Christ and His Church

christchurch

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Christ and His Church

Author: J. C. Roady

Publisher: Rush Printing Company, revised edition 1957

ISBN-13: none

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 .

Roady, J. C.  Christ and His Church (original edition published in 1948 and revised edition published in 1957 by Rush Printing Company, Maryville, MO  64468).  According to an article entitled “How Are the Mighty Fallen” by Loren N. Raines of Bedford, IN, in Truth Magazine, June 10, 1976 (Vol. XX, No., 24, p. 7), John C. Roady was born near Hamburg, IL, on September 4, 1887. He began preaching when quite young and preached the gospel for seventy years. He gave his entire life to the church, and spent all his life in the evangelistic field. He preached in most every state in the Union. He preached every day in the year unless he was traveling. He spent but very few days in his home. He sometimes preached as many as four sermons in one day. He kept accurate records of all his baptisms, funerals, and weddings. He baptized a total of 15,039 people, besides restoring thousands to the church.

Roady lived for over fifty years at Sullivan, IN.  During the last year of his life he gave up preaching due to failing health. He had a cancerous kidney removed. The doctors said he would have recovered had it not been for complications.  He spent most of seven weeks in intensive care and was in the hospital at Terre Haute, IN, when he passed away from time into eternity on April 8, 1976.  One of his lasting legacies is a small, 78-page booklet entitled Christ and His Church.  The thirty article-like chapters discuss various aspects of the church established by Christ as it is revealed in the pages of the New Testament Scriptures and as it is contrasted to various denominational misconceptions, including the gospel, faith, baptism, conversion, the new birth, worship, officers, mission work, the kingdom, the second coming, eternal torment, and church history.

It is a simple but effective explanation of the Lord’s church suited for handing out to the general public.  Many churches of Christ throughout the Midwest section of our nation have copies of this in their tract racks.  It may be an enlargement of a 32 page tract entitled “The Plea of the Church of Christ” published in 1930 by Roady.  I normally do not review purely religious works on this book review blog, unless specifically asked to do so.  I have had a copy of Roady’s booklet in my library for years, but I recently decided to go back and take a second look at it because I just purchased another book, To Sum the Whole Thing Up: A Collection of Writings by J. C. Roady edited by my good friend Mike Davis.  Raines wrote of Roady, “Few people knew the Bible better, and none could defend the faith more effectively. He was blessed with a strong body, a keen mind, a good memory, and a forceful delivery.”

Posted in Bible study, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Jack of Hearts

jackheart

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Jack of Hearts

Author: Chris Collins

Publisher: WestBowPress, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-1490844626

ISBN-10: 1490844627

Related website: http://www.westbowpress.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 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 .

Collins, ChrisJack of Hearts (published in 2014 by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, 1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington, IN  47403).  It is sometime in the middle part of the first half of the nineteenth century, and five year old Elizabeth Walden is on a ship with her parents Jacob and Rachel, her four older brothers Luke, Lance, Lewis, and Levi, her baby sister Ella, and her Granna and Grandad, emigrating from Ireland to Virginia.  Many of her uncles, aunts, and cousins from both of her parents’ families, including her other grandparents, are already there.  However, there is a storm, and the ship is wrecked just off the coast.   Elizabeth and Ella are saved by a nine year old orphan boy, Alex Jack who is working for the ship’s captain, and the remainder of the family also survives.  They all land in Charlestown, and Alex goes with the Waldens to western Virginia where they settle with the rest of the relatives and Alex is adopted by Dr. and Mrs. Stickle.  What will happen to Elizabeth as she grows up in her new home?

Author Chris Collins lives in rural Highland County, Ohio, with her husband and three dogs.  I was raised in Highland County and picked this book up in the local historical society museum when back there on a recent visit.  What attracted me to it was the statement about Collins on the back flap that said, “Her faith in God and Jesus Christ is the most important thing in her life, and her family comes in a close second.”  The flap also said, “Her family history originates from Ireland and later the hills of West Virginia.”   It would be interesting to know if there are specific people and events in her family’s background which gave rise to and are depicted in the book or whether it is a purely fictional story that is just set in that time and place.  In any event, it is a heartwarming and sometimes tear-provoking account of Elizabeth’s life from early childhood through the beginnings of “old age.”  Jack of Hearts is not written for children, but it has nothing unsuitable for youngsters so that it could well be done as a family read aloud.

Sometimes the plot moves rather fast as time passes by quickly while at other times it slows down to focus on certain happenings, but it is usually quite easy to follow.  Certainly there are scenes of sadness.  Elizabeth’s best childhood friend, Bessie Lawson, perishes in a flood.  Grandparents and then parents grow old and pass on.  Her father and one brother are killed while fighting for the Union in the Civil War.  Elizabeth loses her firstborn child.  Other loved ones die in a fever epidemic.  But there are also occasions of great joy—marriages, births of children and grandchildren, graduations, etc.  And through it all Elizabeth and her family approach whatever happens with a deep faith in God.  Numerous references to prayer, church attendance, and baptism occur, and a beautiful picture is drawn of the love that can exist in a multi-generational, extended family.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical romance.

Posted in historical fiction, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Bears of Blue River

bearblud

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Bears of Blue River

Author: Charles Major

Illustrator: A. B. Frost

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, republished 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1448632695

ISBN-10: 1448632692

Related website: http://www.abpub.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 10 – 14 and up

Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)

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 .

Major, Charles.  The Bears of Blue River (originally published in 1901; republished in 2004 by A. B. Publishing Inc., Ithica, MI  48847).  It is the 1820s, and thirteen or fourteen year old Balser Brent Jr., called “Little Balser” to distinguish him from his father, lives with his parents, nine year old younger brother Jim, one year old baby sister, and dogs Tige and Prince, in a cozy cabin of two rooms on the east bank of the Big Blue River a mile or two from the Michigan Road in rural southern Indiana, then a baby state.  Their closest neighbors are Mr. and Mrs. Fox, with their son Tom or “Limpy” and daughter Liney, who are Balser’s best friends. Balser is a very brave young man who has many exciting and sometimes frightening encounters with bears and other wildlife and becomes a fearless hunter.  How does Balser earn his first gun?  What happens when Liney is captured by an Indian?  And with all those ferocious bears around, will Balser even survive adolescence?

This book may not be considered politically correct by some, such as gun-hating, PETA-loving animal rights activists, because Little Balser does shoot bears and other animals.  However, we must understand that especially in the 1800s killing was a necessary way of life, for food, clothing, shelter, and protection.  Balser and his friends did just that.  Bears, deer, wolves, fox, and beaver all had their purpose.  No part of creatures thus killed was wasted.  The meat was eaten, the hides were used for clothes and coverings, and pelts were sold for other necessities that could not be grown or hunted.  Basically, the situation was    to kill or be killed.  At the same time, with one scene where a male wolf, looking after two cubs, is killed, and then the mother is subsequently lured out of the den, and shot, too, another where a fawn is shot in order to lure the mother to its side which is also shot, still another where a fox is trapped, and especially one where a friend of Balser’s is burned alive along with a bear, it is perhaps not a good choice for youngsters who are squeamish or particularly sensitive.  Also, there are a few euphemisms (golly, durned) and some colloquial near profanity (Lordy, Lord knows, for the Lord’s sake, etc.)

However, for those readers who are comfortable with the killing and the raw brutality of living in the wilds of a Southern Indiana woods, the book is a fairly accurate, though perhaps somewhat exaggerated, portrayal of pioneer life in the American Midwest.  Also, in addition to the wonderful history involved, The Bears of Blue River will keep those who love nature and tales of early settlers on the edge of their seats as they read the exciting experiences of “Little Balser.”  Charles Major (1856-1913) was an American lawyer and novelist.  In 1898, he published his first and probably his best known novel, When Knighthood Was in Flower, about England during the reign of King Henry VIII.  The biggest complaint about the CreateSpace version of The Bears of Blue River currently available is that it is filled with misspellings, improper wording due to Spell Check, paragraph repetition, and other typographical errors.  That comports with my experiences, so I avoid CreateSpace books if at all possible.  Fortunately, I had a different edition of this one.

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The Lightship Mystery

lightship

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Lightship Mystery

Author: Mary Adrian

Illustrator: Joshua Tolford

Publisher: Hastings House, 1969

ISBN-13: 978-0803842632

ISBN-10: 0803842635

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 10-14

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 .

Adrian, Mary.  The Lightship Mystery (published in 1969 by Hastings House Publishers, New York City, NY  10016). Twelve-year-old Dick Malone lives with his parents in Astoria, OR.  His father, a fisherman, has just bought a new (to them) thirty foot fishing troller, the White Dolphin, and this year Dick gets to spend the summer as his dad’s shipmate.  Dick’s best friends are Katie Peters, a neighbor whose father runs an automobile repair garage, and Andy Davis, whose father is also a fisherman with his own boat.  Dick’s Uncle Ned works on the lightship Columbia which guards Astoria’s harbor.  Dick is looking forward to an exciting summer, and to add to it, a federal Treasury agent named Hill asks for help in uncovering a smuggling operation.

Dick and his father agree to do what they can to aid the government.  It might be anyone, including their neighbor and friends, but Dick must be careful not to accuse someone without hard proof.  How can he find clues?  Could it be Mr. MacReady with his Kitty Sue, or Mr. Stuck with his Neptune, or even Mr. Davis with his Skipjack?  And what will happen when they all get caught out in a terrible storm?  I have always liked mysteries, and this “Double H Keep Reading Book,” which I picked up at our local library because it looked like a fast and easy read while I was waiting for another book on reserve to come in, is the kind of story that I really enjoyed reading as a kid.

There are some common euphemisms (golly, gee, gosh), but no major objectionable elements are found.  A lot of interesting background information about salmon and crab fishing is included.  Also there is a sense of strong family and community ties.  One thing which I liked was how the author enunciated principles of conservation without delving into the wacko environmentalism common in a lot of children’s books like this today.  And while one would not call this a “Christian” book, it is noteworthy that during the storm it is specifically mentioned that Dick prays.  Some similar books by author Mary Adrian include The Fireball Mystery, The Tugboat Mystery, The Rare Stamp Mystery, The Fox Hollow Mystery, The Skin Diving Mystery, The Mystery of the Night Explorers, The Indian Horse Mystery, The Kite Mystery, The Uranium Mystery, The Firehouse Mystery, and The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones, among others.

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Mountains Are Free

mtnsfree

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Mountains Are Free

Author: Julia Davis Adams

Illustrator: Theodore Nadejen

Publisher: E. P. Dutton, 1930

ISBN-13: 978-9997489043

ISBN-10: 9997489047

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 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 .

Adams, Julia Davis.  Mountains Are Free (published in 1930 by E. P. Dutton and Co.; republished in 1931 by Cadmus Books, an imprint of E. M. Hale and Company, Chicago, IL).  It is 1308, and thirteen year old Bruno lives outside the hamlet of Burglen near Lake Lucerne in the Swiss canton of Uri.  The Swiss acknowledge the Holy Roman Emperor in Austria as their hereditary lord.  The previous Emperor Rudolf had allowed them a measure of self-rule, but the new Emperor Albert is a harsh, violent man who seems bent on taking Swiss freedoms away.  Bruno’s grandfather, with whom he lived, has died, and the boy now lives with his neighbor William Tell, Tell’s wife, and their two sons.  One day an Austrian knight, Sir Ruppretch von Lowenhohe, and his squire Sigismund force Bruno to become their page and go the court of the Duke of Valberg in Austria where Rupprecht is a vassal.  There the young man is taken in by the court minstrel or jester named Kyo and meets the orphaned Lady Zelina, the Duke’s twelve year old ward who is heiress of a wealthy estate.

Before long Bruno discovers that Sir Ruppretch is a cruel master, and the boy longs for his home in Switzerland more than ever.  In fact, he tries to run away once, but is caught, and is now watched constantly.  Then when the castle is about to be attacked by an enemy army, he finds out that Zelina, though just a child, is pledged to Sir Ruppretch for marriage the next morning, but she despises the knight.   Can Bruno find a way to escape?  What happens to Zerlina?  And how do the Swiss react to the Austrians’ increasing oppression?  This children’s historical novel by Julia Davis Adams was a Newbery Honor recipient in 1931.  As to language, the “d” and “h” words are each used once though not as curse words, and there are a few references to drinking wine, but it is an exciting and adventurous story.

One student reviewer wrote, “Anyway, it is a well-written book, but I didn’t find it all that interesting.”  I agree that it is well-written, but how something can be truly “well-written” yet not “all that interesting” is puzzling to me.  Of course, the reader eventually sees how the Swiss gained independence, and where the famous legends of William Tell originated.  The tale of Tell and his famous bow shot is woven into the telling of this story but is downplayed in this book, which differs greatly from another Newbery Honor book, The Apple and the Arrow, that focuses on the same rebellion.  Another reviewer said, “Mountains Are Free joins my list of Newberys that shouldn’t be out of print.”  I agree.  It would be especially enjoyable for anyone with an interest in castles and medieval life.  And there is another lesson embedded in it.  Freedom isn’t something that can be handed to us on a silver platter.  We have to stand up for it and maybe even be willing to fight for it when the occasion demands.

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It’s Like This, Cat

likethis

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: It’s Like This, Cat

Author: Emily Cheney Neville

Illustrator: Emil Weiss

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., reprinted 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0064400732

ISBN-10: 0064400735

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 10 – 14

Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)

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 .

Neville, Emily Cheney.  It’s Like This, Cat (published in 1963 by Harper and Row Publishers Inc., 10 E. 53rd St., New York City, NY  10022).  Fourteen year old David Mitchell lives in a New York City, NY, apartment with his father, who is a lawyer, and his mother, who gets an asthma attack whenever Dave and his dad argue.  And they seem to argue a lot, and Dave often storms out of the house.  He says, “My father is always talking about how a dog can be very educational for a boy. This is one reason I got a cat.”  Cat is given to him by an eccentric elderly neighbor, Kate Carmichael.  Dave calls “Aunt Kate,” and she takes in stray cats.  After Dave and his best friend Nick get into a fight because Nick is paying more attention to girls than being with Dave, Dave has to find some new people to hang around with, and Cat introduces him to several interesting individuals.

Dave’s new friends include nineteen year old Tom Ransom, who helps Dave rescue Cat from a basement trap but has been in trouble with the law; Mary, a different but wonderful girl from Coney Island whom they meet on the beach; and Ben Alstein, a fellow student at Dave’s new school.  Will Dave ever get back with Nick?  What happens as a result of Tom’s brush with the law?  How will Kate react when she inherits a huge fortune from her estranged and now deceased brother?  And as Dave comes to see the complexities in other people’s lives, does that help him to understand himself and his family a little better?  The author Emily Neville does a nice job of painting a picture of 1960’s New York City with references to Gramercy Park, Manhattan, Coney Island, Times Square, the Hutchinson River Parkway, Macy’s, and East 22nd Street where Dave and his family live.  Aside from some common euphemisms (gee, golly, heck), a few references to smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol by adults (Dave is offered a cigarette but declines), and a mention of evolution, there is no major objectionable material.

Some may be annoyed with Dave’s somewhat sour attitude at first—one reviewer said, “Winner of my ‘Best Bad Attitude’ book,” but he learns some important lessons along the way, so the story is beneficial from this standpoint.  The biggest complaint that I saw was that there just isn’t much story here, and I admit that the plot is a little thin.  It is more a series of episodes in Dave’s life over about a year in which he figures out that maybe his father is not so bad after all.  Others may consider the publication dated with language that probably made the book current and interesting when it was published but makes it not age very well.  However, I’m just a little younger than Dave—he was a teenager in the early 60s, and I was a teenager in the late 60s, so it took me back to a simpler time in life, and I found it interesting to compare my growing up in a small, Midwestern, rural town with Dave’s experiences in the big city.  In that regard, another reviewer noted that “it marks a boundary between the ‘old’ Newberys, which seem to dwell on America’s rural, agrarian roots, and the ‘new’ Newberys, which turn a focus on America’s urban life.”  There should be room for both.

Posted in general youth fiction, Newbery Award Winners, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Good Shepherd: A Life of Christ

goodshep

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Good Shepherd: A Life of Christ

Author: Catherine Hanley

Publisher: Moody Press, republished 1971

ASIN: B000K037BO

ASIN: B001YW2XHG

ASIN: B0045Z20HW

ASIN: B001EYIVWA

Language level: 1

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 4-8

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 .

Hanley, Catherine.  The Good Shepherd: A Life of Christ (originally published in 1935 by the Bible Instit. Colportage Assoc.; republished in 1951 by Moody Press, a division of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL).  This book, which I think that I inherited from my Grandfather Workman, is a cursory overview in twelve chapters of the life of Christ for young children.  Chapter 1 tells “Why Jesus Came to This World.”  The succeeding chapters discuss His birth, childhood, baptism, and beginning of His work, along with various aspects of His teachings and miracles.  The final two chapters deal with Christ’s last days in Jerusalem and his death and resurrection.  Each chapter has questions making the book suitable for use in Bible classes or in family home Bible studies.

A little fictionalizing is done to fill in the narrative at times, and there may be a few statements that will be questioned by various believers, but for the most part it is a Biblically straightforward account which is amazingly accurate in some details.  The book is #18 in the Coleportage Library series which is published by Moody Bible Institute, now Moody Press.  Older editions had no author or print date listed, leading some to conclude that D. L. Moody may have written the book.  However, later editions give the author’s name as Catherine Hanley.

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