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Book TitleAuthorIllustratorPublisher

"The Shop of Ghosts"

Book cover: '"The Shop of Ghosts"'
Author(s):
G.K. Chesterton
Copyright:
1906
Subject(s):
Advent and Christmas Stories
Review:

Found on pages 82-86 of G.K. Chesterton Collected Works Volume XIV, 1993, Ignatius Press, 802 pages, softcover, Catholic perspective

This is a charming and humorous story about the spirit of Christmas through the ages. Good for a chuckle and a little perspective.

The volume in which this story can be found is available from Ignatius Press
You can also read this story online by clicking here

Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
12-5-05
Available From:
Ignatius Press

100 Activities Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Book cover: '100 Activities Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church'
Author(s):
Ellen Rossini
Copyright:
1996
Publisher:
Ignatius Press
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
121 pages
Subject(s):
Living the Faith
Resource Type:
Supplement
Book(s)
Review:

This book is first divided into three categories based on age or grade level (Primary - grades 1-3; Intermediate - grades 3-5; and Advanced - grades 6-8). Each of these is subdivided into four segments based on the major parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

  • "The Profession of Faith"
  • "The Celebration of the Christian Mystery"
  • "Life in Christ"
  • "Christian Prayer"

Each of these 12 sections offer as many as 25 activities, puzzles, games, skits, essays etc. All worksheets are reproducible. An excellent and cost-effective supplement to your religion curriculum.

The format is particularly nice for homeschoolers since children at different grade levels can be studying complementary materials.

A complete answer key is included in the back of the book.

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
1-3-05
Available From:
Adoremus Books
Available From:
Leaflet Missal Company
Available From:
St. John Fisher Forum

100 Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus

Book cover: '100 Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus'
Copyright:
2003
Publisher:
Ascension Press
Binding:
Other
Subject(s):
Religion
Resource Type:
Wall Chart
Review:

This fascinating wall chart delineates 100 prophecies of the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament. The prophecies are organized according to the following categories: Jesus' Birth, Jesus' Life and Ministry, Jesus' Death and Resurrection, and Jesus' Titles and Attributes. Each prophecy is briefly summarized and includes the pertinent biblical references from the Old and New Testaments. The back of the chart offers four reproducible sheets - two handouts that list the prophecies in the same format as the chart, one sheet of seven major prophecies with the pertinent Biblical references written out and a worksheet on "Prophecies Undeniably Fulfilled by Jesus" (ones that Jesus couldn't have controlled or planned). The chart is available laminated or unlaminated. Highly Recommended!

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
Binding details: 19 3/8" x 26" Wall Chart
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
5-8-04
Available From:
Catholic Shopper

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

Author(s):
Cathy Duffy
Copyright:
2005
Publisher:
Broadman & Holman Publishers
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
313 pages
Subject(s):
Books About Curriculum
Review:

I remember well the days when the only homeschool reviewers were Mary Pride and Cathy Duffy. Mrs. Duffy is still actively involved in the homeschool movement and, in this, her latest offering shares 100 favorite curriculum choices along with in-depth reviews of each item.

There are thousands of potential homeschool materials available for sale from different companies - Rainbow Resource Center alone carries over 30,000 items! It might be surprising then, for Mrs. Duffy to limit herself to 100. Why so few? After witnessing new homeschool mothers overwhelmed with the myriad of choices available, she is hoping to simplify the process by highlighting a small number that she considers to be excellent.

Mrs. Duffy explores important topics leading up to her 100 Top Picks. Each chapter builds on the material from the previous chapters, so you will want to read them in order. It has a bit of an interactive feel with the questions and fill in-the-blanks answers to help you determine what methods and materials would work best for you.

After explaining the advantages of tailoring your child's curriculum to his needs rather than purchasing a packaged curriculum, the author strongly encourages you to consider your philosophy of education, the method of teaching that works best for your family, your child's learning style, the goals you hope to achieve, and your daily schedule. After compiling all of this information, you will have a plan of action and will be ready to consider whether a particular resource will work for you.

Each resource is covered with an "overview" (description and coded categories involving learning style, prep time, ease of use, and special categories relating to who these materials would be suitable for) as well as an in-depth review. This allows the reader to easily scan through and decide which ones are worth further investigation. Her actual list includes a brief overview of each resource, including a helpful chart of 14 categories and a page number reference for you to read a more in-depth review of the resource. Some of the evaluation categories include 4 choices for the style of learner, prep time, ease of use for teacher, teacher manual, and more.

One very useful category explains the resource's suitability according to religious belief. For the most part, I agree with her choices of suitability for Catholics. One I would quibble with is the Exploring Creation Science series (I believe some of the books need Catholic commentary).

Subsequent chapters group the resources by subject. There are some extra "nuggets" tucked away in these chapters, such as an interesting list of favorite history books from Ancient Egypt to modern times in the history section. While most of the books would appeal to a broad range of people and includes some excellent selections from Bethlehem Books, I would recommend avoiding a few titles: Some titles by G. A. Henty (e.g. St. Bartholomew's Eve) and books about Luther and Calvin.

Over the years, I have been impressed with the author's wisdom and thoughtfulness in recommending curriculum. This book is specifically directed toward new homeschoolers of any faith. There are many choices in this book which are unobjectionable - particularly the large quantity of "non-sectarian" titles such as the Institute for Excellence in Writing and Sing, Spell, Read and Write. There are, however, some important points for Catholic Homeschoolers to understand when considering recommendations from this book:

  • Although Mrs. Duffy is a revert to the Catholic faith, the reviews are written more from a general Christian, rather than a specifically Catholic, point of view. Some resources are objectionable from a Catholic point of view (including some materials from Bob Jones University Press and A Beka). Although these are marked as suitable for Protestants in her overview, they may still seem appealing in the lengthier reviews. Approximately one-third of the resources in the 100 Picks are recommended exclusively for Protestants. For new homeschoolers or those not well-informed about their faith, I would recommend avoiding these resources entirely.
  • Those looking for specifically Catholic materials won't find very much here - only five are specifically Catholic. As evidenced by this website, there are many sources of specifically Catholic materials, including Catholic Heritage Curricula, Seton Home Study, Mother of Divine Grace School, Kolbe Academy, and Neumann Press. I should note that the author does have some reviews of additional Catholic titles on her webpage.

If you are wondering how to evaluate your homeschool teaching style and your child's learning style, this book would be very helpful as a jump start (although this is a small portion of the book). Although you shouldn't blindly accept the recommendations of any reviewer, this book in particular seems to offer few choices for Catholic homeschoolers.

Perspective:
Judeo-Christian
Reviewed By:
Elizabeth Yank
Review Date:
6-23-05
Available From:
Rainbow Resource Center

1000 Years of Catholic Scientists

Author(s):
Jane Meyerhofer
Copyright:
2006
Publisher:
Ye Hedge School
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
88 pages
Subject(s):
Biographies
Scientists
Review:

Nearly 200 Catholic scientists from the past thousand years are overviewed by means of brief biographies, with dates and places where each scientist lived and worked. The scientists are listed in chronological order with an alphabetical index in back. The author's primary source of information is the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 (which can be found online at http://www.newadvent.org). Her main purposes in working on this project are "to show students that Catholics have always been scientists" and "that there is nothing incompatible between science and the Catholic faith."

I have received QUITE a few e-mails from Catholic homeschoolers (particularly ones using Protestant science texts - which tend to highlight the religious beliefs of Protestant scientists) who want to know how to find out which scientists were Catholic. This booklet is a good place to start. Even though the Catholic Encyclopedia is available free online, this booklet is a simple and easy way of finding what you're looking for (particularly because the Catholic Encyclopedia online doesn't yet have a search feature).

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
Binding details: softcover (stapled)
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
1-31-2008
Available From:
Adoremus Books

26 Fairmount Avenue

Book cover: '26 Fairmount Avenue'
Author(s):
Tomie de Paola
Copyright:
1999
Publisher:
G.P.Putnam's Sons or Scholastic
Series:
26 Fairmount Avenue
Volume # or Level:
1
Number of pages:
58 pages
Subject(s):
Authors
"Bridge" Books B
Grade / Age level:
Grades K-2
Review:

With 26 Fairmount Avenue, Tomie dePaola has written an account of when he was four and five years old and awaiting the building of his new home on Fairmount Ave. The story opens in 1938 with a huge hurricane blowing into town, upsetting life as well as trees. Mama calms everyone's fears by sprinkling the neighbors and the children with holy water. (Direct Catholic references are few, but nice to see.)

Primarily, his Catholic faith is witnessed through his family's relationships with one another, as well as their friends and neighbors. For instance, Tomie's relationship with his great grandmother is a beautiful example of a young child loving and respecting an elderly person. Tomie likes to spend time with his great grandmother. "...my Nana upstairs was a special person to me. I loved her and every Sunday I spent all my time with her." This is quite amazing for a child his age when you realize that Nana upstairs is so old that she has to be tied into a chair so that she won't fall over.

Written with warmth and amusing anecdotes, this book is a delight to read. I highly recommend reading his numerous other books as well.

If you are interested in reading more about his childhood, Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is about his visiting his great grandmother. Now One Foot, Now the Other and Tom are about his grandfather. The Baby Sister is about his joyful anticipation of his baby sister and the difficulties of waiting for her arrival. The Art Lesson is about his love of art, his desire to be an artist someday, and his hope to take a "real" art lesson in school with a "real" art teacher. All these books are picture books, expressing a child's point of view with reverence for others and respect and joy for life.

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
This is a really delightful little book. In addition to its historical value and charming family relationships, the author's experiences as a young boy who loved stories and was frustrated by his kindergarten class that wouldn't teach him to read and the changes made to his favorite stories in movie form will be easy for many homeschooled children to relate to. - Alicia Van Hecke (1-4-01)
Reviewed By:
Elizabeth Yank
Review Date:
1999

26 Fairmount Avenue Series

Book cover: '26 Fairmount Avenue Series'
Author(s):
Tomie de Paola
Series:
26 Fairmount Avenue
Volume # or Level:
0
Subject(s):
Literature
"Bridge" Books B
Grade / Age level:
Grades K-2
Review:

See below for review of the first book in the series.

Individual Titles in Chronological Order:

  • 26 Fairmount Avenue
  • Here We All Are
  • On My Way
  • What a Year!
  • Things Will Never be the Same

These books also make delightful read-alouds.

Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
1999

501 Latin Verbs Fully Conjugated in All the Tenses

Book cover: '501 Latin Verbs Fully Conjugated in All the Tenses'
Author(s):
Richard Prior
Author(s):
Joseph Wohlberg
Copyright:
1995
Publisher:
Barron's Educational Series
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
548 pages
Subject(s):
Latin
Grade / Age level:
High School
Adults
Resource Type:
Supplement
Review:

This is a dream come true for teachers, like myself, struggling to keep up with a group of teenagers studying Latin. Quite simply the book devotes one page to each of 501 verbs. Each verb has all of its endings written out completely and includes the four principle parts. Some notes at the bottom of each page offer "compound and related words", "alternate forms", "usage notes", and a model Latin sentence using the word. (These are written by famous authors of old!) The format is very user-friendly and easy to read. The verbs are arranged alphabetically in Latin. The introduction gives a key chart to help figure out the English translation within each of the tenses. The appendices include an Index of verbs arranged alphabetically by the English translation, a verb form locator, a Latin verb index.

This book is a wonderful help for novice Latin teachers struggling to get all the details right. It will also be a very helpful supplement for creating crossword puzzles, doing oral quizzes and simply studying the endings. It may be useful to high school Latin students for similar reasons (those studying elementary school programs like Latina Christiana or Latin is Fun probably won't need this yet.)

I've been teaching Henle I for the past year. When comparing this with the Henle I first conjugation verbs, I found that this covered about 95% of the verbs (although it doesn't include the verbs with a prefix and so, instead of looking up oppugno, you would want to look at pugno.

Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
8-12-04

A Book of Sanctity

Book cover: 'A Book of Sanctity'
Copyright:
2000
Publisher:
Seton Press
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
146 pages
Subject(s):
Miscellaneous Catholic Readers
Grade / Age level:
Grades K-2
Review:

A Book of Sanctity is a newly printed collection of stories gathered from numerous out-of-print Catholic reading books. These 27 selections center around the theme of sanctity and include Bible stories, stories of the saints, and stories of families. Most pages include a simple black-and-white illustration that enhances the interest of the story without distracting a young reader's attention.

This book is used as a reading text in Seton's 2nd grade program, but is available for sale apart from the curriculum. Interestingly, the typeface at the beginning of the book is somewhat large, becoming gradually smaller as the student progresses through the book. My 3rd-grader read through the book quickly and without challenge, but it would be too difficult for a typical 1st grade student. Randomly selected vocabulary includes Blaise, cloak, gushed, shrine, squirrel, children, sufferings, and loaves. I admit to a fondness for old readers, and this new one deserves a place on the shelf with them!

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Susan Kalis
Review Date:
1999

A Bright Star Falls

Author(s):
Lenora Mattingly Weber
Series:
Beany Malone
Subject(s):
Catholic Fiction
Reading
Grade / Age level:
eighth grade
Review:

Rosellen Kern dies and Andy struggles with it.

Available From:
Eternally Thankful Books

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