Quote of the Week

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Book of the Week: Thanksgiving Day at Our House

thanksgiving-day-at-our-houseDuring the preschool years, our family was introduced to the picture book series Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom. One day, while doing a library search for another Jesse Bear book, I came across the Thanksgiving themed book titled, Thanksgiving Day At Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young. 

Thanksgiving Day At Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young.  is a volume of poetry which celebrates the holiday established by President Abraham Lincoln on November 28, 1861. The reader will journey with the family featured in Who Said Boo? Halloween Poems for the Very Young as they celebrate the season of thanksgiving. The celebration begins with a First Thanksgiving pageant. Followed by Thanksgiving Day as the family gathers to together to celebrate. The celebration ends with a time of reflection as the family focuses on a prayer for others, graces, the quiet moment and good night prayer.

Illustrator R.W. Alley lends his talent to bring the child’s world of Thanksgiving to life.
Thanksgiving Day At Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young is a delight for all of the young at heart.

Kathy Alphs

 

Book of the Week: Nine Witch Tales

 

bowninewitchtalesscholasticIn the autumn of my Third Grade year, I began scanning the school’s library shelves for a Halloween themed book. Our librarian, Mrs. Dickinson suggested Nine Witch Tales by Abby Kedabra.  After doing a quick perusal became my literary selection of the week.

Nine Witch Tales by Abby Kedabra a collection of witch themed tales. The titles in collection include:  The Witch’s Chant from Macbeth by William Shakespeare, The Horned Witches by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd, The Huntsman and the Witch by The Brothers Grimm, The Cat Witch by Maria Leach, Baba Yaga, the Forest Witch by Arthur Ransome, The Bewitching Ointment by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd, The Hungry Old Witch by Charles J. Finger, The Young Witch-Horse by Moritz Jagendorf, The Witch of Wandaland by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd, The Hex and the Oxen by Moritz Jagendorf.

Looking back in retrospect, Nine Witch Tales by Abby Kedabra was the book which directed me to the writings of the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare. Since then, I have read all of Shakspeare’s plays and have passed my love of Shakespeare onto my child and students. It just goes to show, you will never know what can happen when you read a good book.

Kathy Alphs

Book of the Week: Who Said Boo?

bowwhosaidbooDuring the preschool years, our family was introduced to the picture book series Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom. One day, while doing a library search for another Jesse Bear book, I came across the Halloween themed book titled, Who Said Boo? Halloween Poems for the Very Young. 

Who Said Boo? Halloween Poems for the Very Young is a volume of poetry which celebrates glowing jack-o’-lanterns, haunted houses, scary monsters, spooky shadows as a group of children embark on their adventure of Trick or Treat on Halloween night. Illustrator R.W. Alley lends his talent to bring the child’s world of Trick or Treat to life.
Who Said Boo? Halloween Poems for the Very Young is a spooky delight for the young at heart.

Kathy Alphs

 

Book of the Week: How Harry Potter Cast His Spell

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Seventeen years ago, I was confronted by our then extreme, right wing, homeschooling neighbor with accusations that “Harry Potter is evil, he is the anti-Christ.” Sadly our neighbor had not read through any of the Harry Potter books, but based their statement on an article which appeared in the Madison, Wisconsin satirical newspaper, “The Onion.” Seventeen years ago there were not many resource books on this topic. However, in 2002 a new author named John Granger appeared on the scene. Granger attempted to do something no other author had done before: Approach the Harry Potter books from a literary analysis/apologetics viewpoint. His first book was titled, “The Hidden Key to Harry Potter” followed by a second edition titled, “Looking for God in Harry Potter” and finally a third edition titled, “How Harry Potter Cast His Spell.” For this review, the third edition, “How Harry Potter Cast His Spell” will be the subject of my review.

“Refusing to see the Christian elements in Harry Potter and insisting it is demonic is not a greater piety or fidelity to the faith; it is just a reflection of not understanding the place of literature in the spiritual life, of not understanding the Christian tradition of English literature, and of not understanding Harry Potter,” states John Granger. This is the premise for his book, “How Harry Potter Cast His Spell.”

Granger eloquently delivers his defense using his knowledge of classic literature, philosophy and Christian tradition in the following chapters: “Magic, Fantasy and Transcendence, Cosmic White Hats and Black Hats, The Hero’s Journey, The Alchemy of Spiritual Growth, One Person, Two Natures, Don’t Judge, Lest You Be Judges, The Triumph of Love over Death, The Question of Identity, Evidence of Things Unseen, Fun with Names, The Purification of the Soul, Dangerous Books and Edifying Books, Despair and Delivery, Girded with Virtue, Dark Night of the Soul, Baptism into a Sacrificial Death, Choosing to Believe, Christian Birth and Baptism, Victory Over Death, FAQs.

“How Harry Potter Cast His Spell ” is a must read for fans who want to know what inspired J.K. Rowling to write the Harry Potter books; parents who want to know more about the values the books teach, and for teachers and students who wish to gain a better understanding of the literary elements and theological message within the books themselves.

Kathy Alphs

Book of the Week: The Great Gatsby

bowgreatgatsbyOver this past summer, our family began watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries based on the novels by Kerry Greenwood. During this time, several of our family members became interested in the historical time period know as The Roaring Twenties. Resources were checked out from our local public library and perused. In the end, it was decided that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel proved to be the best resource to reference this tumultuous time period of history.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel,The Great Gatsby, follows Jay Gatsby, a man who orders his life around one desire: to be reunited with Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. Gatsby’s quest leads him from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death. Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby is a classic piece of American fiction. It is a novel of triumph and tragedy, noted for the remarkable way Fitzgerald captured a cross-section of American society. (1)

In addition to reading Fitzgerald’s novel, I would recommend viewing Baz Luhrmann’s  2013 movie, The Great Gatsby.  Bax Luhrmann and Craig Pearce pay homage to Fitzgerald’s magnum opus by bringing the author’s story to life on the big screen.

Kathy Alphs

Bibliography
(1) https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/g/the-great-gatsby/the-great-gatsby-at-a-glance