Susan Kalis

A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families

Book cover: 'A Treasure Chest of Traditions for Catholic Families'
Author(s): 
Monica McConkey

with laminated "jelly-proof" covers

During the past few years, there has been a renewed interest in beginning and in continuing traditions within our families within the context of the liturgical year. This book has been written to help make these celebrations easier to plan as well as to provide countless new ideas. Some of these ideas are original while others are traditional. This book is especially well-suited for families with children in the preschool years up through the late elementary years.

Novel Inquiries, Volume 2: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 7-9

Author(s): 
Margot Davidson

A Set of Guides for Four Novels Integrating Composition and Higher Level Thinking

Volume 2 carries on the tradition of excellence described in the review of Volume 1, with many additional features for the middle grade student. The 43-page Teacher's Guide is separate from the 136-page Student Book at this level. This volume includes literature guides for Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Warrior Scarlet by Rosemary Sutcliffe, The Tale of Troy by Roger Lancelyn Green, and Caesar's Gallic Wars by Olivia Coolidge.

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain

Book cover: 'The Bears on Hemlock Mountain'
Author(s): 
Alice Dalgliesh

Jonathan must go over Hemlock Mountain alone to borrow a large iron cooking pot from Aunt Emma. Jonathan's mother is preparing a meal for a cousin's christening party, and his father is very busy with springtime chores on the farm. Jonathan is concerned that he will cross paths with a bear, but he is reassured that there are NO bears on Hemlock Mountain. His adventure includes a visit with small woodland animals on his way up the mountain, a snack and nap at Aunt Emma's house, and an encounter with some large woodland animals on his journey back down the mountain.

The Good Bad Boy

Author(s): 
Father Gerald Brennan

Neumann Press has reprinted another delightful novel by Father Brennan in one of its lovely hardbound editions (they also offer it in a quality softcover edition). This short, easy-to-read novel was a wonderful addition to a rainy afternoon for our family. Although aimed at an 8th-grade boy typical of the 1940s, the diary format and "everyday" charm appealed to my entire family. It would be an especially good book for a reluctant or struggling reader to tackle successfully on their own.

The Princess and Curdie

Author(s): 
George MacDonald

The Princess and Curdie continues the fantasy saga begun in MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin. This novel gets off to a slower start than the first one in the series, but it is just as attention-holding. Curdie, the young hero, is put to the test in this story, and must prove himself both brave and loyal, whilst remaining trustworthy and honest. In this story, Curdie is given the gifts of a magic of his own that can only be used for others and a faithful but unusual traveling companion.

The Princess and the Goblin

Author(s): 
George MacDonald

The Princess and the Goblin is a classic fantasy novel written in the late 1800s by George MacDonald. The story features all of the elements of a great fairy tale: a young princess, a brave hero on the verge of adulthood, subtle magic, and more goblins than can be counted. There is enough adventure to keep the story moving, but the plot is not overwhelming or difficult to follow. There is nothing to recommend a caution for: no rough language, no adult situations, and very little violence.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Author(s): 
Raissa Maritain

Despite its humble appearance, this biography of Saint Thomas Aquinas is a real gem. The story is told as a real story should be told, full of miracles and detail without becoming preachy, yet it is simple enough for the children it was written to instruct. The rich vocabulary hints at an original copyright in the early 1900s and may be challenging to a young independent reader. You may wish to read this book aloud to the under-8s or beside an 8-9-year-old to be sure of comprehension.

God's Little Flower, the Story of St. Therese of Lisieux

Author(s): 
Chris Driscoll
Illustrator(s): 
Patrick Kelley

St. Therese of Lisieux is a very popular saint whose life story is easily understood by children. While not full of action and adventure, her life story's simplicity and sweetness are appealing to even the most worldly of children. This lovely picture book, with its carefully chosen vocabulary and sentence structures, is written on a level that will allow a 3rd-grade and up child to read it for himself or herself. The full-page illustrations are attractive, colorful, simple, and modern in style, adding to the story rather than overwhelming it.

Saints of the Church

Book cover: 'Saints of the Church'
Author(s): 
Michael G. Allen

This book is a companion to the Vision series of saint's biographies (also published by Ignatius Press). It is a wonderful help to extending the biographies into a full-blown unit study, if you wish, or just to help enrich the reading. For each of the 17 books covered in Saints of the Church , the author includes:

A Litany of Saints

Book cover: 'A Litany of Saints'
Author(s): 
Ann Ball

When I see Ann Ball's name on a book, I expect a treat. This book is no exception. A Litany of Saints begins with an introduction to the Communion of Saints and Catholic practices regarding their veneration. This section is clear and easy-to-read, including the changes instituted as a result of the Second Vatican Council. The footnotes provide many sources for additional reading. Next comes a history of litanies in general and the text of the formal "Litany of the Saints".

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