My friend Katie over at The Gathering Place for Families recommended this book to me. Katie is on a mission, writing a curriculum that teaches children symbolism of “The Hebrew Way.” She is reading tons of picture books every week and sharing one or two each week in the class for core phasers (kids ages 3 to 9) in our Commonwealth School. I loved this book! It is scary and I think if I had read it as a little girl I would have had to stop reading it because I would have been too scared. But as an adult I saw a lot of symbolism in it as I read it to my kiddos last Saturday night. I love the illustrations by Ruth Brown, and I love the themes that it takes courage to stand up to evil, good wins out, and evil is destroyed by evil. This is a fabulous book! You might not want to read it to sensitive children, they might get too scared by it. 5 out of 5 stars!
I love the “Cranberry” books! We have read Cranberry Thanksgiving and Cranberry Christmas. Then I found Cranberry Autumn at the public library. I love how Mr. Whiskers always has a come-uppance in the end with a suprising twist to the story. In this story, Grandma and Maggie decide to have an antique sale to earn money to buy a coat for Maggie and some other needed items. This is a great story about resourcefulness, although I was a little disappointed in this one that Mr. Whiskers happened to “luck out” in his come-uppance and did not really have to really on any smarts, like he did in the other stories. The books always have a recipe at the back of the book, not as real-foodsy as I would like, but still tasty. 4 out of 5 stars.
OK, technically this is not a picture book, it’s a chapter book with pictures, but it’s a great read-aloud to kids. I always meant to read the Betsy-Tacy books with my older daughter who is in college now, but I never did. Now I am redeeming myself and reading it to my littles. I love the wholesome stories of growing up before TV, when kids actually played outside and around neighborhoods. The descriptions of nature are sweet, and I love the wry characterizations of the three little girls: Betsy, Tacy, and Tib. This book is #2 in a series that takes the characters all the way to marriage. They remind me of my mom’s childhood stories of playing with her cousin, swimming in a pond. I like that that the author talks about big families and refers to God and religion. In one of the chapters the girls start a “Christian Kindness Club.” In other chapters they give each other haircuts, pretend to be beggars, and try to fly. These are delightful stories about play, getting into mischief, making it right, and forgiveness. They are based on the author’s childhood. 5 out of 5 stars.
This one really invigorated my exhausting day when I cuddled up with my littles for our bedtime read-aloud ritual. It is based on the author’s childhood of his parents building their own house, told from the perspective of his older sister. I love that it shows having a vision, and then making it come true with persistence, hard work, and resourcefulness. The family building their own home has a parallel story that is only told in the pictures, which is that as you turn the pages you see the mom’s belly getting bigger and bigger, until finally you see her holding a new baby in a rocking chair. I just wish more had been said about the mom having a baby amidst the chaos of buidling a house. But I guess when the story is being told from a child’s point of view, that seems like no big deal. I just found out the author has a blog over here. I might be checking in a few times, as I like his illustrations. I will definitely be getting his other books from the library! Now I want to go build my own house out in the country liks his family did! 5 out of 5 stars!