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The Young Life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Book cover: 'The Young Life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta'
Author(s): 
Claire Jordan Mohan
Copyright: 
1997
Publisher: 
Young Sparrow Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
64 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This is an interesting and unique short chapter book telling the story of Mother Teresa of Calcutta - a great lady who changed the world by following God's will and being a true messenger of peace and love. Similar to Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa's childhood was filled with both joy and tragedy. Her early inclinations to be a missionary led her to teach at a wealthy girls school in India. One day she realized that she was called, not to teach the wealthy children, but go out and help and teach the poor, sick and homeless out on the streets of Calcutta. Also included are a timeline of her life, quotes from Mother Teresa, a list of awards she's received, a "Further Reading" list and an index.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
4-6-2000
Reviewed by: 

The Young Life of Pope John Paul II

Book cover: 'The Young Life of Pope John Paul II'
Author(s): 
Claire Jordan Mohan
Copyright: 
1995
Publisher: 
Young Sparrow Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
64 pages
Subject(s): 
Review: 

This short chapter book on the life of Pope John Paul II focuses on his childhood and upbringing in Poland. He had a difficult childhood, losing his mother when he was only a boy and his only brother and his father when he was only a young man. We see him draw closer to God during these troubles and eventually discover his vocation to the priesthood during the terrible days of World War II. The story also decribes some of the happier and even humorous moments of his childhood and children will see that in many ways he was an "ordinary" boy destined for unordinary things. Mrs. Mohan is not a great writer, but those weaknesses are compensated for by the greatness of "the story" itself. The text is illustrated with pen and ink drawings (again, somewhat on the mediocre side). The appendix includes a timeline of the Holy Father's life, some quotations by and about the Pope, a somewhat complex map of Poland, a glossary and an index. There is a list entitled "Further Reading". Some of these titles, while perhaps having some informational value in researching a book on the Pope, should not be considered recommended reading, especially for children. (One of the titles was written by Andrew Greeley who might readily be described as a pseudo-Catholic). Also, since the writing of this book there are more good comprehensive resources available about the Holy Father's life, such as Witness to Hope by George Wiegel.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
4-6-2000
Reviewed by: 

There's a Frog in My Throat

440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me
Author(s): 
Loreen Leedy
Pat Street
Copyright: 
2003
Publisher: 
Holiday House
Number of pages: 
48 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This is a clever, very colorful picture book with a simple purpose. It illustrates, with funny little cartoon illustrations, hundreds (440 to be exact) of common expressions in the English language that involve animals, such as:

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
"Mad as a hornet."
"I have butterflies in my stomach."
"You're putting the cart before the horse."

A short definition of the phrase's meaning is also included.

This is a fun idea for exploring our language and it's amazing just how many expressions fit into this category? I like how there's a certain connectivity between different themes and they modernized some old-fashioned clip-art for some of the illustrations.

This will be enjoyed by preschoolers all the way through the elementary school years.

Review Date: 
6-27-2009
Reviewed by: 

These Happy Golden Years

Book cover: 'These Happy Golden Years'
Author(s): 
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Copyright: 
1943
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Series: 
Little House on the Prairie
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
289 pages
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Laura, at only 15 years of age, teaches school in a neighboring town and is courted by Almanzo Wilder.

Another fascinating read from an excellent storyteller.

Caution: This story does contain some elements that may frighten younger or more sensitive children, namely, the situation of the Brewster family with whom Laura boards while teaching at the neighboring town. To give you a brief idea of the situation, Mrs. Brewster seems to be coming unglued, perhaps because of her isolation from all that she is used to. Their child is neglected. And Laura fears for her life after she sees Mrs. Brewster threaten her husband with a knife one night. Yet does not tell her family of her fears because she so wants to earn money for her sister Mary to be able to come home during her vacation.

This is Our Land

Book cover: 'This is Our Land'
Copyright: 
1965
Publisher: 
Seton Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
416 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This reading text is used in the fourth grade at Seton Home Study School. It provides a wide variety of stories and poems of a rather engaging nature for young readers. Some examples include selected chapters from popular books by authors such as Beverly Cleary and Carolyn Haywood, several well-known Fables and Fairy Tales, Greek Myths, Bible Stories, stories about Saints, and stories and poems from nature. The comprehension/study questions which follow each story are excellent. They are designed to help the reader identify subtleties in the story and consider the deeds of the characters. My husband, who has read some of these selections aloud to the children complains that they (stories such as those written by Cleary and Haywood) were "horribly written."

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

This is Our Parish

Book cover: 'This is Our Parish'
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This reading text (used in the second grade at Seton Home Study School) has been a favorite among my children since we picked it up at a garage sale a number of years ago. Although basal readers (such as the Faith and Freedom readers) are designed for classroom use and not an essential part of a homeschool curriculum, I remember clearly how much I enjoyed receiving a new reader each school year and how I devoured all the interesting stories reading in bed on my first night of school. This is Our Parish reminded me that my children will probably delight in such stories in a similar way. They also provide a variety of different stories that may spark a child's interest in a realm that he would not have otherwise explored.

Review Date: 
2-20-01
Reviewed by: 

This is Our Town

Book cover: 'This is Our Town'
Copyright: 
1963
Publisher: 
Seton Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
320 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This reading text is the first of three used in the third grade at Seton Home Study school.
In the tradition of the Faith and Freedom readers, this book offers family stories centering around a parish Church and school, stories of saints, fairy tales, folk tales and some just plain silly stories designed for reading practice and pleasure.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
4-26-01
Reviewed by: 

This is Our Valley

Book cover: 'This is Our Valley'
Copyright: 
1963
Publisher: 
Seton Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
329 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This reading text is the second of three used in the third grade at Seton Home Study School. My children have enjoyed many of the stories as a read-aloud. The book provides a wide variety of selections - fairy tales, poems, folk tales, biographies, etc. These new reprints have a glossy soft-cover with a beautiful image and text with black-and-white pictures. Although the original images within the text were color, these reproductions are well-done. Given that some of the illustrations are of the cheezy-sixties variety, I think some of the illustrations actually came out nicer in black and white than in the original color.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Reviewed by: 

Thomas A. Edison: Young Inventor

Book cover: 'Thomas A. Edison: Young Inventor'
Author(s): 
Sue Guthridge
Copyright: 
1959
Publisher: 
Childhood of Famous Americans/Aladdin
Binding: 
Paperback
Number of pages: 
192 pages
Review: 

This is a fascinating and often humorous story of one of the most renowned inventors of all time. As a boy, Edison was fascinated by the world around him and full of questions about everything. Although he had many mentors as a boy, his first grade teacher reacted so negatively to his natural curiosity that his mother took him out of school and taught him at home. His adventures involving chemistry, trains and printing newspapers make for enjoyable and interesting reading. Edison was clearly a boy of creativity and ingenuity and a positive role model for children of today in sharing Edison's scientific interests and natural curiosity. My six year old boy, in particular, was completely enthralled when we read this story aloud.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1947/1959

Review Date: 
1-4-01
Reviewed by: 

Through the Year with Mary

365 Reflections
Author(s): 
Karen Edmisten
Copyright: 
2010
Publisher: 
Servant Books
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
128 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

I love quote books. I’ve probably got 10 or 12 different ones on my bookshelf. They’re lovely for browsing through, “chewing” on a little something (without getting overwhelmed by the whole) and have often lead to discovering new authors and new books of interest. They can be used for tidbits of inspiration to start the school day or for memory work.

This is a lovely, simple little book of Marian quotations with very brief reflections (usually simple prayers) – one for each day of the year. The quotes are varied, helpful, encouraging and inspirational. You’ll find the usual suspects of course – Pope John Paul II, St. Alphonsus Liguori (who are both particularly known for their Marian spirituality). You’ll find quotes from an incredible variety of saints from the early Church Fathers through the most recently beatified (like Blessed John Henry Newman). Of course we also find snippets of wisdom from the Bible, traditional prayers of the Church and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These more traditional sources are nicely balanced with a number of modern voices, including Caryll Houselander, Thomas Merton, Flannery O’Connor, Dorothy Day, a very healthy dose of G.K. Chesterton and a few living authors as well – like Archbishop Dolan, Edward Sri and Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

Karen, who is a convert to Catholicism herself, has a unique talent for making this book particularly accessible for those who haven’t always had a close relationship with Mary, and so you’ll find many gentle, helpful quotes for Marian neophytes and non-Catholics. Several are even from Martin Luther!

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
10-26-2010

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