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Novel Series Book Stack

Family Life | April 28, 2021

 

Readers love a good novel series! This blog post is full of reviews that will guide you to the next novel series for your children.

Having trouble deciding? Start Wishlist on our website.

Reviews are included here for:

The Green Ember

Padraic Colum’s Stories from Ancient Mythology 

The Wilderking Trilogy

Marguerite Henry Books 

The Wingfeather Saga

Green Ember Series 

Heather and Pickett are two youngsters who are suddenly faced with the unimaginable reality of losing their home and their family. Faced with betrayal resulting in a life-threatening race against hungry, vicious wolves Heather and Pickett must remember, and obey, those commands given by their parents in a time of peace when no one was really paying attention.  

So begins the story of rabbits with swords, or courage versus cowardice. The young siblings embark on an adventure that will take them to the end of the known rabbit world, and push them beyond their own limits of strength and valor. Heather, as the older sister will learn how to love and protect while allowing freedom and growth to happen in those she tenderly cares for. Pickett will need to make decisions on whether to deal with his envy and bitterness as he begins to work with a prickly mentor.  

At every turn, there is suspense as victory and defeat take on different forms and have bittersweet outcomes. Morbin Blackhawk, leader of the depraved forces closes in on the beauty and bravery displayed by King Jupiter’s descendants. Each individual soldier must choose for himself who to follow as more than one leader lays claim to the throne.  

As Heather and Pickett get closer to the throne, and the true descendant, they find themselves in the confidence of the throne’s secret. Can they protect rabbitkind? Will Heather’s talent be the undercurrent of strength to keep the faith even in captivity? Can Pickett hold his own and fight with a resolve that’s larger than life?  

This series will keep you wondering at every turn. It has quiet moments of reflection interspersed with adventure. And one of my favorite things about this series is that it’s not particularly “for girls” or “for boys” but rather, for families, siblings, children, adults, or, quite simply all who love a good story.  

They are to be read in this order:  

The Green Ember – Book I
The Black Star of Kingston – Tales of Old Natalia
Ember Falls – Book II
The Last Archer- Green Ember Archer I
Ember Rising – Book III
The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner – Tales of Old Natalia
The First Fowler – Green Ember Archer II
Ember’s End – Book IV
The Archer’s Cup – Green Ember Archer III 

Padraic Colum’s Stories from Ancient Mythology 

Padraic Colum has written a trilogy of great fantastical stories to engage the imagination. While these are stories that can stand on their own, they have an added advantage to being stories based on ancient mythology. As these books are read and enjoyed, the reader will be introduced to some of the many characters in ancient mythology and enjoy an introduction to ancient literature. 

The Children’s Homer

Based on the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, this story tells of that great hero of Greek literature, Odysseus. His first quest, to find his father takes us to Troy and the battles fought by Achilles. As the war ends, Odysseus travels on towards home, but it’s not a quick nor easy journey. Odysseus learns to be wise and cunning, though he does not completely avoid catastrophe. We feel the weariness of travel beset by woe, and the longing of home that’s deep in our own souls. Even as home lies within our grasp we learn that it’s not the home we had in mind, nor the comfort we needed.  

 The Golden Fleece

Before Odysseus there was Jason of the Argonauts. Jason gains the favor of the Greek goddess Hera, just in time to help him face the struggle to reclaim his father’s throne. His assignment to achieve his goal seems relatively simple: retrieve the golden fleece from the kingdom of Colchis at the shores of the Black Sea. Jason’s quest is challenged, but he also finds favor with powerful allies. The question we keep asking throughout the story is, will Jason complete his quest and live happily ever after?  

 The Children of Odin

Not all mythology is from Greece. This story tells us of the northern gods and goddesses, those of the Vikings. From the beginning of time, we learn of the Norse understanding of creation and the relationship between the supernatural and human beings. We may have heard of the names Odin, Thor, and Loki. But do we know where those stories come from? If you have watched even one Marvel show, then you owe it to Loki and Thor to read this book about their real stories.  

 These stories follow closely with the original texts written by the ancients. You may find that they only begin to spark you and your children’s interest in these ancient stories that have shaped the world as we know it.  

The Wilderking Trilogy

The Wilderking Trilogy is a brilliant story loosely based on the life of King David of biblical fame, set in an Arthurian style legend with a feudal type of government, and a Louisiana bayou landscape. 

In the first book, we meet the protagonist, Aidan. He is predictably the youngest of a large family, and not necessarily the most popular when he fulfills the local seer’s prophecy. He loves his father dearly and stays close by him to care for and serve him, but Aiden longs to engage in the outside world to see what legends he can explore.  

His family name rises in the court when he and his brothers capture and deliver a giant alligator to the court of the king. But they are not proud of their king and his rule, a feeling exacerbated by his cruel treatment of their prize alligator, and the event does not end well. 

With war looming on the horizon, Aidan’s brothers are called up to the king’s army, while Aiden stays home to care for his father. But all does not give way to boredom. Aidan is called up to bring supplies to his brothers at the front line. He takes the path less trod on the way in an attempt to avoid discovery by unfriendly nativesInstead, he is confronted by those pesky creatures, the feechies 

The feechies are best described as humanlike creatures who live on the swamps of the bayou. They are loving creatures who can’t go long without a good ol’ fight in which they have the advantage of using their highly unhygienic bodies as a weapon against Aidan. Just when things get a little dicey for Aiden, an old friend finds the courage to confess his allegiance to that brave human, or “civilizer” as the feechies call him.   

This opens the way into the feechie fen, and a world where “civilizers” are not usually welcome. Aidan’s adventure requires that he too become deliciously unhygienic to survive the swamplands. And that’s only the beginning as his world changes and the legends he had heard of were only suggestions of the reality he encounters.  

As we move into book two we learn more about the feechies, and in particular how they are concerned about a particular species of bird that seems to be hunted for one of its features, and then its carcass is left on the ground to decay in the hot sun. This is not the way of the feechie, and they feel justified in their antagonistic attitude towards the “civilizers.  

But of course, Aidan isn’t like those other “civilizers. The only problem is that he is on a quest for the king. It will take him into the heart of the feechie fen which would usually mean certain death for any human. Can he spare any time and wit to help the feechies track down the illegal hunters that are threatening the existence of a friend in their habitat?  

By book three we are quite comfortable in the feechie fen and that is quite an accomplishment given the conditions. But Aiden has found refuge there as his king has continued to be angered by him and his accomplishments.  

As word reaches Aiden about his ailing father, he decides to leave the fen and return home. His re-emergence into civilizer land brings great joy from its people. To Aiden’s horror, he learns that he has been turned into a legend of sorts and the people are expecting his return but not under the conditions that he meant to return. The people are ready to crown him as their new king.  

Aiden’s life was never more in danger, but he also had more civilizer companions to help him navigate the political landscape that included his leadership even while he was absent. How will he continue to honor a king who has oppressed his people? How can he avoid certain death now that the people have brought treason to his name and family? Will Aiden maintain his respect for the king when there is nothing respectable about him? 

This trilogy is an excellent read-aloud with action, fiction and fantasy, and battles to cheer along. It can be read aloud to children as young as 6 years old or read by children as young as 10 years old. It may be a little uninteresting to those later teenagers, but most adults I’ve talked to have loved every word of this story along with their children.  

Marguerite Henry Books 

 Marguerite Henry was born in 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While very young she became sick and unable to attend school until age 11. During that time, Marguerite read many books and discovered that she had a great love for the creatures of God’s creation. Her family did not have a pet, or animals in their lives, but even so, at a young age, Marguerite began to write stories about the creatures she loved.  

Her first book was published in 1940, and she went on to write an incredible amount of stories. Some of her best-loved stories are about horses. While they are fictional, all the stories are based on true stories. Marguerite was careful to research her stories well before she wrote, even traveling to the location of the story in order to capture the smallest details.  

The first book that became popular was Justin Morgan Had a Horse. This is the story of the little foal, the runt of the litter that no one wanted. It was passed around so much that no one really knew anymore where it came from. Finally, a teacher took care of the little horse in payment for lessons. He really didn’t want it, he really couldn’t afford to feed it, but there it was, in his care. But what Justin Morgan discovered was that he had the strongest, most persistent horse ever known in those counties. And so we learn about the Morgan horse, a breed well known today for its versatility and strength. Justin Morgan was just a teacher to rose to the challenge before him when he didn’t think he had the resources. Today we have a breed of horse named after him.  

The next story was Misty of Chincoteague. This is the story of the little pony from the island of Chincoteague. Every year the locals would round up choice horses from the Island of Assateague and sell them. One year Paul and Maureen, to children with a deep passion, decide they want one of those horses. But not just anyone, they want Phantom! The wildest, the legend. Misty is a real horse, the Paul and Maureen were real children. Their story is one of learning the limits of your desires. Can you achieve everything you want? Should you achieve it? Two very different questions.  

Misty is not a stand-alone story. Stormy, Misty’s Foal, and Sea Star are both sequels to the story. If you have read the book, you may find the movies a wonderful family evening event.  

All of Marguerite Henry’s stories are worth adding to your library as living books at their finest.  

Wingfeather Saga 

It is all about the jewels of Anniera. Where are they?  

The world has been turned upside down since Nag the Nameless came into power. His dreadful army of fangs, lizard-like creatures that love chaos and disgusting food, roam the kingdom keeping all other forms of life in line, following orders. A darkness hovers over the kingdom.  

Janner, Tink, and Leeli are young siblings who are growing up in this world. Their Mother and Grandfather tell them stories of a time before they were born when people could wander the land, travel without a care, and when honest kings ruled, and armies fought off evil tyrants. But no one will tell them why it all ended. What happened?  Where is their father? Why doesn’t Mother admit he’s dead?  

And why are they under such a watchful eye of Slarb, Fang of Dang? As they seek refuge from the leering mobsters in the little town bookshop, they discover a map. Who can resist a map? What secrets does it tell? Is it perhaps the location of the coveted treasure, the Jewels of Annira? 

This is masterful storytelling, that holds the attention of adults and children alike. Adventure, mystery, pursuit, swashbuckling heroes (or is he a villain?), creatures that stir the imagination, but most of all, a desire for justice, and a cheer for the courageous.  

Andrew Peterson does not gloss over the darkness of evil, but this is the extraordinary aspect of the story. The story is true because it also glories in the virtues required to survive the darkness and the hard. The reality is that we will all have a time of difficulty in our lives, the question is: how will we come through it? This story is a beacon of hope and a call to courage for children and adults alike.  


by Hester VanBraeden

Hester is a second-generation home-educating parent who is keenly aware that her own education is not complete, and comfortable that it probably never will be. She has many years of experience with children, books, and curriculum. She loves to travel to worlds and times beyond the present with her children through many books. Hester and her husband have four children and live in the lower mainland of BC.


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