this past year and loved them!
    Regarding the TV Series of Swiss Family – we recently started watching them (the first season is free on Hulu right now) and we really like it.

  • Ooo!! Good to know about Hulu!!! Thanks! I’ll have to check out the other books you mentioned as well ~ we will NEVER lack for something to read!

  • mrsyellowhat

    The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- the kids love it! :)

  • mrsyellowhat

    You might consider looking at the Sonlight site and seeing what books they have on their curriculum lists that you could get at your library.  My children have loved their selections.

  • Lennie

    I just read a fabulous book called Wonder by RJ Palacio.  It is a book I will definitely save on my shelf for when my little guy is in 4th or 5th grade.  The discussions you could have with your kids about true beauty, acceptance, and being a friend would be remarkable.

    Many blessings!

  • We put down Winnie the Pooh for a while but have recently picked it back up.  I am then going to let Sammy pick what we should read next.. either the bear called paddington, mouse and the motorcycle or another winnie the pooh book. 

  • amy

    I recommend ‘the dog who would’t be’ or ‘owls in the family’ by Farley mowatt. Both are great read alouds for various ages.

  • I should pull out our copy too. :)

  • Julie

    We’re trying to finish up Farmer Boy (loved it as a kid, but it’s dragging on a little for me now, lol). We went ahead and started Charlotte’s Web today…fun, fun!

    I checked out an audio version of Homer Price, so hope to start that in the van this week. :)

  • I need to get a few more audio books out. It may be time to pull out the Narnia series again!

  • We are reading Little House in the Big Woods! Almost finished. My 4yr old begs me to read more every time I put it down.  We love the Swiss Family Robinson movie, but I have never read the book. We will have to try it. Thanks!

  • have fun reading! :)

  • Leah

    we read Swiss Family Robinson last year when my daughter was 4 and she LOVED it…the version we read was from the Troll Illustrated Classics Series. And then we watched the same movie you did. The Troll version may be a bit too young for your little ones however–it’s only 48 pages!

  • That is definitely a lot shorter than the one that we read. :)

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