Tag Archives: books

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion ~ Book Club

All Girl Filling Station Book Club

At the end of the last Book Club post, I mentioned the book we expected to be discussing this month. It was a very obscure one and I don’t think we realized just how obscure until we tried to get our hands on it. So, we made the decision to change and I neglected to let you all know. I apologize for that!!

We jumped over to The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. Most people are at least a little bit familiar with Fannie Flagg’s work but don’t know it. Fannie Flagg also wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. Yes, the book on which the movie was based. Anyhow, The All-Girl Filling Station was a wonderful read. I highly suggest that you take a day or two and enjoy the fun read.

Before you move on to my summary and questions, I wanted to update this with Wendy’s link. She had some very good thoughts so please head over to Ladybug Daydreams and read her post about the book.

SUMMARY: Sookie has finally married off the last of her girls and feels like, other than her aging, somewhat-exuberant, always in the middle of something mother, she is finally free to relax. Sookie’s husband is a local dentist so she is very conscious of who she is at all times and who she represents when out and about. In addition to that, her mother has always insisted that Sookie be dressed well and, well, just insisted. About everything.

One day, though, Sookie finds out that there is a secret in her past. As she begins looking into that hint of something different, she finds a big twist that she never expected or saw coming. So much for relaxing with an empty nest! She finds herself looking far back – 1909 to be exact – and off in Poland. That is where Sookie’s story began.

Stanislaw Ludic Judabralinski left the dangerous life of Poland and headed to Chicago at the age of 14. There he lived, worked, fell in love, and married. With his wife Linka their family began. They worked hard and owned a filling station (here is where the title begins to make some sense). After having a gaggle of girls, war came, death came, and the girls had to step up to help the family. In order to attract customers to their filling station during the war (we are in WWII now), the girls advertised the all-girl filling station. They worked hard for their family and kept them together during the rough times.

But, even rougher times were ahead and one of the girls, Fritzi, decided she needed to do something more. She joined the WASP and moved to Texas to train. The WASP training was interesting and challenging and do we ever get to see a big bit of Fritzi’s character! It is fun.

All of this jumps back and forth from present day, with Sookie searching out all of this information, to the past to help us learn Sookie’s history. As we near the end of the book, the history is all making sense and well, there are still plenty of surprises for you to find out.

This is a terribly fun, interesting, and engaging story. I had such joy reading it. (I had also read another Fannie Flagg book earlier so I kind of knew what to expect with her jumps from time to time and character to character.) A definitely recommendation.

All-Girl Filling Station

Questions come from LitLovers:

1. A lot of Southern identity is wrapped up in one’s family history. “Now, just who are your people?” is an oft-quoted phrase around the region. Sookie’s biggest crisis comes when she realizes that her “people” aren’t actually who she thought they were. How does Sookie’s discovery of her true family affect her identity?

Sookie’s discovery was a shock. She felt she was an imposter, a big fake. Even a liar. She wasn’t but that is how much it impacted her. You can be an imposter or a fake or a liar when you didn’t know that what you were purporting was incorrect.

2. Though Sookie tells us that Lenore’s nickname, “Winged Victory,” came from the way she entered a room—as if she were the statuesque piece on the hood of a car rushing in—how might “Winged Victory” reflect Lenore’s personality in other ways? Does her representation as a classical goddess serve to heighten the air of history and tradition that surrounds her? How might the image of a winged woman tie Lenore in with the ladies of the WASPs?

The nickname certainly gives a larger-than-life expectation and Lenore lived up to that. She brought all eyes to her and she was the center of attention. This is the type of expectation that goddesses had in their stories – center of attention and the expectation of complete obedience and service from all. Lenore had that same personality.

I don’t know if the image of the winged woman was intentional to tie in the WASP but it certainly does. Especially when you know that the mascot of the WASP was actually a winged girl. And the WASP were women who flew, helping provide victory during the war in every way they were allowed.

3. Sookie’s best friend, Marvaleen, is constantly trying different suggestions from her life coach, Edna Yorba Zorbra. From journaling to yoga to the Goddess Within group, which meets in a yurt, Marvaleen tries every method possible to get over her divorce. How does Sookie’s approach to dealing with her problems differ from Marvaleen’s? Do you think her friendship with Marvaleen might have helped push her to confront the question of her mother?

Marvaleen was quite a character. She never really faces her problems; she just searches for another magical fix. This is where her crazy life coach comes in. I think Marvaleen was a good balance for Sookie, helping her recognize over-the-top when it showed up.

4. In The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, we learn about a mostly unknown part of American history—the WASPs of World War II. These women went for thirty-five years without recognition because their records of service were sealed and classified. Were you surprised to learn about this? What parts of the WASPs’ story spoke to you?

Actually, not at all surprised. We have studied this recently and we were able to visit the WASP Museum in Sweetwater, TX, not too long ago. The WASP stories are amazing and the women are quite inspiring. They definitely faced things head-on!
Want to read about our visit to the museum? We’d love to share it with you!

5. “Blue Jay Away,” Sookie’s brand-new invention, keeps Sookie’s house finches and chickadees fed, while also making Sookie famous. Who do you think have been the blue jays in Sookie’s own life? Has she learned to manage them successfully?

I don’t know that we ever are able to “manage” the blue jays in our lives. We manage ourselves around them and become more confident in who we are. I think that is what happened with her mother, in particular. Sookie became more confident once she understood more about her background and was able to be more herself, rather than fitting into what someone else expected of her. That is a very freeing thing.

6. A major theme in this book is accepting your home. Sookie experiences a homecoming many times—after she first meets Fritzi and returns to Point Clear, when she goes to Lenore’s bedside at Westminster Village, and when she flies to Pulaski for the All-Girl Filling Station’s last reunion. What is your favorite part about going home? Who are the people who make home a home for you?

Home is where comfort abides. Family makes a place home. So do friends.

I truly enjoyed this read and will be reading more of Fannie Flagg’s writing. It was a joy. Watch for Wendy’s post to come up. I’ll try to remember to share it with you when it becomes available. Also, once we have decided what we will read for the coming month, I will share that, too. Thanks for joining me again for Book Club.

At Home.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

The Secret Bridge ~ a Crew review

The Secret Bridge review

We were recently introduced to Lamplighter Publishing and the beautiful books they publish. So when The Secret Bridge by Amy Le Feuvre was released and we were given the opportunity to review it, I was more than happy to do so. After all, a rich, historical story focused on the gifts of God and coming to know Him is such a blessing to read. I was very excited about this book.

Lamplighter Publishing chooses stories that bring a God-focused life to light through characters that are strong and courageous. The company edits the stories they choose to reflect the character of God. This does mean that sometimes a story is edited to remove questionable or inappropriate language and/or content. The result, though, is a story that fully meets the mission of the company.

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews} 

When The Secret Bridge arrived, I was shocked at how lovely it was. This is a hardback book whose cover is a soft, buttery-feeling, leather-like material. Now, I don’t know if it is really leather but it is so soft, that just holding it while reading adds to the pleasure of the story. With the bright gold accents, this is truly a beautiful book that anyone would be proud to have on their shelf.

However, that is not the true value of this book. The value lies in the truths about God that it explores and teaches. Originally written in 1899, the story begins on a boat where we meet Bridget as she is traveling to England after losing her father. Her mother had died very early on in Bridget’s life so her father was her only family. Upon her father’s death, she found out that she did have one other living relative who would take her in. However, this relative also dies before Bridget’s arrival.

A stranger who took an interest in her on the boat happens upon her shortly after she found out she was truly alone in the world. He takes pity upon her and offers to help her. This help is very hard to accept for Bridget but once she does, she finds her world completely changed. Now a bride, Bridget is challenged “Acquaint thyself with Him.”

Bridget’s heart embraces this challenge and so begins the beauty of the story – learning how to search after God, to feel Him searching for His children and reaching for them. Bridget searches out how to “acquaint thyself with Him.” Realizing she doesn’t really know God, her main priority becomes learning to live that out getting to know Him, even among a web of very tangled family relationships.

This is an engaging story that is very thoughtfully put together, tantalizing the mind with hints of what is to come and encouraging the reader to also “acquaint thyself with Him.” In becoming more familiar with Christ, the reader is also brought to know about Christ. There is scripture placed throughout the book that points to Christ and knowledge of Him. That is the true gem of this book – the story is fun and engaging but the knowledge of Christ that is woven throughout the story is precious.

I truly enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read, taking me just a couple of days of reading after the girls were in bed. It was enjoyable and one that I didn’t really want to put down. (And can I just say that I wish I had that terrace walk where she spent her evenings looking out over the sea, longing for her husband’s return?)

I did ask the older two girls to read a bit of the story but it just was not engaging for them. Honestly, having read the book, I can see that. It is really not one that will be that interesting for a pre-teen or early teenager. Possibly at around 15 or so the interest might be there. There are a lot of family relationship complexities in the book and that can be difficult for a younger teenager to understand, thus making the book not make a lot of sense. For me, though, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

At Home.

There were 80 families who received this book to read. Click below to read what some of them thought about The Secret Bridge.

The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}

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Peggy Consolver book ~ a Crew review

Have you ever thought about what life was like during the Old Testament times? Peggy Consolver – Author did and what come of that is quite an amazing, engaging, and interesting novel: Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer.

Shepherd Potter Spy Star Namer

  Mrs. Consolver began writing the story of a young Gibeonite boy during Old Testament times but in 2010, she was struggling to get the Peggy Consolverbackground right – the setting, the geography, the day-to-day details that make a story so engaging that you just can’t let go of it. She was able to take a tour of Israel, go to Caesarea, Megiddo, the Jezreel Valle, Galilee, Jericho, and more. Attending some of the archaeological digs in the area really brought to life the setting in which she was writing the story. And from there, well, we are definitely the beneficiaries of the beautiful, insightful writing that came of that experience. Her purpose is to bring every reader closer to God, to HIStory.

A Summary:

Shepher, Potter, Spy, and the Star Namer has its primary focus on the family of a young Gibeonite boy. The setting is the Jezreel Valley – close to Jerusalem, Jerico, and the Jordan River. The time period is the final two years of the Israelites wandering in the desert before entering Canaan.

The Gibeonite family are shepherds and potters, working hard daily to earn their living and to live in the mountainous areas of their country. Keshub, 13 years old, begins the book as the shepherd for his family, but their lives begin to change when the king of Amorites begins his awful reign and his unloved son runs away for fear of his own life. Keshub’s family believes in the Star-Namer, one who knows all, created all, and cares for everyone, wanting them to do right.

A caravan brings news of the approaching Hebrews and their land is filled with terror. Are the Hebrews really an overwhelming invader who will kill and destroy or is the king of the Amorites who they should worry about? What will happen to the family and the land? After the fall of Jericho, what is there to believe? How could a city that was so protected just fall?

book cover

Fascinating Things:

What I found so fascinating about this story is the lives brought to life in the pages of the story. This is a fictional book but it is historical fiction, based strongly on the lives of the Gibeonite people and the Hebrews. Many of the events of the story come from the Old Testament, specifically as documented in Joshua and Exodus.

Have you ever wondered just what it was like for the Hebrews, as they left behind Egypt and approached Canaan for the second time, after most of those who came out of Egypt had died? Have you ever thought about the amazing sight of what the fall of Jericho would have looked like? What about the crossing of the Jordan river on dry land? Have you ever thought about how the lives of the people were, their daily lives, their earning livings? All this and more are brought to life through the imagination of Mrs. Consolver.

Just some insight into her creative thought processes – I have always thought that it must have been strange to see all of the changes and deaths the Hebrew people experienced. I never personalized it, though. Mrs. Consolver does that extremely well and I felt the fear, the anguish, the pain of the families as they waited for people to die. They knew the deaths of everyone over a certain age would have to die before they could enter Canaan and that must have been an excruciating wait when you knew one of your family members was in that catergory. This is just one of the experiences that was brought to stark life, so that I could feel the anguish, in the story.

A Note on the Book:

Mrs. Consolver has the reader in the Gibeonite setting for most of the book but there are many scenes that take place in the Hebrew camp, as well. This movement of the setting really enhances the book, as it brings the eventual meeting of the two groups to a head (remember when the Gibeonites approached the Hebrews and made a treaty with them under false pretenses?). This did take a bit of thinking to jump back and forth but I feel like it did a great job of bringing the reader right into the story and setting the stage for the final portions of the book.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer Peggy Consolver 

Website:

Mrs. Consolver has an interesting website that really enhances the experience of Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer. There are many research links and videos that help you delve deeper into the setting and story line. From looking at animals encountered in the story to links showing how to make knots like the boys did, from learning about Mount Hermon to bow making and learning about fires and insects – the research links are fascinating. They can really strengthen the connections to the story and, more importantly, to the Bible and the events told there. There is also a study guide available to help the readers dig even deeper into HIStory and all that God shows us through the Bible. The study guide is available for purchase and you can get a sample of it from Mrs. Consolver’s website.

At Home.

You can find the author on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/peggy.consolver

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews of the book.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver Reviews} 

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Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes – Middle School Monday

bluebonnets & indian paintbrushes

One is never too old to study legends to go along with the every day. So this week, we are delving a bit into Texas history through bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes. These beautiful flowers flourish in Texas this time of year.

Last Friday, we took a field trip to bluebonnet fields and spent the day relveling in the beauty of large fields of flowers. These flowers are the quintessential picture of Texas for many people and the legends that go along with these flowers are beautiful. They show love for community and acts of self-less-ness.

So, this week, we are going to pull out The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush. Both of these legends are interesting and beautiful. No only do we learn and revisit these stories but we will learn a bit more about the people who created these legends.

Some of the possible activities we will do:

  • creating art work
  • reading the books
  • writing our own retelling of the story or doing a video of our retelling of the legends
  • illustrate the legends
  • research the flowers
  • science lesson on labeling plants (more for the youngest giggly girl)
  • research the Comanche tribes and Plains tribes
  • define legends
  • create a lapbook on the story
  • create a lapbook with character traits and relate to other characters (perhaps Biblical?)
  • create a doll similar to the one in the legend
  • create paints from berries and other things we can scavenge
  • revisit teepees from previous studies
  • take a look at drought – what it is, what it does to the land
  • study sacrifice
  • geography study – look at Texas, Wyoming, the plains, bordering states, etc. on a map

Yes, these are very generic ideas that will come to fruition as we decide on which activities to explore more deeply and which ones to not include in our learning at all this time around. We revisit ideas as we explore topics and books and stories and subjects that we find interesting or different.

This is one of the lovely things that we sometimes forget about our schooling – we don’t have to cover it all in depth because things will come around again and we will learn more the next time. So, my goal with these books is to give the oldest giggly girl, who is in 7th grade, more freedom to explore her areas of interest with the book on her own and create a presentation for her sisters. The middle giggly girl (5th) will probably do a couple of the simpler topics and join with her younger sister in others. The youngest giggly girl (2nd) will be working with me to delve into some things that she either hasn’t done yet or needs to revisit in a more in depth way, such as the plant labeling.

I challenge you to pull out a legend, or any story really, and find some related activities to do and see if the connections don’t help the information stick.

At Home.

Bessie’s Pillow ~ a Crew review

Bessie's Pillow review

History came to life. It truly did, when we were reading Bessie’s Pillow. This story, from Linda Bress Silbert and Strong Learning, Inc., is about a young lady who immigrates to America just after 1900.

For our family, that is very personal. My husband’s great-grandmother immigrated to America, through Ellis Island, just before 1900. So this story became something that we could easily relate to and brought us a greater understanding of all that their family would have gone through. This ability to relate so personally to the story made this true story of Bessie very real and very alive.

with the drawing of the shipby the passenger list

The main character in the story is Boshka Markman and her story begins in Vilna, Lithuania in 1906. 18 year old Boshka is leaving Vilna because it has become so dangerous there. The progroms and war have invaded their lives but far away, America beckons. Boshka begins her immigration journey to America. But before she boards the train, an older lady from the village asks her to deliver a special pillow to a son in America.

“May this pillow bring you peace.”

This story is not just a story. It is history. The history of a family, the history of nations, the history of the world at that time. And it pulls the reader deep into it all.

Bessie's Pillow cover

We are engaged in the story and through it we see the dangers of the world. The difficulty of a young girl traveling by herself, bravely facing all that comes her way. We walk with her through the invasive medical exams she was forced to endure in order to board the ship and the nervousness of waiting to see if she is allowed to live in America. Though her name is changed (she becomes Elizabeth Markman at Ellis Island), she boldly moves forward to live a new life in America.

She faces the dangers of a young lady in New York but finds employment and a safe place to live. Through her, we see the horrible working and living conditions but we also see the unconquerable human spirit and the will to push through towards a dream. Finding a way to deliver the pillow entrusted to her back in Vilna, she travels to New Rochelle and encounters a new life. The story of her life, lived with the same boldness she came to America with, is what this book is about.

Bessie’s Pillow touched me a lot. The true story of someone who would have been so like my husband’s great-grandmother was intriguing to read, to experience. Written by the granddaughter of Bessie Dreizen (the married name of the main character), this story has the twists and turns of the most creative novel yet is history, family history. And while this story is personal for her, it is one that most everyone in America should be able to relate to in some way.

exploring Bessie's America

Found online and in the back of the book, Bessie’s America is a collection of short articles and websites full of historical tidbits, links, and videos to help us get an more complete look at the life Bessie would have lived and the world she lived in. From the progression of film (from a silent movie that was shown in the theater in New Rochelle to early cartoons and talking movies) to music and dancing (we watched a video of Nellie Melba and looked at images of Carnegie Hall), from news of the day to famous people of the day, from housework to health and hygiene – Bessie’s America was very different from what we know today and this look back at the time in history of this story gives the story even more context and gives us even more understanding.

Bessie’s America really enhanced the book and we found a number of interesting things to read about and websites to visit. This is not a necessity for reading the book but it definitely gives extension to the book and understanding to the reader who takes the time to read and visit the website.

Bessie’s Pillow  is a wonderful, engaging read that is so full of history – our history – that I highly recommend it to everyone. I will note that there are some discussions early on in the book about incidents that caused Vilna to be unsafe for her, as well as New York to be unsafe (mention of attacks on girls and women), working conditions and the dangers that were faced, as well as some undesirable locations that people frequented. I would not just hand this book to anyone under the age of about 12 but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good books for them to read. I suggest reading it yourself first and deciding if it is right for your child and/or doing it as a read-aloud so that you can edit the parts that may not be right for your family.

My 12 year old read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She read it quickly (perhaps a day) and wanted to talk about it. We had talked about our family history and that made this book even more desirable for her. There is much to be gained from reading history that comes alive as Bessie’s Pillow does.

At Home.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews} 

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Susan K Marlow’s New Andi books ~ a Crew review

Circle C Stepping Stones series

Circle C Stepping Stones is a new series from author Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications. The first two books in the series, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top, continue to sage of Andrea Carter, affectionately known as Andi.

Andrea Carter, or Andi, begins the Circle C Stepping Stones series on her 9th birthday. This scene is one that just about every little girl (and boy) can relate to: hoping beyond hope for a long desired gift. This quickly endears the reader to Andi and her plight of trying to grow up strong and independent with a mind of her own while obeying and honoring her mother and her older brothers, who are in charge of the ranch.

Andi Saddles Up

Andi Saddles Up –

Andi gets a wonderful birthday breakfast and lovely gifts from her family. But when she is followed by the whole family out to the barn, she begins to wonder what’s up. She finds out that she does, after all, get a brand new saddle for Taffy, her horse. After saddling up, her big brother takes her out for a ride to try it out and to discuss new privileges – Andi can now ride Taffy when she wants! She also gets shown a special place that almost no one else knows about.

One day while at this special place, Andi meets a new friend, Sadie. The girls quickly become good friends, swapping stories and trading rides for fishing bait. Andi and Sadie enjoy their new friendship, even after they find out that their families are disagreeing about a property boundary. When something happens and help is needed quickly, can the families be calm and kind? And can Andi and Sadie’s friendship survive the family struggles?

Andi Under the Big TopAndi Under the Big Top –

The circus is coming to town and Andi is terribly excited. Getting to see exotic animals and bareback riders and acrobats are the things Andi’s dreams are made of. Watching the circus parade is such a joy for Andi, especially seeing the world champion bareback rider!

Then Andi meets Henry. Henry is a little boy who works for the circus. Only, Andi notices he doesn’t seem very happy and Andi begins to wonder, for the first time, if maybe the circus is not as glamorous as it seems from the outside. After an altercation in which Andi’s big brother helps Henry avoid undeserved punishment, Henry is able to take Andi behind the scenes of the circus. This adventure is such a joy for Andi and her big sister Melinda.

But, Henry is still on Andi’s mind. She has realized that he ran away from home to join the circus and is now unable to get away; he is trapped. She wants to help him but after she finds out what he has done, can she?

What We Thought –

Miss L, age 10, read these books through the day we received them. She has enjoyed the Circle C Beginnings series and was ready to continue reading about Andi’s adventures. She wrote the following summaries about the books:

Andi Saddles Up is a fun book. It is about Andi, of course, and her family when a river that divides her family’s property and their neighbor’s, the Hollisters, property changes its course during a flood. Meanwhile, Andi makes a new friend with Sadie Hollister and she then wants to hang onto their friendship, even while their families fight. I love the way the book ends and I really liked the part about the hoof picks! Susan K Marlow is so talented! I think that I would recommend this book for ages 7 + up, maybe a year or two younger if it is a read-aloud.

Andi Under the Big Top is a nice book, too. All the details made me feel like I was really at the circus with her, and yet, reading. And the thick plots! I was really impressed that Marlow was able to get as much good plot and details in as she was without just dragging the story along with it. I think that I would recommend this one for ages 7 + up as well. Again, maybe a little younger for a read-aloud.using the study guide

Miss J (just turned 8) is reading the books at a slower pace. She is also working on the Study Guides that are provided to go along with the books. You can find the Study Guides on the webpages for the books, both at Kregel Publications and on the Circle C Stepping Stonespage (where they are called activity pages; you can also find coloring pages). These Study Guides provide a nice supplement to the books. They contain comprehension questions and activities. They cover subjects such as vocabulary, poetry, history, character study, Bible, music, and more. It is recommended that the guides take 21 days to complete but they are pretty easy to speed up or slow down as your family needs. We have really enjoyed adding these Study Guides to our reading and making this a more complete literature study.

Overall –

The Circle C Ranch books are wholesome, with good, solid ideas and themes, as well as Biblical ideas and character building opportunities. The new Circle C Stepping Stones series is no different. Andi is growing and some of my favorite parts in these books are where she remembers to go to God when she sees something that He can help with or when she is suddenly thankful. (Thank you, God, for giving me a brave sister! p. 76 Andi Under the Big Top)  I thoroughly enjoy those little moments of showing God in the everyday.

Circle C Stepping Stones books

We adore Mrs. Marlow. Her writing has been a joy to read since we were first introduced to her stories. We have told tons of people about them and encouraged our library to order the books. (They did! All of them! And they have ordered these new ones, too, since we told them they were out!) Miss E is waiting (im)patiently for me to get the newest one of the Circle C Milestones series. We highly recommend these books.

At Home.

We have previously reviewed these other books by Susan K. Marlow:
The Last Ride
Tales From the Circle C Ranch
Thick as Thieves

There are other Homeschool Review Crew families who have been reading these books, as well. Please click on the banner below to read what they thought of Circle C Stepping Stones.

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews} 

Find out more on social media:

Twitter (Kregel Books): https://twitter.com/KregelBooks
Twitter (Susan K Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
Facebook (Susan K Marlow): https://www.facebook.com/SusanKMarlow?fref=ts

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By The Way Book Series (Colorado) ~ a Crew review

colorado-by-the-way-review

By the Way Book Series is not new to us but we were still really excited to get to read and review one of their newest books: Colorado ~ By the Way.

By The Way came about due to a sad statistical fact. The author, Joy Budensiek, was sitting in church when she heard the statistic that 19 out of 20 Christian families are not talking about God in their day-to-day lives, noticing Him and His work in all that surrounds them and the things they do. This shocking statistic jolted her into creating a series of books that models for parents not only how to see God and His majesty in creation but how to then discuss that and talk about that with their children. Mrs. Budensiek has a goal of 100 books to help facilitate ideas and examples for parents.

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series }

Colorado ~ By the Way is a story that brings us tidbits of the history of the state of Colorado, mixed in with a lot of geography, science, animal observation, and God’s scripture.

Meet Alex and Lexi. These two young folks are getting to spend a week with a friend, Jose, in Colorado (they met this friend in the book Washington ~ Here We Come!, which our family has also had the pleasure of reading). Jose’s family owns a ranch and is more than happy to help Alex and Lexi learn all that can about the state of Colorado while they are visiting. From the varied landscapes (mountains, sand dunes, and the Royal Gorge) to the many different animals (wild horses, cougars, cutthroat trout, big horn sheep, beavers, and more), Alex and Lexi get to experience wonder after wonder.

great-read-aloud

As fantastic as all this is, one of the best parts of the story is the many ways in which Jose’s parents, as well as the others around them, model for Alex and Lexi how to see God. From noting the wonder of God creating a way for fresh water to be kept close to animals that need it (thanks to the beaver building dams) to the marvelous ways God protects His creations (such as clothing the snowshoe hare white for winter and brown for summer), everyday things are seen through the lens of the amazing ways God shows His handiwork.

Other ways in which God is taught through the Colorado book includes the discussion about some of the first churches founded in Denver and the beautiful chapel at the United States Air Force Academy. With a discussion of the Continental Divide, the effects of choices upon our character is taught. In talking about the juniper tree, the beauty of everything God makes is discussed. Scripture references are found often throughout the book, as well.

Our family has used this book in two different ways. I have read it aloud with Miss J, who just turned 8. She could have probably read it by herself but in my reading it aloud with her, we were able to stop and discuss some of the points that are made in the book. We were able to talk about the different ways we see God around us and apply the things from the book to our daily lives. Also, the print is fairly small and some pages have two columns that start at different heights on the page. These would have made for some possible confusion in where and how to read the story.

miss-j-reading-by-the-way

Miss L, age 10, grabbed the book the minute it arrived and sat down with it. She read it straight through and came to me to tell me about what she had read. We talked about things that she found interesting. She then asked if she could do a notebooking project to go along with it. She chose 10 of the animals from the book and wrote about them in some notebooking pages that we printed off. She was thrilled with the information she found in the book and was very pleased with the outcome of her project.

animal-notebooking-page

The book will be a jumping off point for additional activities, I think. I would like to have the girls read a book about one of the historical people mentioned, as there is not a whole lot of information about them. I also think it would be fun to do some additional reading or website visiting about some of the landscapes and destinations visited in the book. These are just a couple of examples of how easily this series can be expanded into additional learning.

But, truly, the best feature is how simply and easily the By the Way Book Series incorporates the discussion of God and His might into every day lives and activities. What a great model for us all.

At Home.

Check out all of the By the Way Book Series being reviewed by families of the Homeschool Review Crew:
Florida’s Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!
Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!
Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!
Ohio ~ Here We Come!
Washington ~ Here We Come!
Colorado ~ By the Way

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}Crew Disclaimer 

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