Stories for Children

The Father Brown Reader II

Author(s): 
G.K. Chesterton
adapted by Nancy Carpentier Brown
with Rose Decaen

Nancy Brown and Hillside Education have teamed up for a second volume of kid-friendly mysteries adapted from G.K. Chesterton's Fr. Brown mysteries. It's a little difficult to say what age these are appropriate for since, unlike the first volume, these are all based on murder-mystery stories, and sensitivities vary from child-to-child. My rough-and-tumble seven year old son loved them as a read-aloud, but the general subject matter is off-putting for my very sensitive thirteen year old daughter.

There are four stories in this volume:

Owls in the Family

Author(s): 
Farley Mowat

Owls in the Family is a wonderful story of a few years in the life of a young boy growing up in Canada, his friends, and his unusual pets. This tale, by distinguished author Farley Mowat, is told in the first person, recounting hilarious episodes with colorful descriptions, proving that real life can be even more fun than a made-up story.

Philomena

Author(s): 
Kate Seredy
Illustrator(s): 
Kate Seredy

We discovered this little gem years ago, after falling in love with two of the authors' other books: The Good Master and The Singing Tree. I was thrilled to recently discover that Bethlehem Books is bringing it back into print.

The story begins in a small village near Prague. In this village, young girls are expected to leave home and work as servants in the big city during their early teen years; returning home at the age of sixteen, with experience in all manner of household service and ready to start their own families.

Akimbo and the Lions

Author(s): 
Alexander McCall Smith
Illustrator(s): 
LeUyem Pham

Akimbo is a young African boy whose father is a head ranger of a game park. When his father announces that he is going to one of the farms in the south because of reports of a lion attacking cattle, Akimbo convinces his father to let him tag along with the promise that he will be good and help.

The Lemon Sisters

Author(s): 
Andrea Cheng
Illustrator(s): 
Tatiana Mai-Wyss

In this heartwarming story, an elderly lady awakens on a cold, sunny, winter day to see three young girls playing happily outside in the snow. This reminds her of her younger sisters and herself playing in the snow many years before. She shares some lemons and sugar with the girls to make lemon ice and later that day she receives several birthday surprises. Reaching across the ages, this is a wonderful story of sharing and childlike joy.

La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration

Author(s): 
Nancy Van Laan
Illustrator(s): 
Andrea Arroyo

I love picture books, especially ones with warm, colorful, sweet illustrations. I love rhythmic, poetic language, made simple and accessible to children, and I love truly multicultural books!

This book brings all of these elements together, added to the universal theme of the sacrament of Matrimony. I couldn't help but love it at first sight--or at first reading.

An Alphabet of Catholic Saints

Author(s): 
Brenda & George Nippert

Our family is crazy about picture books, saints books *and* alphabet books: this fantastic new publication fits all of the above. In fact, it was some time after my order arrived before I could get my hands on it: a Catholic homeschool mother who was over visiting opened the package and enjoyed reading it with a large sample size of our children before I could even see it!

Emily's Everyday Manners

Author(s): 
Peggy Post
Cindy Post Senning
Illustrator(s): 
Steve Bjorkman

I just love it when people we have just met compliment the children and report on their good, polite behavior. We have received compliments at restaurants, family homes and church. (Of course, I am purposely disregarding here those other times... .) I believe most homeschool families find it a priority to teach the children good manners from their tenderest years. I too have enjoyed purchasing the preschool books on manners from catalogs, as well as finding picture books on this subject from the local library. Alas, they are usually a disappointment.

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons

Author(s): 
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator(s): 
Jane Dyer

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons is an outstanding new addition to our family library - this book is a very clever mixture of gorgeous children, lovely pets, and scrumptious cookies combined with important ideas for all ages. I think that this is one of the most memorable "virtues" books that I have seen for young children. Difficult concepts are described both through subtle clues in the illustrations and through little stories related to cookies in the text.

Greathall Audio Productions

Author(s): 
Jim Weiss

Listening to good quality and content audio recording has been a mainstay for our family: they complement reading alone and reading aloud quite well. We have crossed the country listening to great renditions of Fr. Brown, Jeeves and Wooster, and Huckleberry Finn among many others. My husband commutes at least four times a week to the University 55 minutes away and has been become quite a critic of audio productions.

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