My little Doodle is 6 yr old and is in 1st grade. He decided to try chapter books this year for his required reading instead of the Easy Reader books he typically reads. For Christmas, I got my boys 2 books each. Amazon.com had a special of Buy 3 get 1 Free! Couldn't pass that up. Anyone who visits my site knows we love books! Getting one for free...BONUS!
The challenge would be finding a book that might be easy for Doodle to read, but not so hard that he'd be asking me what every other word was. The one thing I do as a parent is not making learning "easy" for my kids. If they spell a word for me, I don't automatically tell them what it is. If they don't show me they've at least tried to sound it out, then I'll wait until they try, within reason. *grin*
I love Amazon.com in that when you are looking at a specific item, at the bottom of the screen they give you some other ideas that might go along with it. That's how I was lead to the Jack Stalwart books.
The cover is what caught my attention. I had to keep in mind what would grab my 6 yr old's attention. Who wants to read a boring looking book (at least to start off with)? Book 1 Escape of the Deadly Dinosaur has Jack Stalwart on a sweet looking flying board with flames coming out the back as he's running from a dinosaur! I knew Doodle would love that!
As I dug more into the series, I found that the each book is in a different country. Book 2 The Search for the Sunken Treasure has Jack in Australia. The first one starts Jack off in the USA. I knew that this would be an awesome learning element woven into the story!
The author, Elizabeth Singer Hunt, wrote books 1-3 in 2004. Now she has written her first movie script with a children's action hero! Living on the West Coast has put Elizabeth in a great place for film companies.
After exchanging some emails with Elizabeth, I gave Doodle an opportunity to ask her some questions. The following are his questions:
1) Where did you get the information to write the book?
WELL, IT DEPENDS UPON THE BOOK! I TRAVELLED A BIT BEFORE I HAD CHILDREN, SO SOME OF MY IDEAS COME FROM MEMORIES OF THESE PLACES. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES IS SOUTHEAST ASIA - I'VE TRAVELLED THERE QUITE A BIT - SO THE CAMBODIA BOOK IS BASED ON MY MEMORIES OF THE BEAUTIFUL TEMPLES AT ANGKOR. FOR OTHER PLACES THAT I HAVE NOT YET VISITED, I USE LIBRARY BOOKS AND THE INTERNET TO GATHER INSPIRATION.
2) Did you see a spy or an agent?
UNFORTUNATELY, I DON'T KNOW ANY SPIES OR AGENTS, ALTHOUGH MY GRANDFATHER WAS RUMOURED TO BE ONE IN CUBA. BUT I LOVE INDIANA JONES AND JAMES BOND. JACK FOR ME IS A MIX OF THOSE TWO FAMOUS MOVIE/ BOOK CHARACTERS, ONLY HE'S NINE YEARS OLD!
3) Were you outside when you were writing the book?
SOMETIMES, I DO SIT OUTSIDE TO GET INSPIRATION, BUT MOSTLY I'M TAPPING AWAY AT MY COMPUTER IN THE DINING ROOM. SOMETIMES, I GO TO THE LIBRARY TO DO WORK, BUT ODDLY IT'S NEVER QUIET IN THERE, SO I CAN'T CONCENTRATE.
4) Have you been to a museum and seen a dinosaur?
I SURE HAVE! I USED TO LIVE IN NEW YORK NEAR THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, WHICH IS WHERE I GOT THE IDEA FOR BOOK 1 FROM. FUNNILY ENOUGH, AFTER I WROTE THAT BOOK SOMEONE CAME UP WITH A VERY CLEVER MOVIE FOR CHILDREN ABOUT THE EXHIBITS IN THAT MUSEUM COMING TO LIFE.
5) Do you like sharks? Ryan thinks you do since you picked a shark for book 2.
ACTUALLY, I'M SCARED OF SHARKS! I THOUGHT TO MYSELF - WHAT ARE TWO OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR SOMEONE SWIMMING IN THE WATERS OF AUSTRALIA - SHARKS AND JELLY FISH. I WAS SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT SOME OF THE JELLY FISH THERE COULD BE SO DANGEROUS.
6) Did you go on a boat before?
I LIVED IN LOUISIANA AS A CHILD, SO I SPENT LOTS OF TIME ON BOATS. NOTHING FANCY, JUST MY DAD'S FISHING BOATS. BUT BEING ON THE WATER IS VERY NATURAL TO ME.
7) Have you been under water before?
I HAVE. I TOOK A SCUBA DIVING COURSE IN HAWAII ONCE, AND DOVE TO 30 FEET. I AM A VERY GOOD SWIMMER, BUT FOR SOME REASON I DON'T ENJOY SCUBA DIVING. I LIKE TO BE IN CONTROL OF MY OWN BREATHING.
8) Have you dived into water before?
YES, WHEN I USED TO SWIM AT MY LOCAL SWIM CLUB I DID LOTS OF DIVING OFF OF BOARDS. AND OF COURSE, I HAVE BEEN SWIMMING AND DIVING OFF OF BOATS IN ALL SORTS OF PLACES LIKE HALONG BAY, IN VIETNAM.
9) Which book is your favorite? Ryan thinks it's your last.
RIGHT NOW, MY FAVORITE IS THE QUEST FOR AZTEC GOLD BECAUSE I REALLY LIKE THE CALLOUS CARL CHARACTER. I ALSO LIKE THE CAMBODIA BOOK BECAUSE OF THE TEMPLES AT ANGKOR. THEY REALLY DO EXIST.
Some great resources on Elizabeth Singer Hunt's website has some great resources for her Jack Stalwart series:
- Teacher Downloads
- First Chapters for each of the Jack Stalwart books
- Jack Stalwart on the BBC Radio Program Big Toe Books
Would you like to win the first 3 books in the Jack Stalwart series? Elizabeth will autograph them!!
REQUIRED: Visit Elizabeth Singer Hunt's website and tell me what book your child would love to read.
Giveaway is open to all US residents. Must be at least 18 yrs old to enter. Please leave a way to contact you with your email or have it available in your contact profile. No email/contact = No entry. Giveaway ends 3/18, 10pm CST.
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3) Visit the Jack Stalwart site for kids to play on & leave me a comment of their favorite activity (2 entries, comment 2x)
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