The House of Sixty Fathers

As the setting is developed in the first couple of paragraphs, it might be any typical peaceful opening scene; just a boy sheltering from the rain on a boat with his pets. Except that the rain dripping on the boy’s sleeping pig is coming through a bullet hole in the roof. During China’s war with…

Green Grass of Wyoming

Green Grass of Wyoming is the third book in Mary O’Hara’s “Flicka” trilogy. It seems that often, when Sara and I find a book series we love, we regret that the author propels the main characters to maturity faster than our young readers can grow with them. Ken McLaughlin is ten years old at the…

Magic In the Margins

Magic In the Margins is the sixth book in our Medieval Manuscripts Children’s Book Resources list.  The author information on the dust jacket says, “Mr. Nikola-Lisa’s interest in medieval bookmaking began many years ago as a second grade teacher, when he ended each year with a unit on the Middle Ages.” In his preface, Nikola-Lisa…

Thunderhead

Thunderhead is Mary O’Hara’s sequel to My Friend Flicka. I’m not a big sequel fan. When I read both books many years ago, I remember being surprised that I liked Thunderhead more than Flicka. It’s obvious to me now that I wasn’t thinking about children when I read these. Thunderhead is not a story for…

My Friend Flicka

By Mary O’Hara With all his heart, Ken McLaughlin wants two things; to be friends with his father, and to have his very own horse for his best friend. But Ken is a daydreamer. He has a habit of “getting into another world” while looking at a painting, or clouds, or watching horses run. This…

It’s Like This, Cat

Until a couple of years ago, I had never read a book simply because it had a Newbery Award seal on the cover. However, I had begun to notice, as I happened upon Newbery books, the uneven quality of the winners. I looked into the founding of the award and the stated goals, then discovered…

The Candy Bomber

Michael O. Tunnel Our children need stories like this. We need stories like this.  The first chapter of The Candy Bomber briefly outlines a complicated political situation – the Soviet blockade of Germany’s capital city, Berlin, in 1948. When WWII was over, the Allies divided Germany into four occupation zones. The city of Berlin was…

The Sailor Who Captured the Sea

by Deborah Nourse Lattimore In a couple of other reviews of books I’ve used for introducing children to the topic of ancient manuscripts, I listed The Sailor Who Captured the Sea as a beautiful illustration resource. It is truly lovely. In her prologue, Deborah Nourse Lattimore briefly describes the Book of Kells. As is fitting…

Invincible Louisa

“Excited and delighted by her first success [a play called “Duke Roderigo”], Louisa worked away in the little room, writing more and more dramas of the same sort. So many plots came crowding to her brain that from plays she overflowed into stories of the same grandiloquent sort. They were cut out, as the boots…

101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Monday Morning School was the perfect excuse to read 101 Dalmatians again. Though the story-line was fuzzy in my memory, not so the nostalgia for the days home alone, missing school because of a cold; couch, blanket, box of Kleenex, reading and rereading this sweet tale. Because the feeling of reading this one stuck with…

Marguerite Makes a Book

by Bruce Robertson Once again I get to teach a group of children something of the history of ancient manuscripts and the art of illumination. In my review of The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane, I noted that my favorite resource for the subject is Marguerite Makes a Book. Robertson’s story outlines the process of…