Elementary

Amazing Saints

Author(s): 
Mario D Macari
Illustrator(s): 
Mario D. Macari

Our local Catholic Archdiocesan paper has a wonderful kids' section. The first thing my kids do when the Catholic Herald (Milwaukee, Wisconsin Archdiocese) comes is to go to the kids’ section. There they fill out the word games, puzzles, and read the saint story.

Now the creator of “Amazing Saints” has produced his own saint book, Amazing SaintsVolume 1, highlighting 27 saints. Covering an eclectic mix of saints from the unknown to the familiar, St. Joseph to Bl. Karl Leisner, each biography is a short page.

Little Black Ant on Park Street

Little Black Ant on Park Street
Author(s): 
Janet Halfmann
Illustrator(s): 
Kathleen Rietz

The Smithsonian’s Backyard Collection series “is a world of wonder for children intrigued by the wildlife outside their windows.” The books have an over-sized format, and each page filled with colorful and detailed illustrations with large-print text. This newest book in the series tells the story of Little Black Ant searching for food. Though the book may be written for younger children, this is not a book that is more story than science.

The First Noel

Author(s): 
Maite Roche
Translator(s): 
Marianne Lorraine Trouve, FSP

There is nothing like a nice new book for children about... Christmas! This new Pauline Books & Media volume is a translation of an original French book. I had my 8 year old read it aloud to me, and she loved the illustrations that bring together the human and the supernatural very well. She loved the sweet, cute angels and all of the animals at the familiar stable!

The Story of Saint Perpetua

Author(s): 
Mike Aquilina (script consultant)

This short animated film (32 minutes) tells the story of Saint Perpetua and her companions, who were martyred in Carthage, in North Africa, in the year 203. The animation is good, the best of any Catholic animated films I've seen, though not reaching the quality of The Prince of Egypt. The storyline, however, is quite rich and historically detailed and skillfully brings to life the sorrows and fears, hopes and joys, present in the life and struggles of these martyrs, and the early Church in general.

The Saving Name of God the Son

Author(s): 
Jean Ann Sharpe

Bethlehem Books has just released the first in a set of three new board books on the Blessed Trinity. This first one is about God the Son and it's gorgeous! Each page has a lovely painting by early Renaissance artist Fra Angelico, illustrating a scene from the Life of Christ. The paintings are accompanied by short, rich text that speaks of who Jesus is. It's a very quick read, just a few lines per page, but thoughtfully put together and one that can be reflected on over and over again.

Around the Year Once Upon a Time Saints

Author(s): 
Ethel Pochocki
Illustrator(s): 
Ben Hatke

This is a lovely gem of a book, covering about thirty saints, organized according to the calendar year, by their feast day. Like her previous publications from Bethlehem Books (Once Upon a Time Saints and More Once Upon a Time Saints), these stories are intended to capture the essence of holy men and women through the sometimes fantastical stories that are likely to capture the imagination of young children. Here is what the author wrote about her own stories:

Light to the Nations

Author(s): 
Catholic Schools Textbook Project

Most Catholic homeschoolers today are familiar with the high quality level of the Catholic Textbook Projects volumes, and this one, Light to the Nations is no exception. (Note that I write this review based on the CD format of the book). Attractive, user-friendly layout, beautiful reproductions and helpful maps are found throughout the chapters.

There's a Frog in My Throat

Author(s): 
Loreen Leedy
Pat Street

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.

If Not for the Cat

Book cover: ‘If Not for the Cat'
Author(s): 
Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator(s): 
Ted Rand

This is what a picture book should be. A perfect pairing of beautiful text and beautiful illustrations.

I love haiku and Jack Prelutsky's verses are beautiful examples of the form. I love poems that linger, that take up residence in your heart and resonate long after the book is closed. The title poem has made a nest in my ear and sings to me while I'm doing the dishes:

Cuisenaire Rods

When I first researched homeschooling products and resources, I spent quite some time looking at different math manipulatives. For one thing, there are so many, and for another, I love math. I remember wondering whether these colored rods would really be worth purchasing, as they are on the expensive side. And my math education, as far as I could remember, had been accomplished without a single manipulative.

Then I found Miquon Math, and immediately liked the concept. Miquon uses Cuisenaire rods as their primary manipulative, so with some trepidation, I acquired a starter set.

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