Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salem Ridge Press TOS Product Review

I begin with a very telling story I read in our local newspaper over the weekend. Please keep in mind that we live in the country. We are far removed from a big city and big city life.

The title of the article is, "Mom deplores explicit school assignment." The article sadly gives the details of a mother who appears before the school board to protest a book her high school daughter was required to read for a class entitled, "Reading for Pleasure." Let me just say the book is a 1993 award-winning novel. Award winning. The mother implores the school board and asks, "Why are we introducing this material into our local schools?" With a trembling voice, she went on to say that adult-oriented material was unacceptable in a high school and should not be required reading. The school board said they would make sure the superintendent would look into the choice. My heart breaks for this mother. Award winning means very little today.

What we read matters and what we take into our minds is a major factor in forming our ideas and character. For many reasons, I am so very thankful for the privilege of homeschooling my children. I thank God for the wonderful selection of quality literature my children have been exposed to since they were but small children.

For more information on the benefits of using quality books, go here.

Salem Ridge Press is a publishing company established in 2005 by Daniel Mills. Salem Ridge Press is dedicated to bringing back the very best children's books of the 1800's and early 1900's for a new generation of readers. Daniel is a homeschooling graduate who loves the Lord and desires to serve Him and other people, especially other homeschooling families, through his business.

In a recent newsletter, Daniel said, "I feel very responsible for the content of books that we republish. If I am going to bring a book back into print, I want to be able to stand behind it with no reservations. Very early on we realized that we were going to have to decide carefully what was appropriate in our books and what was not... I believe that when we start with wholesome, exciting and well-written books and then carefully review the contents, we are left with some of the absolutely best books that are available today."

As stated on their website, the underlying philosophy of Salem Ridge Press is found in the Bible: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8)."

As a mother who is always looking for quality literature for her family, I know I can purchase any title from Salem Ridge Press and not give a thought about content. I will never have to hesitate before sending my kids off with a book I haven't read first. I know it will be of the highest quality and reach the standards we have in place for books found in our family library.

For this review, Salem Ridge Press provided me with three titles. They are as follows:

Dearer Than Life
A Story of the Times of Wycliffe
by Emma Leslie

Read Chapter One here
Story Setting: England in 1366 - 1384 A.D.
Notable People and Events: Wycliffe, Richard II, English Translation of the Bible
Originally published in 1885; 255 pages; For Ages 12 – Adult

Soft Cover: $14.95; Hard Cover: $24.95

The Captives
Or, Escape From the Druid Council by Emma Leslie

Read Chapter One here
Story Setting: Roman England in 66 - 67 A.D.
Notable People and Events: Druids, Roman Centurions
Originally published in 1873; 169 pages; For Ages 12 – Adult

Soft Cover: $12.95; Hard Cover: $22.95

These titles came to us at an absolutely perfect time! We are studying church history this year for our literature, history, and theology class. I absolutely loved these books and know my kids will too. I read out loud to Rachel the first few pages of The Captives and, being familiar with Druids, her eyes got big and she asks in a very concerned voice, "What happens?" Captivating from the very first pages!

In The Captives, for example, I was intrigued when I read that two of the minor characters are based on a quote from Paul in his second letter to Timothy which reads:

Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. II Timothy 4:21

The Historical Notes of this book go on to say: Scholars, including Archbishop James Usshur, author of The Annals of the World in the 17th century, have associated the Claudia listed in II Timothy with Claudia Rufina, a British princess in the first century who was the wife of Roman centurion Aulus Pudens. It is not known for sure if this is the case.

It is also important to note that titles from the 1800's and early 1900's didn't dumb-down their language in order to appeal to their readership. I suppose it's because they didn't need to! The language used throughout these books is beautiful and lends to extending the vocabulary of the reader. Words found but not commonly used in our culture today are provided with a short definition at the bottom of the pages of each book.

For example:

Obeisance: bow
Marmots: groundhogs; used as an insult
Prowess: exceptional bravery or skill
Covert: covering or hiding-place
Penates: general household gods
Precincts: a clearly defined area

Talk about a fabulous way to introduce your children to words that otherwise might remain a mystery...this is it!

For more information on why church history is so important, go here.

The Sign Above the Door by William W. Canfield

Read Chapter One here
Story Setting: Egypt/The First Passover ~ 1500 B.C.
Originally published in 1912; 307 pages; For Ages 12 – Adult

Soft Cover: $14.95

I will end by saying that having purchased hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of classic literature over the years, I highly--highly recommend Salem Ridge Press. Their quality books (and very helpful website) are an indication of the extensive amount of time and personal effort and care they put into republishing every single title.

Well done. Very well done!

I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2010-2011 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of cash for my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences on the products and services that I receive.


  1. My Dearest Michelle,
    If you believed it was good, you could review generic dry dog food and make people want to buy it!! You have such an encouraging way with words and although I know it takes a bit of your time, your comments are seasoned with graced and wisdom.
    Hugs, dear one. Is there more to your Jesus story?

  2. Teri, you would love these books too! Oh, if only I could buy generic dry dog food ( know our Jesse puppy story). Thank you for your kind words, my friend.

    Yes, there is more to my Jesus story! I haven't forgotten. I just have so much going on...toughest first two weeks of school ever. Thank you for even thinking of me. I will try and pick this back-up soon. It's co-op day today...3 hours in the car, a full day of classes.

    Sending love,

  3. Michelle, Let's make a deal - I'll pray for you when I am in my car for school errands; and you can pray for me when you are in your car for co-op :D Anna's co-op starts next week (Tues); piano and art are full speed (Wed); and violin (Thurs) is in another week or so (her teacher just had her 4th blessing).
    We are in our 3rd week and it has had its challenges!! I understand!
    Hugs, and Love, and Prayers! teri