“It is not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”–J.R.R. Tolkein
AR 6.0 [3.0 points]
4.25 [Leveled Books Database]
Grades 3-5 [Scholastic]
Review and Comment
E.B. White’s classic tale Stuart Little is about an extraordinary, diminutive mouse. Stuart has a tenacious spirit that emboldens him to confront all the challenges a two-inch mouse naturally faces and some very surprising adventures. Continue reading Two Inches of Determination: A Review of ‘Stuart Little’
“All darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of one single candle.” – St. Francis of Assisi
“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” – Mrs. Whatsit from A Wrinkle in Time
Review and Comments
A Wrinkle in Time is an absolutely captivating and complex adventure. The peculiar and diverse characters and their incredible experiences will prompt quite a range of emotions for the reader: empathy, anger, sadness, wonder, confusion, fear, and finally joy.
The story centers on a young girl named Meg Murry. Her background story is difficult and at times even harsh. The emptiness and yearning for her mysteriously missing father is compounded by conflicts at school and her self-esteem. It has been a very long year wondering where her father is and if he will ever return. Her mother, also a scientist like her husband, is trying to hold the family together while researching her husband’s disappearance and continuing the tesseract research they started. Meg has three brothers, but her relationship with her younger brother, Charles, is very special. He is a unique boy with exceptional gifts that are revealed as the story progresses. Charles and Meg become friends with a lonely boy named Calvin O’Keefe. Calvin finally feels he belongs somewhere after he meets them and becomes their constant and faithful companion. Charles also introduces Meg to three curious characters named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who. These three know it is time to help “a very good man who needs help.” And so the partnership to save Meg’s father begins. Continue reading Nothing is Hopeless: A Review of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:13
Reading Level: 3.7; grade 7 [There are two very different suggestions for the reading level.]
Interest Level: Ages 8-12; Ages 10+
Review and Comments:
The Relic of Perilous Falls is a powerful story of good and evil, truth and deceit, belief and skepticism. The confrontation between these forces centers on the relic of St. Thomas the Apostle. The more recent history of the relic begins during WWII when a brave young man named Jacob Wilder undertakes a daring mission to rescue the bones of St. Thomas. He is not the only one who desires the relic however. It is evident from the very beginning of the story that evil has manifested itself and will do anything to possess the precious bones. Jacob takes intricate measures to protect the relic and its power. He builds Peniel as a sanctuary to safeguard relics in the town of Perilous Falls, “the last stronghold against the dark madness of the world.” Continue reading Sacred Touchstones: A Review of ‘Will Rider, The Relic of Perilous Falls’
“Every person’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” –Hans Christian Anderson
Grade 5 [The text could likely be read independently by a student whose reading skills are at the level of a typical fifth grader.]
Grades of 3-8
Review and Comments:
The Wishing Spell is a story about a brother and sister named Alex and Connor Bailey, twins who are individually quite unique. Alex is an intelligent and resourceful girl who spends a great deal of time reading alone and isolating herself from those who consider her different. Connor, on the other hand, is a very popular boy who finds school a challenge and sometimes feels that no matter how hard he tries he just doesn’t measure up. He has trouble staying awake in school because, well, most lessons are just not interesting or relevant. The twins do share two very important things in common however. They love fairy tales. Their father and grandmother have been telling them fairy tales since they were very young. Those family times are some of their best memories. Alex even wonders what it would be like to live in a fairy tale of her imagination. The twins also share a great sorrow. Their dad was killed in an accident and even though it was a year ago they still grieve so much that “sometimes they expect their sadness to swell out of their bodies”. Continue reading Venture Forth: A Review of ‘The Wishing Spell’ (Land of Stories #1)
“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragon can be killed.” —G. K. Chesterton
Suggested Grade Level:
Review and Thoughts:
I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of fantasy. With the exception of the more classic fantasies like the “The Chronicles of Narnia”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and “The Harry Potter Series”, I generally steer clear of the imaginary worlds invented in others’ heads. I have also found that more modern fantasies reduce themselves to including a lot of sex and violence to make the story more captivating. (“Game of Thrones” anyone?) I am happy to say, that when I read “The Land’s Whisper” I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading Reclaiming the Beauty of Fantasy: A Review of ‘The Land’s Whisper’
Lit by the Tree is so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to interview a great new author. Monica Lee Kennedy has just written her first fantasy trilogy, “The Parting Breath Series”. Aside from being a beautiful person, her trilogy is not to be missed! Tomorrow we will post our review of the first book, so be sure to come back and check it out. Today, we are happy to learn more about Ms. Kennedy!
Can you describe the kind of audience you intend for “The Parting Breath Series”?
I wrote this series for high schoolers and above. I wanted to create a series that was entertaining and fun, and could appeal to both adults and young adults alike.
What inspired you to write this book? Can you tell us more about the rest of the upcoming trilogy?
I love reading. I love stories. I love language. These things have formed me and taught me and continue to stretch and change me. I think my desire to write flowed naturally from them, because I wanted to be part of all the beauty, part of all the fun. Continue reading An Interview with a New Author: Monica Lee Kennedy
“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” – Norton Juster
Grades 4-5 [according to common core]
Grade 5.4 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade level could read the book independently]
Review and Comments:
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster tells the story about a boy named Milo who has an extraordinary adventure that literally changes his life. When the reader meets Milo he is displeased with pretty much everything. He seems stuck in his frustration and doesn’t “see the point in most things.” He isn’t satisfied with school or even the world! One afternoon he is again grumbling to himself when he notices a package in the corner of his room. An attached note reads “For Milo, who has plenty of time.” The package contains “one genuine turnpike tollbooth.” Surprisingly, Milo follows the instructions and assembles the tollbooth, chooses a destination called Dictionopolis, and is off on his trek hoping “he isn’t wasting his time.” Milo’s journey through the tollbooth is so unexpected and curious that he actually begins to anticipate the unfolding experience. It exposes him to the richness, beauty, and complexities of words mingled with the most exceptional characters he will ever meet. Continue reading Opportunities of a Challenged Learner: A Review of ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’