Billy and Blaze

I have a cowboy kid. You know, a little guy who loves horses, dreams of living on a cattle ranch, and who believes that the wild untamed West is still out there, waiting for him to put on his boots and spurs so he can saddle up to that special kind of man’s work. I…

All of a Kind Family

I didn’t read Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family until I was homeschooling my children.  My first thought was, “Why didn’t I know about this sweet story when I was a child?”  The first book in the series was published in 1951.  June Cummins, who wrote the foreward for a 2014 edition of More All-of-a-Kind Family, says…

Emily of New Moon

Besides loving L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables because it’s a great story with a timelessly loveable heroine, it is special to me because it is one of the few books my mom introduced me to that she had loved when she was young. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon is special to me because…

Understood Betsy

In 1899 Dorothy Canfield received a B.A. from Ohio State University, then went on to receive a Ph.D. in Romance languages from University of Paris and Columbia University. At a time when women rarely attended college, Canfield was distinguishing herself as a serious academic. In addition to her college and graduate school degrees, she received…

Harold and the Purple Crayon

“Wow,” you’re thinking, “she’s really going deep with this one!”  Well, laugh all you want, but Harold is one of my favorite characters, and it pains me that there are so many folks out there who have never even heard of him.  I will fix that right now! Harold has been around since before I…

David and the Phoenix

“You never know what you will find when you climb a mountain…” While he was a student at Berkeley in the 1940s, Edward Ormondroyd had a vision of a “large pompous bird diving out of a window, tripping on the sill, and crashing into a rose arbor below” (from the author’s letter in the Purple…

The Water Horse

“Writing my books is like handing out presents. Giving children pleasure gives you a wonderful sort of Father Christmassy feeling.” – Dick King-Smith, October 1995 Dick King-Smith was a gift to children. A beloved English children’s author, King-Smith grew up in a sort of well-to-do existence. His family owned a quality paper company and King-Smith…

Handle With Care

A couple of years ago someone gifted this oversized hardbound picture book to my science loving kids. We read it immediately and loved it. This spring, my ten year old was searching for science books to read during his daily quiet hour. When he pulled this one out of our biology bucket, we all enjoyed…

The Wilderking Trilogy

This spring my family fell in love with The Wilderking trilogy. Much like Narnia or the Shire, the Wilderking books are set in a place that feels romantic and a bit heaven-kissed. Corenwald is a place of physical beauty, vibrant community, traditional values, exotic intrigue, relative peace, and the possibility of high adventure. The fictional…

Papa Gatto

Ruth Sanderson is one of my favorite illustrators and children’s storytellers. Her art is classical and magical; her storytelling is traditional and grounded in folk tales. After falling in love with her work in the two Saints: Lives and Illuminations books, I started to request everything else she had from my library. Her Twelve Dancing Princesses is…