Cornerstones

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Cornerstones

Author: Tom Gaskins Jr.

Cover Illustrator: Don Smith

Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing Inc., 2021

ISBN-13: 978-1098077112 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1098077111 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1098076221 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1098076222 Paperback

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

Category: Non-fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Gaskins, Tom Jr.  Cornerstones (Published in 2021 by Christian Faith Publishing Inc., 832 Park Ave., Meadville, PA  16335).  Author Tom Gaskins is a life-long native Floridian who calls himself a constitutional conservative and says that he “openly, avidly, and unashamedly loves his country, the United States of America.”  The purpose of this book, copies of which were mailed out to people and churches throughout this nation, is explained by the rather lengthy subtitle: “A positive effort to support the individual, our beloved nation, while giving our civilization a lift, one person, one day at a time.  A book for all ages and through THE AGES.”   After beginning with some of the simplest of entities in our life, Gaskins moves on to many of the most complex issues of today. He tackles a wide variety of topics, including alcohol and drug abuse, economics, evolution, faith, abortion, shootings, voting, fairness, and others.  In everything he admonishes, “Follow truth, not people.”  To be honest, I personally found myself in practically 100% agreement with him.  Other people may not like the book at all, but at least it will make one think.

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Too Young

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Too Young

Author: A. Bean 

Illustrator: Thea Elliot

Publisher: The Rebel Christian Publishing, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-0983730361

ISBN-10: 0983730369

Related website(s): http://therebelchristian.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 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 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

     Bean, A.  Too Young (Published in 2020 by The Rebel Christian Publishing, 141 Sidway St., Buffalo, NY  14210).  Ten year old Tatianna T. “Titi” Williams, who with her  parents, father Trevor and mother Cecelia, has just moved from Michigan, where she left behind her best friend Sheila, to Arkansas so that her mother can pursue her job as a pediatric brain surgeon, is too young for anything. Her parents say that she is too young to understand why they had to move to a new town and a new school, and all the new neighborhood kids say that she’s too young to hang out with them. All alone, Tatianna turns to her imagination to keep her company; in her dreams, she visits another world that she and Sheila had played, with giant trees, glowing fruit, dancing children, and a mystical white buck. Then Tatianna realizes that her dreams have become reality, but none of her friends can see this new world.

     What is happening to Titi?  Where is this world which she had been imagining and now seems so real?  And will she ever make friends in her new home?  This book is listed as Middle-Grade Christian Fantasy.   A. Bean, who says, “My plan for writing is to simply bring God glory and expand His Kingdom one child, young adult, and soul at a time,” is identified as a Christian author who writes fictional stories for children that reflect the body of Christ and the Bible.  This one could be recommended especially for young people who struggle with identity issues and self worth.  There are a couple of euphemisms (gosh, gee) and some childish slang (“stick it up fatso’s butt”), but its message deals with such elements as faith, trusting God, sharing the good news with friends, and bullying.  Titi learns that she is never too young to be used by God.

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Always Love: The Timeless Story of God’s Heart for the World and What it Means for You

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Always Love: The Timeless Story of God’s Heart for the World and What it Means for You

Author: Sara Lubbers 

Publisher: Peregrini Press, 2019

ISBN-13: 978-1999607951

ISBN-10: 1999607953

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

Language level: 1

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

Recommended reading level: Suitable for everyone

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Bible study

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Lubbers,Sara.  Always Love: The Timeless Story of God’s Heart for the World and What it Means for You (Published in 2019 by Peregrini Press, a division of Awen Collaborative Limited).  In Always Love, author Sara Lubbers seeks to retell the Bible’s overarching narrative as a seamless story from beginning to end.  Certainly, as Reader’s Digest found out, any attempt to condense the Biblical account always brings up the questions of what to include and what to leave out.  “Every word of God is pure…” (Proverbs 30:5).  Nothing is “non-essential.”  However, Sara does a pretty good job of choosing key stories of the Bible, many well-known but others more obscure, including even some difficult passages normally glossed over, and weaving them together into one cohesive story with the thread of God’s “Always Love.”  Of course, as she combines creative prose and theological wisdom, a little fictionalization occurs, but I found nothing out of line or beyond “poetic license.”

     In the interest of geographical accuracy, I would note that Caesarea Philippi is near the source, not the “mouth,” of the Jordan River (p. 239).  As is true of any religious book, people of different theological backgrounds may find statements with which they would disagree.  Jesus is quoted as saying, “But I can assure you that even though you don’t know exactly when the Rescuer will return, you’ll be able to look around and tell His coming is near.”  That’s not really what He said (read Matthew 24:36-51).  And Peter is quoted as saying on Pentecost, “Be baptized, letting your outer life reflect what has happened on the inside.”  This sounds a lot like the denominational doctrine of baptism as an outward sign of an inward grace.  What Peter actually said was, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).

     Some people may be a little uncomfortable with Jesus calling the Father “Daddy.”  I know that, when He prayed to God in Gethsemane, Jesus used the word “Abba” (Mark 14:36), which is a familiar Aramaic term of endearment that Jewish children often used when speaking to their fathers, but most of the translators have seen fit to leave it simply as “Abba,” perhaps because something like “Daddy” seems just a bit too familiar and mundane.  Other than a few minor objections such as these, the book is interesting reading.  I will add that while there are many different interpretations of Revelation, Lubbers’s description of the Apocalypse is general enough that most Bible believers should have no major problems with it.

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Germy Blew It

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Germy Blew It

Author: Rebecca C. Jones 

Publisher: Troll Communications LLC, republished 1988

ISBN-13: 978-0525442943 Hardcover

ISBN-10:‎ 0525442944 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0816713141 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0816713146 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: General youth fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Jones,Rebecca C.  Germy Blew It (Published in 1987 by Dutton Juvenile, a division of E. P. Dutton, 2 Park Ave., New York City, NY  10016, a subsidiary of NAL Penguin Inc.).  Ten year old Jeremy Bluett, known to his friends as Germy Blew It, lives in Ohio with his parents, father Henry (Hank) who works in the advertising department of The Advocate-Journal, and mother Sally (Sal) who works in an office, and eight year old sister Robin.  He is a fifth grader in Mrs. Scheeler’s class at Dolley Madison Elementary School, and his best friend at school is Squirrel Hutchinson.  Jeremy devises a fifth grade strike to protest the cancellation of field trips due to lack of money.  Unfortunately, he is the only student who stays home.  However, the local television station comes to the school and interviews some of the other students for the evening news.

     Dying to be on television and become famous, Jeremy tries all sorts of schemes to get his 15 minute share of fame.  But every time he tries to get himself on TV, something goes wrong.  What schemes does he try?  Why do they all seem to go wrong?  Will Jeremy ever make an appearance on television?  As to language, a couple of common euphemisms (gee, heck) and some childish slang (butt for rear end) are found, and the term “Thank God” is used once, more as an exclamation than a prayer.  Otherwise, there’s nothing in this book that is really objectionable but not much that is truly edifying either.  It is just a fun story with a fair amount of humor, although Jeremy does learn some important lessons in the end.  There is a sequel, Germy Blew It Again (1988).

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Jesus’ Silent Years, Volume 1: Foundations

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Jesus’ Silent Years, Volume 1: Foundations

Author: Vance Shepperson 

Illustrator: Dorine Deen

Publisher: ‎ Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2021

ISBN-13: 978-1949572810

ISBN-10: 1949572811

Related website(s): http://www.vanceshepperson.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 16 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Historical fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Shepperson, Vance.  Jesus’ Silent Years, Volume 1: Foundations (Published in 2021 by Carpenter’s Son Publishing, Nashville, TN).  This book is intended to give a picture of Jesus, the very human teenager, as He figures out how to leave home, make friends, manage moods, deal with complex identity issues, cope with the murder of his father, fall in love with Caesar’s beautiful granddaughter Claudia, risk loving a beautiful woman from another culture and yet stay loyal to his felt destiny or calling, and struggle with temptation, doubt, and longing as a young man.  There are a few Scriptural disagreements that many Bible students might have with the picture of an adolescent Jesus given in the book, such as His performing miraculous feats before John 2:11, or calling the Holy Spirit “Windy” and often using feminine pronouns for the Spirit (cf. John 16:13).  But, as one reviewer noted, “There are enough variations in theology that anyone who is trying can find something to be offended by.”

     I completely agree that Jesus was fully human while on earth and experienced the entire range of temptations that normal teenage boys go through.  However, some might feel that in emphasizing this fact the author goes a bit overboard with Jesus having wet dreams and statements like “Woody has no conscience whenever he pops up.”   This “pop” vocabulary echos teenagers of the 21st century rather than the 1st and may be just a bit on the racy side for some.  Though nothing is actually vulgar or obscene, because of the stress given to sexual temptation and some rather graphic descriptions of bodily injury, I would not think that the book would be appropriate for small children.  After all, there are even some portions of the Bible that we normally don’t share with youngsters until they are older.  But mature teens and adults should have no problems with it.

     One critic wrote, “This book should never be read by anyone who calls themselves a Christian. It is a sin to write a fake story about Jesus that depicts him in this way….It’s extremely unbiblical.”   I wouldn’t go that far.  The copyright page says, “This is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental.”  That is a standard disclaimer.  But the author in his “Author’s Note” repeats that it “is a work of historical fiction viewed through the eyes of an American psychologist.”  I would underscore the word “fiction.” With the understanding that, however plausible or implausible the story may be, it is purely “a work of historical fiction” and is “the product of the author’s imagination,” it can be interesting reading and maybe even have some benefit.  Foundations is Book 1 of 4 in the series “Jesus’ Silent Years” and covers the ages of 13 to 17.  Parable (Book 2) covers ages 18 to 22; Journey (Book 3), ages 23 to 26; and Homecoming (Book 4), ages 28 to 30.

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A Ticket for a Seamstitch

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: A Ticket for a Seamstitch

Author: Mark Harris 

Cover Illustrator: Jack E. Davis

Publisher: Bison Paperback Books, republished 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0803272248

ISBN-10: 0803272243

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 16 and up

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: Historical fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Harris, Mark.  A Ticket for a Seamstitch (Published in 1956 by University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE; republished in 1984 by Bison Books).  It is 1956, and Henry Wiggen, called “Author,” by his teammates, is a six-foot three-inch, 195-pound, left-handed pitcher for the New York Mammoths. A seamstress from “somewhere out West” writes to Henry, her hero, that she plans to travel across the country and be in New York to watch the Mammoths play on the Fourth of July.  Both the married Henry, with one child and another on the way, and his roommate and pal, the very unmarried young catcher Thurston “Piney” Woods, are at a loss as to what to think. How does she look?  Will she even make it?  And if and when she dies arrive in New York, what can the two ball players do with their visitor?

     Baseball fans may enjoy the book more than others.  In the essay “Easy Does It Not” Mark Harris describes the origins of this wonderfully comic novel.  Some bad language occurs, including cursing (both the “h” and “d” words, the latter even in the form of “g*dd*m”), profanity (“Lord” and “For God’s sake” as exclamations), and near vulgarity (“s.o.b.”).  Piney has pictures of naked girls on the wall of their room, and there are instances of smoking a pipe.  This is the third of four novels narrated by Henry, who began as a rookie in The Southpaw, developed into a pro in Bang the Drum Slowly, and is a mature veteran in A Ticket for a Seamstitch. In the sequel, It Looked Like for Ever, Henry returns to narrate another novel in his inimitable manner.

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Lucky G and the Melancholy Quokka: How Play Therapy Can Help Children with Depression

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Lucky G and the Melancholy Quokka: How Play Therapy Can Help Children with Depression

Author: Amy Wilinski-Lyman

Illustrator: Leela J. Green

Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1615995424 Hardcover ‏

ISBN-10: 1615995420 Hardcover ‏

ISBN-13: ‎978-1615995417 Paperback

ISBN-10:‎1615995412 Paperback

Related website(s): http://www.AmyLymanAuthor.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 5 – 7

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Children’s book

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Lyman, Amy Wilinski.  Lucky G and the Melancholy Quokka: How Play Therapy Can Help Children with Depression (Published in 2020 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105).  Do you know what a quokka (rhymes with “rocka) is?  Lucky G is a colorful, spunky raven with a Ph.D. who is a therapist, helping “animals when things get tough by listening to them when life gets rough.”  He flies to Australia to visit his emu friend Drew who lives in a zoo.  While there, Lucky encounters a quokka named Blue who, instead of being happy and happy as quokkas usually are, is sad all the time.  Why is Blue so sad?  What can Lucky do to help him feel better?  Will Blue ever be able to come out of his depression?

     Lucky G and the Melancholy Quokka, the second installment in the “Lucky G” book series, is a truly delightful and wonderfully illustrated book that is aimed at children who have depression and their parents.  It will grab the readers’ attention from the very beginning and take them on a hopeful journey. The well written, rhyming story by author Amy Wilinski-Lyman makes the concept of play therapy accessible to children and parents, while the whimsical illustrations by Leela Green make this book a visual treat for all ages.  It will be a helpful tool for kids to fight the stigma against depression by reassuring them that lots of kids and adults too feel depression as well.  In addition, it is informative about Australia and some of its animals.

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Marune: Alastor 933

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Marune: Alastor 933

Author: Jack Vance 

Illustrator: Ned Dameron

Publisher: DAW, republished 1981

ISBN-13: 9780879975913

ISBN-10: 0879975911

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 16 and up

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: 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 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

     Vance, Jack.   Marune: Alastor 933 (Published in 1975 by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House Inc., 201 E. 50th St., New York City, NY  10022).  A mysterious young amnesiac is found at Carfaunge Spaceport on Bruse-Tansel, planet 1102 of the Alastor Cluster, a system ruled from his fabulous palace on the home world of Numenes by the Connatic Oman Ursht.  Given the name Pardero, the wanderer is referred to the Connatic’s palace on Numenes for assistance with his quest for identity. It is determined that his society of origin is the planet Marune, number 933 of the Alastor Cluster, a world lit by four shifting suns, and inhabited by two groups, the Majars and the Rhunes.  The Rhunes, a strange and rather strict people, are further divided into several small warring kingdoms in the Mountain Realms.

     When Pardero returns to Marune, he has two goals.  The first is to find out who he is, and the second is to find his enemy, the person who stole his memory.  He learns that he is Kang (Prince) Efraim, son of Kaiark (King) Jochaim, ruler of the Rhune kingdom of Scharrode, who had been recently killed, supposedly during a battle with the neighboring kingdom of Gorgetto, and finds that his step-brother Kang Destian, son of his father’s second wife Kraike (Queen) Singhallssa, is to be installed as Kaiark in the absence of the true heir, while the widowed Singhallssa plans to marry Kaiark Rianlle of Eccord, another neighboring kingdom.  Just why did someone (or ones) erase Efraim’s memory and send him to Bruse-Tansel?  Is it possible for him to regain his memory?  And will he be able to find his sworn enemy before something worse happens?

     I was amazed!  Here is a modern pulp science fiction book that has no bad language, not even a “d” or “h” word that I recall, and no overt sexuality.  There are some references to Rhune mating practices, but nothing vulgar or obscene.  While I list science fiction as a separate category, any kind of plot—adventure, romance, even allegory, etc.—can be placed in a science fiction setting.  Marune is a science fiction mystery, the middle volume of the Alastor trilogy.  Number one is Trulion: Alastor 2262, and number three is Wyst :Alastor 1716.  Other books by American mystery, fantasy, and science fiction author “Jack Vance” (pen name of John Holbrook, 1916 – 2013) include The Dying Earth, Lyonesse, Araminta Station, Tschai, and The Moon Moth.  I agree with the reviewer who wrote, “The predicament of the protagonist got my attention from the beginning of the tale.”

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Born to Battle: The Confessions of Saint Illtyd

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Born to Battle: The Confessions of Saint Illtyd

Author: D. A. Stewart 

Illustrator: Anna Newcomb

Publisher: Straeon, 2021

ISBN-13: 978-1999607975

ISBN-10: ‎199960797X

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

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: Older teens and adults

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

Category: Historical fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

For more information e-mail homeschoolbookreview@gmail.com

Website: https://homeschoolbookreviewblog.wordpress.com

     Stewart, D. A.  Born to Battle: The Confessions of Saint Illtyd (Published in 2021‏ by ‎Straeon, Lantwit Major, Wales, an imprint of Peregrini Press, a division of Awen Collaborative Limited).  It is A.D. 470, and as the once-mighty Roman Empire crumbles, Illtyd ap Bicanys  is born the son of a British prince in Amorica (modern Brittany). His family is Christian, and his parents wish for him the life of a scholar.  Together with his cousins, Myrddin ap Cynwal and Arthwyr ap Meurig from Britannia, Illtyd is trained to lead by the druid Kian, the warrior Brennus, and the priest Scapilion. The Saecsons are trying to conquer Britannia and also launch raids against Amorica, during one of which Illtyd’s father is killed while the boy is away in school.  Faced with perilous circumstances, he must choose his way in the world.

    As Illtyd becomes a man, he also becomes a warrior and goes to Britannia to help his fellow Britons in fighting their enemy.  Illtyd makes his choices and finds himself in the heart of many battles for himself, for his people, and for the woman he loves.  Will he follow the ancient ways, trusting dark powers for deliverance?  Does he give in to the lust for revenge?  Or can he find it in himself to seek Christ’s plan for his life?  A highly entertaining, fast-moving historical novel that’s tough to put down, this wonderful story of a little known priest-turned-warrior-turned priest again brings historical characters and settings to life in vivid detail, giving the reader a feel for the turbulent times in which Illtyd lived.  The lessons that Illtyd learned in his journey of faith can still speak to us today.

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After the Dancing Days

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: After the Dancing Days

Author: Margaret I. Rostkowski

Cover Illustrator: Linda Benson

Publisher: HarperCollins, reprinted 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0060250782 Hardcover

ISBN-10:‎ 006025078X Hardcover

ISBN-13: 9780064402484 Paperback

‏ISBN-10:‎ 0064402487 Paperback

Language level: 3

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 12-15

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

Category: Historical fiction

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Rostkowski, Margaret I.  After the Dancing Days (Published in 1986 by Harper Trophy, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., New York City, NY  10022).  It is 1918, the “Great War” (World War I), has just ended, and thirteen year old Annie Metcalf lives with her father Lawrence, her mother Katherine, and their dog Fidelio in Kansas City, KS.  Mr. Metcalf is a doctor and spent the war at a military hospital in New York City, but Mrs. Metcalf’s brother, Annie’s beloved Uncle Paul who enlisted as a soldier, died in France.  As Annie waits at the train station for her father to come home, she sees the wounded who are returning to Kansas City from the battlefields of France and at first is greatly repulsed.  But when her father decides to continue his work at a veterans’ hospital, she finds herself drawn to the place for reasons she doesn’t understand.

     There Annie meets Andrew, a horribly burned young veteran who is disfigured and bitterly withdrawn from everyone around him. Acting against the express wishes of her strong-willed mother who wants to forget the pain and heartache–and to keep it away from her daughter, too, Annie continues to visit the hospital, desiring to help Andrew come out of his shell.  Can Annie find the means to assist Andrew?  Will she be able to confront her mother’s anger?  And why are the circumstances surrounding Uncle Paul’s death so mysterious?  In addition to some common euphemisms (e.g., “darn”), the “d” and “h” words, as well as phrases like “Oh God,” are occasionally used as interjections.  Also there are numerous references to smoking cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.

     Books for young people about the time of World War I are not as numerous as those about the American Revolution, the Civil War, and especially World War II.  After the Dancing Days won the1987 IRA Children’s Book Award, along with many other honors.   The basic theme is how Annie learns to make sense of a war that took so much from so many by exploring themes of adolescence such as independence versus dependence, heroism, the meaning of sacrifice, the high cost of war on all involved, and moral decision making.  Annie’s character develops from a child who wants to hold on to her sheltered world, to young adult who forces herself to deal with the reality of the aftermath of the war.  The stories about victims of mustard gas, shrapnel wounds, and other war injuries bring the war home for readers.  The book does an excellent job of giving the feeling of the time period just after World War 1.

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