Thursday, December 4, 2014

November 2014 Book Reports

Draw-a-Saurus by James Silvani - read my review here (review copy from Blogging for Books)

Another Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup is the second in a series of middle grade fiction. It is just as silly as the first with the addition of actual time traveling. I think First Son is going to enjoy these tremendously. I'm pretty sure they'd be fine for him to read, but I'll probably pre-read the third one. These would be summer reading. (library copy)

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller is a book I found at a library book sale just after reading about it at Afterthoughts. Written by a man who was an actual shepherd in the Middle East, it provides tremendous insight into the twenty-third psalm (and other sheep and shepherd analogies in the Old Testament). I found this book particularly interesting given the prominent place of the Good Shepherd in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (which I teach at our parish), but the best parts of the book were those in which he explained how shepherds and sheep interact rather than his explanation of how the metaphor works in modern life. Those parts weren't terrible, just not as interesting. (purchased copy)

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow is a brief book of advice and memories as dictated by Dr. Pausch to a reporter after the overwhelming response to his last lecture (which I have not actually watched), a farewell speech he prepared after learning he was dying of pancreatic cancer. It contains much of the special memories he wanted to share with his very young children. It was sweet and sad, but I think it's nice now and then to step back from the business of our lives and make sure we're concentrating on what's most important. This book is a nice way to focus on that for a while. (library copy)

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt was one of the books listed in The Reading Promise. I found the title intriguing so checked it out right away from the library. I loved it because Gaylen, a young boy sent to poll the citizens about the food they find most delicious finds himself in the middle of intrigue to overthrow the king and then must decide whether to act. Should he intervene? Does he act for what is right? In the end, we don't even know if his actions made a difference, which is most marvelous of all. Sometimes doing what is right takes great courage and the act itself is what is most important, not the results. I think First Daughter (an excellent reader in second grade) could read this herself, but it's a perfect family story, so I've added it to our read-aloud list. (library copy)

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare is a book I never read when I was younger about young boy left in the wilderness of Maine for a summer while his father journeys back to retrieve his mother and sister. After a series of mishaps, he is rescued by a Native American elder who arranges for him to teach his grandson, Attean, how to read and write. I'm not sure how authentic a story it is, historically, but it is a fine tale of friendship between two boys who initially view each other as enemies. I think this will be an option for First Son's summer reading. (library copy)

The Light at Tern Rock by Julia Sauer is a quiet tale of a young boy who is disappointed to find himself stuck at a lighthouse for Christmas. I like how the focus is not on how the lighthouse keeper misled them, or what his punishment will be, but on how our reactions to circumstances make our own lives better (or worse). It's quite short, only four chapters, so it's an easy one to add to our read-alouds for Advent. It was recommended by a member of the Read Aloud Revival Community facebook group. (library copy)

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is the story of six unwanted unruly kids who bully their way into a Christmas pageant and begin to discover the glory of Jesus' birth, teaching some of the townspeople a bit as well. I plan to read this book to the children this year during Advent. They will think it is hilarious. I would caution there is a lot of misbehavior in the book. I always worry such descriptions will give my children ideas, but there's not much in here they would do that they don't already do (like lighting things on fire or smoking cigars). (library copy)

The Caine Mutiny: A Novel by Herman Wouk - read my review here. (library copy)

Books in Progress (and date started)

Links to Amazon are affiliate links. Other links are not affiliate links.


  1. I'm so glad you liked the shepherd book! I always get nervous when I know someone actually takes my recommendation on a book because I secretly think, "What if I'm wrong? What if I have bad taste??" So I'm relieved! :)


Comments make me happy; thanks for speaking up!