The Week In Books, No. 2

And now…the Week in Books, edition 2.

This week I finished reading “Hitty: Her First Hundred Years” by Rachel Field out loud to Hannah. This was one of my favorite books as a child, and if you’re looking for a good book to read out loud to kids, “Hitty” is a good option. The book follows the adventures of a little wooden doll named Hitty as she travels around the world with various owners, getting lost, shipwrecked, etc etc until finally she has time to write her memoirs in an antique shop where she winds up. I think one of the best aspects of “Hitty” is that the stories show how things changed over time in American life, and so inadvertently you learn some history.

Next I read “My Mommy, My Teacher” by Johannah Bluedorn out loud to Hannah. We read this one with Hannah on my lap, because Bluedorn’s illustrations are so pretty and Hannah enjoyed looking at them. The drawings remind me of Tasha Tudor’s work and they greatly enhance the book. The story follows a little girl and her family in what looks to be the late 1800s. I thought the message of the book was wholesome, as it shows the little girl helping her mommy, and playing nicely with her little brothers and sister. As you might guess from the title, the mother teaches the children at home, which is an unusual thing to find in a children’s book. We have two other books illustrated by Johannah Bluedorn that we also like – they are board books of the Hebrew alphabet and of the Greek alphabet. Hannah really likes to look at them, and brings them to me to read to her more often than any of her other books. This might be because of the pretty pictures, or because she thinks it’s funny to hear me try to pronounce Hebrew! I really ought to find an audio file online to make sure I’m not butchering it!

For my own reading, I finished Rick Santorum’s lengthy tome “It Takes a Family.” By “lengthy” I mean 449 pages. The book would have benefitted enormously by being about half that length, and that would have made it more accessible to people who don’t have the patience to read a 449 page book about domestic policy.

Despite the fact that it was overly long, I really enjoyed learning Santorum’s take on domestic policy issues. Unlike most Republicans, Santorum has a genuine concern for the poor and underprivileged of society, and, unlike most Democrats, he actually wants to IMPROVE the situation rather than just blindly throwing money at it. His ideas are truly insightful and he gave example after example of how he has actually seen results in his work in his home state and through legislation he managed to get passed. I also thought his reasoning for strengthening families was sound and wondered why conservatives can’t use some of Santorum’s positions to explain the importance of values. Finally, his philosophical reasoning and historical research are on track and show him to be intelligent and thoughtful. It’s too bad Santorum lost his most recent election, because we need more politicians like him in Washington.

Let me just say that I didn’t like “Early Start Potty Training” by Linda Sonna, and I can’t recommend it. Unlike the book I reviewed last week, this one DOES tell how to potty train little babies. I don’t see the point to that, however, since even if you do the time intensive and messy job of having your infant use the toilet rather than diapers, this book still doesn’t promise they will be really trained any sooner than the book I read last week, and last week’s book was a lot gentler and more reasonable. I also wish that Sonna had invested in a fact checker. In one section, she goes off on a rant about how the reason we have babies in diapers is because we have too many sexual hangups as a culture, which, she claims, is thanks to the “Victorians” such as John Calvin. Um, ok, where to begin. Victorians do not equal Calvinists, and diapers pre-date both movements. Whatever. There was some interesting information in the book, but you had to really pick through the weird and wacked out parts to find it, and it’s not worth it.

Currently Reading:
Genesis, Psalms, Matthew, Acts
“Bringing Up Boys” by James Dobson
“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett (to Hannah)
“Training Hearts, Teaching Minds” by Starr Meade (as a family)

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