Today I am bringing you a review of the By The Way Book Series. Specifically, Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!. This is actually a pretty awesome review, but also an ironic one. Ironic that a Dyslexic homeschool Mom is reviewing a read-aloud book series. However, after reading through this review I believe you will see that the By The Way Book Series is not a traditional book series. It is more like a really fun textbook, and that is something any homeschool mom would be happy to know about.
So, what is this series and why am I so excited about it?
This series of books from By The Way is written for parents to be able to bring a Christian worldview into their conversations with their kids. For kids, it gives a fun read-aloud that is educational in both the traditional school sense and the spiritual. Each book in this series is designed to give kids a glimpse of life in a particular state or country, all while showing the information from two kids perspectives, Lexi and Alex. The author has planned for this series to cover all of the USA states and many countries throughout the world. Currently there are 6 books in the series with 4 more planned to be released in 2017.
What Book did we review and why?
We were lucky enough to review the second book in their series titled Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!. This book is about Lexi and Alex going on a trip to visit their Uncle Ted, who is a Forest Ranger. Uncle Ted works in the Smokey Mountains and the kids get to tag along learning all about the park’s history, wildlife, foliage, trails, and more. This book is filled with colorful photographs, illustrations and even a game.
Seeing as I love to hike and my kids are getting old enough to start enjoying this activity too, we have been slowly collecting more backpacking supplies. Some of those supplies were diy projects with the kids. Over the last couple of years I have really enjoyed watching, via YouTube, others attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I was excited to see how much this book would touch on the trail, and see how my kids would react to hearing about an adventure so grand. I have to say that this book did not disappoint!
What does this book cover education wise?
- Why some flowers bloom before the leaves on trees come out.
- Barred Owl
- Largest Waterfall in the park.
- Peregrine Falcon
- White-tailed deer
- Winter Wren Bird
- Dark-Eyed Junco Bird
- Lightning Bugs
- Clingman’s Dome
- Appalachian Trail
- Why there are so many Fraser trees that are dead through-out the mountains.
- Some jobs people do for the park.
- Native Americans of the area.
- Why Road signs in the area are in two languages.
- Why there are many vacant building in the Smoky Mountains.
- Music of the area.
- President Franklin Roosevelt and what his part in the parks beginnings was.
- How the Civil War affected the settlers of the area.
- How Church was a big part of people’s lives.
- Aunt Becky’s House in Cades Cove
The book is only 48 pages and yet covers all of this. So while it is very much a picture book, it also holds LOTS of information. So much so, that it took us 4 sittings of reading to get through all the information and pages.
What did my kids think of the Smoky Mountains book?
I had a mixed reaction from my kids when I first showed them the book. My youngest was pretty excited and couldn’t wait to pick his spot on the couch for us to start reading. My older homeschooler wasn’t too excited at all. He didn’t throw a fit but seemed to give me the look of “Mom, I am too old for this kind of stuff.” However, once we were all snuggled up on the couch, the book opened and the hidden pictures game was revealed he perked right up and was all smiles. Now he had a mission. Not only was he excited about the book now but as a Mom I knew that both the kids would be looking at every single image on every single page.
From the moment they knew about the hidden pictures game they were all ears and smiles. They both loved the storyline of Lexi and Alex. Every page has such different information for them to learn about that they were never bored. They couldn’t wait for the page to turn to see if they could find a hidden picture, but also to see what would happen next. When we finished the book they both wanted to know when we would be getting the next book. They loved it that much!
What did I think of the book?
As a homeschooler I just LOVE this series. I can’t wait to get the rest of the books. This year we have started to learn about all the states and this fit in perfect with our studies. Given that there are not all the state books out yet for this series, when we do get to a state in our studies that has a book in the series we will most definitely be buying it! It will be a nice added surprise for the kids. Next on the list is Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!
I loved that my kids were engaged with the story, the game and honestly the learning that was happening. My youngest seem to get the most excited about the different animals and my older kiddo got the most excited when we were learning about the history of the park. I got the most excited about how amazingly colorful and crisp all the images and illustrations were. They just seem to pop off the pages and help to bring the lessons across. I was so impressed with how the author was able to tie in lots of Bible verses into the lessons. Because of that, we were able to have many great conversations as we went through the book.
This hard-covered book is so well put together. The thickness of the pages is just perfect. Just like I mentioned about the images seeming to pop out, they didn’t spare them from the cover either. This just makes you want to hold the book and find out what it is all about. Overall I would say that this book is just amazing. One that you definitely should get your hands on, and one that can be passed down for years.
Interested in what other homeschoolers think of this book series? Click the image below to be taken to more reviews.