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.


Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge, Arizona

Last week we packed up our minivan and made the 45 minute drive to Coolidge, Arizona. We visited one of Arizona’s National Monuments, the Casa Grande Ruins. I remember going on a field trip in elementary school to the Casa Grande Ruins and was awestruck.

During our pandemic year of homeschooling the kids we have covered ancient history. We finished reading about the fall of Rome this week and they are asking to continue their history lessons into the summer. This totally surprised me but I am going to take that win and pat myself on the back. Since they have enjoyed history lessons so much this year, I knew they would all be excited to see what archeologists have discovered in Arizona.

The ancestral Sonoarn desert people who lived in Arizona developed irrigation, farming, and trade. Casa Grande means “the great house”. At the peak of the community Casa Grande was home to 2,000 people. There is a mystery surrounding what happened to the people who lived here. By the year 1450 the ancestral Sonoran people begin to leave. This is just one year after the main house was completed. One theory is that the network of canals that had been established for irrigation and farming within the community could no longer support the population growth.

In the 1880’s more people began to visit the ruins. This resulted in souvenir hunting, vandalism, and damage to the site. The government began to work towards repairing and protecting the ruins in 1889. In 1892 President Harrison set aside one square mile of Arizona Territory surrounding the Casa Grande Ruins. It became the first prehistoric and cultural reserve established in the United States.

The park rangers asked that masks be worn within 6 feet of another group. I am guessing that will change now that the CDC has released new masking guidelines. The bathrooms were clean and there were only 5 other cars in the parking lot when we arrived.

There is no fee to visit and if you go when the weather is nice you can pack a picnic lunch and eat at one of the many shaded picnic areas on the site. If you are in Arizona wanting to see a cultural reserve be sure to check out the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.


Off The Cob Mexican Street Corn

This Off The Cob Mexican Street Corn is a super easy and tasty dish that is one of our new family favorites. It was so good when I made it that Josh asked me to write down the recipe so he could make it at the firestation. That is high praise in our family because not every meal or recipe we make at home are ones that he would want to duplicate at work.

We served this with smoked pork sandwiches and coleslaw but honestly it would be good with so many different flavor combinations. I even added the leftovers the next morning to roasted sweet potatoes, crumbled bacon, avocado, pork, and salsa for a breakfast bowl.

I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as we did.


  • 16 ounce bag frozen whole kernel corn
  • 2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon blend of salt, pepper, garlic (I use this brand)
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese
  • 3-5 stems cilantro chopped fresh


  1. Heat frozen corn as desired.
  2. Combine melted butter, mayo, and lime juice. Add seasonings and mix.
  3. In a medium size mixing bowl place corn, butter/mayo dressing, sliced onions, crumbled cotija cheese, and cilantro. Fold all ingredients together.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy.