Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Preparing for Take-off by Reading Books


Two weeks until our Grand European Adventure! The girls and I are getting more and more excited as we count down the days. 

When it comes to prepping for our trip, I've pretty much failed, unless stocking the Kindle counts as prep. I haven't even begun thinking about what to pack - the procrastinator in me tends to toss random stuff into suitcases at the very last second. Also, I should probably reorder contact lenses soon.... and buy some of those outlet converters, because the Brits have crazy prongs on all their appliances and my bangs certainly don't straighten themselves.

But I guess I can't say I've done nothing to prepare - Nope, I certainly can't, because the girls and I have been prepping for our trip Marisa-style.... through literature!

My mom read aloud to my older brother and me all the way through middle school, and sitting together on the couch, listening as she read the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, and The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart, is definitely among my strongest childhood memories - and a tradition I knew I'd keep up with my own kiddos.

So we started with James and the Giant Peach, which yeah, takes place in a peach, and the sky, but also takes place by the English seaside, before they cross the English Channel.

Did the girls absolutely love it?

YOU BETCHA. Especially when Centipede screamed, "IDIOTS! MORONS!" to the cloud men. (why does this not surprise me about my girls?)

When we were done reading - a chapter or two a night, so it took a couple weeks - we all hopped on the couch and watched the movie. And afterward, Gracie said, "That was good. But the book is way better."

And Annelie wholeheartedly agreed, saying, "Yeah, 'cause in the book, the centipede yells, IDIOTS! And MORONS!"

The girls couldn't wait to begin our next book, set in Scandinavia and London:

They LOVED every second of it. We have yet to watch the movie, but it was one of my favorites as a kid and we definitely plan on watching it ASAP.

In the meantime, we're prepping for the Swedish portion of our Grand European Adventure by reading none other than...

The girls adore Pippi Longstocking so much they beg for more and more and more, and two chapters a night just aren't enough for them (even though it's more than enough for my voice box). Pippi is HILARIOUS, and everything she says and does has the girls cracking up.

And Gracie's favorite part - chapter six, when Pippi, Annika, and Tommy had a picnic by the water. She gave a huge sigh and said,  "Oh they're so lucky. That sounds like the best picnic in the world."

I think it's time I bust out the pictures from our last trip to Sweden, so Gracie can see the place where we picnicked, and where we might picnic again.

We're three chapters from the end of Pippi, and with two weeks to go, I know we have time for another book. So I asked Will what his favorite book from when he was a kid was, and he said, "The Just William stories. Everyone used to tell me I was just like William."

Wouldn't you know it, Just William is from 1922, which means public domain, which means FREE for the Kindle! Woo hoo!


 - Just William - not a hit. We could barely make it through page one. Oh well! Next on our list:

Which is FREE for the Kindle, here - yay! Only sadly the free version is not illustrated by Arthur Rackham (one of my FAVE illustrators ever)

Will also suggested I prepare the girls for our trip to Bruges, Belgium, by watching In Bruges.... which is an AWESOME movie... 

But I politely said, "Um, no."

I should probably do a little more to prep - maybe put together a scavenger hunt for our trip to the Louvre, and sketchbook journals so the girls can keep up with their reading and writing, while recording their trip to share with their dad, as Will SADLY won't be able to join us this summer. 

Or maybe I should think about packing...

How about you guys? What are your favorite childhood books, or books you've read aloud to your kids? And have you done anything fun to prep your kids before a family vacation? I'd love to hear all about it!



Julie Dao said...

Sounds like you have one fantastic trip coming up! So excited for all of you. And prepping the girls with books? Genius. I LOVE The Witches, both the book and the movie.

Laura Pauling said...

You must be so excited! Take lots of pictures. :)

mshatch said...

Loved James and the Giant Peach (still do!) and really liked In Bruges. How excited you must be to be going! And yes, take lots of pics!

Meeling said...

Love Roald Dahl books and Pippi!!

You're going to have a great time!!!

DancingMooney ♥ said...

Great childhood books Marisa, that's so neat that you read allowed to your kids, just like your mom did for you... what a sweet tradition! And I can't wait to see pics of your upcoming trip... what do you mean your hubby isn't going?? :)

Marisa Hopkins said...

Thanks everyone!! I definitely plan on taking TONS of pictures :)

Janell - the girls and I will be over there with my in-laws, and hopefully Will can come over for at least a week toward the end, but so far we're not counting on him getting that time off work, since he's in a new job. :( Sad.

Amy McBay said...

You're like me. I have my Kindle, ready to go :P

Have fun and travel safe! You will be missed this summer :)

adrienne said...

Thank you so much for the story ideas! I have i forgotten what I read when I was a kid ...there have been so many books in between. My bubbas name is William and we will be reading Just William on our car trip this morning while dad drives.

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