Boy, It’s A Circus

boy-circus

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Boy, It’s A Circus

Author: Ray Warfel Jr.

Publisher: Guardian of Truth Foundation, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1584272434

ISBN-10: 1584272430

Related website(s): http://www.truthbooks.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: Boys ages 10-19

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

Warfel, Ray Jr.  Boy, It’s A Circus (published in 2008 by Guardian of Truth Foundation, then at P. O. Box 9670, Bowling Green, KY  42101).  My good friend and fellow gospel preacher Ray Warfel Jr., whose sisters, parents, and even grandparents all I have known, wrote the following in his preface to this book. “I am concerned for my son. I am concerned for my brother, and his son. I am concerned for the vast number of boys who will set their eyes on manhood in the next decade. Our society mocks manliness. It encourages Bart Simpson to become his father Homer. Adding to this is the natural difficulty of growing up, going from boyhood to manhood. This change can be chaotic, crazy, a circus—thus the title. Parents who are eager to help their sons navigate these years are sometimes at a loss to know where to start. Boy, It’s a Circus is a tool for these parents and their sons. This book is designed to give fathers a place to start a dialog with their sons about manhood.”

The thirteen chapters deal with these subjects: Making Men; Becoming a Christian; How to Treat Other People; Friends; Anger; The Tongue; Work and Money; Sexuality; Sex, Drugs and Drink; Being a Mate Worth Choosing; Choosing a Mate; Leadership; and Making the Most of What You Have.  The subjects are arranged in a logical progression-from a general to a specific. Lesson one is about manhood in general. Each lesson which follows is on some specific facet of being a man. Since Christ ought to be first in our lives, becoming a Christian is discussed as the first specific subject of being a man. Some lessons go together, and these also follow the general to specific formula. Lessons three and four go together, about how to treat other people and then specifically friends. Lessons five and six likewise go together dealing with anger and use (or misuse) of the tongue.

Questions at the end of each lesson reiterate the points made in the reading, and can be a good place to start talking.  Many Christians today have expressed concerns over the problems facing our young people. Especially is this true regarding young men, who are deemed “at risk” by some sociologists and those who claim expertise in studying this subject. These observations are commonplace, and by simply looking around we can discern ample reason for such concerns.  This workbook for young men would be suitable for a teen boys’ study in a congregational Bible class or for a teenage boy in a homeschool setting, especially when combined with study books by two other gospel preachers, Jeff Hamilton’s Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys, which also contains instruction in various practical subjects such as health and grooming, and Jason Hardin’s Hard Core: Defeating Sexual Temptation with a Superior Satisfaction, which deals more specifically with sexual matters.

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Posted in parenting, Uncategorized, youth nonfiction | 1 Comment

The Lost Island

lost-island

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Lost Island

Author: Eilis Dillon

Illustrator: Richard Kennedy

Publisher: The New York Review Children’s Collection, republished 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1590172056 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1590172051 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0600355175 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0600355179 Paperback

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

Dillon, Eilis.  The Lost Island (published in 1952 by Faber and Faber Ltd., London, England; republished in 1986 by The O’Brien Press Ltd., Dublin, Ireland; published in the United States in 2006 by New York Review Children’s Collection), an imprint of the New York Review of Books, 1755 Broadway, New York, NY  10019).  Fourteen year old Michael Farrell lives on a farm in western Ireland near the sea with his mother Eileen, their farmhand Billy, and Mulcahy the horse.  Four years before, Michael’s father, Jim Farrell, had bought a fishing boat and set sail with a companion, Tomeen Connolly, to search for the legendary lost island of Inishmanann where there is supposedly a treasure.  No one has heard from them since. Then a shifty beggar named Mikus Kavanagh turns up in town with Jim Farrell’s knife and a message for Michael that his father is on the island and Michael must join him there.  So Michael arranges with Pat Conway, a ship builder of questionable reputation, to outfit a boat so that he and his orphaned friend Joe Clancy, who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Pete, can go to find Mr. Farrell.

However, Conway insists that his man Matt Raftery skipper the boat.  The boys suspect that the two plan to maroon them on the island and steal the treasure, so they manage to ditch Conway and Raftery on Fort Island, pick up another boy named Mike Conneeley, Big Johnny’s son, and sail on.  With their enemies waiting for them, will they make it to Inishmanann?  If so, can they return?  Is Michael’s father really there?  And what is the treasure?  Author Eilis Dillon (1920—1994) wrote more than thirty books for young people, most of which are set in the west of Ireland, in small communities struggling to make a living on the islands and along the Atlantic coast. The Lost Island, illustrated by Richard Kennedy, is an excellent adventure story that is full of excitement and suspense.  It is a great read-aloud for young boys because Dillon makes the story come alive so that they will be chomping to hear how things will work out and whether the boys will get back safely.

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The Good Master

goodmaster

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: The Good Master

Author and Illustrator: Kate Seredy

Publisher: Puffin Books, reprinted 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0140301335

ISBN-10: 014030133X

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

Language level: 1 (the euphemism “gee” is used once)

(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

Seredy, Kate.  The Good Master (published in 1935 by Viking Press; republished in 1986 by Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Putnam Inc., a division of The Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York City, NY  10014).  Ten-year-old Jancsi Nagy lives with his father Marton, known as “the good master, his mother, and his dog Peti on his family’s large ranch in the Hungarian plains.  They have thousands of sheep, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, and even donkeys.  But Jancsi, who thinks of himself as quite a man and marked a stone to show that he “Can spit almost as far as Father,” is lonely and would give ten horses for a brother and even a donkey, though not a horse, for a sister.  Then he learns that his fifteen-year-old cousin Kate, daughter of his father’s brother Sandor, from Budapest has had the measles and is coming to recuperate during the summer on the ranch.  He pictures her as a weak, fragile city girl.

However, Kate is described by her own father as “impossible, incredible, disobedient, and headstrong.”  On the way home from picking her up at the train station, she pushes Jancsi out of the wagon and, when her uncle gets off to help him, drives away. Sandor hopes that Marton can do something with his motherless child.   As Kate has adventures learning to ride a horse, rounding up animals, going to the fair, falling in the river, and even being stolen by the gypsies, can she and Jancsi ever become friends?  Will she learn to be more respectful of others?  And what happens when it comes time for her to go home?  Hungarian-born author Kate Seredy (1899-1975), who won the Newbery Medal in 1938 with The White Stag, was given a Newbery Honor award in 1936 for The Good Master, in which she weaves Hungarian customs, holiday traditions, and folk tales into this nostalgic, heartwarming story of family closeness, along with her excellent black and white illustrations.

One reviewer, who says that “Many Americans don’t realize that ‘Gypsies’ are real. They are not mythical creatures. They are an ethnic group, actually called Roma,” calls the book racist, claiming that “this book portrays Roma (Gypsies) in a very stereotypical and derogatory way.”  Of course, the left considers anything as racist which does not fit in with its multicultural egalitarianism, even if a particular incident might reflect a real event.  In fact, the plot is based on her childhood summers in Hungary that Seredy spent with her father on the rural plains while he studied peasant life.  However, most other reviewers view it as I do, using terms like charming, delightful, wholesome, lovely, warm, and sweet.  Another noted that “the action is lively and dangerous but no one is ever seriously injured” and that Attila the Hun’s “military history is told in plain terms. Raiding and fighting and killing are mentioned, but not raping.”  The sequel to The Good Master is The Singing Tree, which continues the story of Kate and Jancsi, showing changes brought by World War I to the people and countryside, and was one of the 1940 Newbery Honors.

Posted in historical fiction, Newbery Honor Books, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dragon’s Gap: Love’s Catalyst (Lars and Claire’s Story), A Novella

dragon-gap

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Dragon’s Gap: Love’s Catalyst (Lars and Claire’s Story), A Novella

Author: L. M. Lacee

Publisher: Privolet Concepts Publishing, 2018

ISBN-13: 978-1980950561

ISBN-10: 1980950563

Related website(s): http://www.LMLacee.com (author)

Language level: 5

(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: Adults only

Rating: ** 2 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

Lacee, L. M.  Dragon’s Gap: Love’s Catalyst (Lars and Claire’s Story), A Novella (published in 2018 by Privolet Concepts Publishing).  Dragon’s Gap is a magical city inhabited by humans, animal shifters of all species, and dragons, ruled over by Dragon Lord and Lady Reighn and Sage Kingsley.  Kammy Nash, cub to Claire Nash, a half cougar who is niece to Dragon Lady Sage, wants her own dada to cook and help solve her mother’s other “issues.”  Lars Axton, a dragon adopted by the Kingsleys from a family of traitors, serves as the Prime for his brother, Dragon Lord Reighn.  Kammy decides that she wants Lars for her new daddy.  How will street wise Claire, who trusts no one, least of all wealthy males who seem to have rich tastes, react?  What will the Axtons, who want to get back into good graces by marrying Lars to one of their girls, do? And where did a three day old baby bear that no one wants come from?

Author Leonie M. Lacee, who grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, has written four other “Dragon’s Gap” books which are a combination of romantic fantasy and science-fiction: Reighn and Sage’s Story (Book 1), Sharm and Edith’s Story (Book 2), Storm and Charlie’s Story (Book 3), and Ash and Olinda’s Story (Book 4).  They are called a “Fantasy Paranormal Romance Series.”  This story, called a novella, about Lars and Claire can be read alone although the plot concentrates on characters that are present throughout the entire series so would probably be better read between books two and three.  To be honest, I found all the different personalities and their relationships a bit confusing.  Some of the dialogue with regard to Kammy was in “toddler speak.”  That’s not too difficult to understand, but sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling are appalling.  The whole book is filled with run-on sentences that make it hard to follow what is being said at times. Better editing is greatly needed.

In addition, there are references to drinking alcohol and even getting drunk—dragon’s ale is so potent that whiskey is like lemonade compared to it, and it apparently flows rather freely.  The “d” and “h” words appear, along with some quasi-vulgar terms and even one use of the “s” word.  While no outright profanity occurs, the name “goddess” is found as an exclamation.  And some latent sexuality is portrayed.  It is stated that “shifters were all okay with the mating and sex stuff.”  Claire is obviously an unwed mother whose boyfriend left her.  It turns out that Lars has fathered a child prior to his marriage.  And the description of events immediately leading up to Lars and Claire’s “bonding,” while not overly explicit, is certainly quite suggestive.  Love’s Catalyst is called an “inspirational story,” but someone must have a completely different idea of what is inspirational from my concept.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.

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A Journey to Matecumbe

matecumbe

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Book: A Journey to Matecumbe

Author: Robert Lewis Taylor

Illustrator: Joseph Papin

Publisher: Pocket Books, republished 1976

ISBN-13: 978-9997409317 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 9997409310 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0671806095 Paperback

ISBN-10: 0671806092 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 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)

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

Taylor, Robert Lewis.  A Journey to Matecumbe (published in 1961 by McGraw-Hill Book Company, 330 W. 442nd St., New York City, NY  10036; republished in 1962 by Avon Books, a division of The Hearst Corporation, 959 Eighth Ave., New York City, NY  10019).  It is 1869, and a fourteen-year-old orphaned boy named David Burnie, usually called Davey, lives on Grassy Plantation near Hanksville, KY, with his Aunts Effie and Lou and Uncle Jim, who had been in the Mexican War and then a captain in the   Civil War.  Uncle Jim joined the Ku Klux Klan when it was supposed to be just a “social club,” but after the members begin assaulting Negroes, he turns against it.  He and Davey stop a K.K.K. raid on a neighbor, killing a couple of Klansmen, so they have to flee.  Jim has a map showing the location of a treasure on Matecumbe in the Florida Keys that he obtained during the Mexican War, and along with their former slave Zeb, the two head down the Mississippi River towards Florida.

Followed by a couple of Klan members, Jim and Davey pick up a medicine show “doctor,” Ewing T. Snodgrass, and his daughter Millicent (Millie).  Next, they visit Belle Mead, the Mississippi plantation of Jim’s Civil War buddy Paxton Farrow, only to find out that it is being run by his twin brother Rex Farrow who is impersonating Paxton and is a Klan sympathizer.  When they leave, they are joined by Lauriette Paxton who wants to escape her brother’s iron rule.  Then they must face hostile Seminoles in the Everglades.  Do they ever make it to Matecumbe?  Will they find the treasure?  And what happens when they are caught in a hurricane? Author Robert Lewis Taylor (1912 – 1998) won the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his 1958 novel The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.    A Journey to Matecumbe is a great adventure tale, in a humorous, even satirical, style that has been called “Twain-esque.”  It is a wonderful, very well written, and entertaining book.  But beyond this, it is extensively researched historical fiction. I found Uncle Jim’s observation on taxes quite interesting, saying that people “just settle dully into the notion that their government is something apart from themselves, higher and bigger, and full of punishments and threats, rather than a poor charity body they can yank up whenever they choose.”

By way of warning, there are references to using tobacco, drinking alcohol, and even getting drunk.  Some descriptive, though not overly graphic, scenes of violence with shooting and killing occur.  Besides a few common euphemisms, the “d” and “h” words are sometimes used, the names of “God” and “Lord” appear as interjections, and the vulgar term “arse” is found once.  And child-like Davey makes a few naïve comments about “adult” situations like an unwed pregnancy.  To be fair, this book was not written for children.  And to be honest, I recently read a book, Spurt by Chris Miles, aimed at young people which contains far more and worse bad language.  A Journey to Matecumbe was made into a 1976 American family adventure film by Walt Disney Productions called Treasure of Matecumbe about a boy and his companion who run away from home to hunt for treasure.  We watched the movie and enjoyed it.  Subsequent editions of the book were also entitled Treasure of Matecumbe.

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Spurt: A Balls and All Story

spurt

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Spurt: A Balls and All Story

Author: Chris Miles

Jacket Illustrator: Lucy Ruth Cummins

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, reprinted 2018

ISBN-13: 978-1481479721 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1481479725 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1481479738 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1481479733 Paperback

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

Language level: 5

(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: supposedly for ages 12 and up

Rating: 0 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

Miles, ChrisSpurt: A Balls and All Story (originally published in 2014 by Hardie Grant Egmont, Australia; republished in 2017 by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, a trademark of Simon and Schuster Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY  10020).  Fourteen year old Jack Sprigley lives with his mom Adele, older sister Hallie, and grandma Marlene; his dad Peter, a television weather forecaster, had died when Jack was nine.  Jack, who a couple of years before appeared as a contestant on a kid’s television show called Bigwigs, is now an eighth grader at Upland Junior-Senior High.  He comes back to the second semester of school without having had any contact with his friends during the break and is convinced that they ditched him because he has not reached puberty yet.  Darylyn Deramo has developed pimples.  Reese Rasmus is starting to grow hair above his lip and under his arms.  And Vivi Dink-Dawson has a more womanly figure. However, puberty is still a total no-show for Jack.  He isn’t just a late-bloomer. He’s a no-bloomer.  So, he comes up with a perfect plan to catch up and win his friends back.  He just has to fake puberty.  How will he accomplish that?  What trouble might he get into trying to do it?  And how will his friends react, especially if they find out the truth?

I don’t recall who suggested this book.  It wasn’t a recommendation but a question about whether it would be a good story for a pre-teen boy to open a dialogue on puberty.  In fact, it is billed as “A hilarious coming of age story for teenage boys about faking it until you make it—and what it means to be a man.”  My response is no, at least for those who want to maintain purity of heart.  First of all, the language is pretty bad.  These early teenagers throw around the “d” and “h” words like they were “the” or “and,” the name of God is frequently used in vain as an interjection, and Jack often says “goddamn” even to his own mother.  And on one occasion his mother says, “How do I feel?  It’s as weird as fu—“ and holds the “f” for a full five seconds before concluding with a timid “—udge.”  Also there is a great deal of emphasis on developing sexuality.  The theme might be expressed by the statement that Jack wants to be “a fully paid-up member of the reproductive organs brigade” (p. 48).  The dialogue has a lot of near-vulgar sexual terms, both slang and otherwise, for various male and female body parts.  One boy in Jack’s P.E. class is described as “being rigged like a horse between [the] legs” (p. 28).  There are also references to “flipping the bird” and a subplot that involves “sexting” between Grandma Marlene and Mayor   Perry-Moore.  School Library Journal said, “Readers ready to handle the many references to pubes and masturbation will find a warm coming-of-age story about a boy who learns that the best way to make and keep friends is to be true to himself.”  Are children who are being brought up in the nurture and training of the Lord ever really ready for this kind of ungodliness?  One reviewer said that it’s “Judy Blume for boys,” which is NOT a good recommendation in my view.

Are there any positives?  I will admit that the book does contain humor.  Unfortunately, much of it falls into the category of “coarse jesting” condemned in Ephesians 5:4.  Also, I will say that Australian author Chris Miles is a good story teller.  However, I am reminded of Cecil B. DeMilles’s observation, which applies to books as well as movies, that if something isn’t worth doing to begin with, it isn’t worth doing well.  And, interestingly enough, there is a good underlying message about being yourself, being honest with others, and being loyal to your friends.  But, oh, the pure garbage one has to wade through to get there.  One reviewer wrote, “I love this for a lot of reasons. It helped open some conversation with my 5th grader… we laughed and chatted about the…insecurities bound to come down the road.”  One thing which worries me about the present generation of kids is that too many of them have parents that encourage and even promote this kind of trash.  I agree with the reviewer who said, “It was just. So. Cringe-worthy….It was told very much like middle grade, but it had more ‘mature’ (or should I say immature) jokes. It was so uncomfortable and cringe-y and annoying.”  I debated whether to give Spurt one or no stars.  I finally decided that it was a totally worldly book with no spiritually redeeming value for Christians, so I rated it NOT RECOMMENDED.

Posted in not recommended, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sod Schoolhouse

sod-schoolhouse

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW

Book: Sod Schoolhouse

Authors: Courtner King and Bonnie Bess Worline

Cover Illustrator: Bruce Bealmear

Publisher: Capper Press, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0941678551

ISBN-10: 0941678555

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

King, Courtner and Worline, Bonnie Bess.  Sod Schoolhouse (published in 1996 by Capper Press, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS  66609).  It is the summer of 1875, and the children of Freedom District on the Kansas prairie are preparing for school for the first time. Their parents have scrimped to build a brand new building.  They were going to have a sod schoolhouse, but Mrs. Chisholm said that she wouldn’t let her family go to school in “an old dirt building,” so a white painted wood structure is erected.  All the folks from Sod House Adventure are back, including Francis and Marion Dawson and their kids.  Phoebe, almost fourteen, Hartley, past twelve, nine year old Tessie, seven year old Robbie, and David, almost six, will all benefit from their one room education, while little Martha, toddler Mary Ann, and baby Louisa Mae, will stay at home.

Mr. Dawson is the director of the school board, but not everything is perfect at school.  Because the patrons spent so much money on the new school, they had to hire a less qualified teacher, and the first one, Jerome Judson from Indiana, turns out to be an ignorant bully who does more harm than good and has to be dispatched. Then a huge prairie fire destroys the wooden schoolhouse. Can the community find a new teacher?  If so, where will they have class?  And is anyone injured in the fire?  This is a sequel to the book Sod House Adventure which was written by Bonnie Bess Worline King (1914—2006).  That book was later published in paperback by Scholastic Books as The Children Who Stayed Alone.

Sod Schoolhouse, written by Worline and her son, Courtner King, continues the story of Phoebe, Hartley, Tessie, and the entire Dawson family with their neighbors and friends right where it left off.  Those who enjoyed the earlier story will like this book too.  It is filled with references to Scripture quotations, expressions of faith in God, instances of prayer, and other admirable spiritual qualities.  Unfortunately, the publishers misspelled the author’s name on the cover as Warline, though inside on the title page it’s spelled correctly as Worline. The misspelling may make it difficult for fans of Worline and Sod House Adventure (a.k.a. The Children Who Stayed Alone) to find this book.

Posted in historical fiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment