Literature

The Children's Book of Virtues

Book cover: 'The Children's Book of Virtues'
Author(s): 
William Bennett

This lavishly illustrated story-book was inspired by (and includes stories from) the best-selling story collection The Book of Virtues. This has been a favorite book in our family since my oldest was just two. The stories include: The Little Hero of Holland, the Tortoise and the Hare, The King and His Hawk (a cautionary tale about anger involving Genghis Kahn - my daughter liked this story so much that she had it almost memorized at the age of 2 1/2), St. George and the Dragon, St.

The Children's Book of Heroes

Book cover: 'The Children's Book of Heroes'
Author(s): 
William Bennett

I like this volume even better than The Children's Book of Virtues. (We checked it out from the library three different times before I finally bought it!) Heroes includes stories of Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, David and Goliath, Father Flanagan and Jackie Robinson. The book is filled with illustrations and stories are generally three to five pages, with a few poems included as well. The biographies are our family's favorites, but there are many other stories including myths and fairy tales which teach some of the same values.

The Children's Book of Faith

Book cover: 'The Children's Book of Faith'
Author(s): 
William Bennett

This newest edition presents some colorfully illustrated tales of a more religious nature. Passages from the Bible include "the Story of Daniel and the Lion's Den", "the Healing of a Paralytic", "the Call of Samuel", "the Little Lost Lamb", the 23rd Psalm, and "Miriam and the Floating Basket." Other stories involve St. Christopher. St. Martin of Tours and St. Augustine's famous "Walk by the Sea" where a little boy (believed to be Jesus or an Angel) had a conversation with him about the mysteries of God.

The Children's Book of America

Book cover: 'The Children's Book of America'
Author(s): 
William Bennett

Another great collection compiled by William Bennett which includes beautifully illustrated tales and poems such as: Father Junipero Serra, the story of the First Thanksgiving, Paul Bunyan, the Story of the Star Spangled Banner, an Indian legend, and patriotic songs and poems. This is one of the books that my children ask for over and over - probably because of the wonderful illustrations, interesting content and great variety of stories. I especially like the story included about Father Junipero Serra which very nicely portrays the faith and fortitude of this humble priest.

Blaze Shows the Way

Book cover: 'Blaze Shows the Way'
Author(s): 
C.W. Anderson

Billy and Blaze befriend another horse and boy-rider team. Tommy and his horse Dusty are just getting used to each other and Dusty is a little nervous about jumping. Nevertheless they decide to try out for a pairs jumping contest.

Blaze and the Lost Quarry

Book cover: 'Blaze and the Lost Quarry'
Author(s): 
C.W. Anderson

Billy visits with a friendly old neighbor who tells him of a quarry he used to visit as a boy the location of which had been lost to the townspeople for many years. With some clues, he and Blaze find the old quarry - a beautiful spot and a great place for swimming. They rescue and befriend a dog.

Blaze and the Mountain Lion

Book cover: 'Blaze and the Mountain Lion'
Author(s): 
C.W. Anderson

This book is a bit shorter than others in the series, and so might be a particularly good one for less-confident readers. It seems to average about five lines per page.

In this story, Billy and Blaze search for the lair of a mountain lion that has been troubling ranchers and rescue a baby calf from a ledge on a cliff.

Blaze and Thunderbolt

Book cover: 'Blaze and Thunderbolt'
Author(s): 
C.W. Anderson

Billy and Blaze are on a family trip out west where they encounter Thunderbolt - a beautiful wild horse that is the envy of every cowboy. Rather than trying to capture Thunderbolt with fast horses and lassos, Billy makes friends with Thunderbolt slowly and eventually gains his trust.

Blaze and the Forest Fire

Book cover: 'Blaze and the Forest Fire'
Author(s): 
C.W. Anderson

My children have really enjoyed these simple stories about the adventures of a boy and his horse. Best for first through third graders - especially those who become proficient at reading when very young and not able to deal with more complex or mature themes. My oldest daughter fell in love with these books when she was six. She gobbled them up and they were a great bridge for her between easy readers and chapter books. My son, whose reading proficiency grew much more slowly, enjoyed them much later on. Here is a sample of the language:

A Boy and His Pony

Book cover: 'Billy and Blaze: A Boy and His Pony'
Author(s): 
C.W. Anderson

This book is about a boy and his horse. The boy and his horse like to go riding together. He got his horse for his birthday. And later on he saw a dog in the woods and brought it home. My four year old brother likes the story and so do I. I am six years old and I can read it. The other book that we have in the series is called "Blaze and the Indian Cave".

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