The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn - link to my post. (book review for Blogging for Books)
The 101 Damatians by Dodie Smith is a delightful story; I'm sorry I never read it as a child myself. This will either be a family read-aloud for us or First Daughter will read it during her independent reading. I'm dismayed the Amazon link says it's "abridged" as the book I read from the library has the same cover, though it doesn't say it's abridged anywhere. I may invest in the Audible book, just to see if there's a noticeable difference. (library copy)
Hilary McKay's Lulu series - link to my post. (library copies)
Julian, Secret Agent by Ann Cameron is an early reader, and one in a series. Julian and his best friend start a detective agency with his little brother and learn it's best not to jump to conclusions. His father takes their escapades in stride and allows them the freedom to explore and investigate in a way that's probably impossible in today's world, but commendable. This will be an option for Second Daughter in her reading aloud to me. (library copy)
A Traveller in Rome by H. V. Morton - link to my post. (borrowed copy)
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford is a humorous easy chapter book about a girl who avoids reading her assigned book the entire summer and the events that transpire the last afternoon. It's not clear to me that Moxy learns or changes much in the short book, though she does eventually read Stuart Little. It's odd that there's a much younger boy (she's 9 and he's 6) who has a "crush" on her, follows her around and does whatever she says, a boy she considers her "boyfriend." For those who are concerned about such things, she does live with her mom and stepfather, though it doesn't say anything about divorce. My girls want to read this book, because they've seen it around the house, and I will let them, but I wouldn't offer it during the school year and I won't mention it's the first in a series. (library book)
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book edited by Anita Silvey is a series of brief essays, some only a few sentences, of a successful person from a variety of careers, though there are lots of writers and illustrators, sharing a childhood memory of a book that impacted their lives. A variety of books are features, not all of them even written for children. Many of the stories reinforce Charlotte Mason's insistence on a broad feast of excellent books, as people draw different strengths and ideas from different books at different times. Each essay includes a full page excerpt, often with illustrations, from the featured book as well as a brief introduction to the book or series (in teeny tiny print) from the editor. One of my favorite stories told how Dr. Seuss had given up publishing his first children's book and was on his way home to burn it when he met a college acquaintance who just happened to be newly assigned to the children's book arm of his publishing house. Book lists appear at the end, but there are others I like more. (library book)
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene - link to my post. (owned copy)
Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli - link to my post. (PDF copy from publisher, complimentary copy of the book when published)
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald is the story of a young boy named Diamond who is befriended by the North Wind. He learns to trust in her even when he knows she sometimes causes what seems to be evil. In our favorite chapter, Diamond observes (and understands) two horses conversing in horse language. The reader in our audio version sounded a bit like a grandmother which was a bit confusing to me when the narrator became a part of the story and was obviously male. The children didn't seem to mind, though, perhaps because they've listened to their mother read just about anything aloud to them. (audio book from Audible)
Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look is a early reader chapter book, one of a series about a young Chinese American girl who loves performing magic tricks, adores her brother, and has a delightful family. It's cute and sweet and one I'd be happy for my young readers to enjoy. (library book)
Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott - I started to read this aloud to the kids from my Kindle when we were stranded outside Sequoia National Park. They were drawn in right away by the dog in the first chapter. We finished the book on Librivox. The girls (8 and 9) loved this book the most. First Son, I think, anticipated the ending and found it a little too "girlish" for his taste (though he loved Little Men last year). I found the Librivox reader a little perplexing in her pacing, but the children didn't seem to notice anything odd about it. I hadn't read this one myself before. It was fairly moralistic and the ending was predictable (but I still loved that predictable ending). (free Kindle book, free Librivox recording)
For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and Towards A Philosophy of Education (Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series) by Charlotte Mason were read with my Start Here book club. We spent nearly 18 months reading through the study and I neglected to take extensive notes on the books. For the Children's Sake is an excellent introduction to Charlotte Mason and her principles. I recommend it for people who are new to Charlotte Mason, especially if her original volumes are intimidating. (purchased copy of For the Children's Sake at some long unknown time and place, purchased used copy of Towards a Philosophy of Education)
Humility of Heart by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo - link to my post. (purchased used on Amazon)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - link to my post. (read for free on the Kindle, but I have an old used copy for First Son to read purchased at a library book sale)
Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin - link to my post. (library copy)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne - There was really no way to avoid reading this book, which is really the script of a play. It was weird to read a Harry Potter play. The plot and character development are limited in a script; so much of that happens on stage. Many of the characters seemed like they were there just for show (especially Ron). Kansas Dad had trouble imagining Harry having so much difficulty relating to his son, but I personally think that could be managed. Really, though, I'd prefer to see this play performed. Maybe one day we will. (purchased copy, with a generous gift card from my godparents)
The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith is recommended by RC History for volume 2. First Daughter read it independently and I read it just ahead of her. It seemed to do a good job of describing the trials and hardships of the journey without being too explicit for younger readers. The dog's point of view is also a benefit for more reluctant readers. It does present spirit animals (of a Native American tribe) as real and instrumental in the story, if that concerns anyone. We were fine with that as a literary technique. I linked above to the RC History website (an affiliate link), but the book is also available from Amazon (another affiliate link). (library copy)
Father Elijah: An Apocalypse by Michael D. O'Brien - In this fictional apocalypse, a Jewish convert priest does spiritual battle with an Anti-Christ who has risen to great political power in Europe. What does evil look like in the present world? How are we deceived by evil masquerading as doing good? How do we cultivate faith when the world seems so terrible? There is only minimal resolution in the book and I read recently there is a new book in the series. (parish library copy)
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded by Simon Winchester - link to my post. (library copy)
Books in Progress (and date started)
- Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol 2 (sixth edition) (August 2014)
- Transforming Your Life through the Eucharist by John A. Kane (June 2016)
- Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (August 2016, listening with the children)
- My Several Worlds by Pearl S. Buck (August 2016)
- The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia P. Hale (August 2016, reading aloud to the children)
- Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott (August 2016, with First Son)
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Other links (like those to Bethlehem Books) are not affiliate links.
These reports are my honest opinions.