Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

danny dunn

Book: Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy

Authors: Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin

Illustrator: Paul Sagsoorian

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974

ISBN-13: 978-0070705463 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0070705461 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0671560928 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0671560921 Paperback

Language level: 2

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

Recommended reading level:  Ages 9-12

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

Williams, Jay, and  Abrashkin, RaymondDanny Dunn, Invisible Boy (Published in 1974 by McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York City, NY).  Young Danny Dunn lives with his mother in the home of inventor and retired Midston University professor Euclid Bullfinch, for whom Mrs. Dunn works as a housekeeper.  Danny’s father had died long before, and Danny’s best friends are Irene Miller and Joe Pearson.   When he accidentally short-circuits Professor Bullfinch’s new crystalline material, Danny enables the professor to create a new machine that makes people seem invisible.  Can Danny and his friends actually become invisible?  How does Danny plan to use the device?  And what will he and Professor Bullfinch do when the government finds out and tries to commandeer it?

There are a few common euphemisms (e.g., gosh, drat, gee) and some references to smoking a pipe and cigarettes.  What makes the story so interesting, and a bit scary, is the way in which the military wants to use the professor’s technology for its own purposes, especially in today’s world, where not only governmental agencies and multi-national corporations spy on everyone, but ordinary citizens spy on each other.  Anyone who has ever had to deal with a mindless government bureaucrat will appreciate the depiction of General Gruntle. One really has to admire Professor Bullfinch for his character and “civil disobedience” at the end while still being strongly patriotic in his own way.

The story is also quite scathing about the perversion of science toward power and control, rather than being for the benefit of all.  Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy was book #13 in the original series, but one source calls it Vol. 2 of the paperback reprints.  These books are a bit dated, as the science and technology go, but they are practically prophetic about things like personal computers, cell phones, the internet, digital cameras, etc., and are still very entertaining and educational for children between the ages of ten and fourteen, especially boys.  They help kids appreciate the value of science.  I have previously reviewed two other books in the series, Danny Dunn and the Smallifying Machine (1969) and Danny Dunn and the Universal Glue (1977), and have one more to read in the future, Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave (1961).

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Next-Door Neighbors

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neighbors

Book: Next-Door Neighbors

Author: Sarah Ellis

Jacket Illustrator: Jacqueline Garrick

Publisher: Yearling, republished 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0689504952 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0689504950 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0440406204 Paperback

ISBN-10: 044040620X Paperback

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

Language level: 2

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 9 – 12

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

Ellis, Sarah.  Next-Door Neighbors (Published in Canada in1989 by Douglas and McIntyre/Groundswood Books, Vancouver, BC; republished in the United States in 1990 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY  10020).  Twelve year old Margaret (Peggy) Davies has just moved with her minister father, mother, seventeen year old sister Doreen (Dorrie), sixteen year old brother Colin, and cat Nebuchadnezzar, from their old home in the country to a new town where she goes to Lord Nelson School.  Peggy is shy and feels lonely and uncomfortable, so she tells a lie about having a horse back at Cedargrove, but Linda, who seems to be a leader among the girls, finds out the truth and begins to snub Peggy.  Then Peggy starts to meet other people.

There’s the unconventional George Slobodkin, son of the Russian immigrant church custodian who lives with his family in an apartment attached to the church on one side of the Davieses’ house, but Peggy thinks that he’s weird.  And there’s Sing Lee, the Chinese servant of her neighbor Mrs. Manning on the other side, but his mistress treats him imperiously.  Can Peggy learn to overcome her shyness?  Will she ever make any friends?   And how do her nerdy schoolmate, the Oriental houseman, and a puppet show figure in Peggy’s adjustment to her new neighborhood?  There are a couple of common euphemisms (e.g., “heck” and “gosh”) and some references to drinking beer and circulating a bottle of rye.

Otherwise, this is an undramatic yet warmhearted and moving novel with a convincing portrayal of quiet maturation as Peggy learns a great deal about herself and defies the small-town social taboos.  Shy Peggy’s adjustments are the focus of this story. Though set in 1957, plausible characterizations of people in true to life situations make the book realistic, capturing universal fears and feelings not unique to any specific period.  Peggy’s small victories and adventures add up to enable her to overcome much of her shyness and make some new, unexpected friends.  It’s nice to read a tale about a minister’s family that pictures the members as “normal.”

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Fox Farm

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fox farm

Book: Fox Farm

Author: Eileen Dunlop

Jacket Illustrator: Mary Dinsdale

Publisher: Holt Rinehart and Winston, republished 1979

ISBN-13: 978-0192714282

ISBN-10: 0192714287

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 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

Dunlop, Eileen.  Fox Farm (Published in 1978 by Oxford University Press in England; republished in 1979 by Holt Rinehart and Winston, New York City, NY).  Ten year old Adam Hewitt grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but his mother had died giving birth to his little sister who also died.  His father, Andrew, known as ”Hew,” married Ruby Frazer and moved to Australia, leaving Adam in the care of the Social Work Department.  After being in a children’s home and staying with several foster families, thin, red-haired, and watchful Adam has come to live with the Darkes at Fox Farm near Garlet in the Scottish countryside.   The family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Darke, teens Anne and David, and young Richard who is a year or so older than Adam.  The Darkes want to adopt Adam, but he holds out the hope that his father will send for him to come to Australia.

One day Mr. Darke has to shoot a fox which had killed some of their chickens.  Shortly after that, Adam finds a stray fox cub which he names Foxy.  He and Richard decide to keep the fox in an old tower on the farm and secretly try to raise it as a pet.  Can the boys manage to get the money needed buy food for Foxy?   How does the fox react to the attempts to train it?  And what will happen with Adam?   This cute children’s book isn’t necessarily about a fox, but more about the two boys and a growing friendship. The great theme of the plot is having the serenity to accept the things that one cannot change.  Adam has been constantly disappointed by his biological father, yet he continues to fawn over him.

By caring for his fox, Adam gradually comes to accept the fact that he too has been abandoned but does have a place in his new foster family.  Besides the facts that smoking a pipe is mentioned and some common euphemisms (e.g., “blasted”) occur, the “d” word is used twice, once by Richard.  I really liked the story.   I just don’t understand why some writers of youth fiction feel that they simply have to include some cursing and swearing or other bad language to make their books seem realistic and “relevant.”  However, it is still a good tale, and those who like to read about foxes should especially enjoy it, even with the surprise at the end.  There was an edition of the book published under the title Foxy.

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Glimpses of Eternity: Studies in the Parables of Jesus

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glimpses

Book: Glimpses of Eternity: Studies in the Parables of Jesus

Author: Paul Earnhart

Cover Illustrator: Jonathan Hardin

Publisher: DeWard Publishing, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1936341412

ISBN-10: 1936341417

Related website(s): http://www.deward.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: ***** 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

Earnhart, Paul.  Glimpses of Eternity: Studies in the Parables of Jesus (Published in 2012 by DeWard Publishing Company Ltd., P.O. Box 6259, Chillicothe, OH  45601).  The Bible says of our Lord that on one occasion, “All these things spoke Jesus to the multitude in parables, and without a parable He did not speak to them” (Matthew 13:34).  When I was growing up, we were always told that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  And that about sums it up.  Author Paul Earnhart is my friend.  I first met him back in the very early 1980s.  We have never had the opportunity to be close since then, but our paths have crossed several times through the years, and I admire him greatly.

The studies in Glimpses of Eternity are the compilation of a series of over sixty articles written by Paul for Christianity Magazine, of which he was a co-editor.  After a few introductory chapters by way of general explanations, Paul seeks to find the meaning and make proper application of all the parables of Jesus, from “The Friends of the Bridegroom” (Matthew 9:14-15) to “The Final Crisis” in the separation of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46).  Avoiding speculation, he handles difficult texts with common sense and wisdom in a thought provoking way to provide good insight into these most interesting stories told by our Lord and to help us see the depth of their teachings.

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No Promises in the Wind

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no promises

Book: No Promises in the Wind

Author: Irene Hunt

Cover Illustrator: Lisa Falkenstern

Publisher: Berkley, reissued 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0425099698

ISBN-10: 0425099695

Related website(s): http://www.penguinputnam.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 12 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

Hunt, Irene.  No Promises in the Wind (Published in 1970 by Modern Curriculum Press, 299 Jefferson Rd., Parsippany, NJ  07054, a division of Follett Publishing Co.; republished in 1986 by Berkley Jam Books, a trademark of the Berkley Publishing Group, a division of The Penguin Group USA Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014).  It is 1932, during the Great Depression, and fifteen year old Josh Grondowski, who has a job delivering papers, lives in Chicago, IL with his Polish immigrant father Stefan who has been out of work for eight months, his mother Mary who irons all day in a laundry, his older half-sister Kitty who has just been cut back from her clerking job, and his younger ten year old brother Joey.  Josh’s best friend at Penn High School is named Howie, who plays the banjo while Josh plays the piano.  They enjoy making music together.  However, Josh and his dad are frequently at odds with one another, and their arguments are growing worse.

Therefore, Josh decides to leave home and head west.  When he tells Howie about his plans, his friend, whose father abandoned him long ago and whose mother is an alcoholic, determines to go with him.   And then Joey insists on going too.  Their very first day out, Howie falls from a train and is killed, but the two brothers press on.  Where do they go?  What happens to them?  Can they survive the cruel winter?  And if so, will they ever return home?  Author Irene Hunt’s first novel, Across Five Aprils, was a Newbery Award nominee, and her second novel, Up a Road Slowly, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1966.  The only objectionable element that I would raise to No Promises in the Wind is a little bit of bad language.  There are references to swearing and cursing, the “d” and “h” words appear occasionally, and the term “Lord” is used as an exclamation.

The two biggest complaints which I saw about the novel are that it is boring and depressing.  Admittedly it is at first somewhat slow-moving, but farther in it gets more interesting.  And depressing?  One person wrote, “It wanders through very depressing situations and seemed to have no real point,” and another said, “It dragged from tragedy to tragedy each time.”   Well, duh!  The book is about the Great Depression, and that was a rather depressing time.  This is the “powerfully moving” story of a brave young man’s struggle to make his own way through a country of angry, frightened people and to find his own strength with a life for himself in the most turbulent of times.  It is a good, interesting look at how life in the 1930s affected the average American.

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Darcy’s Wild Life #5: The Play’s the Thing 

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darcy

Book: Darcy’s Wild Life #5: The Play’s the Thing 

Author: Sierra Harimann

Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0448443522

ISBN-10: 044844352X

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

Language level: 2

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 9 – 12

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

Harimann, Sierra.  Darcy’s Wild Life #5: The Play’s the Thing (Published in 2006 by Grosset and Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group of the Penguin Group USA Inc., 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014) .  Darcy Fields, a teenage girl, lives in a farmhouse on a ranch with her mother, former popular movie star Victoria Fields, who had decided to leave Hollywood and Malibu to raise her daughter in a more normal environment and so moved to the small country town of Bailey somewhere in America’s heartland.  Darcy’s best friends there are Lindsay Adams and Kathi Giraldi.  Darcy has found a job at the local veterinary clinic/pet store named Creature Comforts, operated by Lindsay’s dad, Dr. Kevin Adams. Bailey’s annual summer stock theater is putting on a performance of “Charlotte’s Web,” directed by Darcy’s English teacher Ms. Harrington.

Darcy is determined to be a part of the production, and so she accepts the job of “animal wrangler.”  However, on the night before opening, a problem arises when all the animals come down sick.  What is causing the illness?  Is there anything that can be done about it?  Or will the show have to be cancelled?  The Play’s the Thing is Book 5 of 8 in the “Darcy’s Wild Life” Series based on Darcy’s Wild Life, an American-Canadian comedy-drama television series that was filmed during 2004–2006 and broadcast on Discovery Kids and the Family Channel.  It would appeal primarily to girls.  There is little to object to.  In addition to a few common euphemisms (e.g. “heck” and “gee”), the term “omigosh” is annoyingly ubiquitous.

Just be forewarned—the book is pure fluff, the literary equivalent of junk food.  There may not be anything necessarily wrong with a little of it from time to time, but don’t overdose on it.  And the plot is rather narcissistic.  Darcy is totally consumed with making sure that she has the latest fashion in clothing and accessories for every occasion.  And whenever any question or difficulty comes up, the very first one whom everyone always wants to ask for an opinion about it is Darcy, and she always has just the correct answer or best solution at exactly the right time.  The final verdict on this one is that there is a lot worse reading material out there for tween and teen girls, but there is also a lot better.

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Black Suits from Outer Space

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black suits

Book: Black Suits from Outer Space

Author: Gene DeWeese

Jacket Illustrator: Elise Primavera

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0399212611

ISBN-10: 0399212612

Language level: 2

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 9 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

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

DeWeese, Gene.  Black Suits from Outer Space (Publisher in 1985 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York City, NY).  Eleven (almost twelve) year old Calvin Willeford lives with his father Harrison who is an engineer with Harding Microelectronics, mother who is a former English teacher but now sells houses for Carmichael (Calvin calls it Carbuncle) Realty, seven year old younger brother Walter, and twenty-pound tiger-striped cat Hulk in East Gradwohl.  Calvin is skinnier than absolutely necessary, wears glasses, has been known to be a bit klutzy, and is considered “too logical.”  He is a sixth grader at Vernon J. Dalhart Middle School where his best friend is Kathy Entsminger.

One day a funny looking cat follows Calvin home and gets into a fight with Hulk.  When Calvin throws water on them, he discovers that the cat is an alien who vanishes, leaving behind a ring.  After putting the ring on, Calvin’s finger starts twitching occasionally, and he begins to run into several strange men in black suits.  Who are these “black suits”?  Where did they come from?  What are they doing here, and why?  This is a reasonable and well-paced story that will appeal to upper elementary fans of science fiction movies.  There are a few common euphemisms (e.g., “darned”) but no cursing or swearing and no objectionable or inappropriate material.

The School Library Journal noted that “There is far less readable science fiction for this age group than there is demand, so this story should be popular.”  The quirky humor includes the chapter  titles such as “As Long As Your Whole Life Doesn’t Turn Out to be a Squashed Bottlecap, You’re Fine,” and “What Would Mr. Spock Do in a Situation Like This?”  Black Suits from Outer Space, which was also published under the title Beepers from Outer Space, is Book 1 of 3 in the “Calvin Willeford and the Black Suits” Series.  The sequels are The Dandelion Caper (1986) and The Calvin Nullifier (1987).

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Weasel

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weasel

Book: Weasel

Author: Cynthia DeFelice

Publisher:  Avon Camelot, republished in 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0780708983 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0780708989 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0380713585 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0380713586 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 9 – 12

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

DeFelice, Cynthia.  Weasel (Published in 1990 by Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave. New York City, NY  10022; republished in 1991 by Avon Camelot Books, a division of The Hearst Corporation, 1150 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY  10019).  It is 1839 in the state of Ohio, and eleven year old Nathan Fowler lives in a cabin with his father, nine year old sister Molly, and their dogs Duffy and Winston.  Mrs. Fowler had died of the fever.  Six days ago, Mr. Fowler went out hunting and hasn’t returned so the children are worried.  Then one night, a strange mute man, whom they later learn is Ezra Ketchum, comes with their mother’s locket which their father always wore and beckons them to follow him.  Ezra takes them to where he is caring for Mr. Fowler who is very ill following a run-in that he had with a former Indian fighter turned notorious outlaw named Weasel.

When Nathan returns to their farm to take care of the animals, he finds that Weasel has been there and either killed or stolen them all.  In fact, on his way back to Ezra’s place, Nathan himself is captured by Weasel but manages to escape.  The boy is so angry at Weasel that he threatens to go back and kill him.  Does Pa ever recover?  Will Nathan actually try to kill Weasel?  What happens to the outlaw?   This fast-paced novel, which is well-written and engrossing, succeeds in building tension to a riveting climax and will inspire strong discussion about moral choices.   Aside from a few common euphemisms (e.g., darn), there are references to Weasel’s drinking whiskey and cussing or swearing, although no actual curse or swear words are found.

The biggest complaint that I saw was that the plot, with its mention of the  torture and killing of human beings; leaving a man in a bear trap to die; slaughtering a pregnant wife in front of her husband; cutting the man’s tongue out of his mouth; raiding and killing Shawnee Indians; a man hunting an 11-year-old boy, capturing him, and bragging to him about his crimes; and the boy’s psychological torment over not killing the criminal when he had the chance might be emotionally disturbing  to children.  Let me say that none of these things are graphically or gratuitously described but just recorded as facts.  Perhaps it would not be good for especially sensitive youngsters.  Perhaps it would better for older readers than the age range listed.  All I know is that when I was a preteen I would have liked and enjoyed this book.

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

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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

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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

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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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