A Handful of JourneyForth Book Reviews
Print E-mail
Editor’s Note: Enjoy this collection of JourneyForth Youth picture books and easy reader reviews written by HomeWorks by Precept Consultant Melissa Vosburgh, whose children have read and loved these stories many times over.

Cover used with permission from [A Ram for Isaac] by Ginny Merritt. © [2009], BJU Press. (available from JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press, at journeyforth.com)

A Ram for Isaac (ages 6-7) by Ginny Merritt is written from Isaac’s perspective. A little boy who needed to have full trust in his father, Abraham. The story starts out with Isaac and his friends (Kemuel and Dedan) playing around, just being boys. Then Abraham prepares Isaac and his friends for an adventure. Here the author takes some liberty in pretending what might have happened. She does a great job making it like real life and gets your child thinking about what might have happened.

In Chapter 2, the author takes us on short camping adventure with the boys. Abraham speaks to the boys about trusting in God and the need to obey Him. He is preparing Isaac for what was to come. Abraham asks Kemuel and Dedan to stay behind and tells Isaac that he needs to follow him.

The next 2 chapters are the biblical account of Abraham sacrificing Isaac with a wonderful story of worship woven in. Abraham continues to ask Isaac to trust him and they continue on their journey up Mt Moriah. Isaac notices that they have everything they need (wood, fire, and a knife) but they do not have a sacrifice. The author points out the fact that God will provide the sacrifice and even Abraham doesn't know how this will all work out, but he knows God will provide for them. Abraham uses this opportunity to teach about obeying God, even when you don't understand the situation, but that you have to continue to listen carefully to what God has to say. Isaac is full of questions but does what his father asks of him. When the time for the sacrifice comes, Isaac continues to look around and observe that a sacrifice has not been provided. But Abraham, in love, binds Isaac and puts him on the altar. Isaac suddenly realizes that he is the sacrifice and starts to panic. Abraham simply says, “Trust me”.

Chapter 5 is the saving grace we all hope for when we read this wonderful account of a true story. God calls, Abraham listens, and Isaac is saved. The books ends by reminding the children that Jehovah will provide if you obey Him and marvelous worship between father and son.

Cover used with permission from [Chickadee Winter] by Dawn L. Watkins. © [1999], BJU Press. (available from JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press, at journeyforth.com)

Chickadee Winter is a wonderful Christmas story for young children written by Dawn Watkins. Jack and his sister, Nora, are from New Mexico and they are visiting their grandparents. At Grandma and Grandpa’s house it is cold and snowy. Jack wants to go back home where it is warm, and he misses his friends. Nora is a sweet girl always trying to help her brother feel better. She points out some fun and different things here that they don't have in New Mexico. She finds frosted windows and notices that their boots crunch in the snow. While walking around they see Grandpa with some chickadees. Every time Grandpa walks out of the barn the birds fly right to him.

The story continues with Jack and that he feels homesick. His parents are with him and Nora, but he still can't seem to feel better. He enjoys following Grandpa to the barn, watching him work, and seeing the animals. Grandpa is a sweet man, very quiet and just lets Jack follow him around the property. Jack notices that Grandpa feeds the chickadees every morning and every night. Each time the birds flock to him and sit on his hat. Grandpa assures Jack that eventually the birds will like him too.

While Jack is still feeling homesick, Nora gets excited about Christmas and that it is snowing. Grandma asks the kids to help make the house look like Christmas. Jack doesn't want to help because the Christmas here is much different than Christmas in New Mexico and wishes his mom had brought their ornaments. Grandpa decides to see what he can do to help Jack feel better. Suddenly it is a Chickadee Christmas. Grandpa came into the house with chickadees on his hat and the birds flew into the Christmas tree. The birds were such a delight to the whole family. Jack starts to feel happy again because Grandpa made him smile. The book finishes with Nora and Jack having a wonderful time together.

Cover used with permission from [Grandpas’s Gizmos] by John Menken. © [1992], BJU Press. (available from JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press, at journeyforth.com)

Grandpa’s Gizmos (written by John Menken) is a story about a grandpa and a grandson and their fascination with the wind. Grandpa has several exciting treasures he calls gizmos. The grandson asks the grandpa questions about how he does these things. Grandpa likes to “work with the wind” as he calls it. He has many fun things that work with the wind around his yard.

Grandpa has a surprise for his grandson and he made it just for him. They have a special time together talking about the wind and more gizmos. Then they decide it would be fun to have a sleepover in a tent that can protect them from the wind. After they set up the tent Grandpa pulls out yet another gizmo. They hang this gizmo up in the tent and it makes beautiful music when the wind blows. The grandson asks grandpa if they could keep the music to themselves so asks grandpa to shut the door of the tent. When his music stops, he decides it is too quiet and it would be nice to share the music with others. Throughout the evening they talk about gizmos and how the wind helps each of them. As it gets dark the gizmos are hard to see but the moon soon comes out to help them see the gizmos move in the wind.

This story will touch your heart as it did mine. A grandpa taking the time to spend with his grandson just watching what the wind can do is such a powerful lesson for everyone.

Cover used with permission from [Mumsi Meets a Lion] by Kimberly Y. Stegall. © [1998], BJU Press. (available from JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press, at journeyforth.com)

Mumsi Meets a Lion is an engaging story for young children written by Kim Stegall. Mumsi is a boy who lives in the mountains of Kenya with his family. He knows all the many things that children need to learn to be safe in this village, especially how to act around a lion. Mumsi and his friends have heard over and over to look at a lion straight in the eyes, don’t move, don't breathe, and don't run. The children practice these instructions while they are playing but soon forget the importance of what they were told. Besides a lion hasn’t been seen near the village in years.

Mumsi’s parents send him on an errand into the next village. At first Mumsi is afraid he might see a lion, so he hurries along to pick up the chai tea his mother asked for. On the return trip home Mumsi gets distracted by yummy berries and dwarf mongooses. Soon he realizes that it is getting dark and his parents had told him to hurry. The darkness comes on quickly and Mumsi starts to hear creatures around him. He is afraid and really wishes he had listened to his parents. Along the way he encounters bats and a snake. Then suddenly he hears a cracking of a twig. Could this be a lion? Mumsi remembers all he was taught over the years and finds himself face to face with a lion. Mumsi and the lion have quite the standoff. The author does a great job here making it suspenseful but not scary for younger readers.

Mumsi and his people learn a valuable lesson after that day. It is important to listen to your elders and to remember those things you have been taught.

Cover used with permission from [Noodle Soup] by Gloria Repp. © [1994], BJU Press. (available from JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press, at journeyforth.com)

A story of love and tenderness written by Gloria Repp, Noodle Soup reminds us to be kind of those around us, especially when they are going through hard times.

This story is told from a little boy’s perspective. Jon’s family had to move to the city and they miss everything about the country. The city is loud and busy and not at all what they are use too. The family makes the most of moving and settles in making new friends. One day mom stops singing and stops fixing up the house. The little boy is very concerned about his sick mother and is wondering if they should have moved at all. She continues going to work but every night they notice she isn't feeling well. She stops cooking for the family and stops eating.

Jon meets a new friend named Skeet. They do several fun things together like trading baseball cards and getting ice cream. Skeet’s brother even takes them to the zoo. Skeet’s family invite this little boy over for lunch and while he is there Skeet's mom is concerned about his mom. She suggests they make her grandma’s famous soup recipe. The boys help chop everything up for the soup.

Later on that night, Mrs. Hart shows up with a box for the family. In the box is the large pot of noodle soup. It was the best soup they ever tasted and even Mom ate some. Mom perks up over the next day and is back to normal in no time. The family credits the soup, but the little boy recognizes that it was more than that.

Editor’s Note: JourneyForth has provided a downloadable recipe of “Grandma’s Noodle Soup” for you to make with your kids!

Cover used with permission from [The Cranky Blue Crab] by Dawn L. Watkins. © [1990], BJU Press. (available from JourneyForth Books, a division of BJU Press, at journeyforth.com)

The Cranky Blue Crab is a fun, rhyming story written by Dawn Watkins. A little crab named Crusty, wants to live somewhere else. He thinks he is going to find a better place for himself. Crusty is a miserable crab along this funny adventure.

Cranky’s travels start where he meets a flea who calls himself clever and asks to join the crab on his trip. In the meadow, they meet a beetle who plays beautiful music that Cranky does not want to hear. The flea has to speak to him about not being rude to others. They also meet a gorgeous butterfly who is the princess of the meadow. Cranky realizes that he doesn't know how to bow to the princess and doesn't speak to her kindly. After a little while, Cranky starts to realize that the meadow isn't for him and decides to leave again. His new friends think it is best that they follow him to protect him.

Along comes a fox who offers to show Cranky the city. Cranky thinks this is a fine idea so rides along on the fox’s back. His new friends see this as a problem and take matters into their own hands. Children will love the funny way they take care of the problem.

Cranky realizes that he has been stubborn and asks for forgiveness. He realizes now who his true friends were. His new friends help get him back to the sea and their friendship continues on. Children will learn several lessons through this light-hearted story, but the biggest lesson of all is to be content.

Meet the Author

Melissa Vosburgh - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


Facebook Group

Connect with HomeWorks Consultants and other homeschool moms to discuss BJU Press Homeschool materials in our Facebook Group, BJU Press Homeschool Community!

Visit Group
Zan Tyler's Podcast

The Zan
Tyler Podcast

Helpful inspiration for your homeschooling journey!
Listen Today!

Contact Us Today

HomeWorks By Precept exists to provide you with the best educational resources to help your child become a creative, adaptive thinker with a strong biblical worldview. Our relationship doesn’t end with the once-a-year curriculum purchase—HomeWorks By Precept is here to partner with you all year long.
Find A Local Consultant