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Loyal to Our Values

The Loyal Books Blog strives to give parents, educators, grandparents and friends the details on children's books. These aren't reviews written to sell books. These are reviews that truly inform.

The Fire Pony by Rodman Philbrick

November 28, 2012

Children’s Bood Review: The Fire Pony by Rodman Philbrick Lexile Level 1010

The story of two orphaned brothers, one in his twenties and one twelve. The elder brother, Joe, has secreted Roy away from the foster home where life was bad, and now the two are on the run. Moving from odd job to odd job Joe is trying to keep Roy away from state authorities, and in his own way trying to be a good big brother.

As with many younger brothers, Roy has a blind spot for Joe’s character weaknesses. All he knows is that Joe saved him from the foster home, and they are fiercely loyal to each other, but Roy still has dreams of a good life. He hasn’t given in to the cynical outlook which colors Joe’s view of the world. Read more…

Treasure Trove Book List, Arthur Mee

November 27, 2012

I often scan the web for book lists hoping to come across children’s books I want to read and recommend.  I am usually drawn to older books, many out of print, because the content is wholesome and straight forward.  Older books from the 1800’s and early 1900’s usually reflect a higher moral standard than many of today’s best sellers. I’ve noticed the language is also beautifully structured with excellent use of  diverse vocabulary.

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James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

October 26, 2012

Herriot, Treasury for Children ReviewI’ve posted reviews of James Herriot books on this blog before, but I finally got a copy of James Herriot’s  Treasury for Children hardbound book, and I’d like to suggest it as a gift idea.The stories are simple, heartwaming tales of farm animals who have unusual lives, or show an unusual attachment to their human caretakers. These stories are taken from James Alfred Wight’s years as a veterinary serving the farms and dairies of Yorkshire.

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Lexile Levels Added to My Reviews

October 9, 2012

The schools my children attend use Lexile levels instead of grade levels to target books for students.  Reading assignments such as book reports usually carry a Lexile requirement, so I have decided to start including Lexile levels in my reviews whenever possible. I hope this helps my readers find the right books for their family. There have been quite a few cases where we needed to find a certain genre of book within a Lexile range, so the searching began with Lexiles.

In my family we also noticed a sharp decline in appropriate content in books with Lexile levels over 800+ Many students are reading at these levels while still in the elementary grades, but popular books above this range often contain content that is too ‘grown up’ for the child. That is no surprise when only about 13% of the U.S. adult population can perform above the ‘intermediate’ level of literacy. Consequently, even adult fiction is geared towards a reading level of about 9th grade.

 

Revenge of the Whale by Nathaniel Philbrick

September 28, 2012

Book Review from a Christian Mom’s Perspective:  Revenge of the Whale, adopted for young people from the New York Times Best Seller, In the Heart of the Sea   Lexile 1170

Listing a book by genre can be tricky. While I would classify Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex  as History or True Adventure, neither of those descriptions warn the reader about the gruesome side of the story.
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War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

September 18, 2012

Book Review: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.  Children’s Historical Fiction. Lexile 1090

War Horse Book ReviewMaybe you’re like me and hadn’t heard of the book War Horse until the movie came out earlier this year, but it was published in 1982 and I’m glad it finally came to my attention.

When I saw the movie trailer, it looked pretty intense and maybe a little too violent for my tastes, so I wasn’t sure how I would like the book, but the author did a great job of portraying the evils and devastation of war without  indulging in horrific, stomach twisting details. I was also expecting another version of the typical horse-goes-through-multiple-evil-owners-until-you-want-to-scream plot, but again I was pleasantly surprised.
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Caleb’s Lamb by Helen Santos

September 14, 2012

Children’s Book Review: Caleb’s Lamb by Helen Santos

Caleb's Lamb Children's BookSet in the days of Moses’ appearance in Goshen, Egypt, this wonderful tale of the life of the young shepherd, Caleb, gently conveys the meaning of sacrifice.

Caleb is a reluctant boy shepherd of his father’s flock. Taken from secure village life when only five, the passing years out with the flocks have only increased Caleb’s resentment of being a shepherd.  Caleb is sullen and lazy. He doesn’t understand his father, Asher, or his exacting ways.  Caleb only seems to disappoint his father with his indifferent care for the sheep.

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Inspirational Books for Boys

September 10, 2012

I am starting a new category on this children’s book review blog. Every year I try to find reading centered gifts for my sons and for children of friends. I thought others might like to see what I find.

Boys Lightkeepers BooksI was led to a  promising book set for boys this morning via a new follower on Twitter. Christian Focus has a set of five books for boys called the Lightkeepers Series. It includes the titles Ten Boys who Changed the World; Ten Boys who Didn’t Give In; Ten Boys who Made a Difference; Ten Boys who Made History; Ten Boys who Used Their Talents.

“Each book has 10 short biographies of inspirational lives which will serve as an example.”

I haven’t read the books, so I will not be reviewing them at this time, but they look like the kind of books my sons enjoy, books based on real life accounts of people who made difficult choices to stand for the truth. I’m also looking forward to reading the book about the life of Olympic runner, Eric Liddell.

If you have daughters, you’ll want to check out the Lighthouse Series for girls.

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