Thursday, July 31, 2014

May/June Book List updated version

*I found some book photos I had taken but forgot to include them on the list. doh!

Favorite Picture Books

My Favorite Things by Rodgers and Hammerstein, illustrated by Renee Graef
I had this on my wish list and then a young friend of ours participated in a ice skating show based on this song and I thought I would order a copy for her birthday. And of course, if I'm going to order a copy for her, we certainly needed to have our own copy to make sure the book was indeed a good gift. I was drawn to it because of the illustrator, Renee Graef who illustrates many of the My First Little House Books. I will warn you though, it's hard to read it without singing it. So clear your throat and take a long draught of water, because you may need to 'read' it more than once.  Pure delight.

Honorable Mention

Andrew Henry's Meadow written and illustrated by Doris Burn
I saw this title mentioned in passing in a Facebook post from a homeschooling family with a ton of boys and my curiosity was piqued so I looked it up to try to find a used copy. The mother was fondly remembering this story as she shared a link for some outdoor activity.
My 1965 edition says it was presented by Weekly Reader Children's Book Club, which was the 'newspaper' I remember reading in our school. This is what it says on the page at the end about The Author which I think will tell you more about the kind of story she wrote than describing the plot will.

 "Since she was nine years old and first set foot on a small island in Puget Sound, Doris Burn wanted to live on an island. She lived in Portland, Oregon, where she was born, and attended the Universities of Oregon, Hawaii and Washington, where she received her degree, before she found her island home where she lives today.
Andrew Henry's Meadow was created on Waldron in Washington. The island has no electricity, telephones, running water or stores of any kind. Everything has to be brought in on the mail boat from the mainland, including the paper, pens, brushes and inks for her work.
Mrs. Burn's studios a small cabin where she spends the day at work after chopping enough wood to keep the fire going through the day, hauling two buckets of water from the pump for washing brushes and pens and brewing "a perpetual pot of tea." She looks out on the channel and the beautiful Canadian islands.
Her four children attend the island's one-room schoolhouse where she previously taught for a year."

Chapter Books 

Abel's Island by William Steig
A short tale of a well-to-do mouse who becomes stranded on an island and seeks ways to rescue himself in order to return to his beloved mouse wife. Without giving into despair, Abel works diligently to secure his release despite enduring many failed attempts. He is hopeful and ingenious, loyal to his family and steadfast in his heart, everything you would want from a classy protagonist. It was an enjoyable read and I passed it on to Seth to read after I finished it.

Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era by Sterling North
Considering the problem the  raccoons are giving us with our garbage and compost bin, I should not have enjoyed this book so much. Rascal the raccoon is described with endearing terms and humorous accounts of his activity all of which I found wonderful as long as I remembered it was not him who was rummaging around in our yard most nights. Sterling North has written, as the subtitle suggests, about his growing up years in a time when boys could be boys. This book is a  recounting of one year spent with a pet raccoon and it reminded greatly of the My Side of the Mountain trilogy which I read this same time last year. I hope to find and read North's other books.

Volcano Adventure by Willard Price
I first heard about Willard Price from Carol in her post called Volcano Adventure by Willard Price and when I checked our library they had some of his books, most likely because Willard Price was Canadian, from Ontario in fact although I think he moved to the States when he was four. While I found it interesting to learn more about volcanoes and geography and follow the story line, it did seem to cross the line repeatedly into highly improbable rescues and near death experiences for the characters. If you're familiar with the television show 24, think Jack Bauer. Would I try another in the series? Likely yes. Would both boys and girls like them? Likely so. Not quite a ringing endorsement, but adequate.


Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway
Seeing the buzz around the internet about permaculture, I decided to request a few books from our local library. This was the first one that came in and I'm sad to say that I only made a dent in it before I had to return it. But the thirty or so pages I read and the several pages of appendix, charts and illustrations I pored over gave me a good taste of what this permaculture idea is about. I see permaculture as using wisely God's creation to create sustainable, beauty-filled, life-giving areas around our homes and places of gathering. It is simply what God's people were called to do right from the beginning and what redeemed creation seeks to do now.

A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking by Douglas Wilson
I have yet to meet a Doug Wilson book I haven't liked. He has a writing style that completely appeals to me with meaty content and humorous, witty delivery. This book which defends the use of satire in Christian apologetics and discussion is an easy read and provides an overview of biblical passages in which sarcasm abounds. If you are not used to thinking of the Bible this way or perhaps have considered someone's response as too 'salty' or uncharitable perhaps you may find this book helpful in discerning what a proper response should be to some discussions. Here are a few quotes to give you a taste of what Wilson writes about.
"After Elijah's taunts about how Baal was off in the bathroom, sitting on his throne, we might want to reconsider our glib asuumption that there is never a godly place for scatological humor. And this brings us to the mocking narrative about Ehud, a left-handed deliverer, and Eglon, the obese tyrant. The story is what is called a slave narrative, with an oppressed people having fun at the expense of the established powers that be." p.54
"Nothing is more serious than the sin of idolatry, but this did not keep the prophets from making fun of it. The first thing Isaiah notes is how hard certain men have to work when they are making their god. Hard work being a deity-smith." p.55 (see Isaiah 44:12)

And later speaking about why Paul writing in Phil. 3:8 would use the term dung, animal excrement, in the same verse as "the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord", that he might win Christ, Wilson goes on to say:

"Part of the reason why we might have trouble with this kind of forcefulness in language is that we do not have the same zeal to 'win Christ'. Of course, there are boys in junior high school who delight in bathroom humor, and they need to memorize Ephesians 5:4--so that they might win Christ. No one is maintaining that Christians should routinely speak or write in some foul fashion. Paul prohibits it.
But when certain key issues are at stake, and the verbal equivalent of a tactical nuclear strike is needed from the preacher, the Scriptures show us in a number of places that the prophetic preacher comes through. Ezekial uses calculated moral obscenities, designed to shake up the complacent (Ezek. 23:19-21). Isaiah, attacking the same attitude of religiousity that Paul hated so much, compares all our attempts at self-justification to nothing more than a used menstrual cloth (Is. 64:6). And Paul speaks as noted above." p.65


  1. I have 24 hours with internet, and I have spent a large portion of that reading through your life... I always like your book posts. Gabe liked Abel's Island and I am hoping Cole is ready to read it. Sometimes back-to-back pages of text turns him off.... "Where are the illustrations??" Sigh. Captain Underpants, you have ruined us!!! I like the look of the North book. I will hold my breath that they are at the library.

  2. You can borrow our Rascal copy, the library doesn't have his other books. It was strange posting without you around to read all of it.

  3. I just love seeing what others are reading. :)

    I found your blog through a comment on Sage Parnassus. You win the award for Best Blog Name Ever. In my *humble opinion* anyway. ;)

    We're starting Year 1 this year using Ambleside Online and so excited! I'm going to have to hang out at your blog for a bit to see what ideas you've shared!

    1. Thank you Catie for stopping by and leaving such kind words. Although I do use AO, I certainly still have much to learn and lean heavily on ladies like Nancy and Brandy to help me. :) I just popped into your blog and I love your sense of humor.

    2. Thank YOU for stopping by MY blog. :P Oftentimes, I don't think my sense of humor translates well via the written word (I've deleted SO many posts..) so I'm going to treasure that compliment in my heart. Forever. HA!


I enjoy reading your comments and try to reply as much as I can. Thanks for reading here.