24 November 2009

Wright on Time: Arizona

Wright on Time: Arizona is a chapter book about an RV-living, homeschooling family of four. It's my latest Mama Buzz review, and it looks like the start of a great series of books for any kid. They are full of big words- I underlined at least one or two per page- and it's definitely not talking down to anyone. (I don't like Junie B. Jones and the similar books out there aimed at young people today- no challenge or depth at all. Here's more on that.) These characters were well-developed and respectful of each other and eager to learn more about the world around them.

The writing was clear and descriptive, and the adventures were exciting but not scary. I really liked how the author, a homeschool mom of two named Lisa Cotrell-Bentley, created an enjoyable but realistic family dynamic. The kids have things in common with their parents, and the kids are their own people, but they are a family unit. The book treats being together as a family, cohesive and content, as a normal thing to be. No child in this book is sitting on a rock, focused inward on his iTunes, casting condescending looks at a parent who is cajoling him to participate in the family trip.

It was surely an educational lesson on caving and geology. I was initially expecting the family to have multiple little adventures in the course of the book, especially after seeing the word RV in the description, and opening the book to see a beautiful, hand-drawn map of Arizona, complete with state bird and flower. However, the RV wasn't mentioned until the very end, and the entire book was about one caving adventure. I initially thought as I closed the book that a lot of loose ends were left dangling- then I saw the logo on the cover. Without trying to ruin anything for anyone, it appears to me that each new state's adventure will have trailings of prior adventures. The teaser sentence for the second book, set in Utah, asks if they will learn about "the mysterious device" they found in Arizona.

Additionally on the website we are reassured that each book can stand alone, and the author envisions homeschoolers using the books as resources for their own travels or state studies, or in the case of Wright on Time: Arizona, a unit study on caves. If you browse around the website, you can find some offers for signed books and discounts.

This was a review for Mama Buzz (you can see their button in my sidebar). I received a free copy of this book, valued at $12.99, from the publisher, Do Life Right, in exchange for writing this review. I hope you found it informative!

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