Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Badge of Honor: A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

In early June I learned that Susan Marlow and Kregel Publications would be sending my son and I a copy of Badge of Honor to read and review. My son was looking forward to this book. We had just returned from a trip to Arizona, and he had Gold Fever!

As we began working our way through the book, my biggest challenge was keeping my son on track. He didn't want to read about hunting for gold; he wanted to hunt for gold!

Badge of Honor is the first book in a new children's series called "Goldtown Adventures", written for children ages 9-12. It is set in 1864, near the end of the California Gold Rush. Gem and Ellie are brother and sister. They like to hunt for gold on their claim on Cripple Creek
. This sometimes means they are tempted to hunt gold when they should be in school. Their Pa gets named sheriff of the rowdy town, Goldtown, and it causes the kids to worry about him. 

This book was, for my home school, a rare treat!  The treat was that my son likes the book and was willing to take it off by himself and read! Don't get me wrong -- I am well aware that he is able to read. In our home school (where we home school "in spite of labels"), most books go from print to my son's ears through the medium of me reading aloud. So, while I have missed enjoying the "read aloud and enjoy together" aspect with this book, what a relief and a pleasure it is when occasionally my son takes off with a book I recommend (or require) and actually likes it!

Badge of Honor reads like a book written by a professional author. I've read many published books that read as if they are early attempts by a new author, but this book is very polished! I really like that in a book. One the Susan Marlow and Kregel Publications website I found a tab with information about the author where I learned that she first began writing stories when she was about the age of ten! She first enjoyed writing "sci fi" stories about outer space, and then moved to writing stories with settings from the past. I really enjoyed reading the entire author page. It was this page, also, that showed me that Susan Marlow put serious "in person" research into the novels that she wrote. The Badge of Honor book website even gives a link to read sample chapters of the book, as well as a link to activity pages that can be covered with the book to enhance learning!

Throughout the links to the Susan Marlow and Kregel Publications website, I found more and more layers of interesting material. There is a really cool link to California's Highway 49 gold sites! And there is a video link to watch on real gold panning! 

Badge of Honor, by Susan Marlow, is an excellent historical fiction for use when studying the mid 1800's. My son and I enthusiastically recommend it. You can purchase Badge of Honor for $7.99, or you can purchase it with the second book in the series, Tunnel of Gold, at a combined discounted price of $13.95, which would include the sample download chapters, activity pages, and  paperback copies of the autographed by the author!

Oh, and there is even a video clip to introduce Goldtown. It's only a minute long, but it's really cute!
In summary, Badge of Honor is a book about two kids in a California gold town in 1864, when the gold rush had, for all practical purposes, ended. The book is a paperback of 143 pages. The 18 chapters are short, easy, and engaging. My son, who hates almost everything, liked it! My son still wants to figure out a way to find gold in our local creek. No amount of logic can dissuade him.

Badge of Honor is written by an experienced author that has a lot of other books you can also consider. I received a copy for free in order to read and review. The TOS Homeschool Review Crew received copies of either Badge of Honor or Tunnel of Gold for this review. You can review additional reviews by clicking the link below.

This was a very fun product to review!


1 comment :

  1. Hi FlyMama,
    Thanks so much for your enthusiastic review of Badge of Honor. I'm glad it was a treat for you and that your son read it by himself. Whoo-hoo! Although I love reading aloud too, the goal is to eventually be excited when they enjoy books on their own, right?

    And thanks for noticing that the book actually reads like a "real" book, by a "real" author, if you know what I mean. With today's "anybody's an author" mindset, you never know when the book is a bomb. Though it helps to read the publisher label. Sometimes.

    A few years ago, I was a Product Reviewer for TOS (under Kate Kessler). Not the Crew, but for the magazine. Oh. My. Goodness! You would not beleive (well, maybe you would) some of the books that came my way. *cringing* I could tell after the first page that this was "self published."

    It's great that folks can write a book and hold it in their hands nowadays, but it makes it tough on the publishing industry.

    I SO know what you are talking about . . .

    Thanks again,
    Susan Marlow

    (don't be confused by the "Andi Carter" label. My Blogger account is linked to the blog my character writes for the girls' historical series. But it's really me.)