Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

TOS Review – Sarah Books

on October 25, 2009

Because we follow the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling (pretty much… with a few forays into other realms here and there…) The Sarah Books by Jim Baumgardner were a welcome addition to our little libary here.

Mr. Baumgardner sent us these adorable and funny emails, detailing how he had sent the books out to us, linking us up with the website and the newsletter, and just being generally witty and sweet.  He definitely reminds me of my own Grandpa!

We anxiously awaited getting Sarah’s Wish in the mail, and when we did, we promptly sat down to read it as our new chapter book.  (We had just finished Peter Pan, so this was a good segue into something new!)

In a nutshell, this book takes place in the nineteenth century with a young woman with a secret.  When her mother is killed, she has to share the secret with others in order to keep some people safe.  How’s that for vague?  If I divulge all of the details, then you won’t want to read it yourself!

My kids really liked this book, even though the subject matter was a bit older than I would have originally thought.  I loved that it was a living book about the 19th century and the slave trade of the time.

One difficulty I had, and this is probably because I was reading it aloud to my hooligans, was the speech patterns of Granny.  For example, on page 56, Granny says, “Shore nuff.  Ya want to teach – so there ain’t nuttin’ gonna be a stoppin’ ya.”  Just try and read 120ish pages out loud with language like that!  Now, that being said, Zi said to me the other day that she really liked the way Granny talked.  Sigh.  So I must not have butchered it too badly!

Also?  The first few pages are actually quite frightening because of the death of Sarah’s mother.  I have to admit that I was in tears while I was reading it to the hooligans.  It’s probably good to preview that chapter before reading it to any sensitive hooligans out there.

As a Canadian, I was quite glad to see Canada at LEAST mentioned as where the slaves were running to… and of course, much of pioneer history is pretty close, regardless of if you are in Canada or in the US.  However, at the age my children are at, I really feel that for this stage of history, we need to stay mostly focused on Canadian History.  It’s an incredibly difficult balance to make, especially since there are simply not a lot of living books with regards to Canadian history out there.

Jim Baumgardner also has a section of his site dedicated to homeschoolers.  He started writing the books (I believe) for his grandchildren… and just kept on writing!

There are now three Sarah’s wish books, all of which you can read excerpts of on the site.

Sarah’s Wish is the first book, and it is priced at $9.99 (all prices are in American funds)

Sarah’s Promise is book two, and is priced at $14.99.

Sarah’s Escape was just recently released and is priced at $17.50.

Sarah is really a lovely character to follow, and Mr. Baumgardner seems to be a very sweet and caring man.  I definitely recommend these to anyone interested in History, or simply interested in a good story!

Disclaimer: The only compensation that I received for this review was a free copy of the materials.  I will give honest and truthful reviews, and where concern is warranted, it will be noted.


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