Have you ever tried to read a book that is really popular amongst the home school “living books” crowd, given up, and felt bad since everyone loves that author? You may have even wondered what was wrong with you. Did you then valiantly try again only to have your children ask you to not read that book anymore? This is what happened when we undertook to read a few of Holling Clancy Holling’s books. Of the three titles that I have, Seabird, Paddle-to-the-Sea, and Minn of the Mississippi, none captured our interests. Which is odd since my children are all avid nature enthusiasts. The other time this happened was when we read The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley. The Holling’s books had all the earmarks of a perfect fit with this unit since the contents of the books coincided with many topics to be studied. But alas it was not to be.
But on the other hand I had a similar experience with another author; but this time what once seemed void of meaning now penetrated my mind and gripped me. Reading the tragic tale of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in my high school English class failed to engage me but when I dipped into it again while my children sat around it was a different experience altogether. Words that once seemed remote and enigmatic now seemed within my grasp. The rhyme was spell binding.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean
And then these well known lines:
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
I have learned that sometimes several tries is good enough to put something away forever, but on the other hand you just never know when that one elusive book or work will suddenly come alive.