The Ballad of Huck and Miguel

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Ballad of Huck and Miguel

Author: Tim DeRoche 

Illustrator: Daniel Gonzalez

Publisher: Redtail Press, 2018

ISBN-13: 978-0999277676

ISBN-10: 0999277677

Related website(s): http://www.redtailpress.com

Language level: 3

(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: My recommendation is ages 16 and up

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: General fiction

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     DeRoche, Tim.  The Ballad of Huck and Miguel (Published in 2018 by Redtail Press, Los Angeles, CA).  It is past the year 2000, and almost nine year old Huckleberry (Huck) Finn lives in St. Petersburg, MO, with his alcoholic, abusive Pap; Huck’s Mama “went away” a long time ago.  At the urging of his friend Alfonse, Pap decides to drive his camper all the way to California where Alfonse says that he can get rich quick by doing a little job for him.  Once they get there, Huck escapes and meets a boy named Tom Sawyer in Compton, CA, where the two witness a drug deal—Pap’s job for Alfonse.  The police arrive just after Pap flees with his life. Huck testifies against the drug dealer, is given a reward, and goes to live with Ms. Douglas and Miss Watson.  He befriends their “Mexigrant” (illegal immigrant) cowboy Miguel. However, Huck’s new life is disrupted when Pap returns to steal back his son and savagely attacks the two women.

    Unfortunately, Miguel is falsely accused of the attack, so, chased by both Huck’s vengeful and psychotic father and the police, Miguel and Huck escape on a raft down the concrete gash that is the Los Angeles River where, riding the dangerous waters of a rainstorm, the two fugitives meet a strange cast of Angelenos.  Will they be able to escape from Pap?  What happens with Ms. Douglas and Miss Watson?  And does Huck ever find out where his Mama actually went?  I don’t know what the intended age range for this book is, but I could not conscientiously recommend it for younger children (unless read aloud with some judicious editing).  A small amount of cursing (the “d” and “h” words) occur, and one character calls Huck a “sonofabi*ch.”  Also there are references to smoking cigarettes, selling drugs, shootings, drinking “licker,” and “homersexuals.”

     In fact, this exchange takes place.  Huck asks Ms. Douglas if she’s a “thespian.”  When she wonders what he means, he replies, “Well, my Pap says that a lady who marries a lady is a thespian.”  She smiles and answers, “Why, yes, Huckleberry.  Why then I suppose I am a thespian.”   I can just imagine some innocent little boy or girl asking, “Mommy, are ‘thespians’ really women who marry women?”  And not everyone may agree with all of the political assumptions which seem to underlie the story.  Some may even find the plot a little “pro-illegal immigrant.”  Each person will have to make up his or her own mind on that issue.  Otherwise, for older teens and adults, The Ballad of Huck and Miguel is an interesting and somewhat humorous retelling of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, set in modern times.

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Speechless

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Speechless

Author: Jennifer Mook-Sang

Cover Illustrator: Michela Sabine Fierro

Publisher: Scholastic Canada, 2015

ISBN-13: 978-1443142670

ISBN-10: 1443142670

Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.ca (publisher)

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 9-13

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: General youth fiction

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Mook-Sang, Jennifer.  Speechless (Published in 2015 by Scholastic Canada Ltd., 604 King St. West, Toronto, ON  M5V 1E1, Canada).  Eleven year old Joseph (Joe) Alton Miles, nicknamed Jelly because his initials are J. A. M., lives with his father David who owns an electronics store, and his mother Gracie, and is a sixth-grader at Sherwood Forest Public School, where his best friends are twin brother and sister Parker and Sam Brown.  Jelly would rather be playing video games with P.B. than preparing for the school’s speech contest.  Besides, his nemesis and the class know it all, Victoria, has always won previous contests.  But this year’s awesome prize, a brand new tablet computer with accessories including a gaming controller, attract his attention.  And if he wins, he’ll finally have the last word with Victoria.  But then everything seems to start going horribly wrong.

     First, Jelly is accused of bullying when he accidentally hits a bratty boy named Spencer on the bus.  Then Victoria spreads a rumor around the school that Jelly’s first round speech was plagiarized.  And worse yet, Parker, who is now hanging around with one of Victoria’s friends named Elsa, appears to believe the rumor.   What can Joe do to regain his reputation as a nice kid?  Is there any way that his friendship with P. B. can be salvaged?  And who will win the final round of the speech contest?  The childish slang term “butt” is used for the human posterior several times.  Otherwise, this humorous, well written story that touches on the problem of school bullying has a believable plot with real-life characters.  It is both entertaining and inspirational.

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The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Sod Schoolhouse

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Sod Schoolhouse

Author: Miriam Jones Bradley 

Cover Illustrator: Hannah Nichols

Publisher: Emerald House Group Incorporated, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1649600059

ISBN-10: 1649600054

Related website(s): http://www.ambassadlor-international.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 5-12

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Mystery

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Bradley, Miriam Jones.   The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Sod Schoolhouse (Published in 2020 by Ambassador Books International, a division of Emerald House, 411 University Ridge, Suite B14, Greenville, SC  29601).  It has been only been a year since the Double Cousins—Dorie (fourteen), Max (eleven), and Chad Rawson and Carly and Mollie (nine) Johnson— solved their first mystery.  Since then, they’ve had five more.  Now back at Grandpa and Grandma Johnson’s ranch near Berwyn in Custer County, NE, for their annual summer visit, they wonder what will happen now.  Then out of the blue, strangers arrive at the ranch.  Bob Miller and his grandson Joey from Gregory, SD, tell a story from Mr. Miller’s nearly 100-year-old grandmother, Rhoda Babs Miller, that her grandfather Howard Coen had settled on property that was originally part of Grandpa’s land and that Howard’s son Joseph and his friend Jules Samuels had helped to build a sod schoolhouse there and decided to put a time capsule between two sod bricks. 

     Mrs. Miller would like to know if the stories told by her father, Joseph Coen, were true.  Is there any evidence that the first Happy Hollow schoolhouse had been a sod building?  If so, where was it and what happened to it?  And can they fulfill the dream of a centenarian by recovering its history and, against all odds, finding the tiny time capsule hidden by two young boys over 120 years ago?  In this Book 7 of 7 in the “Double Cousins Mysteries” series, the cousins, including their other cousin Brandon, must use all their previously learned sleuthing skills—along with some new ones—to help the Miller family to find the answer to their mystery; and in the process, they all learn that mysteries truly are a part of history.  This is a great set of books that emphasize family values, hard work, and logical thinking.  Plus the kids are homeschooled.

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The Freedom Stairs: The Story of Adam Lowry Rankin, Underground Railroad Conductor

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Freedom Stairs: The Story of Adam Lowry Rankin, Underground Railroad Conductor

Author: Marilyn Weymouth Seguin

Publisher: Branden Books, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0828320849

ISBN-10: 0828320845

Related website(s): http://www.marilynseguin.com (author), http://www.branden.com (publisher)

Language level: 3

(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: Said to be for ages 8 – 12

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: Historical fiction

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Seguin, Marilyn Weymouth. The Freedom Stairs: The Story of Adam Lowry Rankin, Underground Railroad Conductor (Published in 2014 by Branden Books, a division of Branden Publishing Company, P. O. Box 812094, Wellesley, MA  02482).  It is 1832, and sixteen year old Adam Lowry Rankin, the oldest of thirteen children, lives with his Presbyterian minister father John Rankin, his mother Jean Lowry Rankin, and his siblings, in a house called Liberty Hill on a high bluff overlooking Ripley, OH, the Ohio River, and the opposite shore of slave state Kentucky.  John is a fiery anti-slavery preacher, and Lowry, as he is called, along with his two oldest brothers Calvin and David, help his parents hide and transport fugitive slaves on the “Underground Railroad.”  They even build a set of stone steps leading up the steep slope to their home for escaping slaves to use, which becomes known as “the freedom stairs.”

     However, it is against the law to help runaway slaves.  Do the Rankins ever get caught?  If they are found out, what will happen to them?  And how can Lowry respond when he is asked by pursuing slave catchers why he is out alone in the dark while driving a wagon that is hiding several souls in it?  When I was an eighth grader (1967-1968), we studied about John Rankin in Ohio History.  Then, when we were homeschooling our boys, we visited the John Rankin House in Ripley, OH, and walked on the freedom stairs.  My only complaint with this book is that once each an escaping slave uses the “h” word, a slave catcher uses the “d” word, and a slave trader calls his slaves “black sons of bit*hes.”  I don’t know if Lowry recorded any kind of conversation like this in his memoirs or not.

     That may not seem like too much bad language to many folks, but I question the wisdom of having any kind of language like that in a story intended for 8-12 year olds.  However, I guess that I’m not really surprised that an author who is a teacher in the English Department at Kent State University considers it appropriate in something marketed to middle grade school students.  Otherwise, it is a great book that tells an important story. Seguin relied on Lowry Rankin’s autobiography to relay the account of this Ohio family’s role in the Underground Railroad as they helped more than 2,000 slaves to freedom.  One of their fugitives was the inspiration for Eliza in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Another really good historical fiction novel based on the life of Lowry Rankin is Across the Wide River by Stephanie Reed.

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The Great Ideas of Lila Fenwick

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Great Ideas of Lila Fenwick

Author: Kate McMullan 

Illustrator: Diane de Groat

Publisher: Puffin, republished 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0803703162 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0803703162 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0140324990 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0140324992 Paperback

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 9-12 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)

Category: General youth fiction

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     McMullan, Kate.  The Great Ideas of Lila Fenwick (Published in 1986 by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of E. P. Dutton, a division of New American Library, 2 Park Ave., New York City, NY  10016; republished in 1987 by Weekly Reader Books, a division of Field Publications, 4343 Equity Dr., Columbus, OH  43228).  Lila Fenwick, who lives with her dad and mom, is a fifth grader in Mr. Sherman’s room at Price School.  Her best friend since second grade is Gayle Deckert.  The two girls and their fellow students are typical middle – class school children, but Lila is known for having some truly amazing “Great Ideas.”   Unfortunately, Lila’s ideas don’t always turn out as well as she had hoped.  They get her sometimes out of and other times into all kinds of trouble, but through it all, the heroine always manages to stir up plenty of fun.

     In a series of five episodes, the creative Lila comes up with a host of ingenious solutions to problems, including finding a missing Guinea pig named Chocolate, creating a unique Halloween costume, making the money she needs to pay for a window broken at camp, and  finding the perfect farewell present for their beloved teacher.  There are a few common euphemisms (e.g., gosh) but also a great deal of humor here.  Lila is loyal to her friends and quick to use her brand of sarcasm against herself when warranted.  The sequel is entitled Great Advice From Lila Fenwick (1988).

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Ghost Lights of Dry Brook: MotoMysteries Book 2

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Ghost Lights of Dry Brook: MotoMysteries Book 2

Author: Sherri Kukla 

Publisher: S&S Publishing, Inc., 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1734948424

ISBN-10: 1734948426

Related website(s): http://www.sherrikukla.com (author), http://www.ssorm.com (publisher)

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 9 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)

Category: Mystery

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Kukla, Sherri.  Ghost Lights of Dry Brook: MotoMysteries Book 2 (Published in 2020 by S&S Publishing Inc.). Jeremiah and Millie Anderson live with their father and mother on a ranch in the desert where they can ride their dirt bikes all around.  Their closest neighbors are the Morgans who run the Ridge Riders Lodge about fifteen minutes away and have two children, Paisley and Donovan.  All the youngsters are being homeschooled by their parents. The Andersons are also providing foster care for a little boy named Caleb whose mother is in prison.  When they see some mysterious lights at night, they learn about old rumors of ghost lights in nearby Dry Brook.  Also, while out on their off road adventures, the brother and sister see some strange activities at an old abandoned store.  Then all of a sudden, Caleb starts saying that the lights mean that his “sissy” is out there.

    What is causing the lights?  Is there any connection between them and whatever is going on at the vacant trading post?  And does Caleb really have a previously unknown sister somewhere in the desert?  Pre-teen and early teen fans of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew will love reading the MotoMysteries series which incorporates faith, dirt bikes, and mystery.  There are a few common euphemisms (e.g., gee and gosh), but Ghost Lights of Dry Brook has a family friendly theme full of life lessons and the importance of making good choices. The author sprinkles in references to and about God with an underlying message of wholesome values, such as having love for others, friendship, kindness, and honesty.  Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger encouraging the reader to continue, which makes this a great read for even the reluctant reader with its fast paced and action packed plot.  The next book in the series is Phantom Ship in the Desert.  There is also a “Christmas Mini-Mystery” entitled The Christmas Miracle.

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The Breaker Boys

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Breaker Boys

Author: Pat Hughes 

Jacket Illustrator: Michael Hays

Publisher: Backshore Books, republished 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0374309565 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0374309566 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0615881676 Paperback

ISBN-10: 061588167X Paperback

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

Language level: 3 (almost 4)

(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: Said to be ages 8 – 12; I say 13 and up

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: Historical fiction

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Hughes, Pat.  The Breaker Boys (Published in 2004 by Farrar Straus and Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York City, NY  10003).  It is the spring of 1897, and twelve year old Nathan (Nate) Tanner, the son of a wealthy coal mine operator in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, is kicked out Brock boarding school in New Jersey and sent home to his father Thomas, step-mother Anna, older brothers Tom and Fred, older sister Tory, younger sisters Millie and Winnie, and little half-brothers Martin and James, along with a house full of servants such as driver Patrick, cook Mary, groundskeeper Harry, governess Lucy, and maid Fiona.  Nate has everything a kid could want or need except a friend. He is to have morning sessions all summer with tutor Mr. Hawthorne, but will be free in the afternoons, so to avoid his family, Nate disappears on his bicycle every day.  In this way he meets the breaker boys, who do dangerous, dirty work in his father’s mines, separating coal from debris in a filthy, dark building called a breaker.

     Nate comes to admire these Polish immigrants, especially Johnny Bartelak, and longs to become his friend.   But the only way is for Nate to hide that he is the boss’s son. Unaware of Nate’s real identity, Johnny invites him to play baseball with the breaker boys. As the summer of 1897 progresses, Nate finds himself piling lie on top of lie to keep his identity secret from Johnny, and the friendship secret from his family.  But as Nate and Johnny’s friendship marches toward the moment of truth, Nate discovers that the mine workers are plotting a strike, while back at home, he learns of his family’s fears about the future.  What should Nate do?  Will he warn his family?   Or does he decide to protect his friend?  The Breaker Boys does a good job of exploring both sides of a painful but timeless issue through sympathetic portrayals of both immigrant laborers and the coal-mine owners who employed them. 

     There are references to drinking whiskey and beer, smoking cigarettes, and spitting tobacco juice.  Also, a fairly sizeable amount of bad language occurs.   It is somewhat disconcerting to read about eleven and twelve year old boys hurling the “d” and “h” words around at each other.  And the name of God is taken in vain through various exclamatory constructions.  The book is said to be for ages 8-12, but I would say that unless one wants his preteens encouraged to spout off profanities, ages 13 and up would be better.  At the same time, there is a good story here.  While Nate, his family, and his friends are all fictional, an author’s note discusses the historical events on which this novel is based.  Readers will learn a lot about coal production and the everyday life of both workers and owners.

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Tundra: Arctic Sled Dog

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Tundra: Arctic Sled Dog

Author: Roy Simpson Marsh

Illustrator: Charles Geer

Publisher: Macrae Smith Company, 1968

ASIN : B001UID1HA

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 12-18

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Adventure

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Marsh, Roy SimpsonTundra: Arctic Sled Dog (Published in 1968 by Macrae Smith Company, Philadelphia, PA).  Eighteen year old Bill Hanson, a native Alaskan, had been an orphan since age four when his parents’ small plane crashed in a raging blizzard near Mount McKinley.  He was reared in an orphanage at his hometown of Fairbanks until he was sixteen, when he got his first paying job as a deckhand on the Northern Lights, a Yukon River boat captained by Big Jim. Then he and fellow crewman Jock Montee, eight years older than Bill, decide to buy the trading post at Fort Yukon in the wilderness north of Fairbanks from old Tim Frazer.  One day a stray dog wanders into Bill and Jock’s new trading post.  Bill adopts the Malamute-Saint Bernard mixed pup and names it Tundra.

     When the partners hear about gold from a passing Indian, they decide that Jock will go prospecting while Bill stays to tend the store. Later Bill joins him, but the prospect of $10,000 worth of gold dust and nuggets induces Jock to abscond with the loot and, worse than that, with Tundra.  So Bill pursues them through a grizzly encounter, blizzards, and an avalanche.  Can Bill catch up with his former friend?  Will he ever see his beloved dog again?  Does he even survive the ordeal?  There are a few common euphemisms (danged, gosh, heck), but this is a great book for teenaged boys who like rousing adventure stories.  Plus the descriptions of the Alaskan tundra and the Eskimos in the novel are true in every detail.

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With All Boldness: A Collection of Sermon Outlines from Patrick Farish

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: With All Boldness: A Collection of Sermon Outlines from Patrick Farish

Author: John Welch, editor

Publisher: Faith and Facts Press, 2020

ISBN-13: none

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)

Category: Bible study

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Welch, John, editor.  With All Boldness: A Collection of Sermon Outlines from Patrick Farish (published in 2020 by Faith and Facts Press, 6530 N. Michigan Rd., Indianapolis, IN  46268).  This is a book of 168 sermon outlines from Patrick Scott “Pat” Farish, who was born on July 20, 1936, in Columbus, MS, the son of Robert and Virginia Farish.  After attending Florida (Christian) College in Temple Terrace, FL, from 1954 to 1958, during which time he preached his first sermon in 1955 for the old Gary church in Tampa, FL, he married Frances Torricelli of Birmingham, AL, in 1960, and they subsequently had three children, Sharon, Rob, and Scott.  His father was a gospel preacher before him, and Pat also became a gospel preacher, with his first full time work in Concord, NC, from 1960 to 1962.  Then in1962, he moved to labor with the Parkway church in Corpus Christi, TX, where he graduated from the University of Corpus Christi with a B.A. degree in 1965.  After that, all of his local preaching work was in the state of Texas.

     In 1969, Pat relocated to Ft. Worth, TX, where he labored with the Castleberry congregation.  When I was growing up, we received the Castleberry church bulletin in the mail.  The bulletin itself was mimeographed, but the bulletin head was printed professionally.  When Pat came there, the printer misspelled his name in the first run of new bulletin heads.  So for a while, the Castleberry bulletin identified the evangelist and editor as “Tat” Farish.  Through the years, I was familiar with his name as a result of the articles which he wrote, not only for the bulletin but also for magazines such as The Gospel Guardian and the Preceptor.   In addition, he was a regular contributing writer for Faith and Facts Quarterly, as I have been for a number of years.

     By 1980, Pat was working with the Southside church in Mount Pleasant, TX, and spoke that year at the Florida College lectures.  I first met Pat in November of 1991 when he held a gospel meeting with the High School Rd. church in Indianapolis, IN.  We drove over from Dayton, OH, so that I could see and hear the preacher named “Tat.”  Following that, we became good friends.  In 1992, when Pat was with the Pleasant Run church in Lancaster, TX, he became editor of an excellent magazine known as With All Boldness, taking the reins from Keith Sharp.  As I was also a regular writer for With All Boldness, we kept in close communication.   He even asked me to edit three special issues of the magazine—one on the nature of Jesus Christ with all the articles by Ohio preachers and two with articles by me on song writers of the Restoration Movement.

     Pat spoke at the Florida College lectures again in 1998.  With All Boldness ceased publication in 2002, by which time he had moved to labor with the Westside church in Stephenville, TX, although he returned to the Pleasant Run church in Lancaster at some later time.  After that, we would see Pat occasionally at both the High School Rd. and the Florida College lectures.  In fact, the last time I ever saw Pat was at the 2015 Florida College lectures.  I did not realize that he was there.  We were with some friends attending the Wednesday night midweek service of the Temple Terrace church.  After it was over, I was standing in the vestibule talking with someone and turned around—and there was Pat!  He was hard to miss. I believe that he told me that he had just gotten in that afternoon.  He also traveled to Ethiopia on multiple occasions, teaching and training local preachers there.

     Pat continued preaching full time up until he had to retire in 2017 due to ongoing health issues.  After a lengthy decline during which time he suffered for a good while from various diseases, Pat Farish, long time gospel preacher and our dear friend and brother, passed away early Monday morning, March 16, 2020, at the age of 83 in Red Oak, TX.  John Welch first notified me of his death.  Pat’s son Rob said, “He was at home on hospice care and went peacefully in his sleep.”  Preceded in death by his parents, he was survived by his widow, Frances, who is also in ill health and living in their home in Waxahachie, TX; their three children; five grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and three brothers.  Keith Sharp well summarized Pat’s life.  “He didn’t have a political or mean bone in his body, and he preached and taught the truth, all the truth, whether it was popular or not.”

     Obviously, a volume of sermon outlines is going to have an extremely limited appeal.  However, I am a preacher, and Pat was my friend, so this book greatly appeals to me.  I heard Pat speak only a handful or so of times, but looking through With All Boldness, I found that Pat and I evidently thought much alike and were quite similar in our way of organizing ideas.  Many of his outlines look amazingly like some that I had worked up on my own long before I knew him.  If you are a preacher, especially a younger one or someone just starting out, or are merely called upon now and then to deliver an occasional lesson, you will find in this book a treasure trove of material that can serve as starters to help you develop beneficial sermons.  Thank you, brother Pat.

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The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy

Author: Ronald Kidd 

Jacket Illustrator: James Nazz

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0525671602

ISBN-10: 0525671609

Language level: 3

(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 – 12

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: Fantasy

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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     Kidd, Ronald.  The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy (Published in 1985 by Lodestar Books, an imprint of E. P. Dutton, 2 Park Ave., New York City, NY  10016).  Eleven year old Benjamin (Benjy) Bean is a sixth grader in Mrs. Higgenbottom’s class at Elm St. Elementary School who hates all modern gadgets like hair dryers, telephone answering machines, and especially computers.  Thus, he is dismayed one summer’s day to find a new microcomputer in his favorite second-hand bookstore, Velma’s Volumes.  Worse yet, there’s a “bug” in the store’s computer program, and when Benjamin casually picks up a loose electrical cable, he is sucked into the machine where he finds himself in a chaotic world full of regimented people and living data-animated numbers, letters, and punctuation marks.  Benjy is accused of being a “glitch,” or malfunction, that the computer police must track down in the war between rival factions ROM and RAM.

     With the help of the letter “M” and Professor Babbage, inventor of the mechanical digital computer, Benjamin travels through the Computer Kingdom, experiencing encounters with the police and a dragon, as he seeks to find the true bug in the system so that he can return home.  What is the real glitch?  Can Benjy find it time?  And will he ever get back home?  Aside from a few common euphemisms (e.g., “gee”), the phrase “My God” is used several times as an interjection.  Whether people realize it or not, this is a form of profanity or taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Someone noted, “Published in 1985, this ‘computer adventure’ would count as historical fiction for today’s tech-savvy kids.”  At the same time, this quirky adventure might help some youngsters to understand computers better, see how they can help people find the information they need in an expanding world, and learn to be comfortable seeking out new ways to utilize brain power.

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