Last term our poet we studied was Robert Louis Stevenson. Whenever we study a poet who also wrote books I like to use one of their novels for our read aloud. I was going to read Treasure Island, but one of my big kids was currently reading it, so I bought another one of his books, Kidnapped.
Before I get into the book I want to give you a brief picture of what our read aloud looks like. Just so know that if your read aloud looks like a circus, you’re not alone.
I have the kids come into the family room and get comfortable on the couches and I begin to read. The baby takes stuff from others and laughs or screams. The little boys try to start wrestling, or decide now is a good time to get a ball and play with it in the house. I get everyone calmed back down, when I look up and someone has gone off to go the bathroom. I wait for them to return, and I try again.
Our read aloud rarely goes smoothly or as I would have planned. The little boys usually groan when I say it’s time to read, but I read anyway. Usually, when I start a new book someone lets me know how this book is dumb, or they don’t like the story and almost every time as I get near the end of the book they don’t want to me to stop reading because they have to know what happens.
Reading Kidnapped was no different. It was written in the 1800s and so sometimes the language was a little hard for them to understand. I would stop often and have to explain the plot, but as we got to the end, all of the monkeys were begging me to keep reading. I’m sure one of the reasons they ended up enjoying this book is because I have the best/worst Scottish accent of all time.
Kidnapped is set in Scotland, and it is the story of David Balfour. His father has died and he is given a letter to go to the house of Shaws. When he gets there a crazy old man lets him know that he is his uncle. He is mean and doesn’t like David. He tries to send David on an errand that he hopes will kill him, but somehow David survives. The next day his uncle tricks David to get onto a ship and they kidnap him. The story then goes on to David’s adventure of trying to get back home.
We found that there was an old Disney movie made about the book and I promised the kids we could watch it after we finished the book. It was terrible. We laughed our way through the lame movie. The kids voted that I had a better Scottish accent than most of the actors, which is really sad.
It was fun to hear the kids’ commentary about parts of the book that were left out of the movie. Apparently, my monkeys listened to more of the story than I realized.
I do my best to mix in some old classics with modern classics. Some of the older classics are a little harder to get through. This book is fun and has a lot of adventure; it also has some language that we don’t use today and at times we weren’t sure what they were trying to say, but overall we ended up liking it.