The Haunting of Falcon House, a review

A boy.  Russia.  An aunt.   A destiny to full-fill.   Is 12 year old Lev up to the task?   The Haunting of Falcon House is my latest review for Raincoast Books.

Book Synopsis:
A long undisturbed bedroom. A startling likeness. A mysterious friend.
When twelve-year-old Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House, he takes his rightful place as heir to the Lvov family estate. Prince Lev dreams of becoming a hero of Russia like his great ancestors. But he'll discover that dark secrets haunt this house. Prince Lev is the only one who can set them free-will he be the hero his family needs?

My Thoughts:
I read this book through in one sitting, took me (an adult) about one hour to finish.   I could imagine my son taking about a week to finish it, potentially less.

I have to admit though, I'm not sure what I think of this book.
It intrigued me enough to keep reading it.  
The chapters are short and sweet.
It's interesting, but its... odd.
I know.. I don't normally call books odd... but I found this book odd.   It had interesting pictures scattered through the book.   An interesting character that seemed a bit detached from himself, a rather um.... almost horrible aunt, servants that ran scared and a wee boy with interesting abilities.

 Would I read it again?
Perhaps that's the standard by which I should judge this book.
And you know what?   I think I would.  I think I would like to read this book with my lad just so I could see his response to it.   I think he'd be surprised at the ending, I think he'd be intrigued by the events that happen throughout the book.  He's more level-headed than his mother is and less apt to be alarmed by what he reads.

I think that's part of what makes me call this book odd... I'm easily alarmed and I spent time internally telling myself there must be an good explanation for what's going on...and I was happy that my suspicions in one area were correct but was surprised in another.

My recommendation: If you have level-headed children, who like mildly spooky books, this short chapter book might be the book that they are wanting.  

It's an interesting read, and I was curious as to how it would turn out in the end.   I had this thought, the aunt has an end purpose in mind... what is it???

I'm glad I found out!  :)

Eugene Yelchin is both the author and the illustrator.  It runs around 320 pages and is geared for ages 9-12.   I reviewed The Haunting of Falcon House for Raincoast books.

The benefits of copy work.

I've recently started a review of It will eventually be posted on my other site, but I had this infographic sent to me and thought it was interesting enough to share. Have to admit, hadn't thought about having my lad use different colours pens or pencils to help cement the learning in a different way. Food for thought eh? The Benefits of Handwriting vs Typing - Infographic

He picked it up on his own, The Deadliest Creature in the World

My lad can read, and read fairly well, but pick up a book just because?   He generally doesn't just pick up books to read unless something about them intrigues him mightily.

This morning a breakfast my lad saw this book "The Deadliest Creature in the World" sitting on top of my review pile and picked it up and was reading it over breakfast.    Now I don't know about you.. .but that's a win in my book.

Book Synopsis:
A heart-stopping touch, a powerful punch, a killer kick....WHICH creature is the deadliest?  
YOU Decide.

My thoughts:

Other than the obvious.. MY BOY IS PICKING UP A BOOK AND CHOOSING TO READ IT INSTEAD OF messing around on his tablet!!!!!!!!!!!!!   WOOT WOOT!!!!!!!

It's draws a child in and I LOVE IT for that.

It also provoked discussion.
"Mom, they shouldn't have included this one.  This frog doesn't attack people.  If they get poisoned it's because they are trying to it.  So he's not so deadly, he's just being protective".

"An ostrich!!?!?!?!   MOM!!!   They have an ostrich in here!!!!!"

"Oh, I didn't know that.  Mom, did you know there's a fish that has really poisonous spines?"

Filled with colourful pictures that depict the animals well and an easy to read large font this book is sure to be a hit with your children as well.   They will be equally as fascinated as we were by the Cone Snail that can change it's venom according to the prey it has caught.   I tell you, this book is interesting.  :)

I like that at the closing of the book the author says this
"But what about creatures that are fragile or teensy or slow?   What about the ones with no arms or legs?   They have been surviving for .... years with the help of toxins and poisons."   It leaves the door open for children to research for other deadly animals of the world, and consider some they might not even have thought of.

To get you started in your search for dangerous or deadly animals, check out these top 25.

Raincoast Books generously provided me with a readers copy of this great picture book.   It's a soft cover book of about 30 pages, written by Brenda Z. Guiberson, and delightfully illustrated by Gennady Spirin.  See also my review of another Guiberson book, The Most Amazing Creature of the Sea.

You can follow Raincoast books at these links.

 To download a worksheet based on this book CLICK HERE.

FMF: Grow

Kate's word prompt this week is the word Grow.

Tonight as I was sitting I was thankful for a hubby who is mindful of my garden when I'm having a day where I am feeling physically not so good.

My boys helped me cover my wee growing plants as it might freeze tonight and I'd rather they not be harmed by any frost.

It made me think about it's what we're to do right?   Help each other be just a wee bit more?

Like the sun helps the plants to use the rain that they receive.
The rain helps the plant draw nutrients into the roots.

Before you know it, you have a plant growing well.  One that will bear much fruit in it's season.

It's like this with families eh?
How the action of one person helps another, perhaps not all in the same way, but they do.

It's how the church should work too.
One part helping another part which helps another and before long...fruit, in its season is produced.

Something interesting happens though...

I've seen it in gardens...where the plant is doing well and you count the days and think okay.. we should get produce about now...and you don't!   One ends up disappointed....and you ignore the plants and get on with life and one then day you go out and you have a tomato, or you see a bean... and EVEN THOUGH the plant is late in it's rejoice because your garden has been productive.

It's no different with people.
It's no different with churches.

We produce in OUR season.  Not some predetermined course.

Just as my son learned to read later than some other children, he also read earlier than some I've read about.

It's a production schedule that we can't ordain on our own. 
The season comes by it's own merit and we just need to let it come...early, late, or right "on time".   Whenever it comes.... shall we not rejoice for TODAY the harvest has come.

So tell me...what is YOUR role in it?

Review: Nuture the Wow

I have to admit, I struggled reading this book.   I wanted to argue with the author SO OFTEN.
That said.. is there good to be had in a book that you argue with?   Yes... if only to make you think.   And that I think is part of why Danya Ruttenberg wrote this book entitled "Nurture the Wow".   To make people think.

One of the things I like about parenting books is the ability to either read through it cover to cover or to dance around the book, finding sections that appeal.   This book is not only a parenting book but also a spiritual book.  

Ms. Ruttenberg finds spiritual issues in areas I wouldn't have thought possible... or rather, ways that I didn't even think to, would probably be a better way of saying it.

Table of contents:
It's hard being a parent.
It can be a challenge being a parent of faith.
Being a parent changes in ways that we don't expect.   From how we see things (like dirty diapers) to how we live our lives to how we live out our lives of faith.
This book will make you think.
You will (if you are like me) argue with the author.    Through all that argument though, you just might be led to consider your life as a person of a faith, raising young ones, just a tad differently.

Now Danya Ruttenberg is a Jewish Rabbi, so she approaches her life from that perspective.   I struggled with the sacrificial terminology, the focus on holy days and events, it's out of my paradigm of thinking.   A point that kept being returned to is how I matter, how you matter, how your children matter and the choices we make MATTER.   They matter for how our children feel loved, how we feel loved, how we pass along that love to one another and share it around.

It WAS NOT an easy read, and I admittedly didn't read the whole book.
But if you want to be encouraged to think outside the box a bit... this book just might be an aid to you.  (or it might be too much of a struggle) it's hard for me to tell.

Just know that YOU matter.
Your children matter.
Your faith very much MATTERS.  Now go.. live it out as you raise your children.  :)

Nurture the Wow was generously given to by Raincoast Books.   It runs at 308 pages with small type in a compact book about 7 x 6 inches.   Easily packed along in a purse or tablet bag. 


Imperial Crown A Gorgeous Flower

This gorgeous plant has had me mystified for a couple years.   Last year it grew a stalk but that was it.  Not enough of anything for me to post a pic saying what is this?

Now that it has flowered I posted a pic to a gardening group I am part of and learned that it is an Imperial Crown.

The Latin name is Fritillaria imperialis.

It is part of the Lily family. I think it is so pretty.   It came in a bag of mystery bulbs a couple years back from a nursery outside of Kitchener.   Cheap bag with a whack of bulbs in it.. most of which looked like tulips, some were grape hyacinths and a few others that I can't recall the names of.. but they were small bulbs with interesting flowers.. ah...ranuculus (or something like that).

They grow up to three feet tall.
They come in three colour variations: yellow, orange and red.  (and variations between that).
They come from Asia.   Native to a wide stretch from Anatolia, across the plateau of Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan foothills. 

I remember the instructions said to plant it on it's side...I've learned this is due to their propensity to rot quickly.  A friend on facebook said they were an expensive bulb to buy so I feel doubly blessed right now. :)   A beautiful flower to grace my spring garden and purchased inexpensively.  :)

As I researched this bulb a bit I learned the smell of the flower is supposed to deter squirrels.  Hubby quickly said "oh.. we need more of them then!".  :)   They do unfortunately, only bloom in the spring so it wouldn't work year round anyways.  I also mentioned to him I didn't find it really had a smell to it anyways, at least not noticeable enough for my poor nose.

Anyways, she's a beauty and I hope we can propagate more of them.  Wouldn't they be fun to share with others?

Should tell you this, if you want to visit other gardening links, check out the Garden Party.