Michael and I both worked a full day today, and then we were all invited to a party in the evening. So our first day of Five in a Row was pretty brief.
We read Madeline, as we will every day through Sunday. While we read it we talked a bit about the scenes that were chosen to illustrate the line “They smiled at the good and frowned at the bad, and sometimes they were very sad.” Alex wanted to discuss what was good, bad, and sad in the pictures. We followed Madeline up with my least favorite of the sequels (which would be why it’s novel and exciting to Alex), Madeline and the Bad Hat.
I helped Alex pick out France on our world map, and she stuck a laminated picture of the Madeline book cover there with double-sided tape. We looked at the pages for France in our child’s atlas and found Paris, where Madeline lived.
We also read a couple of supplemental picture books about Paris: Adele and Simon, a Where’s Waldo-esque journey of a young boy and girl through early 20th century Paris, losing something on every page, and Everybody Bonjours, which has great drawings of Paris and very simple text. (I’ve put together a little tub of books to go along with Madeline, and these were the ones Alex chose today. We may get to more of them later in the week.)
We finished up by watching a half-hour video from a PBS series called Families of the World. This one was called Families of France. It follows two children, a nine-year-old girl whose family owns a vineyard and guesthouse in the Beaujolais region and a ten-year-old boy who lives in urban Lyon, through a couple of days of their ordinary lives as they go to school, play, and spend time with their families. I liked it because it gives an impression of normal modern life for French children, so that Alex doesn’t get the idea that Madeline is what France is like today.
This evening after the party I asked Alex what she remembered about France. She remembers Paris, and the Eiffel Tower, and that Madeline lived there, and that they say “bonjour” for hello. And that they make little cakes. And she recognizes the French flag. Not bad for the first day.