Category Archives: Books We Love

The Imagination Station Book Review

Imagination Station number 13

Imagination Station number 13

Yesterday morning before church, my friend who happens to also be the church librarian pressed two small chapter books into my hands and said, “I really think Buggy would enjoy these. I ordered them to have some more books that might appeal to the little boys, and they look like a lot of fun…” So I checked them out and brought them home. One was about a knight, the other about a dragon.

I didn’t pay too much attention to the title, aside from the colorful artwork on the cover.

Travis picked them up off the counter once we got home and turned one over. “Oh! These are from Adventures in Odyssey!” And indeed they are!*

Odyssey

How many of you grew up listening to the Christian radio show for children, “Adventures in Odyssey”? I did! My great aunt bought me a whole set of Odyssey tapes one year for my birthday, and I burned through all of them. If you recall, the stories revolved around a kookie inventor named Mr. Whittaker, affectionately known as “Whit” by the children in the neighborhood who hung around his shop. Some stories focused mainly on the children, and taught moral lessons about lying, stealing, cheating on tests, or keeping secrets, while other stories were just plain fun and revolved around the adventures Whit would take the kids on. {Like the Cat in the Hat, sometimes I wondered where the parents of these children were, but oh well}.

The Imagination Station series reminds me of the AIO radio shows, and each book leads to the next, much like the tapes I grew up loving. We happened to grab two books out of order {one is the 4th installment, the other is the 11th}, but I will be calling our librarian later to ask if she’s purchased the entire series.

Book 4, Revenge of the Red Knight

Book 4, Revenge of the Red Knight

{All pictures above contain links to purchase the books through Amazon, and you can catch up with everyone at Whit’s End by clicking on the AIO logo above.}

These books take you on trips through time and different countries via the time machine created by Whit. In this book, the children find themselves helping an injured knight and rescuing an important ring in the Middle Ages. Fencing, duels, knights, and ancient caves are just some of the fun things we’ve discovered in book number four.

Buggy and I sat down to read it this morning and ended up reading together for over an hour! We quickly breezed through nearly half the book. They are about as long as the Junie B. Jones series, or {if you remember them} the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

These books are aimed at children six to ten, and a child who is able to read at about a second grade level can easily enjoy these books, although they made need a bit of help understanding new vocabulary words specific to the time, such as “quill” and “chain mail.” Although I can see how the adventure aspects of the book appeal particularly to little boys {and might be a great series to spark a desire for reading in reluctant male readers}, I have to say, this book is just as appealing to little girls. There’s plenty of adventure, mystery, suspense, and historical information to draw in the attention of any child.

Although you know my love of children’s books, I do not write many reviews. However, I just could not wait to share this series with you! Not only is this series just plain fun, it sparks imagination in children and teaches about world history and time periods that you might otherwise not know about.

I will say, they kind of need to be read in order. Although the prologue quickly caught us up from the first three books, there are still references to the past stories in the book that are a bit confusing. For instance, Patrick states that the “giant eagles attacked the red knight,” and I just kind of went with it, although I have not read the first three books to fully grasp what happened there. We will definitely be backing up to read the first three books after we finish this one.

If you’re looking for a good read with strong morals and lots of adventure for your elementary aged kiddos, I would highly recommend this book. I would also recommend it as a supplement to any history program. It’s great for read-aloud time or independent reading material, and it comes from a company that I feel nostalgic and sentimental about.

So, what are you or your kiddos reading these days? Have you read the Imagination Station books, and if so, what are your thoughts?

Happy Reading!

Kat

*This book contains no affiliate links, and I am not affiliated in anyway with Focus on the Family, Adventures in Odyssey, or the Imagination Station Series. Just an avid reader excited to share a great find! 

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Kindergarten Space Unit: Day 1

We began Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and things are rolling along nicely. For the first week, I focused mostly on just letters, numbers, Bible studies, and getting back into the routine of things. This week, however, I asked Buggy what he wanted to study and he immediately shouted, “SPACE!” So we’re studying about space.

Day 1

What We Read: 


I took the moon for a walk book 

   I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis, illustrated by Alison Jay .

We both loved this book and read it several times. This lyrical rhyming book is perfect for little ones and the illustrations {which I tend to obsess over} are  whimsical and fun. Buggy asked to read it over and over, and I was happy to oblige. An excerpt from the book:  “I took the moon for a walk last night, it followed behind like a still Summer kite, though there wasn’t a tail or a string in sight, when I took the moon for a walk.”  Beautiful imagery.

The moon over star book

 The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.

I grabbed this book at our library because the illustrations are beautiful. I have to admit, I choose books from the library based on the illustrations and then decide whether to read them or not to my kids later. I always read them before I share with my kids, and this one was not a disappointment. This is the story of a young girl who experiences the excitement of the 1969 original moon landing while watching her grandfather struggle with the changes happening in his country. She aspires to be an astronaut herself and hopes one day that an African American girl as an astronaut is not such a rare or unusual thing. The pictures and the story in this book are beautiful. It’s also quite an informative book, because it offers the details of the story of the moon landing in a narrative, first-hand-observational setting. My 5 year old enjoyed it and had a lot of questions after reading this, but it may not capture the interest of younger kids.

What We Made:

Moon

You take 1/2 cup of Elmer’s glue {or the cheaper off-brand like I did} and 1 1/2 cups of shaving cream {the kind you find for $1 at the dollar store, if you’re me} and mix them in a bowl. I used a plastic bowl that could be parted with just in case this craft experiment was a huge fail. Draw a decent moon-sized circle on a sheet of craft paper or a paper bag {what we used} and let your kiddo go to town with the gloopy stuff. Buggy LOVED it! He enjoyed squishing it and smearing it. He kept saying, “It smells like shaving cream, but it doesn’t feel like shaving cream!” When they’re done, let it dry. Then cut out your circle and admire your moon!

I found this craft on Pinterest, from No Time for Flashcards. I love her blog. I’ve found SO many neat ideas for activities and crafts on there, and this one was definitely a winner.

How We Played: 

I think sensory play is SO important at this age. I also have a two year old that I’m trying to keep entertained while I’m educating my five year old, so I look for activities that will capture both of their attentions.

Two words: Moon. Sand.

We bought ours pre-made from a children’s museum, but you can find recipes for it Here, Here, and Here. These recipes call for flour, but I prefer the moon sand that actually uses play sand so it gives it a sandy yet mold-able texture, and you can find such a recipe Here.

I let my boys explore this fun concoction with their hands first, then I brought in cookie cutters, Lego blocks, and army men to allow them to experiment and play. Buggy loved pretending that Batman was landing on the moon for the first time and had fun cutting out shapes in the sand with various cookie cutters. Little Bear (2) just enjoyed feeling the sand between his fingers and repeatedly said, “Mama look!” while he showed me his fistfuls of sand.

What we Watched:

I am a HUGE supporter of Reading Rainbow. Remember that show? I loved that show. Still do. When we were driving to Tennessee this summer to visit family, we took about four Reading Rainbow DVDs with us to keep our kiddos entertained on the trip. I was worried it wouldn’t capture the attention of my two year old, but it did! My five and four year old were entranced as well. All three were in love with LeVar Burton and the magical way books come to life on this special show.

Since I knew my kids were entertained by this series, I checked out a Reading Rainbow episode on DVD from my library. Good news: Even if your library doesn’t carry Reading Rainbow DVDs, you can find them online! Yay for internet! 

We watched Reading Rainbow, “Space Case” {1986} and my kiddos loved it! Lucky for you, I’ve pinned it on my Pinterest page, so you can find it HERE

Stay tuned in for the rest of our out-of-this-world space week, and don’t forget to check in on my Space Unit page on Pinterest for more great ideas on a space unit for little ones! 

Blessings,

Kat

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Kitchen Table Classroom: The Rainbow Fish Lesson

I’ve already mentioned that we’re working on an ocean unit right now, and a great book to go along with ocean studies is The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

mms_picture-001 Continue reading

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Earth Day for Preschoolers

Happy Earth Day! Around here, we’ve been super busy celebrating God’s beautiful creation and learning creative ways to care for the earth. Little’s idea of Earth is the hanging blow-up globe we have in our homeschool room {AKA our dining room}, but he loves the idea of caring for his “balloon Earth” anyway 🙂 Continue reading

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Make Your Own Gold Bug

I recently had a fun Facebook chat with one of my absolute FAVORITE bloggers, Vanessa from Silly Eagle Books. I landed on her blog years ago and was drawn in by her love for children’s books and the fun activities she does with her little girls based on the books they enjoy together. Continue reading

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New Books We Love

I love children’s books! I love expanding our home library, and I have a dream that when we live in a slightly larger house someday, I can have an entire room filled with beautifully illustrated children’s books and wonderfully imaginative chapter books. YAY! Since we don’t have that perfect dream room right now, I stuff children’s books in every nook and cranny I can find and Little and I spend hours pouring over them together. I love when I can purchase a new one and share it with him. He gets so excited! I guess children’s books are my vice, but I just get so excited about them! Continue reading

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