Monday, January 14, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again

In Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again David Horowitz tells an interesting story of what happens to Humpty after he recovers from his fall.

After struggling to put Humpty together again, the King's horses and men decide to consult with a doctor who tells Humpty he must be more careful. Humpty takes this to heart and rarely leaves the house. The Kings men and horses take to mocking him about his new found caution.

The Dish comes to visit Humpty to convince him he needs to get out of his chair and return to the brave egg he once was, failing he runs away with the Spoon. When he returns to watching TV a spider drops down and frightens Humpty out of his house causing a Little Dog to laugh at the sight.

Despondent, Humpty heads for the hills. For old time’s sake, he tries climbing when he reaches the wall. There he discovers the King's Men with climbing ropes and fears they will mock him once again.

The King's men have their own problem. Seeing their climbing gear, Humpty hitches himself up and begins climbing with safety ropes. Humpty not only gets his courage back, but also is able to save the day.

This is a great alternate Humpty story and it teaches a valuable lesson about overcoming fear and using tools.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just a Friendly Old Troll

The Three Billy Goats Gruff/Just a Friendly Old Troll (Another Point of View)is another Point of View tale from Dr. Alvin Granowsky.

In the traditional tale, we find the three billy goats named Gruff who live in a green meadow where over eating has started to create a demand for more grass. The youngest goat decides to seek better grass on a hillside. His invites his brothers and they agree to come, but not until they have finished their chores. The only way to access, the hillside was across a rickety, wooden bridge. Underneath the bridge lived a goat-eating troll. As the Little Billy Goat Gruff crossed the bridge his hoofs trip-trap-trip-trap trip-trap sound alerted the troll that a potential meal was on its way. The troll tells the young goat he plans to eat him and the goat tells him he would be better off waiting for Middle Billy Goat, his brother who would make a more satisfying meal. The troll agrees and Little Billy Goat is on his way. When Middle Billy Goat arrives, he offers his big brother as a more appetizing meal and he too goes across to the other side. When the troll sees Big Billy Goat Gruff, he is thrilled that dinner has arrived. However, Big Billy Goat Gruff is more than a match for him and knocks him flying off the bridge. The goats celebrate happily on the other side of the bridge. The troll is never seen again.

In the alternate version, we meet the troll in the hospital. He discusses coming from a long line of hospitable people. He tells the reader he is known everywhere for his bridge hospitality. The goats’ reaction puzzles him. His only explanation is a failure to communicate. He was confused by each goat’s reaction to his invitation to share his dinner with him. He was even going to serve lemonade. His only explanation is that they did not understand when he said he was having them for dinner it was an invitation to eat with him, not to eat them.

The author does make a case for cultural misunderstandings. The troll presents a strong history of hospitality and comfort to travelers. Since the first two goats did pass without being eaten, it does seem questionable that he would have harmed the third. After all, goats would keep for more than one day. He could have killed the whole family. This would have provided the troll with food for several days if that had been his intention. The goat's account does seem a bit thin.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Homeschool Days at Sturbridge Village

The next Homeschool Day at Sturbridge Village is February 8. Registration begins one month in advance. The theme of this Homeschool Day is Winter Pleasures. Outdoor activities will depend on weather, but may include sledding and ice skating. There will also be a presentation on the history of St. Valentine's Day. We explored Sturbridge Village during their Christmas event again this year and while cold the village is a very interesting place in the winter. It is a great chance for children to experience history in a hands on manner.

For more information check out their website here.