10 Random Facts My 7-Year-Old Learned from Her Magic Tree House Books

Big Sis has been reading the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne for several months now.  They are very easy for her, so she's ripping through them quickly, with the occasional break for other books.  Many of the books deal with historical subjects, although science and nature figure into the plots, too.  However, aside from the first book and the Thanksgiving title, I haven't read any of them!  Miss Independent Reader has been keeping the books to herself.  So I asked her to write down 10 Random Facts - things she learned from reading the series.  (I think she might have known a few of these before, but I'm not certain.  She's only 7.)  I'm going to set her up on the official website this weekend.  She's excited to take quizzes and play games!

1.  George Washington, the president, was a general and hero in the Revolutionary War.  [#22: Revolutionary War on Wednesday]

2.  The fires after the San Francisco earthquake were as bad as the actual earthquake.  [#24: Earthquake in the Early Morning

3.  There is no rain or wind in space.  [#8:  Midnight on the Moon]

4.  Playing pirates might be fun, but meeting a real pirate would be very scary.  [#4: Pirates Past Noon]

5.  In the Civil War, they had field hospitals if anyone got wounded.  [#21:  Civil War on Sunday]

6.  The first Olympics took place in Ancient Greece!  [#16:  Hour of the Olympics]

7.  Making food was really hard during the first Thanksgiving.  (I think my least favorite food would be eel, if I tried it.  I don't even like fish!)  [#27:  Thanksgiving On Thursday]

8.  In Ancient Egypt, the Book of the Dead was there to help dead people travel through the underworld.  [#3:  Mummies in the Morning]

9.  Some people think crocodiles were kept in moats.  A moat is water that circles around a castle to protect it from enemies.  [#2:  The Knight at Dawn]

10.  Jaguars are the biggest predators in the rain forest, in South America.  [#6:  Afternoon on the Amazon]

Thank you, my oldest daughter.  It's wonderful to learn something through fun fiction books, 
don't you think?

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!
And may you learn something new, too!

Happy Birthday, Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart, ca. 1935
Source: Wikipedia

Amelia Earhart was born on this day, July 24, in 1897.  Coincidentally, we have been reading books about Ms. Earhart this very week!  Little Sis wants to be a pilot, you see.  (Well, an artist-ballerina-pilot.  And sometimes, an artist-ballerina-pilot-actress-singer-comedian.  A mulit-hyphenate Renaissance woman, I guess.)  This isn't the first look we've had at the famed aviatrix.  Someday, I hope to take the girls a few hours north to Atchison, to her birthplace and museum.  Maybe even to the annual Amelia Earhart Festival!

We read this book in its entirety.  This is a wonderful introduction to Earhart's life and times, with tons of pictures and illustrations.  Both daughters enjoyed it very much.  I love DK books, and these early readers do not disappoint!

Flying Ace: The Story of Amelia Earhart
by Angela Bull.  (Eyewitness Readers,
Level 4)  DK Children, 2000.

We skimmed this book for the amazing pictures.  I'm still deciding if Little Sis isn't a bit too young for it.  Plus, reading about someone who went missing in a plane crash makes me feel a little queasy, as we'll be on a plane or two ourselves late next week!  That's definitely a Me Problem.  I admit, flying always freaks me out a little.  Maybe after our trip?

Amelia Lost: The Life & Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming.
Schwartz & Wade, 2011.

This is the picture Little Sis drew today.  Her plane makes me smile.

And here is a mini-biography from the Biography Channel.

Local History

This weekend, our city celebrated its 143rd birthday, and our local historical museum decided to throw a birthday party!  Admission was free with a birthday card - we're members, and get in free anyway - and there were cupcakes and ice cream upon exiting, as long as you wrote down a fun fact about Wichita for a post-it board they were putting together.  

The entrance to the building on Main Street; Big Sis made a Wichita flag; a coloring sheet for Little Sis to bring home; the back of the building. 

The historical museum is housed in the old City Hall, designed by famed architecture team Proudfoot & Bird.  It was built in 1892.  The museum moved to the space in the 1970s.  While this has long been my favorite building in town, I didn't step inside until a couple of years ago!  (Well, not counting a fifth grade field trip.  I don't remember much about the museum from that day.  I do remember that we ate McDonald's in the park behind the museum, then headed over to the planetarium next door, which was much more exciting.)  Two summers ago, I brought the girls to tour the museum and they loved it so much, we became museum members.  The girls have the permanent exhibits memorized.  They know what floor everything is on.  It's always such a joy to visit.  And Mr. B was off work this day, so  he got to accompany us!  

Look at the box of Kix! 

One of the special exhibits was a look at Atomic Age memorabilia.  Mr. B and I had fun looking at the stuff, while not explaining it to the kids.  (They can learn about atom bombs later, thank you very much.)

The girls love the children's areas.  There's a whole section on the second floor devoted to childhood.  For special events, they have a hands-on area set up across the hall.  This weekend, they had the tea set and some dolls, along with coloring and crafts.

We also love the Victorian cottage exhibit, which walks you through all the rooms of a fine Victorian house.

A look at some books by authors from the Wichita area, and/or about Wichita figures.

The part of the tour we were most excited about, though, was a trip up the stairs beyond the fourth floor.  While the tour did not lead you up the narrow, rickety stairs to the actual clock tower, it did take you up to the bottom of the tower.  There you could see the clock mechanism - the clock wasn't added until the 1910s - and you could pull a rope to ring the bell!  We also saw the original "Future Home of..." sign.

The building next door to the museum - the one with the stairs the girls are standing on - is the old Carnegie library building.  When I was a child, it was the Omnisphere, a planetarium.  I took a field trip to that building every year from first to fifth grade.  Now, it's a bank, although the bank has restored it closer to the way it looked in its library days.  The actual main branch of the library is now housed across the street.  The city is in talks to build a larger, new library elsewhere now.

I didn't think I was going to write a post about our trip, but after looking at our library bag and having funny conversations with the girls, I realized we have really been "getting our history on" this summer!  I thought I'd devote the rest of the week to some of the books we have been reading: biographies on Amelia Earhart and Benjamin Franklin, the Magic Tree House series, Egyptology...

Are your children interested in history?  Are there any cool historical museums in your area?

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