The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow { Book review}

Recently I told you all about my journey of becoming part of the Usborne Book family. It has been so much fun for me and my kids. ¬†I love children’s books and I love having an official excuse for reading even more of them ūüôā
While Usborne has an amazing selection for younger kids I was concerned upon joining about the selection for a bit older kids.  Those concerns were washed away with the last big release of new titles. I have been so excited to read this big stack of books  !! We have found many books that have made our homeschool days easier and more fun !

The Mystery of the clockwork sparrow is a really fun mystery for advanced readers, from about age 9 and up into middle school. ¬†It plays right in the heart of London in the Edwardian time era, so right before WWI . ¬†The book gives¬†a beautiful impression of this time , it¬†¬†shows the difficulties many people faced and¬†also gives you an idea how this time modernized their lifestyle.¬†We meet several characters in this ¬†mystery but the main character Miss Sophie together with Miss Lilian Rose stand out with strong heroic character traits. Both girls meet when they start working at the newest Department Store London has to offer. It is one of the hottest, new places and the whole city is waiting anxiously for the big opening ceremony and all of London’s high society is invited. The whole store works nearly around the clock to have everything beyond perfect.

Our main character Miss Sophie starts her new l¬†working life in the millinery department.¬†While not everything is as easy as it might could be ,she is loving her job and also starts making friends throughout the big store. But even before the big event, the actual opening of the store, things take a bad turn. There is a huge break in, and Sophie and her new friends get caught in the middle of the mystery. Together with the help of her new found friends, they continue to find out the truth about the robbery, the mysterious clockwork sparrow, break secret codes, and also stumble right into the arms of one of London’s biggest gang and it’s leader ” THE BARON “.

The book is about 300 pages + long and only contains a few pictures here and there. Overall it is written in a fun and easy to follow way, but the plot does take a few turns which might make it harder for younger readers to follow through. While a good mystery is certainly for boys and girls, I think girls would possibly enjoy this quite a bit more since our main character works in the fashion department and a few fun facts about hats and other fashion attire is also shared in between.

I wished the book would contain even more details about the time era and London itself, but after all this is still a kids novel and too much info like that would take away from the story itself. Both my girls ( 7 and 10 ) love a good mystery and I am very excited for them to start reading this series. They both have read many stories from the Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. This will be a refreshing book for my little detectives !

I love combining great books with real life time events and places , this book gives a great opportunity to dive deeper into this time era .They possibly have no idea that department stores originated in the UK ! So why not talk with your kids a little bit more about  it and let them connect more real history to this fun fiction novel !!

 

 

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Book review Wordsmithy

When I was asked by Timberdoodle to do a review for ¬†“ WORDSMITHY” I did not expect the little jewel I would indeed, receive.

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I had no idea what this book would really contain and honestly,  I expected a dry, boring manual on how to write books and was unsure how this would help us in our homeschool journey at all.  Since the author also has a religious background I was also wondering what role it would play in his suggestions.  After reading it, I am happy to share that this book is everything but boring and I recommend it for all parts of life and  for all types of people, young and old, secular or religious. In fact I believe we all can walk away with some great advise from this book.  So yeah, I was quite surprised to find myself reading through all the chapters from front to back in one evening !

The book starts with 7 strong tips on what you can do, how to live your life if you truly aspire to become a real writer. In each chapter afterwards the author Douglas Wilson, goes into details on how to accomplish those ideas. The tips he mentions are however very hands-on and true to life. In fact many of these I did not expect to find in this little book at all. The whole book is written in a beautiful, easy to understand and often even funny way. I could see that even teenagers or even well advanced ”¬†tweens¬†” could already read this book and take away some wonderful advise… not only about writing but also about life in general…

 

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Suggestions like ¬†” get to know something about the world “, ” get out there, meet people, view sunsets, smell and see different parts of the world and collect real life experiences “, were in fact big reminders why we even homeschool and I loved finding it in this book.

While this book indeed does mention a lot of hands-on learning it also reminds us on the importance of books. And not only books that we read for pleasure but on occasion also books that inspire us to be better and greater writers. In fact all kinds and sorts of books. From dictionaries to biographies, novels to children and picture books and poems and writers manuals just like this one. Read from A-Z and then start over once more. Read it all !  And then, write things that stick out to you DOWN ! Keep a journal for all kinds of writing prompts and ideas.

Learn to quote people and use their wonderful words in your day-to-day talk and then writings and look up all the great recommendations of other books that Wilson points to at the end of each chapter.

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I loved reading the take-aways at the end of each chapter and my own personally take away from this book is, that this book truly deserves to be in every homeschool household. If you do not think your kids are ready to read it on their own their own quite yet, just start reading it for yourself and be an early facilitator and show your children ways on how they can improve their writing !

Timberdoodle has always surprised me in the last few years of the creative choices and options that they have put into their curriculum boxes. Go check it out !