11 June 2009

More Summer Reading: It's a Sequel!

First, an update: when I finished reading Tedd Arnold's Magdalena Catalina Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was Her Name in Curious Girl's kindergarten class yesterday, they said, "We have to do something for you," and Fabulous Teacher sent CG over to pick up the Very! Special! Project! they had made for me: a Thank You Susan book, for which every child had written a sentence and drawn a picture. "You're a good friend," wrote one boy, and "I love you," said another child (who then came up to me and said, "I love you because you're like a mother to me.") I got hugs, and many of them wanted to explain their drawings to me. They also gave me a gift card to Big Bookstore, but it's the Thank You book that I'll be treasuring for a while. Reading to kindergarteners is a great gig.

Today is the last day of school, a little half-day (during which CG's kindergarten class is going to lead the school in singing the German State Song, something she's very proud of). She'll have a mix of summer camps and family time this summer, and I'm feeling alternately stressed and relaxed about the rest of the summer (note to the world: we professors do not "have the summer off," and even if my professorial side did, my administrative work continues apace. May and June are crunch time in my office, and next year I'll be better prepared for that). All of which is to say that a book like The Double-Daring Book for Girls is just my speed at the moment. The sequel to The Daring Book for Girls (which I reviewed for Mother Talk) is similarly formatted--lots of short activities/information for girls, on everything from stargazing to how to make a scarecrow, how to throw and catch a football, how to whittle. Mel invited the Mother Talk bloggers to participate in a virtual book shower for the sequel, and invited us all to double dare our readers about something in the book. She challenged her Brownie troop to see who could tie a sarong the fastest.

I looked through the book for activities I'd want to do. There are plenty (stargaze, make a lava lamp, do lanyards (which I learned are called scoubidou by some people), calligraphy. But I'm really drawn to the more encylopedic sections of the book. I love the list of collective nouns* for animals (a rhumba of rattlesnakes! a business of ferrets! an unkindness, or a conspiracy, of ravens!); I love the list of moons (January's Wolf Moon, July's Buck Moon or Thunder Moon). The randomness of these sorts of entries makes the world seem so captivating, and I love just flipping pages.

There's a section on slumber party games that includes "This is a What?" I know that game as "This is a Spoon," and I think of it as a rainy day game--I learned it as a thing to do on a rainy summer afternoon at a cottage on Georgian Bay. Sit around a table, or in a circle, and the leader holds up a spoon, passes it to the right, with the following dialogue:
  • Giver: This is a spoon.
  • Receiver: A what?
  • Giver: A spoon.
  • Receiver: A what?
  • Giver: A spoon
  • Receiver: Oh, a spoon!
Then the receiver turns to their right, and starts the dialogue again.

Seems pretty simple and not too interesting, yes? Well, the leader gets one object going, and then starts another object moving around in the other direction (or you can have two people start simultaneously). pretty soon people will be playing roles of both giver and receiver, flipping heads around to keep the dialogue going. It's very, very funny. Give it a try.

So what's your favorite rainy day game?

*The OED says that an unkindness of ravens is obsolete (last citation was 1486); it doesn't list the rattlesnake sense of rhumba.


Songbird said...

An obsolete unkindness of ravens, I love it. And I love the stories of your time at kindergarten. Enjoy First Grade! (That was my favorite reading in class age. They read to me!!)

Suze said...

I've heard an 'unkindness of ravens' many times - but maybe that was in conversations with people about collective nouns (especially the English, who tend to enjoy that kind of conversation). So I don't think of it as at all obsolete.

Ms Jewl said...

Isn't it a 'murder of crows' or something like that? I love books you can just flip through for random facts. The Book of Lists was always a favorite of mine.