The Magical Nostalgia of The Mandalorian

I still remember the day my dad rolled the old TV cart out into the cafeteria of the former school-turned-church we lived in and sitting us down to watch Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope.

I don’t remember much. Luke seemed cute, there was a Princess, a lot of desert, funny droids… *shrugs*

Luke, Leia, and Han pause in the hallway, blasters drawn

We discussed the movie like we always do, evaluating what was good and not so good, keying in on the worldview and messages. We even got a lesson in film history. (#homeschooled)

A lesson that eleven-year-old Kate always remembered.

My dad explained the Old West and medieval inspirations George Lucas brought together to make something entirely new. 

(There’s a writing lesson in there somewhere. πŸ˜‰)

I mentioned before that I didn’t grow up on SW, and while I watched the movies once as a kid, it was other things that caught my imagination.

Roy Rogers movies. The Andy Griffith Show. The Prisoner (1967). Historical movies, animated movies, old black and white feel-good movies. Secret Agent Man. BBC Sherlock (filtered). Doctor Who.

(Among maaaannny other movies and shows more or less contemporary. πŸ˜‰)

The Star Wars sequels appeared on my radar and impressed me to varying degrees. (Episode VIII… a.k.a. controversially my favorite.)

And then came The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian and the hermit ride blurrgs in the desert

Half-hour episodes.

Uniquely titled “Chapter 1” and so on.

With a soon highly recognizable theme song.

Simple yet highly effective backgrounds.

A straight forward and compelling plot.

Characters you knew which side they were on immediately.

A grim, highly-skilled man willing to risk anything for the innocent.

His trusty, rescued sidekick.

The wise hermit of the desert.

A village in need of help.

All in a barren, wild world with every man for himself.

Sound familiar?

What Star Wars had set out to do (as expressed to me when I was a child) was on full, beautiful, Western display in a single, eight-episode season.

Even as I enjoyed the genre-bending, I felt a familiarity that went deeper than the setting and characters.

It reminded me of an old show with it’s short episodes, honesty of characters, theme song and filming style, and even with that weird “filler” episode where Mando runs a mission with his former outlaw gang. 

As a film nerd I’m excited by mind-bending plots, unique editing, and craaazzzy advancements in tech.

But as a viewer who loves relaxing and enjoying a compelling, down-to-earth story, I will be eagerly looking forward to season 2.

Baby Yoda rides in his baby stroller

β€’ β€’ β€’

(I realize this post has likely already been written. Likely by a middle-aged man. Anyway, if you want to read more about the strong Old West parallels in this show, check out this article.)

My Favorite (Ill-Fated) Star Wars Ships

I wouldn’t usually consider myself a big Star Wars fan. I didn’t grow up on the movies and I have zero merch (though I plan to fix that with a Funko Pop of Rose Tico soon). 

But when Katie Hanna and Eva-Joy announced the event was for anything and everything Star Wars related, more than a few topic ideas came to mind. πŸ˜‰

And that’s the beautiful thing about Star Wars. It’s such a vast, varied universe with room for something for each of us to enjoy. πŸ’—

Speaking of enjoyment, what do shippers like myself enjoy almost as much as (or maybe more than? πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚) a good happily ever after?

An ill-fated, forever-doomed ship. *evil, pained grin*

Here are my favorites…

Jyn/Cassian

Jyn and Cassian disguised in the town scene

😭

I love these two so much. It doesn’t help that I put myself through the torture of their movie at least twice and read the novelization…

It’s hard to portray emotional depth in such an action-packed film, but their comradery, shared commitment to the cause and growth, and silent understanding spoke volumes. I’m so glad that every step of the way they had each other. πŸ’—

Their last moments together* are one of the most beautiful movie moments I’ve seen.

Jyn and Cassian hug as the Death Star destroys the planet they are on

*I refuse to believe they are dead. All the lore surrounding her necklace, okay? Send help.

Damerey (Rey/Poe)

Rey and Poe have an intense first meeting

Forgive me for this one. It’s been more a case of β€œooo, they seem cool, where is this going?” Ever since THAT ^^ β€œI know” meeting scene and their shared bond with Leia in one of my favorite SW movies. 

I think I’ve mostly worked it out of my system by skimming two fanfics, obsessing over the Treverrow script, and stalking the only Damerey fan account in existence, but anything could happen. I won’t promise not to enjoy their few interactions. πŸ˜‰

β€œYou know what you are? You’re a difficult man.”

(I better move on before I spiral again.)

Rey and Poe have a lighthearted argument

The Mandalorian and the Widow (Din/Omera)

(Please appreciate with me for two seconds how much that looks like a Narnia title.)

Omera protects her daughter from raiders

How in the galaxy far, far away did a half-hour TV episode make me care about these two together so much? Mando was so at home with her and her people, while she in turn both appreciated his protection and matched it with courage and resourcefulness.Β 

(And they were adorable together, even with his mask. πŸ˜‰ )

I’m guessing they have longer term plans in the ship department for Mando (a certain former shock trooper, mayhaps?), but I have a teensy, tiny wish that s2 would pull through on this one. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‰

Omera fondly touches the Mandalorian's mask

There you go! Tell me about your favorite Star Wars ships, doomed or otherwise. I love hearing different perspectives. πŸ˜‰

A Very Bookish Christmas: Meet and Greet!

Yesterday I did a very cool author-y thing. I hit “publish” on the paperback version of Sincerely, Jem. 😁🀩

^^ A.k.a. the most exciting pop-up message of an author’s life. πŸ˜†

And today… IT’S AVAILABLE, Y’ALL!!

I’m extra excited because this is the first paperback book I’ve formatted myself. πŸ˜‰ #authorgoals

As are three other pretty cool books–the same ones that originally appeared in the A Very Bookish Christmas anthology. Would you like to meet them?

Sylvie of Amber Apartments by J. Grace Pennington is inspired by Anne of Green Gables, and I super excited to see how Grace mixes her characteristically deep themes with a slice-of-life storyline. πŸ˜‰ I’ve heard fantastic things about this story, and I’m a huge fan of The Firmament series and Implant also by this author, so… πŸ˜€

Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones (#exceedinglycutecover) is inspired by a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and it DEFINITELY gave me those vibes. If you’re a fan of mysteries with a slight historical feel, you’re definitely going to love this one.

Molly and Anna by Sarah Holman (Pollyanna-inspired) is a fantastic mixture of pretty cute and sweet while wrestling with a really hard topic. I appreciate the author’s willingness to bring up the topic of racism and do her best to address it.

In celebration of our new releases, we’re giving away a $15 Amazon giftcard! πŸ˜€ Find the giveaway HERE.

Merry Christmas in July!

Have you read any of these books? Or which one(s) are you looking forward to reading?

Upcoming and Exciting

I’m excited about two word-related things right now…

#1? The other day, I printed off draft one of “Imperfect”. You probably heard me cackling in excitement. πŸ˜† Then I stapled it together in segments of a chapter or two, located my red pen, and got to work. πŸ˜‰

I haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it, but I’m already to chapter six and suuuppppper excited.

Aesthetically messy ^^

I posted this on Facebook, and it’s painfully true…

#2 on word-related things I’m excited about…

Paperbacks will be available this upcoming weekend in connection with a very special blog party. 😍😍

My fellow A Very Bookish Christmas authors and I are releasing our books separately, and I can’t wait for you to see the full amazingness. πŸ˜€

Stay tuned for a giveaway and some pretty fun blog posts! See you then. πŸ˜€

My Top 5 Favorite Books for 2018

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Hello, y’all! Wow, it’s been a whirlwind of a week! Thanks so much for turning out and helping us explode each other’s TBR lists! It’s been so much fun. πŸ˜€

I’m sure you’re all very anxious to see who won that amazing giveaway. Click over to our hostess’s blog to find out!

Also, to further help with your bookish problems, we have twenty-seven books on sale for $0.99 and fifteen entirely for FREE. *falls over just looking at them* *hides money from self so I’m not completely broke* A few of those books are by me, and plenty of the others are ones I’ve been meaning to buy. (Send help. πŸ˜› )

I’m so excited to share this final category/genre/thingy with you. When Rebekah and I were choosing the genres for this party, we thought it would be fun to make Saturday (kinda the bonus day) all about our favorite books we’ve read in this year alone. πŸ˜‰ So, in no particular order, here are my top five favorites of 2018 and the three reasons they made this list. (And several of these I already mentioned during the party, yes. πŸ˜‰ )

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery…

  1. Made me cry with the sweetness and simplicity
  2. Gave me much to think about
  3. Has delightful illustrations

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer…

  1. Was a gift from the Lord and exactly what I needed at the time
  2. Introduced me to one of my favorite authors
  3. Cemented that I love the name Theo ❀ πŸ˜‰

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder…

  1. Spoke to my Neverlandish heart
  2. Made me cry (repeatedly)
  3. Had me in awe of the author’s writing skills

Wonder by R.J. Palacio…

  1. Gave me a look into the life and heart of such a special little boy
  2. Grew my understanding and empathy
  3. Warmed my heart with the sweet family life

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur…

  1. Showed me how powerful small gifts can be
  2. Fascinated me with the unique storyworld
  3. Gave me something to fangirl over with my sister and a best friend

There you are! Those are my top five favorite books for this year–at least so far. πŸ˜€ There are still a couple months left to read in. πŸ˜‰

Once again, thank you all so much for coming! And thank you to the amazing bloggers who shared their favorite books! And a HUGE thank you to Rebekah for organizing this whole thing! It’s been a ton of fun. πŸ˜€

FFF - booksDon’t forget to check out everyone else’s posts! πŸ˜‰

Before you go… I happen to be the Books party room today, and so here’s your link to a free copy of my book The Twin Arrows. Enjoy!

What have been your favorite reads this year?

 

 

 

Top 5 Favorite Christian Contemporaries

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We interrupt this book recommending fest to remind you that…

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…this is the Grand Prize!! ❀ ❀

I don’t know about you, but that stack looks pretty awesome to me. πŸ˜‰

Gift from the StormΒ by Rebekah Morris
BoundΒ by Victoria Lynn
KieraΒ by Kate Willis
Love Needs No WordsΒ by Faith Potts
A Five Fall Favorites mug (designed by Rebekah Morris, created and donated by Salsa and Tea)
Okay, now back to books. πŸ˜€
I love stories set in my time period with strong Christian messages I can relate to.Β It’s hard for me to find books in this genre, but I do have some favorites to share. πŸ˜‰ (And if you have any favorites, please comment with ’em! I need a taller TBR mountain. :P)
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It was free, my friends liked it, I wanted something cute to read. Basically, the story of how I ended up reading Three Little Words, an adorably fantastic novella by Melissa Tagg. This book is a romance, but a friendship-based one (which is always my favorite). (Read my fangirl-y review here.)
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At the Christmas Lodge by Rebekah Morris is one of my favorite Christmas short stories. This book was light and cozy but also didn’t skip over the true meaning of Christmas. (Read my review here.)

 

I am entirely in love with the Kate’s Case Files series by Sarah Holman. I’ve only read (and re-read and shared with Anna and shared with Paul) Kate’s Innocence and Kate’s Capitol so far, but that’s only because I’m trying to be a good girl and not spend every last cent I get. (I will buy you soon, my precious.) Clean mysteries, super cool contemporaries, compelling characters, and Spiritual themes that talk Right. To. Me… Pretty cool. πŸ˜‰

Read my review of Book #1 here.Β 

Read my review of Book #2 here.

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(Oh, look. This happens to be part of the Grand Prize. :D) Gift from the Storm by Rebekah Morris is *probably* my absolute favorite of her titles. I loved the characters, found the mystery quite exciting, and yes, it’s another cozy, winter-y read. πŸ˜‰ It’s also a story of compassion and hope in Christ. (Read my full review here.)

FFF - bonfiresThose are my favorite Christian contemporary reads that have been published in the last five years. πŸ˜‰

I also love the feel of bonfires and roasted marshmallows, and now my mind is spinning with ideas for a contemporary book with s’mores in it because that would be double awesome. πŸ˜€

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway and read everyone else’s posts! (I know I’ll be stalking them because I need more contemporaries to read.) πŸ˜€

Do you have a favorite contemporary book?

Top 5 Favorite Read-Alouds <3

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Hello again, happy third day!!! It’s been so fun partying with you all. I look forward to this party every year, and I love getting to do it with blogging friends old and new. πŸ˜€

My family and I have a strong culture of reading. Stuffed bookshelves, huge library trips, and read-alouds galore. It’s been amazing to share stories with each other, discuss them in extreme detail, and fangirl like crazy. πŸ˜‰ My mom is usually the one who reads aloud to the entire family, but my dad has shared some G.K. Chesterton novels with us older ones, and lately I’ve been doing some read-alouds with my youngest sister and my nephews. It’s really quite lovely. ❀

Today I’m gonna share with you some of my favorite books to read aloud… πŸ˜€

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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser was our most recent read-aloud and a huge hit with the entire family. It’s a sweet, clean read about a large, loving family, and it’s set at Christmas time to boot. We found many of their little quirks and sweet traditions to be adorable, and it was especially fun when they were similar to ours. πŸ˜‰ The second book just came out, and we are quite looking forward to trying it! ❀ (Read my full review here.)

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What is more classic than Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne?! ❀ I loved sharing this with my youngest sister and rediscovering the classic tales myself. It’s such a homey and “hummy” (to quote Pooh) book. And quite quotable too. XD No one is too old for the Hundred Acre Wood. (Read our full review here.)

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Mad About Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans is a charming collection of several of the classic tales. My youngest sister and I enjoyed the illustrations, and she even took a turn reading aloud in her best French accent. πŸ˜‰ (Read my review here.)

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This darling story, Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith, has a sweet, important Biblical theme and some of the world’s best illustrations. ❀ I’d say the deep concepts might be a little hard for very young ones to grasp, but they would still enjoy the pictures. A five-star book. πŸ˜‰

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Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk was a recent surprise! I was expecting a typical mouse-with-a-hidden-talent/identity book, and I certainly didn’t expect this inspiring story. πŸ˜‰ My nephews loved poring over the detailed illustrations. (Read my review here.)

FFF - boatsI hope you find something new to share with a little one (or even your entire family!). Reading aloud can be a very special way to share a book, and you’ll have boatloads of fun discussing it! ❀

(I know, that was such a cheesy way to get “boat” in there, but seriously, all I can think of right now is The Lady of Shallot, so…) πŸ˜‰

Visit our hostess’s blog to check out everyone’s recommendations from today and enter the fantabulous giveaway!Β 

What is your favorite book to read aloud (or have read to you)?

Top 5 Favorite Funny Finds

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Welcome back! Today’s genre–humor–is super fun because who doesn’t love to laugh, right? πŸ˜€ *sings song from Mary Poppins* *straightens face*

A joyful heart is good medicine and here is some…

The Kitten Files series by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick (which I’ve actually only read two of so far–yes, I’m behind. Be shocked.) is really the most hilarious and adorable thing ever. You’ve read books about talking cats, well this one can WRITE! And she’s an “assistant” to a detective and very snarky. I’ve enjoyed these complicated but very safe/lighthearted mysteries.

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The Father Christmas Confessions by Emily Ann Benedict was a highlight for me last year. I read it to myself in November, then aloud to Anna in December. It was that good. πŸ˜€ Quite humorous with a surprising depth and heart to it, this book was the perfect Christmas read for me. πŸ˜‰ I laughed out loud sometimes over the main characters’ dynamic, and all the hidden references were quite fun. πŸ˜‰ (And I hear there’s a sequel which I really need to get my hands on…)Β (Read my full review here.)

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This book, Martin and Marco by Jonny Jimison, is actually a graphic novel. And as you can probably tell from what today’s genre is… it. cracked. me. up. XD The entire book is so quotable, and the second book is just as hilarious and adventuresome and wacky. (Read my slightly crazy review here.)

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Someone actually recommended The Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett to me during the very first Five Fall Favorites party, and here they are now. That’s pretty ace. πŸ˜‰ My favorite thing about this series is how it totally makes fun of, celebrates, and plays with the cliches of the kid detective genre. The concept of the first one (scary librarians) cracked me up to no end, but the plot of the second one surprised me with how complicated it was. (Read my reviews of the entire series here. I’d really only recommend books one and two.)Β 

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This lovely adventure, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein, was a nice surprise from my local library. Chock full of literary references, clever clues, and a fun plot–this was definitely my kind of book. πŸ˜‰ Seriously, who wouldn’t love a Wonka-like character who literally speaks in book titles?? πŸ˜€ I was able to share it with my younger siblings which is always fun, and they tell me I must read the second book. πŸ˜‰ (Read my full review here.)

FFF - benchesSo grab a book and find a lovely bench somewhere to read on. And if a stranger asks why you are laughing so hard, just hand them your book because laughter is meant to be shared. πŸ˜€

Don’t forget to stop by our hostess’s blog to enter the (absolutely amazing and happifying) giveaway and find everyone else’s posts!Β 

What book has made you laugh recently?

 

 

Top 5 Favorite Pro-Life Reads (& Welcome!)

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Hello everyone! Welcome to our third Five Fall Favorites blog party! πŸ˜‰ This blog party is all about celebrating autumn by recommending books to each other, entering the super awesome giveaway, and maybe even picking up some free books. πŸ˜€ Our awesome hostess Rebekah explained it in more detail in her blog post today. πŸ˜‰

Five Fall Favorites Grand Prize

Grand Prize ^^ ❀ Enter HERE.

But, on to today’s genre. It’s a favorite of mine.

The pro-life genre is really just a catch-all term for books involving adoption, foster care, special needs, and caring for the elderly. God has laid adoption on my heart for a while now, and more recently He’s brought special needs to my attention. Here are my five favorite books with these themes!

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Left to Die by Ivy Rose is the story of a young woman living in China who finds an abandoned baby in the street. The rest of the story is heartbreaking and sweet and very heartwarming. πŸ˜‰ I really liked the main character. I found her relatable (I mean, who wouldn’t relate to a gal who has an Oreo stash??), plucky, but also real. The slight romantic thread was great, and the Spiritual themes were very good. (Read my full review here.)

Gossamer

I’ve enjoyed every book by Lois Lowry that I’ve read, but Gossamer might be my favorite. It’s a unique blend of realistic contemporary life and some speculative *almost* fairy-like elements. The older woman in the story was so loving and brave to become a foster parent, and I enjoyed seeing her impact on John’s life. The importance of stories and memories was really special as well. Be prepared to shed some tears! (Read my full review here.)

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I picked Kindred Souls by Patricia MacLachlan up on the recommendation of a Goodreads friend and I was not prepared. *cries* *cries some more* It was really sweet reading about a grandfather and his grandson interacting, and I liked how close the family was. πŸ˜‰ (Read my full review here.)

wonder

As you all probably noticed, there was a ton of hype surrounding Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I don’t usually like popular books, but this one intrigued me especially when the movie came out and I saw the trailers. I managed to read it this past summer, and I will never be the same. Real, hard, uplifting, and empathy-growing. This book is a must read. ❀ I will write a review of it sometime when I find the words. (Just a note, there are some instances of crude language and a few blasphemies.)

 

Whoever designed the cover for Slug Days by Sara Leach should win an award. ❀ It perfectly sums up the story and the stark difference between Lauren’s good days and “slug days”. I liked this honest yet respectful look into Autism Spectrum Disorder that focused on the girl in the story and not her syndrome. And the illustrations are adorable!! ❀ (Read my full review here.)

FFF - backpacksThose are my recommendations! I hope you find a new favorite to read and stuff in your backpack to carry with you everywhere and love forever and quote and shove at people for them to read. πŸ˜‰

Be sure to check out our hostess’s blog to find links to everyone’s recommendations! And I look forward to seeing you around. πŸ˜‰

Do you have a pro-life book to recommend?

 

 

Top 5 Favorite Animal Adventures (& Party Wrap-Up!)

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Can you believe it’s the last day of the party?!! It’s been such a blessing sharing a mutual love of books with you all. πŸ˜‰ I officially can’t wait for next year. πŸ˜€ But before you go, there’s a couple more things (and one last genre!) I’d like to share with you.

First off, the giveaway is over! Winners have been chosen, so head on over to Rebekah’s blog to see who won and congratulate them. πŸ˜‰Β She also did a fantastic job thanking all of our hostesses and YOU the party-goers. But of course she left herself out of all the thanks. (Which is really cool of her, you have to admit.) Just like last year, she was the brains behind this operation, the organizer, the enthusiasm, and the driving force. So go tell her how much you appreciate her! πŸ˜€

On our hostess blog, you’ll find a helpful pdf of all our favorite books from the week, so be sure to download that. πŸ˜‰ I’m also in the process ofΒ putting all the books I recommended on one Goodreads shelf. (And if it’s a series, I’ll just add the first book to save space. πŸ˜‰ ) Have fun browsing through it to find your new favorites! πŸ˜€

Just in case you missed any of my posts, here’s a nice map for you…

Monday: Top 5 Favorite Biblical Fiction Favorites

Tuesday: Top 5 Favorite Clean, Christian Romance Reads

Wednesday: Top 5 Favorites Series of All Time

Thursday: Top 5 Favorite Missionary Stories

Friday: Top 5 Favorite Indie Published Books

And now for the bonus genre!

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1. Come On, Seabiscuit by Ralph Moody is one of the best horse books ever! It’s based on real historical events and tells the story of a little horse with a big heart and the will to win. ❀ Ever since my mom read this aloud to us as younger kids, I’ve loved this story sooo much. πŸ˜‰ It’s definitely worth reading!

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2. I find Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong delightfully unusual for its genre. It stays pretty true to how farm animals would actually act, even down to the dog calling the farmer “The Man”. I read it aloud to my youngest sister earlier this year, and we enjoyed it immensely.Β (Read our review here.)

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3. Remember how I proposed that we start using heart ratings instead of star ratings?! The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne needs about seven hearts to properly portray how much I love it. πŸ˜‰ (And I know it’s technically not an animal book, but I had to get it in here somewhere. It’s close enough. πŸ˜› ) I read it aloud to my youngest sister a few months ago, and we wrote a review together here. ❀

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4. Oh, look! Another greatest-horse-book-ever! πŸ˜€ King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry is about the ancestor of Man O’ War who is the ancestor of Seabiscuit. So basically, this is where all the coolest horses started. πŸ˜€ Just a note that because the horse is from Arabia, Islam is portrayed.

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5. Big Red by Jim Kjelgard is another childhood favorite, and the main reason I always thought I needed to own an Irish Setter. πŸ˜€ This dog is epic-ly smart, loyal, and cool. πŸ˜‰ Just a note that there is some intense action and possibly a little “hick swearing”.

That’s all folks! Don’t forget to check out our hostess blog one last time! (I hear there are some books on sale too. Hint: The Twin Arrows is one of them. πŸ˜‰ ) It was great partying with you all, and I’ll see you next week with some regular blog posts.

Happy reading!