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The Powell's Playlist | August 6, 2014

Graham Joyce: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Graham Joyce



The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit is set on the English coast in the hot summer of 1976, so the music in this playlist is pretty much all from the... Continue »
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Dandelion Seed #2: The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream by Joseph Anthony
Dandelion Seed #2: The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream

Home School Book Review, August 21, 2014

Do you consider the dandelion to be a flower or a weed? This second book in “The Dandelion Seed Series” follows the flight of a dandelion seed on its parasail from the countryside to the city as buffeted by the wind, caught in a spider’s web, and trapped in trash. All through its journey, it has a dream. What is that dream? And will it ever achieve it? Author Joseph Patrick Anthony and illustrator Cris Arbo are a husband and wife team. Their first dandelion book, The Dandelion Seed (1997) contains the messages of wonder, beauty, and acceptance. The two also collaborated on In a Nutshell (1999) about an acorn and the life cycle of an oak tree. Both are available from Dawn Publications.

The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream emphasizes the themes of courage, patience, and perseverance. Because the dandelion lives life fully, flies with beauty, survives storms, endures darkness, and never gives up, it is one of nature’s greatest success stories. Dandelions can grow where other plants cannot. And like dandelions, each of us can make the world a brighter place. The trick is to bloom right where we are. The “Explore More” section in the back includes further information about dandelions and suggested activities to help children understand, appreciate, and apply the story. I understand the problems that dandelions can cause in some people’s yards, but I happen to like the bright blossoms of the dandelion, and I also like this book.
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The Prairie That Nature Built by Marybeth Lorbiecki
The Prairie That Nature Built

Home School Book Review, August 20, 2014

Did you know that over one fourth of the earth’s land was once covered with grasslands? In North America, they are called prairies; in Africa, savannas; in Eastern Europe and Asia, steppes; in South America, pampas; and in Australia, rangelands. This rhythmic romp, in the style of “The House that Jack Built,” tells all about the critters that squirm in the soil, the diggers, the roots, the plants, the insects, the birds, the munchers, the hunters, the lightning that sparks a fire, and the rain, all of which make the wild prairie such a lively place. Can you name some of the burrowers, grazers, and predators that you might find on the prairie? Author Marybeth Lorbiecki grew up in St. Cloud, MN, a medium-sized town near America’s Midwestern prairie.

The publisher’s summary says, “Nature on the prairie, including both wildlife and wildfire, is a rich and closely knit ecosystem, as reflected in the interlocking verses of this simple story.” In addition to the rollicking, repetitious poem which describes the multitudes of animals and plants which live on the prairie in tune with the forces of nature and thus reinforces the richness of dynamic prairie life, the back pages contain “A Prairie Primer” with further information about the prairie in general, notes concerning the different kinds of species inhabiting it, and “Prairie Fun” with suggestions for activities, related games, and resources to give a fuller appreciation of this marvelous, disappearing habitat. Anyone who likes Little House on the Prairie will certainly enjoy this excellent means to learn more about the prairie that God built.
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The Prairie That Nature Built by Marybeth Lorbiecki
The Prairie That Nature Built

Home School Book Review, August 20, 2014

Did you know that over one fourth of the earth’s land was once covered with grasslands? In North America, they are called prairies; in Africa, savannas; in Eastern Europe and Asia, steppes; in South America, pampas; and in Australia, rangelands. This rhythmic romp, in the style of “The House that Jack Built,” tells all about the critters that squirm in the soil, the diggers, the roots, the plants, the insects, the birds, the munchers, the hunters, the lightning that sparks a fire, and the rain, all of which make the wild prairie such a lively place. Can you name some of the burrowers, grazers, and predators that you might find on the prairie? Author Marybeth Lorbiecki grew up in St. Cloud, MN, a medium-sized town near America’s Midwestern prairie.

The publisher’s summary says, “Nature on the prairie, including both wildlife and wildfire, is a rich and closely knit ecosystem, as reflected in the interlocking verses of this simple story.” In addition to the rollicking, repetitious poem which describes the multitudes of animals and plants which live on the prairie in tune with the forces of nature and thus reinforces the richness of dynamic prairie life, the back pages contain “A Prairie Primer” with further information about the prairie in general, notes concerning the different kinds of species inhabiting it, and “Prairie Fun” with suggestions for activities, related games, and resources to give a fuller appreciation of this marvelous, disappearing habitat. Anyone who likes Little House on the Prairie will certainly enjoy this excellent means to learn more about the prairie that God built.
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The Princess Panda Tea Party: A Cerebral Palsy Fairy Tale by Jewel Kats
The Princess Panda Tea Party: A Cerebral Palsy Fairy Tale

Home School Book Review, June 20, 2014

Can a person with cerebral palsy be self-confident and graceful? Eight year old Michelle has cerebral palsy and lives at an all-girls orphanage. The other girls, especially Josephine, often make fun of her, calling her a “grandma” because of her mobility device, a walker. One day, she has saved up her money to buy a Panda Bear Princess stuffed toy at the Salvation Army store. When Michelle returns to the orphanage, Mrs. Goldsmith, the head mistress, announces that all the girls are to compete in a contest of manners and deportment at a tea party, and three winners will be selected for an exchange student scholarship to spend six months in London under the Queen of England’s care. Michelle begins to cry, knowing that she has no chance of winning due to her disability, and when she opens her Panda Bear Princess box, a tear falls on the toy.

But what happens next is amazing! Princess Panda comes to life and, using Michelle’s therapeutic riding horse Baxter, whisks her off to a castle in the sky where the Princess teaches Michelle all about how to be self-confident and graceful. Is it possible that Michelle might just be able to win the contest after all? Other books in the Fairy Ability Tales series by author Jewel Kats include Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale; The Princess and the Ruby: An Autism Fairy Tale; and Snow White’s Seven Patches: A Vitiligo Fairy Tale. Not only do all of these stories provide great encouragement for young people who must deal with these various conditions, but they also will be beneficial reading for other children to help them develop a more empathetic understanding of those with such difficulties. The Princess Panda Tea Party is another keeper!
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A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Teen's Edition by Kathleen Boucher
A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Teen's Edition

Home School Book Review, June 19, 2014

If you are a parent of teens, what can you do to help them develop self-confidence and do their best? We parents know that our responsibility to mentor and encourage our child doesn’t end when he or she turns thirteen. In A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Based on the Power of Love, Choice, and Belief, for ages 3-12, author Kathleen Boucher shares three important principles of love, choice, and belief that will help kids to achieve great success and accomplish anything they want. But how can you inspire teens to follow their dreams? These same three principles are just as necessary for teenagers to understand as well.

The text of A Simple Idea to Empower Kids: Teen Edition is basically identical, but different illustrations are used to appeal and apply the message to teens. Secret #1 is that there is only one of each person on Earth, so everyone is important. Secret #2 is that the second greatest force on Earth is the power to choose. And Secret #3 is to believe in oneself. At the age of four, Boucher developed polio, which left her with a limp, but she persevered and became a registered nurse. She learned early in life that a person’s inner strength is always so much stronger than what happens in the “outside” world. All teenagers will definitely benefit from following her can-do philosophy.
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