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Poppins Book Nook ~ Planes, Trains, Automobiles .. and Rafts?

In 1942 an American plane went down in the South Pacific while it was on a submarine hunt. Three men survived the crash with little more than the clothes on their backs. They were crammed into a raft with less room than a bathtub for 34 days.

The Raft by Robert Trumbull is a first-hand account of the crash and the ensuing survival at sea of Harold Dixon, Gene Aldrich and Tony Pastula. It was our choice for Poppins Book Nook for the month of April with the theme Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

I have to admit I picked this book based on an exhibit the kids and I have seen multiple times at the National Musuem of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. It was a stretch for April's theme but worked in perfectly with our plans to go to Florida this month. Poppins Book Nook is a monthly-themed virtual book club for kids of which I am co-hosting. There are a lot of us who are reading a book within the month's theme and sharing the book and corresponding activities.

Poppins Book Nook

Survival Skills

A great majority of the airmen's time at sea was just trying to survive. We learned how they caught fish, how they baled water and collected some for drinking when it rained, and how they navigated their tiny vessel. They were very resourceful and it paid off as they, ultimately, survived the ordeal.

We learned how to find directions by the sun, moon, wind, and stars by using the information located at

One of the greatest challenges was staying hydrated. The survivors caught water with their shirts and wrung it out to drink. They also stored larger quantities in a pocket-type device that they fashioned on the inside of the raft. The kids and I talked about ways we could trap water should we ever be in the wilderness or without water because of a disaster.

We made rainwater catchers using 2-liter bottles. We also discussed how much more water we could catch with something even bigger, such as a tarp that funnels water into a bucket.

We intended to also make a water filtration system that could be used in the wilderness, but we ran out of time. Here are the instructions for it if you would like to give it a try.

A Field Trip

Of course the highlight of this book was visiting the exhibit at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. If you are ever in Pensacola, I highly recommend that you visit the museum. It is free to attend and is absolutely fabulous! There are tons of crafts for the kids to climb into and the Blue Angels practice on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. (also free) and then come into the museum to sign autographs. It's an awesome experience!

Right next to the U.S.S. Enterprise exhibit, which is the aircraft carrier that the three mens' airplane took off from, is The Raft exhibit. The actual raft is there for viewing, as well as more information about the ordeal. This exhibit is where I first saw the book and knew we needed to read it. We go to the museum every year and try to learn about something new at each visit.

If you look closely, you can still see the pencil tally marks made by the men to document how many days they were lost at sea.

This book was special to the kids and I and very personal for us to read. We stood in awe at the exhibit as we knew from the personal writings of the pilot of the downed plane exactly what they had to endure. May God bless all of our veterans for their devotion to our country and fellow men. Also, please be praying for the folks in Pensacola today as they are enduring their own level of survival with massive flooding.

Meet all of my lovely co-hosts:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Faith and Good Works ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~  Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

You can join in on this monthly activity. All you have to do is go over to read all about Poppins Book Nook and the fun you can have while joining us! Updates and fun ideas can also be found on the Poppins Book Nook Facebook Page and Poppins Book Nook Pinterest Board.

Here is a reminder of all of the themes for 2014-2015. Next month's theme is "Folktales". I have our book checked out from the library. Now I need to get busy thinking of some activities.

If you have read a book within the theme "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" this month, and did some fun activities to go along with the book, please link up with us!

An InLinkz Link-up

Poppins Book Nook Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a Fort Magic Kit! With Fort Magic you can bring all of the planes, trains, automobiles, and anything else your child can think of from your storybooks to life to interact with, play with, and make reading fun. The possibilities are only limited by your child's imagination. Jump into a world of books today with Fort Magic! You can read a review of Fort Magic HERE.

The winner must reside within the United States. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook, in partnership with the Fort Magic. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms and conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosure found HERE. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Clip Art by Melon Headz


  1. That looks like a book our family will love!! How wonderful that you get to have a personal connection with it as well.

  2. This sounds like an excellent book. I love how you thought outside of the box with a raft- very cool, and it is a form of transportation indeed!

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!


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