For the Beauty of the Earth

9781506421834

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: For the Beauty of the Earth

Author: Folliot S. Pierpoint

Illustrator: Lucy Fleming

Publisher: Sparkhouse Family, 2017

ISBN-13: 978-1506421834

ISBN-10: 1506421830

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 5 – 8

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Pierpoint, Folliot S.  For the Beauty of the Earth (hymn published in 1864; book published by Sparkhouse Family in 2017). Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835-1917) was an English teacher, poet, and hymn writer.  Educated at the Grammar School in Bath, and at Queen’s College, Cambridge, he was graduated with classical honors in 1857. Following his graduation, he did some teaching as a classical master for a while at Somersetshire College, but mainly worked as a writer.  After he resigned his position at Somersetshire, Pierpoint lived at Babbiecombe in Devonshire, and at other places, where he did occasional teaching. Because he enjoyed a patrimony, he was able to become an independent writer and wrote when he felt like it.  Although he penned a number of hymns and published seven volumes of poetry, many of them showing his love for nature, “For the Beauty of the Earth” is his most famous hymn, which first appeared with eight stanzas in the 1864 Lyra Eucharista, second edition, edited by Orby Shipley. The idea is said to have come to Pierpoint at the age of 29 as he was walking around the hills near his hometown in the late spring, surrounded by the lovely countryside and the Avon River.

The poetry of Pierpoint’s classic hymn which celebrates creation, family, music, and community, is combined with lovely illustrations which bring the words to life, capturing the rich imagery of the song, to create a picture book that children and adults alike will cherish. The book includes the lyrics, which praise God for every good and perfect gift that He has given to us in this world, and the written music so that families can sing the song together.  For the Beauty of the Earth, which shows the majesty of God’s creation, and includes beautiful depictions of relationships, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Illustrator Lucy Fleming has been an avid doodler and bookworm since early childhood. She lives and works in a small town in England.

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Kentucky Horse Park: Commemorative Edition

ky-horse-pk

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Kentucky Horse Park: Commemorative Edition

Author: George T. Mitchell

Publisher: Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0-615-40371-7

ISBN-10: 0-615-40371-7

Related website(s): http://www.kyhorsepark.com (book), http://www.khpfoundation.org (publisher)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Suitable for everyone

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Mitchell, George TKentucky Horse Park: Commemorative Edition (published in 2010 by Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, 4089 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY  40511).  While at a family reunion at Georgetown, KY, earlier this month, we visited the Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm and educational theme park that opened in 1978 in nearby Lexington.  .Originally part of Walnut Hall Farms, the land for the park was purchased by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1972.  Open to the public, the park has a twice daily Horses of the World Show, showcasing both common and rare horses from around the globe. The horses are ridden in authentic costume. Each year the park is host to a number of special events and horse shows.

Additionally, the park contains the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate, which has a permanent collection of horse history and memorabilia, along with a rotating historical collection focused on a particular theme.   Beginning with the 1979 arrival of Forego, one of the leading handicap horses of the 1970s, the Kentucky Horse Park has been home to some of the world’s greatest competition horses, including John Henry, Horse of the Decade for the 1980s and the top money-winning Thoroughbred gelding in racing history.

A number of horse sculptures stand in the Kentucky Horse Park, including a Man o’ War statue on a pedestal near the entrance, over the horse’s grave, which was moved here from Faraway Farm during the establishment of the park in the 1970s. There is also a life-size statue of the 1973 U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard being led by groom Eddie Sweat, sculpted by Jim Reno.  This Commemorative Edition book, which we purchased in the gift shop, tells all about the history and various features of the park and is liberally illustrated with luscious, full-colored photographs.

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The Haunted Hotel

haunted-hotel

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Haunted Hotel

Author: Janet Adele Bloss

Illustrator: Bill Robison

Publisher: Willowisp Press-Pages Publishing Group, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0874064018

ISBN-10: 0874064015

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Bloss, Janet Adele. The Haunted Hotel (published in 1989 by Acorn Books, a division of Worthington Press, 7099 Huntley Rd., Worthington, OH  43085).  Twelve year old Laura Bingman, a sixth grader, lives in Indiana with her father, mother, and one year older brother Bill, a seventh grader.  The Bingmans are driving to Brinkley, NH, to go skiing and to visit Mrs. Bingman’s brother and sister, Uncle Joe and Aunt Gigi.  Three months before, Joe had obtained a job as caretaker of Brinkley’s Royal Windmont Hotel, which is closed for the winter because it is drafty and hard to heat.  Also Rutherford Thackery, the author of Laura’s favorite series of mystery books about Gwen Gilderstar, and Laura hopes to see him.  The kids hear some stories about the hotel being haunted by the ghost of a princess named Marie who had lived in the hotel a hundred years before but was reported to have just disappeared after she went insane following the death of her husband the Prince.   Supposedly the princess can put people under her spell to do her bidding.

Then strange things begin happening.  Laura and Bill see mysterious lights and a shadowy figure in the windows of the closed hotel.  Even though they have been forbidden to go inside the old hotel, Laura is determined to investigate the mystery, just like Gwen Gilderstar. Bill rolls his eyes at Laura’s melodramatic mystery obsession, but goes with her.  They hear organ music and a woman laughing, and they find a red rose on the floor, just like the roses in the portrait of the princess.  Then, Bill catches a glimpse of the princess in the elevator, carrying an axe. Also they begin noticing that their uncle is behaving strangely and even lying about things.   When they first arrive, their uncle tells them that Aunt Gigi has gone away to visit a sick friend.  Then, Laura overhears him talking to Gigi on the phone, saying that she and her brother and parents are out to dinner, so she can’t talk to them.  Later, Laura gets the chance to talk to Aunt Gigi and finds out that she only went to visit her friend because Joe insisted and that her friend isn’t sick.

Why would Uncle Joe do these things?  Is he under the spell of the princess?  Can Laura and Bill do anything to save him from her?  Janet Adele Bloss, whose other books include Ballet Bunny, The Haunted Underwear, 30 Ways to Dump a Sister, and Max and the Secret Skunk, is the penname of Janet Shuff.  When we lived in Dayton, OH, Ron and Janet Shuff lived nearby.  About the same time as we adopted our older son, the Shuffs adopted a child from the same agency that we used, and they helped start the local adoption support group which we were in, so we became friends.  Janet gave our son a copy of one of her children’s books, Teeny-Tiny Monster.  Later, Ron, Janet, and their family moved to Texas, and we eventually moved to Missouri and then to Illinois. The Haunted Hotel has a few common euphemisms (gee, gosh, darn), but it is a well-written, suspenseful story that is easy and fun to read.   Pre-teens and young adults who like spooky mysteries will enjoy it.

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Olivia Lauren’s A Guide to Things We Wear, Olivia Lauren Volume 5

olivia

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Olivia Lauren’s A Guide to Things We Wear, Olivia Lauren Volume 5

Authors: Olivia Lauren and Melissa-Sue John

Illustrators: Simonne-Anais Clarke and Zachary-Michael Clarke

Publisher: Lauren Simone Publishing House, 2017

ISBN-13: 978-0997952018

ISBN-10: 0997952016

Related website(s): http://www.laurensimonepubs.com (publisher)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 3-6

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Lauren, Olivia, and John, Melissa-SueOlivia Lauren’s A Guide to Things We Wear, Olivia Lauren Volume 5 (published in 2017 by Lauren Simone Publishing House). What are you wearing right now?  Olivia Lauren is a child model, and A Guide the Things We Wear is a story about how she and her friends Kayla, Taj, and Harriet explore the different things which people wear. They tell us about the when, where, and why regarding various kinds of clothing. The book begins with the many synonyms for clothes.  Young readers will learn about what we wear in rainy weather and how we dress in cold weather.  They will also read about the names of some of the clothing that people wear in other parts of the world, such as India, Pakistan, Ireland, and Scotland.   Do you know what a hanfu is?  Who would dress in a salwar kameez?  And where would you live if you wore a kufi?  Authors Olivia Lauren, a nine year old from Connecticut, and Melissa-Sue John, a Jamaican born psychology professor, aided by teenage illustrators Simonne-Anais Clarke and Zachary-Michael Clarke, have teamed up to produce Book 5 in the Olivia Lauren Series.

This well-written volume, with very bold and colorful illustrations which will easily catch a child’s attention, will not only satisfy children’s curiosity about fashion, tradition, and the significance of clothing but also help to increase their vocabulary.  In the back there are some thought questions and a glossary.  If you are into multi-culturalism with varying traditions and fashions, you will appreciate the diversity of this book.  There are even some Muslim women, one in a burqa and another in a hijab.  Other books in the series include Olivia Lauren’s Occupations A to Z: A Children’s Guide to Jobs and Careers (Volume 1); Olivia Lauren’s Guide to Becoming an Actor (Volume 2); Olivia Travels: A Guide to Modes of Transportation, Olivia Lauren (Volume 3); and Olivia Connects: A Guide to Modes of Communication (Volume 4).

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Phebe Fairchild: Her Book, Story and Pictures

phebe

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Phebe Fairchild: Her Book, Story and Pictures

Author and Illustrator: Lois Lenski

Publisher: Frederick A. Stokes Inc., republished 1964

ISBN-13: 9789998894266

ISBN-10: 9998894263

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 10-14

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Lenski,  Lois.  Phebe Fairchild: Her Book, Story and Pictures (published in 1936 by J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, PA).  It is 1830, and ten year old Phebe Fairchild lives with her father, a merchant and sea captain, and mother in New Haven, CT.  However, Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild are going to take an extended voyage on their ship, the Phebe Ann, to Europe, so Phebe is sent alone by stage to spend a year with her father’s family on their Litchfield County farm at Winton in northwestern Connecticut.  There she meets her Uncle Jothan and Aunt Betsy with their five children, Timothy, Samuel, Philip, Belinda, and Susan, ranging from fifteen to seven, Grandmother Melissa, Aunt Hannah, and Uncle Benjamin, along with their household help, neighbors, and friends.   Her Uncle Thad and Aunt Lucretia run the store in Winton, and her Great Aunt Eliza Pettifer also lives nearby.

Phebe and her family are Episcopalians, but the rest of the family are “stern and strict” Puritans, so Father tells Phebe that she will need “patience and courage a-plenty,” and cautions her not to let the others take away her Mother Goose book or her treasured jewels.  Can Phebe learn to adapt to her new surroundings, and can her relatives learn to tolerate her?  Will Father and Mother make it home safely?  And will Uncle Benjamin ever get married? This historical children’s novel, illustrated by the author, was first published in 1936 and was a Newbery Honor recipient in 1937.  In addition to illustrating the first four Betsy-Tacy books, Lois Lenski (1893-1974) was the 1946 Newberry Medal winning author of Strawberry Girl.

Phebe is not a paragon of perfection and doesn’t always stay within bounds, but she has a good heart, tries hard to respect her elders, and learns some important lessons.  He relatives seem harsh and even cruel at first with their rigid point of view towards children’s play and clothes, but they eventually soften up somewhat.  There are some common euphemisms (tarnation, gosh, gee), and the term “My God” is used once as an interjection.  A few passing references to using tobacco and to various alcoholic beverages are found.  However, their religion is very important to the Fairchilds, even if one doesn’t necessarily always agree with every aspect of it, and the entertaining story does a good job of depicting the life and times of rural Connecticut in the 1830s.  Kirkus Review said, “One of the nicest things Lois Lenski has given us.”

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My Brother the Wind

my-brother-the-wind

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: My Brother the Wind

Author: G. Clifton Wisler

Publisher: Paperjacks, republished 1987

ISBN-13: 978-0385148221 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0385148224 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0770105105 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0770105106 Paperback

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 13 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Wisler, G. Clifton.  My Brother the Wind (published in 1979 by Doubleday and Company, Garden City, NY).  It is 1869, and eight year old Timothy Tobias Welles, born in 1861, lives on the family farm in the Ohio River valley along with his six older siblings.  His father, Capt. John Timothy Welles, was killed during the Civil War in 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh.  His oldest brother Joseph married Helen Glebov in 1864.  Later that year his mother died.  In 1866, an older sister Martha married Ronald Pierson and moved to Oregon.  Finally, it is decided that the farm will pass to Joseph and Helen.  Brothers Thomas and Isaac plan to join Martha in Oregon, and Timothy determines to go with them.  As they begin the journey, they are joined in Cincinnati by Mr. and Mrs. Hudson and their fourteen year old son Jerome, who befriends Timothy.  At Ft. Laramie, Thomas and Isaac change plans and head for the Colorado gold rush, sending Timothy with the Hudsons to catch the wagon train on to Oregon.

However, on the third day out of Ft. Laramie, the four, still travelling alone, are attacked by a Cheyenne war party.   The Hudsons are all killed, and Timothy is captured, but is unexpectedly rescued by a mountain man named Bear who raises him as his own, and faces a new life as a mountain man himself.  He chooses the name of “Wind.”  Injured and mistreated by the Indians, can Timothy survive the harsh conditions of the wilderness, especially the coming winter?  Does he ever make it to Martha in Oregon?  And will he see Thomas and Isaac again?  Author G. Clifton Wisler (born 1950) is a teacher who has written more than sixty-three books, many of them are historical fiction for young adults. I have previously read and reviewed his novel Jericho’s Journey.

My Brother the Wind, which was a National Book Award Finalist for Western in 1980, is an enjoyable story.  There is no bad language.  Thomas and Isaac are said to visit a “bawdy house” in St. Louis, and Timothy has to wait for them outside of a saloon.  A few references to using tobacco and drinking strong spirits are found.   Bear talks a couple of times about being drunk and having a girl at one’s side.  Two scenes in particular are rather intense—where the Cheyenne kill the Hudsons and where Bear and Wind have to kill a bunch of pelt robbers who attack them—and would not be suitable for small children, but I do not think that the violence, though somewhat descriptive, is gratuitous.  The book is advertised as a “story of the bond between the man and boy–a bond stronger than any family tie–set against the background of the changing West.”

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Letters to Mark: On God’s Relation to Human Suffering

letters-mark

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Letters to Mark: On God’s Relation to Human Suffering

Author: James Davenport Bryden

Publisher: Literary Licensing LLC, republished 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1258368180 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1258368188 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1258379025 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1258379023 Paperback

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Teens and adults

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Bryden, James DavenportLetters to Mark: On God’s Relation to Human Suffering (published in 1953 by Harper and Brothers Publishers, 40 E. 33rd St., New York City, NY  10016).  James (“Jim”) Bryden is a Presbyterian minister in Washington, DC.  In earlier years he and Mark Fisher, a casual churchgoer for most of his adult life, had been fishing buddies in Pennsylvania.  After the two were separated by World War II, Mark, a writer for a daily paper, sends Jim a letter asking some serious questions.  Why does God permit war to continue? Why did my aged mother have to fall on the ice, break her hip, and then die?  How can we believe in a God who claims to love us and is powerful enough to stop such suffering but does not?  These are some of the most persistent questions which have been asked throughout the ages.  Such questions about the problem of suffering trouble every thoughtful person at some time or another.

I first heard about this book when I was in college, so when a copy appeared in a box of books given to me by a friend, I set it aside to read.  One reviewer said, “I think he danced around the answer to original question posed which is ‘Why is there such senseless suffering and adversity in a world created by an almighty and loving God?’ and instead described God’s relation to human suffering.”   However, as the author noted, there is no simple answer to the question.  Yet, an understanding of God’s relation to human suffering provides a basis for getting at the problem.  I would not agree with every observation which Bryden makes, nor would I say some things in exactly the same way which he does.  But the book contains a thought provoking discussion of the issues involved which is intended to give an answer which many have found to be intellectually satisfying and practically useful in meeting the adversities of life.  It is not to be confused with another religious book entitled Letters to Mark written in 2013 by Roger Douglas.

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