Book Review: The Book Tree

by Elizabeth McCallum and Jane Scott

The Book Tree is a book about books.  More specifically, the selections featured in The Book Tree comprise a body of literature that will encourage godly character development in children and young adults.  McCallum and Scott were very specific about which books they would feature.  Their criterion for inclusion were:

1)Well-written literature
2)Reader-friendly literature.
3)Ethical standards
4)Visual appeal

McCallum and Scott write, “The caliber of contemporary children’s books has declined alarmingly.  Many book stores and libraries offer increasingly objectionable material.” A quick perusal of popular young adult literature on bookstore shelves today reveals an appalling array of near-worthless fiction which focuses on the occult and lustful vampire romance.  Stories that blur the lines between good and evil are promoted.  The status quo among most parents is to just be happy that children want to read; it doesn’t really matter if the book is good for them because reading is the goal.  For Christian parents, however, that kind of attitude will not do.  The Book Tree is designed to aid parents in making informed decisions regarding quality reading selections that will set their children on the path of a lifetime love of quality literature.

Each entry includes publishing information and a short summary of the book.  McCallum and Scott even crafted each summary in such a way as to reflect the feel of the book itself. Some entries include a quote from the main character.  McCallum and Scott provide four separate indices (author, title, illustrator, and subject) in order to simplify finding the perfect book for your needs.

I don’t know that I can improve upon the words of George Grant, who penned the Foreword, “How appropriate that a mother and her daughter…should have given us such a delectable treat.  They have provided a guide to the best of children’s literature serviceable for both veteran reading families and those just beginning their great journey of the imagination.  I think you’ll find that their accurate descriptions, careful recommendations, and cogent insights will prove to be as delightful as they will be invaluable.”

This is an excellent resource for parents, librarians, teachers, and anyone who loves good books.

My thanks to Canon Press for sending a copy for review. Also, I must tell you that this blog is registered in Amazon’s affiliate program.

3 Comments on “Book Review: The Book Tree

  1. Leslie,

    This looks like an interesting book. I checked out more of the preview on I’m wondering what you see as the advantage to having this book vs. just having some of the better homeschool catalogs (i.e. Veritas Press) as I see a lot of overlap in recommendations. I’m also wondering how this book compares to Edward Veith’s book Reading Between the Lines (if you’re familiar with it ;).

    As I try to plan for the upcoming homeschool year (baby due in June so trying to plan early ;), I am really wrestling with choosing historical fiction. Diana Waring recommends the popular Trailblazer series by Dave & Neta Jackson as well as the Louise A. Vernon books also recommended by Veritas Press. Christian Focus also has a number of historical fiction books, several of which are recommended by WTS books (I’m thinking the Torchbearer series and several titles by Irene Howat).

    I have a number of books to be read on my shelf at this point, so I was wondering if you might be able to summarize this author’s perspective and/or how you have gone about choosing good books for your family.

    Thanks for your time!



  2. I’m not familiar at all with Reading Between the Lines. I’m really sorry I can’t offer you a comparison of the two.

    As far as the advantages of this book over the better homeschool catalogs, I don’t know that there’s much advantage. I noticed that so many of the books recommended in The Book Tree are the same books recommended by Sonlight and Veritas. I have always used Sonlight, which corresponds with our history/geography studies, so I have not given much thought to your third question re: how I would go about choosing historical fiction for my children.

    The Book Tree is a good list, but it is not an exhaustive list. I wouldn’t even say it’s as thorough as Honey for a Child’s Heart. Honey is a long list, whereas The Book Tree provides summaries of each book. Its strength is that it gives a mom more of an idea of the story her child is going to read.

    About the specific authors you mentioned: Dave and Neta Jackson are not listed
    One by Louisa Vernon, The Bible Smuggler, is listed.
    Howat is not listed, either.


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