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.

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Read Aloud Reviews: When Stars Are Scattered

So many things to say about this book. Which is why I am giving it it’s own review. It deserves it. To see other chapter books I have read aloud while homeschooling my children this year click HERE.

When Stars are Scattered is the true story of young brothers Omar and Hassan and their life in a refugee camp in Kenya. There are many really hard topics that are touched on, such as an arranged marriage of a young girl that results in pregnancy, a father beating his child, death, war, hunger, etc. This book is brilliant because it takes difficult subject matter and makes it easily digestible for older children to early tweens because it is told in a graphic novel.

Yes this book is heavy and sad. But my word do you root for these boys and just want the best for them. This book brought out so many meaningful conversations with my kids we would have never had anytime soon. Plus the illustrations are fantastic and really add to the dialogue and flow of the story.

While this book has really tough topics, it was an excellent way to teach my kids about how other children in the world live. Another moment to have meaningful conversations with them about how you really don’t know someones full story or what they are going through or have gone through. We need to be kind and compassionate to everyone.

Our family has never prayed for refugees before reading this and now we do. Our kids have a deeper appreciation for what we have and the house we live in.

At the end of the book there are pictures of Omar and Hassen and what their lives are like today. It is so uplifting and inspiring. I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil the story or the ending. My kids were eager each night to read When Stars are Scattered and always asked to read another chapter.

We laughed, I cried several times, and overall just really enjoyed this book. The kids asked if there was a part 2. Just for reference there isn’t, yet, maybe there will be in the future.

I would strongly suggest parents to read this book ahead of time because of the adult themes presented. That being said I highly recommend this book even if you the parent are the only one who reads it. For reference I read this book with my 6 and 8 year old.

To close out this post I will end with a word from Hassan. If you want to know what the following word means you have to read When Stars Are Scattered.

“HOOYO!”

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Read Aloud Reviews: In Grandma’s Attic, Homer Price, & The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Our homeschool days are filled with Math, English, Science, History and Read Alouds. I am going to be reviewing all the books we read this year. I am linking the books to Amazon in case you decide to purchase them but we have bought the majority of our books from Abebooks.com. If you aren’t familiar with this website it is like an Amazon for used books. It can take a little bit of time to get your books in the mail depending on what shop you purchase from but it is the first place I check, especially if the book is older and not recently published.

For reference I am reading these books to my eight and six year old. It has become one of the highlights of my day. Also please forgive me if there are typos. I am watching musicals on BroadwayHD.com as I type this post up ;).

Let’s get into the reviews…

In Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson

I remember reading this book when I was little and loved it. My kids equally enjoyed it and In Grandma’s Attic was a great book to kick off our school year. There are great lessons in each story as you listen to Grandma share her youthful adventures. This book is filled with fun and laughter as Grandma explains how she tried to be good as a little girl but often ended up getting into trouble. Each chapter is a different story from Grandma’s childhood.

This is a wholesome read that points back to God’s providence. There are more books in this series that I am interested in reading with the kids later. I like that these books are stand alone and don’t necessarily have to go in order because they aren’t a continuous story but many individual stories that make up each book.

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Homer Price was written in 1943 and because of this the kids had many questions. What’s a filling station? What’s a slogan? What’s shaving lotion? What’s Women’s Suffrage? What’s a Homestead? The last chapter went completely over their head but overall all it was an enjoyable read and we loved reading about Homer’s adventures and his skunk Aroma. Plus the illustrations are adorable.

There are six chapters and each chapter is a different story about Homer. The chapters are long so be prepared if you select this book to read. My kids favorites were Chapter 1: The Case of the Scentsational Scent and Chapter 3: The Doughnuts. We ate donuts the following morning after reading Chapter 3 to celebrate reading this book.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was recommended to me by Kindle for years. But I was not interested in reading about a toy rabbit made of porcelain. I was so wrong. It is one of my all time favorite books now. So good. I laughed. I cried. And just had so many emotions. I was cheering for this rabbit and all the characters who were part of his journey by the middle of the book. Ugh. It was just so good.

It had me from the first quote at the start of the book from The Testing-Tree by Stanley Kunitz. “The heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. It is necessary to go through dark and deeper dark and not to turn.” I don’t want to give anything away but just know this book has some dark moments. My kids and I had great conversations because of this book. If you have a younger child it might be best to read this ahead of time make sure it will be appropriate for them.

My son kept saying this is just like The Velveteen Rabbit and he was right. It was very similar for a good portion of the beginning. But stick with it if you are having those same thoughts. I promise it is worth the read. We all loved it! I probably loved it the most and I am so glad we read this treasure of a book.

And those are our first three read aloud reviews! My son also finished The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe last week with Grandma via FaceTime and we watched the movie this weekend. They are reading Prince Caspian next.

Do you have a favorite book you have read to your elementary school aged kiddo or a book from your childhood that you love?

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