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.


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.


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.