Thursday, January 1, 2009

Moving Website Content to THIS Blog!

I've moved most of the text of my old website to this blog now. I realize most of the links don't work. I'll be working on that and adding pictures in the next few weeks. Please be patient & come back for another visit!

Book List: Our Favorite Young Adult Books

1. The Lord of the Rings - This is my favorite book of all times. I think it's the best book ever written

2. Beauty - This book is based on the Beauty and the Beast story. And is really really good.

3. The Swiss Family Robinson - I love books were people are shipwrecked and have figure out how to survive with what they have.

4. The Princess and the Goblin - Is a great fantasy book and lots of great morals in it, by the famous author George MacDonald.

5. The Redwall Abbey Series - Is another great story of mice and other small animals.

6. Mara, Daughter of the Nile - Is a action, love story set in Ancient Egypt.

7. Little Woman - My mom loves this story about the life of four sisters

8. King Solomon's Mines - Is a action book about Allen Quatermain and others trying to find treasure.

9. Christy

Book List: Our Favorite Picture Books

My oldest daughter wrote this list for me when she was 13. There were a few picture books she still won't let me get rid of... even though my "baby" is now 15. We still like to read these!

1. Go Dog Go - This is one my favorite books to read when I (Lauren) was little.

2. Chick-a-Chick-a-Boom-Boom - Jordann loved this book she could say it by heart.
She took it with her everywhere!

3. Harry the Dirty Dog - I grew up reading this book. In Pre-K I was reading this
book while the other kids were playing.

4. The Little House - This is our Dad's favorite picture book.

5. The Story of Ping - This story is about a little duck on the Yangtze river.

6. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

7. Ox-Cart Man - I liked this book because it tells you how the farmer grew and made things and what he did throughout the year and what happened to the things he made.

8. Is Your Mama a Llama? - I love this story. It's about a baby llama looking for a friend whose mother is a llama.

9. Katie and the Big Snow - This is still one of my favorite picture books. I like the pictures in this book.

10. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - We always like to hear what the mouse would want or do next. There are now three others. Another mouse, pig, and a moose,

Ebay How To For Homeschoolers

Want to buy on eBay? Terry Gibbs has written a great book for beginning eBay buyers: Click Here to download a free copy of "The eBay Buyer's Guide".

Want to sell on eBay?
I LOVE eBay! It helps me be a stay-at-home mom to my kids!!! Very often people ask me for advice on selling on eBay. I wish I had enough time to sit down with each one of you and let you know what I've learned. I've often thought I should write a book about it! But why, when so many great ones are already out there. So, I'll just share my sources with you and let you read for yourself! If you're interested in selling on eBay, here are some good starting points.

Get Started:

Before you do any buying or selling, you must register on eBay. If you have never used eBay before, I would recommend you start buying a few things just to see how it works and to get some feedback. Feedback is very important on eBay!

I've listed many of our favorite books about eBay in the left column. Check them out! Many should be available in your public library. There is usually a waiting list for them at our local library. If you want to invest in a couple, my favorites are Starting an eBay Business for Dummies by Marsha Collier and The eBay Bible by Jim Griffith.

While you're buying pay careful attention to what is selling. When you find your niche, what you are interested & passionate about, watch completed auctions and take lots of notes! Research is key.

I would also recommend signing up for Paypal and Vendio when you start out. Here's why

Paypal -- Many more people will bid on your auctions if you accept Paypal. I've never had a problem with them and it makes the time between the end of the auction & the time I mail MUCH shorter! Probably over 90% of my buyers now pay with Paypal.

Vendio -- This is the bulk lister I use to allow me to work on my eBay auctions at any time while I'm offline. I upload them all at the same time to start whenever I want. They also send emails at auction ending and when I receive payment and ship the item. I wouldn't sell on eBay without using Vendio! They currently have a FREE two-week trial and a Pay-as-you-Go plan if you want to start off slow. (I think it's 10 cents per auction.) The reason I use Vendio instead of one of the eBay products is because Vendio includes scheduled listings and templates.

Start off selling lower priced items. Again, to build up your feedback and so you'll hopefully make all your mistakes without loosing any money! Look around your house, clean out closets, have a garage sale on eBay!

Most eBay sellers are too busy listing items to take time out to answer a newbies questions but there are a few sellers who have made their niche teaching others how to do eBay. You can sell on eBay without ever reading any of these and without ever paying for any training, but if you're serious I wouldn't recommend it. The time and money they will save you is WELL WORTH the money you'll pay them!

Terry Gibbs wrote a great guide book for eBay sellers that are just starting out and he's giving it away!

Click Here to download a free copy of
"The eBay Seller's Guide by Terry Gibbs"
And once you've read the beginner's guide you may want to invest in one of his in-depth courses:

Collectible Buying System

Start Your Own eBay Consignment Business

"How to Get Into Estate Sales Early

Mike Enos has several eBay related products he sells and information about being a drop seller (I have NO experience with that.) He also has a free newsletter called Platinum Power Seller that I get a lot of info from. Mike has sold $20,000 - $30,000 a month on eBay before!

Make an About Me Page:

I'm a big believer in About Me pages! Once you find your niche (or even before) build an About Me page. eBay has templates that will do it for you -- you just fill in the info. Make sure you include photos and introduce yourself.

Check out my AM page: If you want to create your own, there is a tiny link down at the bottom of my AM page that says, "To create your own About Me page click here."

The Silent Sales Machine - You've probably heard about this ebook over and over again, but it really is one of the best out there. Not only will it teach you about eBay but you'll also learn how to make money on your About Me page without ever listing anything! (And if you know me, you know that poorly used or non-existant About Me pages are my pet peeve!)

The Silent Sales Machine also has a free newsletter. I have learned soooo much from Jim Cockrum. Definately sign up for this one.

If you decide to make your own AM page after reading this send me a link... I'd love to see it!

Your next step:

After you sell all the extra 'stuff' around your home you can easily start hitting garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets and find LOTS of items to sell. Again, research is the key. You can spend a lot of money and end up just breaking even or you can make $20 for every $1 you spend (or more). Secrets of Garage Sale Bargains by Sherah Taylor is an ebook that will teach you how to find those best-selling items. This ebook is a BARGAIN at $9.95!!! Sherah also has a subscription newsletter about selling children's clothes on eBay. That's not my niche but I learned a lot from her newsletter, too!

Watch completed auctions on eBay and you'll start getting a feel for what sells.

Now that you've had a little experience, what have you enjoyed selling the most? It was easy for me. We LOVE books and are automatically drawn to them at garage sales & thrift stores. You may be a creative type who wants to auction your own handmade jewelry or a SAHM who always has some outgrown clothes or toys to sell. Or maybe, like my FIL who would have been a great eBay-er if he was still around, someone who can find antiques wherever they go. There are thousands of niches. Just think of your hobbies and what you spend your free time doing. You're going to be spending a lot of time on eBay so why not be doing something you enjoy?

Sellathon -- If you sell on eBay, you need to check out View Tracker by Sellathon. If you would like to know HOW your visitors found your auction and be able to customize your listings to take advantage of the best times and best keywords that will work best for YOUR auctions, this is a program you need to check out. This is not just another "counter" that blindly counts how many hits your listing receives you will be able to see the words used in the search to find your auction, how they sorted, what time of day potential buyers are searching, and more. Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself. I used it and I LOVED IT!!! Try it FREE for 30 days, I promise you will be hooked from the FIRST time you use it.

Are Books Your Niche?

My e-friend, Julie Anna Schultz has written a great book called Finding Jewels: A guide to Identifying Valuable Children's Literature. In it she not only tells you how to sell books on eBay but tells you what books to sell! She and her husband have done extensive research on which books sell the best on eBay. If you're interested in selling children's books, this one is a must! She also has a service that will send you links every month to top sellers on eBay. She's still working on the affiliate program so make sure you let her know that Ann sent you!

Another e-friend, Elaine Smith has written an excellent ebook for newbies How to Sell Books Using Online Auctions. As the title mentions she gives lots of specifics about books but you could use this info for almost anything you want to sell on eBay. Even though I've been selling on eBay for five years I am still learning from Elaine. Well worth the cost!!!

Maybe Children's Clothes are Your Niche?

I have sold a few children's clothes. These two newsletters are great sources of what & where to buy:

Here Comes the Stork

Auction Moms

My Personal Favorite eBooks About eBay:

The Silent Sales Machine

Finding Jewels: A guide to Identifying Valuable Children's Literature.

How to Sell Books Using Online Auctions.

Secrets of Garage Sale Bargains by Sherah Taylor

Yahoo Groups:

eBay Establishings - This group is run by my eFriend, Julie Anna, who also sells books. Her husband is now working full-time from home selling on eBay!

Entrepreneurs at Home - Rhea! runs this group of Christian entrepreneurs that work from home. Ebay is just ONE of their multiple streams of income!

When you join these groups, introduce yourself and let them know Ann sent you!


The Silent Sales Machine
Platinum Power Seller
Here Comes the Stork
The Auction Moms

Benefic Press Series: Tom Logan, Cowboys, World of Adventure, Checkered Flag, Jim Forest

I never collected these Benefic Press series but I have run across a few in my book selling days. My girls weren't as interested in these as Cowboy Sam or Dan Frontier.

The Tom Logan Series, by Edna Walker Chandler, illustrated by Jack Merryweather. Size: 6 1/2" x 8 3/4".
Pony Rider
Cattle Drive
Secret Tunnel, c1967, RL 1
Gold Nugget, c1967, RL 2
Stagecoach Driver (listed as Stage Whip in some books), c1968, RL 3
Cowboys of Many Races Series, by Donald Russell, illustrated by Max Ranft. These have activities in the back for the kids to do after they read.

Cowboy Without A Horse
Cowboy On The Mountain
Adam Bradford, Cowboy
Cowboy On The Trail
Cowboy Soldier
World of Adventure Series, by Henry Bamman and Robert Whitehead, illustrations by William Lackey. The adventures of two teenaged boys, Mark and Rich.:

The Lost Uranium Mine
Flight to the South Pole
Hunting Grizzly Bears, c1963, RL 3
Fire on the Mountain
City Beaneath the Sea, c1964, RL 4
The Search for PiranhaSacred Well of Sacrifice
Viking Treasure
The Checkered Flag Series, also by Henry Bamman and Robert Whitehead, published by Field Educational Publications, Inc. These books are approximately 6"x8" and the print is a little smaller.

Bearcat, c1967
Grand Prix 500
The Jim Forest Readers, by John and Nancy Rambeau, published by Harr Wagner Publishing Company, San Francisco. I have only seen them in the hardback style shown. Size: 6" x 8 1/4".
Jim Forest and Ranger Don, c1959, Primer
Jim Forest and Bandits, illustrations by Viola French, c1959, RL 1
Jim Forest and the Mystery Hunter
Jim Forest and Dead Man's Peak, illustrations by Viola French, c1959, RL 2
Jim Forest and the Flood, illustrations by Joseph Maniscalco, c1959, RL 3
Jim Forest and Lone Wolf Gulch, illustrations by Joseph Maniscalco, c1959, RL 3
Jim Forest and the Plane Crash, c1967
Jim Forest and the Ghost Town, c1967
Jim Forest and Woodman's Ridge, c1967
Jim Forest and the Trapper
Jim Forest and Lightening, RL 1
Jim Forest and the Phantom Crater

Benefic Press: The Dan Frontier Series

The Dan Frontier series was written by William Hurley & illustrated by Jack Boyd. Dan and his young friend, Jimmy, experience adventures in the early west. This is my youngest daughter's favorite! We have all of these now. You can see in the scan how simply they begin. Size: 6 1/2" x 8 3/4".
Dan Frontier, c1959, Preprimer RL
Dan Frontier and the New House, c1961, Preprimer RL
Dan Frontier Goes Hunting, c1959, Primer RL
Dan Frontier and the Big Cat, c1961, Primer RL
Dan Frontier with the Indians, c1959, RL 1
Dan Frontier, Trapper, c1962, RL 1
Dan Frontier Scouts with the Army, c1962, RL 2
Dan Frontier and the Wagon Train, c1959, RL 2
Dan Frontier, Sheriff, c1960, RL 3
Dan Frontier Goes Exploring, c1963, RL 3
Dan Frontier Goes to Congress, c1964, RL 4
Teacher's Manual - (I've never seen this one. If you have, could you share some info on it? Thanks!)

Benefic Press Series: Cowboy Sam

If your younger kids are just mastering reading and want adventure these series would be a great option! These are interesting adventures with controlled vocabulary -- word lists are included in the back. Many of the stories are aimed more at boys, although my girls have loved them, too. But, living in the country in south Texas, they love everything about cowboys and pioneers!
On the lists below I've included the earliest copyright dates I've found, illustrators, and reading levels. There are also several other series from Benefic Press that I haven't seen myself. Please let me know if you can add more information. Thanks!!!
The Cowboy Sam series, written by Edna Walker Chandler and illustrated by Jack Merryweather, was a favorite of my girls when they started reading. These are about Cowboy Sam and his friends and their adventures on the ranch. Each book has a word list in the back. I haven't seen all of these, so I'm not sure of the reading level of many of them. My list shows the order they are listed in the books, but they don't seem to be in order of reading level. I'd love to hear from someone who has the books I don't have -- what is the reading level on them?

I have seen them in 2 different styles. The older books have a cloth cover with the cursive-type writing as you see above on the Rusters and Porky books. They were republished in the 1970's with more colorful covers -- See the Freddy book above. As far as I can tell the text and illustrations didn't change. Size: 6 1/2" x 8 3/4".

Cowboy Sam and Dandy
Cowboy Sam
Cowboy Sam and Freddy, c1959, RL2
Cowboy Sam and the Rodeo, c1959, RL 2
Cowboy Sam and the Rustlers
Cowboy Sam and Freckles, c1960, Preprimer RL
Cowboy Sam and Porky, c1961, RL 3
Cowboy Sam and Shorty, c1962, RL 4
Cowboy Sam and the Fair, c1961, RL 2
Cowboy Sam and the Indians, RL 3
Cowboy Sam and Big Bill
Cowboy Sam and Miss Lily
Cowboy Sam and Flop
Cowboy Sam and Sally
Cowboy Sam and the Airplane

Book Review: The Wise Woman

Author: George MacDonald
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
September 15, 2003

The Wise Woman takes place in a certain country in the Medieval Ages. The main character and hero in this story is the Wise Woman. The other main characters are Princess Rosamond, Agnes, Shepherd, and his wife.

The conflict was when the Wise Woman took the selfish princess and Agnes to her cottage. The climax was when the King found out that the Shepherd had his daughter.

My favorite character was the Wise Woman, becuase she tried her best to get the Princess and Agnes to be good and she didn't lose her temper doing it. There is nothing not to like in George MacDonald's books. This book has a strong moral on selfishness.

"What George MacDonald does best is fantasy -- fantasy that hovers between the allegorical and the mythopoeic. And thus, in my opinion, he does better than any other man." -- C. S. Lewis

Other Books George MacDonald Wrote
Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women, 1858
Adela Cathcart, 1864
Includes, The Light Princess
The Portent: A Story of the Inner Vision of the Higlanders, 1864
At the Back of the North Wind, 1870
The Princess and the Goblin, 1871
The Wise Woman: A Parable, 1875
The Princess and Curdie, 1882
Sequel to The Princess and the Goblin
The Flight of the Shadow, 1891
Lilith: A Romance, 1895

11 Short Stories
27 Novels

Book Review: The Spanish Smile

Author: Scott O'Dell
Year of Copyright: 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Read: November 3 to 5, 2003

The Spanish Smile takes place in present day on the Isla del Oro, an island off the coast of southern California area. The main character and heroine in this story is Lucinda de Benivides. The other main characters are Don Enrique de Cabrillo y Benivides, Christopher Dawson, Father Martinez, Gerda Wolffe, Captain Wolffe, Jennifer Delaney, Dorothy D'Amico, Alicia, and Captain Vega.

The conflict was that Lucinda was a "prisoner" on Isla del Oro by her father, Don Enrique, who is some what crazy and wants to cause a revolution to regain California to Spain. The climax is when Lucinda discovers something beneath the castle. Meanwhile mysterious things begin to happen.

My favorite character probably was Lucinda because I could relate to her becuase we both love books. This is a amazing book which is almost like the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Rear Window because of the suspense. I was a little grossed out at first by what she found, but it still is a great book. I think even adults would enjoy The Spanish Smile, but I would not ecommend this book for children under 11 because they probably wouldn't understand it that well.

Her is the summary from the book cover:

Lucinda's life on Isla del Oro, off the coast of California, had always been like that of a young princess. Her father, Don Enrique, surrounded her with the luxuries only a man of his fabulous wealth could afford. Yet she was as sheltered as a princess, too. No newspapers reached the island and there was neither radio nor television -- not even a book that had been written in the twentieth century. Don Enrique saw to it that his daughter and heiress, steeped in her noble Spainsh heritage, knew nothing of life amoung the "barbarians" on the mainland.

And so Lucinda de Cabrillo y Benivides grew into young womanhood -- beautiful, intelligent, filled with dreams. It was not until the young archaeologist Chistopher Dawson arrived on the island that Lucinda began to question her world. Slowly, horrifyingly, the truth about Isla del Oro and its master began to emerge.

Told by a master storyteller, The Spainsh Smile builds relentlessly to a dramatic and haunting end, and Lucinda takes her place among the unforgettable heroines created by Scott O'Dell.

Other Books Scott O'Dell Wrote
290, The
Amethyst Ring, The
The third book in the trilogy which started with The Captive
Black Pearl, The
Black Star, Birght Dawn
Captive, The
Castle in the Sea, The
Child of Fire
Cruise of the Artic Star, The
Dark Canoe, The
Feathered Serpent, The
The sequel to The Captive
Hawk that Dare not Hunt by Day, The
Hill of the Hawk
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Journey to Jericho
Kathleen, Please Come Home
King's Fifth, The
Man Alon (Lifer)
My Name is Not Angelica
Road to Damietta, The
Sarah Bishop
Sea is Red, The: A Novel
*Serpent Never Sleeps, The
Sing Down the Moon
Streams to the River, River to the Sea
Thunder Rolling in the Mountains
Treasure of Topo-el-Bampo, The
Woman of Spain: A Story of Old California
Sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins

Book Review: Mara, Daughter of the Nile

Author: Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
during summer break

Mara: Daughter of the Nile is about, well Mara, a slave girl who longs for freedom. But to get it she discovers herself working as a spy for two archenemies -- each helping different contenders to gain the throne of Egypt.

Set in Ancient Egypt in the days when Queen Hapsheput rules, this unusual fiction book gives you a hint of what espionage might be like in the Ancient Egyptian times.

The story begins with Mara as a slave girl who was bought by an elderly man. She was then given the job as a interpreter for a Canaan princess, the future bride for Prince Thutmose III. But on the way she meets Sheftu, a lord who is trying to restore Thutmose to the throne. She then unwillingly also has to take the job as a messenger, for Sheftu and the prince. While working for both masters she finds herself falling in love with Lord Sheftu. But her duplicity is soon discovered. She then defies the Queen and her formal master and ends up almost giving her life trying to protect Sheftu and his followers' Identities.

I enjoyed Eloise McGraw's novel. It very much reminded me of a James Bond movie, besides that Mara is a girl living in Ancient Egyptian times with out any cool gadgets. The author was very good at decribing things and the dialogue was great. I recommend Mara: Daughter of the Nile for grades 7th and up because it might be confusing for younger children to understand.

"Dangerous espionage, an unsual love story, and ricly drawn background make this a book to capture quick and lasting interest" -- Kirkys Review

Other Books Eloise McGraw Wrote
Crown Fire
*The Golden Goblet
The Hideaway
Joel and the Great Merlini
Master Cornhill
*Moccasin Trail
The Money Room
A Really Weird Summer
Sawdust in His Shoes
The Seventeenth Swap
The Striped Ships
The Tangled Webb
The Trouble with Jacob

* Favorites

Book Review: Indian Annie, Kiowa Captive

Author: Alice Marriot
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
November 10, 2003

Indian Annie takes place right after the Civil War in Tennessee and Texas. The main character in this story is Annie Donavan, or as the Indians call her Humming Bird. The other main characters are Sahnko, Maa, William George, Black Wolf, Mr. Donovan, and Mrs. Donvan.

The conflict was that Annie was taken by the Kiowa Indians when she was 10. Sahnko and Maa became her new Indian parents. In the end Annie, at age 18, has to decide to live the rest of her life with her formal parents or her Indian family. Indian Annie is a wonderfully written story that warms the heart.

My favorite character probably was Annie because she went through hard times and found courage. She also learned that everyone should be free. Annie ended up to make a decision that no one else could do for her. I loved the way the author wrote this book. I have read many Indian captive books which concentrate on what they did in their new life. Indian Annie concentrates more on the dialogue which makes it very interesting to read. I thought the ending was a little disappointing, though I probably would have made that decision, too.

"This story is based on actual events and people. Their names have been changed, and a few events have been telescoped, but the factual basis remains " -- Alice Marriot

Book Review: Redwall

Author: Brian Jacques
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
October 12-13, 2003

Redwall takes place in Mossflower in the Summer of the Late Rose. The main character and hero in this story is Matthias. The other main characters are Father Abbot, Brother Metuselah, Cluny, Constance, Cornflower, Basil, and Ambrose Spike.

The conflict was that Cluny the Scourge was coming to Redwall Abbey to conquer and destroy. The climax was when Matthisfound out the mystery of the Sword of Martin.

My favorite character was Matthia, because he was a brave little mouse who saved the whole Abbey. Brian Jacques was really creative when he was writing the story plot. Everything was so greatly detailed that it pulled you into the book. All Tolkien fans would love these books. It is a Middle-Earth style format, but with mice and other animals. I love stories about animals who have their own "civilization".

"Jacques creates an animal world as compelling as that of The Wind in the Willows...(An) Epic Adventure that will keep fans of Tolkien and King arthur tales engaged to the final battle." -- Publishers Weekly

Other Books Brian Jacques Wrote
Redwall Series:
Redwall, 1986
Mossflower, 1988
Mattimeo, 1989
Mariel of Redwall, 1991
Salamandastron, 1992
Martin the Warrior, 1993
The Bellmaker, 1994
Outcast of Redwall, 1995
The Pearls of Lutra, 1996
The Long Patrol, 1997
Marlfox, 1998
The Legend of Luke, 1999
Lord Brocktree, 2000
The Taggerung, 2001
Triss, 2002
Loamhedge, 2003

Book Review: The Princess & the Goblin

Author: George MacDonald
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
September 15, 2003

The Princess and the Goblin takes place in Scotland in the medieval ages. The main character in this story is Princess Irene. The other main characters are Curdie, Irene's great-great-great grandmother, Lootie, and the Goblin Queen and King.

The conflict was that the Goblins were planning to kidnap Princess Irene. The climax was when Curdie found out what the Goblins were going to do.

My favorite character was Irene's great-great-great-grandmother because she was very wise and beautiful and she knew what to do when something went wrong. The Princess and the Goblin is a great fantasy books that all ages can enjoy. George MacDonald is such a great writer it is hard not to like his books. I would recommend this book to children around eleven and up.

"I for one can really testify to a book that has made a difference to my whole existence, which helped me to see things in a certain way from the start; a vision of things which even so real a revelation as a change of religious allegiance has substantially only crowned and confirmed. Of wall the stories I have read, including even all the novels of the same novelist, it remains the most real, the most like life. It is called The Princess and the Goblin and is by George MacDonald." -- G. K. Chesterton

Other Books George MacDonald Wrote
Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women, 1858
Adela Cathcart, 1864
Includes, The Light Princess
The Portent: A Story of the Inner Vision of the Higlanders, 1864
At the Back of the North Wind, 1870
The Princess and the Goblin, 1871
The Wise Woman: A Parable, 1875
The Princess and Curdie, 1882
Sequel to The Princess and the Goblin
The Flight of the Shadow, 1891
Lilith: A Romance, 1895

11 Short Stories
27 Novels

Book Review: Beauty

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
Author: Robin McKinley
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
September 15, 2003

Beauty takes place in France in the renissance age. The main character in this story is Honour (Beauty). The other main characters are Beast, Mr. Huston, Grace, Hope, Gervair, and Robert.

The conflict was that Mr. Huston picked a rose at Beast's castle. The Beast told Mr. Huston to come back himself or leave one of his daughters here. The turning point was when Beauty and Beast fell in love.

My favorite character was Beauty, because cared enough about her father so much that she stayed in his place. Beauty has a great plot. The author did a great job at describing the very last detail ans dhe pulled you into the book making you not wanting it to end. I think everyone needs to read this because it is just a great book.

"Beauty is the most delightful first novel I've read in years, and astonishing skillfull. Robin McKinley never slips up once. The writing is absoulutely sure-handed, abd the characterization never falters for a moment. I was moved and enchanted by the book. I didn't want it to end." -- Peter S. Beagle

Other Books Robin McKinley Wrote
The Blue Sword, 1982
The Hero and the Crown, 1985
The Outlaws of Sherwood, 1993
Deerskin, 1993

2 Short Stories

Book Review : Roverandom

Author: John Ronald Reul Tolkien
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
October 12-13, 2003

Roverandom takes place once upon a time in England. The main character in this story is Rover (Roverandom). The other main characters are Artaxerxes, Psamathos, the Man-in-the-Moon, the moon-dog Rover, Mew, Two, and the mer-dog Rover.

The conflict was that Rover (Roverandom) was turned into a toy dog by the old magician Artaxerxes, and then sold to a little boy named Two. Rover then runs away hoping to be free but then runs into the wizard Psamathos who sends Roverandom on many journeys and he meets many new friends. But Rover longs to become a real dog again and hopes to find the magician.

My favorite character probably was the Man-in-the-Moon's dog Rover because he kept Roverandom company while on the Moon, even though they argued some. And because it is very unusual for a dog to live on the moon so it makes Rover extra special to me. I think this is a fun little book that all ages would enjoy. Tolkien orginally wrote Roverandom70 years ago to comfort his 4-year-old son Michael who lost his favorite toy dog on the beach. Tolkien started to write this book after The Hobbit was published, and he stopped to begin writing The Lord of the Rings. So in 1998 Roverandom was finally published. This book would make a great read aloud book for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy.

"I am sorry to say that Rover immediately bit his (the wizards) trousers, and tore out quite a piece. Perhaps he also tore out a piece of the wizard. Anyway the old man suddenly turned round very angry and shouted:

'Idiot! Go and be a toy!' " -- page 4 from Roverandom

Other Books J. R. R. Tolkien Wrote
The Silmarillion
The Hobbit, 1937
The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King, 1965

18 Short Stories

Adwards won

International Fantasy adward, 1957 Royal Society of Literature Benson medal, 1966 Foreign Book prizee, 1973 World Science Fiction Convention Gandalf adward, 1974 Hugo adward, 1978

Book Review: Rasco and the Rats of NIMH

Author: Jane Leslie Conly
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
October 12-13, 2003

Rasco and the Rats of NIMH takes place in Thorn Valley probably in the 1980's. The main character and hero in this story is Rasco. The other main characters are Timothy, Justin, Arthur, Christopher, Beatrice, Jeremy, Jenner, Isabella, Nicodemus, and Mrs. Frisby.

The conflict was that people were building a dam that would create a lake that would flood Thorn Valley, where the rats live. The climax was when they figured out they could try to reprogram the computer so the dam would blow up.

My favorite character probably was Timothy because I am happy that he is back in the sequel, and because he was patient and did what he was told and was didn't like Rasco. This author was not as good as Robert O-Brien (this was her first book), but I wanted to hear what happened to the Rats. I guess the creativity of the plot made up for it. I would recommend this book only to people who have read the first one, and really wants to know what happens to the rats.

"Both the story and the tale within it are deftly told, fulfilling the first requisite of fantasy by making the impossible believable. -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Book Review: Magical Melons

Author: Carol Ryrie Brink
Review by Jordann Tatum, 10 years old
January 13, 2004

Every chapter was a different story about Caddie Woodlawn and her friends and family. There are 14 chapters. Some of the chapters happen before the first book, Caddie Woodlawn, and some of them happened after.

The first chapter is called "Magical Melons" because they found some watermelons in the hayloft and they thought they were magical because watermelon season was over and they were in the hayloft. But actually, they weren't magical because the hired men hid them in there for a surprise. But the three kids, Caddie, Warren, and Tom went in and ate one watermelon a week. They ate six.

This was a good book because it is about a pioneer girl having fun adventures.

NOTE FROM JORDANN'S MOM: This book is now being published as Caddie Woodlawn's Family.

Book Review: Indian Captive

Author: Lois Lenski
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
During the summer of 2003

Indian Captive takes place in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio starting in 1758 during the French-Indian War. The main character in this story is Mary Jemison, her Indian name is Corn Tassel. The other main characters are Shining Star, Squirrel Woman, Shagbark, Little Turtle, Running Deer, Bear Woman, and Earth Woman.

The conflict was when Indians took her family captive. She then was seperated from them. The climax was when she was becoming use to the Indian customs and started to like her Indian friends.

My favorite character was Shining Star, because whenever Molly was feeling down or upset Shining Star would give her advice and helped calm Molly down. I love stories about when people are captured by Indians. I like to see what they do with the problems they face and see what there new life is like. This is one of my favorites. This is a great and easy book for children to learn about what happened in the French-Indian war; what life was like for an Indian captive; how the Indians lived; and that Indians are not not wild and crazy killing machines.

"The career of Mary Jemison, the White Captive of the Geneseem, has been the subject of several books and many papers and addresses. Many efforts to describe her life and Indian background have lacked the very essential things which Miss Lenski has introduced. "
-- Arthur Parker, Director of Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences

Other Books Louis Lensky Wrote
Cotton in My Sack
Houseboat Girl
Prarie School
Strawberry Girl

24 Picture Book/ Juvenile
48 Children Fiction Novels

Author Review: Robert McClung

Robert McClung was born in the small city of Butler, Pennsylvania. He was the second child in his family of 3 boys and 1 girl. As a child he loved being outdoors and would explore the countryside around his home for hours at a time. He collected and brought home frogs, toads, garter snakes, rabbits, chipmunks, turtles, wasp and bird nests, and many other things. (Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there!?)

McClung remembered a time in third grade when he found a cocoon and took it to school. Luckily, his teacher appreciated curiosity in a child and allowed him to keep it in the classroom. She later showed him how to mount and preserve insects which led him to a lifelong hobby of insect collecting.

It was also around this time when McClung began writing stories - "mostly wild and woolly epics of adventure," he said in an autobiography.

McClung went on to Princeton after high school where he studied zoology, history, and literature. He found it difficult to decide what to do with his life because there were so many things he was interested in. He considered being a doctor, teacher, advertising agent, writer, and working at a zoo. But World War II came along and instead McClung spent five years in the Navy. Later he earned a master's degree in natural history and science from Cornell and spend time working at the Bronx Zoo in New York, where he ended up as curator of mammals and birds.

It wasn't until after McClung got married that he began writing books about animals for young people. His aim was "to show how different kinds of animals live, by relating the story of one individual animal in each book." That is what makes Robert McClung's books stand out in our home library. We didn't just read about animals, but we read about one specific animal and how it lived. Many of his books follow an animal through their whole life cycle.

These are especially good books for young readers. The print in many of his books is very large and easy on small eyes. Almost every page has an illustration, most by McClung himself.

Wings in the Woods was McClung's first book and describes many of his childhood activities and interests.

List of titles by Robert M. McClung:
Aquatic Insects and How They Live
All About Animals and Their Young
Amazing Egg, The
America's Endangered Birds
America's First Elephant
Animals That Build Their Homes
Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, and How They Live
Black Jack: Last of the Big Alligators
Blaze: The Story of a Striped Skunk
Bufo: The Story of a Toad
Buzztail: The Story of a Rattlesnake
Caterpillars and How They Live
Green Darner: The Story of a Dragonfly
Gypsy Moth: Its History in America
Honker: The Story of a Wild Goose
Horseshoe Crab
How Animals Hide
Hugh Glass, Mountain Man
Hunted Mammals of the Sea
Lady Bug
Last of the Wild, Vanished, and Vanishing Giants of the Animal World
Lili: A Giant Panda of Sichuan
Little Burma
Lost Wild America: The Story of Our Extinct and Vanishing Wildlife
Lost Wild Worlds
Luna: The Story of a Moth
Major: The Story of a Black Bear
Mammals and How They Live
Mice, Moose, and Men: How Their Populations Rise and Fall
Mighty Bears, The
Moths and Butterflies and How They Live
Mysteries of Migration
Old Bet and the Start of the American Circus
Otus: The Story of a Screech Owl
Peeper: First Voice of Spring
Rajpur: Last of the Bengal Tigers
Redbird: The Story of a Cardinal
Ruby Throat: The Story of a Hummingbird
Samson: Last of the California Grizzlies
Scoop: Last of the Brown Pelicans
Screamer: Last of the Eastern Panthers
Sea Star
Shag: Last of the Plains Buffalo
Snakes, Their Place in the Sun
Sphinx: the Story of a Caterpillar
Spike: The Story of a Whitetail Deer
Spotted Salamander
Stripe: The Story of a Chipmunk
Thor: Last of the Sperm Whales
Tiger: The Story of a Swallowtail Butterfly
Treasures in the Sea
True Adventures of Grizzly Adams, The
Vanishing Wildlife of Latin America
Vulcan: The Story of a Bald Eagle
Whooping Crane
Wings in the Woods

Please leave a comment if you know of other titles by Robert McClung or if you can complete some of the titles above. Thanks!

Author Review: Robert Hofsinde (Gray-Wolf)

Robert Hofsinde (Huff sin duh)(December 10, 1902 - 1973) was born in Denmark, where he received his formal education including six year of art training. He came to the United States in 1922. His first job was creating scientific drawings for the Minnesota Academy of Science.

While trapping there one winter he found a young Indian boy who had fallen into a pit and badly broken his leg. Mr. Hofsinde rescued him, set his broken leg, and pulled him on a sled back to the Ojibwa village. This began a very special relationship between the man and the boy and Mr. Hofsinde was adopted into the tribe and given the name "Gray-Wolf." His wife was later renamed "Morning Star." He became fasinated with the Indian culture and would return often to sketch the people. He ended up living with them for more than three years and later visited other tribes in a "research trip" that lasted nearly 16 years. While researching he would earn his living in lumber camps, farms, and ranches.

This love for the Native American cultures brought Mr. Hofsinde to write articles for magazines, including one in Canada and one in Holland, a radio program, and later a series of books published by Morrow Junior Books. His first book was The Indian's Secret World.
Where Sonia Bleeker's books focus on a tribe, Robert Hofsinde's books focus on a subject, discussing how tribes' methods differed. Hofsinde also illustrated them.
These books are short (under 100 pages) with large print and lots of drawings and detailed diagrams of animals and items the Indians made. Ideal for 3rd-4th grade readers. The Indian's Secret World is also the only one I've seen the full-color illustrations in. The others are all black & white. My oldest daughter was in an Indian "phase" for several years. Sonia Bleeker is her favorite Indian author, but these come in close!

"In all of his books, Robert Hofsinde, who knows the customs of Indian tribes intimately, selects a specific area of Indian culture, investigates it thoroughly and presents his findings simply and well. His books, short, easy, informative, with his own clear drawings, are everywhere popular with children."
--- N. Y. Herald Tribune
List of titles by Robert Hofsinde:

The Indian and His Horse
The Indian and the Buffalo
Indian Arts
Indian Beadwork
Indian Costumes
Indian Fishing and Camping
Indian Games and Crafts
Indian Hunting
The Indian Medicine Man
Indian Music Makers
Indian Picture Writing
Indian Sign Language
Indian Warriors and Their Weapons
The Indian's Secret World
Indians at Home
Indians on the Move

These are recommended for reading in the TruthQuest Guides to History.

Author Review: Carolyn Haywood

Carolyn Haywood (January 3, 1898 - January 11, 1990) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 3, 1898. She loved drawing and painting even as a little girl. After she graduated from Philadelphia Normal School in 1922, she won a scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and studied drawing and painting there.

She also studied in Europe and with three pupils of Howard Pyle. They convinced her to illustrate her own books, as he had, so she planned a picture book with lots of illustrations and very little text. While meeting with editors one suggested that she "write about American children doing the kind of things American boys and girls like to do." "B" Is for Betsy was the result.

Although writing and illustrating books took up a good deal of her time, Ms. Haywood still found time to paint children's portraits. This was an enjoyable time for her as she would tell them stories and listen to tales of their families, pets, and schools as she painted.

Ms. Haywood was also well-known for painting murals. Several can be found in banks and schools in the Philadelphia area.

Ms. Haywood's books have been published in many languages, including German, Japanese, French, Swedish, and Norwegian.

"My books are naturally intended for children from 4 to 11 and are written with the idea of supplying the beginning reader with books that are more developed than picture books."
--Carolyn Haywood

I appreciate the fact that most of these books have large print. That made a big difference when my girls were first reading. They had a much harder time reading books with small print. Some of these I haven't seen and don't have summaries for. If you've read one of these, please send a short description and I'll add it to my page. Thanks!

List of titles by Carolyn Haywood: (Many of these are available now in paperback at Amazon. Used & new hardbacks are also available.)

A Christmas Fantasy (1972) -- Follow Santa through his childhood years and learn how he got into the toy-giving business.
A Valentine Fantasy (1976) -- A tale of how Valentine's Day came into existance and how the heart became its symbol.
Annie Pat and Eddie
Away Went the Balloons
"B" Is for Betsy (1939) -- Betsy experiences an interesting first year in school and looks forward to summer vacation at her grandfather's farm.
Back to School With Betsy (1943) -- Third-grader Betsy and her friend Billy seem to be always getting into scrapes both inside and outside of school.
Betsy and Billy
Betsy and Mr. Kilpatrick
Betsy and the Boys (1945) -- Betsy and her fourth-grade friends discover football.
Betsy and the Circus
Betsy's Busy Summer
Betsy's Little Star (1950) -- Meet Betsy's little sister Star as she starts kindergarten.
Betsy's Play School (1977) -- Betsy organizes a summer play school for six neighborhood children.
Betsy's Winterhouse (1958) -- Betsy's father builds a winterhouse for her and her friends to play in during the winter.
"C" Is for Cupcake (1974) -- Join Christie in the adventures she shares with her rabbit Cupcake and the other members of her first grade class.
Eddie and Gardenia (1951) -- From the front flap, "This, beyond any doubt, is the best book Miss Haywood has ever written. It is an on-the-spot picture of an authentic Texas ranch." Eddie's goat, Gardenia, begins the story by eating a hole in the top of his father's new convertible.
Eddie and His Big Deals
Eddie and Louella (1959) -- Eddie loans his pet parrot from Texas to liven up the pal-tree decorations at a charity ball.
Eddie and the Fire Engine (1949) -- Eight-year-old Eddie Wilson, who collects valuable property and stray animals, acquires a goat and an old fire engine.
Eddie Makes Music (1957) -- Eddie becomes an accomplished music maker when his friends all begin to take music lessons.
Eddie the Dog Holder (1966) -- Eddie comes up with an idea to make enough money to buy himself a puppy, holding dogs while Annie Pat paints their portrait.
Eddie's Friend, Boodles (1991) -- A visit to the circus inspires Boodles to experiment with clown makeup and to try to teach his dog Poochie to do tricks.
Eddie's Green Thumb
Eddie's Happenings
Eddie's Menagerie (1978) -- Join Eddie as he gets a job in a pet shop and acquires a hat that soon becomes one of his most prized possessions.
Eddie's Pay Dirt
Eddie's Valuable Property (1975) -- Eddie's dismay at the family's move is relieved by his pleasure in a new friend, a valuable property they share, and a happy school situation.
Ever-Ready Eddie
Halloween Treats (1981) -- A collection of short stories to get children of all ages in the mood for Halloween.
Happy Birthday from Carolyn Haywood (1984) -- A collection of nine stories revolving around the birthday celebrations of a variety of the author's characters, old and new.
Hello, Star
Here Comes the Bus! (1963) -- Jonathan, otherwise known as Taffy, finds fun as he starts his school career.
Here's a Penny (1944) -- The story of six-year-old Penny, whose real name is William, but who looked like a copper penny when he was adopted as a baby.
How the Reindeer Saved Santa
The King's Monster
Little Eddie (1947) -- Whether Eddie's finding homes for a crowd of stray cats, preparing himself for a career in dogcatching, or picketing the baseball team, his happy adventures are sure to win lots of friends.
Make a Joyful Noise! Bible Verses for Children
Merry Christmas From Betsy (1970) -- A collection of previously published stories which relate the Christmas adventures of Betsy and her sister Star.
Merry Christmas From Eddie
The Mixed-Up Twins (1952) -- Meet the Onalds. Their real names are Ronald and Donald, but since they are twins and look exactly alike, they are always being mixed up by everyone.
Penny and Peter (1946) -- Whenever Penny and his adopted brother Peter decide to help their parents, they usually end up in trouble.
Penny Goes to Camp (1948) -- Penny and his adopted brother Peter are not looking forward to going to summer camp, but as the time to go approaches they change their mind.
Primrose Day (1942) -- Merry Primrose Ramsay is a little English girl who comes to America because of World War II and finds fun and humorous adventures with her little cousin Jerry.
Robert Rows the River
Santa Claus Forever!
Snowbound with Betsy
Summer Fun
Taffy and Melissa Molasses (1969) -- During her summer vacation, Melissa, her brother Taffy, and their friend Jon have one adventure after another, beginning with a Fourth of July flag-raising party.
Two and Two is Four (1968) -- Teddy and Babs Robinson move with their family to the country and meet Peter and Jane, who are visiting their grandparents for the summer.
When I Grow Up

Author Review: Wilma Pitchford Hayes

Wilma Pitchford Hays (1909 - ) grew up hearing about her rich family history. In her words, "In my cradle I heard the folk songs of the Britons: English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh. Before I went to school I knew the Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln families." Her parents told her stories of how a grandfather served in the Revolutionary War with Daniel Boone and her great uncle who served with Abraham Lincoln's father, Tom, in a twelve man militia in Kentucky. As a child Mrs. Hays would beg her "Grandmother Pitchford" to tell stories of how her father hid from bushwhackers when she was growing up on the border between the North and South during the Civil War. Parts of these true stories are told in The Scarlet Badge and Abe Lincoln's Birthday.

Mrs. Hays family lived in many places while she was growing up: Nebraska, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida. She loved travel and visited every estate except Alaska. This interest brought about seven books about true experiences in different regions of the country.

Another true story from Mrs. Hays family appears in Drummer Boy for Montcalm. This story came from her other grandmother, "Grandmother Lull," who lived with their family and would read to Wilma as she ironed or did other household chores. Gradmother Lull's great-grandfather was a drummer boy in the Battle for Quebec in 1759.

Mrs. Hays had written about a hundred aritcles, both fiction and non-fiction, for adult magazines when her husband, R. Vernon Hays, a superintendent of schools, asked her to write a book that would "give children the feel of having been at the Thanksgiving celebration." The result of this request was Pilgrim Thanksgiving, the first of eleven holiday books.

Mrs. Hays remarked that some of her best books were planned while walking along the beach and picking up shells. Her books are arranged in several series. I have tried to put them in the right series, but I haven't read all of them myself so please let me know if you have more information on any of these titles.

List of titles by AUTHOR:

Regional Titles:

Little Horse That Raced a Train
The Pup Who Became a Police Dog
That Burro Pinto Jack
The Hawaiian Way
The Goose That Was a Watchdog
Little Hawaiian Horse
Cape Cod Adventure
Holiday Books:

Pilgrim Thanksgiving
Easter Fires - (Our favorite because it happened near us!)
Christmas on the Mayflower
The Fourth of July Raid
May Day for Samoset
Patrick of Ireland
The Story of Valentine
Abe Lincoln's Birthday
George Washington's Birthday
Highland Halloween
The Open Gate: New Year's 1813
Other Titles:

The Apricot Tree
Biography of Governor William Bradford
Circus Mystery Girl
Drummer Boy for Montcalm
Eli Whitney and the Machine Age
Eli Whitney, Founder of Industry
Foods the Indians Gave Us
The French are Coming
The Ghost at Penniman House
Little Hurrican Happy
Little Lone Coyote
Little Yellow Fur: Homesteading in 1913
The Long Blond Wig
Ma and Pa on the Oregon Trail
Mary's Star: A Tale of Orphans in Virginia
The Merriweather Lewis Mystery
Monsters and Oil Wells Don't Mix
Nako, Captive of Columbus
Naughty Little Pilgrim
Pilgrim to the Rescue
Pontiac: Lion in the Forest
Rebel Pilgrim: A Biography of Governor William Bradford
Rex, the Hero Dog
Samuel Morse and the Telegraph Wires
Samuel Morse and the Electronic Age
The Scarlet Badge
Siege! The Story of St. Augustine in 1702
Trouble at Otter Creek
Yellow Fur and Little Hawk

Author Review: Clyde Robert Bulla

Clyde Robert Bulla (BULL uh)(1914 - ) is an outstanding children's book author, with more than sixty books and many awards to his credit. He was born and raised on a farm in Missouri, attended a one-room schoolhouse, and was only allowed to read and write after he finished his chores! Mr. Bulla wanted to write even when he was very young. In first grade the teacher asked each pupil what they would do with a thousand dollars and his response was "buy a table" so he could write! His first piece of writing was called "How Planets Were Born." He wrote many other stories, poems, and plays while in school.

After school, his first novel was published and very soon afterward the publisher went bankrupt. For several years he worked as a columnist and typesetter for a newspaper. His columns were noticed by a well-known children's book writer who encouraged him to try again. Within several weeks his first book, The Donkey Cart, was accepted by the publisher.

His writing has been described as "filled with great warmth and sensitivity." Most of these books are great for early elementary readers. I have several of his books (Chalk Box Kid and White Bird are two) that have recently been reprinted in the "A Stepping Stone Book" series for young readers. Chalk Box Kid is suggested for 3rd grade and White Bird has a more specific RL: 1.9 listed.

"Clyde Bulla has never written a poor story nor written a good story poorly...His books refuse to be classified, so varied is his offering. But whether he is writing about historical America or a modern boy and his horse, authentic Indian lore or perfidy and courage in the days of King Arthur, each story is told with beautiful clarity and a special flavor of its own time or place."
--May Hill Arbuthonot, Elementary English
As to how to pronounce his name, Mr. Bulla says, "Over the years I've learned to answer to Beulah, Buller, and even Bullie, without much carring."

List of titles by Clyde Robert Bulla:

Almost a Hero
Beast of Lor, The -- TruthQuest Ancient Rome
Cardboard Crown, The
Chalk Box Kid, The -- Sonlight 2 (old TMs)
Charlie's House - TruthQuest 2
Conquista! - TruthQuest Ren & Ref
Dandelion Hill
Daniel's Duck - I Can Read, Sonlight 2, FIAR, TruthQuest 3
Dog Named Penny, A
Donkey Cart, The
Down the Mississippi
Eagle Feather
Flowerpot Gardens
Ghost of Windy Hill, The
Ghost Town Treasure
Grain of Wheat, A
Indian Hill
John Billington, Friend of Squanto - TruthQuest 1
Johnny Hong of Chinatown
Jonah and the Great Fish
Joseph the Dreamer
Keep Running, Allen!
Last Look
Lincoln's Birthday - TruthQuest 3
Lion to Guard Us, A - Sonlight 3, TruthQuest 2
Marco Moonlight
Mika's Apple Tree: A Story of Finland
Moon Singer, The
More Stories of Favorite Operas
My Friend, The Monster
New Boy in Dublin: A Story of Ireland
Old Charlie
Open the Door and See all the People
Pirate's Promise - TruthQuest 1
Pocahontas and the Strangers - Sonlight 3
Poor Boy, Rich Boy
Poppy Seeds, The
Ranch for Danny, A
Riding the Pony Express - Sonlight 2, TruthQuest 3
Ring and the Fire, The
Secret Valley, The - Sonlight 2 (old TMs), TruthQuest 3
Shoeshine Girl, The - Sonlight 2 (old TMs)
Singing Sam
Song of St. Francis
Squanto, Friend of Pilgrims - Sonlight 3, TruthQuest 1, Beautiful Feet
St. Valentine's Day
Star of Wild Horse Canyon
Stories from Wagner's Viebelung Operas
Stories of Favorite Operas
Stories of Gilbert and Sullivan Operas
Stubborn Old Woman, The
Sugar Pear Tree, The
Surprise for a Cowboy
Sword in the Tree, The - Sonlight 2, TruthQuest Dark Ages
Three Dollar Mule - Sonlight 2 (old TMs)
Tree is a Plant, A
Valentine Cat, The
Viking Adventure - Sonlight 2, TruthQuest Dark Ages
Washington's Birthday - TruthQuest 2
What Makes a Shadow?
White Bird
White Sails to China - TruthQuest 3
Wish at the Top, The

Author Review: Walter Franklin Buehr

Walter Buehr (May 14, 1897 - January 2, 1971) was born in Chicago on May 14, 1897. After high school he attended several different art schools including the Art Students League of New York (where he later taught), the Detroit School of Design, the Philadelphia School of Industrial Arts, the Art Students League, and he also studied art in Europe.

He began a first sergeant in the first camouflage section of the U.S. Army Engineers during WWI and was awarded the active service medal.

He married Camilla Goodwyn, a portrait artist and fashion illustrator, in 1938. The two had three daughters, and at least five grandchildren. Two of his grandchildren lived in France & couldn’t speak English, which made it very hard on a grandfather who spoke very little French!

Buehr had varied talents and interests. He designed furniture, was interested in ceramics, like to tinker with high fidelity systems, and loved sailing. He even lived on his boat during the summers and cruised both the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean. This hobby led to the writing of his first book - Ships and Life Afloat. He wanted children in the Midwest to be able to understand the terms used in stories about the sea, how the ships were rigged, how they operated, what the life of a sailor was like, etc.

His over fifty-six books, including four for adults, reflect his wide variety of interests, including sailing and the sea, medieval history, exploration, transportation, electricity, and more. His history books dealt with romantic eras full of knights, castles, galleys, and galleons. My copies were all published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons. His children’s books are short (less than 100 pages) with large print and lots of illustrations, making them easy on young eyes.

Our favorites have been the volumes about the medieval times: Chivalry and the Mailed Knight, The Crusades, Knights and Castles and Feudal Life, and Heraldry: The Story of Armorial Bearing. Heraldry was my personal favorite. Others that were very helpful in our study of US history were French Explorers in America & The Spanish Conquistadores in North America. My girls also enjoyed the Bread book. Like many of his books it followed the history of a common, everyday item and made it very interesting!

List of titles by Walter Buehr:

1812: The War and the World, 1967 - TruthQuest
Automobiles, Past and Present, 1968
Birth of a Liner, 1961
Bread, the Staff of Life, 1959
Cargoes in the Sky, 1958
Chivalry and the Mailed Knight, 1963 - TruthQuest
Cloth, from Fiber to Fabric, 1965
The Crusades, 1959 - TruthQuest
Famous Small Boat Voyages, 1967
Firearms, 1967
First Book of Machines, 1962
Food, From Farm to Home, 1970
Freight Trains of the Sky, 1969
French Explorers in America, 1961 - TruthQuest
Galleys and Galleons, 1964 - TruthQuest
Genie and the Word: Electricity and Communication, 1959
Harbors and Cargoes, 1955
Harvest of the Sea, 1955 - TruthQuest
Heraldry: The Story of Armorial Bearing, 1964 - TruthQuest
Home Sweet Home in the Nineteenth Century, 1965
Keeping Time, 1960
Knights and Castles and Feudal Life, 1957 - TruthQuest
Magic of Paper, 1966
Marvel of Glass, 1963
Meat, From Ranch to Table, 1956
Oil, Today’s Black Magic, 1957
Plastics, The Man-made Miracle, 1967
The Portuguese Explorers, 1966 - TruthQuest
Railroads, Today and Yesterday, 1958
Rubber, Natural and Synthetic, 1964
Salt, Sugar, and Spice, 1969
Sea Monsters, 1966
Sending the Word, The Story of Communication, 1959
Ships and Life Afloat: From Galley to Turbine, 1953
Ships of the Great Lakes, 1956
The Spanish Armada, 1962 - TruthQuest
The Spanish Conquistadores in North America, 1962 - TruthQuest
Storm Warning, 1972
The Story of Locks, 1953
Story of the Wheel, 1960
Strange Craft, 1963
Through the Locks: Canals Today and Yesterday, 1954
Timber! Farming Our Forests, 1960
Treasure: The Story of Money and Its Safeguarding, 1955
Trucks and Trucking, 1957
Underground Riches, The Story of Mining, 1958
The Viking Explorers, 1968 - TruthQuest
Volcano!, 1962
Warriors Weapons (adult), 1963
Water, Our Vital Need, 1967
Westward with American Explorers, 1963 - TruthQuest
When Towns Had Walls, Life in a Medieval English Town, 1970
Wonder Worker, The Story of Electricity, 1961
World Beneath the Waves, 1964
The World of Marco Polo, 1961 - TruthQuest
Books Illustrated by Walter Buehr:
Adventures on the Cloud 9, by Adelaide Field
The First Book of the Ocean, by Sam & Beryl Epstein
Mary, Queen of Scots, by Emily Hahn (Landmark series) - TruthQuest
Moon Base, by William Nephew

Start a Library

(from an article written in 1919 !)

The home ought no more to be without a library than without a dining-room and kitchen. If you have but one room, and it is lighted by the great wood fire in the flaming fireplace, as Abraham Lincoln’s was, do as Abraham Lincoln did; pick out one corner of your fireplace for a library, and use it. Every man ought to provide for the brain as well as for the stomach. This does not require capital; there are cheap editions of the best books; it only requires time and forecast. We write in a private library, and a fairly good one for working purposes, of three thousand-and-odd volumes; we began it many years ago, on a salary of $1,000 a year, with five books -- a commentary in four volumes and a dictionary. The best libraries are not made; they grow.

At first buy only books that you want immediately to read. Do not be deluded into buying books because they are classics, or cheap, or that you may get rid of an agent. One book read is worth a dozen books looked at. No book is possessed till it is read. Reference books constitute an exception, and an important exception, to this rule. These are the foundations of a good library. The essential reference books are a dictionary, a good atlas, and an encyclopedia. Any school atlas will do, though if you are able to purchase it a good atlas is much better; and best of all is a wise selection of atlases. There is no best encyclopedia; your choice must depend upon your resources, pecuniary and mental.

In purchasing books exercise a choice in editions. The lowest-priced books are not always the cheapest. Buy books of transient interest or minor importance -- all novels, for example, and current books of travel -- in cheap form. On the other hand, histories, classics of all sorts, and generally all permanent books, should be bought in good binding and good type. It takes well-seasoned lumber to make a good family library.

Have a place for your library. A dollar spent in pine lumber, and a little mechanical skill, will make a larger and better one. Varnished pine is handsome enough for any parlor. A place for books will cry to be filled till it gets it prayer answered. Book shelves preserve books. One shelf of books gathered together is a better library than twice the number scattered from attic to cellar.

Finally, a taste for reading is an essential prerequisite to a useful library. A well is of no use if you never draw water from it. At the same time a good library in the household, accessible to all, from baby to grandmother, is one of the best influences with which to develop a taste for reading. Have no books so fine that they cannot be used.

Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again
Author: John Ronald Reul Tolkien
Review by Lauren Tatum, 12 years old
September 15, 2003

The Hobbit takes place in the Middle Ages during the Thrid Age. The main character and hero in this story is Bilbo Baggins. The other main characters are Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield, the Dwarves, Elrond, Beorn, and King Bard.

The conflict was when Gandalf convinced Bilbo, a hobbit from the peaceful and quiet Shire, to lands beyond the Misty Mountains to where he may not return. The climax was when Biblo found the Ring, they killed Smaug the dragon, and when the Free People fought a battle against the goblins.

My favorite character was Bilbo, because he was brave and reading about him reminds us that even small people can do great things. I love books like this. It is not as good as The Lord of the Rings. But it is still very goofd and the best part is that it is easy enough that children can read it, to. J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author. There is not much I dislike in his books. I recommend this book for everyone to enjoy. Especially people who enjoy reading fantasy and old classic books.

"There are very few works of genius' in recent literature. This is one." -- The Nation

Other Books J.R.R. Tolkien Wrote

The Silmarillion
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

18 Short Stories

Adwards won: International Fantasy adward, 1957 Royal Society of Literature Benson medal, 1966 Foreign Book prizee, 1973 World Science Fiction Convention Gandalf adward, 1974 Hugo adward, 1978

Author Review: Sonia Bleeker

Sonia Bleeker (1909 - 1971)emigrated to the US from Russia when she was 9 years old. After graduating from Hunter College in 1933, she married Herbert Zim. (Another author we have enjoyed.) When her sons were young she couldn't find any books about Native Americans for their age level -- so she wrote her own.

Bleeker's American Indian Tribes Series is one of my oldest daughter's favorite series of books. She has read almost all of them and is able to describe Native American life in great detail. I've even found her making lists of things she would need to live on the land like an Indian! These are just the right size for the older elementary kids to hold or stick into a backpack. They have large print and simple line drawings and maps.

"The Nez Perce Indians were unique in many ways. Miss Bleeker's story of young Spotted Salmon points out the differences between his tribe and the others of the Northwest. The 8-to-12 reader will enjoy this one and learn something of Indian relations in the early days of American expansion."
--Charlotte NewsList of titles by Sonia Bleeker:
Books about Native Americans and other indigenous people:

Apache Indians, The: Raiders of the Southwest
Ashanti of Ghana, The
Aztec, The: Indians of MexicoCherokee, The: Indians of the Mountains
Chippewa Indians, The: Rice Gatherers of the Great Lakes
Crow Indians,The: Hunters of the Northern Plains
Delaware Indians, The: Eastern Fishermen & Farmers
Eskimo, The: Arctic Hunters and Trappers
Horsemen of the Western Plateau: The Nez Perce Indians
Ibo of Biafra , TheInca, The: Indians of the Andes
Indians of the Longhouse: The Story of the Iroquois
Masai, The: Herders of East Africa
Maya, The: Indians of Central America
Mission Indians of California, The
Navajo, The: Herders, Weavers & Silversmiths
Pueblo Indians, The: Farmers of the Rio Grande
Pygmies of Africa, The: Africans of the Congo Forest
Sea Hunters, The: Indians of the Northwest Coast
Seminole Indians, The
Sioux Indians, The: Hunters & Warriors of the PlainsTuareg, The: Nomads & Warriors of the Sahara
Zulu of South Africa, The: Cattlemen, Farmers, & Warriors

Golden Book of Bird Stamps, The
Golden Playbook of Indian Stamps, The
Life and Death (co-authored with Herbert Zim)
Mexico: A Regional Guide

Author Review: Patricia Beatty

Mrs. Beatty wrote in an autobiographical sketch in 1972, “When I, Patricia Beatty, started writing a children’s novel -- largely as a resort from boredom -- in 1956, I had no idea that writing was about to become first my avocation with a vengeance and then a full-time job. Nor did I have any idea that my long-suffering Ph.D. husband, John Beatty, was also to be snatched up before long into the wild wide world of authorship. It has all been a great surprise to us!”

Patricia Beatty and her husband, John, were born in the same hospital in Portland, Oregon, in the same year! Even though their mothers were acquainted with each other, Patricia and John didn’t really get to know each other until they were attending Reed College and they didn’t marry until they were 28 years old.

Patricia and John were both teachers. John taught 16th-18th century English history at the college level and Patricia taught high school history before they married. This knowledge of history shows throughout their detailed historical novels.

In 1959 Patricia began a novel set in 1752 London. Her husband began helping her since this time period was his specialty. In all they wrote 11 novels together before his sudden death in 1975. Mrs. Beatty died in 1991.

In another part of her autobiographical sketch Mrs. Beatty says, “In all our writing we aim to teach history to young readers in what we conceive to be its most painless form, the historical novel.”

I was first introduced to Patricia Beatty through the Sonlight Curriculum and later we came to know more of her work through the TruthQuest history guides. Our family appreciates her approach especially because we have two very adventurous girls who don’t like typical “girl books.” Many of the main characters in her books are girls living during pioneer times.

List of titles by Patricia Beatty: "SL" = used in the Sonlight Curriculum; "TQ" = TruthQuest History Guides

The Bad Bell of San Salvador
Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee
Behave Yourself, Bethany Brant
Billy Bedamned Long Gone By
Blue Stars Watching
Bonanza Girl --SL
By Crumbs! It's Mine!
Charley Skedaddle- TQ
The Coach that Never Came
Eben Tyne- TQ
Eight Mules from Monterey
Hail Columbia
How Many Miles to Sundown
I Want My Sunday, Stranger!
Indian Canoemaker
Jonathan Down-Under
Just Some Weeds from the Wilderness
Lacy Makes a Match
The Lady from Black Hawk
A Long Way to Whiskey Creek
Lupita Manana
Me, California Perkins
Melinda Takes a Hand
The Nickel-Plated Beauty
O the Red Rose Tree
The Queen's Own Grove
Red Rock Over the River
Rufus, Red Rufus
Sarah and Me and the Lady from the Sea
The Sea Pair
Something to Shout About
Squaw Dog
The Staffordshire Terror
That's One Ornery Orphan
Turn Homeward, Hannalee - SL
Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee - SL & TQ
Who Comes with Cannons- TQ
Written by Patricia and John Beatty:

At the Seven Stars- TQ
Campion Towers - TQ
A Donkey for the King
King's Knight's Pawn
Master Rosalind
Pirate Royal
The Queen's Wizard
The Royal Dirk
Who Comes to King's Mountain?
Witch Dog