Saturday, March 24, 2018

A Few Resources for Boys

A Few Resources for Boys
Nigel Andreola and Dean Andreola, Maine 1999

Some boys will read but they aren't particularly excited about it. Some, drag their feet.

To remedy this we look for books that capture interest. Boys age 10-14 enjoy Ralph Moody's stories because they are based on challenges of his own life.

Are you familiar with Walt Morey? He is best known for Gentle Ben because a television show based on the book, aired 1967-69. It accounts for it being popular on Amazon.

My children tell me, however, that his other stories are better. Therefore, I nodded when I spied a comment on Kavik the Wolf Dog expressing: "What a story! Way better than Gentle Ben." It was all the comment the reader left but it was a happy exclamation.

Another writer of adventure is William O. Steele. My children read his Buffalo Knife. Most of Mr. Steele's books are out-of-print. I read The Story of Daniel Boone. He also wrote another Landmark; The Story of Leif Ericson. A generation ago or so, the Landmark Books made a noteworthy contribution to a child's knowledge of history. That was when children studied history. I'm sorry that so many living-book-histories are out-of-print. Keep an eye out for them. (Some Landmarks are better "reads" than others.)

It is encouraging to know that avid book rescuing is going on. Home teachers are building their libraries with used and sundry cast-offs. With these old "finds" they are preserving history. Rather than hide truth under a bushel, they are letting it shine for their children and their children's children. Ambre Sautter is building a website with a heart for rescuing books and chronicling them. Her Facebook readers at "Reshelving Alexandria" post their recent "finds." Many library discards have become treasures.

Getting back to the subject of boys, I'll let my son Nigel tell you about a gem for leisure reading. Thankfully these "clean" comics are still in print.

The Adventures of Tintin
 Review by Nigel Andreola
The Adventures of Tintin will satisfy cravings for wholesome action-packed adventure. Devoid of blatant sexual immorality and foul language it is appropriate for most ages. Kids as well as adults from all over the world have loved these books ever since the Belgian Mr. Herge began writing them in the 1930’s.

Tintin is a boy reporter who (along with his faithful dog Snowy) solves mysteries and fights crime. Although he is small, he is tough and delightfully clever.

He brings to justice international drug smugglers, thieves, slave traders, spies, and warlords. He restores peace and good government to countries at war.

And if this isn’t enough, he narrowly escapes death while he saves his friends lives in every book.

Unlike modern comic book formats, here we have witty dialog (with a large vocabulary) and an intriguing novel-like story line.

My father introduced me to this unforgettable cast of characters when I was a boy. But my sisters read them, too. You can meet the bumbling twin detectives, Thomson and Thompson, the eccentric hard-of-hearing mad scientist Professor Calculus with his priceless inventions, and Captain Haddock, a sailor with a weakness for whisky, to name a few of the characters.

Friends of all ages have borrowed my Tintin books so often I am surprised the well-worn covers are still holding. Brimming with real-world geography, Tintin’s adventures take him to colorful and exotic locations all over the world. He faces many dangers in Africa, the Americas, China, India, Nepal, Arabia, Eastern Europe, England and more.

It is true that Tintin will occasionally encounter the strange customs and pagan rituals of primitive cultures, and the books are politically incorrect by today’s standards, (firearms are used).

But to me, the political incorrectness heightens the suspense and humor.  Although the stories are secular, they are moralistic, so the presentation of good versus evil is well-defined and portrayed.

By the way, if any of my friends are reading this, isn’t it about time you consider buying your own copies?

Post Script
I finished piecing my log cabin table topper. You see it is pictured here - yet to be quilted. It's rather large for a table topper. I got carried away. I admit.

Red is traditionally used for the center of an American log cabin quilt square. It represents a warm hearth. The centers in this design are larger than is typical. I used the "Log Cabin Trim Tool" by Jean Ann Wright, to "square up" and keep my strips accurate. This trim tool (plastic ruler) comes in three sizes and is demonstrated on YouTube. I'm already day-dreaming about making a tiny log cabin doll quilt Amish style, using solid colors and the smallest trim tool.

Fabric makes me smile. This topper certainly has the scrappy look with lots and lots of different of fabric. I may have been a too scrap-happy. It's rather busy. But it will be something to look at on a gray day (when it's finished.) What's delightful about Mother Culture is that you can choose to be creative and decorate in ways that make you smile.

Listed on Amazaon:

Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey

Buffalo Knife by William O'Steele

The Adventures of Tintin by Herge
Cigars of the Pharaoh 

You will see other books by these authors surrounding those I linked here. Happy book hunting.
Thanks for stopping by,
Karen Andreola  


  1. Thank you for this list. My son is special needs and struggling with the classics in middle school/ high school. He can read them, but so many of them have deep emotional issues or the main character is badly treated. He struggled through Great Expectations recently and hated all of the unkindness. I need to find him more gentle and character building books. He loved the Tintin series.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. My children loved Tintin too!

    Thank you for another enjoyable post. I love your handcrafts as much as your homeschool posts.

  3. Our grandkids are reading our Tintin books now--and two of them pretend to be Thomson and Thompson some days! I like all the prints in the table topper--so very cheerful! Sue R.

  4. Ralph Moody's autobiographical books (all 8 of them) are the best! and TinTin! Oh my, how our boys loved those stories. They also enjoyed Mark Twain's The Prince and The Pauper, Nobody's Boy by Hector Henri Mallot, and of course, Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Several of our boys really like anything by Jules Verne and Robert Lewis Stevenson. So much good literature out there! Oh, and Gary Paulsen is a favorite author of one of our boys (we have four!).

  5. We first enjoyed the Tintin movie several years ago, and then began checking out the books from the library. Both girls and boys (and Mom) couldn't put them down. Excellent, action-packed stories!

    Your table topper/runner is just charming. It has been ages since I have had time for a sewing project, though I have crocheted a few afghans in the past year. Maybe there will be a little time for handwork this summer.
    God bless you, Karen! ~Kristyn

  6. We love Tintin at our house!

    Your topper is lovely!

  7. I shared this post with my homeschool group.

  8. Thank You Karen for the list of books. That tabletop is lovely. I would love to see a doll version. I always enjoy your inspiring posts. God Bless you and your family.

    1. Just for fun I started cutting strips for making an itty-bitty doll version - "courthouse steps" in blues, brown, cream and rose. The piecing of a doll quilts is my favorite frivolity.

  9. My son loved Walt Morey books when he was a teenager. I have collected several of them at library book sales/antiques stores to give to his sons when the time is right. (As quickly as time passes, it won't be long. His oldest son is now seven.)

  10. Ralph Moody wrote at least two Landmarks. šŸ˜Š My oldest loves Tintin and I will be introducing the books to my youngest soon.

    1. I'm sorry Landmarks are mostly out-of-print. They certainly had good writers. I didn't know Ralph Moody wrote some.

    2. Ralph Moody was a prolific writer of non-fiction also; he wrote about the Pony Express, stagecoach travel in the west, Seabiscuit (race horse) and much more.

  11. Does Kavik the wolf dog die in the end? My son will not read any dog stories where the dog dies in the end. If you could let me know any of these that fit that description that would be SO helpful! We love hearing new recommended titles. Thanks for posting.

    1. Hi. My children (who read Walt Morey's books 20 years ago say they don't remember the ending of this particular story. They do remember some hardship, however. As one of the comments on Amazon says that this is a sort of "Lassie Come Home" story I assume that Kavik is re-gained. But I can't be certain. I am sure that Lassie is re-gained at the end of "Lassie Come Home" but only after he survives many adventures. If you haven't read Lassie yet I can recommend it as I've read it all the way through. Thanks for writing.

  12. Thank You Nigel for the informative review. Your table top quilt is lovely.

  13. Karen, I just happened to click over and see you exchanged your winter header for spring. I immediately thought, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for!" because here in MI we are in the midst of an ice storm. Spring may be delayed, but it will come. :)

    1. You have my sympathy with this chilly spring. Last night I was disturbed in my sleep during the early hours of the morning by the noise of sleet hitting the window glass. It has turned into rain today at least.

  14. Hi Karen! I've rediscovered your blog and it's so much fun to read. I was homeschooling back when you were and I used and loved all of your books and the Parents Review. I still have the PRs and have shared them, as well as your books, with one daughter-in-law and my daughter who are now homeschooling our grandkids. What fun!

    Our 4 boys loved the Ralph Mooody series and also liked Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We have lots of Gary Paulson, Wm O. Steele, Sterling North (The Wolfing, and Rascal were favorites). The boys also liked My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George and Owls in the Family (and others) by Farley Mowat. We discovered the author Earnest Thompson Seton. We found a few great books about animals by him and one in particular, Biography of a Grizzly. Our daughter loved reading all of these books too, but they were especially appealing to the boys.

    Thanks to Nigel for the recommendations on Tintin. I'm going to go look for those.

    I like your log cabin table runner very much. I've always been fond of the log cabin pattern. I should start one up again. I've been doing a few string quilts which are fun for using up scraps. Have you tried string quilts? Good to "see" you again!

  15. Hi Karen...discovered your beautiful your little quilts, especially the log cabin. Is this a Kathy Tracy pattern? Blessings.

    1. Hello Sue, It is a tradition log cabin design. I used the 6 in Log Cabin Trim Tool by Jean Ann Wright. I saw it demonstrated on YouTube. Using the 4 in Trim Tool I made a tiny Courthouse Steps as found on page 64 of Kathleen Tracy's "Small and Scrappy." I hope to show it next blog post.

    2. Oops. I used the 12 inch tool for the Log Cabin pictured in this post. I ordered a set of 3 tools but haven't used the 6 inch one yet. Happy piecing and quilting.

  16. My 5 year old LOVES TinTin!!! I can hardly wait until he can enjoy the others you mentioned that all bring back memories of my childhood immersed in good books! I'm now keeping up a small-time blog on the books we read (for children through adults) and giving them reviews. I'm hoping to help families decide whether a book sounds ideal for their family or not. We all have different ideas of what consists of twaddle!

    Thanks for all the wonderful list!