Author: Kendra
• 1:01 PM
I seem to have fallen terribly behind in keeping up with our weekly reviews, & even considered closing up our little blog, but wouldn't you know those I mentioned it to asked me not to because they enjoy hearing from us now & again.

It's not that we aren't still up to our eyeballs in things, but that we ARE up to our eyeballs in life & all the business it entails. Term 2 has been a bumpy ride for us between Dr visits, crazy weather, & life itself. In fact, last week I had to sit down & pull out our previous several weeks worth of lesson plans to decide what we of school we were on for the year. Yep, it's been that level of craziness around here..

This post is actually our learning from 3 weeks ago, so you'll have to bear with me as I get ourselves all caught up over here..

We've been steadily reading through the Old Testament together still & we finally reached Joshua. The kids are still reading aloud to me, all though somedays only one reads it all to us. Yes, our learning table often looks like this throughout our learning hours until I ask people to use their tote bags to actually put things away in.

We've switched back to Sequential Spelling earlier this year & hit the 60's in Week 14. You'll still find our home littered with spelling words that may need a bit of practicing, & I always add in "bonus" words which are often 1-2 words that someone needs a little extra incentive to remember.

Morgan officially reached Renaissance in history & I pulled out the HSITW Renaissance Pack. The objective is to match the portions we will use up with the addition of MOH 3. We'll see how all that pans out in the long run. In the mean time he worked on the Classes Notebooking piece. It was interesting to compare the simplicity of this layout to the pyramid of the Middle Ages Classes. Which led us to discussing what we'd learned about the Black Plague.

We're still faithfully listening to, & enjoying, Our Island Story. I have to say that due, in part, to the reading of this book as well as our middle ages study my kids were really disappointed in Night At The Museum 3. I can't blame them either, as it showed a huge lack of knowledge, on behalf of the writers, on European history. Morgan is also reading The Second Mrs Giaconda via Learning Ally. It's a lovely story that has brought about all sorts of questions from him about the great artists mentioned within. More about the story later.

We were behind on some of our timeline figures so each week as we add in the new ones we add a few from past weeks. I cut them out in large squares for colouring in & then one of us trims them much more closely before we adhere them into the book.

He's still working away at Chemistry 3 & enjoying it fully. He writes up answers to the questions on the computer & then we print them out for his notebook. He's also moved to using the computer solely for Writing With Skill. I just leave the lesson in audio format & he listens to it & then does the work for that lesson. I'll explain more about that later though.

He's listening to MOH 3 in audio format. I'm delighted that it doesn't have to be listened to with music in the background as he found that heavily distracting with MOH 2. We either listen to SOTW or MOH, but not both in one day. We're taking MOH much more slowly because it's not scheduled in our history & it's just an extra we're enjoying using. I'm undecided on obtaining MOH 4.

I opted to put Jayde's Chem on hold and pull out our weather books for him. He's been fascinated with the weather for a long time, but he's also feared some portions of it. As he's overcome a lot of that he's become more & more interested & with our weather being at the season of change it seemed like a wonderful time to really let him dig in. I'm using the three books above as our main learning sources. The top 2 have a lot of hands on experiments inside, where as the bottom one has plenty of lovelies for his notebook. I'm also pulling resources here & there from around the internet to help round things out & have another book or two flagged that I'm debating ordering now or saving for his birthday. I'll share the official plans shortly.

Jayde had plenty of timeline figures to add to his book. While he was colouring I offered to put on a movie for him as I had several small little things flagged to watch that matched up with what he was learning for history. What a calamity that turned into! Apparently I'd all ready showed them to him, & the one I hadn't we couldn't get to load. I ended up showing him a preview of the Squanto Movie put out by Disney, he was unimpressed based on his knowledge of Squanto. This kid is a history snob.

Needless to say he wrapped his book about Squanto & began the next book, which was about Thanksgiving. He lodged a firm complaint that the book was leaving out a lot of important details. I had to remind him that the book was a bit below him & only doing a "basic" covering of Thanksgiving, but that if he was interested we had plenty more books he could read that would go in depth.

We continued onward with our reading of The Adventurous Life Of Daniel Boone. Needless to say my boy is totally swept away by this book, & fascinated by the information we are reading. He wrapped up his current audio book, & began listening to Calico Captive. He clearly likes it because I've had a hard time dragging him away from it.

No group meet-ups for us this week as our boy wasn't 100%. Instead we hung out at the beach reading books as we took total advantage of the unusually warm weather as we wrapped up our week.
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Author: Kendra
• 12:00 AM
Another crazy week for us as we dealt with another child battling a totally different yuck, a booked solid Dr's office, & emotional upheavals as we tread through our week.

Thankfully we had a great supply of library books, audio books, & found a few new-to-us educational shows to help pull us through our week.

We also enjoyed some lovely quiet walks down by our beach again. With raging wind & rain we had it mostly to ourselves, which is always a treat. There's rumour that the resident pelican is back in town & we'd hoped to catch a glimpse of him while we were out there, but no such luck. The storm did drag up a penguin, but the poor little thing was tangled in seaweed & had all ready died when we found it.

I had a child who was pretty convinced I should attempt to revive it, but I insisted that wasn't going to happen. He buried it instead.

Our week actually started out normal! We are continuing through our 90 day devotional {seems like more then 90 days though, doesn't it?!}, out OT readings, & poetry. We are nearing the end of our current poetry book, which is both exciting & sad. It feels like we've been reading this one so much longer then all the rest we've used that it'll be a wee bit unusual to wrap it up & not be using it each day.

We're inching ever closer to the halfway point in our Spelling Book which has caused a lot of excitement around here. Less then 20 days worth of work to go before we hit that point. Yes, the computer screen is blue in the photo above, it has to be for our Irlens boy. I'll explain how I do it in another post entirely. We didn't actually accomplish lesson 72 due to cutting our week short from illness, but we still put the 60's behind us.

Ignore the crazy glowing screen, the room was actually quite dark & when I lightened the photo it over lightened the computer screen. Morgan worked on an essay about Alexander The Great, it's actually a lesson he's done previously, but he chose to start the book again so he wrote a new essay. He found it a bit harder this time as he chose a different topic to cover about ATG's life, he was a little nervous that his efforts wouldn't be worthy because his word count was significantly lower on this essay then the first one, but he actually did really well with it.

Yes, he did his entire writing lesson like this. He said it was because he was tired, & I left it at that. I mean, what's the point, right? At least his handwriting was clear & neat. We had a grand laugh when the photo popped up on the tv that evening though. Mr S sat down, saw the photo & said, "What on earth?!" Ahh yes, just a normal moment in my life Dear..

Morgan tackled a portion of all these books on Monday, & spent the rest of the week wrapping up his audio: The Second Mrs Giaconda. Having been to the da Vinci exhibit later last year it made some of the items mentioned in the book a bit more real for him, & it also made us wish the exhibit was still around so we could go back & see them again.

By Tuesday our boy was an absolute mess: emotionally & physically. I suggested he go put on a onsie {he was freezing} & pull out the bed in the lounge room. We don't actually keep a spare bed in our lounge room, but we have one of those nifty chairs that has a whole bed inside of it. Then I pulled out one of his library books & started reading away.. until my throat became so sore I had to beg for a break. I'm so-so on the book, but he was really enjoying it. The story line didn't bother me, but I found the writing itself weak..

He found this nifty book at the library when we'd been out Monday afternoon & we got him all set up to keep his mind off not feeling well. It cause for some unusual conversations in our home between the "Nerd Herd" as we call them, most people know them as the resident programmers. At one point Morgan sighed heavily & said, "I've been sorting through my code for the past 20 minutes & I do NOT see an error, so just work all ready!" Mr S replied with, "Welcome to my life Mate."

We hit the beach, late in the day, several days to walk the path that runs nearby, & one evening as we headed into town we also stopped off at the park. There were 2 other children there for about 5 minutes before they ran off & we had the place to ourselves. Not hugely surprising because it was rather cold & dark. All the same, it's hard to leave the park when you have the run of it to yourself!

I honestly can't remember if it was this particular week or the one prior, but we had our monthly art meet-up too. It was changed from the original date due to others not being well. Either way the children all looked at impressionist works & then were shown a step-by-step method for mimicking a Monet based on his Field Of Poppies. In fact, the more I think about that this might have actually happened in Week 12.. I'm telling you when I delay recapping our weeks I clearly miss things off. Which means I also missed adding in Lego Club for Week 13 or 14. Alas..

Not pictured:

  • The boys finished off a Rush Revere book & began the second one. 
  • We continued reading the book we started on Tuesday before my throat totally gave out & I found it in audio format.
  • Both boys worked on their geography books {USA & Europe}
  • We began watching America The Story Of US. It was interesting considering Australia did a series like this as well. They certainly moved quickly in the USA show, all though they may have in the Australian version as we didn't watch every episode to know.
  • We hit the beach on Sunday for pinecones. Our power was scheduled to be out the following week for up to 8 hours while various things were replaced in the area. We opted to snag some pinecones {pictures above} should we need to start a fire while the power was out.
It really was a lax week for us, but it happens, & I can handle it so long as every week isn't like that.
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Author: Kendra
• 10:53 AM
Another week wrapped up, & another month has ended in our year. Where on earth does the time go? Two different people in our home this week made large announcements about being shocked that it was May all ready, so I totally freaked them out by pointing out this was our final month of Autumn before winter officially arrived.

Our week was a little bumpier this past week from all sorts of craziness happening. Jayde was down with throat congestion & heavily put out that it wasn't sick enough to get him out of math lessons. I'm still fighting a cough that just isn't keen to hit the road, it's really not too bad at this point, but it can make early morning readings rather interesting.

On the other hand we had some lovely weather this week & it was delightful to throw open windows & be outside a bit too. We're appreciating every warm day we still have left before the colder wetter monsoon months of winter arrive.

We crossed the halfway point in our devotional this past week. We're still fully appreciating it our trip through Matthew & the fun, sometimes crazy, devotionals that accompany it. The boys have been enjoying some AIO cds as well that they were given for Christmas. The 25th Birthday Celebration compilation has been the latest hits we've been hearing.

Despite throat congestion he still took part in reading from the Old Testament last week. His throat congestion is really weird & isn't phasing him except when it comes to eating. Archimedes was pretty intent on the reading, all though I actually suspect he was waiting for a moment of lull to swoop in & eat the pages of that Bible. I'm telling you, those birds might look cute, but they are as naughty as anything!

Jayde is officially hitting the Pilgrim phase of his history this term, or rather colonial lifestyles & times. We've added in a few books here like the Colonial Crafts & Colonial Tool book in the picture above. Our Read Aloud for the next couple of weeks is The Trailblazing Life Of Daniel Boone. This is from the same series of books that one of our read alouds last term came from, & I have a few more in the series flagged for other times this year. 

Both boys moved forward in math, all though Jayde will be staying put again for a little bit as he builds confidence. It's interesting how some of those new concepts, despite not hard or all that new to him, have us scrambling to pull out our MUS blocks. He's often not keen to get them out, but I consider it non-optional. I find that by pulling them out for a little while & consistently using them it helps build that confidence quite quickly. Morgan has passed the half-way mark in his own book & is on the downward side of the slope for the most of the remaining lessons. He's pretty pleased by that.

Morgan is still plodding happily forward in his writing book. He's really pleased that he made that choice to turn around & review the beginning portions of the book, which came up again this week in one of his lessons. He's been doing some of these lessons on his own this week as I made video recordings for him to use. I love that he noticed my "one" mistake in the video. Never mind the long pause in which I thought I misread something & debated starting over again.. 

This boy was a bit grumpy about things during the first half of our week, but pulled himself together for the end. He's using Writing With Ease, & despite the topic being Paul Revere this week he was still not tickled pink about writing. Mind you, we had a pencil calamity this week which only added to his frustration. You know what I'm talking about, right?! That moment when every pencil is missing & the only ones you can find break every time you sharpen them.. Yeah, it was weird. I found a few dozen pencils scattered around someone's bed Friday afternoon. Apparently he'd been drawing at night..

Our poppies, from last week, sprouted this week! It caused quite an uproar when the Iceland poppies sprouted early in the week. The Flanders were a few days behind those, & we still haven't even planted the California version yet.  We started Jayde's new science book The Mystery of the Periodic Table this week. It was the missing book from last term. Morgan started a couple of new books in science, but we only got to one of them this week as he has quite a few Chem Labs to tackle over the weekend prior to moving forward. Have you ever read the warnings on a Chemistry Kit?! I'm telling you what, if you haven't.. I'm not sure you want to.

Morgan wrapped up his reader for the week in the early portion of our week & then spent the remainder moving ahead in his history book, The Second Mrs Giaconda.  While listening to his book he built this nifty game board, & in the evenings worked on writing up the rules to the whole thing. There are three pages, crammed full, of rules. Mostly because each different colour square allows you a different type of action. So basically you roll the dice & move, then roll the dice again to determine what fate will befall you on the square you landed on. You collected the crazy minifig heads which you could use as money to buy extra dice & so forth. The objective of the game was to have the most set of minifig pants by the end of the game.

This term we're adding in some Mystery Of History Vol. III for Morgan. He really loved using MOH alongside SOTW & I have to say I like the depth of MOH 3 far better then the former two volumes. We'll be moving at a much slower pace with that book then we did with Volume 2. We're still plucking away with Our Island Story, we've reached the point with our world studies that the stories we hear in OIS are now being heard in our other sources as well. We should wrap up this volume of SOTW this term!

We also had grammar & spelling this week, all though I have no photographic proof of it. We're so close to the halfway point in our spelling book that there's a lot of excitement over that. We should wrap up our grammar book at the end of this term if we stay on track with it, health permitting! 
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Author: Kendra
• 3:18 PM
I seem to have skipped our final week {or two} from last term, but rather then worry about it I'm trudging forward to keep track of what we're doing this term! It's so fun to look back upon it all & realise just how much we accomplished over the course of our year, or even just on days when you're pretty sure you've accomplished nothing..

This past week was the lead up to the 100th Anniversary of the Landing At Gallipoli. This is a major part of Australian history & we took the week to really appreciate the sacrifices that were made at that particular time in Australian history.

We used the Anzac Unit Study I shared earlier. It was a simple unit, all be it emotional, with the books we chose to read. I'm not sure you can really study the pasts of any country & not find it a bumpy ride, or lacking of emotion.

Needless to say by the time Anzac Day arrived they were fully prepared to attend our local ceremony with a much greater understanding for what it was all about.

We started off our studies with a brief introduction of what sparked World War I. It's been a while since reading this book with them so it was a great reminder. Jayde is now super excited to learn he'll be using the book in full next year. Later in the week we also skipped ahead to the small bit of information shared inside about Gallipoli.

We spent a good deal of time this week mapping where various battles happened. This was a difficult task considering it all happened in such a small area, but they did the best they could with the map of Turkey we had. More importantly the names of the locations became very familiar to them, which was really important.

They had 2-3 vocabulary words to look up each day. Some were familiar to them & they enjoyed looking them up to see if they were right or not. to the rescue for us, I really need to purchase a proper dictionary, but we really do appreciate that nifty website!

We read bits & pieces of this book as well. While the entire book applies to Anzac day we chose to focus only on WWI & more importantly what happened in Gallipoli due to this being the 100th anniversary of the landing. We picked this book up a while back at a local used book store, but it's really lovely if you can lay hands on it. It covers various aspects of the Australian military, all wars they've been involved in up to the time of publishing, uniforms, & medals, etc.

These were our 2 read alouds this week. Lighthouse Girl is a lovely light read. It's based on a true story about the Breaksea Island Lighthouse. There's newspaper clippings & photos scattered throughout the book which bounces back & forth between journal entries & story telling. In the very back there's extra information about the heroine, Fay, & the author explains which portions of the book are true & which aren't.

The Donkey Who Carried The Wounded was a completely different level of emotional reading. I should have pre-warned, when sharing about our Anzac books, that it's also best for the older readers as there's some language inside & sharing of gruesome details as you are taken to the horrors of what unfolded for the young men during their stay in Gallipoli. Knowing the history of Simpson, we knew he'd not make it out alive, but those were still some really difficult chapters to read!

It was summed up on someone's timeline rather well, especially considering a certain child gasped audibly when we got to that portion of the story. The book was really well written, but we've yet to not enjoy a Jackie French book. I love the way she really brings history to life, but isn't willing to gloss over even the hard & ugly parts.

This was our latest addition to our Anzac books. I like to try & purchase a new one each year, & there were two on my list I went into the shop for. Imagine the look on the boys faces when this was what I came out with instead! One book was unavailable & the other book had a WWII focus & as this year our focus was WWI I found myself staring at the unusually small amount of books available. Our local book shop is normally really amazing about keeping the shelves full, but I was a bit disgruntled by their lack of books on this topic this past month.

On the other hand, One Minute's Silence has to be the most amazing Anza picture book for older children I have yet to read. The pictures inside are all done on the same fashion as the cover with the black & white drawings, the words are incredibly simple, but the meaning behind it is just beautifully covered.

The book stars out in a classroom of fidgety looking teens who don't seem to really have much interest in whatever is being taught. So the question is posed, "In a moment's silence can you imagine.." It speaks of the things we all think of when the moment of silence arises at the Anzac Services, but it goes beyond that to hit on some much deeper topics. It has the perspective from both the Anzacs & the Turkish side, & it left my boys deep in thought when I closed it up after reading it aloud to them. In fact, when we went to pull it out the next day, as it has a couple of beautiful maps inside, it was "missing" & turned in the room they'd slept in.

We watched a couple of different movies on YouTube this week as well. One told us about the history of the poppy flower from the Canadian point of view, while another told us about it from the Scottish point of view. We also watched an amazing movie at the end of the week which brought everything to life for the kids entitled Anzac For Schools.

They each potted 2 different kinds of poppy seeds, we had a third enroute, but I don't think anyone ever planted any. Mind you, I think they planted the seeds they did use too deep as they've yet to sprout up yet. We may need to start that experiment over & try it in a plastic baggie until we have some good sized seedlings happening.

They tore up the Readers Digest at the end of the week to make covers for their little notebooks. Morgan was happy to just have a two-page spread picture where as Jayden wanted all the little bits & bobs he could get. The young boy on the cover of his notebook was the last surviving person from Anzac, & at the time of his passing actually lived a few hours from us. The photo has caused great debate, all week, about what age each person in our home thinks he was when he enlisted.

The notebooks contain their maps, vocabulary work, research work, timelines, & any other bits they collected during their study. I loved this picture above on one of the boys timelines of the 75th anniversary.

We made unofficial Anzac Biscuits. They can't be "official" ones because ours had to be gluten & dairy free. They were very tasty despite our adaptions, all though I'd like to try them again with a few more adaptations to see if we can keep the crisp in them a bit longer.

We did our memory box each day this week too. It wasn't much in the line of math to review all their multiplication facts, but I really wanted to ease back into our full-time studies & this provided that opportunity. We also had spelling as normal which only caused minor angst for one, & not the one you'd expect either!

Saturday we went down for the annual mid-morning ceremony. We wondered if a lot of people hit the dawn ceremony because this is the first year we've been able to stand close enough to see the people actually talking. Jayden was especially smitten that he could see the guard around the cenotaph. We all had a huge fright when a loud voice behind us said, "Excuse me Sweetie.." An elderly woman was at my elbow & needed help down the steep hill, but we were so engrossed in what was going on we hadn't seen her standing there!

Next week it's back to our normal fuller schedule.
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Author: Kendra
• 12:30 PM
After pulling all the books off our shelf for Anzac day I opted to whip up a few plans for our family. Nothing super fancy, after all we tend to keep things relatively simple around here.

I thought I'd share them here because I know I'm always on the lookout for things to use with our Australian studies, & I'm sure others are as well.

Inside is a preplanned schedule that we'll be using, but also a blank schedule page to come up with your own plans if you'd prefer. I've scheduled research questions, geographical locations to be found around Gallipoli, vocabulary words to define, a couple of simple science projects {our garden needs sprucing up after all}, & of course the making of Anzac Biscuits.

I've also included links to art projects, a few simple videos, & our Anzac Pintrest boards, just incase the imbedded links don't work. I've also tucked in a few notebooking pages based on the activities inside that I've scheduled.

I've included a couple of vocabulary papers, one with HWOT lines & one without. 2 Nature Journaling pages if you choose to plant some poppies &/or sprout some Rosemary. There's also a comic book style timeline starting with the announcement of WWI & ending with the 100th Anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove. It's nothing fancy, but it goes along with the activity of making an illustrated timeline. My boys are very into writing & drawing their own comic books so I knew they'd love this project.

In the very back of the little study are some extra resource links if you're interested. Someone has put together a lovely little pack on Teacher's pay Teachers for the younger crowd as well as some of the middle students too. Links to the books we'll be using & so on.

If you're interested in downloading it feel free to snag it here. I'll be sharing goodies on & off throughout the week ahead on Facebook & will post a few of the lovelier ones here as well.
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Author: Kendra
• 4:26 PM

Anzac is fast approaching, & as it races ever nearer I find myself looking over our bookshelves to see what titles I can pull out to read in the coming week ahead. We've slowly been building our Anzac Library, as well as the rest of our Aussie History library. Many books were acquired because of Jayden's fascination with the army & his love for all things surrounding it.

Anzac is only 11 days away, & as the new term speeds towards us accompanied by Anzac I find myself pouring over the Australian History shelves in our home library, scouring it for books on the topic. We’ve been building this particular section of our Aussie History library for a while, thanks to a little boy who cannot get enough of history, especially the portions which involve the army or branches thereof.

From a little boy’s perspective he looks over the endless books & sees courage & victory, action, & adventure; and it hits me that many of the young men who lied about their own ages to enlist in the Great War probably saw the very same things in their own imaginations. We have the advantage of knowing the end, the horrors & the glory, & while many tales of Anzac are filled with grief & sadness our little boy looks upon them & asks the simplest of questions, “.. but why?”

And so we open the books & we read. We watch the same tale open before us & we know the ending this time. The good, the bad, the horrible. We read it anyway, & we try to make sense of what happened. We listen to the speeches, & we recite the poems. We answer in unison, “Lest we forget!” & above all we want to shout, “Never again.” 

This little boy sees the ribbons & medals. He reads the stories & is drawn into them, imagining the goodness, the heroism, the victors. He watches the men parade up the street while we cheer them on, & he asks if any of them really did fight on that fateful day. It’s then that I always fall apart, the moment he asks about his Uncle & if he’ll ever have to go fight like that. I stand & ponder the same question. I have no answer, but then, he didn’t really expect one.

If you’re looking for some lovely reads to share with your family for Anzac here are a few of our favourites:

The Donkey Who Carried The Wounded — Written in the normal journal entry style the rest of the Animal Star books are written in, this book takes turns with narration from both human & animal as we see the story unfold from the eyes of both. A winner for the animal lover in our home. The book has a section in the back about the facts that the book is based on from the meaning of Anzac to the true Aussie slang used throughout the book.

History Of Australia — Chapter 21 is about The Great War & does a great job telling a non-fiction view of Australia’s roll. The pictures are all pen & ink, but for some you may wish to preview the picture on page 130 {fallen soldier bleeding} prior to letting littles peek inside. Author: Manning Clark, Meredith Hooper, Susanne Ferrier

Anzac Day — Each page within shares information about one particular battle or division of the military service. It covers Anzac through the Middle East controversy of the 90’s, as well as war memorials, military uniforms, & more. Author: Jill Bruce

Meet The Anzacs — This beautiful picture book tells how the Australian & New Zealand armies were formed & works it’s way through that fateful night.. Included in the back of the book is a timeline of events starting with the assassination & ending with the ceasefire. Author: Claire Saxby

An Anzac Tale — This book starts with the declaration of war & finishes with the the retreat of the few who survived. The book is written in comic book fashion with native Australian animals in full garb who happen to be the heroes & heroines of the story. It includes many true facts in the back of the book explaining where in the main text you will find the information in the story. There is also a small timeline in the back of the book. This is  one of the most red Anzac books in our home. Author: Ruth Starke & Greg Hofeld

Gallipoli — A simple little picture book with beautiful watercolour drawing inside. The book covers, in a more gentle fashion the unfolding of what happened from the leaving of the soldiers to their return back home. A note for the more sensitive: one of the young soldiers in the book loses his leg. You see him upon a stretcher with a bandage upon his leg that has red upon it. The next time he’s seen he’s home on crutches. Author: Kerry Greenwood & Annie White

See inside The First World War — A typical Usborne Flap Book that gets a lot of love & use around our home. The pages are thick & cover small tidbits of information & factoids. All pictures are tactful & gentle for the young, but for the more sensitive I’d urge you to preview the book first as there are a few pages with fallen soldiers, some with blood some without. Author: Rob Lloyd Jones 
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