Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jack's Insects

This is one book among the ones out of copyrights that was not available online. A friend had got a copy from Amazon and was reading aloud to her children. It was on her own suggestion and experience since her children enjoyed it a lot, that I bought the book. 

Here is what i already knew:
Originally published in 1910, Jack's Insects by Edmund Selous and illustrated by J. A. Shepherd, is a classic living science book. Charlotte Mason used it in her schools and their lesson plans are available online which contain a reading schedule they used. It was for Grades 4-6. It has fascinating facts about insects interwoven with the story of Jack and Maggie's adventures inside Jack's new insect book.
This is what I found:

When Jack receives a book on insects for his birthday, Maggie wishes one could get inside a book. They end up in the insect book, experiencing adventures with insects of all sorts as they travel. Along the way they encounter a butterfly with a grievance and other insects like caterpillars, spiders, as well as fireflies, locusts, grasshoppers, wasps, bees. Since we are in the second chapter(we started last week), it would  not be possible to give a complete review but I have had my son begging for more when I stopped reading while trying to keep my eyes open before bedtime. :).

Edmond Selous wrote many books about animals for both children and adults which are still popular today. There is a great amount of information about animals that is transmitted to the reader through the conversations his youthful protagonists have with the animals they encounter. 'Each animal is brought to life so vividly through the story that the reader unconsciously absorbs the details of its existence: its physical characteristics, its habits and preferences, and its interactions with other animals.'

The quality of language and scientific information is hard to find in today's world. Even though Charlotte Mason actually used this very book in her schools, it still remarkably holds its charm for today's children almost a century later.

This thick 430 page book with 20 chapters book says that it is for ages 9 and up but can be read aloud to kids a bit younger, too if the reader is prepared for some explaining along the way. This book however has very long sentences and requires slower reading and sometimes re=reading of phrases. (The language is not dumbed down as in today's books).

I feel it was a good buy and am looking forward to more of Jack's Insects.

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