Tag Archives: nature

Only the Truth: A Review of ‘The Empty Pot’

 “To be honest as this world goes is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.” —William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Reading Level

AR 3.8 [0.5 points]

3.0-3.9 ATOS Book Level [ATOS readability formula represents the difficulty of the text]

Interest Level

Pre-K – Grade 5

Review and Comments

The Empty Pot is an inspirational Chinese folk tale about honesty and honor, bravely demonstrated by a little boy named Ping.

The Emperor is getting older and realizes he must find someone to take his place – someone who will be an honorable leader.  Since he has no children, he looks to all the children in his kingdom to find that one exceptional child.  His plan will surely reveal someone who is worthy.  He invites all the children of his kingdom to his palace and gives each child flower seeds to plant and nurture for the next year.  Then, they are to return and present their best flowers to the Emperor, and he will make his decision. Continue reading Only the Truth: A Review of ‘The Empty Pot’

Inner Beauty is God’s Delight: A Review of ‘The Sign of the Carved Cross’ (Chime Travelers #2)

“I am not my own, I have given myself to Jesus.  He must be my only love.” – Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Reading Level

Grade 2-5

Review and Comments

The Sign of the Carved Cross is the second book in the Chime Travelers series.  It is about a girl named Katie who travels through time to the year 1675. Katie’s story begins at school where she faces a challenging dilemma involving her longtime friends and their obvious disapproval of a new girl. As Katie contends with her mixed feelings of loyalty, jealousy, and then guilt, she becomes more confused and moody.  Her twin brother, Patrick, councils her about the way she is acting and encourage her to be friendly towards the girl.  His wisdom comes from his own experience with time travel and the lessons he learned. Continue reading Inner Beauty is God’s Delight: A Review of ‘The Sign of the Carved Cross’ (Chime Travelers #2)

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


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’

Reclaiming the Beauty of Fantasy: A Review of ‘The Land’s Whisper’

“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:

Grades 9-12+

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’

The Land Has Yielded Its Produce: A Review of ‘An Orange in January’

 “The earth has yielded its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.”–Psalm 67:7

Reading Level:  Grades K – 1 [according to common core]

Grade   3.6   [according to Scholastic – reflects the                   grade  level at which a student reading  on grade                         could read the book independently]

Interest Level:  Grade K – 3

Review and Comments:

This is the story of the life cycle of an orange beginning with a blossom and ending with friends sharing the sweet fruit.  As all organisms go through stages of development this story shows how bees, rich soil, sunshine, and rain help the fruit mature into edible deliciousness.  Then the reader follows the processing of the fruit.  It is carefully picked, transported through different locations, and finally arrives at the grocery store. Continue reading The Land Has Yielded Its Produce: A Review of ‘An Orange in January’

A Time to Gather: A Review of ‘Blueberries for Sal’

“All look to You in hope and You feed them with the food of the season. And, with generous hand, You satisfy the desires of every living creature.” Psalm 145: 15-16

Reading Level: Grades K-1 (according to common core)

Grades 4.1 (according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]

Review and Comments:

It is that time of year when the promise of a new season is in the air and thoughts of gathering food for winter begin. The blueberries are ripe on Blueberry Hill so Sal and her mother decide it is the perfect time to gather a bountiful harvest.  Mother makes good progress and fills her pail quickly.  Sal however discovers berries are the best when they go directly into her mouth and completely skip her pail. Mother is preoccupied while gathering berries, so tired Sal finally settles herself in the midst of bushes bursting with blueberries. Continue reading A Time to Gather: A Review of ‘Blueberries for Sal’

Like the Tendrils on a Vine: A Review of ‘In the Garden with Dr. Carver’

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” –George Washington Carver

Reading Level:

Grades 2-3

Review and Comments:

“Some people come in and out of your life, as quick as a hummingbird darting at a trumpet vine.  And some of them, when gone, leave something behind that sticks in your heart or mind.  It sticks to you like a little burr on your sock.  It wraps around like the tendrils of a vine.”

These are the thoughts expressed by a little girl named Sally after meeting Dr. George Washington Carver. She first sees Dr. Carver with an old wagon he calls his “movable school.”  She recognizes him from his reputation as the plant scientist from Tuskegee.  Dr. Carver has done much research with plants and now he is sharing that knowledge with others.  He teaches people how to improve their lives by making poor soil rich again and simple foods into other products. Continue reading Like the Tendrils on a Vine: A Review of ‘In the Garden with Dr. Carver’

Rhythmical Creation of Beauty in Words: A Review of ‘Pocket Poems’

“Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.”–Carl Sandburg

Grade Level:


Review and Comments:

Pocket Poems by Bobbi Katz is an anthology of 55 short poems that are both humorous and thought provoking. They cover subjects from nature themes to a twist on traditional stories like ‘Humpty Dumpty’, ‘The Old Woman in the Shoe’, and ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’. There is even a poem written in English and Spanish entitled “You – Tu.”  Teachers will find the poem using homophones and a few poems about punctuation marks good additions to English lessons.  My particular favorites are “The Drum” and [from]” Arithmetic.”  The poems are written by classic authors such as Emily Dickinson and Carl Sandburg along with contemporary authors like the author of the anthology, Bobbie Katz. Continue reading Rhythmical Creation of Beauty in Words: A Review of ‘Pocket Poems’