More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan

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Title: More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan

Notable: Book #4 in the Sarah, Plain and Tall series

Premise:

Cassie Witting is now the family member whose responsibility it is to write in the journal.  Cassie enjoys observing others and writing make-believe stories about them.  When Cassie finds out that Sarah is going to have a baby, she thinks the baby will come between herself and her mama.  She hopes that if she makes up her own story about the baby, perhaps nothing will change and that Sarah will still love her best.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book as a continuation of the previous three in the series.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t my favorite in the series.  I think it was because there was so very little that actually happened in the plot line.  It’s basically about Sarah getting pregnant, the difficulties she has as an older pregnant woman, and Cassie’s resentment about the new baby.  It’s a nicely done story, and I can see it being a good read for a child who isn’t thrilled with the idea of a new baby being added to their family.

Probably the most satisfying part of the story for me, was in seeing Grandfather’s role in the family expand.  In the last book he had just been fully admitted as a member of the Witting family, but in this book he has really found his position in the family.  He’s a confidant and mentor to the children, a helper to the adults, and a patriarch to the whole Witting family.

I recommend More Perfect than the Moon to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, or as a touching family read aloud.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL SERIES POSTS:

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The Littles Go to School by John Peterson

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Title: The Littles Go to School by John Peterson

Premise:

Lucy Little is worried about going to school for the first time.  Her family reassures her that she will enjoy it, but she’s still scared.  When Tom and Lucy find themselves accidentally transported to school in the gerbils’ cage, Lucy gets a chance to explore the school and find out how fun it really can be.

My thoughts:

My son and I just finished this chapter book for school.  I think we may have made it through all the Littles books we own!  For some reason this wasn’t my favorite Littles book.  I think it may be because the action and adventure was very tame, apart from their being transported to the school by mistake.

My son enjoyed it and got a kick out of the silly things Tom and Lucy did while exploring the school, so I suppose it’s a bit more appealing to kids.  It may have also sounded similar to our homeschooling experiences.  Just like us, Tom and Lucy do the majority of their school work at home through mostly child-led activities.  They go to the “big school” for one week per year to meet with their classmates and teacher, Ms. Beta Gogg.

I recommend The Littles Go to School to those who are already fans of the Littles.

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Littles and the Perfect Christmas by Joel Peterson

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Title: The Littles and the Perfect Christmas by Joel Peterson

Premise:

It’s Christmas at the Biggs’ house, but things aren’t so merry when Mr. Bigg loses his job!  Despite the depressing situation, Mr. Bigg works on a homemade gift for his son, which ends up being the answer to his employment problem.  The Littles are instrumental in helping to make sure the gift is perfect for when Mr. Winters, the toy company owner, comes to take a look at it.

My thoughts:

My son and I read this book together for school.  We didn’t like it as much as the other Littles books we’ve read.  It was probably because there was very little action in this story.  Mr. Bigg loses his job, the Littles fix a mistake on the toy Mr. Bigg made, and Mr. Winters comes for a visit.  The pace of the story is a bit slow, especially when reading it with a young-ish boy who wants a bit of excitement.

The story is cute and I like the angle they took with Mr. Winters, but I feel like the book would have been better if it were a little shorter.  It would be a fun story to read aloud to your kids during Christmas.

I recommend The Littles and the Perfect Christmas to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, or as a cute family read-aloud.

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Littles Take a Trip by John Peterson

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Title: The Littles Take a Trip by John Peterson

Premise:

The Little family decides that it is time to make a trip to meet up with some other tiny families.  They believe that their children are a little too socially isolated, and they hope that this will help them make some friends.  Cousin Dinky scopes out the route, but when their ride (Hildy, the cat) gets injured and is taken home by Henry Bigg, the Littles find themselves stranded in the woods.  Will they make it to the tiny family gathering?

My thoughts:

My son and I just finished reading this as our homeschooling chapter book.  This book is much like all the other Littles books, so if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy it.  I’ll confess that it wasn’t my favorite book in the series.  The story and dialogue were just average, with nothing that really stood out as remarkable.  My son really enjoyed it, though!

I think that a child would get a bit more enjoyment out of the book than an adult would.  They can daydream about what it would be like to ride around on a cat in the middle of a giant woods, and later to ride a tame skunk!  In case you’re worried about the Littles getting stuck in the big, dark woods–don’t fear!  It turns out there are actually tiny people living in the woods whom the Littles never even knew about.  Phew!  You can stop sweating now.

I recommend The Littles Take a Trip to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, or as a fun family read-aloud

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds

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Title: The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds

Premise:

A blind colt is born to a mare who is part of a herd of Mustangs in the American West.  Whitey, a young boy, and his uncle Torwal own a nearby ranch, and watch over the animals within their domain.  Uncle Torwal is in favor of shooting the colt, but Whitey pleads for his life.  He would love to own a horse like that someday.  Against all odds, the little colt survives the winter but gets lost and separated from his band.  He finds his way to the ranch’s other horses, and Whitey finally gets his chance to prove that his faith in the blind colt’s abilities has not been misplaced.

My thoughts:

I’ve had this book since I was a kid and I remember being enamored of it back then.  Though I never had a horse, I dreamt of getting one and even wrote a story in first grade about a horse that was mine (in reality it belonged to my cousins).  So yeah, horses have always fascinated me.  Interestingly, this book is based on a true story!

It’s a bit short for a chapter book, so a child could read it in a day or two.  There really isn’t much to the story.  A blind colt is born and survives in the American West with his mother and the rest of the Mustangs.  However, one day he slips down a ravine and can’t get back to the other horses.  In his wanderings, he finds his way to the ranch’s work horses and sticks with them until he is discovered by Whitey, the boy who kept him from being shot in the first place.  Whitey then gentles the colt and Uncle Torwal says he can keep him.  That’s it!

The writing itself is quality and I think that’s what makes the story enjoyable.  There is a lot of description about the wilderness and the discoveries that the colt makes while he tries to get by in the big, mysterious world.  He faces some perils along the way, such as a rattlesnake, mudhole, blizzard, etc., but with his heightened senses of hearing and smell, and the help of his mother, this tough little guy makes it through.

I recommend The Blind Colt to kids who are just beginning to read chapter books or as a cute family read-aloud.  It would particularly appeal to horse lovers!

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Littles and the Big Storm by John Peterson

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Title: The Littles and the Big Storm by John Peterson

Premise:

When the Bigg family goes on vacation, it is up to the Littles to take care of the house when a big storm bears down on them.  Can they keep the basement from flooding and ruining the furnace?  And what kind of creature is leaving mysterious clues around the house?

My thoughts:

I must say that this Littles book is not my favorite in the series.  While there are parts of the story which are cute and fun, the Littles never leave their house and the adventure seems a little lacking.  That’s only my personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt.

The storm is what really provides the excitement in this story.  Because the Biggs are away from home, the Littles have to figure out how to solve the problem of the flooding basement, and that ends up being pretty dramatic.  I love imagining them on their raft floating across the perilous water-filled basement.

The other mystery which serves as a subplot throughout the story (which I’m not going to give away), ends in a rather anticlimactic way.  My son and I read the book together, and we were guessing that there was some kind of animal loose in the house.  You’ll have to read it to find out if we were right or wrong.

I recommend The Littles and the Big Storm to children who are beginning to read chapter books.  It’s also a must-read for Littles fans and would make a fun family read-aloud, too!

 

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah & James Howe

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Title: Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah & James Howe

Premise:

The Munroe family finds an adorable baby bunny at the movie theater.  Harold, the family dog, and Chester, the cat, aren’t particularly concerned about the newest member of the family until funny things start happening to the food at night.  Could the cute and seemingly innocent bunny be the culprit?  Chester is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, but how far will he go in his quest for the truth?

My thoughts:

I read Bunnicula as a child, but had never gone back to it since that time.  I forgot what a little gem of a book this is!

The book is written from the perspective of the dog, which makes for some very funny reading.  Things are explained from a dog’s point of view, and with a dog’s understanding and priorities.  Seeing things from his perspective gives the story a unique twist and makes it really fun to read.

Even though the book is quite short, there is a lot of humor and personality packed into the pages.  Chester is a thoroughly neurotic cat and he goes a bit bonkers in his quest to find out what Bunnicula gets up to at night.  Harold is a happy-go-lucky dog who is willing to give their new bunny a chance, but he’s also forced to rein in Chester just a tad bit.  The Munroe family seems to be good-naturedly dimwitted, and eventually the situation is resolved in such a way that they are none the wiser about the eating habits of their little bunny.

I think that the characters of Chester and Harold really make this book.  It’s almost like they’re the cat-dog version of the famous Laurel and Hardy comedy duo.  Chester is serious and uptight, whereas Harold is the bumbling, kindly oaf.  They play off of each other sooo well!  The scene where they are both trying to sit in the same chair is hilarious!

I recommend Bunnicula to children who are beginning to read chapter books, up through preteens.  It also makes a fun, quick family read-aloud.  This would be a great book to read around Halloween, too!

A favorite quote:

“Chester turned to me and said under his breath, ‘That lettuce looks repulsive, but if there’s any milk left, I get it.’  I certainly wasn’t going to argue with him.  I’m a water man myself.”  (p. 10)

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Littles and the Trash Tinies by John Peterson

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Title: The Littles and the Trash Tinies by John Peterson

Premise:

Uncle Nick is injured by the cat and is convinced that he’s dying.  The rest of the Littles decide that a visit from his dear friends from Trash City would be just the thing to get him out of his funk.  Mr. Little, Tom, Lucy and Mus Mus (the mouse) embark on a dangerous journey to bring Nick’s friends back for a Christmas visit.

My thoughts:

As far as Littles books go, this one isn’t my favorite, but my son and I enjoyed reading it, nonetheless.  The plot is extremely simple–Nick’s family goes to collect his friends from Trash City for a visit over the holidays.  The adventure comes in during their dangerous and complicated journey.

It’s fun imagining what life is like for the tiny people in Trash City.  They are ingenious at using the things discarded by the rest of society to create a functioning and comfortable town.  I like how the author went into such detail about the different components of Trash City and how everything worked.

I recommend The Littles and the Trash Tinies to kids who are reading beginner chapter books, and to families who want a fun and easy read-aloud.

 

Possible Objections:

  • At the end of the story, the cat at the dump is thwarted by having its tail impaled with a dart.  You may not appreciate your child getting an idea like that in their head.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori