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Alvin--Ho, ho ho!
on February 14, 2010
I purchased this book for a local elementary school library because it showed up on a list of top 20 read aloud books. I am now reading it to a class of second graders who find it, "hilarious." It is a chapter book so an advanced read but it has captured their attention and imagination. The author, Lenore Look, has managed to weave the roots of our country's history as well as art, music, literature and famous historical figures into her very funny story line. Each week that I read, I use the first five or ten minutes to introduce what is new to the children. We have read some Shakespeare (Alvin is allowed to curse in Shakespearean dialogue as long as he doesn't hurt anyone as he is a "gentleman in training.") I have played short snippets of Brahms, Beethoven, and even a song from the Music Man as well as shown works by Frieda Kahlo, Gauguin, and Van Gough. The children had never heard of the Minutemen and the Redcoats and now play the same game on their California playground as Alvin does on his playground in Concord, Massachusetts.
Henry David Thoreau is Alvin's personal hero and we have discussed Thoreau at first because of his strong pro environmental stance in the 1800's. During the week of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, I read from King's autobiography where he credits Thoreau's essay on "Civil Disobedience," for inspiring his method of passive resistance during the Civil Rights Movement.
The students are so taken with the book that they have been to the school library to find out when it was published, one child has already read the sequel--imagine a 7 year old reading a 166 page chapter book! They want to know when the next Alvin Ho book is coming out and have suggested the author create a Christmas special for TV and call it, "Alvin--Ho, ho, ho."