Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Adventure-Filled Christian Fiction for Kids with Imagine . . . The Great Flood {A TOS Review}

I love books. I could sit and read forever. I love that my children love books. And I love when I find new books for us to read together. Especially ones that fit so well with what we are learning in our lessons. This year we are studying the time period spanning from the creation to the time of the ancient Greeks. We just started our school year, so we are right there at the beginning. The first week we studied the seven days of creation, and then last week we started reading about Noah. So, when I learned that a book called Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich, was coming up for review, and we would be reading it right before learning about Noah, I jumped at the chance. I was even more intrigued when I was reading the description of the book and it looked like some sort of time travel would be involved. Thanks to the Homeschool Review Crew, we had the great opportunity to read this new release from Barbour Publishing.

Now, was there really time travel involved? Well, that is never really made clear. Though with a title that includes the word "Imagine," I'm leaning toward the adventure being more in his mind. Nevertheless, the story features a young boy named Corey Max who is ten years old (Tabitha's age) and finds himself on an adventure in the time of Noah. His day started normally, walking to the park with his mom and his dog Molly, to get some exercise in before a big Texas storm hit. Even though this would seem to be a day like any other, it isn't. He is focused on the fact that there is a moving truck in front of their house. It is a reminder that he will be moving across the country, away from everything he knows and loves, and he just can't come to grips with this reality. He knows he should be trusting God, but he is struggling.

His mom uses Molly's trust in them while playing ball, to give Corey an object lesson about the need to trust God and realize that He is in charge and will be with them. The next thing he knows, he is chasing after Molly, heading into the woods, trying to figure out what has gotten her so agitated, when he falls and hits his head. He wakes up to find himself on a hill covered with gravel where he is face to face with two lions, a male and a female (remember the whole Noah's Ark thing). Thankfully, he discovers that these lions don't want to eat him, or harm him in any way. In fact, Corey gets to help Shem, one of Noah's three sons, guide the lions to the ark. 

Thus starts his Bible adventure in a land filled with wickedness and danger, from the fierce Nephilim to the evil sorcerer Elizar. He gets to meet Ham, Japheth, and Noah, and even finds himself on the ark, though only briefly. The bulk of the story finds Corey facing trials and dangers as he tries to help Noah's sons get the animals to the safety of the ark, while avoiding the giant Nephilim who are bent on his destruction and ruining God's plans. Along the way he also has to deal with "betrayal" by someone he thought was helping him. Though in reality, Corey had just met the man, and I would say it was more of a deception from the get-go, because to me, betrayals come from those you already know and trust. 

Throughout his adventure, Corey finds himself close to death more than once, but it is these trials that help him learn the lessons that God wants him to learn. There are some wonderful messages in this story. At one point Shem tells Corey, "God is a promise keeper, Corey. I have faith in His plans for our lives." Corey also realizes he has been misplacing his faith by placing it in himself, and has not been trusting God and what He could do. There is a point in the story where Corey has been thrown down a 20 foot deep hole. He is afraid and finds himself doubting God. However, he remembers a story told by his great-grandfather, which helps him to trust God to forgive and bless him. 

Does Corey survive his adventure? Well, yes he does, but I am not going to spoil the story by telling you how. We do discover that his "trip" back in time has helped him to have a new perspective on life. When we catch back up with him in the last chapter of the book, three months have passed. Corey is happy in his new home, has made friends, and has learned to put his trust in God. There is one last exciting event where we see that his adventure has made a lasting impact and then the story ends. 

Imagine . . . The Great Flood is very much a fictionalized account of Noah's Ark. While the story was full of adventure, I do have some reservations. My concern is that so much about the story of Noah and the ark has been convoluted in today's world. There are nuggets of truth told in Imagine . . . The Great Flood, such as the thought that there was no rain at all before the flood (which I've learned about from different creationism ministries) and the Nephilim being real (though in the Bible they are called "heroes of old, men of renown"); however, I'm afraid those things would come out as looking as fiction as well, mixed in with all the other liberties taken with the story. As the reader, it could be difficult to see what is fiction and what is truth. 

While we were reading the book during our nightly family storytime, I would pause every once in a while, debating how I wanted to share some of this information with the children. For example, we don't know for sure what kind of wickedness was in the world during the time of Noah, however, the Bible tells us that "every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5b. We are also told that the earth was full of violence. I guess it is open to speculation whether Noah and his family had any interference by the local people, whether the Nephilim had turned evil, and whether there were sorcerers around. 

Luckily we are currently learning about Noah's Ark, so we can try to determine which parts are fiction and which are not. So, I would say, if you are going to allow you child(ren) to read this book on their own, make sure they know that there is a LOT of make-believe thrown in with truth. Use this book as an opportunity to dig into the truths of God's Word. 

Though I have my reservations about this story, the children and I did enjoy reading it. 

Here is what the children have to say about Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich:

(warning, there are some spoilers below)

Tabitha: "I liked that it had to do with difficulties in life and how people can overcome them if they just trust in God. My favorite part was when Corey got saved by the elephants. It was God who sent them, because Corey told God that he believed in Him. I think that other kids in the world might really enjoy that he goes back in time and experiences things from the Bible."

Amelia: "I like the way it shows how some things can be tough and how it shows that it wasn't easy back in the Biblical times either. It teaches us to be brave and listen to what God is telling us."

Hannah: "I liked that it taught us some of the animals that were on the ark. I liked when Corey got pulled up onto the ark out of the water and was safe."

Additionally, there were what I felt were some inconsistencies in the story. Though they weren't huge, they were things that made me scratch my head when I reread the book by myself when I was getting my thoughts in order for this review. For instance, (watch out for another spoiler) Corey fell down a 20 ft deep hole, climbed up only halfway with the use of the staff that was thrown down to him, which would place him 10 ft down, and yet the elephants were able to reach down with their trunks and lift him out of the muddy hole. The hole that was getting muddy because it was raining, and yet in the Bible it states that God closed the door of the ark before the rains started. 

I admit, I expected the book to be a little closer to how it would have played out in the Bible. The Nephilim being evil was a bit of a shock to me, as was the inclusion of a sorcerer. If you are one who doesn't have a problem with events from the Bible being changed up a bit in a fictitious story, you are your child(ren) would probably love this book. There is a LOT of suspense and adventure, but be aware it may be too suspenseful for younger children. The book is meant for children ages 8-12, which I feel is a suitable age. I did read it to all the children (ages 5, 7, 9, and 10), and they had no issues with it. However, when it comes to independent reading, the younger children would be a bit too young. Tabitha was able to finish the book in under two hours. As it is only 110 pages in length, that did not surprise me in the least.

We are looking forward to the new release in this series coming March of 2018. It is called Imagine...The Ten Plagues.

You can find Barbour Publishing on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Speaking of Barbour Publishing, this isn't the first time we reviewed a book from this publishing company. It's been several years, but Tabitha really enjoyed reading Diary of a Real Payne Book 1: True Story.

Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates and their children thought about Imagine . . . The Great Flood

Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: September 20, 2017 (w/linky) : Doctoring Up Daddy

Poor daddy sliced his thumb pretty good on the blade of our food processor. It fell, he went to catch it, oops. The children decided to turn our dining room into a waiting room and our living room into an examination room. Granted, this was all when I was supposed to be cooking our Sabbath meal (if you want to see what all that is about, I invite you to check out this week's Littles Learning Link Up post). I ended up hanging around, watching how well they were taking care of daddy, and taking pictures. Our meal was a bit late.
Waiting Room

Time to see the nurse and doctor.

X-Ray Machine:

He was so bad, he needed to be on life support:

Or he just needed some medicine.

All fixed up and ready for our Sabbath meal.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.
No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button on your Wordless Wednesday post or in a list of Wordless Wednesday linkies. Just link it to my Wordless Wednesday permalink please.

Littles Learning Link Up: September 19, 2017

 Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (usually toward the beginning of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my early elementary children (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child(ren).

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

What have we been up to?

Last week was a bit crazy as I had three reviews due. Though we had regular school days on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, our days were a bit messed up on Wednesday and Thursday. Fortunately we didn't fall that far behind, and I was able to keep the children busy while I worked on my reviews. I usually work on them at night, but was just so tired I didn't get around to it. So, I worked on them in the morning. I came up with a schedule that kept the children busy on those days, getting most of their work done.

On Tuesday our school day was invaded by a spider. Technically it was on the porch and we invaded its space, but it definitely took us away from what we were doing. Thankfully, it was a fun science observation as we got to observe it building it's web. I shared a bunch of pictures in last week's Wordless Wednesday post. Here's a little peek:

We also mailed our pen pal letters last Tuesday.

On Wednesday and Thursday, while I was writing my reviews, I had the children rotating through activity areas. These areas were: exercise, old computer, silent reading, school work, and manipulatives (pattern blocks, unifix cubes, Learning Wrap Ups). On Wednesday they had 20 minutes at each zone, but I decided this wasn't quite enough, so I gave them 30 minutes on Thursday. This worked really well for after their morning chores. 

Harold still loves working with his Learn to R.E.A.D Curriculum. And still loves getting to wear his crowns. We had set it aside for awhile and are now starting back up. 

For science we are continuing to learn about light. Last week we focused on reflecting and absorbing light. We took our flashlight into the bathroom (dark room) along with 2 pieces of white paper, a piece of red paper, and a piece of black paper. We placed one of the white sheets against the door with the flashlight up against it, pointing away from it. Then we placed each of the other papers in front of the flashlight, one at a time. We observed how the white light reflected all the light back and we were able to see the first paper more brightly, the black paper absorbed the light, and the red paper reflected the red light making the white paper appear pinkish. 

Then on Friday they draw and wrote in their journals. I did write Harold's information for him.

The highlight of our week was our Sabbath meal on Friday night. We will be learning about and observing different Jewish feasts this year with Creation to the Greeks. The first, to go along with learning about Creation, was the Sabbath. We didn't quite do everything I wanted to, but I was thinking about observing the Sabbath at least once more this year, and adding in some of the aspects we missed out on this time. 

The children decorated Challah bread covers. Tabitha worked with Hannah, while Amelia worked with Harold.

I made the Challah bread, though they did help braid the loaves.

Dinner was delayed a bit because daddy cut his finger on our food processor blade. That in and of itself wouldn't really have delayed it. However, the children decided they needed to make a hospital and take care of poor hurting daddy. He was in such a bad way they had to put him on "life support." I'll be sharing those pictures for this week's Wordless Wednesday.

Anyway, we ended up eating a bit past sundown, and things were a bit more rushed than I would have liked, but it was a nice experience. 

The banana with the cherry on top is the Candlestick Salad.

Daddy blessing the children.

Even though I already wear a covering, Tabitha remembered reading about the mom wearing a white lacy veil during the Sabbath prayers, so she wanted me to wear this white scarf thing she has. I decided it wouldn't hurt anything.

This week we will be learning about Rosh Hashanah. 

Let's take a look at that review schedule:

Last week I posted my reviews of the Charlotte's Web E-Guide from Progeny Press: Digging Into Literature With Progeny Press, and the four books by Carole P. Roman: Engaging and Educational Book by Carole P. Roman. This week I will be posting my reviews for Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich and Let's Go Geography.  Later in the month I will share reviews for Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions, and a couple of books from Worthy Publishing. We also the Channie's Easy Peasy Cursive workbook that Hannah has been working in. That review will post in October, as will a review of Super Teacher Worksheets (which we did review a couple of years ago. You can find that review here), and Brinkman Adventures.

Some things I would like to share with you:

Back to School time is here, plus fall is right around the corner (though it feel like fall already). Seems like the perfect time to share my Apple Fun Round Up.

I will be posting  a new Apple Fun Literature and Craft Round Up soon. If you have any posts that focus on apple books (whether it is a book compilation post or a craft based off a book about apples) I would love to include them in my round up. Please just leave me a comment or contact me via my contact info on my About Me page.

Those autumn leaves are starting to fall down. If you are looking for some ideas that focus on fall leaves, I invite you to check out my Fall Leaves All Around Round Up:

And don't miss this great giveaway:

(This is one of the books I reviewed by Carole P. Roman. 
It was a duplicate copy that I was given permission to offer as a giveaway)

Giveaway is open to US residents 18 and up
Ends September 30th, 2017

Now onto:
Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there were 11 wonderful posts linked up. I will be picking one randomly selected post to share, plus the top clicked-on post.  

Please, don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

This week's randomly selected post is:

And here is this week's top clicked on post.

Michelle from Michelle's Romantic Tangle shared What Do You Need?

Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on one of my relevant boards, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Monday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Littles Learning Link Up permalink please.

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