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This week’s “Behind the Counter” Staff Reviews.

We continue our weekly “Behind the Counter”  staff reviews series with picks selected by one of our dedicated Customer Service Representatives, Donna Hoefer.

Donna Hoefer, Customer Service Representative

The Backyard Homestead
Edited by: Carleen Madigan

“I love this book! In an age where budgets are getting tighter and food prices are getting ridiculous, (have you seen the price for a dozen eggs?) this book provides a practical guide for anyone interested in going a little greener or wanting to provide better for their families. There is a lot of hype about organic food and such, but the idea is not a recent invention. People have had subsistence farms for centuries and even city slickers (like yours truly) can benefit from the back yard vegetable garden.
In this book, the authors present a multitude of practical advice and instructions on how to do everything from growing more veggies in smaller spaces, to milking goats and making home made soap and yogurt. There are very clear illustrations and diagrams throughout, and some great recipes for preserving and canning the fruit of your labor. We were created as stewards of Creation and using what God has given wisely is part of our duty as Catholics. There is a lot one can learn from kneeling in the dirt and getting your hands dirty. (Not to mention the fun that can be had by the kids!) I recommend this book for anyone, from the apartment dwelling single person, to the large family living out in the country. Everyone can use the ideas in this book!”

Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics
Publisher: Saint Mary's Press

“One of the trickiest things I have found in raising my son has been getting him interested in anything related to religious education and the Mass. He is nine currently and received his First Holy Communion last year. I found a tool that will prove invaluable over the next few years, “Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics”. This bible is a wonderful introduction into apologetics and engages younger readers. The books of the bible are broken down in sections titled Pray it, Read it, Study it and Live it. Side articles and “Interviews” with different people from the bible are spread throughout the text along with illustrations and diagrams that help kids understand the scriptures they are reading. Unlike most “Children's Bibles” this is a complete bible, nothing has been left out or over looked. This format is so informative I even learn a thing or two from it. My son is picking it up to read at night before bed without prompting from me. ”

Return of Father Brown
Author: John Peterson

“I was looking for a lighter book than my usual fare and ran across this one. The Return of Father Brown is a continuation of stories originally written by GK Chesterton. Father Brown had earned a rather interesting reputation in his native England for solving mysteries. John Peterson takes this delightful and humble priest and puts him in a small Midwestern town in a form of semi retirement. We meet Father Brown when a baseball comes through the upper window of the local church and a solid Gold Crucifix goes missing…. This book is a pleasure to read. It's a great one to read out loud with older children and a fun one to take on a plane or road trip. It is a collection of short stories that can be picked up and read a little at a time. This is a nice introduction into the style of GK Chesterton. Now that I have read this one, I am looking forward to reading the works by the man himself.”

Donna Hoefer has been with Aquinas and More for three and a half years as a customer service representative.  She is also a thirty something mother of five whose tastes in books tend to be more practical in nature of late. She finds that raising her family, working full time and dealing with the usual roller coaster of life's ups and downs tends to lend itself to a more earthy spirituality.


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