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Family Reading Crate Subscription Review – April 2019

Family Reading Crate is a book subscription box designed with the whole family in mind. Each month you will get about 4 books based on a common theme and one of these will be hand-picked just for the adult in the family plus one for the kids. You will also receive a booklet with discussion questions and a few items that tie into the books including collectible bookmarks.

This is offered through Build Your Library a secular literature-based homeschool curriculum website.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About Family Reading Crate

The Subscription Box: Family Reading Crate

The Cost: $26.99 + $8.00 shipping

The Products: A selection of 4 books (one of which is for an adult), discussion booklet and a few other items related to the box theme

Ships to: US

Family Reading Crate “Books At Sea” Review

The included booklet introduces the theme, which is “Books at Sea” this month and it sounds like we have a nice mix of genres from historical fiction to science! The booklet gives a brief description of each book and tells which member of the family it is appropriate for. They include a link to their website which provides activities and printables as well as suggestions for books and movies all related to the month’s theme. These are great extension ideas to use with the whole family.

Also included are discussion questions for each of the kids’ books. These range from direct questions about the content to making inferences to personal opinions about the story. These are perfect for family discussion or even as writing prompts as part of a homeschool curriculum.

Instead of discussion questions for the adult book, there is a book review by the curator of the box.

We received these 4 collectible bookmarks in our box. I love that little blobfish!

Each month you get a little toy or something to go along with the theme and this month we received two bright plush fish toys that my kids loved!

The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien – Retail Value $17.99 (found here for $9.88)

This was the book for the younger readers in the family and it is a fantastic book! Not only does it feature a fun talking blobfish, but it also features full-color photos of some crazy sea creatures and includes facts about the deep sea. My kids really loved it and enjoyed the silly storyline and I really enjoyed the educational aspect of it and unique format.

Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy – Retail Value $6.99 (found here for $5.61)

This book is meant to be the family read aloud this month and it is told from quite a unique perspective since it is told from the point of view of Argos, the loyal dog of Odysseus. Now it has been a long time since I read The Odyssey, but I think this book would be so great to read afterward as a comparison, or even as an alternative since this is a much more updated and easier to read version of the classic tale. Argos tells the story of his dog and how he awaited the return of his master while keeping watch over Odysseus’ wife and son. He consults with other animals as he tries to find out where Odysseus went. This story is interesting in that it tells the other side of the story and what life was like at home as they all waited for Odysseus to make his way back to them and what went on during his absence. It’s a great selection for the family read aloud and would serve as a great introduction to Greek mythology.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk – Retail Value $16.99 (found here for $13.73) 

This book is meant for the older child or teen in the family and how beautiful is this cover art? What’s even better is that this story is just as beautiful. This tells the story of Crow, a girl who was found as a baby and taken in and cared for by a man named Osh. She has so many questions about where she came from, but no one is giving her the answers she desires so she decides to take matters into her own hands one day. I love the style of writing in this book and you can sense the love between the characters through their actions. This book is actually named best book of the year by several publications and is even a 2018 Scott O’Dell Award winner for Historical Fiction.

From Amazon:

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Vivid and heart-wrenching, Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.

The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer – Retail Value $26.99 (available in paperback for $10.87)

This book is for the adult in the family and it feels so realistic from the very start. Dyer’s writing is so imaginative and detailed and he tells this story from several different perspectives that really allow you to understand and empathize with each of the characters. The story revolves around the sinking of the Titanic which is already such an incredibly entertaining true story, but then he takes these characters, a writer covering the story, the men on the crew of the Californian and even a family on the Titanic and tells the events through their eyes in an almost mundane way that makes this story feel all the more real.

From Amazon:

As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored. The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.

Told not only from the perspective of the SS Californian crew, but also through the eyes of a family of third-class passengers who perished in the disaster, the narrative is drawn together by Steadman, a tenacious Boston journalist who does not rest until the truth is found. David Dyer’s The Midnight Watch is a powerful and dramatic debut novel–the result of many years of research in Liverpool, London, New York, and Boston, and informed by the author’s own experiences as a ship’s officer and a lawyer.

Verdict: Books at Sea was such a fun theme for this month’s Family Reading Crate and I really felt there was a great variety in the selections. I always enjoy the curation of this box and how the books always fit within the theme while being so different from one another! This box also contains a lot of great extras such as the toys, bookmarks, and discussion questions that enhance the reading experience and the value is almost always well above the $34.99 ($26.99 + $8.00 shipping) cost of the box. This month is no exception with a total retail value of $68.96 for our four books, which is great! 

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, as of publication this box is still available, but these do tend to sell out!

Value Breakdown: At $34.99 (price + shipping) for this box, here’s what you are paying approximately per item:

  • The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien: $9.13
  • Argos by Ralph Hardy: $3.55
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk: $8.62
  • The Midnight Watch by David Dyer: $13.69

Check out all of our Family Reading Crates reviews and Book Subscription Box reviews for more kid’s book options, plus our best subscription boxes for kids!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

Posted in Family Reading Crate Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Kids| Tags: family reading crate | 1 comment

Comment (1)

  1. You can get all of these books at Book Outlet for $16.06

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