Sunday, March 6, 2011

Origami for the Birds, Or What My Child Is Reading

We had a few more origami books straggle in this week. A favorite for the older children (ages 10-13) was Tom Angelberger's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

Written for the middle school crowd, kind of in the same style as The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, with short chapters, and lots of different fonts, accompanied by doodled illustrations in the margins, it was an easy read for the children.

The book is presented as a series of case files by a 6th grader, trying to determine if he should trust the advice offered by an origami finger puppet Yoda, made, and carried by one of his odder friends. The characters seem pretty true 6th grade types, and the language is clean, excepting a few uses of the word butt, as in a pain in the...still, not my favorite word.

I worried a little, that the Yoda might be actually depicted as a fortune telling, Magic 8-Ball, type device. But, it was made pretty clear in the story, that the advice is really coming from the boy carrying the finger puppet, as a way of expressing himself, and getting attention. In the end, it proves a good way to break through the middle school ice, and fit in, in his own style.

There are instructions in the book for an "easy" beginner's Yoda. We made several. Even T made one.

We also made a few simple birds, after reading The Origami Master, a picture book, by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer. Another story about a lonely character, this time an origami master living alone in the mountains, making friends out of, and through his origami creations.

The "friend" in this story ends up being a very talented warbler, and there are easy to follow (meaning even I could manage it) instructions, for making your own origami bird, at the back of the book.

Speaking of birds, our last favorite for the week has been Colin Harrison and Alan Greensmith's Birds of the World, part of Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Handbooks series. We found it in of a box of DK books passed onto us from a neighbor, now that her grandchildren have outgrown them. Needless to say, I sent the children straight back down to her house, with a big thank you, and a plate of cookies!

D (age 8), has spent hours poring over the almost 400 pages. Each one contains color photographs of one to two birds, with short, descriptive write-ups, a thumbnail map of distribution, a pictograph comparing the bird to the size of the book, and a chart containing information on family, species, length, plumage, habitat, and migration. So it's just a tremendous wealth of geographic, mathematical, and scientific information, presented in a child friendly fashion.

Find out what others have been reading at this week's What My Child is Reading link-up, over at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Unknown said...

looks like lots of fun! I might want to make an Origami Yoda for myself!

Susan said...

I put a library hold on both of the origami books you posted about. We just started doing some origami today and had a lot of fun! J & L both liked the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series, so maybe they'll like the "Origami Yoda" story...we'll have to see.

Julie said...

My son loves Star Wars and origami, so I've thought of getting this for him. He's only 6 1/2 but read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid and liked it, so do you think it would be appropriate for him, being a 1st grader? I'm sure he could read it, but not sure about the content.

Ticia said...

I misread that and saw "least favorite," and I was really trying to figure out why he was spending hours over a book he hated.

And then I reread it.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Julie - I don't think the content is much different than the Wimpy Kid books, but you might want to preread it. There's a lot about dances, and girls, but it doesn't get mushy.

Christy Killoran said...

I'll have to check out that first book for T.

Brimful Curiosities said...

Origami intrigues me. It's amazing the kinds of things some people can create by folding paper. I watched a special on PBS last month called "Between the Folds" that discusses the art and science of folding paper.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

It's awesome that your neighbor shared this bounty with you. I am sure we will see some Eyewitness books in the house as daughter gets older. Thank you for joining WMCIR!

Debbie said...

I always love your story extensions! I will keep these books in mind well noted for later.