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Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Books from Guardian Angel Publishing

As a part of the TOS Homeschool Crew review program, I received 5 free e-books from Guardian Angel Publishing for review.

Books can be purchased directly from Guardian Angel Publishing as

  • a downloaded e-book for $5,
  • an e-book on cd for $9.95 + $5.95 s&h,
  • or as a printed book for $10.95 + $6.95 s&h.

andy

Andy & Spirit Go to the Fair by Mary Jean Kelso; Illustrations by K. C. Snider; Ages 9-12

This is the second book in a series featuring Andy and an albino mustang named Spirit working together (and succeeding together) as a team in spite of being belittled by others for being different. Andy and Spirit show their skills in the horse ring for a 4-H competition at the county fair. I won’t reveal the ending here, but let’s say that their perseverance is rewarded. The end of the book also contains information about 4-H and how wild horses are managed in the United States.

At 24 pages, the story is quite short and a quick read for its target audience. Ms. Kelso does an admirable job of putting young children into Andy’s shoes by filling their imaginations with the sights, sounds and smells of the fair. The illustrations are colorful with a realistic style, though some of the the proportions are bit off and limbs are held at awkward angles.

earthquake

EARTHQUAKE by Susan J. Berger; Illustrations by Eugene E. Ruble; Ages 6-9

Did you know that there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes every year? This little book is filled with facts and figures about earthquakes and aims to both educate and prepare young children for the next earthquake…rumble!

The book contains a few hands-on activities, including one “experiment” to demonstrate a seiche (a wave caused in a lake by an earthquake). It’s not actually an experiment, just a demonstration of how a seiche is a little like a wave you make in a bathtub---I would have liked to see a more scientific activity investigating how seiches can happen in an earthquake, say placing a bowl of water on a table and then pounding on the table and noting what happens.

I do have a concern about this book, and I won’t be reading it to my children for this reason…it plays up the uncertainty of earthquakes too much. While it is wise to be prepared for emergencies, almost half of this book is dedicated to making planning for an earthquake. A parent can use this for preparing a general emergency kit for any emergency, but my concern is that, knowing how obsessive children can become with a perceived danger, a young child might easily become over-concerned about earthquakes in particular.

hamster holidays

Hamster Holidays: Noun and Adjective Adventures by Cynthia Reeg; Illustrations by Kit Grady; Ages 5-12

The hamsters take a silly holiday each month, giving your child practice identifying nouns and adjectives along the way. The nouns are printed in blue and the adjectives in red for easy practice. The book also contains explanations of nouns and adjectives, as well as additional practice with worksheets and a short story.

Overall, a useful grammar practice, though children in the upper end of the age range may find it a bit tedious due to a lack of varied sentence structure or interesting narrative. The use of calendar pages is a nice touch to reinforce reading a calendar with young ones. The short story in the extra exercises has an ending that I don’t care to read to my modest daughter---Amazing Gigi cannot open her closet full of fancy clothes, so she goes about in her fancy underwear, instead?

bones

The Sum of Our Parts: No Bones About It by Bill Kirk; Illustrations by Eugene E. Ruble; Ages 8-13

This is the first book in a proposed series about different systems in the body. The text is written in rhyme, naming all the bones of the body, with little factoids figuring prominently in boxes on each page.

I’m not crazy about rhyming books, but I can see the value in using rhymes as an aid to memory. While some of the rhymes here are a bit forced, overall the text flowed pretty well. I liked the way little insets are used to show how the bone or bones on that page fit into that part of the body to give a better understanding how how all the pieces fit together into the whole.

One caveat: I’m not normally bothered by science books, but some of the illustrations in this book are just creepy (skulls with tongues and eyes sticking out?). My philosopher husband concurred with me on that, so the children will not be seeing this one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rainbow Sheep by Kim Chatel; ages 4-10

This is a sweet book about an imaginative shepherdess named Genevieve who cheers up a rainbow with her colorful stories. But the real treasure here is the photographs of the author’s own delightful fiber-art that are used to illustrate this story. They have a 3-dimensional quality that’ll make you want to reach out and touch Genevieve’s soft, wispy hair or pet a plump, wooly sheep. The book ends with an explanations of felting and two felting projects (one wet felting, one needle felting) to do with your children.

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