Pharaoh’s Boat

I seem to have vague memories of my brother James loving famed author and illustrator David Macaulay when we were growing up. Since my oldest was a baby, he has reminded me of James in lots of ways. When Michael was old enough to be fascinated by how everything works, I got David Macaulay’s The…

Coal Camp Girl

Stories that describe the work and lives of people in the past are interesting to me. In this instance, I am writing about Coal Camp Girl by Lois Lenski. She began working on this story in 1943 . . . almost 80 years ago! After many years of contemplation and setbacks, this book was finally…

The Letter for the King

A few months ago, my dear friend Tanya Arnold asked me to consider reading and reviewing The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt. We have very similar tastes in books, and she was delighting in the intelligent quirkiness of it. I started it and genuinely enjoyed it. I have some reading promises to fulfill first,…

The Winged Watchman

A Plumfield Kids Book Review by Jack Masarik, age 11  “The Watchman . . .The Watchman . . . Joris looked at it in despair. Winged Watchman . . . guardian angel . . . his breath came in wheezy gasps. He heard footsteps coming closer. Soon he would not be able to run anymore;…

Combat Nurses of WWII (Landmark Book)

A Plumfield Kids Book Review by Greta Masarik, age 13 “To all of them–these heroic women who had voluntarily endangered themselves to heal broken bodies and broken spirits as well–the entire nation would owe an eternal debt of gratitude.” When we think of the heroes of WWII, more often than not, it’s the generals and…

When The Dikes Broke

Seymour’s writing is elegant and lovely for read-aloud (if you can choke it out while crying, that is . . . *wink*). The story follows the van Rossem family throughout the devastation, and then through the restoration of their village. We marvel at how they remove the mud and grime from the interior of their home. We laugh when their missing teakettle is found in a tree. We wonder how they will recover their farmland which is covered in a salt cake from the sea. And we mourn their losses while we rejoice with them in their victories. This story reads like a classic such as Little House on the Prairie. But, it is also quintessentially Dutch. Seymour writes with pride and hope, and gives us a beautiful ending. I do not know why this book is not more commonly known. It should be required reading everywhere.

Little Old Bear

“Once upon a time there was a little old Teddy bear. He was so old that he had lost his fur and his eyes and he was not the handsome little bear he had once been. “The children he had played with had grown up and gone away, and so he lay in a dusty…

The Cottage at Bantry Bay

Listen to this review here When Diane and I were preparing for our formal interview with Dr. John Tepper Marlin, son of Hilda van Stockum, he told us that people would often remark to his mother that she had “such interesting children.” Marlin said that his mother always chuckled at that remark because she thought…

Patsy and the Pup

Patsy’s mother thinks almost five years old is too young to take care of a puppy. But one day, a sweet pup follows Patsy all the way home.  Patsy hopes she can keep him. Unfortunately, the mailman knows the pup belongs to old Mrs. Murphy in the pink cottage on the hill. Mother sends Patsy…

The Ring and the Fire

C.S. Lewis said some of his earliest stabs of joy came from tales of “Northernness.” For a time, he was obsessed with Wagner’s Ring. Northernness pervades J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.   Despite my love for the works of these two authors, I hadn’t bothered much about Norse mythology. But, Clyde Robert Bulla’s…

Down Down the Mountain

“Never in their lives had Hetty or Hank had a pair of shoes . . . They each wanted a beautiful shining pair that sang, ‘Creaky–squeaky–creaky–squeaky,’ every time they walked.”  It’s fun going barefoot in the summer, but in the winter snow, their feet get blue with cold. When they ask their mammy for shoes,…

The Flying Hockey Stick

I have been a big fan of Jolly Roger Bradfield since reading Pickle-Chiffon Pie in 2017. That book and its sequel, The Pickle-Chiffon Pie Olympics (a Purple House Press exclusive), made me laugh myself silly. First, because of how funny they were and then, all over again, because of how hard my babies were laughing….

Benjamin Dilley’s Thirsty Camel

Benjamin Dilley’s Thirsty Camel is the fifth Jolly Roger Bradfield book I have read. And, like Giants, Pickle-Chiffon, Olympics, and Hockey Stick it has the same delightful illustration and the same child-pleasing storytelling. This one, however, has a slightly different tone and feel; equally lovely, but less laugh-out-loud funny, and more child-like. While the others…