Let’s Learn About Mushrooms

This book is a charming example of how to teach science to children with stories, pictures, and hands-on activities rather than textbooks.  I know mushrooms are fungi, but I’ve never done much mushroom study, so they really are rather mysterious to me. One thing I appreciate about books like this is that they provide enough…

Having Our Senses Trained

“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives…

Keeper of the Bees

The Keeper of the Bees has to be one of my all-time favorite books.  When we talk about the love of things Good, True, and Beautiful, this book comes to mind.  It is the last book written by Gene Stratton Porter before her death in 1924. Our hero, James Lewis MacFarlane, a stalwart Scotsman, has…

The Hobbit Club

Last year at about this time, some friends and I decided to start a book club for us grownups (as opposed to the book clubs for young readers and teens that I was already doing). We settled on reading Tolkien with the aid of Joseph Pearce and our Hobbit Club was born.  In our first…

Miss Jaster’s Garden

Miss Jaster’s Garden by illustrator turned author N. M. Bodecker is one of those picture books that every family library should have. The illustration has a daydream-like quality with soft watercolors, the story line is adorable and the kind that children love to giggle at, and the writing is charming and intelligent. If Anne Shirley-Blythe…

Purple House Press Picture Books

One of the things that I most looked forward to about becoming a mom was having a good excuse to read picture books again. There is something special about being able to escape everyday life and get lost between the pages of a magical imaginative, world that has been beautifully illustrated. When my oldest was…

The Practical Princess

The Practical Princess by Jay Williams surprised me. Before reading it, I assumed that it was going to be yet another addition to the current craze of feminist reimaginings of fairy tales. I wasn’t entirely wrong about that, however, I was wrong about how I would feel about that. The other day in our book…

Book Club Guides

My local Christian bookstore is a wonderful place. Cathedral Book and Gift resides in the former Catholic school building on our Cathedral property. Really, it is a brilliant use of space. The upper floors are used by our excellent religious education program, the first floor is a sprawling book store complete with a sweet and…

Lucy Maud Montgomery

I would like to think that L.M. Montgomery needs no introduction.   There, that was short and sweet! I do believe most of us have at least heard of Anne of Green Gables, the book, the character, that made Montgomery famous.  It is difficult now to believe that after several rejections from publishers, Montgomery stuck…

The Water Horse

“Writing my books is like handing out presents. Giving children pleasure gives you a wonderful sort of Father Christmassy feeling.” – Dick King-Smith, October 1995 Dick King-Smith was a gift to children. A beloved English children’s author, King-Smith grew up in a sort of well-to-do existence. His family owned a quality paper company and King-Smith…

Handle With Care

A couple of years ago someone gifted this oversized hardbound picture book to my science loving kids. We read it immediately and loved it. This spring, my ten year old was searching for science books to read during his daily quiet hour. When he pulled this one out of our biology bucket, we all enjoyed…

The Wilderking Trilogy

This spring my family fell in love with The Wilderking trilogy. Much like Narnia or the Shire, the Wilderking books are set in a place that feels romantic and a bit heaven-kissed. Corenwald is a place of physical beauty, vibrant community, traditional values, exotic intrigue, relative peace, and the possibility of high adventure. The fictional…

A Tale of Two Readers

“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another, ‘What! You too?’” C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves Last July, Jennifer Halverson and I became reading buddies. What felt like an accident was, I am sure, Divine Providence. After repeated casual conversations about books that each of us wanted to read,…

Pillaging Anne

Stop pillaging Anne. For the love of Lucy Maud Montgomery, please just stop. In the last week I have been called a pearl-clutcher (laughable if you know me), closed-minded, small-minded, an ostrich, and a fear-monger. I guess my post on The Handmaid’s Tale hit a nerve. Mercifully, I knew what I was getting into when I…