Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beehive Reader: Your Kids Will Like Getting Stung by this Reading Bug!

As a child, I was horrified by Dr. Suess. 

That may sound like American-Lit sacrilege, but the illustrations looked like some bizarre, chaotic dream, the likes of which I’ve never had a shortage of. I was neither homeschooled nor sheltered, just put off by the peculiar pictures. The illustrations didn't so much scare me as they just left me unsettled. Something to do with all the creatures having pointy fingers, I think.

On the other end of the spectrum was Winnie-the-Pooh…I mean, what’s not to like about him? I even had a “Pooh Party” at age 5; one of the few birthday celebrations that stand out in my mind. Sweet, endearing sketches by E.H. Shepard, and lots of innocent trouble made Pooh and friends a comely read. Author A.A. Milne wrote a classic that has graced many a homeschool library.

Though this may sound like a trip down memory lane, it’s really a plug for an Early Reader Series that is every bit as wholesome as Pooh-Bear. My kids have outgrown the Early Reader stage by years, yet I still enjoyed the copy of
Beehive Reader 1 by Marie Rippel and Renee LaTullippe (isn’t that just a fun last name?) that I was given to review.

This sweet book, the first in the series, explores the question, “what happens when...?” and takes the young reader on various adventures, peeking into what happens... with children playing in a pond...or when a bear cub takes a nap. Even silly ideas are handled with decorum, such as: what happened when Frank shrank! The illustrations are sumptuous and engaging, reminding me in many ways of the charming Pooh-Bear pictures (original sketches, of course…not Disney-fied cartoons!).

The simple words in this Beginning Level book are perfect for the early reader using one to two syllable words that subtly build in complexity as the book progresses. It is hardbound and ready to add to your home library ($19.95) when you click here. You can even take a peek and sample various stories within the book and see for yourself the quality reading and illustrations that await your child. It should leave you anxious to see the entire series, once it is released, from the same folks that brought you All-About-Spelling. I invite you to enjoy this inevitable classic with me!

Dr. Suess? Well, I have come to appreciate and enjoy his books much more as an adult reading them to my own children. But-- those pointy fingers still freak me out!

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.