Review: Peter Pan

Peter Pan
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our family really enjoyed this book. I read it out loud to my children (ages 3, 5, 7, and 9). My boys (ages 5 and 9) listened to the most of it. They enjoyed the witty narrator, the burly pirates, the fighting, and the ending.

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Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Kathleen Olmstead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an exciting retelling of the original. My kids really enjoyed it. My 9 year old asked if we could read the original Jules Verne novel soon. This Classic Starts edition definitely did its job of introducing a classic novel to children and making them want to read the original story.

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Review: Les Miserables

Les Miserables
Les Miserables by Monica Kulling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good retelling of the fantastic story of redemption and forgiveness that is Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables.” It got the main plot across so that children can understand and appreciate the stage show and the original book as they grow up.

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Review: The Mouse and the Motorcycle

The Mouse and the Motorcycle
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We read this out loud to the kids. They really enjoyed it. They thought that Ralph was very funny and the idea of a mouse making a motorcycle toy work was great.

This book is fun, whimsical, and a little magical. The story teaches that even those who are young and make mistakes can be helpful and responsible and make a big difference.

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Review: The Rush Revere Series

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We have really enjoyed going on historical time-traveling adventures with Rush Revere and Liberty. We have read/listened to the first three books in this series as a supplement to our history. We are looking forward to beginning the fourth book very soon.

Four books are in this series so far, and I hope there will be many more:

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
Rush Revere and the First Patriots
Rush Revere and the American Revolution
Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner

My children love these books. It is fun to be a part of the story, since Rush Revere and Liberty make the history come to life. They meet historical figures, take part in historical events, and also deal with friendship and family issues.

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Review: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure

The Death Cure
The Death Cure by James Dashner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The reason I read The Maze Runner series was that someone had given them to my 10 year old niece, and I was previewing them for her. My family was vacationing at my brother-in-law’s house, and I always like to take some time to read while we’re on vacation because my husband, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I like to help take care of each other’s kids and split cooking duties, etc., so that we can all get some date time and time to ourselves. Point being, I read 6 or 7 novels over the course of 10 days or so while we were at their house.

I was previewing these novels for my niece to help her and her parents figure out what would be a good age for her to read them. In the end I recommended that she not bother to read them at all.

James Dashner is a good writer. The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure were certainly page-turners. Also, his books have gained some popularity, being that the first two have been made into movies already, and the books were given to my niece in the first place. My husband and I actually watched The Maze Runner when it came out as a rental, and we enjoyed the movie, so I was very interested in reading the books.

That said, The Maze Runner series does not make a good story.

SPOILER ALERT: The characters in the story are supposed to be teenagers, and they are forced to endure terrible violence and heartache by a company known by the acronym WICKED. They are told the mantra, “WICKED is good.” Just that play on words alone should enough for parents to question whether these books are worth reading.

Not only does WICKED create the virus that infects people and basically turns them into zombies, but WICKED basically brain-wiped the children that they are testing on in hopes of finding a cure for the virus they created. So these children have to fight their way through terrible trials just so WICKED can see how it affects their brains. Since these are somewhat sci-fi novels, the poor kids have no idea what is real and what isn’t because WICKED can manipulate reality.

In the end, “WICKED is good” because it provides a way to send the people that for some reason are immune to the virus to a deserted island where they can wait out the zombie apocalypse without fear of being killed by said zombies. From there, these immunes can repopulate the earth, and so WICKED saves the human race.

As a Christian parent, I have a major problem with these books. First, it’s unfair to ask children (sorry, that’s what teenagers are) to redefine a word (wicked) with a completely opposite meaning (“WICKED is good”). Second, I want my children to be exposed to stories that show the depths and the heights of humanity. The Maze Runner series certainly shows the depths, but the redemptive qualities (any truly good story must be a battle between good and evil) are just not there. The main characters are not good enough to counter the evil in these stories, because in the end the evil people are the saviors, and that just doesn’t sit well. It’s confusing.

I cannot recommend these books even for educational value, like I could for The Children of Men by P. D. James. Harry Potter is a much better good v. evil story that I would be happy to let my children read. Blurring the lines between good and evil is dangerous.

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