Read Aloud Reviews: The Neverending Story, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, & More

Hi! Welcome to my tiny space on the internet, I never really planned to go silent on my blog for over year. Homeschooling four kids is my main priority and last year I was so exhausted at the end of day I could barely keep my eyes open let alone type a coherent sentence. I am really hoping to be back here more often. So please be kind if you notice multiple typos, bad grammar, or poorly written sentences. All that to say, welcome if you are new and welcome back to past readers.

One of my favorite things to do is read aloud to all my kids. I love the sense of connection it gives us and that we can discuss what we are reading together. If you aren’t reading aloud to your kids I highly recommend it. It has become just another part of our nighttime routine at this point. Very rarely does our television come on after dinner but we can still be found curled up together in the living room with a good story.

Over the summer we read so many good books. We also enjoyed listening to the first two books in The Wizard of Oz series on our way to swim lessons or running errands. I highly recommend all of these books. For reference we have a 4th grader, 2nd grader, and two kindergartners.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I am not sure how 38 years of my life have gone by without me realizing this movie was a book first. I immediately ordered and was super excited to begin. The movie only covers the first half of the book, the rest of the book was a brand new adventure for me and the entire story was new to my kids. We loved it. I want to read it again actually. The font in the book changes color when the story shifts from Bastian’s world to Fantasia. If you loved the movie please read the book, you won’t be disappointed.

Also if you got through this paragraph without singing the movie theme song points to you. I sang it at least five times writing this post.

Rhymes that keep their secrets
Will unfold behind the clouds
And there upon a rainbow
Is the answer to a neverending story

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Pilgrim’s Progress would not have been on my list but my kids saw there was a cartoon version on prime video and asked to watch it. I told them it was actually a book and they asked to read it and then we could watch the movie. We started this back in March and finished at the end of May.

The story follows Christian on his journey to the Celestial City. Along the way the reader meets many characters represented in this allegory that are accurate to people and situations we all encounter in daily life. This version adds Bible verses to text to show scripture references within the allegory.

Wayside Stories from Wayside School (Books 1-4) by Louis Sachar

I read the first two books when I was in elementary school and the author actually visited my school and read some of this book to my class. These are just super fun and a laugh out loud stories that all kids love. They are goofy and off the wall but nothing inappropriate. I didn’t know there were more books to this series so I was just as delighted as my kids to discover two additional books.

You can see my old copy. It has been a well loved book. The chapters are short which made it a perfect pairing when we read The Neverending Story.

Edge of Extinction (Book 1) by Laura Martin

This is a very new to me series. We are currently reading the second book. The story is reminiscent of Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park but geared more towards children. My younger two aren’t as into this one but will still sit and listen but my older kids always want to read another chapter. This book is one of the more intense ones we have read. I would recommend this more for 8 years and up.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a truly wonderful listen. This and The Marvelous Land of Oz were our car audio books this summer. So surprising and so different from the movie. We all loved these books so much and we are currently on the third book Ozma of Oz. If you don’t have time to read aloud to your kids put on a audio book. You will still get the enjoyment of sharing the story together even if you need to multitask while listening.

Terrible Two (Book 3) by Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett writes funny books. My son has read pretty much all the books he has written. Book 3 of this series did not disappoint. My kids laughed so hard they were crying at one point. This was the perfect summer read as the story takes place during summer break.

If you enjoyed this post you can find my other read aloud reviews HERE , HERE , and HERE.


My 8 Year Old Son’s Favorite Book Series

I am fortunate that my son Caden enjoys reading but it can be tricky sometimes finding the right books for your kid. Which is why I am always excited when I come across a book series that we both truly enjoy.

These book series are mom approved and don’t have much bathroom humor in them. I am looking at you Captain Underpants.

Without anymore chitchat, that will be at the end of the post, here is what my 8 year old says are his favorite book series.

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

Each book contains ten mysteries, and not only does Encyclopedia have a chance to solve them, but the reader is given all the clues as well. Caden read a few of these to me and they were challenging. Not going to lie, there was a few that I couldn’t figure out right away. I think he is currently on book 5 in this series and still enjoying them.

The Secret of The Hidden Scrolls by M.J Thomas

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series follows siblings Peter and Mary and their dog, Hank, as they discover ancient scrolls that transport them back to key moments in biblical history. In the first adventure in the series, Peter and Mary find themselves witnesses to the creation of the world just as God is speaking it into existence. Can they unlock the mystery of the scrolls before they get trapped in history forever?

This series was started by a Dad who was looking for books that his nine year old son could read that would teach him about the bible in a fun way. He couldn’t find any so he decided to write his own series. The books are well done and Caden talks about what he has learned with our family. There are 9 books total in this series and I am so thankful to have discovered these books.

Mac B. Kid Spy by Mac Barnett (Illustrated by Mike Lowery)

The precious Crown Jewels have been stolen, and there’s only one person who can help the Queen of England: her newest secret agent, Mac B. Mac travels around the globe in search of the stolen treasure…but will he find it in time?

These books are like gold in our house. The other kids circle around Caden so he can read them aloud to them. They love the illustrations so much, which are done by Mike Lowery who illustrates and write the Gingerbread Man Loose Series that our family loves too.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncellos Library by Chris Grabenstein

When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out. Because when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must catch every clue and solve every puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

This book was a little longer for Caden but he did great with it and enjoyed it so much. It reminded me slightly of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. If your child likes puzzles and a good adventure check out this 5 book series.

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett

This book. We are currently reading this aloud during the day and it is so funny. I look forward to reading it just as much as the kids. It is by the same author as the Mac B. Kid Spy Series.

Miles Murphy is known for one thing and one thing only: pranking.
He’s the best prankster his school has ever seen. So when he’s forced to move to boring Yawnee Valley (also known for one thing and one thing only: cows), he assumes he’ll be the best prankster at his new school too. There’s one problem. The school already has a prankster—and he’s good. Really good.

We read it and I think I know what is going to happen and it always leaves me so surprised and laughing out loud with the kids. I would read this book even if I didn’t have kids.

I love hearing about new to me books that my kids might enjoy. If you have any please feel free to share in the comment section below.

Last week was a blur in our house. Between home schooling, a dentist appointment for me to get a crown put on, Josh’s work schedule, and watching the presidential inauguration it went by so fast.

I am feeling so hopeful for our country and Wednesday was just such a good day. We busted out our projector and watched the firework show on the wall in our bedroom. It was great.

Also all the Bernie Sanders meme’s are just making me smile so much. This one is my favorite currently.

I hope you are having a great day and thank you so much for stopping by the blog :).


Read Aloud Reviews: Chocolate Fever, Little House in the Big Woods, George Müller, Snow & Rose

Welcome to the next installment of my Read Aloud Reviews. If you are new here I am currently homeschooling my four children. I am sitting here on Sunday afternoon while the kids are napping/quiet time typing this post and listening to music and drinking a Key Lime La Croix.

Let’s get into the latest reads I have read aloud to our oldest two since the last book review I posted in September.

Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

I read Chocolate Fever when I was in elementary school and thought this might be a fun one to revisit. I was right and our three year olds also seemed to enjoy this one too. I read the majority of this book on our back patio and let the kids draw and paint while they listened. And they kept asking to read another chapter and another that we soon finished this 93 page book.

Henry loves chocolate so much and eats it all the time. He starts to break out into a rash and is eventually diagnosed with Chocolate Fever. This book documents his adventures from school, hospital, hitchhiking, and even helping stop a robbery.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods was a fun book to read to the kids. The pictures every few pages really helped especially for my six year old. My kids loved listening to what life was like for Laura and her family. I like how this story takes you through all the seasons with the family so you can see how life was different from summer to winter for the girls. My kids loved this book.

George Müller by Janet & Geoff Benge

George Müller is part of the Chrisitan Hero’s: Then & Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge. I highly enjoyed reading this biography and the reason I picked George Müller is because I didn’t know very much about him except that he started an orphan house. Because we have been a foster family I thought this would be interesting for us to read together.

This man did so much in his lifetime and God totally transformed him. His story is amazing. He and his wife invited 30 orphans into their home for a breakfast club which eventually led to building 5 large houses that housed over ten thousand children. George never took on any debt to fund the orphan houses and prayer was such a huge part of his life. It was very encouraging reading this biography. Later in the year I plan on reading the biography on C.S. Lewis from this series to the kids.

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

Snow & Rose was an additional book that I wasn’t planning on reading but I am glad we did. If you or someone in your life likes fairy tales this might be one to add for a Christmas gift or put on your list. he writing style reminded me of C.S. Lewis and George McDonald. Sweet, fun, and imaginative, this book had my kids (and me) guessing what would happen next.

It is a sweet fairy tale about two sisters Snow and Rose. Their father disappears in the woods and the girls and their mother are forced to leave their home to live in a small cottage in the woods. But what they didn’t know is that woods they are living in are enchanted.