I already mentioned my L. M. Montgomery reading, so I won't reiterate that. My other personal reading in January consisted of rereading Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter. I first read this book in 2010, and you can read my original thoughts and some really good quotations here. It was well worth rereading, and I'm so glad a friend picked it for our book club selection. We were amazed by the work ethic and self-sufficiency of this 19th century farm family - how many chickens would they have had to have to put on a spread like that every Sunday and for special occasions like a wedding? We were also saddened by the many changes that came to the real-life Stratton family soon after happy ending for the Stanton family of the book. As I mentioned in my earlier review, Laddie is the most autobiographical novel of Gene Stratton-Porter's, and it really is a true blue story when you understand it in the context of her and her family's life. I'm really looking forward to reading this one aloud to my kids and rereading it again myself in years to come - it's that good!
As for reading aloud to the kids, we were off to a good start this year. We finished two books in January: Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John and The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. Both were received with great enthusiasm! Treasures of the Snow engendered some thought-provoking, faith-building questions from my 5-year-old, and I could see my 8-year-old's mental wheels turning, too. While we enjoy a wide variety of books, I don't mind reading something overtly Christian and morally didactic every so often, because such stories can give my children concrete examples of our faith that is, more often than not, communicated abstractly, in spite of our best efforts to help them understand their sinfulness and need of Savior. I would highly recommend this one for your family read-alouds, too!
The whole family, including Daddy, enjoyed the imaginative fantasy of The Indian in the Cupboard. We discussed what we would like to make real if we had a magic cupboard. My daughter and I thought a Victorian family that could live in a dollhouse would be fun. My son has a plastic Indian, so he wanted one just like the book. And my husband tried to think of something more lucrative, such as a goose that would lay golden eggs, even if the eggs were only the size of a pinhead! My kids are looking forward to reading other books in this series, but I learned from the Chester Cricket books, and we will be spreading them out over a good long time, not reading them all at once.