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Literature Reviews
 

A Child's Garden of Verses
Beyond the SummerLand
Boy's Guide to the Historical Adventures Of G.A. Henty
Brightest Heaven of Invention: Tales From Shakespeare
Classic Myths to Read Aloud
Favorite Poems Old & New
Greathall Productions, Inc.: A Storytellers Version of King Arthur & His Knights Audio CD
Honey For a Child's Heart
Invitation to the Classics
King of the Wind
Little Britches
Little House on the Prairie (series)
Lost on a Mountain in Maine
Miss Read Books (series)
Not a Tame Lion
One Year Book of Poetry
Presenting Miss Jane Austen
Tales From Shakespeare
The Lord of The Rings (CD-ROM)
The Dove in the Eagle's Nest
The Whole Story (Series)
Where the Brook and River Meet


A Child’s Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson
illustrated by Tasha Tudor, hard cover, Macmillan Books
ISBN : 002-788365-5
A review by Karen Andreola

A Child's Garden of Verses Tasha Tudor
A Child's Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson / Simon & Schuster Trade Sales / 1996
I cannot speak too highly of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems for children. It is evident he had happy memories of his childhood for they are a joy to read. I made Stevenson’s poems part of the Kindergarten through 3rd grade curriculum of all my children. In our house his poems have been read aloud again and again and some learned “by-heart.” Stevenson’s poetry reflects the world as innocent children see it . His short verses ring with a child’s wonder of nature, his joy of play and imagination, his love of sunshine and fear of darkness and his attention to the funny details of everything around him including his own shadow. I’ve come across old dusty copies of A Child’s Garden of Verses in used book stores as they have been read aloud to children for generations. But my favorite edition is this one illustrated by Tasha Tudor, whose watercolor paintings I am especially fond of. Tasha accurately depicts the clothing, gardens, countryside, buildings, furniture, toys, etc. from the time period of Stevenson’s boyhood—a time without T.V. computers, super highways, super malls, and boomboxes. With the turn of a few pages you can enjoy some delightful moments of the uncluttered, unhurried life of the childhood of Stevenson’s poems with your children. (oversized hardcover, color illustrations.)

Beyond The SummerLand
by L.B. Graham
A review by Sophia Andreola

Beyond the SummerLand
Beyond The SummerLand
P & R Publishing / 2004 / Paperback
Growing up, my imagination was expanded by the beloved writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolken. Heroic and fantastic tales of brave and valiant men, courageous and beautiful maidens inspired and lit up my childhood. When I read that Beyond the Summerland was praised and compared to Lewis and Tolkein, I was intrigued but skeptical. I had to give it a try. First chapter – just okay, second chapter – still no comparison, by the third chapter – I couldn’t put it down. A few days and several hundred pages later I was disappointed to find that the next book wasn’t coming out for months. This story has the scope of Tolkein and the allegory of Lewis. The fact that the characters speak 21th century English while living in a fanciful medieval type world is weird but I found as the pages turned, that this endeared the characters to me and made me feel that they could have been people known today. If you are drawn to tales of brave men and beautiful maidens who abide in the underlining theme of God’s sovereignty, you will not be disappointed by Beyond the Summerland.

Boy's Guide to the Historical Adventures Of G.A. Henty
A review by Dean Andreola

The Boy's Guide to the Historical Adventures of G.A. Henty
The Boy's Guide to the Historical Adventures of G.A. Henty
William Potter / The Vision Forum, Inc / 2000
So many Henty books, so little time! By now, you have probably heard good things about these historical adventure stories - they provide the young reader with a Christian framework for understanding more than 2,500 years of history. But perhaps you'd like some help in selecting which book to read in conjunction with your current studies. This guide provides single-page descriptions of each Henty title. It lists all the novels by historical time period (i.e., Ancient History, the Middle Ages, Reformation, Exploration, etc.) with their geographical settings. A mini-overview introduces you to the plot, main characters, and heroes of each exciting book.
Softcover, from Vision Forum.

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Brightest Heaven of Invention: Tales From Shakespeare
by Peter Leithart
Review by Karen Andreola

Brightest Heaven of Invention
Brightest Heaven of Invention:
A Christian Guide to Six Shakespeare Plays

Peter Leithart / Canon Press / 1996
“What do you recommend for high school?”
“Shakespeare,” I answer. At this the countenance of the inquirer falls. Most of us have little confidence in teaching Shakespeare. Give a play a try and you might surprise yourself. At first I was intimidated. Elizabethan English sounds foreign. But after becoming familiar with stories out of Tales From Shakespeare and gleaning insights from the Mr. Leithart’s guide and commentary, Brightest Heaven of Invention, I was more prepared to teach a co-op of teenagers. Seated in my living room I presented insights and asked questions from the guide. Then the students read aloud their parts. For homework they read the story out of Tales From Shakespeare, listened to the play on audiocassette, and practiced their lines. To complete the course each student wrote a paper based on an essay topic from Mr. Leithart’s guide. When possible we attended a local performance. I’ve taught four plays this way. Socializing around a Shakespeare play was the highlight of the school week, I was told. Their smiles and laughter in class confirmed this.
Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Henry the V, and Julius Caesar are excellent, thought provoking plays. Whether used independently by one student or used in a group, the Christian interpretations in Brightest Heaven of Invention make it a valuable guide in the homeschool.


Classic Myths to Read Aloud
by William F. Russel, Ed.D.
A review by Karen Andreola

Classic Myths to Read Aloud
Classic Myths to Read Aloud
William F. Russell, Ed.D. / Random House, Inc
The ancient Greeks created myths to explain the mysteries of their world. Their so-called gods were capable of the same failings as mortal men. Their hero tales tell us that the Greeks had an admiration for certain virtues. Their tragedies show us they also had an understanding of sin. You’ll probably recognize some of these characters: Jason and the Golden Fleece, Pegasus – the Winged Horse, Cupid and Psyche, Pygmalion and Galatea, Helen of Troy. The Battle of Marathon is one story supposed to be true. Approximate read-aloud-times are given at the start of each story (8 to 20 minutes). I like the etymology at the end of each myth which explains the origin of words (used in the story) that we use in Modern English today. Here is a peek at one word derived from the character Arachne. She spins and weaves beautiful cloth, but for her vanity and disrespect for the gods they punish her. In the end she is transformed into a spider. And spiders, as we know, are not insects but arachnids.
262 pages, age 8 and up.

Favorite Poems Old and New
compiled by Helen Ferris, Doubleday Books
A review by Karen Andreola

Favorite Poems Old and New
Favorite Poems, Old and New
Compiled by Helen Ferris, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard / Random House, Inc / 1957
First published in 1957, Favorite Poems Old and New is the stand-by poetry book we have had on our shelf since the beginning of our home school experience. I remember it was ten years ago that I first read the heart warming introduction by the book’s compiler, Helen Ferris. It is she recalls her fond memories of poetry read aloud by her parents in the evenings. During her childhood, there was neither public library nor a bookstore in her little Nebraskan town. She often wondered how such lovely books (including poetry) would so regularly find their way to their home. Her mother, a pianist, had an “articulate theory” whereby it didn’t matter that her children understood every word of poetry. What was important to her was that they enjoy the beautiful sound of the words. With this theory Mother Goose flowed easily and naturally into Rossetti, Longfellow, and Shakespeare. Her father, a minister, saved his money for Shakespeare’s complete works and read them aloud to his children with gusto. He read the graceful Psalms such as, “The Heaven’s declare the glory of God" in his prairie pulpit. Psalms as well as 700 classic and modern poems make this a comprehensive volume for the home school. Arranged under headings such as: My Family and I, It’s Fun to Play, Animal Pets and Otherwise, The Good Earth, Roundabout Country, Roundabout Town, Sing of My Nation . . . and more, we have conveniently chosen poems for recitation, for adorning history notebooks and nature diaries, copy books, and poems for seasons and holidays. Charlotte Mason thought each day should have a poem in it. It might be a new poem or one that over some days is repeatedly read for memory, i.e. a poem “for keeps.” (For all ages, hardcover)

Greathall Productions, Inc.: A Storytellers Version of King Arthur & His Knights Audio CD
by Jim Weiss
A Review by Yolanda Andreola

King Arthur and His Knights
A Storytellers Version of King Arthur & His Knights Audio CD
Jim Weiss / Greathall Productions Inc / 1990
I’ve always enjoyed listening to storytellers. When I was a little girl, I used to ask my older sister to tell me stories at night. Almost anything she made up sounded great to me. Well, when I was a little older my parents gave us a cassette tape of Jim Weiss telling the adventures of Mowgli from The Jungle Book. His colorful multi character voices caught and held my attention so we bought more of his tapes. I enjoyed listening to his stories in the car, and while I was drawing, or folding the laundry.
When my family attended a home school conference in Massachusetts, I was able to see Jim Weiss in person. He gave a talk on how to become a good storyteller and he also got up and just started telling stories without notes or a script. It was all in his head…but I think it was coming from his heart, too. I especially enjoyed King Arthur and his Knights, which we bought on CD. It’s actually been a long time since I’ve heard that one, but since he added just the right amount of suspense and humor I still can remember the story. Mother is saving her collection for the grandchildren…she likes to plan ahead!
Very entertaining.
-Yolanda

Honey for a Child’s Heart
by Gladys Hunt
A review by Karen Andreola

Honey for a Child's Heart
Honey for a Child's Heart
Fourth Edition
Gladys Hunt / Zondervan Corp. / 2002
I think it is important to provide children with happy memories of their childhood. Among these memories can be the joy of reading. Childhood is too precious to waste on television. And the habit of finding reading a delight becomes such a useful strength in a child’s education. Gladys Hunt’s reading suggestions are mostly for books of amusement. But who can measure the value of a good story? In the first half of Honey she explains what makes a good book. The second half is her select book list with brief descriptions of picture books, Bible storybooks, fantasy, classic Literature biographies, poetry - for preschoolers up through teens. She includes a list of books to help teens grow as Christians. The entire list is a manageable size. There are enough suggestions to get you started and keep you going. Yet Gladys also instructs you how to choose good books on your own. I have found this to be the constant task of the home educator - that of keeping a plentiful supply of good books within reach from season to season, year to year. Therefore I am happy for suggestions such as those in Honey. Our family has enjoyed many of the books on her list. I think yours will too.

Invitation to the Classics
by Os Guinness
A review by Dean Andreola

Invitation to the Classics
Invitation to the Classics
Edited by Louise Cowan & Os Guinness / Baker / 2006
When I was younger, I was much more familiar with Woolworth's than Wordsworth, Dinty Moore than Thomas More, corns than Bunyan's, Austin Martins than Jane Austen. But marriage, parenting, and homeschooling have a tendency to encourage us to push out of our usual realm of experiences. And so (to our delight!) we begin to explore new areas of knowledge with our children. One such expansion has been in reading literary classics. Over the years we have enjoyed reading aloud from favorite children's books. Yet children have a tendency to grow older, so a good way to expand their maturity and wisdom is to introduce them (and ourselves) to some of the greatest minds, authors, and books of the ages.
Invitation to the Classics offers us a compendium of the life, times, and works of the world's greatest authors. It covers 75 classics by 70 authors. As a handy reference tool, it is divided up into historical segments. Beginning with the ancient Greeks and Romans, it works forward into the early church, medieval church fathers, Reformation, and on to the world of poetry, drama, philosophy, and contemporary writers. I enjoy the simple design, illustrations, and photographs, along with the editors' comments about each classic writer. Quotations from the authors' works are featured as well as suggestions for additional reading and study. This is a good choice if you are looking for a well-rounded introduction to the classics written from a Christian perspective.

King of the Wind
by Marguerite Henry
A review by Yolanda Andreola

King of the Wind
King of the Wind:
The Story of the Godolphin Arabian

Marguerite Henry / Simon & Schuster Trade Sales / 1991
I remember reading this book on the beach at my Grandmother’s New Jersey summer home. The warm sand, pleasant breezes and the sound of the waves, brought me into the Arabian setting in which one of my favorite horse stories, King of the Wind, begins. Agba, a mute boy who worked as a stable hand, was in charge of ten horses out of the twelve thousand that lived at the great Sultan’s huge stables. Shortly after a brood mare gave birth, she died leaving a beautiful colt starving. Agba found camels milk and saved the colt’s life. The two became great friends and the young horse named Sham, grew to be a gorgeous Arabian bay. He was selected to be one of the six best horses from the stables, to be sent to France as a gift to the boy King Louis XV. By the time they reached France however, they were worn from the hard trip at sea, and skinny from lack of enough food. What would the King think of such a poor little group of scraggly horses?
173 pages, paper back, Aladdin Books
By Marguerite Henry, award winning author of horse stories, Misty of Chincoteague, Stormy, Misty’s Foal and Brighty of the Grand Canyon.
-Yolanda

Little Britches
by Ralph Moody ( first in a wonderful series)
A review by Dean & Nigel Andreola

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
Little Britches:
Father and I Were Ranchers

Ralph Moody / University Of Nebraska Press / 1991
“Howdy Pard’ner!”
Do you have an active boy (or girl) who won’t sit still for Little House on the Prairie, and seems to long for something with a little more manly adventure to it? Nigel and I have found just the thing! In this inspiring series author Ralph Moody tells of his rugged childhood years in rural Colorado during the early part of the twentieth century. Sometimes you forget you are reading about a little boy, and then it hits you, “he’s only eight years old”! Life on a little ranch in those days was no romantic picnic. In the first book alone there are flooding rains, tornadoes, narrow escapes, cattle herding, bronco busting rodeos, mountain adventures, as well as hardships for families in desperate need of water and other basics. Simple joys were found in family life, obedience, accomplishment, respect for Mom & Dad, and the great outdoors! The father/ son relationship in this story stands in sharp contrast to the lax norms of modern times. Bravery, honesty, ingenuity, love and morality are just some of the virtues waiting to be explored in this authentic look at our western America heritage. A rare “cuss” word is heard form the mouths of some of the rough characters we meet along the way, these are not glorified moments in Ralph’s memory, but rather sad. (during read aloud, you edit these as seems fitting) Overall these books offer a powerful tonic to today’s false values and frivolous entertainment’s.
For ages 10 to adult ( girls not excluded )
-Dean

Little House on the Prairie (series)
by Laura Ingles Wilder
Intorduction by Sophia Andreola

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House in the Big Woods,
Little House on the Prairie Series #1

Laura Ingalls Wilder / Harpercollins Publishing / 1953
When I think of the Little House Books I picture a little girl with long brown braids, in a calico dress, walking beside a covered wagon with her faithful dog. Fields of prairie grass surround her as far as the eye can see. What was it like for a homesteading family in the days of western expansion? Laura Ingls Wilder describes such a life with her (autobiographical) stories of growing up in those times. They were often hard times but young Laura had a brave and cheerful heart. Even when there was barely enough to eat she recalls simple joys -- her father playing his fiddle, a tin cup as a Christmas gift or maple sugar candy. Anyone who reads this series cannot forget hard working Pa, patient Ma, sweet golden-haired Mary or mischievous Almonzo. The first few books were read aloud to me when I was very young. I finished the others myself when I was older. These stories became part of my happy childhood.
-Sophia

Lost on a Mountain in Maine
by Donn Fendler
A review by Dean Andreola

Lost on a Mountain Maine
Lost on a Mountain in Maine
Donn Fendler with Joseph Egan / Harpercollins Publishing / 1992

A little book with a BIG story!
In 1939, Twelve year-old Don Fendler climbed to the top of Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, just minutes ahead of his dad and brothers. Against the advice of his guide he started walking back down to meet them. Within a matter of minutes, a heavy fog rolled in obscuring the path. Don was hopelessly lost! What follows is a gripping account of his nine-day test of faith and physical endurance. He faced the wilderness alone with only the clothes on his back, and a bit of Scouting knowledge to his credit. Hundreds of rangers, tracking dogs, and planes searched while parents across the nation prayed and waited…. This may be one of the most inspiring survival stories your children will ever read because they can easily picture themselves on that mountain! A map and photos are included. Don’t miss this one!
For ages 9 and up
- Dean


Miss Read Books (series)
A review by Karen Andreola

Miss Read
Miss Read Pack, 3 Volumes
Miss Read / Houghton-mifflin
Miss Read’s stories are delightful, easy-to-read stories in which I occasionally indulge. Nothing dramatic happens in them. But their pages are filled with things I like: English village life where people walk to shops, greet passers by, pop in for chats and sips of tea. Simple folk with good manners live their tidy British lives among stone churches, train stations, hedgerows, thatched houses and back gardens lined with ancient perennial flowerbeds. Beyond the village is the tranquil countryside. The main character of most of the books, is the headmistress of the village school, a dedicated teacher of young children who enjoys her quiet singlehood when off duty. Miss Read’s light-hearted descriptions of a mix of quirky characters never fail to make me smile. In winter, during the Christmas holiday, I read a Miss Read story while flames flicker through the glass door of our woodstove and the snow outside is already piling up. It is quite relaxing -- my own private “jolly holiday.”

Not a Tame Lion
by Terry Glaspey
A review by Sophia Andreola

Not a Tame Lion
Not a Tame Lion
Cumberland House Publishing / 1996 / Hardcover
C.S. Lewis is a name of witch I can scarcely remember not being aquatinted. As a child I read and reread his delightful Chronicles of Narnia. As a young adult I have enjoyed his more mature books, such as the Screw Tape Letters and his science fiction trilogy. I came to admire him most after reading Mere Christianity. I wanted to know more about this man who understood the simple joys and sorrows of a child's heart as well as the deeper questions of the human soul and the wonderful nature of God Himself. Not a Tame Lion by Terry Glassy was the window through witch I was able to watch Lewis grow from a small lonely boy who invented his own imaginary play land, to a young man rejecting God, to a mature man in God. Full of quotes and excerpts from correspondence between he, friends and family, the first half of the book paints a picture of Lewis' history. The later half is an introduction to Lewis' beliefs and the subjects of which he wrote and expounded. It was a very pleasant read occupying a few evenings of quite contemplation.

The One Year Book of Poetry—365 Devotional Readings Based on Classic Christian Verse
Compiled and written by Philip Comfort and Daniel Partner
A review by Karen Andreola

One Year Book of Poetry
The One Year Book of Poetry: 365 Devotional Readings Based on Classic Christian Verse
Philip Comfort / Tyndale House / 1999
For those who like poetry this book will be the find of the year. Because I like poetry I originally bought this book for myself - although not with the intent of reading it daily. After it came in the mail I realized its educational value. I wanted to share some of its classic poems and devotions with my children. So beautifully and sensitively do Christian poets from centuries past enumerate the many facets of God’s majesty in verse! The day’s devotion helps us to understand the verse. (Since words of poetry are sparing, or metaphorical, it can be difficult.) In some cases the poem only highlights the Biblical truth in the devotion making the authors’ commentary the predominate focus. More digging out of the meaning of individual lines are left to us to interpret. Here is a way we can become better acquainted with some of the best poetry while we deepen our faith. Karen
High school students to adult.
Tyndale
Pages: 365 times two, plus indexes
Currently not available on CBD. Check with your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

Presenting Miss Jane Austen
by May Lamberton Becker
A review by Sophia Andreola

Presenting Miss Jane Austen
Presenting Miss Jane Austen
May Lamberton Becker / Bethlehem Books / Paperback
I'm a Jane Austen fan. Sense And Sensibility is one of my favorite films. Hit the pause button at any point in the movie and it is like gazing at a beautiful painting. Even so, the book is better. There is nothing like Jane Austen's own words to bring her characters to life and paint the world they live in so vibrantly. And yet, as we've come to know to her characters so well, the author herself is shrouded in mystery. What do we know about the life of this young woman who wrote with such passion and insight about every day life? Presenting Miss Jane Austen uncovers the mystery. Reading about Miss Austen was as intriguing as reading about as her own characters. Her playfully quick wit, even as a child, endeared her to me. If you, too, are a Jane Austen fan, you will especially enjoy reading the quotes and letters by Miss Austen and her family. This lovely biography gives us a window into the life of one of Britain's most beloved authors. --Sophia

Tales From Shakespeare
by Charles and Mary Lamb
A review by Sophia Andreola

Tales from Shakespeare Charles and Mary Lamb
Tales from Shakespeare
Charles Lamb / Random House, Inc / 1999
Have you ever picked up a Shakespeare play and after reading the first page realize you really have no idea what is going on? If so, you are not alone. I’ve found it exceedingly helpful to read the play in story form first. Tales From Shakespeare is a collection of twenty plays in short story form. After reading a play from this book I understand the plot and how the characters fit into it. I can then read the play in its original language, concentrating more on deciphering the old words and phrases, rather than trying to grasp all aspects at once. Occasionally my parents have taken us to see a play performed on stage, or sometimes we see a play on video. Once you are familiar with the play you can begin to have fun with it. Some years ago my sister and I read the comedy, The Twelfth Night in its original language. We divided the cast between us, changed our voices accordingly and sitting in front of our old boom box taped the play scene by scene onto blank tapes. It was a lot of fun.
-Sophia

The Lord of The Rings (CD ROM)
by J.R.R. Tolkien
A review by Yolanda Andreola

The Lord of the Rings Audiobook on CD BBC
The Lord of the Rings
Audiobook on CD

J.R.R. Tolkien / Random House, Inc
I was first introduced to J.R.R. Tolkien's greatest works by listening to the BBC's dramatized tapes of The Hobbit when I was nine years old. We would sit at the kitchen table painting (on rainy days) and listen. In fact, those tapes were listened to so many times over the past eight years; we just about wore them out. When I read the book a few years later it became one of my favorites!
Later my dad found The Lord of the Rings tapes also produced by the BBC. With a full cast - including famous British actors like Ian Holm and Michael Hordern, the wonderful variety of voices, accents, sound effects, and music helped paint vivid pictures for my imagination.
When I find a movie or tape I like, usually the book will be even better. Reading The Fellowship of the Rings, The Two Towers and The Return of the King, last year I was thrilled. They were written with such suspense, intriguing characters, and poetic eloquence (due to Tolkien's love for words) that I was not surprised to learn The Lord of the Rings is thought by many critics to be one of the greatest epic stories of all time. I agree…although I haven't been around that long.
Reading the books, however, did not lessen my appreciation for how well the tapes were done. Instead, I admire how closely they stuck to the plot and captured the spirit of the books themselves. My dad suggested I add that whether you choose cassettes or CD's, your family will enjoy hours of pure brilliance, while developing listening skills, attention to details, and a love for great literature!
The Hobbit is four hours, Lord of the Rings is thirteen hours, and worth every minute!
-Yolanda

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest
by Charlotte M. Yonge
A review by Yolanda Andreola

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest
The Dove in the Eagle's Nest
Prestonspeed Publications / 2003 / Hardcover
Admit me, that I may bear emphatic testimony of Lady Charlotte Yonge's novel titled, The Dove in the Eagle's Nest. The story is set in medieval times in Germany where feuds between Baron's were legal, and private warfare began to get out of hand. The main character Catherine (raised by her Aunt and Uncle) is suddenly whisked away by her reckless father. Timid and scared, she is taken to a lonely old castle in the mountains to care for the sick daughter of the ruling Baron her father had been working for. At first I thought the tale would be mainly about her year at the castle, but I was happily surprised to find an interesting turn of events. The story reaches much further and provides a good look into the treacherous and heroic deeds of many believable characters, while spotlighting politics, and the rough reality and contrasting romance of the Middle Ages.

The Whole Story Series
A review and introduction by Dean Andreola

Around the World in Eighty Days The Whole Story Series
The Whole Story Series

Penguin Putnam Inc.

Many years ago when I was a young boy, I attended my elementary school's annual book fair. The imaginative and foreboding covers and titles of classic adventure stories and science fiction caught my eye. With excitement I spent all my allowance, which was saved up for this special occasion, and carried home a stack of these books - all little paperback editions. But the air was let out of my balloon when I tried reading them. Because the type was so tiny, and the pages yellow and grainy, I found it next to impossible to get through even a few pages. Sadly, the books remained on my shelf unread.
Years later, while browsing through the children's department of a local bookstore, I spied again those same titles that baited me years earlier. But these books appeared to be very different. I picked up Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. It was just one title in a new series of unabridged classics called The Whole Story. Flipping through the pages, I was amazed at the book's design. It was full of exciting color illustrations, with large readable type (great for children's eyes, and for us older folks, too). I saw maps, photos, and diagrams depicting the time period, along with interesting sidebar commentary about the life and times of the author. Facts about the story's location, history, local customs, people, animals, inventions, etc. abounded.

Where the Brook and River Meet
A Unit Study for High School Girls
A review by Karen Andreola

Where the Brook and River Meet
Where the Brook and River Meet

If you are fan of Ann (oops, that’s Anne with an "e"!) of Green Gables you’ve probably already read the story. Why read it again? I believe the best books deserve at least second reading. Anne of Green Gables is a classic. It is full of uncommon vocabulary, rich with literary reference from the ancient Greeks up to the writers and poets of the 18th and 19th centuries. Margie Gray, the author of Where the Brook and River Meet makes the fullest use of these references, inviting the student to become more literary herself.
If you like unit studies you will find this one to be exceptional. The Study Guide is to be followed by the high school girl encouraging her to work independently. It incorporates a Bible study for character development, research of historical figures, language arts for better writing, and health. I like how homemaking skills are given importance. There is a recipe for Raspberry Cordial of course. The required reading includes very sophisticated poetry out of the Anne’s Anthology. Music and art are appreciated as well as Shakespeare. Worldviews and philosophy are introduced with Francis Shaeffer’s scholarly book, How Should we Then Live.
In the Planning Guide section high school credits are explained. How strictly you adhere to the grading system is up to you. For a well-rounded education add science, math, Latin or a foreign language.
The guide is flexible. It invites us to make substitutions. (I was glad to hear it because I’m always making little substitutions in my homeschool.) Narrating in essay form could perhaps replace some of the comprehension questions. For a study of Shakespeare the guide suggests Hamlet and King Lear. If this will be your student’s first experience with Shakespeare I recommend a comedy. I speak from experience. A group of students gathered in my living room to read aloud The Taming of the Shrew. We all had such fun with it and learned a lot, too. Since the focus of Where the Brook and River Meet is on the Victorian Era how could I resist suggesting an addition to the course - one of Charles Dickens’ very descriptive novels? Dickens gives us an accurate look at the everyday life of this time period (his own). One more hint: if your student has little experience reading poetry, in preparation to this course, read a variety of poetry before the sophisticated ones in Anne’s Anthology are introduced.
All in all, by following this scholarly course, investigating living books in the process, a girl will gain a greater knowledge of culture and discernment in the light of God’s principles for living. When I first opened the pages of Where the Brook and the River Meet I spotted so many of the same books read by my eldest daughter Sophia, now graduated. If you crave more organization with living books and life skills, homeschool mom Margie Gray has done a lovely job of putting it together for you.

 
 
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Homeschool Highlights provides homeschooling resources for home schooling parents and students. This site is hosted by Dean and Karen Andreola, noted authors who brought to light the works of Charlotte Mason. They also review "living books" and homeschool curriculum materials for Rainbow Resource Center.

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