WWRW: Caldecott Books and St. Gianna Beretta Molla

I figure my diatribe yesterday on why I don’t push my kids into advanced books is a nice segue into what we’ve been reading lately.  Library tip:  just discovered that my library actually has a Caldecott shelf, so I don’t have to go all over the children’s section to hunt them down.  The books today, with the exception of the last, are all Caldecott Winners.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Little House

I’m not sure why, but I don’t remember ever reading this book.  It’s a sweet account of a little house, built in the country, surrounded first by suburbia, and then by city proper, abandoned, and then finally rescued and brought to the country again.  The illustrations are lovely, with an adorably anthropomorphic house that hardly changes in spite of the growth that surrounds it.  The images have enough detail that you can look at each page for a few minutes and discover interesting details, and overall patterns are quaint and pleasant.

Time of Wonder (Picture Puffins) by Robert McCloskey

tome of wonder

I love Robert McCloskey (Blueberries for Sal , Make Way for Ducklings) but I did not love this book.  The illustrations are beautiful, but… I just couldn’t get into it.  It’s about a little island in Maine as they prepare for a hurricane, so pretty far outside of our experience.  Normally that’s a bonus, but for some reason we all were just sort of “meh” about this book.  There isn’t really a specific character to identify with as it sort of hops around between people, so that may have been part of the problem.  I imagine if you lived in the Northeast coast, this book would be exciting, but for us, it was just okay.  I realize this is a pretty lame review, but I suppose I just can’t work up the energy to love or hate it.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Owl Moon

This book, on the other hand, I absolutely adored.  A little girl goes on her first nighttime expedition with her father, searching out owls under an Owl Moon.  She must keep totally silent so as not to scare away any owls.  You can sense her excitement through the simple first-person narration anyway.   We initially got this from the library as a part of our study on the virtue of silence for Little Flowers, but we ended up reading it several times to all the kids, and even the boys loved it.


The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble

Girl Who Loved Horses

I had this book as a child.  It tells the Native American legend of a girl who initially is the caretaker of the tribe’s horses, but through her love for them, ends up becoming one of the wild horses.  The illustrations are quite striking, very much in the style of Native American art.  The story is geared toward older kids, I’d say.  My boys didn’t care for it so much.  The girls liked it, but it wasn’t one of the ones we read over and over.


St. Gianna Beretta Molla (Encounter the Saints)

by Susan Helen Wallace, FSP and Patricia Edward Jablonski, FSP

St. GiannaGianna received this from my mom as a gift for her First Holy Communion.  (As if the dress wasn’t enough, right?)  It’s a chapter book based on St. Gianna’s life.  My Gianna devoured it, and Aliya is reading it now.  I also read it, and the three of us combined give it 6 thumbs up.  It’s not illustrated, and Gianna did have to ask me for a couple definitions, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable.  St. Gianna fits in with the Modern Woman mold, but in a truly Christ-like way.  I asked Gianna if she’s like to read more in this series and she gave a vigorous nod.  So perhaps we’ll amke them a part of our curriculum next year.  You know, so I can justify the expense.

This isn’t related, but would you believe that I didn’t even know about St. Gianna when I named my eldest daughter?  I just thought it was a pretty name.  St. Gianna was canonized just a year before my Gigi was born.  I love that I “accidentally” named her after such an awesome woman.


That’s all for today.  I’m currently reading Michael O’Brien’s A Landscape With Dragons and Faber and Mazlish’s How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.  If I can get super motivated and finish them, I’ll review them next week, but they’re both pretty meaty books.

Head on over to Jessica @ Housewifespice, to whom I still owe a Korean BBQ vlog.  Just waiting on that makeover fairy to show up.


  1. Jeannie says:

    I have to tell you One Morning in Maine is better, at least we think so, than Time of Wonder. We really liked the illustrations though. Xavier requests One Morning In Maine quite frequently. Owl Moon and The Little House are enjoyed over here as well. I have never heard of the The Little Girl Who Loved Wild Horses so we might have to check that one out from the library.
    Some of the books about books that have helped me out(in addition to Landscape with Dragons and I am not so sure I am with him on his Harry Potter thing) are: Tending the Heart of VIrtue by Vigen Guroian, Honey For A Child’s Heart, The Mysteries of Life in Children’s LIterature. I am grateful to all the homeschool lists of books available for helping to mine the field of children’s literature and park day chats with friends. 🙂
    Jeannie (your CTK friend)

    • I will check out One Morning in Maine! I do love McCloskey, so I was hoping to find more gems.

      For the record, I LOVE Harry Potter. Not necessarily as “fine literature” but definitely enjoyable reading. I know O’Brien is anti-HP, so I specifically chose this book because it was written before his HP book. I didn’t want my disagreements with him to get in the way of learning from him.

      Have you read For the Love of Literature by Maureen Wittman? I plan to get that one next, along with Honey for a Child’s Heart.

      • Jeannie says:

        I have no problem with Harry Potter and I knew about his stance and bought the book anyway. Overall, I liked the book. I just wasn’t completely with him on Harry Potter.
        I really like the For the Love of Literature, I have that one as well. I also liked Picture Perfect Childhood as well, which I also own. I also use A Mother”s List of Books(pamphlet from Emmanuel Books or Adoremus, I think?) The only glitch is that all of these do not fit in my pocket for handy reference while at the library or library book sales! 🙂

      • We love “One Morning in Maine” too, and “Blueberries for Sal” is great.

  2. Time of Wonder isn’t my favorite McCloskey book, but I do like the hurricane aspect (which we have lived through). Like Jeannie’s comment said, we really love One Morning in Maine…and The Little House which my kids just pulled off the shelf yesterday and asked to read!

    Owl Moon is one of my favorites, although it is a little subdued for my children’s tastes. There’s a beautiful line in there that I love–something about the music of words unspoken or something. 🙂

    The St. Gianna book sounds excellent. How neat that you got such a wonderful patron saint for your daughter without intending to!
    Catherine recently posted…Saint Magnus the Last Viking: A Book ReviewMy Profile

  3. I grew up with “The Girl who Loved Wild Horses,” too. I loved those pictures.
    Country Girl’s Daybook: Jesus, Photography, Fashion, & Food
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  4. Thanks for the tips!
    If you haven’t already I would check out ‘Pumpkin Baby’ also by Jane Yolen ~ a favorite of hers in our house though her Dinosaur books are currently getting a lot of read time.
    Joy recently posted…WWRW: Something Other Than GodMy Profile

  5. I also love “The Little House” and “Owl Moon,” and I feel that I ought to love “Time of Wonder” more. Thanks for the recommendation on Gianna Molla. We’ll definitely check that out.

  6. Do the vlog!!! We love Korean food. My mother-in-law is Korean and I’ve slowly learned over the course of 10+ years how to cook a few good dishes.

    As for the books, great tip about a Caldecot shelf! Our local library is in the midst of moving, so hopefully when they reopen they’ll have a similar shelf. The previous picture book system was seriously lacking.

  7. Isn’t Owl Moon the sweetest? I first came across it years ago when it was just put into text form for me, no pictures, as part of some poetry class or something I was taking. And then to see it with the pictures added? Beautiful. That’s why whenever people blithely say, “Oh, you should write children’s books”, I get so irritated. Writing literature for children is an art form! It’s a delicate marriage between word and form! It’s not something to slap down some couplets on a piece of paper and have someone computer animate them!
    Anyway, Owl Moon FTW!
    Cari recently posted…Random Acts of KindnessMy Profile

  8. Was The Girl who Loved Wild Horses the subject of a Reading Rainbow episode? RR is available on Amazon Prime and I (still) love it. I like lots of Virginia Lee Burton, and I share all of your thoughts on Time of Wonder. We have been reading the Pier Giorgio book from the same series as your St. Gianna book, and I have to say, it’s not the greatest writing. Patrick asked if it was translated after reading it one night, it’s that clunky.
    Jessica @ housewifespice recently posted…WWRW: Train robbery! Magic! Sasquatch! All in one book!My Profile


  1. […] still haven’t finished those meaty books I mentioned last week, but I did want to pop in and share a fantastic book that the girls and I listened to on […]