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…

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,…

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.

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…

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…

Birdwatchers and Bird Feeders

Ever since I reviewed Who Lives In This Meadow? and After The Sun Goes Down, I have been watching the Purple House Press website, eagerly waiting for Bird Watchers and Bird Feeders by Glenn Blough to be available for purchase. I sincerely enjoyed the first two books, but I knew this one was going to…

Hanna’s Cold Winter

Hanna’s Cold Winter by Trish Marx has the most perfectly written cadence for reading aloud! I read this lovely 32-page picture book as part of Morning Basket with my fifteen, thirteen, and eleven-year-olds. I wasn’t worried at all about whether or not they would find it “too young” because I knew the story was stimulating…

The Avion My Uncle Flew

I am a boy mama. I love boys. I especially love middle school and teenage boys. I love their curiosity, their creativity, their love of humor, and their sense of adventure. Finding books that speak to the virtues of boyhood is hard these days – but it wasn’t always so. In the golden age of…

The Heir of Mistmantle

In my first two reviews of the Mistmantle Chronicles (Urchin of the Riding Stars and Urchin and the Heartstone), I mentioned that I was surprised and delighted by Urchin and his adventures. I said that the openings were interesting (they are), that the writing was elegant (absolutely so), that the characters were delightful (they are),…

Bargain Bride

The podcast version of this review can be found here. Bargain Bride by Evelyn Sibley Lampman is an exciting and fascinating story about a young bride in the Oregon Territory. What could have been a tragic or depressing story is instead charming, wholesome, and a little romantic. Elegantly written, it pleases the mind as well…

The Pickle Chiffon Pie Olympics

About ten years ago, Jill Morgan was working with Roger Bradfield on the republishing of Pickle-Chiffon Pie. In one of his letters to her, he sent Jill a few pages of creative scribbling. Jill enjoyed those pages and tucked them away in a drawer. A few years later, Jill found the pages and sent them back…

The Borrowed House

“[Hilda van Stockum] says, ‘It is light that creates beauty in nature. Without light we can’t see, and all form is lost, whereas the most common and despised objects can be made beautiful by the light that plays on them. You don’t have to paint heroic scenes or idealized goddesses . . . a common…