Josie and the Digger’s Club: #3 Case of the Stolen Medallion

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Josie and the Digger’s Club: #3 Case of the Stolen Medallion

Author: Pamela Bush

Illustrator: Darcy Richardson

Publisher: Independently published, 2019

ISBN-13: 978-1083019417

ISBN-10: 1083019414

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 10-14

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

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.  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

     Bush,Pamela.  Josie and the Digger’s Club: #3 Case of the Stolen Medallion (Published in 2019 by Pamela Bush).  Fourteen year old Josie Winnell lives in Paradise, WI, with her sheriff father Tom and mother Marsha, and has formed a “Digger’s Club” with three of her friends, Charles Maxwell, Lily Spencer, and Amy Stone, to solve mysteries.  The Diggers Club members are invited on a spring break vacation with Josie’s parents.  Amy’s family had other plans, but Charlie and Lily are excited to board a jet headed to Asheville, North Carolina, and the Smokey Mountains.  After thoroughly checking out the fancy log home, the Diggers head out to explore the hiking trail leading into the forest, and on a side path they discover a rusted tin container full of jewelry and gems.

     The three decide to investigate on their own and hide the contents in the shed, but a piece comes up missing, a rare old medallion, and footprints are found at the back of the shed.  Should the Diggers tell Josie’s dad about their find?  Who stole the medallion?  And why was one earring left in its place?  This is a very interesting and intriguing story for tweens and early teens.  The children, especially Josie, make some bad choices along the way, but, with the help of Josie’s parents, they learn some important lessons along the way.  It is nice to read a book that portrays a healthy interaction between kids and adults.  There is no bad language or other inappropriate material.  The typical evangelical view of being saved is pictured.

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Borgel

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Borgel

Author: Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Publisher: ‎ Atheneum, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0027746716

ISBN-10: 0027746712

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 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)

Category: Science 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.  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

     Pinkwater, Daniel Manus.  Borgel (Published in 1990 by Macmillan Publishing Company, a division of Macmillan Inc., 866 Third Ave., New York City, NY  10022).  Melvin Spellbound lives in an apartment with his parents, older brother Milo and sister Martha, and dog Fafner.  When Melvin was small, a man named Borgel McTavish, who claimed to come from the “Old Country,” to be a distant relative and to be 111 years old, had to leave “the old apartment” in “the old building” in “the old neighborhood” because it was being demolished, so he moved in with Melvin’s family.  One night, Borgel takes Melvin and Fafner for a ride in his 1937 Dorbzeldge sedan for a trip through time-space-and-the-other and pick up a little man named Freddie who is on a quest for the “Great Popsicle.” Where are they going?  Do they find the “Great Popsicle”?  Will they ever get home?

    As to language, besides some childish slang (i.e., “pee”) and common euphemisms (e.g., darned, gee, doggone), the name of God is used as an exclamation a couple of times, and the “d” word is found once.  The travelers literally go to “Hell,” but, of course, it’s nothing like what the Bible describes.   And there is some talk that the Great Popsicle is God because “Everything is God.”  The theme seems to be “cosmic consciousness” where peace and love save the day, and one reviewer said that it reads more like a 1960s underground comic than a 1990 novel for middle readers.  But if kids like a zany story with hilariously absurd humor, they’ll find it here.  Author Daniel Pinkwater’s book Uncle Melvin seems to be a sequel.  Also, I have read and reviewed his The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, which I said tends to be somewhat on the silly side and gave it a three-star rating too.

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Bookends I: Reflections on the First Verse of Each Book in the Bible

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Bookends I: Reflections on the First Verse of Each Book in the Bible

Author: P. D. Gray

Cover Illustrator: Shannon Carter

Publisher: Resource Publications CA, 2022

ISBN-13: 978-1666793611 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1666793612 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1666735949 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1666735949 Paperback

Website(s): http://www.wipfandstock.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: Teens and adults

Rating: **** 4 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.  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

     Gray, P. D.  Bookends I: Reflections on the First Verse of Each Book in the Bible (Published in 2022 by Resource Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave. Suite 3, Eugene, OR  97401).   This is a comprehensive yet short book of brief devotionals with introductory remarks in which all sixty-six books of the Bible are covered with meditative reflections on each book’s first verse.  It is the hope of author Patrick Gray that it will stimulate more and more Christians and spiritually-minded people who are open to the Bible to read the whole Bible for themselves, without relying on paraphrases or summarized knowledge in the belief that a personal and cover-to-cover reading of God’s word will be an immense blessing to those who endeavor to accomplish it. Hopefully this short volume will be an encouragement to that end.

     I must say that I enjoyed reading Bookends I.  While I might not agree theologically with every observation made, and there are some statements that I would have worded differently, I deeply appreciate Mr. Gray’s obvious willingness to stand up for evangelical, Biblical truth in a time when many even who identify themselves as Christians are becoming more and more wishy-washy when it comes to the authority of Scripture.  He is the Head of English at a prestigious high school in the United Kingdom who has written poetry for a number of years, and gives Bible talks at his local church.  These reflections will both inform the mind and warm the heart.

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The Remembering Box

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Remembering Box

Author: Eth Clifford 

Illustrator: Donna Diamond

Publisher: HarperCollins, republished 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0395384763 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0395384761 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0688117775 Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0688117771 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 ‏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: 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.  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

     Clifford, Eth. The Remembering Box (Published in 1985by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company, 2 Park St., Boston, MA  02108; republished in 1992 by Beech Tree Paperback Books, New York City, NY).  It is 1942, and nine (almost ten) year old Joshua Beck lives in New York City, NY, with his father Joseph, mother, younger brothers Ari and Daniel, and baby sister Shoshanah.  Ever since he was five years old, Joshua spends every Friday night and every Saturday with his grandmother Goldina, celebrating the Jewish Sabbath.  On Friday night, Grandma blesses the Sabbath lights, and the two share a traditional meal. On Saturday afternoon, they settle down with a box they call “the remembering box.” Joshua draws an item from the box, and Grandma tells its story. And they are wonderful stories about her grandfather Schmuel the water finder; Mazel, her horse when she was a girl; her other grandfather Shimon the candlestick maker; and Abba, her late husband and Joshua’s grandfather.

    Is Joshua really interested in Grandma Goldina’s stories?  Does he even listen to them?  Or has Grandma just been wasting her words by talking into the air?  The Remembering Box is a quiet and beautifully told story about the legacy that a Jewish grandmother gives her grandson.  Joshua’s weekly visits to his beloved grandmother on the Jewish Sabbath give him an understanding of love, family, and tradition. Author Eth Clifford Rosenberg, whose best-known title is Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library (1979), does a remarkable job of depicting a very special relationship between the boy and the elderly women, both of whom seem very real and very dear.  Hopefully, it will help youngsters to appreciate their relationships with their grandparents.  There is a bit of sadness at the end, but the story has a satisfactory conclusion.

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Diadem #2: Book of Signs

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Diadem #2: Book of Signs

Author: John Peel 

Cover Illustrator: Michael Evans

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications, Reprinted 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0738706160

ISBN-10: 0738706167

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: **** 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

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.  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

     Peel, John.  Diadem #2: Book of Signs (Published in 1997 by Apple Paperbacks, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York City, NY  10012). Pulled out of their own worlds to travel the range of planets known as the realm of Diadem, which is ruled by three corrupt tyrants, for reasons unknown and given strong magical gifts, Score, a New York raised street kid, Helaine, a high-born warrior lady from the medieval planet Ordin masquerading as a warrior boy Renald, and Pixel, an alien from futuristic Calomir where people live most of their lives in Virtual Reality, fresh from dispensing with the evil wizard Aranak on the planet Treen, continue their magical journey as a portal takes them to a magical world called Rawn, where the natives do not like humans—especially those with magical powers. They meet up with nasty goblins, giant trolls, mysterious Shadows, lake monsters, a roc, a wyrm, and other creatures on their way to find a shapeshifting wizard named Shanara, the only person who can get them off this magical world.

      Can the three youngsters locate this magician?  Will they ever make their way off Rawn?  And someone seems to be helping the children, giving them clues and warnings, but who and why?  Book of Signs is the second volume in the series “Diadem” and continues the adventures of Score, Helaine, and Pixel, who were first introduced in Diadem #1: Book of Names.  While I was able to read No. 2, it probably would have made a little more sense if I had read No. 1 first.  Naturally the themes of teamwork and friendship come to the fore.  As they go, the trio learns that trusting each other and sticking together are their only chance for survival.  Aimed at a “tween” audience, the “Diadem” series has an interesting enough premise to hold a young reader’s attention for at least a few more books.  Books No. 3 and 4 are Book of Magic and Book of Thunder; there are six more after them.

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Matthew Looney’s Voyage to the Earth: A Space Story

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Matthew Looney’s Voyage to the Earth: A Space Story

Author: Jerome Beatty Jr.

Illustrator: Gahan Wilson

Publisher: Independently republished, 2019

ISBN-13: 978-1095788752

ISBN-10: 1095788752

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: Science 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.  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

     Beatty,Jerome Jr.  Matthew Looney’s Voyage to the Earth: A Space Story (published in 1961 by William R. Scott Inc.; republished in 1969 by Young Readers Press Inc., New York City, NY).  In the days before the Apollo landings, young Matthew (Matt) Looney lives underground in the town of Crater Plato on the Moon with his family, father Monroe who works at the powder factory, mother Diana, little sister Maria, and pet murtle (a turtle like creature) Ronald.   Like everyone else on the Moon, Matt wonders if there is life on Earth. He gets his chance to find out when he is chosen as a cabin boy on an expedition to the South Pole by the great Commander Lockhard “Lucky” Loomey, his own Uncle Lucky.   His chief rival for the position is Hector Hornblower.  Does anything bad occur when, in disobedience to orders, Matt takes Ronald on the flight?  What will happen when Hector writes a letter to Commander Loomey’s enemies snitching on Matt for taking Ronald?  And do they find any live on Earth?

     The result is a wacky, zany adventure that even brings back the secret of a mysterious substance known as water.  It is funny, creative, more or less science based, and a bit irreverent. Wilson’s art work really complements Beatty’s witty text.  When I was a youngster, I would have loved this book and its companions (I was a first and second grader when it was first published in 1961), but I knew nothing about them. Voyage to the Earth (perhaps also sold under the title Matthew Looney, Moonboy) is the first in a series of four science fiction books for children; the others are Matthew Looney’s Invasion of the Earth (1965), Matthew Looney in the Outback (1969), and Matthew Looney and the Space Pirates (1972).  Matthew’s sister Maria Looney is the title character in Beatty’s three subsequent books: Maria Looney on the Red Planet (1977); Maria Looney and the Cosmic Circus (1978); and Maria Looney and the Remarkable Robot (1978).

     Similar to most child characters in children’s literature, the Looney kids must deal with parents, friends, and rivals, along with the normal array of school-age joys and concerns. Author Jerome Beatty Jr. began his series in the early 1960s, at the dawn of the Space Age, when 20th-century children were especially fascinated by the likelihood of space missions and adventures to the Moon in their own lifetimes.  Although the Looney books were fairly popular through the 1980s, commonly enjoyed by grade-school and preadolescent children, they are currently out of print. The most recent publisher of the series, Avon Camelot, was purchased by HarperCollins in 1999. The Looney series still enjoys a steady readership in the public library system. Used copies for purchase remain in circulation via the internet.

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Thoughts of God: A Lent Course Based on the Film ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Thoughts of God: A Lent Course Based on the Film ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’

Author: Andy Colebrooke 

Publisher: Circle Books, 2022

ISBN-13: 978-1785359712

ISBN-10: 1785359711

Website(s): http://www.circle-books.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: Adults

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: Religion

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.  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

    Colebrooke,Andy. Thoughts of God: A Lent Course Based on the Film ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (Published in 2022 by Circle Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd., No. 3 East St., Alresford, Hampshire, UK  SO24 9EE).  This book is identified as a group Lenten study in five easy to follow sessions using scenes from Matt Brown’s 2015 film‘The Man Who Knew Infinity about the relationship of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, an orthodox Hindu Brahmin who believed that the goddess Namagiri revealed his mathematical insights, and Oxford mathematics don G. H. (Godfrey Harold) Hardy, who was a convinced atheist, at the outbreak of the First World War as a launch point to have meaningful conversation on such Biblical themes as faith and trust, exile, friendship with God, the longing for home, and the nature of truth.

     First, I do NOT observe “Lent,” but author Andy Colebrooke, a retired physics teacher and Anglican priest, says, “Although it was designed for Lent, it is in fact suitable for any time of year, in a variety of settings.”  Second, I am not personally fond of devotional type small group study books, but if I have to read one, I would prefer that it be based directly on the Bible rather than some man-made film, even though the story told is quite interesting.  At first, I wondered how the interaction between a Hindu and an atheist could possibly increase one’s understanding of Biblical principles.  Having said that, I will also have to say that while I may not agree with every observation by Mr. Colebrooke, there is a lot of fascinating and beneficial material in this book.  The third session on “What Is Truth?” is especially noteworthy.

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After Fifth Grade, the World!

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: After Fifth Grade, the World!

Author: Claudia Mills

Publisher: Avon Books, republished 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0027670417 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0027670414 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0380708949   Paperback

ISBN-10: 0380708949 Paperback   

Website(s): https://www.claudiamillsauthor.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: 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.  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

     Mills, Claudia.  After Fifth Grade, the World!  (Published in 1989 by Macmillan Publishing Company, 866 Third Ave., New York City, NY  10022; republished in 1991 by Avon Camelot Books, a division of The Hearst Corporation, 105 Madison Ave., New York City, NY  10016).  Ten year old Heidi Patricia (she likes to think of herself as H. P.) Ahlenslager lives with her incorrigible packrat parents, dad Matt, who is a research scientist for a big drug company, and mom Christy, who writes features for the newspaper.  Heidi is a fair-minded fifth grade student in Mrs. Richardson’s class 5C at Hazelwood School, where the rather timid and easily upset Lynette Lambert is her best friend.  Mrs. Richardson has the reputation of being quite strict, demanding that all assignments be done with a cartridge pen which leak and streak, and even somewhat mean, singling out Lynette for sarcastic criticism. 

     What happens as Heidi, who loves doing math but prefers to use a sharp #2 pencil, takes matters into her own hands in an endeavor to reform her rigid fifth-grade teacher, her untidy parents, and her meek best friend?  How does Mrs. Richardson react when “killing her with kindness” results in an aborted attempt at an unauthorized party?  And will Heidi be expelled when her ugly caricature of the teacher is displayed at a school assembly?  In her zeal to right what she sees as a wrong, Heidi makes some unfortunate and bad choices, but she learns some important lessons as her father shows her that working with the world accomplishes just as much as working against it, and other well-drawn adults, including the school principal, help her to learn how to live with people as they are and use a little judgment before deciding to interfere.  This book is a realistic portrayal of middle-school life.

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The Ghost Children

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Ghost Children

Author: Eve Bunting 

Illustrator: James Cross Giblin

Publisher: Clarion Books, Reprinted 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1417717958 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1417717955 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0618604777 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0618604774 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 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: 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.  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

     Bunting, Eve.  The Ghost Children (Published in 1989 by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Company, 52 Vanderbilt Ave., New York City, NY 10017).  Thirteen year old Matthew (Matt or Matty) O’Meara and his five year old sister Abigail (Ab or Abby) are orphans.  Their mother, an artist, has recently passed away, and their dad had died four years before, so now they must leave their home in Seattle, WA, to live with their widowed great-aunt Gerda Yourra who owns a little market in Sierra Maria Canyon outside of Los Angeles, CA.  Aunt Gerda has a collection of seven life-sized wooden dolls made by her husband before his death; she calls them her “children” and talks to them every night.  Matt tells himself that lonely older people have some strange ideas.

     But what is the boy to think when he seems to hear the dolls answering his aunt?   Then when someone vandalizes the dolls and a couple of them disappear, will he and his new friend Kristin Ericson be able to find out who took them?  And why are some of the local people trying to drive Aunt Gerda from her home?  The Ghost Children is a great mystery story for kids and adults.  It is a little spooky and eerie but is well written and easy to read, with just enough creepiness to keep readers on their toes, but not too much.  As one reviewer noted, it’s a good, simple little story about how being different doesn’t make you wrong, and features plenty of examples of how everyday folks can react poorly to things they don’t understand. There is also a theme of family and belonging as well as “being new in town.”

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Shelf Life II: Journey to the Kingdom of No Return

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Shelf Life II: Journey to the Kingdom of No Return

Author: Leslie R. Henderson 

Publisher: Independently published, 2020

ISBN-13: 979-8695803693

ISBN-10: 8695803693

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: Fantasy

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.  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

     Henderson, Leslie R. Shelf Life II: Journey to the Kingdom of No Return (Published in 2020 by L. R. Henderson).  Little Book has been a best seller in Mrs. Cash’s Books’ll Thrill Ya bookstore, but now his shelf life is rapidly coming to an end.  Desperate to extend his shelf life, the child-like hero accepts a daring mission to rescue sci-fi action hero Luke Shelfwalker who has been booknapped and gone missing on the dark side.  So Little Book journeys to the Kingdom of No Return ruled by Princess Formalda Hyde.  Nothing will stop him from completing his assignment, not even the enemies of books (a.k.a. the marauders, such as spiders, silverfish, mice, and roaches) who dwell in the forbidden territory.  Can Little Book find Captain Shelfwalker?  Is he able to convince Shelfwalker to return with him?  Or will he himself be counted as yet another casualty of the merciless dark side?

     Journey to the Kingdom of No Return is Book 2 of the “Shelf Life” series.  There are a few common euphemisms (such as “golly”), but overall it is a well written fantasy story for middle schoolers and adults alike that is easy to read and follow with no objectionable elements.  And there are positive values.  One reviewer noted the following:  “The characters do more than simply come to ‘life.’ They deliver the message that nothing lasts forever. However, there is hope! Little Book and his friends show us that we don’t have to simply accept the decisions that someone else makes for us. We can take a stand and choose our own destiny.”  Another reader found it really funny that the video game section is the furthest back in the store that borders the dark side, as if there were some symbolism to the dark nature of video games over books.  Book 3 in the series is Battle for the Red Eye Throne.

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