The babble of some people is like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise is healing. – Proverbs 12:18
Grades 1-6 [Ages 6-12]
Review and Comments
Seeds of words spoken, some green and others black, are given
to a young prince every day. The green
seeds are gentle while the black seeds contain only hostility and misery. The
prince accepts both seeds and plants them all.
As the prince watches his trees grow he observes that all the trees are
powerful but very different. The green
trees are life giving. The black trees create
such darkness that the green trees eventually suffer and become weakened right
down to their roots.
The prince meets an extraordinary, sincere friend who only
gives him green seeds. She is wise and
very brave in the face of the darkness of the forest. The green trees seem to “come alive” when she
is near, but the dark trees seem to amplify their negativity. The prince’s new friend has a challenging solution
for the tragedy of the weakening green trees.
He recognizes her insight and agrees to accept the challenge. Using her old tools, she and the prince cut
down one dark tree. Then, they carefully cut down more and more until not one
dark tree or any fragment of a root is left. Following his friend’s advice, the prince
never plants dark seeds again. He
carefully watches over his grove of green trees and continues to plant the
green seeds that produce “new life.”
“There are times when He Himself allows terrible sufferings, and then again there are times when He does not let me suffer and removes everything that might afflict my soul. These are His ways, unfathomable and incomprehensible to us. It is for us to submit ourselves completely to His holy will. There are mysteries that the human mind will never fathom here on earth; eternity will reveal them. (1656)” – Saint Faustina
Review and Contents
Three cheers for Leslea Wahl! Her young adult stories for the Catholic audience are fun, adventurous, and pure entertainment so I was so happy when she asked me to review her third book. Where You Lead is probably my favorite of her novels so far.
The story begins with Eve having visions of a boy named Nick. She can clearly see his face and she sees that they are friends, but she has never met this boy before. She realizes that her visions are more than a dream and she begins to pray asking God what it could all mean. Slowly God’s plan begins to unfold for her and her family moves across the country to Washington DC.
“Embrace everyone and everything that helps you become a better version of yourself and you will live a life uncommon.” – Matthew Kelly [The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic]
AR 5.5 [7
Review and Comments
Applewhite family can be described as unique or extraordinary, but those words really
don’t capture the nature of the family well enough. Idiosyncratic is the word that expresses the
dynamics of the Applewhites much better.
A few members can even be described as egocentric. Each person in this extended family has such
a distinctive personality that their individual stories are quite interesting. Their creative passions seem to divide the family,
but when a theatrical crisis occurs, the Applewhites have to pull together and
eventually resolve those problems.
is introduced to the family by twelve year old Edith Wharton, or E.D., as she
prefers to be called. She describes her family as “a spontaneous group of people
who love chaos and crave freedom.” Her
family even decides that the children’s education should be different because
after all they are not like other people.
Their motto is: “Education is an
adventurous quest for the meaning of life, involving an ability to think things
through.” So, they start the Applewhite Creative Academy where “creativity and
individuality are paramount,” and the children develop their own study programs
to accommodate their personal interests.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” -Aristotle
Grades 2-4, (Ages 7-9) 3.8
Review and Comments
Danger! Tiger Crossing is the first book
in the Fantastic Frame series. This
exciting story is filled with mystery, interesting characters, and a bit of a Jumanji flavor that will surely attract
the reader from the first chapter.
The main character, Tiger, is an interesting boy who
thoughtfully observes his surroundings, analyzes clues, and then works to solve
problems. And the problems he faces in
this adventure are extraordinary. His
story begins when his little sister reports that she has seen an orange pig in
the backyard. This statement is so
unbelievable that Tiger resolves to prove the pig lives in his sister’s
imagination. While he is examining the
scene, he actually sees the pig in his neighbor’s yard wearing a top hat and a
bow tie. He also meets Luna, a neighbor. Tiger and Luna approach things from different
angles, but these differences come in very handy as complications present
“Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Without sacrifice, there is no love.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe
AR4.2 [0.5 points]
Review and Comments
The Legend of the
Bluebonnet is definitely my favorite Tomie dePaola book. This beautiful story shows how the selfless
giving of an ordinary, little Comanche girl accomplishes something quite extraordinary
and saves her people.
The Comanche people, especially the young and old, are
suffering greatly during what seems like an endless drought. They pray to the Great Spirits and ask what
they must do to end this devastating trial.
The shaman also prays to the Great Spirits, and when he returns from his
private prayer time, he tells them the drought is a result of their selfishness.
They must sacrifice their most valued possessions as an offering, and then
spread the ashes to the points of the earth.
If they do this, the drought and famine will end. The People are relieved they have an
answer. They acknowledge their most
prized possessions and talk about why each article is special, but in the end each
person decides that the Great Spirits surely isn’t asking forhis
or her particular item.