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starting our learning session with a soft start. Digging into some graphic novels to mark Thinking about what our students are reading and enjoying some of the same . Hearing laughter & having fun

"You genuinely feel his excitement, nerves and pride as you ride alongside him throughout his career."

“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” ― Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard 💕📖 📖💕

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

Are you looking for a good book to read this winter? You’re in luck! Today on the blog, I’m recommending my favorite snowy reads. Check it out:

Great to host a talk today on the new press book 'The Webbs of Odstock.' The author, Hugh Wright, was fascinating as he detailed the history of the Webb family from the Reformation to the Victorian period.

WIN – ‘The Culture of Vanlife’ – a must-read for campervan fans and lovers of the open road! We’re giving away 5 copies of the book – to enter just Follow Us and RT. There’s more info on our blog - Good luck!

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While it’s wonderful to read word for word, it’s not the only way to enjoy books with your : •Talk about the pictures •Find the same object from page to page •Label actions •Find toys around your house to match with animals in a book

We are so delighted to reveal by ! One small mistake. One sinister consequence. ☠️ 🌴 Publishing in Spring 2020, you can pre-order your copy here:

Crime never sleeps, even during Christmas. An expectant mother is brutally murdered & her unborn infant is ripped from her womb in Last Winter’s Taken book 3 of the

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10 Word Review: Death narrates girl’s life during WWII era Germany, heart breaking.

Spoiler Free Review: This was a reread for me, and I loved this book the first time, and I love it even more the second! It was beautifully written and hauntingly poetic. The amount that you come to invest and care about every single character is truly astounding. It’s one of those books that I think everyone should read at least once in their life. I’m going to keep it short, because words cannot describe the love I have for this book! Just read it lol!

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‘‘Twas the night before Christmas,

when all through the house

not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

A Catalogue and Comparison of Common Elements Found in Three Different Boys’ Detective Stories:


Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators in: The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, by Robert Arthur
Harvey’s Wacky Parrot Adventure, by Eth Clifford
Private Eyes: Adventures with the Saturday Gang, by Lee Kingman

(spoilers for all to follow)

1. The Mystery-Solving Gang:

  • Stuttering Parrot: Bob Andrews, Pete Crenshaw, and Jupiter Jones
  • Harvey’s Parrot: Harvey Willson and his cousin Nora
  • Private Eyes: Teddy Tibbets, Fizzy, Normie, Pokey, and Clud

2. Ages:

  • SP: Deliberately left ambiguous, but not old enough to drive
  • HP: Both eleven years old (Harvey to be twelve in three months)
  • PE: Twelve, thereabouts

3. Expensive Vehicle Improbably Available to Transport Children:

  • SP: The use of a gold-plated, vintage Rolls Royce, complete with the services of a chauffeur ferrying them wherever they want for the next thirty days, a contest prize won by Jupiter Jones
  • HP: None
  • PE: A Turnabout sailboat ominously christened The END, gifted to Teddy the year before by Mr. Sherburne as a reward for recovering his chess set

4. Smug Rival / Potential Ally:

  • SP: Skinny Norris
  • HP: Harvey and Nora, to each other
  • PE: Randy Russell

5. Talking Parrot that, if Prompted Correctly, Will Utter a Clue Pointing Towards a Hidden Treasure:

  • SP: Not one, but six different parrots, each named after a literary character, plus a mynah bird to round them all out
  • HP: Sinbad, an African gray, former pet of Captain Corbin and left with Uncle Buck due to seasickness
  • PE: Despite the story taking place in Clam Cove, and having a ship called the Jolly Pirate, and a character called Pirate McGob (legally having changed his name), no parrots, talking or otherwise, appear in this story

6. An International Art Smuggling Ring:

  • SP: Yes
  • HP: No
  • PE: Yes

7. Secret Passageways:

  • SP: Four different passageways hidden amidst the junk of the Jones Salvage Yard, leading to their Headquarters
  • HP: Various hidden passages and underground tunnels throughout Uncle Buck’s historical home, the house having served as a station on the Underground Railroad. Notably, a secret doorway in the back of the wardrobe in Captain Corbin’s room
  • PE: No hidden passages, but their clubhouse consists of a chicken coop with a doorway too narrow to squeeze through for anyone much larger than a child

8. Grown Adult Threatening a Child with a Gun, Which After the Situation is Resolved is Revealed to have been Fake:

  • SP: Mr. Claudius brandishing a “large, old-fashioned pistol” revealed to be a novelty cigar lighter
  • HP: Mr. Singh herding the children around using a water gun (“Naturally,” he told her. “Real guns are dangerous.”)
  • PE: Jackson attempting to kidnap Teddy using a “shiny, tin, water pistol”  kept largely concealed in his coat pocket

9. Foreign Accents & Ethnic Stereotypes:

  • SP: Multiple. The English accents of Mr. Claudius, and Worthington the chauffeur, and all of the parrots. Art thief Huganay’s slight French accent. The “liquid Mexican accent” of Carlos Sanchez (“The au-to, it is where? May I see it?”). Hans’ and Konrad’s husky Bavarian ‘Hokay’s. 
  • HP: The “Indian singsong” of Ranvir Singh, and the “lilting speech” of Paddy O’Gowan
  • PE: Though the painter Heironomous Brinker is identified as a Dutchman, and his syntax is somewhat odd, accents are never noted in the story

10. Historical Engravings:

  • SP:

          Here  Lie
Nameless  Travelers
      Struck  Down
   June  17,  1876

  • HP:

Free at last    Aaron 1859

  • PE: Though a bronze marker exists designating part of Clam Cove as a Public Landing, the marker was at some point pried loose from its stone, and the engraving was never recovered over the course of the story

11. The Treasure:

  • SP: A painting of a shepherdess tending to a lamb, by “one of the great masters of painting.” Estimated to be “not worth less than one hundred thousand dollars”.
  • HP: Various jewels, namely “a large diamond, a huge blood-red ruby, a black pearl, a luminous opal, a blight blue sapphire, and a brilliant green emerald”. Said to be worth enough to retire rich
  • PE: Nine lost paintings of David Pringle, done between the period of 1850-1855 and featuring a hesitant shift towards lyric realism. Appraised to be worth approx. $45,000 all together

12. Meals Enjoyed Over the Course of the Investigation: 

  • SP: “[B]aked cup custard with a nice brown crust on top”
  • HP: Pancakes, “drowned in maple syrup”. Peanut butter sandwiches, one with jelly, one with banana
  • PE: Lobster. Four peanut-butter sandwiches (in one sitting). A three egg omelette. Fresh hot pancakes drenched with butter and some jam. Cookies and tea with crushed ice. Two more eggs, scrambled. Potato chips. A tall glass of iced ginger ale. Cream cheese and crackers. Hamburgers and hotdogs roasted over hot ashes, with buttered rolls. Ketchup and mustard and pickles and relish. Baked beans. Coke. Boiled hotdogs, wrapped in buttered pancakes. Hot tea. A big beef stew.

13. Occasionally Antagonistic Older Sister:

  • SP: None (among all three boys)
  • HP: Georgeann
  • PE: Jean

14. Loyal Canine Companion:

  • SP: None, but one of the secret entrances is marked by a painting of a dog named Rover (”Red Gate Rover”)
  • HP: Butch, “big and fat and real old”. The same age as Harvey. Lazy and cowardly. Spends most of the story begging for food and napping
  • PE: Hans, a beloved mongrel owned by Mr. Brinker. Adopted by Teddy when Mr. Brinker was assaulted and hospitalized, getting around his mother’s refusal to let him have a dog

15. False Identities & Aliases:

  • SP: Retired actor Malcolm Fentriss, revealed to have actually been desperate art dealer Claude Claudius impersonating the man
  • HP: Ranvir Singh, revealed to have been Paddy O’Gowan in disguise
  • PE: Local fisherman, Windy, revealed to be Benjamin Jackson AKA El Greco, registered as having bought the shore rights to Clam Cove from the Clam Cove Pier Company

16. Eccentric Mastermind who Assembled the Treasure Hunt:

  • SP: Otherwise unemployable puzzle-maker and art purchaser John Silver (pseudonym)
  • HP: Jack Corbin, captain of the Seven Seas, Uncle Buck’s best friend and possible life partner. Presumed lost at sea
  • PE: None. Pringle’s declining self-confidence during this period led him to develop a smaller, almost unnoticeable signature, leaving behind his paintings as payment for rent without record of their sale

17. Villain Making His Departure, Having Graciously Accepted Defeat:

  • SP: Yes (”’You outmaneuvered me,’ said Mr. Huganay. ‘Few people have done that. If you boys ever come to Europe, look me up. I will show you the French underworld and perhaps you may have a chance to try your wits on some mystery there. No hard feelings on my part, if there are none on yours. Agreed?’“)
  • HP: Yes (”Meanwhile, Patty O’Gowan scooped up his turban, placed it firmly on his head, walked to the front door, gave us all a brilliant smile, and was gone.”)
  • PE: No 

18.  Reaping the Windfall - Returning Home:

  • SP: Mr. Claudius, having retrieved his painting, paid Carlos and his uncle Ramos the promised one thousand dollar reward. Ramos Sanchez used the money to return to his native village in Mexico to recuperate from his illness, while Carlos got a job washing cars at the Rent-’n-Ride Auto Rental Agency. He is studying to be a mechanic in his free time.
  • HP: Captain Corbin dedicated his savings towards the restoration and preservation of Uncle Buck’s home as a historical landmark. Aside from maintaining it together, he and Buck plan to extend their home to other retired sailors, constructing a neighboring building to provide their fellow ex-seamen a safe harbor on land.
  • PE: From the proceeds of the sale of the Pringles, Mr. Brinker returned to his native village in Holland and his two sisters. As it was too hard to take a dog along, he left Hans behind with Teddy.

    All ends well.