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Monday, April 8, 2013

The Magic Runes

Every now and again, I get an actual, real-live book to review.  That makes me happy.  Because then I don't have to feel guilty if I am ever caught in the middle of the day reading a book, that isn't planning a curriculum or ways to keep my house clean and organized!

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This time around, I got the chance to read and review a book by Salem Ridge Press.  The whole basic premise of this company is to bring back books from the 1800's and early 1900's for our kids to read.  Back from when books were a bit know?

They have a whole Historical Fiction section that is just brilliant. That makes me feel a bit British....just brilliant....would you like a spot of tea?  Anyway....they actually have three sections you can choose from; Church History, American History, and World History.

Salem Ridge Press let the reviewers pick from a list of historical fiction books and I picked The Magic Runes - A Tale of the Times of Charlemagne which is part of their junior historical fiction section and meant for about ages 10 and up.

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The Magic Runes was written by Emma Leslie, whose actual name was Emma Dixon, and was originally published in 1888.

I picked this book from the list just purely based on the fact that it sounded interesting, not because we were working on that time period in history or working on a unit about Charlemagne.  I just thought it sounded interesting and it was.

I read it for myself.  It is definitely written in an "older" style of writing and with "older" vocabulary words.....most of which I knew....but reminded me how small, and watered down, our children's vocabularies our becoming.

One of the really cool things is that on almost every page at the bottom is a little dictionary of words that you or your child may not know. 

I loved, loved, loved that it was right there on the same page....I didn't have to flip back to the end of the book and look through the whole list of "new" words from the book. 

Honestly, I found myself skipping over those words and then would notice that there was one at the I would read the word and its definition and then go back and find it in the writing.  I think I am so used to figuring out words by their context that I just went on.  I don't think my kids are at that point yet, so, it is great that it is right there on the page.

It sort of makes me want to have a whole spelling list/vocabulary list taken from just this book alone.  There are 19 new words in Chapter One alone.

The book itself is only about 120 pages long and covers a time period of a few years, so obviously there is a lot of skimming over details, but it gives insight into the time period as well as the fight between the Saxons and the Christians.

I kept thinking while I was reading it that this book would be a great conversation starter with my kids.  So, my next step is going to be doing this as a read aloud with them. 

In addition to the historical discussions you could have, there are so many points to talk about in how to "win" people over for Christ....and how it has been done so harshly and horribly over the years.  How a little girl just being nice and doing the right thing, changed the course of so many other lives....even though it was hard for her and she just (like all of us) wanted to be selfish.  Definitely somethings to learn from what hasn't worked in history that can be used today.

I also learned a little bit about the history behind our weekday names....definitely pagan origins.  It was interesting though to hear a child explain it in the book. 

I definitely recommend Salem Ridge Press and their historical fiction selections.  Like I said, they are books from the 1800's and early 1900's, so the "writing style" of the book is most definitely different, but the content makes getting used to this writing worth it.

The Magic Runes is available through Salem Ridge Press for $10.95 for a softcover edition, and a bit more for a hardcover version. 

The others on the TOS Review Crew got to pick other books from Salem Ridge Press, so make sure you go take a look and see what they thought of their choices.  /They really gave us a ton of interesting books to choose from.