17 December, 2012

Sproutkin, More Than Just Books

     So this year, the girls and I decided to do a '12 Days of Christmas' Holiday Countdown.  Each night until Christmas Eve, we will unwrap a new book and read it.  I wanted to do an advent style countdown this way last year, but I just didn't get the wrapping paper in time.  This year I swore I would.
     I thought of wrapping our books.  We have so many on our shelves that honestly, I could probably have found twelve books that they never even knew existed and just use those.  But wouldn't it be funner to open new books?  Of course it would.  That's where Sproutkin came in.  Sproutkin is much like an online library mixed with a Book of the Month Club.  Each month you get surprised with a whole new set of books (10 to be exact) which all have something in common.  You can choose to keep those books at 10% off the retail price or you can send them back at no extra charge.  The box comes with activities and thought provoking questions to help your child get more from the books.
     I was super excited to try Sproutkin's service.  When it came, I looked the books and information over and was in love with all the books and the activities.  I gave it all a good examination and then wrapped them all to be opened each night.
     So far we have unwrapped 5 of them.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed each one, even one that The Big One didn't want to even listen to.  She quickly changed her mind when she heard the upbeat and inviting tone of the book.  Our theme this month is all about children who make their own worlds through imagination and our first in the set to be opened was Strega Nona's Magic Lessons.  I had never even heard of it before.
     It's a book about a Baker's daughter who is tired of all the work that she has to do day in and day out and goes searching for something better through the town's magic woman.  The woman, Strega Nona, offers to teach her magic and this enrages the woman's handyman who wished to also learn and was denied.  The man tries his hand at baking and fails, so he dresses as a woman so that Strega Nona will teach him, but he soon also fails at that.  When he is discovered, he must apologize to Strega Nona and promise to be good before he can get his old job back.
     For this book, I decided to start with a very easy activity and simply ask them questions throughout the book.  I asked them who they thought the new lady apprentice was and if they thought the handyman was being smart when he took shortcuts while baking bread.  we discussed the disappearance of Strega Nona and whether they thought she really did turn into a toad.  It opened the door to discussions about other things as well, like hiding who you are and being lazy.  It was a great door opener for some good life lessons.
     The second book we read was Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.  It follows a donkey who likes collecting pebbles.  One day he stumbles upon a magic pebble and he begins to wish things.  When confronted by danger, he makes a very hasty and rash wish that leaves him stuck in a predicament for a very long time.  Eventually fate would have it that he is released from his predicament and he learns that nothing good comes easy.
     For this book, we used the question provided in our Sproutkin Card.  Here are the answers I got:
     When asked what they would wish for if they had a magic pebble, The Big One told me "I would wish that there would be no more Breast Cancer, that nobody would die."  Streaker responded with: "A ball that we bounce on with the handle!" and The Punk and Baby Bee both said that they would wish for hot dogs.  Of course, Baby Bee likes to copy answers and The Punk had to be roused from a half-conscious state to answer... but I suppose they might also just be happy wishing for hotdogs :)
     The books were really starting to get interesting and I was starting to learn more about what is important to my kids.  I was beginning to get excited about this whole thing.  To find out what the other three books that we have read so far are about and what we did with them, check back for part 2 of this review.  Stay tuned!

Except for the product(s) or service given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Enter to Win a Year of Kiwi Crate!


Sarah Hayes said...

This is such a cute idea! I love the idea of having such a speical tradition involving books

Free Website TemplatesFreethemes4all.comFree CSS TemplatesFree Joomla TemplatesFree Blogger TemplatesFree Wordpress ThemesFree Wordpress Themes TemplatesFree CSS Templates dreamweaverSEO Design