**This post contains affiliate links to books we love.
Anticipation was building, building, building. My kids were reading, reading, reading.
Finally, the day arrived. We headed over to Family Christian Stores and picked up our cool, summer reading program prizes.
I am amazed by how generous the store is! The program requirements are relatively simple. Children are only required to read six books and fill out brief, three-question reports on each book. They are rewarded with $10 gift certificates usable on any store merchandise.
The children’s books were 25% off the day we went, and we were also allowed to claim that discount. This allowed my daughter to select THREE Berenstain Bears books, including one hardback anthology called The Berenstain Bears Lessons in Love (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights).
My son chose two Cul-de-Sac Kids books plus More Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids. We were also invited to participate again for more prizes!
Since The Cul-de-Sac Kids series by Beverly Lewis is one of my favorites for younger readers, I am providing a REVIEW:
What’s it about?
Throughout 24 books, The Cul-de-Sac Kids series highlights the adventures of neighborhood children from Blossom Hill Lane as they learn real-life lessons in faith and friendship.
The things I love:
- It satisfies all of my ten standards for evaluating children’s literature with a few minor caveats. (The characters could be better developed in a longer book, but Beverly Lewis packs as much development in as possible throughout the relatively short stories. Vocabulary is kept at a pretty basic level, which might be a tiny ding off my enriching vocabulary standard.)
- The books teach explicit lessons based on Scripture in a fun way. The young characters often discover these lessons on their own without adult help, which keeps them from seeming preachy. For example, in the Mystery Mutt (The Cul-de-Sac Kids #21) (Book 21), the young Stacey Henry initiates a challenge for each Cul-de-Sac Club member to develop a Fruit of the Spirit in his or her own life.
- The books feature both male and female characters to make them more appealing for children of both genders.
- Plot conflicts are not overly dramatic. I like younger children to read books free from major drama and unnecessary angst. The antagonists are appropriate for young readers.
- Adults in the story are presented in a positive light, and children interact with them in a respectful manner. Although the adults may have imperfections, they are not treated as buffoons or made fun of.
- Although the stories were written in the late nineties and early 2000s, they do not feel dated. The author did an excellent job of using a timeless style. (I can overlook a book with CDs instead of MP3s when that’s the only thing dating it.)
The things I would change:
- Some details deviate substantially from reality. For example, in the first book, protagonist Abby Hunter’s family adopts children from Korea. They are supposed to adopt girls, but they are accidentally sent boys. The Hunters think about sending them back but eventually decide to keep them. In reality, adoption processes are extremely stringent, and the wrong children would not be sent by mistake. While the boys are heartwarming, they continue to speak broken English throughout the entire series. The writing does not reflect how their speech would improve as time goes on.
- The suggested age range is slightly off. The series is recommended for ages seven to ten. The stories are fairly short, and the situations and character interactions are a bit simplistic for many nine- and ten-year-old readers. Most children like to read about characters a few years older. A six- to eight-year-old range would be more accurate.
Recommended? YES! Pick up some books for your younger children. They’re sure to enjoy!
Linking up at Literacy Musing Monday, Mom 2 Mom, Mama Moments, Manic Mondays,Life of Faith, Raising Homemakers, Titus 2sdays, Missional Women, Wise Woman, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Works for me Wednesdays, Coffee and Conversation, Hearts for Home, Mom’s Library, The Mommy Club, and Grace and Truth.