Book: A Trap of Gold or A Stranger In The Dark

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: A Trap of Gold or A Stranger In The Dark

Author: Alison Smith

Jacket Illustrator: Mary Beth Schwark

Publisher: Dodd Mead,1985

ISBN-13: 9780396087212

ISBN-10: 0396087213

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 12-15

Rating: **** 4 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

     Smith, AlisonA Trap of Gold or A Stranger In The Dark (Published in 1985 by Dodd Mead and Company, New York City, NY).  Fourteen year old Margaret Cassidy lives on a farm in Cade County by the Lazy River near River Bend somewhere in the southern United States with her father Frank, step-mother (for a year and a half) Connie, and older brother Bud who is going to be a senior in high school.  When Margaret was five her mother died.  Her father has gone out west on a big engineering job that will probably keep him away all summer.  Her married sister Lilian has left her husband and moved back in with the Cassidys with her three young children and her bossy, nagging ways.  Connie’s Aunt Belle often stops by and usually criticizes Margaret and her father.   Margaret’s best friend is George Wilson.

     It is June, and Margaret loses a golden nugget that she is entrusted temporarily with and wears on a chain.  It’s from an abandoned mine and has been handed down from her father’s side for generations.  She enlists George’s help to go look for it or locate another one.  However, when she goes on a quest to replace it, she ends up finding much more than what she set out for as she sees and hears a mysterious, shadowy figure watching her while she searches for the lost gold nugget.  Will she find the nugget or one to replace it?  Who is the mysterious stranger?  And what happens when Margaret and George are trapped in a flash flood?  Aside from some common euphemisms (e.g., “darn” and “heck”), the term “Hell” is used, though not as a curse word, and the phrase “O Lord” is found as an exclamation.  But it is actually a pretty good story that keeps readers going simply because they want to see how the events will turn out.

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Wild Timothy

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Wild Timothy

Author: Gary L. Blackwood

Cover Illustrator: Robert Papp

Publisher: Puffin, republished 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0689313523 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0689313527  Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0142302149 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0142302147 Paperback

Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.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: Ages 8 – 15

Rating: **** 4 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

     Blackwood,Gary L. Wild Timothy (Published in 1987 by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Putnum Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014; republished in 2003 by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY  10012).  Thirteen-year-old Timothy lives with his parents in Elmira, NY, having moved there from Pennsylvania.  His older brother Kevin is a rising freshman soccer star at Syracuse.  Timothy is more interested in reading than in physical activity but reluctantly accompanies his enthusiastic father Jerry, who owns a construction company, on a camping trip at the Independence River near North Wilmurt in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.  Then Timothy accidently becomes lost in the woods for several days and even weeks.  Does anyone ever come looking for him?  How can he survive on his own until someone finds him?  And with a bear stalking him, will he even be alive by then?

     In addition to some childish slang words and common euphemisms (e.g., crap, heck, darned, golly), the terms ”Oh God” and “Good Lord” are used as exclamations.  There are also a couple of references to drinking beer.  Otherwise, this is a good action-adventure book for the middle grade aged reader.  Author Gary L. Blackwell, who also wrote The Shakespeare Stealer, does include the following note of warning:  “Wild Timothy is a work of fiction and not meant to be a Wilderness Survival Manual. Timothy did some things right but, since he was working by trial and error, he also did a lot of things wrong….There are a number of good nonfiction books on the subject available through your library, bookstore, or county extension service.”

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Finding Buck McHenry

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Finding Buck McHenry

Author: Alfred Slote 

Jacket Illustrator: Robert Blake

Publisher: HarperCollins, reprinted 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0060216535 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0060216530 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0064404693 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0064404692 Paperback

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 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: 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

     Slote, Alfred.  Finding Buck McHenry (Publisher in 1991 by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., New York City, NY  10022).  Eleven year old Jason Ross lives with his father Dick, a lawyer, and mother Jean, an artist, at Arborville in southeastern Michigan.  A student at Samson Park School, he loves playing baseball, but likes collecting baseball cards even more.  Unfortunately, Jason is not a very good baseball player and is cut from his Little League team, the Baer Machine.   Seeking solace at The Grandstand, a local baseball-card shop, he finds a card for ‘Buck McHenry,’ star pitcher of the Negro Leagues who left baseball early and became a school custodian, and thinks that Buck could be Mack Henry, the custodian at his former school, Eberwoods, where the Baer Machine plays their home games.   Jim Davis, owner of The Grandstand, decides to sponsor a new expansion team made up of rejects like Jason, and the boy wants Mr. Henry to coach it.

     Could Mack Henry possibly have some connection with former baseball great Buck McHenry?   Will he agree to coach the new team?  How does The Grandstand team do?  In addition to some common euphemisms (e.g., “heck” and “darn”), the book does use phrases like “for God’s sake” and “Oh God” as exclamations a few times.  Finding Buck McHenry was a Finalist for the 1992 Edgar Allan Poe Award Juvenile Category, given by the Mystery Writers of America, and as one reviewer noted, “Mr. Henry’s identity, in doubt through much of the book, provides a mystery, a bittersweet revelation, and a satisfyingly dramatic denouement.”  The plot may seem a bit of a stretch, but for the most part, the book is enjoyable, teaches some important lessons about friendship, honesty, compassion, and the realities of life, and contains a little history about the old Negro Leagues as well.

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Ready-Made Family

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Ready-Made Family

Author: Frances Salomon Murphy

Illustrator: Moneta Barnett

Publisher: Scholastic Book Services, republished 1963

ISBN-13: 978-0590020701

ISBN-10: 0590020706

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)

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

     Murphy, Frances Salomon.  Ready-Made Family (Published in 1953 by Thomas Y. Crowell Company; republished in 1966 by Scholastic Book Services, a division of Scholastic Magazines Inc., New York City, NY).  Twelve year old Hedwig (Hedy) Kowalski, her ten year old brother Peter, and their six year old sister Mary Rose are orphans.  Their mother had died six years before, and then their father just disappeared.  After being divided up and passed around among several different, uncaring and resentful relatives and then spending a year at the State Home and School in the city, the three are taken by social worker Miss Marian Cannon to stay as foster children at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, a childless couple who seem thrilled to have a “ready-made family,” in the small town of  Goodrich, about ten miles away.  John Kennedy runs a drug store, and his wife Nan is a homemaker.

     The children start Goodrich school, make friends in the neighborhood, and seem to be doing well.  Then some money comes up missing.  Hedy’s foster mother doesn’t know where it is. But Hedy thinks that she does and even knows who took it. Her relatives have always said that her brother Pete is a “natural-born thief.”  What will happen now? Will Pete be sent to a reform school? Will little Mary Rose have to live in an orphanage? Will Hedy have to go back to her horrible cousin Hattie and leave the best home she’s ever known?  This story highlights the needs of children from broken homes and families in crisis.  There are a few common euphemisms (e.g., “gee”), but saying prayers and going to church are mentioned as matters of course.  It is an engaging story with a very likable heroine with whom it is easy to identify.

     Although this book was originally published in 1953 and set in the 50s, there’s nothing outdated about the general themes. Just like back then, today’s foster children also experience similar feelings and situations while trying to adjust to the idea that someone finally wants to give them a home. Hedy’s cousin Hattie seems to be the only irredeemable character. Other apparent antagonists turn out to be at least to some degree misunderstood, thus presenting young readers with a generally positive if somewhat flawed world. Such balance provides a better life lesson than some syrupy nonsense or a mortal enemy behind every tree type of tale.  The Ready-Made Family is fictional, as is Miss Cannon, but author Frances Solomen Murphy has inspired many individuals to want to care for children and families in need.  The book really shows the need of all children to be accepted for who they are and loved unconditionally.

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Waterman’s Boy

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Waterman’s Boy

Author: Susan Sharpe 

Jacket Illustrator: Ondre Pettingill

Publisher: Aladdin, republished 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0027823516 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0027823512 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1416964537 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1416964533 Paperback

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 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: 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

     Sharpe, SusanWaterman’s Boy (Published in 1990 by Bradbury Press, an affiliate of Macmillan Inc., 866 Third Ave., New York City, NY  10022).  Ten, almost eleven, year old Ben Warren lives with his dad Duke, a “waterman” who fishes for crabs and oysters from his boat the Mary, his mom Mary who runs a bed and breakfast, and older sister Barbara in Marsh Harbor, MD, a small town on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay.  His older brother Eddie is away at Eastern Shore Community College.  Ben is going to be in sixth grade, but right now it’s summer.  Unlike his brother, Ben doesn’t want to go to college but aspires to be a waterman on the Bay just like his father. However, he gets little encouragement from Duke, who believes that his way of life is fast disappearing.

     Then Ben and his best friend Matt discover that someone has been dumping oil into the bay.  The two boys help a scientist named David Watchman, who is interested in cleaning up the water for the benefit of animals, plants, and people, by taking steps to discover the identity of those involved, while at the same time risking parental disapproval of people with too much education and of outsiders’ interference in their means of earning a living.  Who’s doing the dumping?   Will they get caught and be stopped?  And does Ben change his mind about his plans?  Author Susan Sharpe has written that she wants the book “to leave a sweet feeling of happiness and optimism; that problems can be solved, that your parents can understand you, that the future can be rosy.”

     In addition to the common euphemism “dang,” Ben’s father uses the “d” word.  I am always disappointed when writers of literature aimed at children seem to feel that they just have to include at least one or two curse words to make a story sound “relevant” or “realistic.”  It’s sad.  Duke Warren also smokes cigars.  Otherwise, the book does a good job of balancing opposing views on current issues such as unemployment and pollution of the environment.  School Library Journal says, “The integration of these problems into the rest of the story is the book’s strength.”

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Learn to Draw with Chappy the ChipMonk: Medieval Fantasy

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Learn to Draw with Chappy the ChipMonk: Medieval Fantasy

Author and Illustrator: Michael Gugliotto 

Publisher: Independently published, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1675225516

ISBN-10: 1675225516

Related website(s): http://www.chappythechipmonk.com/ (book)

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 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)

Category: Youth non-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

     Gugliotto, Michael.  Learn to Draw with Chappy the ChipMonk: Medieval Fantasy (Published independently in 2020 by Michael Gugliotto).  Knights, castles, dragons, swords, wizards, princesses, kings, and even ogres—children can learn how to draw all these things with Chappy the ChipMonk, a lovable cartoon character who is not only a chipmunk but a monk as well, hence the spelling of the name “ChipMonk.”  He loves to draw and wants to teach everyone how to draw too.  The book is packed with easy to follow step-by-step instructions and useful drawing tips along with thoughtful insights and values.  Its unique process, focusing on the artistic development stages of children, will build drawing skills and confidence.  And young  people today will find the “Medieval Fantasy” theme most appealing.

     Learning to Draw with Chappy the ChipMonk was written from many years of experience by the author as an artist and art teacher. Michael Gugliotto was drawing at the early age of six and remembers drawing an exact likeness of many cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Later when he was a teenager, his mother sent him to a private art teacher Robert Hoffman, an old master portrait painter.  Michael then attended Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute where he received both a masters degree in printmaking, and a degree in art education.  He has worked as a certified art teacher in the New York Public School System.

     Now, I am the last person anyone should want to evaluate a book on learning how to draw.  I can’t even make good stick figures.  But it is important to include art in a child’s curriculum, whether in public, private, or home school—and it may be especially difficult for homeschooling families, so a book like this could be very useful in a homeschool setting.  We understand that nothing can be done overnight, but as youngsters frequently practice their skills for drawing, they will gradually improve and their obstacles will diminish. By following the activities in this book, students will receive the valuable tools necessary for their artistic talent to flourish, and perhaps they may even learn to overcome some difficulties in life along the way too.

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God’s Creatures in God’s Word

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: God’s Creatures in God’s Word

Author: Warren and Paula Berkley, Editors

Publisher: One Stone, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1941422533

ISBN-10: 1941422535

Related website(s): http://www.OneStone.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: 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)

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

     Berkley, Warren and Paula, Editors.  God’s Creatures in God’s Word (Published in 2020 by One Stone Biblical Resources, 979 Lovers Lane, Bowling Green, KY  42103).  Eagles, pigs, lions, dogs, deer, sheep, snakes, cattle, and goats—“the Lord God made them all.”  The Bible mentions each of these creatures, both in historical references and as symbols of spiritual truth.  Throughout the Scriptures, God uses animals, plants, insects, and other things in nature as metaphors, similes, and analogies to help us grasp various points being made and thus give us a better understanding of His will for us. Editors Warren and Paula Berkley have assembled a team of faithful Christians with academic knowledge of these animals to write about them and the imagery that is used about them in God’s word and to show that God clearly intends for us to learn from His Word by using the things we can see and know in His creation. 

     God’s Creatures in God’s Word is suitable for Bible classes or for personal study.  It would also be useful in a homeschool setting either for Bible study or, with all of its scientific information, as an adjunct to a biology class. The proceeds from the sale of this book support Sacred Selections, a non profit 501c3 California corporation with a mission to provide financial means for Christian couples, whose hearts and homes are open to loving and raising an adopted child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, with assistance for the fees associated with the adoption process.

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The Iceberg Hermit

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Iceberg Hermit

Author: Arthur Roth

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, republished 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0833513298 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 083351329X Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0590441124 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0590441124 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 12 – 14

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

     Roth, Arthur.  The Iceberg Hermit (Published in 1974 by Point Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY 10003).  It is 1757, and seventeen-year-old Allan Gordon, lives in Aberdeen, Scotland, with his mother and three younger sisters named Jean, Flora, and Gladys.  His father is dead, but Allan has a girlfriend, Nancy Campion, who works in MacLean’s Drapery Shop.  The boy believes that he is stupid because he never did well in school and he overheard his school master Bunty Duff tell his mother that schooling was a waste of time for him. So Allan quits school, and after a brief stint working at Craigie’s Tailoring Establishment, he signs up on a whaling vessel, the Anne Forbes under Captain Hughes, where he can make much more money to marry Nancy.

     The story really gets going when the ship crashes into an iceberg and everyone perishes except Allan, who is now stranded alone in the Arctic.  Where will he find food, clothing, and shelter?  Does he ever make it back to Aberdeen?  Can he even survive?  This is a fun adventure tale about a young man who faces incredible problems.  It is based upon a supposedly true account.  The last chapter discusses the arguments for and against the possibility of the story being factual.  Allan does smoke tobacco and drink rum (to stave off the cold), but he also reads the little Bible which his mother sent with him and prays.  No cursing or profanity is used. In addition, there are all kinds of science facts and theories about the Arctic that can be explored further.  It’s perfect for a middle school aged boy.

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Lost But Found: A Boy’s Story of Grief and Recovery

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Lost But Found: A Boy’s Story of Grief and Recovery

Author: Lauren Persons 

Illustrator: Noah Hrbek

Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1615995486 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 161599548X Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1615995479 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1615995471 Paperback

Related website(s): http://www.LHPress.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 4 – 6

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Children’s book

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

     Persons, Lauren.  Lost But Found: A Boy’s Story of Grief and Recovery (Published in 2020 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI  48105).  A young boy has lost his dad, a tall, thin man with a big, red beard—not in the grocery store or around the block, but to an awful disease.  What can the boy do to cope with his loss?  How will he remember his dad?  Is it possible for him to maintain a connection as life goes on?  One of the toughest issues a parent may ever have to face is explaining to a child that a loved one has died, whether father, mother, sibling, grandparent, etc. 

      This sweet book, with beautiful pictures that portray tender human contact, tackles grief at a developmental level for a very young child by allowing children to ask questions and talk about their fears and feelings.  It offers comfort to young readers and their families by giving a sense of perspective and hope for the future, thus helping them to focus on the positive, healthy side of grief.  It is an excellent book to have for kids when there is a loss of a loved one, so that can explore their emotions and thoughts, and hopefully open up a conversation with someone they trust.

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Phantom Ship in the Desert: MotoMysteries Book 3

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Phantom Ship in the Desert: MotoMysteries Book 3

Author: Sherri Kukla 

Publisher: S&S Publishing Inc., 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1734948455

ISBN-10: 1734948450

Related website(s): http://www.sherrikukla.com (author), http://www.ssorm.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 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.  Phantom Ship in the Desert: MotoMysteries Book 3 (Published in 2020 by S&S Publishing Inc.).  Jeremiah and Millie’s parents have brought several foster children to live at their ranch in the California desert.  They are Samuel, Jenny, Caleb, and Mia, and Jeremiah and especially Millie are feeling a little sibling rivalry.  The kids hear rumors about an old ship that was somehow lost in the desert, and Millie is determined to look for and find it.  A cryptic message from a missing man named Emmett and maps to the phantom ship lead Jeremiah and Millie on their curious search.  When the pair become separated on their dirt bikes, they discover they aren’t the only ones looking for the ship. Someone else wants the map they have.

     Who is chasing them?  How do a soldier’s old knapsack and a mysterious cardboard box in an overturned trailer relate to the desert ship?  And what happens when Millie, alone, hurt, and out of gas, hears a noise like the rattling of a sidewinder?  Phantom Ship in the Desert is a faith-based mystery with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter.  Plenty of suspense and off road adventure make it a good read for reluctant readers.  It focuses on multiple things in the story, but the various plot lines are woven together skillfully.  Other benefits of the book include showing the importance of family, sharing a gentle message about suicide, and having no objectionable material.

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