My girls and I attended Teach Them Diligently (homeschool conference) this spring, and I attended some fabulous seminars! One of them was called, “Navigating the Library with Wisdom,” by Whitney Newby from Brighter Day Press. I can write more about that experience later, but that got me thinking about the readers in my house and the vast knowledge of books we have. Some of the moms in the seminar were feeling lost, trying to keep up with tween & teenage readers, and not knowing where to find trustworthy book reviews. So today, we’re finally bringing you our first homeschool book review!
Today’s review is a book that was part of our Sonlight 100, American History for 9th grade. Thank you, Elizabeth, for the following book review from a high school, home school perspective.
A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck, was a pleasant surprise. I had to read it for school, so I had mediocre expectations. I was afraid that it would be slow and dull. But boy, was I wrong!
A Long Way From Chicago takes place between 1929 and the 30s. It’s about two kids going out into the middle of nowhere to stay with their grandma for the summer. Each chapter is a new summer, and every time, Grandma Dowdel makes sure things never slow down. I wish I could tell you all my favorite schemes – but that would ruin the story. 😉
Grandma Dowdel never ceases to amaze me – or her grandkids, or the people she exacts her revenge upon. I honestly don’t remember if it’s perfectly clean or not – Grandma Dowdel was definitely not a law-abiding citizen. And there was a corpse. But it was like one of those “classic children’s tales,” as my mom likes to call them. You know, the kind where a wolf eats someone or another animal and the mother of the eaten character sharpens her scissors, cuts the wolf open, gets her child back, stuffs the wolf full of rocks, and stitches him back up, so that when he wakes up to go get a drink, he sinks to the bottom of the pond. Or just doesn’t wake up at all.
But altogether, it was one of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read – partially because Grandma Dowdel felt familiar. The audiobook was especially enjoyable, and I can’t recommend it enough. I read the book, then listened to the audiobook with my mom, and I read and listened to the sequel, A Year Down Yonder. There’s also a Christmas one, A Season of Gifts, that my mom has listened to and enjoyed, but I haven’t yet.
In conclusion, A Long Way From Chicago gets five stars!
OK… wow… well, that review was fun! (I’d like to add that this was indeed a clean book, and I would have never compared it to the “classic children’s tales.” lol) I’m surprised that a school book is what she chose to review first, but Sonlight does include some amazing books in their curriculum. When we weren’t using Sonlight for our core, I still used their website and catalog to find great books to read.
Most of Elizabeth’s shelf is full of middle grade or YA fantasy, so I think it’s fair to say that we’ll have some of those reviews coming in the future. If you found this post because you were looking for clean book reviews, please let us know in the comments what type of book reviews you’d like to read.
About the reviewer:
Elizabeth is a teenage Christian homeschooler who enjoys reading, sketching, painting, and playing any sort of game that is competitive. She is an aspiring author and has a YA/middle grade fantasy trilogy in the works, which she plans on publishing. She loves guinea pigs, of which she has three, and fervently believes that guinea pigs are the cutest animals ever to walk the face of the earth. Nothing will change her mind.