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Voyage on the Great Titanic

The Diary of Margaret Ann Brown
Copyright: 
1990
Publisher: 
Scholastic
Series: 
Dear America
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Review: 

A fictional diary of a young Irish-English girl who is raised in a Catholic orphanage in London and is hired as a companion to a wealthy lady for the duration of the Titanic's voyage to America (where she hopes to meet up with her older brother). Margaret, having lived on the streets with her brother for some time before coming to the orphanage, is wise beyond her years with a somewhat cynical streak. Her attitude toward the opulence of the Titanic and the lifestyle of her first class passengers gives the reader both a sense of the historical reality of the Titanic and the times in which this tragic event took place. It is within this context that mankind learned a severe lesson about his own limitations. I think it is a rather good way to illustrate these details of the Titanic - through the eyes of someone who, like us, is unaccustomed to such things.

The author attempts to treat the Catholic Church and Margaret's Irish-Catholic upbringing with respect. However, she betrays a lack of understanding of at least one rather significant detail... In the story, Margaret makes no distinction between a Catholic Mass and a "Mass" [according to the story] which is presided over by the ship's captain. In reality a girl who had spent five years in an orphanage (and become close friends with the nuns there) would have been familiar with these distinctions and considered them important. We also know that there was a Catholic Mass said aboard the Titanic that fateful Sunday (as explained on the website about Fr. Thomas Byles).
Margaret has a rather innocent romantic interest in one of the ship's stewards (although I imagine that the two of them spending time alone together would probably have been frowned upon) and receives a farewell kiss from him before he goes down with the Titanic.

It might make an interesting point of discussion to consider how Margaret (or someone in her position) might have turned to her Catholic faith in order to try to cope with her loss in this great tragedy.

Review Date: 
7-7-2000
Reviewed by: 

Wee Sing: Around the World

Book cover: 'Wee Sing: Around the World'
Copyright: 
1994
Publisher: 
Price Stern Sloan
Number of pages: 
64 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This audio tape or CD and booklet take you around the world, continent by continent, by introducing you to favorite folks songs or children's songs from each country. Someone from each country introduces themselves in their own language and then in English and the song is sung in each language as well. The booklet includes all the words to the songs in the native language and English, simple piano notation and guitar chords. There are charming illustrations including each country's flag. You'll also find a little description of each country. This has been our family's very favorite tape in the Wee Sing series.

See and hear samples on the Wee Sing Website

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Welcome Stranger

Book cover: 'Welcome Stranger'
Author(s): 
Lenora Mattingly Weber
Series: 
Beany Malone
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

Beany sympathizes with Tony Lombard who is dealing with guilt from a hit-and-run accident.

What Catholics Really Believe

Author(s): 
Dr. Ray Guarendi
Rev. Kevin Fete
Copyright: 
2002
Publisher: 
Nineveh's Crossing
Binding: 
Other
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This is a DVD apologetics series produced in 13 half-hour segments. Dr. Ray Guarendi and Rev. Kevin Fete discuss major issues of Catholic belief which are often misunderstood by Protestants and others - with an emphasis on support for Catholic belief from Scripture and from the Early Church Fathers. It's a lively discussion (Dr. Ray often breaks into "devil's advocate" mode!) with substantial but very accessible content. Basic topics covered are the following: Jesus, the Bible, Scripture and Tradition, Eucharist (2 episodes), Baptism, Morality, Confession, Mary (2 episodes), St. Peter, Papacy and Purgatory.

This is a quality production with numerous quotes from the discussion shown on the screen (makes it a lot easier to follow!).

My older children have really enjoyed watching the series. We just watched and discussed two episodes with the teen catechism discussion group that I lead. They found it informative and engaging - definitely the sort of thing that makes you want to dig deeper and learn even more. It's quite a good starting point for studying and discussing different topics relating to apologetics for both teens and adults. It could also be used as a "spine" to tie together a substantial religion course that included readings from Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

A detailed study guide is available for free online.

Click here to watch a segment of this series online.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Additional notes: 

13 - 1/2 hour episodes on DVD

Review Date: 
5-31-2007
Reviewed by: 

What Color Is It?/Quo colore est?

Book cover: 'What Color Is It?/Quo colore est?: An I Am Reading Latin Book'
Author(s): 
Marie Carducci Bolchazy
Copyright: 
2003
Publisher: 
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers
Series: 
I Am Reading Latin
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
60 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

This title offers charming, child-friendly pen-and-ink illustrations to introduce the colors (in Latin) to young children. The text is quite a bit more complex than How Many Animals? Quot Animalia?, but would provide a good opportunity for young Latin scholars to practice their pronunciation by reading the book aloud to a younger sibling. Since the topic is "colors", I think this book will be best enjoyed if an artist in the family colors in the illustrations first. Translations and glossary are in the back.

Additional notes: 

Donated for review by Bolchazy-Carducci

Review Date: 
8-2-04
Reviewed by: 

What Lives in a Shell?

Book cover: 'What Lives in a Shell?'
Author(s): 
Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Copyright: 
1994
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This beautifully illustrated book, designed for preschool and kindergarten, explains different kinds of shells and the creatures that inhabit them. The shells are compared to the shelter occupied by people and by other animals. We learn that some shells do grow larger along with certain animals while other animals must shed their out-grown shell in favor of a new one. Many shells are beautifully depicted and identified and the story-format of the text is very easy and interesting for young children to follow.

Review Date: 
11-17-99
Reviewed by: 

What Makes a Magnet?

Book cover: 'What Makes a Magnet?'
Author(s): 
Franklyn M. Branley
Copyright: 
1996
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Series: 
Let's Read and Find Out Science
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

What Makes a Magnet? constitutes a fairly substantial introduction to magnets for children approximately ages 5 to 9. They are invited to do a little discovery for themselves by doing some "fishing" with a magnet in a box of miscellaneous objects and see what things the magnet will pick up. The book goes on to explain that magnets pick up, not everything made of metal, but objects which contain iron in particular. Also explained are how to make your own magnet and compass, the poles of magnets and the earth, and the history of the discovery of the first magnets (lodestones) and how they were used for early navigation. This is a very nice early science book (despite a few "corny" pictures) because of the rich content in a simple format and how the book actively involves the child in the learning process.

Review Date: 
12-27-99
Reviewed by: 

What Makes Day and Night?

Book cover: 'What Makes Day and Night?'
Author(s): 
Franklyn M. Branley
Copyright: 
1986
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The clearly written text is combined with simple, colorful pictures to make the concepts of day and night and the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun very understandable for both young children and their parents. : ) Included is a very simple hands-on "experiment" requiring only your child and a desk lamp. Some information about the moon is also covered. Like other books in this series, this book is a great solution for satisfying some of those "why" questions that young children constantly ask.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1962/1986

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

What the Moon is Like

Book cover: 'What the Moon is Like'
Author(s): 
Franklyn M. Branley
Copyright: 
1986
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This book covers the appearance of the moon from the earth (in regards to its surface rather than its changes over the month), the explanations people have given for the appearance of the moon (man in the moon, etc.) and why it really looks that way. It covers many interesting details about the surface of the moon (including a simple map of the moon's surface marked with the locations of moon landings), its atmosphere, the length of day and night on the moon (and the extreme temperature difference between the two), the difference in gravity on the moon, etc. The book is fully illustrated and quite engaging although I think some of the ideas on how the moon was formed are still open for discussion. A final page offers a few simple moon-related projects and a few related websites for further information.

Review Date: 
1-29-01
Reviewed by: 

What Will I Eat?/Quid Edam?

Book cover: 'What Will I Eat?/Quid Edam?: An I Am Reading Latin Book'
Author(s): 
Marie Carducci Bolchazy
Copyright: 
2002
Publisher: 
Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers
Series: 
I Am Reading Latin
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
60 pages
Subject(s): 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Lots of silly black-and-white pictures (which will likely appeal to certain funny-bones) and simple text introduce readers to the Latin words for many types of food. You'll find a monster eating pizza, a cow suggesting pork instead of beef, a hot dog enjoying a soda and... lots of good Latin content. Not my favorite book in this series, but perhaps not a bad way to introduce young children to some relevant Latin vocabulary. Young readers will probably not be ready to translate all the sentences on their own, but they can learn to recognize basic words and get a feel for the sound of the language.

Additional notes: 

Donated for review by Bolchazy-Carducci

Review Date: 
8-2-04
Reviewed by: 

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