There are so many reasons why we fell in love with Ms. Phillips book but the number one thing was that the characters felt like they were our best friends next door. The adventures they shared were the kind that could easily happen our lives. You know you have a great book when your child is caught reading it on his own because he can’t wait for the next read aloud hour. The children experience a genuine love for one another but still had the squabbles that are common in a family atmosphere. And can we take a moment to point out all the hidden lessons throughout this book? A Lizard Garden? In Amsterdam there is a sculpture Lizard Garden! The family has experiences inside a real life museum with wonderful descriptions of art work that my children could point out when we watched a Youtube video of said museum. Before we had even finished the first book, my children were already asking if we could buy the second. What better way to bring picture study, geography, cultural, and family values into your home than by a wonderful book? The Lizard Garden delivered all this and more for our family!
After only a few pages into the book, my children had a unexpected opportunity to bring to life a portion of the book they had just read. I had given them permission to ride their bicycles to the local library. This was their first experience and boy were they enthusiastic about it. I hadn’t realized how much of the story they had carried with them, even after we had finished our daily reading, until my 8 year old son asked if he could take along a first aid kit. This might be a little odd for you, but realize that we have never really discussed safety and kits and all that with our children. Not that that they can’t use common sense but that a whole idea of a kit just isn’t something we discussed. BUT, after reading this book and the incident where a first aid kit was needed, my son wanted to be prepared in case. They may have pretended to be Milo and Charlotte on the way to the library. And oh my sides, we all want to try some special spaghetti. My kids have been asking everyone if they have ever tried spaghetti noodles and hazelnut spread.
It is not common to find great literature for children where the protagonists are homeschooled. That need is out there! BUT, what I found absolutely wonderful is that it wasn’t necessarily a book that only homeschooled children would enjoy! I plan on sending a copy to a dear friend whom I knew her children would have a blast reading this and 2 of her children attend a public school.
It also provided wonderful opportunities to research more about some of the places and items that we have never heard about. We looked up Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The author showed in her blog post, the inspiration of how Lizard Garden came to be.
So, can I give a better praise for this book other than the fact that it wasn’t just a book that mom wanted to read and the kids suffered through it (I already tried that with Five Little Peppers…. we’ll try that one again some other time) but the children LOVE this and kept asking for one more chapter. And I already shared how I caught my son reading ahead of us. Get your copy here and if you want to pre-order the next book and just do it. Get ready. Your kids are going to want you to start reading the second before you are finished with the first… at least, mine did. If you want an opportunity to win a copy for yourself, go directly to my YoutTube channel (comments welcomed on this blog post but do not count towards your entry– you must enter at my YouTube video.).
**** The giveaway will close 6/26. *****
To find out more about Anne Phillips, you can visit her at her website, http://anneephillips.com/.