White Ruff

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

white ruff

Book: White Ruff

Author: Glenn Balch

Illustrator: Dick Priest

Publisher: Literary Licensing LLC, republished 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1258099626

ISBN-10: 1258099624

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)

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

Balch, Glenn.  White Ruff (Published in 1958 by TAB Books Inc.; republished in 1968 by Scholastic Book Services, a division of Scholastic Magazines Inc.).  White Ruff is a big golden collie who belongs to young Chet Foster. Chet lives with his father Ace in a cabin on their mountain ranch near the Salmon River outside the little town of Big Pine, ID, where the Fosters make their living by farming, hunting, and trapping.  Chet’s mother is dead.  One night the collie is dog-napped, and a note is left that he is being held for ransom.  However, though taken far to the east, White Ruff escapes and heads west as he starts to make his journey home.  What all happens to the dog along the way?  Will he survive the trip and arrive back at the Foster ranch?  And is there anything that Chet can do to find his beloved pet?

I have previously read and reviewed two other books by author Glenn Balch.  They are Christmas Horse (1949) and Indian Fur (1951).  White Ruff has no cursing or profanity, only a few colloquial euphemisms (e.g., gee, blamed, dangedest, dad-burned, darn, gosh).  Here is a good dog story with a lot of excitement and suspense without the need for a tissue or hankie at the end.  One reviewer said, “I loved this book as a child. Happy to finally find a copy to share with my grandchildren.”  And another wrote, “This was one of my favorite books as a child. I remember I was about 11 and as I lay reading this book on my bed on a beautiful summer morning I thought ‘does it get any better than this–a beautiful day and a great book?’  I kept it for years and just found it again and I am going to pass it on to some children I know. I think all kids should read these classic animal novels.”

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The Gorax: An Anti-Environmentalist Parody by Dr. Truth

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

gorax

Book: The Gorax: An Anti-Environmentalist Parody by Dr. Truth

Author: Loren Spivak

Illustrator: Patrick Fields

Publisher: Free Market Warrior Publications, republished 2014

ASIN: B00LY9G258

ASIN: B0773BZVLM

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

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

Spivak, Loren. The Gorax: An Anti-Environmentalist Parody by Dr. Truth (Published in 2013 by Free Market Warrior Publications). The narrator builds a factory which provides jobs for workers and makes products which people want.  It was free market capitalism, and everyone was happy.  Well, almost everyone.  When the owner kills a pesky mouse, here comes the Gorax, first in his stretch limousine and later in his private jet, with all kinds of socialist-style environmentalist laws which tend to stifle freedom and kill productivity.  What will happen to the factory?  What will happen to the economy in general?  And, most importantly, what will happen to the Gorax?

The 20th century, in the U.S. and Europe, saw the rise of a radical, left-wing political agenda.  Celebrities in modern popular culture are the opinion makers, though without any practical management experience necessary in business or even government, who promote this agenda to wean society way from the capitalistic principles which create prosperity.  Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was one such celebrity.   He peppered many of his books, such as The Lorax of 1970, with messages which were overtly anti-capitalist and helped to prepare a generation of young people to be receptive to the excesses of modern day environmentalism.   Of course, The Gorax is a self-proclaimed anti-environmentalist parody of former vice-president Al Gore and his brand of environmental extremism.

The author, Loren Spivack, has written this and two other brilliant and witty stories in verse, full of truth and illustrated by Patrick Fields, as parodies which highlight current voices.  They are Dr. Seuss-themed tales for conservatives using the nom de plume Dr. Truth, which sort of rhymes with Seuss.  The first, The New Democrat written in 2010, is modeled after Seuss’ classic The Cat in the Hat and lampoons the Obama administration. He followed in 2013 with The Gorax targeting Gore. His most recent work, The Wizard of Iz, is modeled after L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz and substitutes former President Bill Clinton for the not-so-wonderful Wizard and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the Wicked Witch of the West.  I have met and heard Spivack.  He is highly entertaining—and truthful.

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The Magic Home: A Displaced Boy Finds a Way to Feel Better

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

magiic home

Book: The Magic Home: A Displaced Boy Finds a Way to Feel Better

Author and Illustrator: Isabella Cassina

Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1615995110

ISBN-10: 1615995110

Related website(s): 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 4 – 8

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

Cassina, Isabella.  The Magic Home: A Displaced Boy Finds a Way to Feel Better (Published in 2020 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI  48105).  A little boy lives with his father, mother, brother, sister, brown dog, and fluffy white rabbit in a small but cozy house.  He plays happily in the courtyard and cannot wait to start school.  Then one day he and his mother suddenly have to leave on an unpredictable journey for a new home.  The little boy is scared, sad, and lonely.  From time to time, he can hardly breathe. He feels as if something is pressing on his chest and he has no strength.  His head is spinning, his hands are sweating, his legs are trembling, and his appetite is gone.  What is the cause of all these symptoms?   Is there anything that he can do to help him cope with his feelings?  And when it is time for him to go to school, how can Ina his teacher assist him?

The Magic Home is a comforting story that offers psycho-educational support for children, as well as for parents, child clinicians, mental health providers, educators, and other childhood professionals who are assisting children through the difficult transition of displacement with its sense of loss and confusion.   In sharing the tale of the little boy, along with sweet illustrations that well support the text, the book presents a guide for caregivers grounded in the principles of Play Therapy.  It encourages using the healing power of play and expressive arts which allows children to be engaged in a dynamic and engaging process based on their capacities and the objectives defined by a caring adult.

In the back are suggested activities with reprintable figures that can be used between parent and child, at school, in a healthcare agency, or any other place where children spend time.  The reason why the mother and boy have to leave is never explained.  However, author Isabella Cassina is a Swiss social worker specialized in International Cooperation and Therapeutic Play who has worked for the Swiss Red Cross as Head of the Social Services in the refugees sector, so one would assume that the material would be applicable to refugee children.  I should guess that it might also be useful in family situations of displacement due to abandonment, separation, divorce, or abuse, showing how to tap into the child’s resilience.

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Graveyard Shift: A Hauntings Novel

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

grave

Book: Graveyard Shift: A Hauntings Novel

Author: Chris Westwood

Cover Illustrator: Chris Appelhans

Publisher: Scholastic Press Paperbacks, reprinted 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0545399197 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 054539919X Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0545399203 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0545399203 Paperback

Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.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: For ages 8 – 12, but I would say more like 12-16

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

Westwood, Chris.   Graveyard Shift: A Hauntings Novel (Originally published in Great Britain as Ministry of Pandemonium in 2011 by Frances Lincoln; republished in 2012 by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY  10012).  Twelve year old Ben Harvester lives in London, England, with his mother Donna, who is a waitress at a greasy spoon on Mare St.  They have just moved from their old house in Swanley to their new home on Middleton Rd.  Ben’s dad Jim had left some four years before.  One day while sketching in Highgate Cemetery Ben meets a strange man named Mr. Dudley October.  A little over a week later, Ben sees Mr. October again at the funeral of his mother’s sister, Aunt Carrie, in Seaborough.  Ben soon discovers that October works for the Ministry of Pandemonium, a secret organization responsible for tracking down lost souls and guiding them to the afterlife. And he wants Ben to be his new recruit to assist the dead to pass on.

Ben has no idea what a strange and dramatic turn his life is about to take. As his apprenticeship begins, his eyes are opened to a new world of wonder where magic is real and ghosts haunt every crime scene, accident site, and hospital corridor. But with the wonder comes horror, because the Ministry is not the only organization hunting spirits of the dead. The ghoulish Lords of Sundown want those spirits for their own sinister reasons. And as far as they’re concerned, Ben has chosen the wrong side in a very dangerous war with all kinds of ill-mannered spooks and fearsome monsters which populate this alternative London. When his own mother’s name appears on a list of the soon-to-be-deceased, what will Ben do?  Can he save her?  How does his decision affect others?

Graveyard Shift is described as a charming paranormal fantasy-adventure in which death is only the beginning.  If one likes this sort of spooky, macabre story, it is not a bad book.  As to language, besides some common euphemisms and childish slang terms (e.g., heck, darned, pee), there is no cursing, but the name of God is used rather frequently as an exclamation.  Parents may want to know that one aspect of the plot development involves an adulterous affair.  It is only mentioned briefly and not described in detail, but it is there.  The biggest complaint I saw was age appropriateness.  One reviewer wrote, “I loved this book….I don’t recommend it to young kids though.”  Another said, “The book deals heavily with death;…some of the deaths are a little gruesome, and the descriptions of victims are also a little disturbing at times, especially for a young adult novel.”  And one other noted, “It did seem slightly more violent than some children might like.”   There is a sequel entitled Great and Dangerous.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mayhem from Moon Palace

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

morphin

Book: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mayhem from Moon Palace

Author: Alex Irvine

Cover Illustrator: Dan Panosian

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Licenses, 2017

ISBN-13: 978-1524783815

ISBN-10: 1524783811

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: Age: 8 – 12

Rating: **** 4 stars

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

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

Irvine, Alex.  Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mayhem from Moon Palace (Published in 2017 by Penguin Young Readers Licenses, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 345 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014).  Billy Cranston and Trini Kwan are showing their experiment for the district science fair at Angel Grove High School.  Their friends Jason Scott, Zach Taylor, Kimberly Hart, and Tommy Oliver are there to support them.  Unbeknown to everyone but themselves, the six teenagers are the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Jason is Red, the leader; Zach, Black; Trini, Yellow; Billy, Blue; Kimberly, Pink; and Tommy, Green.  All of a sudden, they are attacked by Z-Putties sent by Lord Zedd, Emperor of Evil, from his throne room in the Moon Palace.  Other minions of Zedd, such as Baboo and Squatt, Goldar, and Wormazam join the fight against the Rangers, and Zedd himself finally appears.

In the middle of the battle, the Rangers find that their communications with Zordon and Alpha 5 at the Command Center as well as with each other are being disrupted and that Jason’s Tyrannosaurus Red Dragon Thunderzord loses power.  What is happening?  Can anything be done to turn the tide?  And is there some way that Billy’s science project might help?  The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was an American superhero children’s television series that premiered on August 28, 1993, on Fox Kids, and became a 1990s pop culture phenomenon.  It ran for a second and third season.   The original series also spawned the feature film Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, released by 20th Century Fox on June 30, 1995.  In 2010, a new version of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was broadcast on ABC Kids.

While reading the book, I felt a little lost about a few things that I might have understood better if I were more familiar with the Power Rangers in general.  Our older son didn’t really care for the show, and while our younger son watched it, the timing was such that I never got to see it with him.  So far as I can tell, the book is relatively harmless with no bad language or other objectionable material.  There is a strong sense of good versus evil, and the importance of teamwork is illustrated.  Mayhem from Moon Palace is one of the “Power Rangers Series” of junior novels.  Others include The Venomous Eclipse and Fish in Troubled Water.

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The Sagebrush Rebellion

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

sagebrush

Book: The Sagebrush Rebellion

Author: Mary Reeves Bell

Cover Illustrator: Cheri Bladholm

Publisher: Kingsley Books, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0971349971

ISBN-10: 0971349975

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 12 – 17

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

Bell, Mary Reeves.  The Sagebrush Rebellion (Published in 1999 by Kingsley Books Inc., P. O. Box 121584, Nashville, TN  37212).   Fifteen year old Constantine (Con) Rea lives with his mother and step-father in Vienna, Austria, but spends every summer with his six girl cousins, Lindy, Claire, Kate, Abby, Jess, and Alisa, on the sprawling family cattle ranch of their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Whitman (Whit) Walker near Thermopolis in the wilds of Wyoming.  They have always had a good time, but this summer it is different.  Grandpa Walker has had a heart attack and then broke his leg in a horse riding accident.  And there are other troubles at the ranch.  Fences have been cut.  Cattle have been poisoned.   Trumped-up charges of environmental abuse have been made by Raymond Rice from the Bureau of Land Management.  Facing financial ruin, the Walkers may lose the ranch, which has been in their family for generations.

Their enemies are numerous.  Besides Rice, there is a radical environmental group called Mother Earth, whose motto is “The only good cow is a dead cow.”   Some local Native Americans on the neighboring Wind River Reservation have had various disputes with Grandpa through the years.  The other neighbors, Fred and Lily Marvin, have always been jealous of the Walkers’ success.  And a wealthy movie star named Robert Blackford is poised to swoop in and “take the ranch off their hands.”  What is going on?  Who is behind this sabotage?  Is there any way that Con and his cousins can find the cause of all the problems and expose the truth before it’s too late?  Or will this be their last summer in Wyoming?

This is Book 2 of 3 in the “Passport to Danger Series.”  I enjoyed Book 1, The Secret of the Mezuzah, so much that I decided to get the other two.  There are several things which I liked about The Sagebrush Rebellion.  It is a great mystery story with a lot of suspense but no bad language or objectionable situations.  A wonderful multi-generational family relationship is portrayed.   Con and his cousins illustrate the benefits of teamwork in solving a problem.  And this is a group of people for whom their religious faith is an important aspect that helps to guide them in their daily lives.  It is always nice to read good fiction that presents a Biblical worldview without overdoing it.  As another reviewer said, “The Christian theme is evident but not invasive.”

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Two Teaspoons of Rice: A Memoir of a Cambodian Orphan

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

rice

Book: Two Teaspoons of Rice: A Memoir of a Cambodian Orphan

Author: Sida Kong Lei with Monica Boothe

Publisher: Bowker, 2020

ISBN-13: 978-1734852806

ISBN-10: 1734852801

Related website(s): http://www.bowker.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 10 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

Lei, Sida Kong, with Boothe, MonicaTwo Teaspoons of Rice: A Memoir of a Cambodian Orphan (Published in 2020 by Bowker).  It is 1975, and Sida Kong is a ten-year-old girl living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with her family of nine, made up of her father, a jeweler, mother, older brother Chun, older sister Hong, younger brothers Kann and Chao, and younger sisters Thy and baby Peou.  The Kongs enjoy a pleasant, middle-class life until Pol Pot and his Communist Khmer Rouge take over, driving them out of the city and into forced labor camps.  Along the way, Sida’s mother and young Chao die.  Then her father and Chun are taken away and never heard from again.  So Sida eventually determines to keep her remaining chain of five together and lead them to freedom in neighboring Thailand.  What will happen to them?  Do they survive their ordeal?  And if so, can they make it to safety?

From 1975 to 1979, Pol Pot, the leader of the Khmer Rouge killed one to two million of his own people in “The Killing Fields” of Cambodia. This heart rending but inspiring true story tells what a ten year old girl lived through for four long starvation filled years, showing the incredible strength, courage, and love that enabled her to prevail over unimaginable evil and horror.  It is filled with pain and despair as well as kindness and faith.  The author’s love of family shines through every page.  Above all, she has a sense of hope.  The Kong family was Buddhist, but Sida’s mother, before she died, told Sida to “pray to God,” and she did.  This well told tales introduces the reader not only to life in war-torn Cambodia but also to Sida’s intelligence and bravery.   It would be a great book for home schoolers learning world history or even just as an inspiring book for English class.

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Five-Finger Discount

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

five finger

Book: Five-Finger Discount

Author: Barthe DeClements

Cover Illustrator: Diana Voyas

Publisher: iUniverse, republished in 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0385297059 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 038529705X Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0595007806 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0595007805 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 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

DeClements, Barthe.   Five-Finger Discount (Published in 1989 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Delacorte Press, New York City, NY  10103; republished in 1990 by Dell Books, an imprint of Dell Publishing, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., 666 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY  10103).  Ten year old Gerald (Jerry) Johnson Jr. has just moved from his old home and school at Renton into a new house with his mom, a waitress.  The next door neighbor is Grace Elliot, who he learns is in his new fifth grade class at Silver King Elementary School in Snohomish outside of Seattle, WA, and her family.  Mr. Elliot is a preacher, but Jerry’s dad is in prison at Monroe for stealing cars, chopping them up, and selling the parts.  Jerry doesn’t want any of the other kids to know that his dad is a prisoner, but a mean fourth grader named Edward Troller finds out and threatens to tell everyone else unless Jerry pays him blackmail.

Meanwhile, Jerry does some stealing of his own.  He takes a bit of lumber stored at a nearby construction site to build his tree house and shoplifts (the “five-finger discount”) a pair of expensive white sandals as a Christmas present.  What happens with Edward Troller?  Will Jerry turn out like his father, or will he learn an important lesson?  And is there anything that Grace the P.K. (preacher’s kid) do to help Jerry the P.K. (prisoner’s kid)?  Five-Finger Discount, which was a recipient of the Pen Center USA West 1989 Literary Award, is Book 1 of 3 in the Jerry Johnson Trilogy Series.  Besides a couple of common euphemisms (e.g., “darn” and “gol”), the term “God” is used a few times as an exclamation.  There are also references to smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.

The story is well told and there’s nothing really “bad” about it, but to be honest I just didn’t care for the book all that much.  The ending was a little bit too tenuous and vague for me.  Someone might reply that life is sometimes like that, and I realize this, but I prefer stories that have a more satisfying conclusion with a greater degree of moral clarity.  Of course, there are two sequels to work things out.  Not to sound totally negative, I will say that some interesting issues are raised which are worthy of discussion, and that Jerry does grow in his understanding of things along the way.  Another reviewer wrote, “We read this book when I was in fifth grade. Now, I am a teacher myself and use this book in my own classroom. I just love how both main characters are PKs (a prisoner’s kid and a preacher’s kid).  A great realistic fiction story that students can relate to.”

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The Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume II

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

joyful2

Book: The Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume II

Author: Zachary James Schertz

Illustrator: Todd L. Thomas

Publisher: Schertz Writing, 2018

ISBN-13: 978-1692150587

ISBN-10: 1692150588

Related website(s): https://www.schertzwriting.net/ (publisher), http://www.toddlthomas.com/ (illustrator)

Language level: 1

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

Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12

Rating: ***** 5 stars

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

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

Schertz, Zachary James.  The Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume II (Published in 2018 by Schertz Writing, Olney, TX). The second volume of the first book of Zachary Schertz’s “The Tetrology of Christ” series picks up with the presentation of Christ in the temple and covers the adoration of the Magi, the flight to Egypt, and the finding of Jesus in the temple, down through the ministry of John the Baptist. Text taken directly from the Bible and full-color illustrations by Todd L. Thomas tell the story of these events in the life of Jesus in “graphic novel” style.  Each volume contains a full-page map to show where it all happened, a list of source citations for every panel, an appendix with additional background information, and even an index.

Author Schertz wrote of his mission, “I am a theologian, first and foremost. I only know one thing for sure that I want to honor The Lord in all that I do.  Too many young people are leaving the Church and the primary reason that they are is because they are not being taught The Word.  I would argue that if parents taught youths that The Word was history and not just a book of morality they would stay. If teachers taught their students that Christ and the prophets that foresaw Him were not just good moral examples, but true people they would stay. If priests did not teach that Christ was merely man and just a teacher, they would stay.  Why are young people leaving The Church, because they do not know who He is.  I aim to change that.”  Subsequent books in the series are The Luminous Gospel of Christ, The Sorrowful Gospel of Christ, and The Glorious Gospel of Christ.

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The Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume I

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

joyful1

Book: The Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume I

Author: Zachary James Schertz

Illustrator: Todd L. Thomas

Publisher: Schertz Writing, 2018

ISBN-13: 978-1690994916

ISBN-10: 1690994916

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

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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Schertz, Zachary JamesThe Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume I (Published in 2018 by Schertz Writing, Olney, TX).  The Bible can be very difficult to understand for some, so the purpose of “The Gospel of Christ Tetralogy” series, of which The Joyful Gospel of Christ: Volume I is the first book, is to use detailed images to show how God came into the world as The Savior, Jesus Christ.  Author Zachary Schertz, who is a graduate of St. Edwards University in Austin, TX, with a degree in religious and theological studies, says, “Every step has been taken to ensure that it is both historically and scripturally accurate. The Bible truly is the most miraculous book ever held in human hands.”

Written for average people with stunning art created by Todd L. Thomas, Volume I begins with the announcement to Zacharias about the coming of John the Baptist, and covers the annunciation of Christ, the visitation of Mary, the birth of John, and Mary’s return to Nazareth, down through the nativity of our Lord.  I must say that I am not a fan of the graphic book form, but many people are, and for those who like it, this series could be very helpful.  My biggest complaint is that some panels were a bit difficult to read because they had white lettering on a light background.  Volume II picks up with the presentation of Christ in the temple and goes through the ministry of John the Baptist.

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