Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FIAR book review: The Rag Coat

Last week we rowed The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. The book deals with the concepts of loss, grieving,  friendship and acceptance. It is set in the Appalachian region although there is no specific state or town mentioned, so besides giving an overview of where the Appalachian Mountains are located, W wasn't too interested in the geography parts of our FIAR. As a science component he learned about coal, how it forms under the earth, and mining, and especially due to a news story about mining W appreciated how difficult that job is, and exclaimed he didn't think he would want to do that when he grows up. We were thrilled for the miners in Chile as they were rescued last week.

We listened to a lot of Bluegrass music, including Dolly Parton's touching song "Coat of Many Colors", which the book was partially based on. I think Dolly has even written a similar book based on her song. As a bluegrass fan myself, we do listen to it a lot anyway. :) Another appropriate song for the week was Brad Paisley's "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" which is about working in the mines in Kentucky.

W's favorite activity of the week was making a collage out of fabric bits he cut into a rag coat. The template he used was from the Aussie Pumpkin Patch blog's Free Lapbook printable. We also found another book set in the Appalachians at the library, When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant, which could have been a great book to row (I am going to keep that in mind for the future). W enjoyed learning about the johnny-house, and I think he is thankful we have modern day plumbing. He watched the pilot for Christy, which is probably more interesting to older kids (and adults, I enjoyed it more now than I did when I was growing up), as is the book of the same name by Catherine Marshall that the series is based on. The television show is beautifully shot and gives viewers an idea of the realities of poverty in the Appalachian region in the early 20th century.

For Math-U-See W is starting addition, which he has already been able to do in simple verbal problems for a while and loves it, and seems to be enjoying writing a bit more. He has been asking to do more with it lately so that is encouraging to me. Over the weekend we went to our local library booksale and found some great children's books (score!), and checked out the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, but that deserves it's own post.


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