Title: My Family and Other Animals
Author: Gerald Durrell
File Under: Humor, Family Life, Read Aloud, Homeschooling
Age Group: Anyone able to sit still for a longer read-aloud, and who can be trusted not to repeat the word “bastard” indiscriminately.
You think I’m not talking about homeschooling (or educating children in general) when I really am. It’s just that now that homeschooling has entered the mainstream of commerce, you have perhaps fallen into the habit of thinking of it as something that must come in a package.
But really, learning, education, teaching — these are a matter of coming into contact with what is best and simply enjoying it!
My friend Theresa* had told me about this book, mainly just emphasizing how well it’s written. “You just have to read it. It’s so well written.” Sure enough. And I know I’ve mentioned it before in passing, but I thought I’d get it into a post of its own.
What is reading, teaching, and learning about literature but enjoying well written books?
Oh yes, you will have to analyze, scrutinize, and otherwise investigate all the serious matter as it relates to books. Great fun. But still, reading and enjoying.
Please attend. Wisdom!
Gerald Durrell was a British-born naturalist who set out to write about the island in Greece onto which his family decamped, and where his love of all things flora and fauna found ample scope. His reminiscences, however, couldn’t keep his family out, for they are by far the most interesting and comical specimens to observe!
For the homeschooling family, My Family and Other Animals represents confirmation and consolation for that child or children of yours who simply don’t fit the mold. When we recall that the author, a world-famous naturalist, was an apparently incorrigible student who simply could not be made to sit still and learn his “math facts” yet went on to produce this delightful work (an instant hit, by the way, at the booksellers’), we take heart.
Personally, I wonder if Gerald’s novelist brother Lawrence didn’t have a hand in the telling, for the former’s other books are not as good as this one. However, that does not seem to be the case. And while the events are not strictly told according to chronology and absolute adherence to fact, they are more than entertaining enough to make up for any liberties.
Read this book and try your hand — ask your children to try theirs — at recounting events in an amusing way. Takes skill, but practice and a good example help.
The book was made into a BBC series that was then condensed into a 90-minute movie. I highly recommend it for anyone who has read the book already. Too, too funny.
*By the way, my friend is the author of the book list I always recommend, and I’ve put the book lists all together on this page in the menu bar under “Library Project”.