Tag Archives: animals

Be Who You Are Perfectly: A Review of ‘Chrysanthemum’

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa

Reading level   

Grades 1-2

Common Core  

Grade 2

Interest level

P-3

Review and Comments

Choosing a name for a child can be quite a challenging decision for parents.  Mr. and Mrs. Mouse considered this obligation thoughtfully and chose the name that was “absolutely perfect” for their new precious baby.  They named her Chrysanthemum – the perfect name for their perfect daughter.   As Chrysanthemum grew, she too found her name to be perfect whether it was written or spoken.  As a matter of fact, she often repeated it to herself because she liked the sound of it so much.

When it was time for Chrysanthemum to start school, she was very excited and full of enthusiasm as most children are.  The first time her class heard her name however, they laughed.  Some students, three girls in particular, continuously made comments about her name and thought of different ways to tell her it was unusual and weird.  Unfortunately, Chrysanthemum listened to the harsh comments of the girls and it wasn’t long before she didn’t think her name was perfect anymore.  She even had the drastic thought that she should change her name.  Alas, the next day of school was not any better.  The three girls treated her the same way, and she felt truly dreadful. She shared all of this with her parents and they assured her that her name was indeed absolutely perfect and then tried to help her see why those girls would say such hurtful things. Continue reading Be Who You Are Perfectly: A Review of ‘Chrysanthemum’

Dream it. Do it.: A Review of ‘Duck on a Bike’

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Reading Level

PreK-2, 3-5          [Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]

Grader K-1           [common core]

2.0                        [AR]

Review and Comments

If you are looking for an engaging and entertaining book, Duck on a Bike is a good choice.  The story is about an eager duck who decides to try his skill at riding a bike.  At first he struggles a bit, but it doesn’t take long before he is able to ride the bike all around the farm.  He passes ten farm friends along the way and greets each one with a very friendly hello.  The animals reply and then express personal observations about seeing Duck on a bike.  These remarks range from Duck being a silly duck, to a concern for his safety, and then even a bit of jealousy. Then, a surprising opportunity presents itself when the animals see eight bikes parked beside a house.  They seize the moment and ride the bikes. (Mouse has to hitch a ride with another animal of course, and the pigs happily ride a tandem bike.)  They finally understand the joy Duck experienced on his earlier ride. Continue reading Dream it. Do it.: A Review of ‘Duck on a Bike’

Run and Find Out!: A Review of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”

“To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.” – St. Teresa of Avila

Reading Level

Grades 3-5    [according to Scholastic which reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently.]

5.0    [AR]

Review and Comments

Rikki-tikki-tavi is a young mongoose who is welcomed into an English family after being separated from his own family during a terrible storm.  The father seems to know a lot about mongooses, and he assures his wife and son that it is a good thing to have a mongoose close by because they kill snakes.  This proves true when Rikki-tikki saves the young son from a deadly snake soon after he arrives.  The danger for the family is not over however. Rikki-tikki e and his adopted family soon experience life-threatening encounters with a pair of deadly adversaries. Continue reading Run and Find Out!: A Review of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”

25 Picture Books to Encourage a Love of Nature

“God wrote “I love you”—He  wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea.  He wrote his message everywhere!  Because God created everything in the world to reflect Him like a mirror—to show us what He is like, to help us to know Him, to make our hearts sing.”— Sally Lloyd-Jones, from The Jesus Storybook Bible

 This month we celebrate Easter and new life seems to be all around. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing trees blossom and birds build nests.  What is dormant is now vibrant and full of life!  It’s such a lovely time for us all to look around at nature since it is neither too hot nor too cold to be outside.  Children love this time of year and they are so observant, aren’t they?!  It is for this reason I’ve put together this list of books in which we can praise our Lord who has given us such beautiful gifts in the world around us, encourage our children to look carefully at the intricacies of what He has made, learn about people who have aided in His creative powers, and become inspired by what could happen when we make the tiniest effort to take care of His gifts for us.  Loving our planet and all that it holds means nothing if we forget who gave it to us.

I’ve divided the list into sub-sections to help break it up a bit.  Click on the picture of the book for our affiliate link!

In Praise of Nature and God’s Wonderful Creations

St. Francis sings of God’s love and all of the surrounding nature join him.  Beautifully illustrated and poetic, Tomie de Paola never disappoints.

Using text from the Old Testament, Tomie dePaola praises all of God’s creations from the sky to the earth to under the water.  It’s a celebration of nature. Continue reading 25 Picture Books to Encourage a Love of Nature

Into the Wild: A Review of ‘The Wild Robot’

“A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.”—Alan Perlis

Reading Level

Grades 5-8

Review

The draw of The Wild Robot is definitely its premise.  We’ve all read stories of characters trying to survive in the wilderness in books like Hatchet and Robinson Crusoe.  We’ve also read futuristic stories of robots who have evolved to act more and more like humans.  Rarely, however, are the two instances put together as they are in this novel. Peter Brown brings us this intriguing situation and, I admit, this is what drew me to the book. Continue reading Into the Wild: A Review of ‘The Wild Robot’

Expect the Unexpected: A Review of ‘I Want My Hat Back’

“The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”  – J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Interest Level:  4 – 8 years

Reading Level:  Grade 1

Review and Comments:

A rather large, imposing bear lost his favorite hat, and he is desperate to find it.  He launches a search in the forest where he confronts seven forest animals, asking each one about his hat.  The animals’ responses are slightly different, but all of them boldly deny seeing or knowing anything about the bear’s hat.  Bear always ends the conversations with a thank you for he is a very polite (but still imposing) bear. After awhile he accepts the fact that his search is futile.  He lies down and laments the loss of the red, pointy hat he misses so much.  Wait a minute!  He absolutely has seen his hat recently, but it does not dawn on him until this very minute where he saw it.  The bear runs across two pages past the animals he questioned previously.  He confronts innocent looking Rabbit who is indeed wearing a red, pointy hat.  The reader will remember that Rabbit has the longest questionable response because he is the only animal who declares he did not steal the hat.  Now Bear is accusing Rabbit of stealing and there is nothing left to be said. Fast forward a bit and Bear is wearing his favorite hat again.  In a humorous twist, Squirrel approaches Bear and asks if he has seen a rabbit wearing a hat.  Bear responds with a guilt-free explanation that he definitely has not seen any such rabbit, and he absolutely would not eat a rabbit. Continue reading Expect the Unexpected: A Review of ‘I Want My Hat Back’

Try to Look at it From My Perspective: A Review of ‘A Tale of Two Beasts’

“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” ― C.S. LewisThe Magician’s Nephew

Interest Level: Ages 5 – 9

AR Level: 3.0

Review and Comments:

This is a story about two beasts who describe the same experience in their lives from very different perspectives. Continue reading Try to Look at it From My Perspective: A Review of ‘A Tale of Two Beasts’

A Determined Spirit: A Review of ‘Stone Fox’

“A small body of determined spirits fired by unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”  – Mahatma Gandhi

Reading Level: 

Grade 4-5 [according to common core]

Grade 3.2 [according to Scholastic]

Grade 4    [AR level]

Interest Level:

Grades 3-5

Review and Comments:

Stone Fox is a story about courage and determination.  It is a story about a young boy’s love for his grandfather and his dog that will touch the heart of the reader. Continue reading A Determined Spirit: A Review of ‘Stone Fox’

A Friend of the Heart: A Review of ‘Finding Winnie, the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear’

“As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.” – Winnie the Pooh

Reading Level:  

K – Grade 3 [approximately]

 Grade Level Equivalent:

3.4 [The text could likely be read independently by a student whose reading  skills are at the level of a typical third grader during the fourth month of  school.]

Review and Comments:

‘Finding Winnie’ is a fascinating and true prequel to Winnie-the-Pooh and his familiar adventures. It is a story within a story that begins when a young boy named Cole asks his mother to tell him a true story about a bear – the authentic story of Winnie-the-Pooh. Continue reading A Friend of the Heart: A Review of ‘Finding Winnie, the True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear’

Home Sweet Home: A Review of ‘Make Way for Ducklings’

“……‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.”L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Reading Level:

Grades K-1 [according to common core]

3.1 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which  a student reads on grade could read the book independently]

Review and Comments:

Finding the perfect home is a challenging goal for Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.  They are looking for the ideal place to raise a family – a quiet neighborhood, close to the waterfront and places of interest, and a safe location. Their Boston area search continues until they settle on a cozy little island in the middle of a pond in the Public Garden.  Everything is going well until Mrs. Mallard determines the area is too dangerous so they extend their search. Of course being mallards they explore the area that encompasses the Charles River. Eventually they find a splendid location on a small quiet island on the river. They settle in and then spend some time touring the surrounding area. Along the way they meet a policeman named Michael who feeds them peanuts. Michael becomes their friend and a favorite stop on their daily stroll. Continue reading Home Sweet Home: A Review of ‘Make Way for Ducklings’