Book Review: Gib Rides Home

No one had heard from Gibson Wittaker since he went away, but the rumor was that he had been adopted by a family who lived near Longford, a small cattle town in the next county. There was nothing especially uncommon about that. Half, or even full, orphans left Lovell House fairly often, going back with a remaining parent or out to an adoption, but what was so shocking was his reappearance. How could Gib Wittaker be strolling into the senior boys’ dormitory when the law said, at least the law according to Miss Offenbacher, that Lovell House adoptions were not reversible?

The fact is Gib Wittaker was not adopted–more like farmed out–and he didn’t really want to return to Lovell House. More than a year earlier a gray-bearded man had come and taken Gib from the orphanage he’s lived in for the past five years. As he works at his new home, Gib finds a sense of accomplishment from working hard and discovers a talent for handling horses. But the Rocking M Ranch is also full of mysteries, some of them related to Gib. He hopes to find out more about his past, but some secrets are better off left alone.

Audience: 9 and up

Book Review: Twenty and Ten

The Nazis are looking for those children,” said Sister Gabriel. “If we take them we must never let on that they are here. Never. Even if we are questioned. We can never betray them, no matter what they do to us. Do you understand?”

Janet and the 19 other boys and girls from her fifth-grade class have been sent to the French countryside for safekeeping during the Nazi occupation. None of them hesitate to agree when a tired man arrives in search of safety for 10 Jewish children.

“They’re coming! They’re coming!” she yelled. And suddenly Philip and George were also among us, panting. “They’re coming! They’re coming! The Nazis are coming!”

No one expects Nazi soldier’s to arrive while Sister Gabriel is away in town, but when they are spotted in the valley, the children must make a plan and execute it quickly. Will it be enough to keep them all safe?

Audience: Any age, either to be read independently or listen to. Target audience is probably 8 to 12.

Book Review: The Foundling

     The Constable pointed to Willy’s bundle. “This yours?”
     Willy nodded. “All my clothes”
     “Your mummy left you and all your clothes?”
     “Yes.” Willy drew himself up. “And she said the Constable would collect me very soon.”
     “Really!” The Constable pulled his hand from his pocket and jabbed his chest with his thumb. “I’m that very person. It seems your to come with me.” This was the third child he had found abandoned in the parish since Christmas. The infant girl had not lived long enough to be christened. He did not know about the boy.

And so, at four years old, Willy begins his life as a foundling. Each season of his life brings new experiences, new things to learn, and new obstacles to conquer.

My copy of this book is very well-loved (translation: beat up) from being read and re-read many times. I highly recommend it.

Audience: The Foundling is written at a teen reading level and would be an ideal family read-aloud.

Study Guide Provided by the Publisher 
The Foundling on Amazon

Spring Forth

I love the blooming flowers and budding trees that are a sign of spring. This past week I came across a Bible verse that is both beautiful and fitting for this time of year.

Isaiah 61:11
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Book Review: Wild Thing (Winnie the Horse Gentler)

My mom used to say, “Winnie Willis, in the beginning God created heaven and earth and horses. And sometimes I have to wonder if the good Lord shouldn’t have quit while He was ahead.”

After their mother’s death Winnie and her sister have come to expect several moves a year. Lizzie hates it. Winnie doesn’t much care. Doesn’t care until she meets a beautiful but mostly wild horse called Wild Thing.

“Lizzie,” I said, calling up my mind’s picture of the rearing Arabian, “I have to have that horse. And I’ll do whatever it takes to get her.”

Can Wild Thing help patch up Winnie’s heart and her relationship with her father, or will the horse make Winnie’s heart break again?

Audience: Anyone old enough to read it on their own (good horse story and no boyfriends)

Book Review: A Father’s Promise

Rudi Kaplan is a young Christian Jew living in Warsaw. When the Nazi army invades his city, life grows increasingly difficult. When things are tough, though, Rudi knows he can depend on his father. That is, until his father tells him he must leave.

“I can’t–I just can’t go alone.”

But he must.

“The forest is God’s secret place for you, Rudi. There–there you shall be under His shadow, where you will be safe. Please, son, please don’t let me down.”

A place of safety. As Rudi obeys his father, he is painfully aware that his father has not made the same promise concerning himself. As he struggles to survive the war, Rudi must learn to trust his heavenly father as well as his earthly one.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Audience: 11 and up, or family read-aloud

The Coming Day

A thousand years is as a day,
And a day as a thousand years.
The Lord continues in his way,
There is no cause to fear.

About His promise, He’s not slack,
But rather wills that none should lack.
His hand of grace remains outstretched,
To every sinful, loveless wretch.

Look for the coming day of God,
He comes as a thief in the night.
Heaven and earth shall be dissolved,
But we shall ever dwell in light.

(based on 2 Peter 3:8-13)

Copyright 2012 by Leah E. Good