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The Green Ember: A New Story with an Old Soul

Let me confess to you straight out that I tend to have a bias towards the older, time-tested children’s classics. I love them! But I do realize that all classics were new at some point in time and that just because an author is now dead does not mean their books are good or wholesome.

As much as I get excited and feel compelled to tell everyone I know when I discover a classic work of children’s literature that I missed out on as a child, I’m even more excited when I discover books of equal value that are being written today. They may be hard to find at times, but they are being written.

S. D. Smith’s The Green Ember is just such a book. Smith’s desire is to tell new stories with an old soul, full of old virtues and “vintage adventure”, and that’s just what he did.

My children & I loved The Green Ember. It is the story of two young rabbit siblings, Heather & Picket, who lived very ordinary lives (supposing you were a talking rabbit of course) in Nick Hollow until their family was kidnapped and their home destroyed by an army of evil wolves.

The Green Ember features adventure, suspense, and a wonderful selection of inspiring quotes. . . . . .

The Green Ember is truly a new story with an old soul.

The story is full of nourishing themes: good vs evil, redemption, self-sacrifice, loyalty, bravery — all the good stuff that feeds the imagination and inspires children (and all of us really) to be the heroes of our own stories. There is much in it that reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit.

I have been wanting to get my hands on this one for a long time! When The Green Ember was first published, it created quite a stir among my online book club members, and I was quite excited by the rave reviews it received from many of my favourite authors, bloggers, and book reviewers.

My search for a place to buy the book, however, came up empty. Even my public library said they couldn’t purchase it. So I bought the audio version of the book (it’s narrated by Joel Clarkson and is very well done!) and continued to check, hoping it would be made available in Canada.

I’m pleased to be able to tell my Canadian readers that The Green Ember (and many other hard to find books and curricula) is now available in Canada from Classical Education Books! Shopping with Classical Education Books makes things so much easier for Canadian homeschoolers — prices listed are in Canadian dollars so you don’t have to try to figure out exchange rates, orders are shipping from Canada so you don’t have to worry about extra shipping costs, duty, or brokerage fees.

Many thanks to Classical Education Books, who provided me with a complementary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions expressed here are my own.


My Favourite Reviews of 2016

A great blessing and privilege of being a blogger, and especially a homeschool blogger, is having the opportunity to do reviews. After counting all of my reviews from 2016 I was amazed that I had completed 22! These were books, curriculum, digital subscriptions, and games — and while some of these products weren’t a great fit for my family, homeschool or myself, others were truly a hit and I wouldn’t hesitate a minute to recommend them.

Today I’m going to share with you my very favourite reviews from this past year, many of which we continue to use regularly. These reviews were truly a pleasure to write and these products were a blessing to myself and my family.


#1 ArtAchieve

Homeschool Art for Everyone! All skill levels, no experience necessary! {ArtAchieve Review}


Our Backyard Birds notebooks - Review

#3 MyFreezEasy

Freezer meals for busy homeschool families - MyFreezEasy is was a total game changer for me! Check out how freezer cooking can help you provide healthy, homemade, and affordable meals to your family even on the busiest of days

#4 Getting Started with French

Getting Started with French {Review} - Getting Started with French is a great way to introduce French in the homeschool!

#5 Middlebury Interactive Languages

Middlebury Interactive Languages Elementary French Review - online language learning for your homeschool

#6 Give Your Child the World by Jamie Martin

Give Your Child the World {Review} This book provides a great list of living books from around the world

#7 Grapevine Studies

Grapevine Studies Review - an adaptable, hands-on, Bible curriculum for all ages!

#8 Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd Jones

Baby Wren and the Great Gift {BOOK REVIEW}

#9 Times Tales

Learn the multiplication tables the fastest, easiest way!

#10 Familyman Christmas Treasury

The Familyman Christmas Treasury Audio Collection - Review




Product, book, and curriculum reviews are an important help to homeschoolers looking for information prior to making choices and purchases. I hope to continue to help get the word out about great products and services in 2017! As usual, you can expect honesty and practicality in all of my reviews.

Favourite Posts of 2016


Why I’m Reading Juvenile Fiction

You know what’s on my bedside table more often than not these days? Children’s books. No, I don’t mean picture books (which I’m already reading en mass to three little girls who beg me to from sun-up to sun-down), but what my children call “chapter books”.

Why would a grown woman, especially one who is striving for her own self education and growth, be spending so much time reading selections from the library’s Juvenile Fiction collection?

Shouldn’t I be investing that time reading the great books?

5 Great Reasons Adults Should Be Reading Kid Lit - Why I'm spending so much time reading books from the Juvenile Fiction collection at my library -

While I am trying to get through some pretty heavy books this year, more of my time lately is being spent on lighter reading in the form of children’s books. Here’s why.

There are SO many great children’s books that I missed out on as a child!

While I did read some children’s classics in my youth (L. M. Montgomery was a favourite of mine), I mostly only read what was popular at the time. I  spent the bulk of my reading time on The Baby Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High and more of the like.

If I stuck to only “adult” books, I’d never get the chance to enjoy such books as The Chronicles of Narnia and so many other wonderful children’s classics!

They are shorter and easier to digest for this busy, pre-occupied, homeschooling mama

My attention span is pretty short these days. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly being interrupted, or because all of my free time comes in brief moments salvaged between cooking, cleaning, teaching, and potty-ing, but I have a hard time focusing on the heavier, deeper, and more thought provoking choices.

So I can talk about them with my children

I have really been enjoying re-reading my own favourite children’s classics with my children and discovering new treasures, but a newly discovered delight for me is sharing books separately. By the time I was halfway through the first book in the Wingfeather Saga, I just knew my oldest would adore it. So I tossed her the book when I was finished and she devoured it in a matter of days. Now she is harassing me daily to see if I’m done with the second so she can have it. It’s such fun!

They provide me with a window into the life of a child and help me relate to my own

It has been a long time since I was a kid, and sometimes it’s hard to remember what it was like. My own adult perspective is vastly different from that of my children, and I’m often so wrapped up in my own grown up concerns and priorities that I completely miss those of my children. When I read children’s literature, I’m transported back to my own childhood, and am reminded how important their concerns really are.

Because a great book is a great book, regardless of it’s target audience

This is the real reason. A good story, well written, is ageless. What you take away from the story at 12 can be so very different than what impresses you at 35.

Why do I read children's books?Because a great book is a great book, regardless of it's target audience.

A year or so ago I re-read Little Women and my attention was drawn to Marmee’s example in mothering her girls. I’m pretty sure she made little impact on me when I first read the book in my teens, I was completely pre-occupied by the sibling relationships, romance, ambitions, and adventures of the March girls. But now that I’m a mother myself and raising my own brood of “little women”, my perspective on the story has completely changed!

Are there any children’s works that you enjoy especially now as an adult?

This post is linked up on The Hip Homeschool Hop.