Little Women by Lousia May Alcott

A featured School Classic review.

The Synopsis:

Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters–Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth– and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.

Review:

Little Women is a captivating story that illustrates the power and strength within a family, even when poverty strikes.

There is joyous laughter, overwhelming heartache, tears, and encouragement that will follow the reader long after they finish the book. The characters are charming each in their own way and the readers (mainly female) will be able to relate to at least one of the girls (Meg, Jo, Beth or Amy) and sometimes even all of them at once.

Its a clean read, void of sexual scenes and cussing, and the only thing that could disturb the reader is the intensity of heartache in the midst of the trauma the March family must endure. There are lots of moral lessons that the readers can take away and its a very touching book to readers of all ages.

So, Little Women is an excellent title to read and I give it a full 5 out of 5 stars. Recommending it to readers, mainly girls but guys can certainly still enjoy it, of about 13+.

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Rated: * * * * *

The Frog That Could Not Jump by Sofia O’Hara

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

A child can deal with beliefs and emotions which have tremendous impact on his self-confidence and self-worth. Stories are an extraordinary way of helping children to recognise and shift negative self-perception.

‘The Frog That Could Not Jump’ Oscar is a small frog who did not believe in himself. It was only through a scary event that he discovered something amazing.

Review:

“Short ‘n sweet” is a good phrase to sum up The Frog That Could Not Jump. Being written like a little novel for kids, there are no pictures and its only 6 pages long, but it reads in a simple way that engages the targeted audience.

Oscar, the frog, is constantly surrounded by criticism and eventually he begins to believe what everyone says about him instead of looking at his true potential for what it is. There are two lessons that can be taken away from this story for the kids; one, being that the kids can see that they don’t need to believe everything negative someone says about them and two; being that they need to be careful about what they say about others.

Even though this book was short, with no pictures and simple words, I think that the foundational message of the story could be very impacting especially if used in a Sunday School lesson or alongside a lesson in preschool. I especially loved how the book ended.

So, The Frog That Could Not Jump earns a full 5 out of 5 stars from Literature Approved and I recommend it to both girls and boys from the age range of 6 to 10.

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Rated: * * * * *

I Wish I Could Remember You by L. J. Epps

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

A story of enduring love as romance goes all wrong and Emily Montgomery struggles to rebuild her life after a terrible accident changes everything.

Emily wants romance in her life—the kind of romance that leads to a perfect marriage. She dreams of having a husband who loves her and treats her with respect, someone she can spend the rest of her life with. She meets—and marries—Steven Montgomery, hoping he will make all of those things come true.
Everything is wonderful, at first; until things start to slowly change. Steven begins to mentally, verbally, and physically abuse Emily.

She files a divorce with Steven and claims her new found freedom. A new man, Robert, has proposed to her while Steven is out of the picture, and she realizes that she loves him and he could be her dream come true. But the accident has taken her memory and she can’t remember him, or even the abuse from Steven, leaving her to make the toughest decision of her life; forgive Steven and pick back up where she remembers him, or move on with her originally plans and marry Robert. Whatever her choice is will leave someone heartbroken, so the real choice is who’s heart is she going to break?

Review:

I Wish I Could Remember You is a gripping romance that loves to play off of the reader’s emotions. It’s writing is elegant and an absolute pleasure to read.

The characters are realistic in how they deal with their problems and the dialogues between them keep them separate, and also does a lot to reveal the story. They are unique and stay consistent in their characteristics throughout the storyline, which seems as if it would have been difficult to accomplish (on the author’s part) given the battle between lack of memory and consistency of character.

The plot unfolds at the perfect pace and keeps the readers interested and was also surprisingly very clean. There is not a single cuss word and the sexual references were extremely low considering that this is a “romance” by title. Where the sexual scenes were, they only involved a few semi-detailed kisses, a few mentions of “being intimate” or “making love” in conversation, and one semi-detailed making out scene that the author switched scenes before anything else was “shown” but it was clear in how it ended for the said couple.

When it comes to morals, I have mixed emotions. On one hand some readers may say that this book encourages a cheating wife and then on the other hand some readers will say that because her and her husband are (and have been) separated and are simply waiting on  the legalistic aspects, that she is a free woman. It really depends on the reader’s views of this matter so I can’t necessarily judge it as a neutral reviewer, but for me personally, I think that some of the things that happened between both couples should have had a better respect for “marriage” than what was given.

Overall, I did enjoy reading I Wish I Could Remember You and I give it 4 out of 5 stars for being a clean romance, and a well written one at that.

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Rated: * * * *

If You Were Me and Lived in…The American West by Carole P. Roman

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in her exciting new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat on the Oregon Trail, the clothes you wore in in the American West, what your name could be in the 19th century, and what children did for fun once their many chores were done. If You Were Me and Lived in…does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

Review:

Another excellent book to add to Carole’s If You Were Me and Lived in..Ancient Times series. Just like the previous books in this series, it covers in creative detail the different hobbies, chores, names, and settings from this time in history.

The pictures are well done and realistic, while perfectly illustrating the words. The writing is easy to follow with simple words and well defined vocabulary words in the glossary. The story is easy to follow and the way it reads will keep the kid’s attention as they interact with the pictures and questions.

Overall, I was pleased with the newest addition to the series and recommend it to an audience of 6+, in either solo or group settings. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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Rated: * * * *

Series: If You Were Me and Lived in… Ancient Times; no particular order

Call of the Wild by Jack London

A featured school classic review.

The Synopsis:

Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepard), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit…

First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike.

Review:

Jack London is an absolutely incredible writer and his unique views on stories have rightly earned him the popularity he has amongst classic literature. Writing through the eyes of an animal to reveal applicable life morals does more than just make for a good story, it makes those stories memorable and stand out among others.

As the synopsis says, Call of the Wild is Jack London’s most popular work and the reasons for that are because it is different and its just as intense as any other adventure novel. Just because this book is about a dog does not make it a lighthearted read, its actually quite the contrary.

The setting is very harsh, being in the wilds of Alaska where its cold and dark, and the other characters are mean and gruff. Its a book about survival, and in order for dogs to survive in these types of environments is often by killing off their competitors for life, and there is a lot of death in this book. There are multiple, detailed, scenes in which the human characters entertain dog fighting, abuse (both verbal and physical), and some mild language.

However, the morals found in this book, though not “Christian” by any means, encourage never giving up when the whole world pushes against you and also reveals that sometimes sacrificing your means to live for others are indeed the only ways to survive.

So overall, this is an intense book, especially for some middle graders, but I give it 4 out of 5 stars and do recommend it for ages 13-15.

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Rated: * * * *

If You Were Me and Lived in…Middle Ages by Carole P. Roman

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Synopsis:

Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in her exciting new series. Learn what kind of food you might have eaten during the Middle Ages, the clothes you might wear, what your name could be, and children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in…does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.

My Review:

So far the thickest book in this particular series, If You Were Me an Lived In… Middle Ages is a very advanced read for the target audience, and not in a bad way either. It covers so many aspects of the Middle Ages that if grasped at their young age will set them ahead in school when they begin studying this time in history.

It is written in simple terms with some vocabulary words that are included in the glossary at the end of the book and well illustrated pages to help the kids better envision the words they are hearing.

The only flaw I can point out in this particular book, is that pages are much longer in this book than they were in the others of this series. The targeted audience has a very small attention span when listening to books and sometimes the only thing kids like to do is flip the page and because of the lengthy paragraphs on each page, they will have to wait quite a while before they get to look at a new picture.

So, though I still highly recommend this author and all of her series, this particular book in the series is a bit long winded and needs to be read to an older audience of probably 8+ so as to not to lose their attention so quickly. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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Rated: * * * *

Series: If You Were Me and Lived in… Ancient Times series; no particular order