The book begins when the family purchases land that contains a river, a barn, and a lot of trees. Working together, from the youngest on up, the family turns the barn into a home, builds a hen house and adopts a bunch of chickens, begins raising cattle, builds plenty of fun swings, plays "Indian," and names their entire property Narnia because at night they can hear lions roaring at a nearby zoo - including the lion used in the Narnia movie. Along the way, there are injuries, horseback riding, and lessons about life in general.
What I Like: This is an easy to read book, making it great both as a family read aloud or as a chapter book for independent readers. Some stories are fascinating (and have the "ew" factor - such as the one about setting up the family's composting toilet). Others are funny (like Mum being afraid of rats). Others are nail biting (like when Dad becomes seriously injured). This is a fun read, and it taught my 7 year old and I a lot about New Zealand. The Christian content is lightly sprinkled throughout the book. For example, the family holds a thanksgiving dinner (not related to the American holiday) and serves bread with poppy seeds sprinkled on top "to remind us of the blessings of God, that are too many too count."
The black and white line drawings (for whom no credit is given; perhaps the author created them?) throughout the book are a nice addition, and the map of the Boom's very own Narnia really helped my child picture the Boom homestead. Finally, I really love the way this book is printed. It's a beautiful hardback with a color photo on the front, bound sturdily, and on thick paper. Nice!
What I Dislike: Nothing, although I should note won't find political correctness in this book. When the children play with tepees and a campfire, they play "Indians" (not "Native Americans") and have such names as Chief Running Duck and Little Red Wing. Dad enters the scene saying, "Me Big Chief Long Legs...We can start pow-wow now." All in good fun.
Publishing Info: HSM Publishing; 2009; ISBN: 978-1921161186; hardback, 228 pgs., $20.
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