Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book: Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne

Zach and I just finished up reading Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne. I found it just browsing the history section in the library for him. What a treasure this little book turned out to be. We are finishing up Rome in our Sonlight core 1 and I wanted to cover Pompeii a little more. He had read in his readers a children's paperback about Pompeii, but that was months back. I needed to refresh his memory a bit. This Osborne book is a nonfiction storybook, large size, with nicely done illustrations on each page, and not an overwhelming amount of text, making it perfect as a quick review or adjunct to another more meaty history book covering the topic. The illustrations are "fresco style," meaning they appear in the style of what fresco paintings would look like at the time, on the walls of the villas. I thought that was a particularly nice touch. The book opens and closes with the archeological find, thus framing the story for the kids into the past, and reiterating it as a true historical account rather than just a story. It also goes beyond the bare basics of the destruction of Pompeii, discussing also the culture and times of Rome briefly, one topic per two-page spread in the book. It does not gloss over the fact that the entire town died, but it did it in a considerate way, I think. That can be a rough topic for some particularly sensitive kids that age. This is a great book on Pompeii, appropriate for lower elementary students. It went very nicely with our last weeks of Sonlight core 1.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reviewing: Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler

I'm a little behind on my reviews, as I finished this selection last month. The holidays do that to me! :) I did want to say a brief bit though. This book had been recommended to me in several groups and lists as really a 5-star book for helping share the Catholic faith with a preschooler. I honestly just didn't agree truthfully. There were some creative ideas, but all and all I wouldn't say this book was what it was hyped to be for me personally. Pray for your child, take them to mass, etc., are basically common sense if you want to share your faith. Other suggestions were a bit too much for us, or at least for our children, such as taking them to solemn long masses. My kids are good kids, but none have tolerated that so far. My oldest at 7 is doing well now. I think it is just developmental and temperment related. This book also tries to briefly summarize what holy days of obligation are, lists common prayers and so forth. I'm thinking perhaps this book was intended for Catholic parents who do not practice their faith regularly? But on the other hand it also discusses having holy water and an alter in your home, which are typically seen in more conservative Catholic homes where the faith is strong. So perhaps to me this book had a bit of a trying to cater to each group, and it didn't come off that well. I will say, the author obviously is passationate about her topic, and this is a well researched book. If you are coming from absolutely zero ideas, this is the book for you to get you started.