Tag Archives: children’s stories

Book Reviews April 2020

2 May

It’s been a while since I did a monthly book review, so get ready to add some books to your To-Read pile! I’ve honestly been having a hard time finding a book that really grabs  me and pulls me into its world that I don’t finish in just a couple of days! I’m thinking it just might be time to get back into the Wheel Of Time series (I’m only on book 7..or 8..or 9…).  

One last thing, these aren’t all from this past month- I’ve not read quite that much in four weeks!

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Little Princes by Conor Grennan – I shared a full review here if you’d like to go check it out. This was such a great read that it made it to my 2020 Favorites List.

Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson –    …. I also have a full review here if you’d like to read it. And I have since bought all three books so that I CAN read them yearly, or bi-yearly, whenever the mood strikes.

None Like Him : 10 Ways God is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) by Jen Wilkin – While humans were created to reflect God’s image, there are several ways that we do not – unlimited power, knowledge and authority. This book delves into those attributes, shining a light on how realizing these limitations of ours compared to a limitless God can help us in our daily lives.

~This is the second study book that I’ve read by Wilkin. (In His Image being the other one.)This was insightful in highlighting the incredible attributes of God. As with the other of hers, I was a little disappointed how she stayed, what I felt, was surface level, with the topics and chapter questions. So while it was good and well worth the time, I would have appreciated a deeper delve into the topic. 

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia #4 -chronological order) by C.S. Lewis – King Caspian has built the first ship that Narnia has seen in centuries. He sails to find the lost Lords of Narnia – and Lucy, Edmund and cousin Eustace travel with him.

The Silver Chair  (The Chronicles of Narnia #5- chronological order)  by C.S. Lewis -Narnia is in need again, and this time Eustace and Jill are the ones brought to help. They must help find (and then rescue) the lost Prince of Narnia, who has been put under an evil spell. 

~Forgive me for combining my thoughts for both these books into one section. But – IT’S Narnia. And that means adventures; Aslan; Magic; Lessons; and just a wonderful world to escape to. I fell in love all over again with Puddleglum (from the Silver Chair) and enjoyed all the different adventures on the islands in the Dawn Treader. Delightful reads all around.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – Despereaux is not like the other mice, he loves stories and music and the gentle Princess Pea. Roscuro is a rat who isn’t like other rats because he likes light and soup. Miggery Sow is a serving girl who dreams of being a princess. These four – a mouse, princess, rat and serving girl- are about to enter each other’s lives in ways they never dreamed. And when that happens, the choices they make will lead them in dark twisty tunnels of a dungeon, in the glittering light of the castle and through Cook’s kitchen. 

~I’d been curious about reading this story after having seen the movie a few times (although it has been several years since I saw it last). When I saw this at Goodwill (quite a few months ago now), I snagged it right quick! It ended up being quite fun and Camillo’s way of writing TO the reader just added that extra little bit of uniqueness to the story. I can see this being a great read-aloud book with your kids. 

The Candymakers (The Candymakers #1) by Wendy Mass- When the yearly national candy competition nears, Logan Sweet is excited. He’s finally old enough – 12 – to enter and make his candy-making father proud. His family owns Life is Sweet candy factory. But he’s not the only contestant that will be making their entries at the factory – three other kids from his town will also be there. Daisy, Miles and Logan show up on the first day – she with a bounce to her step and encouraging. Miles with a backpack and nervousness. Phillip with a briefcase and attitude. Which one will create the most innovative new candy this year? 

~I had no idea this was a series! I also didn’t know what to expect when I picked it up, at first I felt that it was pretty formulaic but I quickly revised that opinion. I got sucked into the story so much I felt kind of silly since it IS a children’s book! Mass shares each child’s perspective of what’s going on in the competition and their own personal world and that just made it so cool to see each motivation and viewpoint. A very fun story.

I also read/started these two books but for various reasons didn’t like them/finish them. So they are both leaving my bookshelf to open up space for more books! 

Zorro by Isabel Allende

The Measure of a Lady by Deanne Gist

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Currently Reading: 

‘Tis Herself by Maureen O’Hara

Pillar of Fire by J.H. Ingraham

Virginia by Cathy Marie Hake

 

To Read: 

the next Narnia book

The Prairie Legacy Series by Janette Oke

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

the next Wheel of Time book (I just have to figure out which one I’m on!)

Short Story Sharing – The Door

29 Jun

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Once again I’m awake in the wee hours of the morning (if you thought of this song, kudos to you ) so here’s a snippet of a story I’m working on. I really might pare it down and try turning it into a picture book but I’m enjoying it so I hope you do!

“The door that, when opened, would show her anything she wanted to see, was finally before her. Eagerly she grasped the handle and turned but nothing happened. No matter how hard she tried, it stayed solidly shut. Her cheeks puffed and her face turned red with her efforts but the lock that held it in place was not moved.  In frustration she stepped back and stared at the frustrating door knob, when finally she realized, if it was locked – there must be a key! Spinning away from the door, she searched everywhere for the key – in boxes and bags, baskets and drawers, dark shelves and hidden corners were gone through. A room that was overflowing with every book, toy and child’s game imaginable was there. But no key. By the time she plopped herself down on the floor in frustration, her ringlets were in disarray, her dress was wrinkled and the buckle of one shoe had broken. Tears welled up in her eyes as she stared at the large round door in front of her. Her chin quivered and breath got short, but just before an ear-splitting scream was released, a small voice stopped her. “That won’t help, you know. It rarely ever does.” Drawing a startled breath and looking around her, the little girl spied a small mouse sitting atop an upside down china cup. In his hands was what looked to be a cake, only a miniature one so small that only in hands so tiny as a mouse’s did it look like a grand cake. In her distress she didn’t think of the oddity of having a mouse talk, she only replied indignantly, “Yes it does. I get whatever I want that way.” The mouse took a nibble of the grand cake and shook his head as he chewed. “Wherever you’re from, it’s clear it’s not here. For here, behaving that way only brings you one thing.” Tears gone and hysterics forgotten, the girl crossed her legs and straightened her dress. “What’s that?” “Death.” “Death?! You’re lying.” Her messy ringlets were tossed over her shoulder and she crossed her arms in front of her. “No, no. It’s true. If one does not behave themselves here, one does not behave anywhere.” At his little rhyme, the mouse chuckled to himself. “Well said, well said.” His whiskers quivered when he talked, but even more so when he chuckled. They almost danced when he finally laughed out loud. “I gather you have not been here long, or you would know this rule already.” “That is a stupid rule.” She felt proud of herself when using that word, her parents didn’t like it, and so she tried to use it as often as possible.  Gathering her dress in one hand, she started to get up until she heard the small voice again. “And where do you think you are going? I have not said you could leave.” “What? I don’t have to listen to you.” “If you want to know how to open that door, you do. Sit down.” As anyone knows when achieving something that is forbidden, it only increases your longing for it. But to all of a sudden be told how to get it, and that it is alright, decreases the attraction it once held for you.  While this held true for the little girl, she found she did still want to open the door. She refused to acknowledge this to the mouse that offered to help though, “Why do you think I care about that old door?” A little, teeny-tiny huff escaped his lips, “I dare say you do care. That was the reason you were about to set up a squall, isn’t it?” “A squall?” “A ruckus. A noise. Crying, child, screaming. That horrible noise you were about to burden my ears with.” Throughout this conversation the mouse continued eating his grand cake, one nibble at a time. Between every few bites he would clean his whiskers and take a drink of tea out of a dainty doll’s cup. Not liking that he wasn’t telling her anything about the door, and seemed to be partially ignoring her, she brushed her ringlets behind her shoulders, and said nastily, “It would serve you right, you little…” But that’s all she got out for he lifted a finger and shook it at her, “ah-ah-ah. None of that now. Remember the rule. Sit down. Tell me your name.” His voice, while being smooth also demanded that she obey at once. There were only a few people that can do this with their voice, and our friend the mouse, is one of them. To her dismay, the little girl found that she had sat prettily down on a cushion beside the table the mouse was on. “Melinda. My name is Melinda Cryalot.” “Hmm, it suits you I dare say. My name is Mr. Keeper.” “Keeper? What kind of a name is that?” She said with a sneer, for you see, she didn’t realize that her own name told others what type of a girl she was. “A fitting name. For, you see, I am the keeper of the key.” He said it all so calmly, as if it didn’t really mean anything. But really, he was watching her from the corner of his eye as he finished his cake and cleaned his whiskers for the last time.  It was very important how she responded to what he said, it would mean he could go on sitting comfortable in his chair, or he’d have to get up and do something about this newest child. He knew the King of The Land of Rules had a reason for sending Melinda Cryalot here, he just hadn’t figured out how to properly help her. So he was hoping inspiration would strike in the next few minutes.”

Yes, that’s probably more than a ‘snippet’ but I just couldn’t shorten it any…. Like I said, I’m loving the story already and have so many plans for this little girl! If you’ve posted a story you’re working on, share your link below – I’d enjoy reading it!  ~Laura

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