Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Celebrating Saints and Seasons

This review comes from my wife, Christiane Little, who is a Catholic homeschooling mom of four. She's very crafty (in a good way :) ) and likes to do projects with the kids, so it seemed like a good fit.


Celebrating Saints and Seasons, by Jeanne Hunt

I didn’t really like this book initially. Firstly, this is not a craft book. There are no coloring pages or neat little patterns for ornaments. Instead, there are ideas, ranging from simple, like using flower stickers to create a Lenten countdown calendar, to more challenging projects, like planning a New Year’s campout. Organized by month, the book offers suggestions for seasonal celebrations like Earth Day and Thanksgiving as well as memorials of Saints and other heroes like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King Jr. There’s a wealth of material, a boon to anyone finding themselves short of ideas.   

The book did grow on me after a bit. However, there are features that I find less useful. The “prayers” in each section are basically (sometimes overly flowery) prose poems. They may work well for personal meditation for the parent and educator—a number of them, to be fair, are thoughtful and/or beautiful – but will not appeal to nor be appreciated by most children.

The other feature that I found unappealing was the inclusion of guided meditations and pseudo-liturgies for home and possibly school use. These might work with a group of teens or pre-teens, but I doubt they would be very enthusiastic about them. The points made in the course of these rituals would be more likely to make an impression if presented in a less formulaic way.   

Overall, I’d recommend this volume to anyone looking to plan engaging activities with a Catholic slant for kids and family. It’s definitely geared towards adults, not kids, though. These aren’t ready-made projects; most require some degree of planning. However, with a little imagination, parents and educators will find plenty of ways to use the material presented here to enrich their lives and the lives of the children they work with.


Thanks to the Catholic Company for sharing this book with me. As part of the FTC rules, I have to be clear that they gave this book to us in order to elicit a review. The Catholic Company is also a great source for first communion gifts and baptism gifts.