Other Summer Reading Challenge posts: Introduction,
Week Three: off
SUMMER READING CHALLENGE (SRC), Week 1
Welcome, time travelers, all! Whether you’ve gotten here by traveling forward or backward, you’ve picked a good day to land–June 16, 2014, the first day of our Summer Reading Challenge.
I should probably make a quick note about what you should expect through the end of July. Here’s how the weeks will look, with the exception of the week of July 4th:
Monday: List #1 Book Intro & Worldview Academy interview
Tuesday: Time Travel Devotional
Wed, Thurs, & Fri: non-SRC post or off
Saturday: List #2 (Ages 12 and up) Book Intro & Breakpoint discussion
We will also have a writing contest to announce very soon, but not sure exactly which day…So, stay tuned. And with that in mind, let’s jump right in!
WORLDVIEW ACADEMY INTERVIEW
Each week, this is where we’ll put up a roughly ten-minute segment of Emily’s interview with Jeff Baldwin of Worldview Academy. The purpose of this interview is to give you and your kids some big ideas to chew on. Jeff and Emily ask and attempt to answer questions like these: How is the Christian view of time different from other worldviews? Does the Bible offer any insight on whether time travel is possible? And if you could go back or forward in time, when and where would you visit?
Parents, you can use these ideas as a springboard for your own discussions. Or feel free to have your kids listen with you. At roughly ten minutes long, we hope these segments will be short enough to keep most little time travelers engaged.
SRC Baldwin Interview, Part One
Jeff Baldwin is the co-founder of Worldview Academy and serves as the research director for that ministry. He has written several books included The Deadliest Monster: An Introduction to Worldviews. His website TheGreatBooks.com provides free reading lists and discussion guides about the classics for Christian educators.
LIST #1, BOOK 1: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang pops into mind along with the music to the fantastic movie with Dick Van Dyke. A musical classic for sure. If your children need an introduction to this quirky, flying car, that is a good one (note that the child catcher scenes can be frightening for young and/or sensitive children). Many people don’t know, however, that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was first a book. And that the book was written by Ian Fleming (who also wrote the James Bond books). The Ian Fleming estate granted permission for Frank Cottrell Boyce to write a short trilogy of Chitty’s further adventures in recent years, and he’s done a bang up job. The newer books are very fun to read–and very British (including words like “pootling” and spellings like “tyre” and “kerb”).
The New Series
We’ve chosen to focus on the second book in this newer trilogy because Chitty really starts her time traveling adventures in it. You can pick up with this second one with minimal effort, but if you have readers in your home, go ahead and try to read the previous one in the series first. They’re quick reads (Cottrell Boyce’s first one takes a couple of chapters to get swinging’ but then it’s a crazy ride), and the second volume will be all the richer for having read the others. When you’re done with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time, you must end with Chitty Chitty Bang Over the Moon which just came out this spring.
The Tooting family includes Dad, Mum, Lucy (a very typical “Goth” teenager), Jem (the main middle grade protagonist), and Little Harry (who’s always right). Dad is sometimes portrayed as a bit bumbling, but Mum Tooting is his biggest fan and deftly lifts him up in the limelight. These two parents are still obviously love each other and think the world of each other. The parents need their children’s assistance, but the roles aren’t reversed (parents still parents and kids still kids). Each volume below is a crazy adventure. In fact, the word today is over the top.
Below is a short summary of each book followed by discussion questions/topics more tailored to our focus book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time.
Mr. Tooting loses his job, and his wife buys him a vintage camper van to restore so that Mr. Tooting’s inventive nature has an outlet. Mr. Tooting and Jem do a nice bit of father-son bonding as they restore the camper van. In the process, they make a trip to Bucklewing’s Scrapyard and make a fateful discovery: the engine of a famous car (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). This launches them on unbelievable, world-traveling adventures as Chitty (who has a mind of her own) leads them to discover her scattered parts and fully reassemble her. Read Janie’s full review for more information.
This second installment is one madcap race to be sure. Chitty has a mind of her own and takes the Tooting family to prehistoric times, to the Roaring Twenties in America (and Chitty’s original owner, Count Zborowski), to El Dorado, to the present, and finally, to the famous 1966 World Cup game in London. Jem uses Chitty’s logbook to piece together different adventures in Chitty’s past (and helps his sister Lucy narrowly avert a tragic accident). By the end of the book, the nefarious Tiny Jack and Nanny have Chitty in their grips, and the Tooting family has just spied the Potts family. Personally, I think this book would make a very fun animated film. Definitely the tie that binds the trilogy together, this is the most action-packed of the three and leaves you hanging at the end!
The Potts and Tooting families together set out to defeat Tiny Jack and Nanny in their dangerous world domination/destruction game. This volume features two Chittys who come dangerously close to being together at the same point in space and time–a disaster for the space-time continuum! Thankfully, this apocalyptic event is averted, and the Tootings must decide whether to correct a wrong done in the past or not. If the wrong is corrected, then history for the Tooting family will be irrevocably altered, and they will not even have any memories of Chitty left. Read our recent review for more information.
- What did you like about this book or books? Anything you didn’t like?
- What were some of the main ideas of the story?
- In Race Against Time, the author mentions “billions of years” regarding dinosaurs. How does that compare to the Creation story in Genesis?
- Who is in charge of history? Can an object alter history? Can a human? Consider this quotation from page 25: “What if we accidentally left a penknife or a box of matches behind? That could alter the course of human history. We might come home and find that the whole world had changed. Basildon might be full of people performing human sacrifice.”
- Discuss the significance of each person in the tapestry of history. Consider this quotation from page 181 (referring to the advisability of preventing the Count’s death): “Everyone is important. Everyone is connected.”
- What is the importance of objects (photos, souvenirs, inheritances, CARS) in this story and in your life? How do objects help us know the stories of the past and pass on our own stories?
WHAT’S NEXT? ANOTHER GIVEAWAY!
***This Giveaway is now over. Winners have been chosen and notified!***
Be sure to check back tomorrow for our first Time Travel Devotional. That’s where we’ll really make the SRC interactive and worldview-strengthening!
Until then, we actually have one last giveaway for you! N.D. Wilson has kindly offered us three signed copies of our first book from Reading List #2, Ashtown Burials, as well as a couple of other gifts. If you’re interested, let us know a few of your thoughts about our interview with Jeff Baldwin of Worldview Academy above, and you’ll be entered! (We’ll have three winners, so don’t be shy!)