This was our first book review on the Homeschool Review Crew and did By the Way Book Series make it a great one! I gave the choice to our second grader of which book that he wanted to get and he choose Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come! (Psst...between you and me can I say that I was secretly hoping that he would choose this one - high five in the air!)
Here is our second grader looking through the book in our truck on our way to church one Sunday morning. The first thing that he noticed was the Bible verses throughout the book. He really thought that was SO cool! (double thumbs up!)
My oldest had just gotten the mail from the day before as we were getting reading to leave and already had the front door locked. I told him to just bring it in the truck with us to save time. Good choice because our second grader looked through the book the entire way to church. He loved all of the colorful pictures! He asked about the "lake effect snow" and so we were able to tell him about it. You see, we used to live in Chesterton, Indiana which is a stone's throw from Lake Michigan where we got plenty of lake effect snow. He thought that was cool that it was in his book and it was in the place where he was born. That really connected him to this book. That was the hook that he needed for the book to go from an "okay" book to a "can we read it right now?" book. I LOVE that!
When we got to church, he asked if he could bring it in to show his friends. I, being the paranoid mom that I am afraid that it would get ripped, damaged, or worse yet, lost, didn't let him. Let me tell you, we had one disappointed kid walking into church.
I have to tell you that we REALLY enjoyed this book! I love history and especially United States history and this book did not disappoint. It wasn't all about the history of Pennsylvania, though. It was beautifully written with science, geography, history, and Biblical teaching interwoven into a wonderful storyline.
It is the story of Lexi and Alex, a sister and brother, who won a contest to be the representatives of Pennsylvania at the Celebrate Pennsylvania festivities. This meant that they were able to fly around the state, stopping at specific places along the way, on a three-day tour of their beloved home state. This gave them the opportunity to learn various facts about their state, but to also explore what their state has to offer. Throughout their trip, they are accompanied by the Pennsylvania State Dog, a great dane named Penny.
It was evident as we started to journey through the book, that were were going to be "traveling" through the state and I thought it was appropriate to look up these wonderful places on a map. So I printed out a map of Pennsylvania and we "traveled" right along with Alex and Lexi, marking on our map the places that they went to.
You can see from our map that they traveled around the entire state. They started in the capital, Harrisburg, and ended up there as well. There were other places that they talked about traveling over, in their plane, or stopped at, but some of the places weren't on our map. Our son enjoyed being able to find the places on our map and connecting the places was like completing a dot-to-dot (which he loves to do, by the way). Completing the map really made these places "real" to him as we read the book.
Here are some of the facts that we learned in our Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come! book:
* Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is where 22,700 Confederate & 22,815 were casualties, wounded, or missing during the Civil War. What a sad day in American history.
* There is a giant cross that can be seen 50 miles away that stands in Jumonville, Pennsylvania. In order to build it, the money was raised by thousands of Sunday School children contributing dimes. Their names are sealed in the foundation of it.
* There are 20 different kinds of chipmunks.
* Pennsylvania has the largest and oldest Concord grape-growing region in the world.
* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of American democracy.
That last fact is the reason why I was secretly hoping that he would choose this book over the others in the series. You see, we have been learning about the American Revolutionary War in our history studies. There is a lot of American history in Pennsylvania, especially Philadelphia. He recognized these parts when we got to them in the book. It was so great that this was such a compliment to what we were already learning!
I've talked a lot about many of the reasons why I loved this book, but I haven't told you THE most important reason why this is a MUST HAVE book ~ By The Way Book Series have intertwined Biblical teaching into the storyline flawlessly. As people are talking in the book, they will point out their favorite Bible verse or they might see something that reminds them of something that they learned from the Bible. It really shows how you can go throughout your day talking about the Bible along the way.
This is something that we really try to do in our home as we go through our day and talk with our children about Biblical concepts and verses that will help them with things in their lives that they come across. It becomes a part of your life and our kids don't realize that other parents don't do this.
This book is a wonderful resource for parents to see how easy it can be to weave Biblical teaching into your children's day. Start with one verse and go from there. Sometimes I even talk with my kids about what I have recently read in the Bible. Anything works.
I really will have to look into getting my hands on the others in this series from By the Way Book Series! Maybe we'll look into the Washington ~ Here We Come! next.
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