Probably the best read aloud we have done so far is Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey. I had never heard of this book, which was published in 1943. It was described as a "young boy's story in Centerburg" and sounded a little boring. But, it is mentioned in several reading lists in various curriculum I read. So, I thought I would give it a try.
There is a lot of action and adventure and the plot lines are silly, so every chapter captured my girls' attention. Because it was published in 1943, Homer lives a different life from my girls: he listens to a football game on the radio, he drives a horse and buggy into town. These differences encouraged a lot of discussion from my girls ... who still seem fascinated by how children lived so long ago.
After we read the book, I learned that short movies were made of two of the chapters. Fortunately, both of those movies have been uploaded to YouTube and can be watched for free. The acting and production quality of both movies are mediocre, but they do follow the book closely. The Doughnuts is uploaded into three parts: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. The Case of the Cosmic Comic is uploaded into two parts: Part One and Part Two. I watched these movies with them once and the girls have since watched them a few times on their own (they can actually do searches on You Tube by themselves ... a potentially dangerous skill!). I never know how much my children retain from our read-alouds. So, I was pleased when we started watching The Case of the Cosmic Comic and Sabrina (my 4 year old) said "I can't wait to hear him say OUCH!", which was the main point of the chapter we had read several days earlier.
The fourth chapter was a funny story about a gigantic ball of string and a race around a track with it. So, we re-created that on a big poster:
We probably watched them make these doughnuts for an hour. Sabrina kept saying "the doughnuts keep coming and coming and coming!" I cannot believe how many doughnuts they made. About ten feet from the end of the conveyor belt, an employee pulled all the "perfect" doughnuts off the conveyor belt and put them in boxes and trays. At least a third of the doughnuts, and possibly up to half, were considered "imperfect" because they were dented, incompletely glazed, didn't flip over in the oil, etc. These doughnuts simply rode the conveyor belt to the very end and fell into a big trash can.
We went there on a Tuesday evening and saw an enormous amount of doughnuts being made. The baker told us that they are much busier on the weekends, unless they get a corporate order. I asked what a corporate order was, and he said that is when CNN or some big company orders over 500 dozen doughnuts. He told us that all the Krispy Kreme doughnuts which are sold in grocery stores are made in a bakery in Duluth.
Of course we had to let Sabrina pick out a doughnut to eat. They also gave them free hats:
I highly recommend reading Homer Price and will likely read the sequel with the girls at some point.