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Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup and Yawn

Book cover: 'Why I Sneeze, Shiver, Hiccup and Yawn'
Author(s): 
Melvin Berger
Copyright: 
2000
Publisher: 
HarperTrophy
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A simple book with cartoon-like illustrations that explains reflexes and the related workings of the nerovus system - focusing, of course, on those four topics mentioned in the title. The story also invites children to try out a few simple experiments to observe reflexes for themselves. A "Find Out More" section provides "Things to Think About", additional "Test Your Reflexes" ideas and "Fun Facts".

Review Date: 
3-20-01
Reviewed by: 

Wild Animals Coloring Book

Book cover: 'Wild Animals Coloring Book'
Author(s): 
John Green
Copyright: 
1987
Publisher: 
Dover
Binding: 
Stapled Softcover
Number of pages: 
48 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A very nice, detailed and academic-oriented coloring book for learning about wild animals. In addition to beautiful drawings of each animal, the text provides common and scientific names and details about appearance, location, habits, size, etc. The index covers common and scientific names as well. Illustrations are copyright free (within certain conditions) and may be copied for use within your family.

Review Date: 
4-4-01
Reviewed by: 

Will Wilder

The Relic of Perilous Falls
Author(s): 
Raymond Arroyo
ISBN: 
553 539 590
Copyright: 
2016
Publisher: 
Crown Books for Young Readers
Series: 
Will Wilder
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

I am delightfully surprised by this new children's book. The author is talented and the story progresses without you noticing it... Yes, the story grabbed me from the first chapter, and that is a lot to say for this reviewer who is a mother of seven and has read many children's books to her kids. I liked many things about it. Like Frodo and Sam in Lord of The Rings--and all of us ordinary people--Will isn't perfect. He is an ordinary kid called to an important mission. His family and his town are realistic, and the mystery, dangers and mishap well told. The story includes many references to Catholic traditions and theology. I can see myself holding a captive audience when my grandchildren are old enough to enjoy this story!

Perspective: 
Judeo-Christian
Reviewed by: 

William Shakespeare and the Globe

Book cover
Author(s): 
Aliki
Copyright: 
1999
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
48 pages
Subject(s): 
Review: 

This is a simply told and heavily illustrated biography of the great William Shakespeare and the theatre in which his plays were first performed. The details of the illustrations and the story are quite nice and even the story of the Globe is more interesting than one might expect. At one point it was disassembled and secretly moved to a new location under cover of darkness. After Shakespeare's death, the Puritans closed theatres such a the Globe and there its story would end except for a 20th century Shakespeare lover who started the major project of rebuilding the globe as authentically as possible (with the exception of sprinklers in the thatched roof!). This book is really an interesting history book covering other major figures of Shakespeare's day (including, unfortunately, Queen Elizabeth I). The pictures include small figures of characters from Shakespeare's plays. These could be reproduced with a color photo-copy to make little finger-puppets for your little ones to reenact their own Shakespearean dramas. That might be fun especially if they enjoy some of the children's versions of the Shakespeare stories such as Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by Edith Nesbit.

Review Date: 
4-7-2000
Reviewed by: 

William Shakespeare's The Tempest

Author(s): 
Marianna Mayer (adapted by)
Illustrator(s): 
Lynn Bywaters
Copyright: 
2005
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Unequalled, lavish artwork on two-page spreads include inset text boxes that incorporate the story into the art. The plot is written in prose, although the more difficult vocabulary is more appropriate for upper elementary and older students. Richly detailed illustrations capture the reader’s attention, telling the story without words. If you intend to introduce The Tempest, this version is not to be missed!

You can view some preview pages from this book at Google Books.

Review Date: 
1-26-2009
Reviewed by: 

Winter Danger

Author(s): 
William O. Steele
Copyright: 
1954
Publisher: 
Harcourt - Odyssey
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
183 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

This is a somewhat unusual, but highly rewarding story of a half-wild woodsman (who "lived by the woods. He had no trade, he couldn't farm a lick or keep a store or run a tavern. All he knew to do was follow the bear and deer through the woods and sleep in caves and hollow trees.") and his eleven year old son Caje. Caje and his father travel through the wilderness - living off the land and escaping from unfriendly Indians. Although Caje would love to settle down in a real house among civilized people, his father is happier in the woods and frets about being "beholden to others". In the past Caje traveled with both of his parents throughout the warmer seasons and they all settled down in an abandoned house or with relatives during the winter. Now that Caje's mother has died, though, his father wants to stick to the wilds, even through the winter. They begin seeing signs, though, that the winter will be particularly bad and decide to go stay with Caje's aunt and uncle. Disgusted with "soft" living and feeling out of place, Caje's father leaves to spend the winter on his own. Now Caje is in an awkward position - he has the home and company he has so long desired, but lacks the skills to earn his keep (as he sees it). The winter gets really harsh as record cold spells and lack of good hunting take their toll on the family. The situation becomes more desperate when the family cow is killed by a hungry panther and Caje's uncle is seriously injured in a fall. Caje worries more and more that he is taking food away from the family, until he finally discovers how he can help the family out. Even after this great help he provides, he comes to realize that it isn't tallying up what we do for each other that really matters.

As an adventure and historical tale, this is a great read, but it offers a deeper level too. The story touches upon some very essential points about the purpose of civilization, family and loving one's neighbor. This is a fairly easy read for 2nd or 3rd grade and up but would also make a great read-aloud.

Review Date: 
6-5-02
Reviewed by: 

Witness to Hope

The Biography of Pope John Paul II
Book cover: 'Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II'
Author(s): 
George Weigel
Copyright: 
1999
Publisher: 
Cliff Street Books/Harper Collins
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
992 pages
Subject(s): 
Review: 

In what is being widely hailed as the definitive biography of Pope John Paul II, faithful Roman Catholic theologian and journalist George Weigel presents a thorough look at Pope John Paul II from the inside. With a rich complement of Polish history and in-depth coverage of the Holy Father's cultural, philsophical and spiritual background, he portrays a vivid and accurate picture of who the Pope really is and what he's trying to accomplish (and has already accomplished) as the Vicar of Christ. A long and moderately difficult read (the base text is about 850 pages followed by approximately 150 pages of footnotes, appendices and a thorough index) it's the sort of book that would not be required reading for every high school student, but would make excellent reading for those brave enough to attempt it and required reading for adults trying to understand where the Holy Father comes from. The book touches upon many major issues and events of the 20th century (including World War II and the fall of Communist Russia) as well as an in-depth look at the history and culture of Poland going back many centuries. Includes 32 pages of photographs (the more recent ones in full color).

Click here for a review of this book written by Cardinal Avery Dulles (from First Things)

Widely available used and in bookstores and discount stores everywhere as well as the sources listed below. The audio book is excellent as well.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
4-17-01
Reviewed by: 

Wooden Pattern Blocks

Book cover: 'Wooden Pattern Blocks'
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

These beautiful wooden blocks are about 1/8th of an inch thick and come in six different shapes (each shape is a different color).They can be fitted together to make beautiful patterns and designs. We've been using them for many years and they've been a hit with every one of my children. They're fun and beautiful and promote fine-motor skills, eye-hand coordination (intricate patterns can be too frustrating to really young children) and visualization and thinking skills. One way I use them with my kindergarteners is this: the child and I will each start a pattern or design and then switch so that the other one has to finish it. The wooden set has such a nice feel to it - playing with it is so relaxing and peaceful for young children (especially while you're trying to work on academics with older siblings.

Available in various materials, sizes and quantities - we prefer the wooden set.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Wooden Rosary Holder Kit from Illuminated Ink

Publisher: 
Illuminated Ink
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

The Wooden Rosary Holder Kit creates a lovely wooden plaque to hang your child’s rosary on. One of the few wooden projects, this kit includes a wood plaque and knob (to hold the rosary), stickers, an attractive picture to color, glitter glue, brush, and sealant. There are several pictures to choose from: Our Lady of Fatima, St. Joseph, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Sacred Heart of Jesus. Illustrated step-by-step instructions are included to ensure success. As with most products, this is more than just a fun kit. There is a short synopsis of the saint or apparition chosen. Once completed, your child will have a beautiful plaque to proudly display, and at the same time, a special place to hang a rosary. No more lost or tangled rosary. With this beautiful plaque, your child will have a daily reminder of God’s great love. Approximate size is 3” x 5.”

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
5-2-2006
Reviewed by: 

Word Power Through Spelling: Catholic Edition

Book cover: 'Word Power Through Spelling: Catholic Edition'
Copyright: 
1955
Publisher: 
Neumann Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
96 pages
Subject(s): 
Review: 

First Lesson Word List: a, big, dog, is, my
Final Lesson Word List: way, glad, happy, how, ten, stand, very, name, walked, train
Weekly lessons introduce a new word list (the number of words in the list increase as the book progresses) and gives practice writing and recognizing the words in the context of sentences and to describe illustrations. Some handwriting practice is included (including a page with directions for printing, and later in the text one for writing cursive letters). The text works a bit on the meaning of words but doesn't get into phonetic rules. A special format for keeping track of and practicing problem words allows the student to additional review throughout the text for problem areas. There are some instructions to the teacher at the beginning of the book which outline "how to study a missed word" and how the lesson plan is supposed to work. Directions to the students are intermixed with the text, but I found it difficult in a few places to determine what was to be done.

The text reminds me of the Rod and Staff workbooks, but with some Catholic content.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
3-2-2000
Reviewed by: 

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