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Fun, fictional book for Europe study


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We've been doing a lot of geography lately. Last month was South America and DS read Secrets of the Andes--much to his disliking. I'm now looking for a book for him to read for our unit on Europe. Any suggestions? Ideas? He loves adventure and is 10. Thanks!

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We've been doing a lot of geography lately. Last month was South America and DS read Secrets of the Andes--much to his disliking. I'm now looking for a book for him to read for our unit on Europe. Any suggestions? Ideas? He loves adventure and is 10. Thanks!

 

The Wheel on the School by M. de Jong is a great read. It takes place in a small Dutch fishing village. The adventure begins when one student in the one-school room house wonders why no storks come to nest on *their* roofs. The book follows all that needs to take place and the whole village gets involved. Great characters, great plot, great writing. One of my favorites...

 

The Mitchell's series by Hilda Van Stockum (published by Bethlehem Books). These take place in England and are joy-filled stories. My children really enjoyed these books. Easier reading than The Wheel on the School.

 

The Good Master by Kate Seredy is a quite charming tale set in Hungary. Another excellent book.

 

The Letzenstein Chronicles by M. Trevor (also published by Bethlehem Books) are set in a fictional European country in the mid 1800's but give a good feel for Europe with its sweep of revolutions. More challenging than The Wheel on the School.

 

Banner in the Sky by James Ullman. A boy-climbs-mountain-his-father-died-on story set in Switzerland, if I recall correctly. My boys liked this one better than my girls who didn't appreciate the ending (he doesn't make it quite to the top--but for good reason. The children were expecting a "fairy-tale" ending....)

 

My children have also like James Herriot's animal stories which are available in many different collections--you might feel more comfortable getting a set geared for children (the two or three books I have for this age group include stories that are not edited or dumbed down...just selected stories that don't include the occasional "d" or "h" word or a night out at the pub....)

 

In thinking through our many children's books set in Europe, many center on WWII or are in some way connected. Worthy but not the "fun fiction" you asked for....

 

HTH,

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Another title popped into my head of the "can't miss" variety:

 

White Stallion of Lipizza by M. Henry (yes, of Misty fame). This book centers around the dreams of one young man, son of a baker in Vienna, who longs to become a rider of a white stallion. I've been to the Spanish Riding school in Vienna (where the White Stallions perform) and she accurately describes it, the pageantry, the history, the stables in Slovenia (been there, too), plus wraps a engaging story around it all....

 

HTH,

Edited by vmsurbat
typo
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Some classics popped into my mind, like Hans Brinker for Holland, Heidi for Switzerland and Black Beauty for England. Some others I thought of: The Trumpeter of Krakow - set in Poland. The Family Under the Bridge- set in France. Hilda von Stockum does write absolutely wonderful books. She's got a series about a boy named Francie who lives in Ireland in the 1920's I think. Really delightful!

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Thanks. As I've been thinking more about this, I was trying to think of the classics and only came up with Grimm's Fairy Tales, so these other suggestions are helpful. Hans Brinker might be a good one, he could then compare it to the movie too. (which is what I was also thinking of with the fairy tales.)

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Here is one about Sweden: The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf. It was written as a geography book but it is a story. It might be a bit young it has been a while since I read it.

 

Oh, I love that book. I made my kids read it and they were not as enthusiastic, though. :glare:

 

The post about the stallions of Lippiza reminded me of a great book my kids read a little while back - The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson - it's set in pre-WWI Vienna, which is where the author grew up. It paints such a beautiful portrait of Vienna. The heroine is an girl abandoned as a baby in a church, and taken in by three sibling professors and their two servants. She's raised by the servants, then one day a wealthy lady shows up claming to be her mother, and she's whisked off to a bleak castle in northern Germany. But is the lady really her mother, or does she have some ulterior motive? She befriends a gypsy boy who tends the horses. Adventure ensues. The Lipizzaners figure prominently in the story.

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Crispin, Cross of Lead by Avi was one of ds' favorites this year. He requested the sequel immediately. :)

 

Oh, this looks like it could work, especially since we're doing medieval history next year. Just added it to Amazon! Thanks.

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