Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TOS Review: Salem Ridge Press, LLC


Salem Ridge Press is a book company that republishes stories that were originally published in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They firmly believe in providing wholesome books. According to their website, they seek out "well-written books that teach godly character and high moral values" and republish only the best of the best. Based on the three books that I read, I have to agree that they have made excellent choices.

The American Twins of the Revolution by Lucy Fitch Perkins would make a delightful addition to any study of early American History. I found that the more complex sentence structure of the writing made it a bit difficult for my fourth-grade son to read on his own. I do, however, enjoy finding this sort of writing to use for read-alouds because it challenges my children to listen at a level that is more complex than what they can already read independently. The story had plenty of action and suspense to keep the audience interested, but I don't think it would frighten small (or sensitive) children.

I intend to use Mary Jane Her Visit by Clara Ingram Judson as one of the first chapter books that I read aloud to Lauren. (She's not quite ready for lengthier stories that aren't in picture book format.) It is a quaint story of a little girl who spends the summer visiting her grandparents on the farm. Each chapter is full of discoveries -- a family of mice hidden in the barn, ducklings just hatching out of eggs, a church berry gathering, and so on. It vaguely reminds me of the stories in Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder -- ordinary days from years gone by that are so fascinating for children living in our busy, modern world.

My husband read Emma Leslie's historical book Soldier Fritz and the Enemies He Fought to Addison and Brennan. It received mixed reviews. They all liked the historical aspect of learning about the Reformation in Germany, but Addison complained that it seemed like Fritz was trying harder to be a soldier for Luther than a soldier for Christ. It was well-written, though, even if it didn't appeal to them as much as the more modern missionary stories that they often read.

Often when a friend asks me for book recommendations, I hesitate and worry that I might suggest a book that offends them in some way. Daniel Mills, the founder of Salem Ridge Press, says that he feels very responsible for the materials that he selects and that he wants to stand behind every book with no reservations (see the "About Our Books" page on their website). Because all of these books have been carefully selected, I have no problem recommending them to anyone that wants to give their child a high quality book to read.

Not only are these books morally excellent, they are enjoyable. As we looked through the various book offerings, my kids and I found several additional ones that looked appealing. Addison wants to read Glaucia the Greek Slave: A Tale of Athens in the First Century by Emma Leslie, and I want to order Sign Above the Door by William W. Canfield for my own reading.

Most of the books available through Salem Ridge Press cost between $10.95 and $14.95 for softcover editions. A few books cost a couple of dollars more, and I noticed one or two that are only available as clothbound editions which are significantly more expensive.

If you'd like to see what other homeschool families thought about the Salem Ridge Press books that they read, you can find their reviews on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew blog.

I received several books (both print and electronically) from Salem Ridge Press  as a member of the 2010 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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