Our February Reads!

Our February ReadsThe month of February included some great reads. Most of these books were included in Our Morning Basket, others were parenting picks. Here’s a rundown of the books we’ve enjoyed this month:

  1. Stuart LittleStuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure. Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend? 
    Stuart Little started off this month’s Morning Basket. I’m sorry to say I’d never read this story before.  While our family enjoyed the story in general – there were many sweet adventures involved – I’m sorry to say we found the end incredibly disappointing. If you’ve never read the book, I won’t give away the final chapter. I will say this… the book seemed unfinished, ending abruptly and without closure. We wish there was more to the story.
  2. Seduction of the Heart Christians are engaged in the ultimate battle-the battle for the heart. The overwhelming influences of the media, materialism, and selfish ambition threaten to decay even the most tender of hearts. While the world screams to the contrary, every Christian must fight to maintain a clear conscience and discover what it really means to have the heart of God. Tim LaHaye, with Ed Hindson, equips readers with armor to guard their hearts and draw nearer to God. Some chapter titles include: The Battle for the Heart, The Ultimate Deception, The Erosion of Trust, & A Prescription for the Heart Finding God’s Heart.
    I loved this read. From beginning to end, I appreciated Mr. LaHaye and Mr. Hindson’s encouragement to constantly be on guard. Our hearts need to be drawing closer to the Lord constantly. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
  3. BambiBambi’s life in the woods begins happily. There are forest animals to play with — Friend Hare, the chattery squirrel, the noisy screech-owl, and Bambi’s twin cousins, frail Gobo and beautiful Faline. But winter comes, and Bambi learns that the woods hold danger — and things he doesn’t understand. The first snowfall makes food hard to find. Bambi’s father, a handsome stag, roams the forest, but leaves Bambi and his mother alone. Then there is Man. He comes to the forest with weapons that can wound an animal. He does terrible things to Gobo, to Bambi’s mother, and even to Bambi. But He can’t keep Bambi from growing into a handsome stag himself, and becoming…the Prince of the Forest. 
    Another great read in Our Morning Basket. While we all enjoyed the story, if you’ve never read this book, you’ll be in for a surprise. This read is nothing like the Disney film. I understand Disney tends to take creative license and adjust their stories slightly, but this was the most changed story we’ve read to date.  We found the book to be less endearing than the movie, but an enjoyable read none-the-less. I highly recommend accompanying this story with an opportunity to explore watercolors. Allow your children to capture the mood of the read through an often unexplored medium. You might also take a little time to learn more about deer!
  4. Jungle BookRun with them. Or fear them… Bagheera the Panther: A silken shadow of boldness and cunning. Kaa the Python: A thirty foot battering ram driven by a cool, hungry mind. Baloo the Bear: who keeps the lore and the Law, and teaches the Secret Words. Rikki the Mongoose: The young protector who sings as he slays. Akela and Raksha the Wolves: Demon warriors of the Free People. Shere Khan the Tiger: The dreaded enemy of all. And Mowgli the Man-cub: The orphan baby raised by the wolves, taught by Baloo, trained by Bagheera and Kaa. The sorcerer who knows the ways of the jungle and speaks the language of the wild…
    Part of our February Morning Basket, Jungle Book was a fun read. While not every aspect of the book aligned itself with the popular Disney flick, this book was familiar and enjoyable. We chose this read to coincide with our history readings on India, and it was the perfect addition to our lessons. Our favorite story was “Rikki Tikki”.
  5. The DoldrumsArcher B. Helmsley has grown up in a house full of oddities and treasures collected by his grandparents, the famous explorers. He knows every nook and cranny. He knows them all too well. After all, ever since his grandparents went missing on an iceberg, his mother barely lets him leave the house. Archer longs for adventure. Grand adventures, with parachutes and exotic sunsets and interesting characters. But how can he have an adventure when he can’t leave his house? 
    A recent release by Nicholas Gannon, I couldn’t wait to start this read. The story is clean, well written, and holds the reader’s attention. The main character, Archer Helmsley’s, antics are quite hilarious; as are the stirrings of his imagination. Be prepared to see the world through the eyes of the young, and remember what it felt like to have big dreams of far off adventures. I particularly enjoyed reading Archer’s thoughts on the adults around him. Just what kind of person would he find me to be?
  6. The Social AnimalDavid Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a work grounded in everyday life. This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica—how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed.
    Recently, this read was suggested to me. I am sorry to say I did not enjoy this book. Mr. Brooks’ ideas are founded on the ridiculous. He puts forth the notion of our having good character and a passion for living, but gives no reason for having either; no foundation for this belief or what the standard of good character ought to be. He believes in spiritual states, yet proceeds to dismiss the role of God. We are reduced to a mass of genes, a subconscious mind which controls all, and encouraged to believe we are all ‘spiritual Grand Central Stations’. While, I will confess, parts of the story were amusing, the ideas behind the story are utter nonsense. Which should not come as a surprise considering the man finds Jean-Jacques Rousseau to be a genius (shudder).
  7. The Cricket In Times SquareOne night, the sounds of New York City–the rumbling of subway trains, thrumming of automobile tires, hooting of horns, howling of brakes, and the babbling of voices–is interrupted by a sound that even Tucker Mouse, a jaded inhabitant of Times Square, has never heard before. Mario, the son of Mama and Papa Bellini, proprietors of the subway-station newsstand, had only heard the sound once. What was this new, strangely musical chirping? None other than the mellifluous leg-rubbing of the somewhat disoriented Chester Cricket from Connecticut. Attracted by the irresistible smell of liverwurst, Chester had foolishly jumped into the picnic basket of some unsuspecting New Yorkers on a junket to the country. Despite the insect’s wurst intentions, he ends up in a pile of dirt in Times Square.
    Another lovely read for Our Morning Basket, I couldn’t wait to share this story with my children. We especially enjoyed learning more about our cricket friends – whom my son is constantly turning into house pets – and imagining their chirping as melodic songs played for appreciating masses. The notion of sewer mice having cash accounts, and saving for their old age was also delightful. Such a beautiful read; one which I’m sure we’ll visit time and time again.

Not every book is going to be a success. However, each read is a lesson. This month we discovered “classic” stories are not always enjoyable reads; were reminded some stories are worth reading over and over again; and others might be avoided altogether.

March’s stack of books is already piled high and we’re ready to get moving. Here’s to good books and comfy chairs to read them in!

📢 Chime In!: Fiction or nonfiction, do you have a book suggestion for us? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this month’s reads, and ideas for our 2016 book list.

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