Friday, September 30, 2011

Marlborough Heritage Festival

This Sunday, October 2 the City of Marlborough and the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the 16th Annual Marlborough Heritage Festival from 10AM-3PM. You can preview the event at their website. While not a fan of chowder, the contest being one of the larger draws, there are lots of other things to see. There are children's activities, music, entertainment, vendors, and a food court for visitors. The City will be returning with the trucks for children to explore.

Those not attending should be aware that traffic will be diverted around the fair area so alternative plans should be made for Sunday. Main Street is closed to on the day of the Festival between Rt. 85 and Florence Street.

This event is not as large as some of the other town days in the area, but it is one of Marlborough's main events. I have read about this festival for years, even before its name change. We have always had a scheduling conflict. This year we our schedule is free and we have decided to check it out.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Six Flags New England Fright Fest

I have several friends, family, and fellow bloggers looking for ways to have fun and save money. Here is another outing that that has ways to save.

Six Flags is offering New England a haunted amusement park experience every weekend in October including Columbus Day. Daytime activities are designed to be more family friendly with evening hours designed to provide a more scary Halloween adventure. The schedule is available here. You can check out their attractions here. The park does not allow costumes during fright fest for safety reasons.

Ticket Prices at the Park

General Admission $46.99
Child Under 48″ $36.99
2 & Under FREE
Parking $20
There are additional costs for many of the attractions.

AAA is offering discounts for the event. Member can buy advanced tickets from the AAA office or online. The tickets must be bought from AAA in advance to get the discount. Members will not get the discount at the gate. Tickets bought in advance are $28 for admission and $13 for parking.

AAA Club Deal Night is Friday October 14 from 6:30-11:30PM. Members can buy tickets at AAA. Tickets and parking are included for $35. This is offered through AAA's Club Deals.

Six Flags is running a contest to win free tickets. People must sign up for the newsletter to win. Newsletter subscribers are promised advanced information of offers and deals for this and future Six Flags events.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Wouldn't Want to be at the Boston Tea Party

I came across You Wouldn't Want to Be at the Boston Tea Party!: Wharf Water Tea, You'd Rather Not Drink while searching for some Pilgrim resources to send with a Thanksgiving package. This title popped up during my search and I put it on reserve at the library to review.

I am always on the lookout for history books that are accurate and entertaining for children. I have a young homeschooling relative that has developed an interest in the American Revolution, so I have been exploring resources that will provide accurate information in a way that is accessible and hopefully entertaining.

This series is unique in my experience in that it is not written by one author, but a series of author's using the same basic title, You wouldn't want. It reminds me a great deal of the Travelers Guides I reviewed earlier. It is entertaining, but provides children with quite a bit of information about the topic.

While the title of this book is the Boston Tea Party, the book focuses on the roots of the conflicts between the colonists and the British and the first event covered is the Boston Massacre, not the Boston Tea Party. The book continues through the Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Revolution, and the resolution of the war.

The series uses cartoons and short chapters to present the information. Little tidbits are offered in side pictures and commentaries. The book invites children into the time period by inviting them to participate in the story as George Robert Twelves, a 31 year old shoemaker preparing himself to participate in the Boston Tea Party. Each chapter directly addresses the reader telling them what their actions as George Twelve were during the events discussed in that chapter. I wish they had Paul Revere's cartoon yelling the Regulars are out instead of the British are coming, but I did find there was more information on the Boston Massacre and the Bunker Hill for this age group than I have found in previous books.

I have two other American History books from this series on reserve at the library to review prior to purchasing. If they are of the same quality, I think a set of three will be making their way to family for Christmas this year.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wright on Time Arizona

I read about the Wright on Time, Book 1: Arizona on a homeschool blog and wanted to check it out for a family member that homeschools. The Kane Chronicles is the only other children's series I have come across recently that mentions homeschooled children and it is a more advanced series. This series is an early chapter book series that focuses on a family that travels across the country in an RV.

The first story finds the children in Arizona exploring caves. The author provides a vocabulary rich exploration of rocks and minerals while the children are visiting a vacation site their father intends to write an article on after their visit. The cave owner provides visitors with the opportunity to hunt in salted areas that will have items to discover and to do explorations in designated areas to see what they can locate. During one such exploration, the children discover something that the author promises will return as a thread in the second novel.

Do to the fact the books have not been picked up by Scholastic or one of the other large publishing houses, the book prices are not inexpensive for paperback early reader novels. I am going to see if I can find the second one at the library before purchasing the set to see if the thread continues in an interesting way. I find the characters interesting and the idea of homeschooling characters appealing for the audience I intend to purchase these books for as gifts. However, the plots will determine if the children will read the books, no matter how much they may want to read about other homeschoolers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Peter and the Starcatchers

I am always curious about prequels and sequels that written using classic characters. Peter and the Starcatchers is a prequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan novel.

Peter and the Starcatchers is the first book in series that provides a new background for Peter's origins, how he arrived in Never Land and where he met his fairy companion. This book launches a series that discusses the history of Wendy's family and their relationship with Peter prior to the Barrie's Peter Pan story.

The first story in the series was creative. Since it is different from Barrie's original this is a great opportunity to teach kids about compare and contrast. I provided a link below that lists some of the changes. Instead of providing manufactured sheets to teach the concept, I love to see kids reading literature that presents situations that are ideal for these kinds of lessons.

I have Peter and the Shadow Thieves on reserve at the library. We will see if the quality of the series continues past the original novel.

Teaching Links:


Comparison Between Original Storyline and This Novel

Free Teaching Guide 1

Free Teaching Guide 2

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sudbury Colonial Faire

Saturday, September 24 from 10AM-4PM, the Sudbury Companies of Militia and the Minute and Sudbury Ancient Fyfe and Drum Companie are hosting the annual Colonial Faire and Muster of Fyfes and Drums at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA. Additional information can be found at Sudbury Minuteman and Sudbury Ancients websites. Admission is $1.00 for adults, with free admission for children under 12.

There are children's activities in the morning. There will be a contra dance demonstration at 10:30 with colonial militia drills at 11:00. Guests are told to expect a disruption of the drill from British regular troops that will create something of an issue between the two groups. After peace resumes a parade of fyfe and drum companies will begin at noon forming near the Grist Mill and marching to the Wayside Inn. Once arriving at the Inn the groups will play over the course of the afternoon.

Guests can see militia groups that represent both colonists and King's troops. Interpreters will be providing demonstrations in cooking, blacksmithing, woodworking, and medicine, as they would have occurred in colonial times. Children's games will also be available.

My husband and I have wanted to attend this event for several years. However, we have always had a conflict. We really enjoyed our exploration of local history this summer and decided we are going to make it this year. If you live locally this can be a wonderful way to experience living history and engage your family with a fun inexpensive day of history.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Magic and Other Misdemeanors

Magic and Other Misdemeanors is the fifth book in Michael Buckley's Sisters Grimm series. This book is the first book I have read in a while that has made me want to run down to the library before my traditional Saturday outing to get the next book.

Buckley introduces a traditional science fiction and fantasy element the fifth book using time travel to create some interesting challenges for our characters. At the end of the previous novel, we learned that Prince Charming was missing. In this book, the children discover where Charming has been since the end of the previous book. They also discover the dark future that awaits Ferryport Landing if they do not solve the mystery that currently eludes them. Charming's experience in the future leads him to make some decisions about what needs to be done when he returns. He convinces the children not to tell anyone about where they have been or what they have learned. Sabrina is a bit unsure about her marital choice and Charming's willingness to expose it keeps her silent. Their inability to find a solution to Mr. Canis' future also keeps them quiet. They cannot face telling their friend about the horrors he faces.

Eventually the future meets the present and the girls realize that while they have changed the future, the future has not necessarily improved. As the Queen of Hearts and the Sheriff of Nottingham persecute the residents of Ferryport, the Grimms are the lone human holdouts left at the end of the novel. While Granny struggles to return an ancestor to the past to avoid being erased from the present, more evidence about the spread of the Scarlett Hand among the Ever After population is revealed. The cliffhanger regarding Charming left me wanting to make a trip to the library Wednesday. However, patience is a virtue. I will wait until Saturday to pick up the next two books and Monday to begin listening to them.

There are only eight books in print with the final book nine due out in the spring of 2012. Buckley is publishing The Sisters Grimm: A Very Grimm Guide a series summary in January of 2012. I am not as interested in the guide, but I will be waiting for that final book to come out to read the conclusion to the Grimm sisters' adventures.
This series is one I plan to introduce to younger family members this Christmas.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

American History Book List

I was asked for a list of non-fiction and historical fiction books for Colonial and American history for elementary students. Instead of making a list an emailing it I decided to write it on my blog so I can update it and change it as I need to without having to search for the email. Sometimes a blog makes a great bulletin board. Updated June 2018

Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan

Christopher Columbus (Step into Reading)

Exploring the New World: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

Pedro's Journal: A Voyage with Christopher Columbus, August 3, 1492-February 14, 1493

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Colonial America:

The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish and the Amazing-but-True Survival Story of Plymouth Colony: Barbary Pirates, the Mayflower, the First ... Much, Much More (Cheryl Harness Histories)

Blood on the River: James Town, 1607

The First Thanksgiving (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

Colonial America: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: Historical Eras)

The Dreadful, Smelly Colonies: The Disgusting Details About Life in Colonial America (Disgusting History)

The Double Life of Pocahontas

If You Lived In Colonial Times

If You Lived In Williamsburg in Colonial Days

. . . If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620

If You Were At The First Thanksgiving

If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 9)

Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage

My Journey Aboard the Mayflower (My Place in History)

My Life in the American Colonies (My Place in History)

My Life in the Plymouth Colony (My Place in History)Review here

Pilgrims: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #27: Thanksgiving on Thursday

Pilgrims Of Plymouth Review here

Sam Collier and the Founding of Jamestown (On My Own History)

Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim BoyReview here

Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl (Scholastic Bookshelf)Review here

Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim TimesReview here

Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation (Time-Traveling Twins)Review here

The First Thanksgiving (Picture Puffin Books)

The Mystery of the Roanoke Colony (Graphic History)Review here

The Pilgrims of Plimoth (Aladdin Picture Books)Review here

The Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving (Graphic History)Review here

The Story of Jamestown (Graphic History)Review here

The Thanksgiving Story

The True Story of Pocahontas (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

The Voyage of the Mayflower (Graphic History)Review here

Three Young Pilgrims Review here

What Was the First Thanksgiving?

You Wouldn't Want to Be an American Colonist!Review here

You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Mayflower!: A Trip That Took Entirely Too Long Review here

Revolutionary War:

A Picture Book of Paul Revere (Picture Book Biographies)Review here

A Spy in the King's Colony (Mysteries in Time (Silver Moon Press))Review here

Alexander Hamilton: A Plan for America (I Can Read Level 2)

At Battle in the Revolutionary War: An Interactive Battlefield Adventure (You Choose: Battlefields)

At the Battle of Yorktown: An Interactive Battlefield Adventure (You Choose: American Battles) Review here

Boston Tea Party Review here

Building a New Nation: An Interactive American Revolution Adventure (You Choose: Founding the United States)

DK Eyewitness Books: American Revolution

American Revolution: A Nonfiction Companion to Revolutionary War on Wednesday (Magic Tree House Research Guide Series)

And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? (Paperstar)

The Battle of Bunker Hill: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose Books) (You Choose: History)Review here

Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse AmosReview here

Day of Glory: The Guns at Lexington and ConcordReview here

Fighting for Independence: An Interactive American Revolution Adventure (You Choose: Founding the United States)

George the Drummer Boy (I Can Read Level 3)

George Washington's Socks (Time Travel Adventures)Review here

George Washington's Spy (Time Travel Adventures)Review here

George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides

Guns for General Washington: A Story of the American Revolution Review here

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 (I Survived 15)

If You Lived At The Time Of The American Revolution

. . . If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution

It's Treason, by George! (Secret Smithsonian Adventures)

Joining the Boston Tea Party (The Time-Traveling Twins)Review here

Lafayette! (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales 8): A Revolutionary War Tale

Let It Begin Here!: April 19, 1775: The Day the American Revolution Began Review here

Let It Begin Here!: Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution Review here

Liberty!: How the Revolutionary War Began (Landmark Books)

Mr. Revere and I: Being an Account of certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere,Esq. as Revealed by his Horse Review here

My Brother Sam Is Dead

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy Review here

Paul Revere's Midnight Ride Review here

Paul Revere's Ride (Graphic History)Review here

Paul Revere's Ride (Step into Reading)

Resisting British Rule: An Interactive American Revolution Adventure (You Choose: Founding the United States)

Shh! We're Writing the Constitution

The Boston Massacre: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)Review here

The Boston Massacre (Graphic History)Review here

The Boston Tea Party (Graphic History)Review here

The Colonists Revolt: An Interactive American Revolution Adventure (You Choose: Founding the United States)

The Creation of the U.S. Constitution (Graphic History) Review here

The Founding Fathers Were Spies!: Revolutionary War (Secrets of American History)

The Minute Boys of Bunker Hill (w/glossary)Review here

The Minute Boys of Lexington Review here

The Revolutionary War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History) Review here

The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution (The Thrifty Guides) Review here

Sam the Minuteman (I Can Read Level 3)

Saving the Liberty Bell (On My Own History)

Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution

What Was the Boston Tea Party?

What Is the Constitution? (What Was?)

What Is the Declaration of Independence? (What Was?)

Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?

Who Was Ben Franklin?

Who Was Betsy Ross?

Who Was George Washington?

Who Was Paul Revere?

Who Was Thomas Jefferson?


Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?

Winter at Valley Forge (Graphic History)Review here

You Wouldn't Want to Be at the Boston Tea Party!: Wharf Water Tea You'd Rather Not Drink Review here

Westward Expansion:

Alamo All-Stars (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales 6)

How We Crossed The West: The Adventures Of Lewis And Clark

My Life As a Pioneer (My Place in History)

My Wagon Train Adventure (My Place in History)

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party

National Geographic Readers: Sacagawea (Readers Bios)

The Oregon Trail: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)
Roughing It on the Oregon Trail (The Time-Traveling Twins)Review here

What Was the Lewis and Clark Expedition? (What Was?)

Westward Expansion: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

Civil War:
National Geographic Readers: Abraham Lincoln (Readers Bios)

At Battle in the Civil War: An Interactive Battlefield Adventure (You Choose: Battlefields)

Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman (Step-Into-Reading, Step 4)
I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 (I Survived 7)

My Journey on the Underground Railroad (My Place in History)

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad!

The Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

The Underground Abductor (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales 5): An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman

The Underground Railroad: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

What Was the Battle of Gettysburg?

What Was the Underground Railroad?

Who Was Abraham Lincoln?

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier!

Ellis Island:

Ellis Island: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)

The Memory Coat Review here

The Orphan Of Ellis Island (Time Travel Adventures)Review here

If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island

My Journey Through Ellis Island (My Place in History)

National Geographic Readers: Ellis Island

What Was Ellis Island?


The Wrong Wrights (Secret Smithsonian Adventures) Review here


If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights Review here

World War I:

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales 4): A World War I Tale

Where Poppies Grow: A World War I Companion

World War II:
The Attack on Pearl Harbor: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History) 

Across the Blue Pacific: A World War II Story Review here

DK Eyewitness Books: World War II

Secret Agents! Sharks! Ghost Armies!: World War II (Secrets of American History)

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (I Survived 4)

Raid of No Return (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales 7): A World War II Tale of the Doolittle Raid

What Was D-Day?

This is a good start. I can add more as time continues. These are popular titles. Look for them at used book sales, yard sales, and other places people sell children's books. You can often find them in near new condition. Good hunting.