Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
For the past three years, I have been reading reviews of Allen Brokken’s Towers of Light series of books. All the reviews I have read have been glowing, with mothers reporting that their children were competing for the books. I never signed up for any review tours because I personally don’t like fantasy very well, but I’ve been realizing lately that several of my children really do like it. So, when I had the chance to sign up for the Light of Mine Unit Study–Premium, I jumped at the chance—especially since Towers of Light Christian Resources LLC was willing to ship us a physical copy! The package we were sent included two copies of Light of Mine, two unit studies, two mp3 players preloaded with the audio book, and a thumb drive with the audio book. I could hardly believe they sent so much. I had decided that Mr. Sweetie and Mr. Imagination would do the unit study, so they each got one each of the three items.
Light of Mine is almost a cross between The Chronicles of Narnia, Pilgrim’s Progress, and The Little House on the Prairie. As the story begins, Lauren, Aidan and Ethan are enjoying life on the farm with their family. Then, father shows them plans he has drawn up for a tower. Soon he tells them it is actually a lighthouse. Why would they need a lighthouse here, though, so far from any water? The next thing they know, after the lighthouse is built and a special lantern is installed, which shines the Light, Father has to go away to help conquer the Darkness that is spreading across the land. Then, when Mother disappears as well, the children must care for each other and take care of the farm.
When they have some strange dreams, the children know they need to go to church and ask advice of the pastor. When they arrive there, however, the pastor is missing and the Bishop has taken his place. He preaches the opposite of what their Pastor preached, and some other strange things happened. The children don’t know what to think, and when the Bishop sends someone to “help“ them, things get even stranger. Can the children keep their light shining and push back the Darkness, or will the Darkness overcome them? And, who can they trust? Many things are not as they seem!
Although I do not enjoy fantasy for the most part, I found myself quite engrossed in this story. After about the halfway point, I did not want to put it down but had to keep going and find out what happened, and whether the children were able to keep their light shining. Would they figure out the truth before it was too late and the darkness overcame everything? Would they see their parents again? Many fun animals with special powers come alongside the children to help them, such as Sparkle Frog and Daddy Duck.
Both Mr. Sweetie and Mr. Imagination absolutely loved this book. They listened to the audiobook as fast as they possibly could. After working through half of the study, both of them told me they wanted to do unit studies of the other four books in the series, too, just so they could get to read those books! With that kind of enthusiasm, I bought the other books, and they are looking forward to reading them when they arrive. Before I read the book, after they had listened to it, they told me they didn’t think it was suitable for their seven-year-old sister. After I read it I had to agree; there are some pretty graphic scenes when the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness battle each other. Some demonic creatures enter into the battle, and a person is killed. The boys seemed to be fine with this story; they are 10 and 13.
The Unit Study, which says on the cover that it is intended for “Grades 3-6+”, is divided into four weeks of five lessons each. Each week begins with a memory verse and then six vocabulary words. These are words used in the book that are not common; for example, Week 1 includes cadre, mercenary, and mute. There is a puzzle to complete on the page with the list of words, and a picture to color. Each lesson begins with instructions to copy the week’s memory verse and then do something with the vocabulary words—write a definition, write synonyms, write antonyms, or draw a picture definition of each word. Next on the page is a passage, several paragraphs long, with a question about that passage. After that are several questions from the chapter. Each lesson also includes a joke. Several times, when the boys were doing their lessons, I got after them for talking when they weren’t supposed to be, only to discover that they were reading the joke of the day aloud! Oops. Day 5 of each week gives instructions for a craft project. We skipped those, because the boys were not interested in most of them. Mr. Imagination was going to build the kaleidoscope, but we didn’t have smooth foil for it. Maybe after we go to town!
There are study questions in the back of the book as well. The questions in the Unit Study were taken from those, but changed some, and there are more in the book than in the study.
Also included in the Premium study package is an mp3 player with the audiobook preloaded (including a charger and a lanyard so the player is easy to carry around but not so easy to lose!). My boys loved getting these mp3 players. Mr. Imagination was disappointed that the battery in his was faulty, but one of the older boys helped him figure out that a regular AA battery would work in it. We found a replacement rechargeable battery online and ordered that. There is a 90-day warranty, but we decided that it would be easier for us, because of where we live, to simply replace the battery ourselves. The players have a built-in speaker, and also a place to plug in ear buds (also included). We were sent the audiobook files on a thumbdrive, as well, with permission to share with friends as long as they don’t keep a copy. It felt like Christmas to receive this package!
I highly recommend Light of Mine to any child who enjoys fantasy. It does not feel “moralistic,” but the point of the book, to let your light shine by doing what God wants us to, is quite clear. I asked the boys if it felt preachy, and both quickly said no, but both had easily picked up the main focus of the book. Fifteen families on the Review Crew have just used this Unit Study; click on the image below to read their opinions about Light of Mine and the other items included in the Premium package.
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