Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How God Grows a Woman of Wisdom – A Devotional by Anita Higman and Marian Leslie

ISBN-13: 9781624168338
About the book:  This lovely devotional collection offers a powerful blend of inspiration, encouragement, and motivation for every area of your life.  Touching on topics like beauty, blessings, conversation, joy, patience, prayer, relationships, work, and more, you will find yourself drawn ever closer to your heavenly Father as you meditate on each reading and open your heart and mind to God’s Word.

Review:  How God Grows a Woman of Wisdom is the first release in a brand-new devotional series.  It is a simple, easy to read devotional book with over 200 devotions included.  While the size of the book would prevent you from calling it a “pocket book”, it definitely is one that you could take with you to read along your daily journey.  Each devotional is short enough that it can be read in just 3-5 minutes.  The other aspect that I like about the book is that the devotionals are not tied to a specific date.  So, you can just open the book and start reading.  

“How God Grows a Woman of Wisdom” would make an excellent gift book for a mature Christian and also a new believer.  (rev. P.Howard, Pastor's Wife)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C. S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life By Alister McGrath

ISBN13: 9781414383781
About the book:  (front inside of book jacket)  We all want to learn from people who have shown themselves to be thoughtful and helpful in dealing with those big questions.  That’s why so many of us turn to close friends or trust colleagues.  “Let’s have lunch!” is not really suggestion that we just eat food together; it’s a request to spend time together, to get to know people better, and to talk things through.  We want to listen to someone who has been through difficult situations like the ones that we’re now facing, and learn how they coped with them.  This short book is a distillation of what Lewis thought about the greatest questions of life. My hope is that Lewis’s thoughts on these matters will help you determine how to live your life well.” –Dr. Alister McGrath

Review:  “If I had lunch with C.S. Lewis” is an interesting book.  It is not a light read, but is also not “over your head.”   It is better read in bits and pieces and the format of the book makes this easy to do.  Each chapter could easily be pulled out and set in a separate article.  The author poses eight questions that one might ask if he or she had an opportunity to have lunch with C.S. Lewis…the meaning of life, friendship, education, the problem of pain and ending with hope and heaven. 

If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, then you most definitely will enjoy this book.  Given the wealth of information that one can find to read about Mr. Lewis’s life, Dr. McGrath’s book is just a snapshot that can pique your interest in either reading more of C.S. Lewis or going back to visit a favorite Lewis writing. 

The final “lunch” or question that Dr. McGrath has chosen to include in his book is Lewis on Hope and Heaven.  The last two-three paragraphs, McGrath writes about how in his research he came across photographs of Lewis “in small groups of people; others in larger gatherings.  It was easy to identify Lewis himself and some of those who played an important role in his life. But time after time, I could not identify some of the other people in the photographs.  Nor could any of those I consulted who had expert knowledge of Lewis’ family history.” (pg 206).    McGrath goes on to state how these people were important to Lewis even though they were forgotten, but that C.S. Lewis himself would remind us that we are remembered by God and that’s what really matters.  He states, “Human history may forget about us, as it has forgotten so many. But our names are engraved on God’s hands, and written in the Book of Life – a fitting, even inspiring, thought with which to end our series of lunches with Lewis.” (pg 207)

The author, in my opinion, missed a huge opportunity that perhaps Lewis himself would have pointed out.  The only way your name is “written in the Book of Life” is that you’ve accepted the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary and asked him to save your soul. 

For one who is promoted as one of the world’s leading Christian theologians (back jacket cover), it seems an irresponsible ending to an otherwise good book. (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Cool Summer Tail by Carrie A. Pearson Illustrated by Christina Wald

About the book:   When summer heats up, animals find ways to stay cool. In A Cool Summer Tail animals wonder how humans stay cool too. Do they dig under the dirt, grow special summer hair, or only come out at night? This companion to the popular A Warm Winter Tail features many of same animals but this time, with their summer adaptations, offering an important “compare and contrast” opportunity.
32 pg, Ages 4-8, Grades PK-3
Hardcover ISBN: 9781628552058, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781628552140, $9.95

Review:  This book explores how many different animals keep cool throughout the summer. The story is written with poetic nuances which makes the book all that much more fun! The question asks: "How do humans stay cool in the summer" by different types of animals. A frog asks "do humans dig in the dirt"? The questions the animals ask are thought provoking that the reader may not have thought of themselves. 

For example frog asks ... ... ...
How do humans stay cool in the summer?
do they dig in the dirt
so the sun doesn't hurt
their skin when it shines from above?
No blanket of leaf bits
in a burrow that just fits.
They want the warm sun on their skin.
Of interest to those who wish to delve deeper into understanding animals, the back of the book has educational material such as a matching activity and classification of animals. There is also information on summer and winter adaptations.

I recommend this book for younger readers. My six year old thought it was funny. (rev. B.Barlow, Parent)
DISCLOSURE:  A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Daisylocks by Mariaan Berkes Illustrated by Cathy Morrison

About the book:   Daisylocks needs a home that is just right. She asks Wind to help her find the perfect habitat to spread her roots, and he accepts the challenge. Wind blows Daisylocks to the plain, the mountain and the wetland. She objects to each place one by one—too cold, too hard, too wet. Daisylocks is not ready to give up! They try the humid rainforest and then the warm beach; those are not just right either. Will Wind find the perfect climate and soil for Daisylocks to place her roots and grow into a beautiful flower?

Review:  The illustrations throughout this book are outstanding. The pictures grab your heart.

Daisylocks is a a plant looking for the right place to take root and grow healthy. Throughout this book Daisylocks searches all over the world trying to find that certain, perfect place. She doesn't believe that where she was planted is the best location for her. Through many discoveries and environments she realizes that where she was first planted is after all the perfect spot for her to flourish.

I recommend this book to everyone! It is an amazing story and might be my favorite children's book! (rev. B.Barlow, Parent)

About the author and illustrator:  Award-winning author Marianne Berkes is a retired teacher and librarian who uses her love of nature and teaching to create informational picture books. In addition to The Tree That Bear Climbed, Animalogy, Anybody Home? and now Daisylocks for Arbordale, some of Marianne’s other 17 (and counting) award-winning titles include Going Around the Sun, Some Planetary Fun; Seashells by the Seashore; Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration; Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef; Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme and most recently Over in a River and What's in the Garden?. Marianne has been actively involved in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for over twenty years and often suggests when she speaks at conferences that aspiring writers and illustrators join SCBWI. Visit her website at /

Illustrator Cathy Morrison may have started her art career in animation but she soon fell in love with illustrating children’s books and has been doing so for 20 years. Cathy has illustrated Daisylocks, Nature Recycles: How About You?, Three Little Beavers, Animalogy: Animal Analogies, Dino Tracks, and Dino Treasures for Arbordale. Other titles Cathy has illustrated include Ignacio’s Chair, and the Young Patriots Series including Alexander Hamilton, Young Statesman; Frederick Douglass, Young Defender of Human Rights; and Juliette Low, Girl Scout Founder. Cathy works from her home overlooking a beautiful view of the Mummy Range, on the northern side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Check out Cathy’s blog at

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Daisylocks was provided by the publisher, Abordale Publishing, in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for the review.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life Support (Grace Medical Series #3) by Candace Calvert

As the third installment in the Grace Medical Series, Life Support doesn’t disappoint. Author Candace Calvert has drawn again on her personal professional medical experience and expertise to develop real-to-life events and solutions involving believable characters whom she fully develops and brings to life.

Life Support deals with intense subjects cushioned with a sweet, downplayed romance. We see the case of mental illness and how it impacts individuals, families, and the work place as well as those involved in the treatment of the condition.

Spiritual issues are somewhat lightly dealt with but in a truly Biblical fashion that involves grace. It is a pleasure to read intense, medical suspense written by a Christian author and dealt with in such a way that you are not ashamed to share with a teen or grandmother.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review/

First Fire A Cherokee Folktale by Nancy Kelly Allen and Illustrated by Sherry Rogers

This brilliantly written book is a Cherokee pourquoi folktale. Animals are discussed throughout the book. Animals brought fire back to an island to keep them warm when it was cold outside. It answers questions such as, why are ravens black? How do we get fire? Why do some owl eyes look red when you look at their eyes? The illustrations are perfectly matched to an inspiring folktale. 

In the back of this book you will find maps, true and false along with various other activities. I recommend this book, it's great!

About the author:  Nancy Kelly Allen is a retired school librarian and an award winning author. She had a great grandmother who was a Cherokee. Her grandmother inspired this folktale and many other books.

About the illustrator:  Sherry Rogers spent twelve years as a corporate graphic designer and artist before “leaving it all behind” for the freelance world of illustrating children’s books. Through illustrating The First Fire, Sherry remembers her own ancestor, Na Ni, a Cherokee woman from the mountains of North Carolina. 

Of NOTE:  A pourquoi tale describes the origin of something, often in a humorous or exaggerated way. Rudyard Kipling's "Just So Stories," some of Aesop's fables and many folk tales are pourquoi tales, which may tell of how the leopard got his spots, or why the rabbit has a short stubby tail. Grade-school teachers often have children learn to write by creating pourquoi tales.  Read more:

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Beavers' Busy Year by Mary Holland

 About the book:  Along a stream a dam pops out of the water. Beavers are busy at work! These aquatic mammals have unique traits that aid them in building the perfect lodge to raise young beavers and keep predators away. Mary Holland’s vibrant photographs document the beavers’ activities through the course of a year. Do these beavers ever take a break? Follow along as they pop through the winter ice to begin the busy year of eating bark, building dams and gathering food just in time for winter to come again.

Review:   This book is a very informative book all about beavers. It teaches about how important beavers are to our habitat. 

As a mother of three children, this book was just as interesting to me as it was to my ten year old son! The real life photographs through out the book were amazing. I never knew beavers are this smart. It teaches how  a beaver prepares his dwelling and food for the winter months. This books takes you a full year into a beavers busy life. I found a whole new respect for these aquatic mammals. You will find a section in the back of this book called "For Creative Minds". This area is a great educational resource for further learning and reviewing.

Beavers are a keystone specie. Keystone species by definition  means that many different plants and animals depend on beaver ponds and wetlands for their survival. These aquatic animals are busy all year long, They are smart animals who know what they need for survival. Beavers make their lodge in unique way to keep predators away. 

This book has real life photographs through out it. I recommend this book for anyone who is an animal lover. (rev. Beth Barlow, Parent)

About the author:  Mary Holland is a naturalist, nature photographer. She has won many awards for writing children's book. She has a passion for animal conservation and sharing her love for animals with young children.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sea Slime by Ellen Prager and illustrated by Shennen Bersani

About the book:  Snails and sea slugs use Sea Slime. But, did you know that coral and clownfish need slime too? Marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce us to fascinating and bizarre animals that use slime to capture their food, protect themselves from harm, or even move from place to place in their underwater environment.
Review:  Violet Snails, Jellyfish, Sea Slugs, Clown fish and Parrotfish are a few of the underwater animals that are in this book. Eeuwy, gooey and under the sea slime, that is what this book is about! Sea Slime is what animals use to move about under the sea. This book has fantastic real life photography through out it. It is a gross way to learn more about under water animals and how they live.
The book is intended for young children as an introduction to the undersea world of critters and their lives. So detailed information is not necessarily provided. However, the author clearly brings to light, even in the darkness of the undersea world, that sea slime has a variety of purposes. It is used to protect and to offend. It helps critters float and move around - they slither and slide through their undersea environment.

In the "For Creative Minds" section at the back of the book the author has provided a true-false quiz about these slimy critters and more information about the and their sea habitats. There are even directions on how you can make your own sea slime. Won't Mom and Dad love that!

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Shape Family by Kristen Haas Illustrated by Shennen Bersani

ISBN: 9781628552201
Paperback $9.99
About the book:  Mr. and Mrs. Shape are expecting a baby, but they are surprised when three arrive! The first is just like Mother Rhombus, the other just like Father Rectangle, the third baby is a different shape. What should her name be? Go on a geometry naming adventure as all the shape family relatives weigh in. Will Cousin Triangle, Aunt Hexagon or Grandma Rhombus have the right angle?

Review:  I read this book to my six year old thinking it might be a little advanced for her age. She said "this is my new favorite book"! 

This book is about Mr. and Mrs. Shape who are expecting three babies. The couple who is a rectangle and a rhombus are trying to decide what to name their new bundles of joy. Mr. and Mrs. Shape ask family members for help in choosing their special, unique names. This book is more than just a cute story about a family. This book integrates geometrical shapes into a story using vibrant illustrations along with important math lessons. 

You will find in the back of this book a section called "For Creative Minds." This section is a valuable tool that anyone can use. Name that shape, shape parts and quadrilaterals are some of the educational tools in that section. (rev. Beth Barlow, Parent)

For ages 4-8, Grades Pre-K - 3rd, 32 pages. Other math related titles by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) are The Deductive Detective (reviewed here on Reader's Haven Reviews), Ten For Me, Multiply on the Fly, and The Great Divide.

About the illustrator:  Award-winning children's book illustrator Shennen Bersani has two million copies of her illustrated books cherished and read by children and families throughout the world. She uses various drawing and painting materials and techniques to bring life to her illustrations. For this book she used a Wacom Cintiq Pen Display where brush strokes of many sizes and colors are created with a digital pen on a flat screen glass display.

About the author:  Kristin Haas is a third grade teacher with a Masters in Elementary Education. As a teacher, she sees how books inspire learning and engage the minds of young readers. Kristin hopes this book will encourage young math fans at home and in classrooms to learn about the myriad kinds of geometric shapes. This is her debut picture book.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Animal Helpers: Aquariums by: Jennifer Keats Curtis

About the book:  Where else could you stay dry while visiting aquatic animals from around the world? Only in an aquarium can you visit and learn about all these different local and exotic animals. Aquarium staff care for and teach about these animals, as well as work to conserve and protect threatened and endangered species. Follow this behind-the-scenes photographic journal as it leads you into the wondrous world of aquariums and the animal helpers who work there. 

Review:  Aquariums are an amazing place to view fresh and salt water animals up close. Children and adults alike learn different ways to educate themselves and learn more about specific animals and how to conserve their species. You'll find in an aquarium many different jobs and volunteering opportunities available. 

The vibrant photography through out this book keeps the reader engaged from start through finish. Aquariums all over the United States are photographed. 

In the back of this nonfiction book is a specific section called "For Creative Minds." This section is a great tool that offers many educational tools that may be used in the classroom or if the reader would like to review the material they just read. True or false, animal fun facts, along with numerous online recommendations for further research is listed. 

I recommend this book to everyone, whether the reader is an animal enthusiast or not. (rev. Beth Barlow, Parent)

About the author:  Jennifer Keats Curtis is an award-winning nature lover author. You will find many of her books highlight animal conservation and is dedicated her life to teaching others about animals.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Abordale Publishing (formerly Sylvan Dell Publishing) in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.