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Washington - Here We Come! and Florida's Treasure Coast - Here we come! Review by Lori Hooten and Missica Pullen

Joy Budensiek
By the Way Series
PO Box 1065
Hobe Sound, FL 33455

What fun it would be to join a group that travels around in an RV in order to experience God's creation and the wonders of His world! Well, that is what youngsters Alex and Lexi, the main characters of Washington~Here We Come!, get to do. They arrive in Washington State and join a touring group called By The Way. The adult tour guides take them around the state with the “mission” of learning about God's creation in that state.

Washington~Here We Come!, written by Joy Budensiek, weaves the geography, history, and science of the state into the story almost seamlessly through the By The Way groups sightseeing stops. While not forgetting the many well-known sights such as whale watching, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Pike's Place market, there are also a number of interesting stops mentioned, including the Boeing Factory, the Grand Coulee Dam, and Palousa Falls. They also stop to smell the sunflowers, see the mountain goats, and take a boat ride. They pack a lot into a four day tour!

Each page of this hard-back book is jamb-packed with facts, figures, and information about the state of Washington and the many wonders God has placed there. With a mixture of full-color photographs to show nature up close to colorful drawings that illustrate the story of the RV trip, the story propels the reader to keep moving forward through the story. At approximately 8” x 11”, the book is big enough to have plenty of space for the pictures and story but still be comfortable to hold while reading or studying. Did You Know? boxes show up every few pages to give you even more details about something that is important to the state of Washington, be it salmon, sea anemone, apples, or elk.

With so much information packed in, there are tons of education opportunities within the book. Whether it be expanding through research, the understanding of a topic or finding out more about how all of the animals of the regions live together, these books that are full of facts and high-interest topics are the stuff homeschools are made of. Washington~Here We Come! is highly recommended and I personally can't wait to see the others in this series.

—Product review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016

Florida’s Treasure Coast-Here we come!
Joy Budensiek

We love colorful books in our homeschool, and the By the Way series of books fit the bill with their colorful pictures. Second only to physically exploring God’s wondrous creation, well-designed books are our go-to for nature studies. They are great to take in the car, use at bedtime, or even taken to a doctor’s office waiting room.

Florida’s Treasure Coast-Here we come! is a great 10”x 8” 48-page, living book style, story book that takes you on a journey with Alex and Lexi as they visit their grandparents during a wintertime trip to Florida. Their grandparents want to show them God’s glory in His creation, so they take them out to study God’s treasures in Florida. You and your child will learn all about panthers, sea turtles, star fish, and more.  Did you know that a female sea turtle will return to the same spot she was hatched to lay her own eggs? I found that amazing! Alex and Lexi soon learn that God’s treasure is way better than any Pirate treasure!

This book is great for any Charlotte Mason Method homeschool, and is geared towards elementary ages. It’s great to use as a read-aloud, and independent readers would also do well with this. This book would fit perfectly with a unit study on Florida. We received only the book, but the company offers a variety of products that supplement the book such as posters, activity books, and cards that feature animals from the book. You could easily use this with any state study of Florida, or the Florida coast, or you could use this to spearhead studies on each different aspect of the book. We just read it for fun.

I really liked the illustrations and pictures within this book. My son enjoyed the story, and the quality time we spent together while reading it. His favorite part was a part about hurricanes. I appreciate the inclusion of scripture interspersed throughout that help show God’s glory in everything. I honestly can’t find a fault for this book. We really liked it.

Overall, I would recommend this to other homeschooling families. I think families with younger students, up to 3rd grade, would find this to be the most beneficial. At the time of this review, my son was just entering 6th grade, so it was a bit below his academic level, though he still found it very interesting. I found this to be a fun, colorful, and educating read.

-Product review by Missica Pullen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016