The Wizard of Iz: A Parody of the Democrats by Dr. Truth

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

iz

Book: The Wizard of Iz: A Parody of the Democrats by Dr. Truth

Author: Loren Spivack

Illustrator: Patrick Fields

Publisher: Free Market Warrior Publications, 2015

ASIN: B075JWSX9B

Related website(s): http://DrTruthBooks.com (author), https://www.fmwarrior.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: For everyone of all ages

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

Spivack, Loren.  The Wizard of Iz: A Parody of the Democrats by Dr. Truth (Published in 2015 by Free Market Warrior Publications).  Dorothy has grown up in a free, prosperous, small-government world. Then a tornado thrusts her into a strange place where her falling house slays the community organizing Wicked Witch from Chicago and thus liberates the Free Lunchkins from his chains.  But to return to her own home, she is told that she must follow the gold path and go to see the Wizard of Iz in the city of green with a warning to beware of the Wicked Witch of Chapaque who survives in her tower.

Along the way Dorothy picks up three traveling companions—a brainless Scarecrow who has fourteen politically correct graduate degrees but is thousands of dollars in debt because he can’t find a job; a Tin Man who is told that he has no heart because he doesn’t like paying taxes to provide “social justice” for the poor; and a Cowardly Rhino (R.I.N.O.—true conservatives will know what that means).   Just who was the Wicked Witch from Chicago?  Who is the Wicked Witch of Chapaque? And who is the Wizard of Iz (hint—“It all depends on, exactly, your definition of ‘IZ!’”)

The book is rated “G” for “Government.  This book contains blunt descriptions of how our government works.  Naïve readers strongly cautioned.”  The Wizard of Iz is author Loren Spivack’s third book.  The first, The New Democrat written in 2010, is modeled after Dr. Seuss’s classic The Cat in the Hat and lampoons the Obama administration.   He followed that with The Gorax, which targets former Vice President Al Gore and his environmental extremism.  This most recent work is modeled after L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz.  EVERYONE should read these books!

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The Ghost in the Picture

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

ghost

Book: The Ghost in the Picture

Author: Meg Schneider

Publisher: Apple Paperbacks, 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0590416702

ISBN-10: 0590416707

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 11 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)

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

Schneider, Meg.  The Ghost in the Picture (Published in 1988 by Apple Paperbacks, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 730 Broadway, New York City, NY  10003).  Twelve year old Ben Crisp, who lives with his father, mother, and eight year old sister Stephie in Windsor, VT, is a budding photographer. Ben desperately wants to win a local photography contest sponsored by Green State Bank.  He also needs some photographs for a school project on progress.  It just so happens that a new girl his age named Lily Tompson and her family have moved into the old Tompson place on the corner in their neighborhood and are renovating it.  Mr. Tompson wants before and after pictures.  So even though Ben thinks that Lily, an expert ice skater who is coaching their losing hockey team, is odd and old-fashioned, while she finds Ben self-absorbed and rude, he feels that pictures of the old house might be a stepping stone to his success.

In fact, Ben finds himself compelled to photograph Lily, almost against his will, but all his efforts to win the photography contest are sabotaged by a flaw in the pictures, always a misty something–or someone–in the photos with her that keeps getting into the scene and seems to be reaching out toward him.  Everyone else thinks that it’s caused by dust on the camera lens or a trick of light or even Lily’s breath, but it has the shape of a man, and when Stephie sees it she believes that it’s a ghost.  Despite his initial skepticism, Ben gradually has to admit that it might be a ghost, and his fear grows.  Is it really a ghost?  If so, what does it want from Ben?  And should he tell anyone else about what is going on?

This book, of course, is obviously a ghost story, and those who object to ghost stories will want to avoid it.  But those who like a good ghost story should enjoy The Ghost in the Picture.  There is no bad language or anything else inappropriate.   The plot does not have too much tension, and the ghost parts are not particularly scary. Ben finds himself setting aside his own ambition in order to help someone else. School Library Journal noted that “The climax brings Ben and his sister closer together, as well as Ben and Lily.”  Also the background details of photography, ice skating, and ice hockey add interesting depth to the story.

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Into No Man’s Land: The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corps, Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

no mans land

Book: Into No Man’s Land: The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corps, Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968

Author: Ellen Emerson White

Cover Illustrator: Steve Stone

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, reprinted 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0606262156 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0606262156 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0545398886 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0545398886 Paperback

Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.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: For ages 10 – 14; I’d say ages 14-18

Rating: *** 3 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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

White, Ellen Emerson.  Into No Man’s Land: The Journal of Patrick Seamus Flaherty, United States Marine Corps, Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968 (Published in 2002 by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY  10012).  It is 1968, and Patrick Seamus Flaherty, who lives in Boston, MA, with his fire-fighter father, mother, and younger sister Molly (his older sister Brenda is married and has kids), has just graduated from high school and joins the Marine Corps to fight in the Vietnam War.  He is stationed at Khe Sanh, where some of his fellow Marines are nicknamed Fox, Mooch, Smedley, Rotgut, Apollo, Hollywood, Professor, Shadow, and Bebop.   Patrick’s nickname turns out to be Mighty Mouse.  He soon learns that Southeast Asia is a far cry from Boston, and, under constant assault by the North Vietnamese, he is at first overwhelmed, thinking that he’s made a terrible mistake.

Before Patrick left, his dad gave him a journal and asked him to write about his experiences in it.   Confronted with the oppressive heat, dense jungles, and an enemy that is everywhere, can Patrick ever find a way to deal with the harsh realities that he faces on the battlefield.  How does he react with his comrades?  And will he make it home again?  If one wants a fictional account that brings Vietnam and the battle of Khe Sanh to vivid life through the smells, tastes, sounds, horrors, loneliness, and the friendships that are so much of the chaos called war, then this is it.  There are references to smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, wanting whiskey, and getting drunk.  In addition to some to some common euphemisms, it is said that “Marines mostly only use one word—and it’s really obscene.”  Swearing and cussing are mentioned frequently, the “d” and “h” words appear quite often, the name “God” is used several times as an interjection, and some near vulgarisms (“pi**ed off,” “s.o.b.”) occur.

Also, a scene is described where some of the local Vietnamese women weren’t wearing shirts and others had their blouses unbuttoned.  Patrick writes, “This is my kind of town.”  It is interesting how different people reach almost opposite conclusions from the same book.  One reader called it an “amazing story” in which “you feel as though you are there with Patrick as he serves his country proudly as a U.S. Marine.”  However, another reviewer wrote that it   “describes the illogical and fruitless struggle of our military in the Vietnam conflict.”  Perhaps this simply demonstrates the ambiguity that still exists over America’s involvement in Vietnam.  There is a companion diary that follows Patrick’s sister, Molly, showing her experiences while Patrick serves in Vietnam, and even when he returns home.

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The Golden Ring: A Touching Christmas Story

golden ring

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Golden Ring: A Touching Christmas Story

Author: John Snyder

Cover Illustrator: Dan Craig

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, republished 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0446530064

ISBN-10: 0446530069

Related website(s): http://www.johnsnyder.com (author)

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: Suitable for the whole family

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

       Snyder, John.  The Golden Ring: A Touching Christmas Story (Published in 1999 by Mountain Breeze Publishing; republished in 2001 by Warner Books Inc., 1271 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY  10020, an AOL Time Warner Company).   It is just days before the Christmas of 1918, and Anna Beal, an idealistic nine-year-old, lives with her father Joseph, a hardworking railroad engineer on the B&O Railroad, mother Elda, brothers Earl, Elwood (Boopy), and young Dick, and sisters Mabel (Sis) and Jule in Myersdale, a picturesque township nestled in the dense snow-covered mountains of western Pennsylvania’s coal country. Anna has an especially close relationship with her father who had given her a ring as a birthday gift.   Anna in turn gives her ring to the daughter of a poverty-stricken family passing through town.  Then as Christmas approaches, a series of puzzling dreams shared by Joseph and Anna about a golden ring along with Jesus mystifies them both.

How does Joseph, who is a firm but kindhearted father, feel about Anna’s giving her ring away?  What do the dreams mean?  And will their search for the meaning of these dreams lead them to share an emotional and bonding Christmas experience?  Those who object to any references about observing Christmas as the birthday of Jesus will not care for this book.   A few euphemisms (darn, gee, dang) occur, and one character is said to have uttered “a string of profanities,” but no actual profanities are used.  Joseph chews tobacco—“Joseph had few vices in life, but this was one.”  However, both going to church and prayer in the home are important to the Beals.

The book was inspired by a true story told to the author, John Snyder, by his grandmother, Anna Snyder, just before she died, about one of her childhood Christmases.  This Yuletide tale was originally self-published with illustrations by Randall Quick, selling over 24,000 copies.   The Golden Ring is a touching Christmas story about giving, faith, love, and loss. The message powerfully delivered in this book is about the good that comes from giving.  It will appeal to all ages and is suitable for the entire family.  The American Family Association reviewer said, “I read a lot of fiction, particularly Christian fiction. And I enjoy novellas, particularly Christmas stories. Having read scores of them over the past decade or so, I can say without reservation that in every regard — style, story, substance — The Golden Ring merits a place on the Christmas Classics shelf right alongside A Christmas Carol….”

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Why Me?

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

why me

Book: Why Me?

Author: Ellen Conford

Publisher: Simon Pulse, republished 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0316153263 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0316153265 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0671741525 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0671741527 Paperback

Language level: 5

(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:  For ages11 and up; I’d say 14 and up

Rating: *** 3 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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

Conford, Ellen.  Why Me?  (Published in 1985 by Little Brown and Company, Boston, MA).  Fourteen-year-old Hobie Katz lives with his father, who owns an insurance agency, and mother. He is a ninth grader in school, where his best friend is Nate Kramer, and works part time at Bookathon, his grandfather’s bookstore in Million Dollar Mall.  Hobie is hoping to sweep women off their feet in the manner of his spy novel hero, Mac Detroit, but runs into complications.  The object of his affections, lovely Darlene DeVries, won’t give him the time of day and is pining for Warren Adler, an obscenely tall basketball player who is a junior.  On top of that, Hobie is being chased by budding marine biologist G. G. Graffman, a girl who is NOT the object of his affection but has studied the bestseller How to Make Men Crazy.  Which she does to Hobie.

Finally, Hobie manages to get rid of G. G., who turns her attentions to Nate, and Darlene warms up to Hobie as she starts to notice the poetry that he writes for her.  Expressing her appreciation for the poems, Darlene asks for more.  Does anything happen between Nate and G. G.?  How will it affect Hobie’s friendship with Nate?  And what is Darlene really doing with Hobie’s poetry.   This look at the love triangles of young adolescents has a few common euphemisms (e.g., “gee”). There is no cursing, but phrases like “My God” and “Good Lord” are used as exclamations, and Hobie says, “All I knew was that if G. G. pursued me with the same single-minded determination she had—up till now—pursued jellyfish, my a** was eelgrass.”

Why Me? certainly has a degree of humor in it.  Also it incorporates many of the usual trappings of modern adolescent social life—school, the mall, the movie theater, eating pizzas, etc.  And based even on my own observations when I was in high school some fifty years ago, the portrayal of attitudes and relationships between boys and girls is fairly accurate and typical of the common public school culture.  However, homeschooling parents, especially those who are trying to raise godly families, deserve much better literature than this.  I guess that the one redeeming feature is the lesson that it’s not nice to abuse other people to make yourself feel good and tear them down to build yourself up.

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Children of the River

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

river

Book: Children of the River

Author: Linda Crew

Publisher: Laurel Leaf, reprinted 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0780709072 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0780709071 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0440210221 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0440210221 Paperback

Language level: 5 (unfortunately)

(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: For ages 12 – 17; I would say more 16-18

Rating: **** 4 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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

Crew, Linda.  Children of the River (Published in 1989 by Delacorte Press, New York City, NY  10036; republished in 1991 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York City, NY  10036).  In 1975, thirteen year old Sundara Sovann fled the village of Ream, Cambodia, with her aunt Soka, uncle Naro, and their family to escape the Khmer Rouge army.  She left behind her parents, her brother and sister, and Chamroeun, the boy she had loved since she was a child.  It is four years later, and Sundara, now seventeen, struggles to be “a good Cambodian girl” at home who never dates but waits for her family to arrange her marriage to a Cambodian boy, and still fit in at her Willamette Grove, Oregon, high school where she and Jonathan McKinnon, an extraordinary American boy, are powerfully drawn to each other.

Sundara is haunted, by grief for her lost family and for the life left behind, yet wonders if her hopes for happiness and new life in America are disloyal to her past and her people.  Will Sundara ever see her parents, siblings, and boyfriend again?  Are she and Jonathan able to overcome the differences between their backgrounds and cultures?  And can the difficulties that arise within her family be resolved?   I found book this to be an interesting and eminently readable story with a satisfying conclusion.  Unfortunately, it is marred by some unnecessary bad language.  The term “God” is occasionally used profanely as an exclamation, the “h” word appears a few times, and even the “s” word is found once.

Publishers Weekly said, “The resolution comes smoothly and plausibly, offering a moving look at the way in which a survivor of great tragedy, having confronted overwhelming changes in her life, faces young adulthood.”  The biggest complaint which I saw was from those who felt that the plot portrayed the Cambodian culture as oppressively “strict and mean,” from which Sunara must be saved by a wonderful Caucasian prince in shining armor.  This sounds to me like the ravings of the anti-European, multicultural crowd.  I think that author Linda Crew does a good job of balancing the importance of assimilation with maintaining traditional customs in a new land at the same time.  Several others noted that it gives a real glimpse of what some people go through to get a better life.

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Randolph the Christmas Moose: A Yuletide Fable of Empowerment

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

randolph

Book: Randolph the Christmas Moose: A Yuletide Fable of Empowerment

Author: Gerry Gibson

Illustrator: Matt Taylor

Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1615995004 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1615995005 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1615994991 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1615994998 Paperback

Related website(s): http://www.GerryGibsonAuthor.com (author), 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 – 9

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

Gibson, Gerry.  Randolph the Christmas Moose: A Yuletide Fable of Empowerment (Published in 2020 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI  48105).   Randolph is a young moose who lives with his mother in the Great White North. He has a chance encounter with Rudolph and the reindeer from Santa Claus’ sleigh-pulling team, so he decides to join the reindeer in Santa’s flight school. Randolph finds new joy in trail running as he trains for the job, learning when  to run fast and when to run slow, how to make maps of his favorite running trails so he wouldn’t get lost, and how to use the stars to guide him back home at night.  However, due to his tremendous bulk, Wilma, the head elf with tiny glasses and no chin, places him at the workshop loading dock instead where Frankie, a rather crusty Arctic fox, is the boss.

Randolph is very disappointed and discouraged.  Will he just quit or stick with it?  Is there any way that he can use his brains and work ethic to earn respect at his new job?   And what happens when the reindeer have an accident on Christmas Eve and cannot pull Santa’s sleigh?  This charming and funny story is filled with humor and character building.  It will not only entertain children, but also help them to understand that other people’s opinions don’t define them and empowers them to find the uniqueness within themselves that will not allow stereotyping to limit their potential.  The book addresses many important childhood themes, including acceptance, endurance, and bullying.  The important message about how children can be hard-working, determined, and true to themselves is “BE YOUR OWN MOOSE!”

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Harry, The Wild West Horse

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

harry

Book: Harry, The Wild West Horse

Author: Eleanor Lowenton Clymer

Illustrator: Leonard Shortall

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton, republished 1964

ASIN: B0006AYJ38

ASIN: B001BYP3GU

ASIN: B000WTX3V2

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 6-10

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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

Clymer, Eleanor Lowenton.  Harry, The Wild West Horse (Published in 1963 by Atheneum, New York City, NY).  Harry, a big brown farm horse owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and their ten year old son Tommy, pulls the plow, the hay wagon, and the buggy.  When he’s not working, Tommy likes to ride him and pretend that they’re in a Wild West show.  Then Mr. Jackson buys a tractor for plowing, a truck to haul hay, and a car, so Harry no longer has any work to do.  The Jacksons lend him to their neighbor, Mr. Gilligan, but he doesn’t have much work for the horse either.  Harry is bored.

One warm September afternoon, after accidentally unlatching the gate of Mr. Gilligan’s barnyard, Harry takes a walk and ends up at a Wild West show.  When Thomas gets home from school and sees that Harry is gone, he goes after him.  Can Thomas find his horse?  If so, what will happen to Harry?  Does he go home or stay with the Wild West show?  Harry, the Wild West Horse would make a great chapter book for beginning readers.  Another reviewer noted, “Everything written by Eleanor Clymer is a wonderful fun adventure for kids!”

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Walls of Babylon: Disney Prince of Persia, The Young Dastan Chronicles Book 1

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

persia

Book: Walls of Babylon: Disney Prince of Persia, The Young Dastan Chronicles Book 1

Author: Catherine Hapka

Publisher: Disney Press, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1423110064

ISBN-10: 1423110064

Related website(s): http://www.disneybooks.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 8 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

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

Hapka, Catherine.  Walls of Babylon: Disney Prince of Persia, The Young Dastan Chronicles Book 1 (Published in 2010 by Disney Press, 114 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10011, a division of Disney Enterprises Inc.).  Young Dastan, an orphan who has no home or family, lives on the streets in the Persian city of Nasaf where Sharaman is the king, perhaps around the ninth century A.D.  He is being hunted by the White Huns, who are the guests of the king, because he had helped to keep the Torch of Atar, a magical talisman, away from them.  So he accepts an offer from a man named Kazem, who claims to know Dastan’s friend, the Magian Vindarna, to carry a very important package to Babylon, for which he is to be paid a very large sum of money.

However, when Dastan arrives in Babylon, he finds that he is wanted for a heinous crime that he did not commit.  What is going on?  Whom can Dastan trust?  And how will he escape?  “The Young Dastan Chronicles” are based on the reluctant hero of the 2010 American action fantasy film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which in turn is based on the video game series “Prince of Persia.”  In the movie, Dastan is a mischievous petty thief, who knows the streets and rooftops of Persia better than any other street urchin but later becomes a prince.  Walls of Babylon is about Dastan’s life before he became prince.  It is said to be Book 1 of 3 in the Young Dastan Chronicles Series, but it is actually the second to be published.

The first, a graphic novel entitled The Chronicle of Young Dastan, usually identified as Book 0 of the series, follows the story of Dastan prior to his rise to royalty and the events in the Sands of Time film, telling how Dastan, a street urchin, becomes embroiled in the quest by the Huns to find the mystical Torch of Atar and loses his best friend Javed to the evil White Huns seeking the magic torch.  Walls of Babylon picks up the story from there; it is well written and quite exciting to read.  In volume two, The Search for Cyra, after Dastan escapes Babylon, he must make a journey across the Empire in order to save his old friend Cyra, the girl who assisted him and Vindarna in saving the Torch of Atar.

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To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence

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survivors

Book: To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence

Author: Robert Uttaro

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1490931661

ISBN-10: 149093166X

Language level: 5

(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: Adults

Rating: *** 3 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

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Uttaro, Robert.  To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence (Published in 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).  Inspired by his undergraduate studies in Criminal Justice, author Robert Uttaro is currently in his twelfth year as a rape crisis counselor and community educator and continues to embrace a life-long commitment to activism and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence. Uttaro serves as a counselor to support rape survivors through myriad emotional, spiritual, and legal issues.   In addition, he also facilitates workshops which discuss the realities of sexual violence and offer strategies for support and prevention with a focus on healing.

To the Survivors is about Uttaro’s journey as a rape crisis counselor with true narratives of sexual violence shared by survivors in their own words.  The author, who has been featured in magazine publications across the country and on international radio broadcasts, gives the story of the victims by letting them speak for themselves through uncensored written accounts, poems, and interviews from women and men who have experienced rape and sexual assault.  Uttaro draws upon his years of experience to warn that sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most people suspect.  The subject is indeed a sensitive one, but this book is not just for survivors of sexual violence.  Anyone can benefit from the words in these pages, whether rape survivor or not, and Uttaro’s work in To the Survivors continues to impact peoples’ minds and hearts globally.

I read the first eight chapters of this book which cover Uttaro’s childhood, decision to get involved, training, and early work.  While Uttaro notes, “This book is not about religion,” he also admits, “I personally believe that God exists.”  There are a few items of warning to be aware of.  Instances of drinking alcoholic beverages are mentioned, one even to the point of passing out.  Some cursing (especially the “h” word) and near-vulgarity (e.g., being “pi**ed at”) occur.  And the “f” word is used rather casually.  I am sure that the remainder of the book contains a lot of useful information about rape and sexual violence.  However, I just personally have trouble reading a book where the “f-bomb” seems to be dropped so frequently.

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