Tag Archives: books

Mattie Richardson, Author, and Her Horses of History Series ~ a Crew review

Horses In History Series from author Mattie Richardson

Books that dive into history in a unique way are highly appreciated by this mom, who is constantly looking for new ways to interest my sweet girls in different things. When the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series of books from young author Mattie Richardson came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read them. I had seen them previously but had not been able to get them at the time. Wow, have we been missing out!

Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books started writing these books when she was about 13. She has picked up a very interesting and unique way to look at different events in history with this series of books – from the perspective of the horses. What a fabulous outlook to take, especially when you consider her age as she started writing them. Well, since the first one, she hasn’t really stopped writing. Taking on the idea of how the horses might have seen different historical events was a stroke of genius.

Mattie Richardson books

There are 4 books in this series and we received each of them to read and review:

  • Appaloosy,
  • Dusty’s Trail,
  • Golden Sunrise, and
  • Day and Night.

We also received the new ebook enrichment guide to go along with Day and Night.

Appaloosy by Mattie RichardsonAppaloosy – This book takes a look at the final freedom of the Nez Perce tribe. Storm is a beautiful Appaloosa with unique markings who belongs to the tribe. The story follows the attempt by the tribe to maintain their freedom from the desires of the white man. War breaks out in Idaho, disrupting the life of the stunning young stallion. We follow Storm through many different owners, including both horse thieves/rustlers and kind owners. As the story continues, we follow Storm’s struggle for freedom, both against owners and his own heart.

Miss J and I read this book out loud during the review period, reading a chapter a night together. It was an interesting story about a time that she did not know anything about. The history of the struggles of the Nez Perce tribe as seen through the eyes of the horse made it an event that wasn’t too hard to read. There are some situations that sensitive children might have a harder time with but they are very important to the history of the events. They are handled carefully and are well done, emphasizing just the right amount of the scare or concern or fright while allowing the proper influence on the story because horse thieving, fights, battles, hunger, and more are all a part of it. We enjoyed reading the story together and seeing it all play out from a bit safer of a view point – the horse.

Dusty's Trail by Mattie Richardson

Dusty’s Trail – The call of the newspaper ad is just too strong for the young boy and his horse. The Pony Express! What an adventure it would be. Against his mother’s wishes, young Levi takes off on his horse Dusty. Dusty tries to let Levi know that this isn’t the best plan but Levi wins out and they become part of The Pony Express. Amid attacks, heat, cold, missing relays, and more, the story of how The Pony Express worked through the eyes of Dusty is a joy.

Golden Sunrise by Mattie Richardson

Golden Sunrise – The palomino pony, Cheyenne, is at home on the ranch when Jared decides he just has to be a part of the changes occuring in Texas in the 1830s and 1840s. The Texas fight for independence was just too appealing to the young lad and so with his horse, they join up. Being a part of the war may just be more than Cheyenne bargained for, though as she learns about the war she knows it is a just cause. Right in the midst of it all, Cheyenne and Jared are part of the big battles and meet many of the people who came to be important in the history of it all.

Day and Night by Mattie Richardson

Day and Night – The American Civil War was anything but civil, even for the horses. Two horse brothers, Tucker and Shiloh, are separated from each other as their lives diverge. One ends up on the side of the North and the other ends up on the side of the South. One ends up carrying a high ranking official. The other ends up carrying a boy, um – girl dressed like a boy who lied to be able to fight. From the border wars and the fights on the western front of the war, to the bloodiest battles fought, to protecting the lines and taking care of their riders, these horses saw it all and learned so much about the war that maybe we should learn from them.

Each of these stories is told from the horses’ point of view. Each is well told and highlights issues surrounding the events that might not be immediately obvious or the part that we have learned about in past history studies. These unique looks at the events of the stories will broaden the reader’s idea of what it is like to fight in a battle, seek freedom, work hard on a horse, ride for hours on end, or be a part of something bigger than themselves.

enrichment_guide

The Day and Night Enrichment Guide is a full-on unit study designed to help the reader get more out of the book. There are 8 parts to the guide, with all of the first seven following the same format. Each part contains

  • reading comprehension – questions to help guide the reader’s understanding of the story
  • vocabulary – words used within the story that might be new or unfamiliar to the reader; most are fill-in-the-blank activities with one matching activity
  • a soldier’s life – designed to help the reader understand more about the different aspects of a soldier’s life, there is information on food, bugle calls, medicine, camp life, and more
  • living history activity – these activities help bring to life the things that a soldier would have experienced, such as making butter, eating hardtack, or having johnnycakes; some of these include making a diorama or studying a reenactment
  • geography – because geography was important to war, there is a study of the states involved in the story, landmarks of the battles, rivers, and other big picture ideas of the civil war
  • horses and history – a look at the role of the horse in the civil war, including tack and equipment, purpose of the cavalry, breeds of horses, and more
  • creating your own stories – working one element at a time, the reader begins to create their own stories
  • biography – a look at an important person from the story
  • further reading/advanced track – additional books to read to further develop understanding of the Civil War

Part 8 is the completion of the story the reader was writing and suggestions for field trips.

The enrichment guide can be used as is but it would be very easy to pick the pieces of it that fit your need or your family and use just those. In whole, it is a solid literature, history, and geography study, with writing included. In pieces, it will be a good supplement to the story. Either way, it is a recommended addition to the book.

Horses In History Series from author Mattie Richardson

While we have not yet used the enrichment guide, I am getting it printed out and into a binder so that we can use it in the spring for our history with Miss J, age 10. We will not

use the further reading section, but all the others will be interesting and really create a solid study of these battles in the Civil War.

I am excited about using these four books from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books as the base for a history unit. These books are easy to read and chock full of the details of history that truly bring it to life.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series. Please click on the banner below to visit the Crew blog and read more reviews.

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The Finest Hours ~ Book Club

The Finest Hours

This month’s selection is by Michael J Tougias and Casey Sherman. It is titled The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.

I had read a review of this book on A Net In Time and immediately went to the library site and put it on hold. It sounded fascinating and I was not disappointed.

Screenshot 2019-11-05 at 8.02.06 PM

In 1952, there were many large oil tankers that had been produced during WWII still a float on the sea. Often, they were now de-commissioned from the armed services and being used by commercial groups. This was not unusual and the men on them served their companies well.

In the winter of 1952, mid-February, New England was slammed by a nor-easter. It was a terrific storm and wrecked havoc all up and down the sea coast. However, it was on the water where the worst was happening.

In the early hours, an oil tanker sent up a distress call. They were floundering and knew they were unlikely to survive the storm. Their hull was cracking, quite literally. Manufactured quickly during the war, the materials used were not quality and they were breaking apart. While the Coast Guard sent boats to their rescue, it was hard going. The Coast Guard typically used smaller vessels to head out to sea to help and these small vessels were having to battle waves that were 70 and 80 feet high, much taller than their small ships. However, they set out to help the oil tanker.

The Coast Guard, however, was in for a huge surprise. While looking for the oil tanker, a plane noticed an oil tanker broken in half. Yet, it didn’t appear to be the one he was looking for. Sure enough, a second oil tanker had broken in half during the storm before they were able to get a distress call off. By luck, they were found and additional rescue boats were sent their way.

The Finest Hours details the rescue of the men on the two oil tankers and the lives of the men who set out to rescue them, knowing they were likely to not return home. These were definitely “the finest hours” of the Coast Guard rescue teams.

Based on a true story, this one is worth reading. It is captivating and invigorating. It was one I could not put down and read into the night to find out what happened. As you might imagine with this type of storm and this many people involved, not everyone survived. Without the Coast Guard, though, it is likely none of the men would have survived. This is a story of possibility because of the men who went out in those small Coast Guard boats.

A Must Read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

These Are A Few of Our Favorite Books! G – Blogging Through The Alphabet

Favorite Books G cover

These will be published out of order. I know. I am sorry but I need to since the one for F is not done yet. Oops! Half of it is written but part is still needing to be done. So, you’ll get G ahead of it. 🙂

The Giver – Lois Lowry

(science fiction)

Set in a futuristic community, 12-year-old Jonas has been chosen for a very special honor. In his “perfect” world, everyone has an assigned family, job, they apply for a spouse and then a girl child and a boy child, and even their everyday meals are assigned. And no one knows the whole truth. Jonas’ job is to be the keeper of all of that knowledge, but in the process of his training Jonas learns the ugly truth of his community. But now he has to decide what to do about it.

E –  So I got the third book in this quartet, Messenger, and read it first. The wonderful thing about this series is that you can read any of the four books first and it can be a stand alone book. But then when you read them together, there is so much more to the story. That was one of the things that appealed to me about this book. I also liked how Jonas had to decide what to believe in, based on what he knew and the advice of the people nearest to him.

The Glass Castle – Trisha White Priebe

(christian fiction)

In a far off kingdom, the king is growing old and ill and he doesn’t have an heir to take over the kingdom. But the rumor that is going around says that the king does have an heir. When his wife died in childbirth 13 years ago, someone hid the child. And that is why someone has gathered all of the 13-year-olds in the kingdom and brought them to the castle. Avery, the main character of the story, and her new friends, Kate, Kendrick, and Tuck, are in charge of all of the 13-year-olds in the castle and help keep things running smoothly. When they discover that one of the 13-year-olds may be the lost heir to the kingdom, and the child of the man who wants them dead, the four friends have to try to find the heir first. But in the midst of all of the chaos, the teens still make the time to give glory to God.

E – I think that I liked this series because it was a good mystery even though there wasn’t overwhelming details all over the place. It wasn’t paced slowly at all, but the “action” scenes weren’t just battles and races and stuff. I felt like I could connect with Avery because our thought processes are so similar. I also really liked how God was a part of their decision making most of the time. Maybe the only thing that I didn’t like about this series was that there was always so many mysteries. As soon as you figure one out, there was a new one. But at the same time, I also like books like that, so I really enjoyed it.

Hopefully, I can get the F post up soon but until then, happy reading. If you have a favorite G-titled book, would you please share it? We enjoy finding more books to read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Favorite Books G

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These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Books – E ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

These are a few of our favorite books! Letter E in the Blogging Through The Alphabet series

If you are looking for a couple of books that have been read again and again, you are in the right place. Today’s listings for the letter E in our Blogging Through The Alphabet series brings two such books to be highlighted. These are both selections from Miss E and have been on her radar for a while, being read more than a few times.

Ella Enchanted –  Gail Carson Levine

(fantasy fiction)

The fairy Lucinda gives gifts, mostly to newborn babies. When Ella of Frell is born, Lucinda gives her a gift – the gift (or curse) of obedience. She must do anything that anyone tells her to do. When her mother dies, her father remarries a woman who has two daughters of her own. Ella’s father sends her and her step-sisters, Hattie and Olive, to finishing school. Unfortunately, Hattie has started to figure out that Ella has to obey every order she is given. Ella leaves finishing school to search for Lucinda in the hope that Lucinda will break the curse.

E – I think that this was one of the few times where I watched the movie before I read the book. I love the movie; it was really well made and true to the book. One of the things that I really like about this book was how much attention to detail it had. There were multiple languages that were described and explained, as well as just the general descriptions of everything. I also liked how I could relate to the way that Ella was so often conflicted with herself.

 

Elsie’s Endless Wait – based on the classic by Martha Finley

(christian fiction)

This is the first of eight books in the Life of Faith: Elsie Dinsmore series that was written by Martha Finley in 1868. They were adapted and republished by Mission City Press in 1999. Eight-year-old Elsie Dinsmore’s mother died in childbirth and she has never known her father, who has been away traveling since before she was born. Elsie lives with her grandfather, his wife, and six aunts and uncles, two of whom are younger than her. Her friend, Miss Rose, and her old housekeeper, Mrs. Murray, have taught her her Christian faith. And that deep faith is often Elsie’s only source of comfort when she is her Uncle Arthur’s object of torment. But when her father finally returns , will he accept her.

E – These books appealed to me because Elsie’s faith in God was so strong. I could connect with Elsie, maybe not as much in the first few books, but definitely later on. There were two things that I did not like in these books. One was that Elsie’s father didn’t take care of Elsie very well in the first book. The other thing is that throughout this series, and the other Life of Faith series, they do not believe in baptism. But despite that, I think that these books brought me closer to God.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

These are a few of our favorite books! Letter E in the Blogging Through The Alphabet series

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These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Books! D ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

These are a few of our favorite books! letter D

I really missed with this one. I thought the girls were still working on their list only to find out they had finished writing it all and I needed to add the images and publish it. So, the lateness is mine entirely! We ended up with only one book that they felt was worthy of the “favorite” label this week. And this is not only a good series, the author is a very enjoyable speaker who had a lot to share with young writers. It was interesting listening to him at the Teach Them Diligently convention last spring in Waco, TX. He was a friendly man who seemed just as happy to meet some of his readers as my daughter was to meet a favorite author. So, on to the book series.

Dragons In Our Midst – Bryan Davis

(christian fiction)

This series is the first of a three series chain including the Oracles of Fire series and the Children of the Bard series. The first book in Dragons In Our Midst, Raising Dragons, is about two teenagers, Billy and Bonnie. They are normal teenagers – except for the fact that Billy’s father and Bonnie’s mother used to be dragons. Billy and Bonnie each have a distinguishing dragon trait that sets them apart. There is a group of people who want to get rid of all the former dragons and their offspring, and the two friends must stick close to each other and to God to survive.

E – I loved this book! I found it for three dollars, so I thought, ‘If I don’t like it, it didn’t cost that much.’ But it was soooo good. Good christian fiction can be hard to find, but when I do find it, it is generally pretty good. What I liked about this book was that I could relate to a lot of what Billy’s thoughts and doubts were. And I liked Bonnie because I want to have that kind of faith in God. Our library didn’t have all of the books in these series so I just had to buy them all!

What Miss E did not state about liking this books so much was that she bought all the others at from the author so she could have the full series. And she was able to get them autographed. If that is not an endorsement of a series, I don’t know what is.

In a short while, you will see the E post come up since I am so late with this one.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

These are a few of our favorite books! Letter D

A list of good reads for middle and high school while blogging through the alphabet with letter D. A few of our favorite books.

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These Are a Few of Our Favorite Books! C – Blogging Through The Alphabet

Books C

This week’s selections are not quite as varied but still a small selection. Enjoy!

City of Ember – Jeanne DuPrau

(fiction)

City of Ember is about a city that is just is like any other city – except for the fact that it is underground. Ember (the city) is surrounded by pitch blackness on all sides. All of Ember’s light comes from huge floodlights, far above the citizens’ heads, that run on a generator that is slowly falling apart. Ember wasn’t made to last forever. 12-year-olds Lina and Doon find a mysterious piece of paper that could contain instructions for how to escape Ember, but they have to put it together piece by piece and some parts are missing.

E – This book appealed to me because it had a good plot line that had twists that I didn’t expect. I could relate to Lina a lot because her thought process is a lot like mine. It was set in the future, which I really like, because so many people have so many different ideas about it. This book was also a nice book because it didn’t have any language in it, which is kind of strange for a book in the young adult section in the library.

Corrie ten Boom: Keeper of the Angels’ Den – Janet and Geoff Benge

(biography)

This book is from the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series. Corrie ten Boom was born in 1892 in the Netherlands. During WWII, Corrie ten Boom and her family hid four Jews and two members of the underground in their house, though they went to prison for it. Corrie and her sister Betsie ten Boom stayed in prison longer than any of their family, but they constantly encouraged one another and built each other’s faith in God.

E – This book was really good because it helps remind us that God is always there with us, even when it’s hard and even when we can’t see it. It was a very well written book, it kept me turning pages, wanting to find out what happened next.

The Christmas Doll – Elvira Woodruff

(fiction)

This book is about two sisters named Lucy and Glory who live in London a long time ago. They live in an orphanage and Lucy, the older sister, entertains Glory with stories about a doll that Glory had when she was a baby. When the flu sweeps through London and a lot of the girls in their orphanage get sick, Lucy is afraid Glory will get sick, too. She takes her sister away from the orphanage. Along the way, they find an old doll and Glory decides it must be her doll from when she was a little girl. After finding the doll, Lucy also finds a job and the story ends happily.

L – This is a sweet story about Christmas.

Counting By 7s – Holly Goldberg Sloan

(fiction)

This story is about Willow, who is very different. She has lived an unfair life, but she understands much about life that the average person doesn’t get. As she is seeking for belonging, you will enjoy her story.

E chose this one. My thoughts on why she likes it? This is a very different story and it just kind of grabs you.

Hope you found another new one to check out this week!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Books C pin

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These Are A Few of Our Favorite Books! Letter B ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

Books B

Today, we are taking on the letter B titles for Blogging Through The Alphabet. Come see what we enjoy.

Bounders series – Monica Tesler

(science fiction)

This is currently a 4-book series (Earth Force Rising, The Tundra Trials, The Forgotten Shrine, and The Heroes Return), with a 5th (Fractured Futures) on the way. These books follow the story of the Bounders, a special group of pre-teens, who are trained by a space-military agency (the Earth Force) as an attempt to protect Earth. 12-year-old Jasper and his new friends soon realize, however, that they must stop a war from breaking out and destroying Earth.

E – When I picked up Earth Force Rising at the library to try, I wasn’t reading very much science fiction at all. Mostly I was reading fantasy. But I really enjoyed it because the characters were so entertaining and relatable. I especially liked how Jasper thought (most) things through before making a decision. This books got me reading more science fiction.

Britfield and the Lost Crown – C. R. Stewart

(fiction)

This is the first book in the Britfield series. In this book, Tom, a 12-year-old orphan, escapes the cruel orphanage he has lived at for 6 years. He also brings along his best friend Sarah, and together the two of them attempt to find out anything they can about Tom’s past. Along the way they make new friends… some of whom are not what they seem. Together, Tom and Sarah discover that Tom may be the true heir to the British throne. But with police officers everywhere looking for them, resulting in several close escapes, Tom and Sarah may be sent back to the orphanage before they solve the mystery.

E – I liked this book because it was a compelling mystery with several twists that I didn’t see coming. It was also easy to sympathize with the characters because of all the hardships that they had to endure.

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild

(fiction)

This is a book about three orphans, adopted by an eccentric man who lives with his nephew’s wife and little girl, who help to look after the children when Gum (Great Uncle Matthew) heads off on one of his trips for quite a while. As a matter of fact, that was where he found the babies in the first place. Three girls, all with different stories and different backgrounds now grow up in the same nursery. Soon, they are accepted into an academy of dance and stage training. The book is mostly about their lives as they take on the stage and pursue their separate interests, all while waiting for the uncle they never really met to come back. Pauline loves the stage and wants to be an actress. Petrova would rather pilot an airplane. And Posy (my favorite) has her heart set on being a ballerina.

L – I loved this book partly because it is about dance (obviously) and partly because I liked reading about their everyday life in the wings of the theater. I found it very interesting to read about these ordinary-but-not-so-ordinary girls, and their lives on-and off-the stage.

Books of Bayern – Shannon Hale

(fantasy fiction)

This is a 4-book series as well (The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born). The first book, The Goose Girl, follows Princess Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee (Isi) as she leaves the castle and country, Kildenree, where she spent her first 16 years. Her mother, the widowed queen, attempts to marry her off to the prince of Bayern, but as in the Grimm fairy tale (The Goose Girl) the servant girl takes the princess’s place. The other three books continue on with other characters from the first book.

E – I loved this book. I really like the way that Shannon Hale writes and these books were no exception. I could relate to how Isi, Enna, Razo, Rin, and other characters felt about themselves and other people. I also liked how the first book stayed true to the Grimm story but also had so much other detail that made the story longer. I don’t know how many times I have reread these books. I think that most teens that like to read fantasy will love this book. I wish that I could think of something else to say because it was that good!

See you next week for the letter C!

Blessings,
The two oldest giggly girls and
Lori, At Home.

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The Rules:

* Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it.
* When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares.
* Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up.
* Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
* If you have time,check out a few of the other posts and share the love.
* The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

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