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Showing posts from May, 2011

120. Genesis by Bernard Beckett

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Genesis by Bernard Beckett (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 185
Ages: 14+
Finished: May 19, 2011
First Published: 2006 New Zealand (Mar. 24, 2009 CAN)
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Genre: YA, science fiction, dystopia, post-apocalypse
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:

Anax moved down the long corridor.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I love dystopian literature and will read pretty much anything I can get my hands on as long as it sounds interesting to me.

The year is 2075, an island society lives behind a Great Sea Fence and is modeled after Plato's Republic. The society is Utopian to all those within, but watching over society very carefully is The Academy where the Original Sin has been concealed very carefully from this Brave New World.

Written in a unique format, we meet Anaximander as she begins her four hour oral exam to gain entry as an historian at The Academy. The book's chapters are divided into the four separate hours of Q &…

Little Henry to the Rescue by Eleanor Graham

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Little Henry to the Rescue by Eleanor Graham. Illustrated by Ben D. Williams (Out of Print)

Pages: 27
Ages: 5+
Finished: May 18, 2011
First Published: 1945
Publisher: Whitman Tell-a-Tale Books
Genre: children, picture book
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

In an out-of-the-way corner of the airport, Henry, the little helicopter, sat all by himself, feeling very sad.
Acquired: Purchased used at a book/garage sale or thrift shop.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me as his reader *and* I used to collect tell-a-tale books.

I gave up my collection of Whitman tell-a-tales when I moved across the country and this is currently the only one I own.  One I'd never read before.  Ds did a wonderful job reading the story and it wasn't exactly all that easy to read either.  This an adorable story with even more adorable illustrations of Henry the helicopter.  It seems a doctor has been stranded on a tiny deserted isle and needs rescuing so he can be taken to another island where some sick peop…

119. Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee Volume 5

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The Man Who Could Not Become Spirit by Hiroyuki Asada (Canada) - (US)
Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Vol. 5

Pages: 184
Ages: 13+
Finished: May 17, 2011
First Published: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: YA, manga, fantasy
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:

Huh? Zazie!
Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

This is a pivotal book in the series. So far the overriding plot has been Lag's search for Gauche Suede. This time he seeks out "The Man Who Could Not Become Spirit" as he has information that he has at least seen Gauche. As we already know from the previous book this is not the real "TMWCNBS" but a victimized impostor. Lag finds this out and helps this man and his partner, Sarah. There are a lot of battle scenes in this volume, and perhaps too many as I found myself a bit confused getting into the story this time around. What with the 3 month wait between volumes and then the heavy battle scen…

DC Super-Pets!: Heroes of the High Seas

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Heroes of the High Seas by J.E. Bright. Illustrated by Art Baltazar. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super-Pets! series

Pages: 54
Ages: 6+
Finished: May 16, 2011
First Published: Jan. 2, 2011
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Genre: Easy Reader, Superheroes
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

Topo the Octopus loved playing music for his friend, Aquaman, the king of the underwater city of Atlantis.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me for his reader.

This new series "DC Super-Pets!" is a younger sibling to the already established "DC Super Heroes" series by the publisher. While the latter series is for established, and perhaps reluctant readers, this new series is for emergent or reluctant readers. All six books in the series are at a GR. 2 level with this one being at a RL:2.9. Following the same format as the established series, DC Super Pets uses colourful cartoon graphics for all the sound effect words. It goes on to make the…

118. Irma Voth by Miriam Toews

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Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
(Canada) - (US)

Pages: 255 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 15, 2011
First Published: Apr. 5, 2011 CAN (Sep. 6, 2011 US)
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Genre: literary fiction
Rating: 3/5




First sentence:

Jorge said he wasn't coming back until I learned how to be a better wife.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I adored "The Flying Troutmans" and wanted to try another book by the author.

Irma Voth is about a family who are Mennonites but ultimately that is not a big issue in the story; they could really be any very rural, backwoods type of people as the Voths are pretty much loners and there is not a lot of Mennonite community activities or lifestyle portrayed in the book.

The Voths are originally from Canada but one day they picked up and moved to a Mennonite Community in Mexico. They live remotely, on land where the father owns three houses. We meet Irma as her husband is leaving her. Irma has been shunned b…

117. Genkaku Picasso Vol. 3 by Usumaru Furuya

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Genkaku Picasso, Vol. 3 by Usumaru Furuya. (Canada) - (US)
Genkaku Picasso Trilogy, Vol. 3

Pages: 316
Ages: 16+
Finished: May 14, 2011
First Published: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: YA, Manga, Magical Realism
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

Welcome to Akatsuki High's Multicultural Festival!

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next (and last) book in the series.

Volume 3, the last in this trilogy, continues on with the theme of the previous books with Picasso drawing the heart of another student and diving into the picture. This story revolves around a boy who has not gone to school for the past several years as he is in a state of depression where he feels that nothing is worth it; life is useless and all pursuits pointless as the world will end one day and we are all going to die anyway. His mother brings him to a festival at the school to try and cheer him up but Picasso discovers in the hidden heart that the mother is the…

116. The Sindbad Trilogy by Ludmila Zeman

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The Sindbad Trilogy
from the Tales of the Thousand and one Nights

Retold and Illustrated by Ludmila Zeman

Paperback editions published by Tundra Books, May 10, 2011

Received review copies from Tundra Books.

Rating: 4/5

1. Sindbad - 1999, 32 pgs (US) - (Canada) - Ludmila Zeman is a brilliant artist and solid storyteller. This beginning book in her Sindbad trilogy tells of two events on Sindbad's seven voyages. But first Zeman sets the scene by very briefly telling us the story of Shahrazad and how she saved her life by telling stories such as these to a cruel king. This book tells tales of how Sindbad mistook a whale for an island, how he mistook a Roc's egg for a mountain and was carried by that Roc into a pit of jewels and deadly serpents. While the story, of course is entertaining, the illustration is breathtaking. Ms. Zeman explains in an Author's Note at the back how she "wanted to recognize Persian influence in the art of book illustration, calligra…

115. The Gates by John Connolly

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The Gates by John Connolly (Canada) - (US)
Samuel Johnson vs The Devil, #1


Pages: 296
Ages: 13+
Finished: May 13, 2011
First Published: Oct. 6, 2009
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: YA, humour, paranormal, apocalypse
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

In the beginning, about 13.7 billion years ago, to be reasonably precise, there was a very, very small dot.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read this author and this sounded like a fun book to start with.

This is Connolly's first children's/teen book. It can be gross (in a demon/monster sense) and the language is a high level, not written down to anyone so I personally would recommend the book to teens even though the main character is only 11-years old. This book is humour at tongue-in-cheek's finest. Connolly takes stabs and jabs at all concerned and you need to be able to laugh at yourself and not take offense to appreciate this type of humour. Think …

107-108. Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer & Cinderella, Ninja Warrior

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I'm on a Book Tour with Virtual Author Book Tours for Maureen McGowan's first two books in her Twisted Tales series!

107. Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan (Canada) - (US)
Twisted Tales

Pages: 326
Ages: 12+
Finished: May 3, 2011
First Published: Apr. 1, 2011
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: YA, fractured fairytale, CYOA, paranormal
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

Sunlight streamed through the floor-to-ceiling windows lining the western-facing wall of the palace's reception room.
Acquired: Received a copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy fairytale retellings and when I was offered this book it just sounded like plain fun.

I went into this book expecting fun and I was not disappointed! I can't give a complete book summary as at various places in the story you make decisions for Sleeping Beauty (Lucette) affecting the telling of the story. There are 8 possible routes through the book and they are shown at the end of the…

114. The Odyssey: Homer by Tim Mucci

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The Odyssey: Homer by Tim Mucci. Art by Ben Caldwell & Rick Lacy (Canada) - (US)
An All-Action Classic, #3

Pages: 128
Ages: 10+
Finished: May 11, 2011
First Published: May 4, 2010
Publisher: Sterling
Genre: children, graphic novel, Greek mythology
Rating: 2/5


First sentence:

Once again my thoughts take me far away...
across the many years...
over the wine-dark seas...
to the strong-walled city of Troy.Acquired: Received a review copy from Sterling.

Reason for Reading: This was a Cybils '10 nominee and I hadn't read it by the time judging was due as it was not a contender by that time and I'm just now getting to it.

I really don't have a lot to say about this adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. I did not enjoy it, and in fact found it confusing and rather boring. Let me preface that statement by saying I am a great fan of Greek mythology and have read *many* retellings of The Odyssey and will continue to do so as I love the story. However, this adaptati…

113. Toy Story: Toy Overboard Graphic Novel

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Toy Story: Toy Overboard by Jesse Blaze Snider. Art by Morgan Luthi. (Canada) - (US)
Toy Story Graphic Novels, #4

Pages: 128
Ages: 8+
Finished: May 11, 2011
First Published: Apr. 12, 2011
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Genre: children, graphic novel, humour
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:


Andy is going on vacation!
Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

The fourth book in the Toy Story series goes back to the standards of the second "Return of Buzz Lightyear". Once again we are treated to a full book ongoing story, rather than the collections of short stories found in the other two volumes. My only quibble was that the story line has moved ahead to Toy Story 2 territory and Jessie and Bullseye have been added to the cast. I don't like Jessie as a character and as I expected she took over the story as the main character and plunged ahead into danger causing one of the toys to go overboard while they are on a cruise (and tw…

DNF: Grimpow: The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos

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Grimpow: The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos. Translated from the Spanish by Noel Baca Castex (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 59/493
Ages: 13+
First Published: 2005 (2007, English translation)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, historical fantasy
Rating: DNF



First sentence:

The fog hung low in the forest, obscuring Grimpow's way.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I enjoy a good historical fantasy especially when centered around mythical items as the plot suggested this would be.

I should have known from the very brief forward, which attempts to separate fact from fiction and legend from truth, which contains a common purposeful error concerning Pope Clement V that this may not be the book for me. From the beginning the Religious were treated with disrespect. They all had faults, greedy, didn't follow their vows, drunks, kept mistresses etc. The Church was represented as wealthy for the purposes of greed. And other small quibs, pokes an…

112. Cowboys & Aliens by Fred Van Lente & Andrew Foley

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Cowboys & Aliens by Fred Van Lente & Andrew Foley* (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 103
Ages: 15+
Finished: May 8, 2011
First Published: 2006 (Feb. 22, 2011 - this edition)
Publisher: itbooks
Genre: graphic novel, science fiction
Rating: 3/5




First sentence:

Every conqueror believes himself moved by a higher power.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Reason for Reading: I'd heard about the upcoming summer movie starring {sigh} Harrison Ford so thought I'd read the original comic book the movie is based on first.

This is a rather unusual tale as one could guess from the title. We join a group of settlers led by a priest who are traveling west to claim some land they have bought to start a new life. They are attacked by Indians and one of their two guides goes off to get help from the nearby Fort. Indian attacks end up being the least of his worries when he finds the fort under attack by intergalactic space invaders who see all other life forms as slave…

111. Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop

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Twenty and Ten by Claire Huchet Bishop. as told by Janet Joly. Illustrated by William Pene Du Bois (Canada) - (US)


Pages: 76
Ages: 8+
Finished: May 6, 2011
First Published: 1952
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: children, historical fiction, War, WWII, France, Catholic
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:

It all started when we were playing at The Flight into Egypt.
Acquired: I'm pretty sure I Bookmooched this.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to ds as part of our history curriculum.

Based on a true story, this book tells of a tale in which ten Jewish children are brought to a small Catholic school in the countryside of France up in the mountains. There are currently twenty students at this school. The Sister asks the students if they will be capable of hiding the Jewish children from the Nazis and they agree. Thus the children play and learn together until one day Sister does not return from town and the Nazis arrive at the school looking for the Jewish children.

A lovely littl…

110. Why Catholics Are Right by Michael Coren

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Why Catholics Are Right by Michael Coren (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 228
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 6, 2011
First Published: Apr. 12, 2011
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Genre: non-fiction, Catholic, Theology, Church history
Rating: 5/5



First sentence:

When I first told friends and colleagues about this book, they were intrigued by its proposed content but disturbed by its title.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I love Michael Coren's TV show, I am a Catholic and the provocative title did its trick and grabbed my interest. But I would read any book by Coren on religion or politics, though I don't always agree with him on the latter.

This book is unapologetically, in fact, is proudly, Catholic. Written by a Catholic to give a Catholic point of view on Catholic teachings and Catholic issues. Unfortunately, there remains one last prejudice in this world that is fine and dandy to behold and that is anti-Catholicism. Some Chri…

Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel

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Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel (Canada) - (US)
I Can Read Books, Level 2
Frog and Toad series, Book 2

Pages: 64
Ages: 6+
Finished: May 3, 2011
First Published: 1971
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: children, easy readers
Award: Newbery Honour
Rating: 4/5


First sentence:

One morning Toad sat in bed.

Acquired: Purchased new from an online retailer.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me as his reader.

Another fine collection of short stories about friends Frog and Toad. Frog is the wiser one with Toad being the one with more silly ideas. As usual we have five stories which are not related to each other. In the first Toad decides to write a list of everything he will do that day and he does not deviate from it until he looses the list, which creates quite the problem. Next Frog gives Toad some seeds to plant his own garden and Toad is very impatient for them to grow. He talks to them, yells at them, sings to them, reads them stories, plays music etc. all to no avail. The thi…

105. Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

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Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. Illustrated by Andre LaBlanc (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 156 pages
Ages: 8+
Finished: Apr. 29, 2011
First Published: 1942
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: children, historical fiction, world war II
Rating: 3/5



First sentence:

"Beat you to the turn!" Peter Lundstrom shot his sled down the long steep slope.
Acquired: purchased a used copy from a garage/book sale or thrift shop.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to ds as part of our history curriculum.

I've read this book a couple of times in the distant past and the story vaguely stayed with me. It is the story of how children were used to take gold from the bank of Norway on their sleds, right past the Nazis and then bury it in the snow and build snowmen on top of it. The gold was then secretly, at night taken aboard a hidden ship by the crew who, when the mission was completed would take the country's money to the US for safekeeping during the occupation of their country and duration of the war.

T…

104. The Door in the Wall by H.G. Wells

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The Door in the Wall by H.G. Wells (Canada)
Penguin Mini Modern Classics

Pages: 66
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 3, 2011
First Published: 2011 (this form) (1911, 1897, 1895) orig. short stories
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: short stories
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:


One confidential evening, not three months ago, Lionel Wallace told me this story of the Door in the Wall.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group (Canada).

Reason for Reading: I enjoy the author.

This is a small book, about the size of a man's hand and contains three short stories. 2011 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Penguin Modern Classics list and in honour of this event they have published 50 of these "Mini Modern" books to celebrate the great short story writers. The books are all uniform.

I like H.G. Wells; I've read all his fiction, some of the novels more than once. I especially like his science fiction, the classics "The Time Machine" and "The Invisible Man". I read his short st…

OT: B16 We Love You!

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The Insensitive Pope

DC Super-Pets!: Midway Monkey Madness by Sarah Hines Stephens

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Midway Monkey Madness by Sarah Hines Stephens. Illustrated by Art Baltazar. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super-Pets! series

Pages: 52
Ages: 6+
Finished: Apr. 27, 2011
First Published: Jan. 2, 2011
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Genre: Easy Reader, Superheroes
Rating: 4/5



First sentence:


"Look! Up in the Sky!" said a kid entering the midway of Bazooka's Carnival.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: Ds read aloud to me for his reader.

This new series "DC Super-Pets!" is a younger sibling to the already established "DC Super Heroes" series by the publisher. While the latter series is for established, and perhaps reluctant readers, this new series is for emergent or reluctant readers. All six books in the series are at a GR. 2 level with this one being at a RL:2.8. Following the same format as the established series, DC Super Pets uses colourful cartoon graphics for all the sound effect words. It goes on to make the books more appeali…

103. The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

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The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 329
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 27, 2011
First Published: Feb. 8, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: thriller, Christian fiction, magical realism, supernatural
Rating: 5/5




First sentence:

In the silence of night, sounds of life have a greater chance of being heard.
Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: I am a fan of the author.

Fantastic! This is Erin Healy's best book to date. I was hooked from the first chapter and couldn't let go until I reached the end. This book revolves around three sets of characters and is more character driven than plot driven. Though the plot is a very strange and eerie tale that turns into something so much more. Ultimately the story is about love (from a Christian pov "God is love") and everlasting life. However, the book can be read by anyone as the Christian elements are under the surface and can simply be read as magical realism by non-Ch…

Monday: Books in the Mail (early Tuesday evening)

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Books came to my mailbox from various sources this week! Let's take a look!

These first 2 didn't technically come in my mailbox but were a surprise, as a lady at church brought them to me one morning and said I could keep them.

Drawn from Archbishop Sheen's best-selling books, these 28 reflections will lead you day by day through the Advent season. Eloquent quotes are paired with beautiful Scriptures on the themes of the season—patience, waiting, gift, hope, humility, joy—and more. Spend a few quiet moments of each day with one of the 20th century's greatest preachers, preparing your heart to receive the Savior of the world.









The legendary Mother Teresa's work for—and among—the poor has become the yardstick by which the entire world measures compassion, generosity, and selflessness. Her words and actions have inspired millions of people from every race and religion and country to help the poor and needy, a legacy that is her gift to all mankind for generations to come.

101. Aquaman: Deepwater Disaster by J.E. Bright

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Aquaman: Deepwater Disaster by J.E. Bright. Illustrated by Dan Schoening, Mike DeCarlo & Lee Loughridge. (Canada) - (US)
DC Super Heroes

Pages: 54
Ages: 8+
Finished: Apr. 23, 2011
First Published: 2011
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Genre: children, early chapter book, superheroes
Rating: 3/5


First sentence:


A wild storm raged in the Gulf of Mexico.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Capstone Publishing.

Reason for Reading: My son loves these books and I always read them first before handing them over for bedtime story time. They are above his reading level yet.

I used to love reading Aquaman comics when I was a kid in the seventies, so he's always been one of my favourites. In this fictional story we have a "ripped from the headlines" plot about an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that catches fire and then they discover that the pipe has broken and oil is spewing into the ocean causing an ecological nightmare. Aquaman is off to the rescue getting all the crew off the rig but while…

100. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

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Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (Canada) - (US)

Pages: 314
Ages: 18+
Finished: Apr. 24, 2011
First Published: May 26, 2009
Publisher: Random House
Genre: historical fiction, China, WWII, immigrants
Rating: 4/5




First sentence:

"Our daughter looks like a South China peasant with those red cheeks." my father complains, pointedly ignoring the soup before him.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Reason for Reading: I absolutely love Chinese historical fiction that takes place during the reign of the last empress through Mao's Cultural Revolution. I'll read other Chinese time periods but this era is absolutely fascinating to me. This book is perfectly situated starting with the Japanese invasion of China and ending with the first years of Mao's rule.

This is a generational drama which tells the story of one family and then two families as they become connected by marriage. The focus is on two sisters three years apart in age who, though very different in looks…

99. The Mass for Children by Rev. Jude Winkler

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The Mass for Children by Rev. Jude Winkler, OFM, Conv. (Canada & US)
St. Joseph Picture Books, #489

Pages: 32
Ages: 5+
Finished: Apr. 20, 2011
First Published: 1990 (this edition)
Publisher: Catholic Book Publishing Corp
Genre: children, catholic, religion
Rating: 5/5


First sentence:


Jesus loved his apostles so much that he promised them he would never leave them alone.
Acquired: Purchased from our local Catholic Book & Gift store.

Reason for Reading: We used this book over an extended period of time as part of our religious studies every homeschool morning.

This is an excellent book which simply does as its title proposes. It presents the Mass in an easy to read font, highly illustrated for children. It does much more than this though. First there is a one page introduction which explains in simple, yet not childish, language why we have Mass. The Mass presented is an ordinary times one and is shown in the most standard version with only a few times giving the optional responses for versi…