Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting

pitchin

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting

Authors: Israel and Brook Wayne

Publisher: New Leaf Press, 2016

ISBN-13: 978-0892217397

ISBN-10: 0892217391

Related website: http://www.newleafpress.net (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 adults

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

Wayne, Israel and Brook.  Pitchin’ A Fit!: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting (published in 2016 by New Leaf Press, a division of the New Leaf Publishing Group Inc., P. O. Box 726, Green Forest, AR  72638).  “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).  As parents, we don’t want our children to grow up and be characterized as always angry, so we must learn to control our own anger while raising them.  Authors Israel and Brook Wayne are homeschool graduates who are now homeschooling their nine children.  When I first met Israel some years ago, he was still a single young man.  Where has the time gone?  Israel and Brook share a desire to point parents to rear their children with a Biblical worldview and without the kind of anger that can destroy families.

The only real criticism that I saw was from a reviewer who wrote that “much of the material seemed to make sense and was quite thoughtful on the topic but….”  If, as is admitted, it does such a good job of looking at anger from many different angles and explaining how it can be destructive to children, what’s the problem?  “A book requires a different kind of authority than is provided here, which relies on their recommendations to feel right/true to the reader;… not a single theological, exegetical, psychological, or sociological source regarding anger was ever cited or referenced.”   This reviewer is obviously influenced by our modern culture’s reliance on credentialed, professional experts before accepting anything as true.  If you feel that you need heavily footnoted research to prove everything, then read some dry, dusty scientific studies.  But if you’re looking for some practical wisdom based on personal experience about how to deal with anger in parenting, then you will be happy and impressed with this book.

“If you consistently, as a lifestyle, respond in anger to your children, the fruit you can expect will be anger, bitterness, and resentment from your child” (p. 34).  Israel and Brook don’t pretend to have all the answers to every question or claim to have the perfect solution to every problem.  And one may not necessarily agree with every one of their explanations or comments.  However, they do an exceptionally fine work in reminding us about the dangers of uncontrolled anger, and then providing Biblical advice which gives hope and freedom from the tyranny of stressed-out, angry parenting and should work for almost any family.  “However, unlike God, we do not possess infinite wisdom, infinite love, and infinite holiness.  So anger in our lives must be handled with extreme caution” (p. 39).  If you are looking to get at the root cause of anger, especially in parenting, you will benefit from this book.

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The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Russian Jewels

doubcous

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Book: The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Russian Jewels

Author: Miriam Jones Bradley

Cover Designer: Hannah Nichols

Publisher: Ambassador International, 2016

ISBN-13: 978-1620205709

ISBN-10: 162020570X

Related websites: http://www.MiriamJonesBradley.com (author), http://www.ambassador-international.com (publisher)

Language level: 1

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 9-12 (and up)

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

Bradley, Miriam Jones.  The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Russian Jewels (published in 2016 by Ambassador International, Emerald House, 411 University Ridge, Suite B14, Greenville, SC  29601).  The Double Cousins are back with a double mystery!  Carly and Molly Johnson, ten and nine years old, live with their parents in North Platte, NE.  Their double cousins Max and Chad Rawson, ten and eight years old, who live in South Dakota, are spending spring break with the Johnsons because their parents and older sister Dorie are in Washington, DC, for the National Spelling Bee.  Carly’s best friend and next door neighbor Kate Neilson, also ten years old, had lost her mother a few years before, and now her great-grandma, whom everyone called Pinky, has died.

Carly, Molly, Max, Chad, their Aunt Susie, two other cousins Brandon and Slim, Slim’s old friend Earl from his train jumping days, and Shelly, the cousin of Kate’s mother newly arrived from Chicago, IL, all volunteer to help Kate clean up Pinky’s apartment. Back in 1874, Pinky’s grandfather Simon had worked as a scout with Buffalo Bill Cody who gave Simon a wedding gift of a necklace of jewels and a couple of valuable coins all of which he had obtained from Grand Duke Alexis of Russia.  But Pinky had hidden the jewels and no one but Shelly’s mom, who has dementia, knows where they are.  While cleaning the apartment, the crew finds over $400 which was put in an envelope but then disappears.

Where is the necklace?  Will Kate ever find it?  Who took the money?  And why?  Wow!  This is one exciting story.  It is the fifth Double Cousins adventure coming from author Miriam Jones Bradley.  Several flash-back scenes provide some historical insight into the North Platte, NE area.  The attitudes and actions of the cousins reinforce wholesome values like honesty or hard work to children.  And there are a few surprises that will keep even an adult reader turning the pages. The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Russian Jewels is a super book.

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Stretching the Truth: Sweet Valley Twins #13

sweetval

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Book: Stretching the Truth: Sweet Valley Twins #13

Author: Jamie Suzanne

Cover Illustrator: James Mathewuse

Publisher: Bantam Books, republished in 1988

ISBN-13: : 978-0553155549

ISBN-10: 0553155547

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 8-9 and up

Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

Suzanne, Jamie.   Stretching the Truth: Sweet Valley Twins #13 (published in 1987 by Bantam Skylark Books, a trademark of Bantam Books Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10103).   What’s wrong with Mary Robinson?   Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are identical twin sixth graders who live with their parents and older brother Steven in Sweet Valley, CA, just outside of Los Angeles.  Their good friend Mary Robinson has a rich new stepfather who has a fabulous yacht and is going to build them a huge house.  Yet Mary has been telling little white lies about her family to impress her friends.  So why has she been acting so strange?  And what will happen when people find out the truth?  Will her friends still like her?  Stretching the Truth is Book #13 in the “Sweet Valley Twins” (also known as “Sweet Valley Twins and Friends”) series (#118 is entitled No Escape!), the first spin-off to originate from “Sweet Valley High” created by Francine Pascal, who presided over a team of ghostwriters for the duration of the series.

The original series began in 1983 and ceased publication twenty years later with 603 books to its name.  It quickly gained popularity and spawned several spin-off series, including “Sweet Valley Twins” written by Jamie Suzanne beginning in 1986 and going back to the twins’ sixth grade year, “The Unicorn Club” covering the Wakefields’ seventh grade, “Sweet Valley Senior Year,” and “Sweet Valley University.” The novels Sweet Valley Confidential and The Sweet Life, which follow the characters as adults, were released in 2011 and 2012.  The books are generally classified as young-adult or kids’ fiction and mostly belong to the genre of soap opera, romance novel, or fantasy-adventure.  They would primarily appeal to giggley, starry-eyed, pre-teen girls.  There is not much of any real moral substance or didactic value to them.

What I do like about Stretching the Truth is the consequences of not telling the truth and the value of good friendships.  What I don’t like about it is the emphasis on pop culture, the snooty cliquishness characterizing many of Jessica, Elizabeth, and Mary’s friends, and the boy-craziness of these girls (only in the sixth grade!).  The euphemistic “Gee” is found rather frequently, and several references to dancing occur.  The Wakefields seem to have a happy home, but of one of their friends’ fathers it is said, “Mr. Fowler was usually so busy traveling on business that he let Lila do just about anything she wanted.”  The following statement about another friend somewhat summarizes the character of the book.  “Jessica was furious, but she didn’t dare challenge Janet.  Janet was too popular and important to cross.”  It could be a lot worse, so I consider it fair.

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Cowbella and the Bad Dream

cowbella

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Book: Cowbella and the Bad Dream

Author: Sindy McKay

Publisher: Running Press Kids, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0762450244

ISBN-10: 076245024X

Related website: http://www.runningpress.com/kids (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 2 – 5

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

    McKay, Sindy.  Cowbella and the Bad Dream (published in 2013 by Running Press Kids, an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA  19103).   Cowbella doesn’t want to go to sleep because she’s afraid that she’s going to have a bad dream.  The Pajanimals  tell her that bad dreams aren’t real and try to snuggle with her, but she still can’t go to sleep.  So they all travel to the Friendly Forest where their special friend Jerry the Bear assures Cowbella that if her imagination can make scary thoughts, it can also make happy thoughts.  Will it work?  Can she ever get to sleep?    Based on an episode entitled “Dream a Happy Dream” from the television series Pajanimals created by Jeff Muncy and Alex Rockwell for The Jim Henson Company, this board book for preschoolers is especially good for young children who experience bad dreams.  My wife got this as a present for the  year-old daughter of a friend, and when I looked it over I thought that it was rather cute.

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The Teen-Ager You’re Dating: A Christian View of Sex, About Boys for Girls–About Girls for Boys

teendate

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Teen-Ager You’re Dating: A Christian View of Sex, About Boys for Girls–About Girls for Boys

Author: Walter Riess

Publisher:

ISBN-13: 978-0570066156

ISBN-10: 0570066158

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 13 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

Riess, Walter.  The Teen-Ager You’re Dating: A Christian View of Sex, About Boys for Girls–About Girls for Boys (published in 1964 by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO).  There are those in the conservative religious world, including among many homeschoolers, who oppose anything that might be identified as dating.  Some even teach that the only Scriptural way for a person to select a mate is through Old Testament style betrothal.  I guess to each his own, but while all parents should recognize the dangers involved in the modern form of unsupervised, promiscuous, unlimited dating, the fact is that most young folks in our society do engage in some form of relationships that can be called “dating.”  This book, which is another that came from my preacher grandfather, seeks to apply Biblical principles to the practice of dating.  It is divided into two sections.

Part I, the longer division, is “About Teen-Age Boys for Teen-Age Girls.”   Part II is “About Teen-Age Girls for Teen-Age Boys.”  Some may think that the approach is hopelessly outdated, but the fact is that Biblical truth, which is never outdated, is promoted and upheld.    That doesn’t set well with the world’s current “I’ll Do It My Way” philosophy of total self-indulgence, but it is necessary to pleasing God.  The writing is quite blunt and openly frank but never goes beyond the boundaries of what is discreet and tactful.  While not necessarily agreeing with every observation or suggestion in the book, I have generally found Concordia’s materials on sex education to be fairly sound.  The Teen-Ager You’re Dating was first published in 1964.  A second printing was done in 1965.  The most recent edition is from 1980.  It is a companion volume to Riess’s earlier For You, Teen-Ager in Love (1960).

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Benjamin Harrison: The 23rd President, 1889-1893

harrison

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Book: Benjamin Harrison: The 23rd President, 1889-1893

Author: Charles W. Calhoun

Publisher: Times Books, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0805069525

ISBN-10: 0805069526

Related websites: http://www.americanpresidentsseries.com (series), http://www.henryholt.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 (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

Calhoun, Charles W.  Benjamin Harrison: The 23rd President, 1889-1893 (published in 2005 by Times Books, a division of Henry Holt and Company LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10010).  Benjamin Harrison was born on August 20, 1833, in North Bend, OH, the second of eight children to John Scott Harrison and Elizabeth Ramsey (Irwin). Benjamin was a grandson of President William Henry Harrison and the great-grandson of Benjamin Harrison V, a Virginia governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Harrison enrolled in Farmer’s College near Cincinnati, OH, in 1847 and transferred to Miami University in Oxford, OH, in 1850, graduating in 1852.  Then he studied law with Judge Bellamy Storer of Cincinnati and marry Caroline Scott on October 20, 1853.   They had two children, Russell Benjamin and Mary “Mamie” Scott.  In 1854, the Harrisons moves to Indianapolis, IN, where he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in the office of John H. Ray. The same year he became a crier for the Federal Court in Indianapolis. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for more recruits for the Union Army.  While visiting Governor Oliver Morton, Harrison was asked if he could help recruit a regiment.  He was initially commissioned as a captain and company commander on July 22, 1862, but Governor Morton commissioned Harrison as a colonel on August 7, 1862.  On January 23, 1865, President Lincoln nominated him to the grade of brevet brigadier general.

After the war, Harrison returned to his law practice in Indianapolis.  In 1876, Harrison accepted the Republicans’ invitation to run for governor but lost to James D. Williams by 5,084 votes out of a total 434,457 cast.  In 1880 he was chosen United States Senator.  In the election of 1888, he was nominated as the party’s presidential candidate with Levi P. Morton of New York as his running mate against Grover Cleveland.  Although Harrison received 90,000 fewer popular votes than Cleveland, he carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Four years later, the Democrats renominated former President Cleveland, setting up a rematch.  Harrison’s wife Caroline had begun a critical struggle with tuberculosis earlier in 1892, and two weeks before the election, on October 25, it took her life.  Cleveland ultimately won the election by 277 electoral votes to Harrison’s 145.  Harrison again returned to his law practice in Indianapolis.  In 1896, at age 62 hemarried Mary Scott Lord Dimmick, the widowed 37-year-old niece and former secretary of his deceased wife.   They had one child together, Elizabeth.   Harrison developed what was thought to be influenza in February 1901 and died from pneumonia at his home on Wednesday, March 13, 1901, at the age of 67.

This biography of Harrison is part of “The American Presidents Series” edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger.   I picked it up when we visited the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Center in Indianapolis earlier this year.  It is short enough for busy readers and simple enough for students, yet authoritative enough for the scholar.  Author Charles C. Calhoun, professor of history at East Carolina University, summarizes Harrison’s presidency by saying that he and other Republicans placed greater stress on government activism, especially at the national level, to foster economic development.   With this Larry Schweikart in A Patriot’s History of the United States agrees, writing, “Harrison hoped to restrain the growth of government.  But his administration overall constituted a remarkable inversion of the parties’ positions.”  Benjamin Harrison is a good look at a man who was more than just a caretaker between the two Cleveland administrations.  He not only accomplished much for the nation in his four years in office but also set the stage for his later Republican successors to realize the potential of the presidency.  “Scholars may regard [William McKinley] as the first modern president, but Benjamin Harrison had clearly pointed the way.”

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Remember Me

rememberne

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Remember Me

Author: Christopher Pike

Cover illustrator: Brian Kotzky

Publisher: Simon Pulse, republished in 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1416968191

ISBN-10: 1416968199

Language level: 4

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

Recommended reading level: Intended for young adult ages 12-up, but I’d say hardly anyone

Rating: * One star (very poor)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers 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 .

Pike, Christopher.  Remember Me (published in 1989 by Archway Paperbacks, an imprint of Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY  10020).  Shari Cooper, who lives with her well-to-do parents and twenty year old diabetic brother Jimmy, is eighteen and will graduate soon from Hazzard High.  But at a friend’s party, Shari finds out that her boyfriend cheated on her, goes out onto a high balcony to get some fresh air, falls off the balcony, and dies.  Her death is ruled a suicide, but, convinced that she was pushed and thus murdered, she comes back as a sort of “ghost” and with the help of another ghost named Peter Nichols, an older former friend from her high school who had been killed a couple of years before in a motorcycle crash, she tries to find her killer.  However, there is this monster known as “The Shadow” which stalks her yet holds the key to her death.  What is this “Shadow” thing?  Who killed Shari and why?  What secrets about her past will she learn?

There is an interesting plot here for those who like morbid ghost stories, but it is marred by a number of elements objectionable to Bible believers which the author apparently felt that he must include to make it appeal to worldly minded young people.  The language is quite bad, liberally sprinkled with the “h” and “d” words, some taking the Lord’s name in vain, and a number of common vulgar terms.  Also, there is a lot of talk about and even descriptions of sex, or at least near sex.  For example, while she was still alive, Shari was trying to decide should lose her virginity with her boyfriend Daniel before she graduated or wait until the Fourth of July for the fireworks.  And she tells about when they almost had sex.  While listening to loud music and making out in his bedroom, they took off all their clothes and got in bed, but Daniel couldn’t because, like her Ferrari, he was “as fast as the car.”  Several instances of drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco also occur.

Then the concept of religion portrayed is definitely not in harmony with a Biblical worldview.  A lot of interest is shown in occultism with Ouija boards, séances, channeling, reincarnation, yoga, and the like.  The picture of God is according to New Age pantheism.  Peter tells Shari, “God just is.  He exists.  He is everything.  He is us.  We are him.”   And the rather murky idea of the after-life is “that it wouldn’t hand out penalties.  It can’t—it’s too nice.  It’s completely non-judgmental.”    Even Publishers Weekly said, “Some may question the prudence of presenting young readers with such a seductive vision of life after death.”   Christopher Pike is the pseudonym of American author Kevin Christopher McFadden (born in1955), who is a bestselling author of young adult novels and children’s fiction.  Remember Me is the first of a trilogy about Shari Cooper.  In The Return (1994), she comes back to Earth as a “Wanderer” in the body of a depressed teenage girl named Jean Rodrigues.  In The Last Story (1995) Shari begins to write her story down but discovers that her latest work is really a mystical blueprint that warns of evil creatures which despise all humankind.  An Omnibus Collection was published in 2010.

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