Throwback Thursday | And then it happened (book 1) by M. Wade

And Then It Happened: Book One

Format: Paperback, 81 pages
Published: Oct 1st 2002
Genre: Adventure, Humour
ISBN: 9780973117806
Age Range: 8+
Rating: 4/5

Welcome to Books For Boys, publisher of the popular “And Then It Happened” book series by M & L Wade. Books For Boys writes quality, high-interest books for students in grades 3 – 6.

This is always my go to book for anyone having issues getting their children interested in reading. Boys especially, but girls enjoy this as well. The wonderful thing about this series is that each chapter is a story of its own. No need to have them read these long stories that are dragged out, each story is only a few pages! How can they argue with that? The books themselves are short also, always less than 100 pages with big print so they aren’t that intimidating to look at either. There are 11 books in total, so enough to keep them going for awhile, and help them build up their passion and confidence in reading.

The best part is that the stories are funny, the three boys get into all kinds of trouble (innocent trouble of course) and they have you laughing right from the very first chapter to the end. These stories are perfect for both read aloud and independent reading.

Throwback Thursday | Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Love You Forever

Format: Paperback, 32 Pages
Published: Sept 1st 1995
Genre: Family, Love
ISBN: 9780920668375
Age Range: 2+
Rating: 2/5
An extraordinarily different story by Robert Munsch is a gentle affirmation of the love a parent feels for their child–forever. Sheila McGraw’s soft and colorful pastels perfectly complement the sentiment of the book–one that will be read repeatedly for years.
To be honest, I have a love hate relationship with this book. I think that it and Munsch had good intentions. I understand that he was trying to show unconditional love but I really feel as though he pushed it a little far. I think putting a ladder to your sons window and sneaking into his house to cuddle him is a little much. Wouldn’t his partner be a little confused and concerned?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Robert Munsch and I love what he was trying to say but I really wish he had of gone about this another way. Even if you don’t take the book literally, it is still a little depressing to be a children’s book.
Where are the men? I understand that there aren’t always fathers in the situation but there aren’t always mothers either! Where is the ‘Love you forever’ father’s edition?
Good things about this book? I love the repetition, I think it is great to have a rhythm with books you are reading to children. I also think this book is great to read with your children, it shows them that the bond between parent and child is unbreakable.
I remember reading this book with my parents, it brings back good memories but I don’t think I would buy this book for my own children. I would rather read a book like ‘I love you stinky face’ by Lisa McCourt, same overall message but is funny.

Throwback Thursday – My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

My Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #1)

Format: Paperback, 192 pages
Published: May 21 2001 (original was 1959)
Genre: Fiction Adventure
ISBN: 9780141312422
Age Range: 11+
Rating: 4/5
Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going–all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons.
With this story there was only one thing that I didn’t like, and that was the fact that Sam seems to get through everything okay, because I don’t want children to go out and think they will be able to survive in the wilderness alone. A lot of the techniques used here are unrealistic, so that protective mother/teacher in me screams ‘THIS IS A BAD IDEA, DON’T PUT THESE IDEAS IN THEIR HEADS’. However, the reality is, most kids would read this book and think of how difficult Sam find living on his own. They will see that he doesn’t have electricity, or cell phones and wonder what life was really like before these items and material belongings became ‘necessities’ to our lives.
Jean Craighead George does an amazing job piecing together a story that a lot of kids dream of. A story of a young teen who gets sick of his life in the city and runs away. What kid wouldn’t want to run away from reality? This story gives some insight into what it would truly be like to live away from society, the cold frosts, building shelters and hunting for food. Sam deals with feeling lonely, cold and even seems a little crazy at times throughout the story. The questions I would ask Sam if he were real would be
1. Was living his life in the city REALLY worse than being alone on a mountain?
2. Were your parents looking for you?
3. What was the best/worst part of living on the mountain?
This book will give you many things to think about or discuss with your friends/classmates. This is a book that will stay in your thoughts for years to come.

Throwback Thursday | The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Published: 1910
Genre: Classic fiction, historical fiction
ISBN: 9780879236496
Age Range: 10+
Rating: 4/5

Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; “It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together…. ‘No wonder it is still,’ Mary whispered. ‘I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'” As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin’s sour natures begin to sweeten. For anyone who has ever felt afraid to live and love, The Secret Garden‘s portrayal of reawakening spirits will thrill and rejuvenate.

If you have not read this book, you should. Or watch the movie… just do something to familiarize yourself with this story. There are many reasons why you should do this:

1. There are references made to this story in the smallest of ways that you won’t ever understand until you read it

2. It’ll make you feel better about your life, what you have and who you are.

3. Your children, children’s children and children’s children’s children will have to read it so you might as well.

As you can tell by the date, this novel has been around forever, I almost don’t feel like it is fair to review it. There are all different takes and criticisms about the story line, characters and even the illustrations (if you have an illustrated copy). I would recommend an illustrated copy for a younger child just to take some of the pressure off for them.

Some people see this story as having ghosts, religious content, stereotypes and even racism. I warn you, all of this is true in a way. Keep in mind, it was written in 1910!!! All of these things were normal, this is how people wrote, felt and believed. You may not see the references made to ghosts, that is okay, it is a personal take on the story. I beg you all though, PLEASE, PLEASE give this book a read.

I know, everyone is saying “but I really don’t like classics”, I didn’t like classic either but this one I loved. You get so caught up in their lives and wanting to make sure everyone is going to be okay, wanting to know about the garden and to believe the effects of true, positive thinking. This book will stay with you forever.

Throwback Thursday | The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #2)

Format: Paperback, 425 pages
Published: May 23 2006
Genre: Contemporary
ISBN: 9780553495010
Age Range: 13+
Rating: 4/5
With a bit of last summer’s sand in the pockets, the Traveling Pants and the Sisterhood that wears them embark on their 16th summer.
“Bridget: ” Impulsively sets off for Alabama, wanting to both confront her demons about her family and avoid them all at once.
“Lena: “Spends a blissful week with Kostos, making the unexplainable silence that follows his visit even more painful.
“Carmen: ” Is concerned that her mother is making a fool of herself over a man. When she discovers that her mother borrowed the Pants to wear on a date, she’s certain of it.
“Tibby: ” Not about to spend another summer working at Wallman’s, she takes a film course only to find it’s what happens off-camera that teaches her the most.
The second book in the traveling pants series and probably my favourite. I felt like in this book you were able to connect with the characters a little bit better. The girls weren’t doing these crazy outlandish trips but instead dealing with real and true situations. I think I liked the situations better this year because they were real, and you realize that they were things the girls had been avoiding for most of their lives.
Bridget was dealing with the loss of her mother and the fact that her father might be hiding some information about the family
Carmen was dealing with her mother starting to date again. This brought on feelings of loneliness and low self worth. Both very real and true emotions in teen girls.
Lena is dealing with a breakup and the passing of a person she cared very deeply for.
Tibby went on a journey of self discovery through film. As much as I enjoy Tibby, I feel like she is always a secondary character. You find her challenging herself in this book to create movies, however, sometimes making movies that are interesting and don’t offend anyone can be a difficult task.
Through all of these events the pants continue to bring a sense of comfort and ease throughout their situations. In a way, the pants become a part of their family and a part of their friendship. I longed for friendships like these .. however, it is difficult to create a childhood friendship when you are already a teenager .. just saying. 🙂
Was anyone else a little envious of their friendship?