Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Win or Lose, I Love You! By: Lysa TerKeurst Illustrated By: Jana Christy

Win or Lose – I Love You! By Lysa TerKeurst (illustrated by Jana Christy)
ISBN-13: 9780529104007
About the book:  Win or lose, one thing that’s true…No matter what, I love you! Competition can bring out the worst in us, but it can also be an opportunity to learn impactful life lessons.  That’s why it’s so important for kids to understand how to handle winning and losing?  Join Lulu and Max as they help Bear-Bear, Goosey, Coyote, and the rest of their animal friends in the Field Day contests to determine who will be the leader of Lulu’s forest.  But as the animals soon find out, not everyone can win.  Sore losers, unkind winners, flaring tempers, and a few tears are taking the fun straight out of Field Day!

Review:  The thing I liked most about this book is the little phrase – “Win or Lose, I Love You!”  The illustrations are very nice and I do like the look of water color to the pages.  The topic of the book is a much needed one.  Teaching our children that it’s not about winning or losing, but that it’s about how our attitude shows itself in winning or losing is something that every parent, grandparent, or educator has a responsibility to do.  We have to look for the opportunity and this book can help in that area.  If instilled in our children when they are young, it definitely makes it easier to address as they grow.  I appreciate the verses at the back of the book that will certainly help in teaching what God says about winning and losing and how we are to react.  In my opinion, this book is geared toward 1st grade and up.  While we need to be teaching our children how to win or lose gracefully long before 1st grade, the book is too long for most toddlers to sit through.

Again, my favorite part of this book is….  “You may not win, but you must try. Sometimes you’ll lose, but there’s no need to cry. Win or lose, one thing that’s true..No matter what, I love you!”

DISCLOSURE: We received a complimentary copy from BookLook to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thank You,Lord,for Everything by P.J. Lyons – illustrated by Tim Warnes

Love surrounds you beauty, too.
Notice how God blesses you!
Clap your hands, shout and sing:
“Thank you, Lord, for everything!”

Thank You, Lord, For Everything is a sweet and gentle rhyme – perfect for bedtime, quiet time, and anytime in between

Review:  What a wonderful little book!!  With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, this short story is a pleasant reminder that we should be grateful, thankful, for the very simple things of life.  The sing-song, rhyming tempo of the book is one of my favorite styles for children.  I love the way each page ends with the title of the book and encourages you to be dramatic and have fun while reading to your children.

The illustrations are charming and  with a very soft water-color effect.  The characters are drawn with such sweetness and are entirely appropriate for children of all ages.  The construction of the book is thick cardboard and should hold up to many readings.

At this time of year, the holiday Thanksgiving seems to disappear in the onslaught of Christmas commercialism.   This sweet little book is a gentle reminder that we absolutely do have much to be thankful for and it is our responsibility to teach and show our children that it’s more of who you have in your life than what.  “Thank You, Lord, For Everything” would make a great addition to your children’s library! (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: We received this book from BookLook book review program to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer only. We received no compensation to review this book.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Animal Mouths by Mary Holland

Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
Hardcover $17.95
Paperback $9.95
About the book: What are some things we can learn about animals from the shape of their mouths, beaks, or bills? What can we infer about animals with sharp teeth compared to large, flat teeth? Are there any animals that don’t have mouths? In this second book of her “Animal Anatomy and Adaptation” series, award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal mouths with readers of all ages.

My thoughts: This is a lovely book that is packed with beautiful, engaging photographs of a variety of animals, insects, and creatures showcasing how their mouths are designed and work for the way each critter uses the mouth to eat, catch prey, and simply exist. Whether for capturing, crushing, spearing, chewing, tearing, or cutting the animals, plants, opponents each mouth is specifically and wonderfully designed for what that animal needs.

Children will love the pictures. Teachers in regular schools or in homeschools will love the educational text written so these young learners can enjoy and become engaged as they learn about Animal Mouths. The additional information is very good providing opportunities for further exploration of how mouths work and opportunities to stretch the minds a little.

Animals in the book:   caterpillar, chipmunk, evening grosbeak, frog, great egret, human, luna moth, monarch, opossum, porcupine, red-shouldered hawk, robber fly, snake, turtle, weasel

Arbordale again brings engaging learning to the child in a way that each child will enjoy learning their "science" lessons. In the back of the book is the "For Creative Mindssection. Here is a link so you can see how super it is. There is also a wealth of information on the book's webpage to aid in learning.

Author/illustrator Mary Holland is a naturalist, nature photographer, columnist, and award-winning author with a life-long passion for natural history. After graduating from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, Mary worked as a naturalist at the Museum of the Hudson Highlands in New York state, directed the state-wide Environmental Learning for the Future program for the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, worked as a resource naturalist for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and designed and presented her own “Knee-High Nature Programs” for libraries and elementary schools throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. In addition to Animal Eyes her children’s books include A Beaver’s Busy Year and Ferdinand Fox’s First Summer (NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books, Moonbeam Bronze award) with Arbordale and Milkweed Visitors, (Science Books and Films’ list for the best books of 2006 in the category Children’s Books under Zoological Sciences). Mary’s book Naturally Curious: a Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods and Marshes of New England won the 2011 National Outdoor Book Award for the Nature Guidebook category. Visit Mary’s blog at naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. No compensation was received and these are my personal opinions.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Say & Pray Bible: First Words, Stories, and Prayers by Diane Stortz; Illustrated by Sarah Ward

About the book: Say and pray the Bible with your little Ones!  Curl up together and experience the Bible in a fresh, new way.  Young children will enjoy pointing to and naming objects on each page for early learning.  Most important, they’ll discover favorite, age-appropriate Bible stories, with Scripture verses and short prayers that also hide God’s Word in young hearts.

Review:   “Say & Pray”  is a very cute beginner’s Bible for toddlers.  It has a total of 20 stories in the book:  10 from the Old Testament and 10 from the New Testament.  All of the stories should be familiar to anyone who has spent much time in Sunday School or youth group – Creation, Noah & the Ark, Joseph & his coat of many colors are just a few from the Old Testament.  Some from the New Testament are the Birth of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, and Jesus’ Resurrection.

The illustrations are nice and child-like.  I like the “word balloons” with single words describing animals, objects, & people.  This point-and-say method is very easy for a toddler to grasp.  The actual construction of the book is quite nice as well.  The pages are thick cardboard and easy to turn.

“Say & Pray Bible” would make a nice gift for new parents and great introduction to Bible for toddlers. (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of the publisher, Thomas Nelson. Opinions are those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli; Illustrated by Archie Preston

About the book:  “Thankful” – Like the gardener, thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman for putting the fire out.  There are everyday blessings , you don’t need to look far, to know at a glance how special you are.  Beloved children’s author Eileen Spinelli and illustrator Archie Preston inspire children of all ages with “Thankful” a whimsical picture book that celebrates the everyday blessings we find in our lives.
Review:  I really like this book.  It is described as whimsical and that is exactly right. The whole book is written like a rhyme, which I find very enjoyable when reading to children.  As I was reading it, my granddaughter immediately came to mind and how she “pretends play.”  Just as a child’s imagination jumps from here to there, this book encourages that same imagination – From a waitress being thankful “for comfortable shoes” to a “local reporter for interesting news;”  then to “the chef is thankful for plates licked clean; the tailor, for her sewing machine.”   Even though this book can and does encourage imagination, it does an even better job of helping us teach our children to be thankful!  Being thankful is absolutely something that has to be taught and must begin at the earliest age possible. 

The illustrations of this book are beautiful.  I like the simplicity and the water color effect on all the pages.  The illustrator has chosen to center the author’s wonderful words around a family – father, mother, brother, and sister.   This is great because, again, teaching someone to be thankful begins at home!

“Thankful” is a wonderful book to have in your children’s library and one that you easily can read daily to your children!  I will be adding this to my collection!! (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of Zondervan to facilitate this review. Opinions as those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Coming soon "Monster Needs Your Vote"

I'm looking forward to another of the "Monster Needs..." books. Coming VERY SOON is Monster Needs Your Vote.

In case you're not yet familiar with these books, run to your favorite store or library and snag a copy of any or all of the "Monster Needs..." books and start enjoying.
The Monster Needs Your Vote story will help parents and teachers teach young readers about the voting and election process here in America. In addition to this really fun book, the creators, Paul Czajak and Wendy Grieb, along with the publisher, Mighty Media Press, have provided lots of goodies for you to download and use in the learning process.

There are Presidential Facts and First Lady Facts, vocabulary words, qualifications for being president (some great information), and activity sheets. CLICK HERE to get this FREE fun stuff. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rufus Goes to School by Kim T. Griswell, Valeri Gorbachev

About the book: All Rufus Leroy Williams III wants is to go to school so he can learn to read his favorite book. But there's one problem: he's a pig and Principal Lipid says: “NO PIGS IN SCHOOL!” Rufus even gets a backpack, a lunchbox, and a blanket to prove he's ready. But Mr. Lipid won't budge. Is there ANYTHING Rufus can do to change his mind? Kim Griswell and illustrator Valeri Gorbachev have created a love letter to reading that's also a charming, original, and child-friendly first-day-of-school story.

My thoughts: Delightful Rufus is back again! Rufus really wants to go to school and he finds there is a "no pigs allowed" rule. He begins to persuade the principal that he really and truly is ready for school even if he is a pig. You see, Rufus dearly loves books. Turning the pages of his favorite books is a joy to him but he needed to learn to read the words - that's what school is for.

I just love the expressive, colorful drawings that capture the drool expressions and depict the scenes so aptly. The illustrations will provide ample opportunity during read-aloud sessions to engage the child in discussions that will increase his/her attention to detail.
What is "in" this book? I see a deeper, underlying theme of discrimination. "No pigs allowed" because of a variety of reasons. This isn't addressed, but can be during read-aloud sessions when ultimately the discrimination is set aside because the real reason to go to school is to learn. This is the strong ending and no one is discriminated against learning.

I see the theme of "having things" as a qualifier for attending school given a backseat by the truth that school is for learning - Rufus wanted to learn to read the words in his beloved picture book.

I see the story ending on the high note of students enjoying all aspects of school.

It is BACK-TO-SCHOOL time and this would be a good read at home for the kids starting school, in school libraries for read-aloud sessions, and for shelving at libraries everywhere. (rev. VG)

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review and the opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Summer will be over before you can say "Jack Robin" or quick as a wink and before the leaves turn red and orange. Mom will be buying backpacks, pencils, crayons and all kinds of goodies and tools of the craft of being a student. And for that first-ever-in-school-child there will be talks and instructions and all kinds of fear-allaying techniques.

Meet ALLY-SAURUS as she goes to her First Day of School.....

About the book: You can call her Ally-SAURUS! When Ally roars off to her first day at school, she hopes she'll meet lots of other dinosaur-mad kids in class. Instead, she's the only one chomping her food with fierce dino teeth and drawing dinosaurs on her nameplate. Even worse, a group of would-be "princesses" snubs her! Will Ally ever make new friends? With its humorous art, appealing heroine, and surprise ending, this fun picture book celebrates children's boundless imagination.

My thoughts: First a quick glance through the book at Richard Torrey's delightful drawings. He uses color sparsely and in just the right places. It emphasizes what is important in that drawing.

The children are sketched with lines for smiles and dots for eyes. And their teacher wears big, bug-eye glasses. There are lots of stripes on kids in their shirts, dresses, and leggings. Typical of kids. And drawings that make kids comfortable because they, too, can draw dots for eyes and lines for smiles.

Ally loves dinosaurs and her vivid imagination - so typical of the young child - carries the dinosaur on her very person. She is Ally-Saurus and she goes to school for the first time.

She meets the other children and find they, too, have vivid imaginations and their imagination has made them princesses, pirates, astronauts and other creatures and persons. Some don't want a roaring dinosaur around them, but soon they all discover that friends understand that each likes different things.

I just love Ally-Saurus. She will find her way into your, and your child's, heart and will help you to help your child enter their own first day of school. (rev.

Let's meet the author:

What gave you the idea for Ally’s “Saurus” identity and its relationship to her first day of school? 

First of all, Ally-Saurus was originally going to be about a boy. When my son was between the ages of 3 and 5 he often insisted that he was a giant black dog. He would then rattle off a litany of specific characteristics that he (as the giant dog) had, including sharp teeth, claws, and a spiked collar.
His description never varied, and if we ever interrupted him while reciting said attributes, he would have to start over—in case we had forgotten or missed one. In other words, while this was his imagination at work here, he was quite serious about it. Looking back on it, my wife and I concluded that he might have pretended to be this giant fearless dog to compensate for the fact that he was always the smallest child in any classroom he was in (he has Celiac Disease and before he was diagnosed and treated, was quite small).

I read a bit about your background and you began doodling as a child. Taking that talent to a professional level is amazing. Do you even feel you have lost your love of doodling and it has become a chore?

While I have never lost my love of doodling, I find that I don’t spend the same amount of time “just doodling”. Because I now do it professionally, and due to the constraints of time, I rarely just pick up a piece of paper or a pad and just doodle. If I do, I almost reflexively become aware of the fact that I need to be perfecting a character’s look, or expanding on an idea I’m trying to develop, and invariably that doodle becomes something else…. something with a purpose behind it. I’m not complaining, mind you. I love it just the same.

What advice would you give aspiring illustrators and authors of children’s books?

I would first ask them if they are really interested in creating children’s books or are they more focused on being able to hold that book up and say, “I DID THIS!”.
Those who will succeed are the one’s who are interested in the creative process. It is fraught with rejection and disappointment, but if they stay positive, and learn from the rejections or the mistakes, they will, in the end, make it. There is no one guaranteed path to success. There is one guaranteed path to failure, and that is quitting. As Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
Let's have some fun! Here is a link for downloadable activity sheets. These are sure to please. Word games, a maze, color, draw. Just sheer fun as a gift from Richard. CLICK HERE

HERE IS A GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY: Re-tweet the following & ATTACH AN ALLY-SAURUS PICTURE. (A simple cute & paste will do it.) Simple & you'll be entered in the giveaway. It MUST include the hashtag #Allys1stDay to be counted

Enter #Giveaway #Allys1stDay @richtorrey @SterlingKids ALLY-SAURUS 1st Day of School http://bit.ly/1O7lDWc

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review from Sterling Publishing. Opinions are mine, alone. I received no compensation. The giveaway copy is also provided by Sterling who will send it to the winner.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

If An Elephant Went to School by Ellen Fischer & illustrated by Laura Wood

About the book: Would an elephant learn the ABCs if she went to school? No way! She would learn to use her trunk as a nose, a straw, a hand, and a hose!

Through a series of questions and answers, readers learn about animals and their unique behaviors. And in the end, you might find yourself asking just what would you learn.

My thoughts: I previously reviewed Ellen Fischer’s If An Armadillo Went to a Restaurant and found it to be fun to look at just what various animals and critters would eat at restaurants. Ms. Fischer has just released a second in this series and it is just in time for those little ones going to school – either for the first time or returning – If An Elephant Went to School. Frankly, I enjoyed this one even more than the Armadillo story. This is just plain fun.

Laura Woods is again illustrating this book just as she did the Armadillo book. These animals are full of life, expression, and just down right cute. I like that she uses different tones of color in her illustrations than we normally find in kiddie books. She deviates a bit from basic primary colors and incorporates teals, russets, and variations of browns, greens and oranges. The colors literally pop.

There are lessons to be learned for these critters going to school. Each learns what is best for that type of critter. Would the bee learn to read? No, the bee would learn to make honey.
The story is great as a read-aloud book for group settings such as library groups, classrooms, etc. as well as reading it individually to a child. It can also be  read by early readers, though the vocabulary right be beyond really early readers.

At the end, the question is raised, “If I went to school what would I learn?” Then the comparison of learning what critters learn and what a child learns is brought about ending on a happy note where the child is brought into the story himself.
Giveaway dates: May 21 - Aug 11, 2015
3 copies available
Countries available: US
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the Mighty Media Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

Bedtime Devotions with Jesus My Daily Devotional for Kids By Johnny Hunt Published by Thomas Nelson

ISBN: 978-0718036454
About the book: Bedtime is a precious time to spend with your child.  After the busyness of the day is done before your child nods off to sleep, snuggle up to read God’s Word and daily reminders about how much He loves and takes care of us.

Bedtime Devotions with Jesus is a collection of prayers and devotions written by pastors and other church leaders.  In this book are lessons on such topics as thankfulness, obedience, trusting God, being kind, loving others, and many more. God’s Word comes alive using simple language and delightful illustrations.  This book will teach your child the value and joy of spending time with God each day.

Review: Bedtime Devotions with Jesus is a very nice children’s devotional book. It has 52 weeks of devotions – one for Monday-Saturday.  Each devotion is definitely short enough for quick Bible time, but yet allows the parent to go deeper in discussion of a particular devotional topic.  It is definitely age appropriate for 2-5 year olds.  I believe it is vital to begin devotions at infancy and this book can easily help parents with that goal.

The graphics are really quite beautiful.  They have a water-color effect and who doesn’t love teddy bears.  The size of the book is great even for children’s small hands.

Although the title says “bedtime,” this really can be an anytime book.  Bedtime Devotions with Jesus would make a wonderful gift for new parents or grandparents.  (rev. P.Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided to facilitate this review by the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review. See it here.

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The Tyndale Rewards program is a great way to get free books and Bibles that you can keep for yourself or give to friends and family. Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts here.

NOTE: You don't even have to pay shipping to receive your free books.

Friday, July 10, 2015

"This Land Is Your Land" by Catherine Ciocchi & illustrated by Cathy Morrison

Hardcover: 9781628555578, $17.95
Paperback: 9781628555660, $9.95
About the book: Take a trip around the world to discover a wide variety of Earth’s landforms and geological features through the rhythmic verse in This Land is Your Land. On the journey encounter plains, plateaus, and rolling hills. Find out how a stream can make a canyon or lava creates an archipelago. Read aloud and discover new terrain with the flip of each page.

Review: When I saw the title of "This Land Is Your Land," I immediately thought of the wonderful song by the same title. Alas, it was not in anyway connected to the song. It was, however, a great beginning book on geographic details of this wonderful World in which you and I live. Each two page spread is illustrated with youthful animated-style by Cathy Morrison showing the featured geographic typography the text describes. In a small box off to the side of each, there is further information provided.

Catherine Ciocchi has written in rhyming cadence a sweet and simple geography lesson. Kids won't even realize that they have just had a lesson geography. This is educational entertainment done well.

At the back of the book, there are several pages of additional information geared toward the child's learning more about the subject. The child can use these additional pages for learning map skills, land masses, and the causes of movement of earth. Super good information. (rev. V.Godley)

Author: Catherine Ciocchi (pronounced “Chokey”) has a degree in geology and teaches physical and earth science. Catherine has published several short stories and this is her debut picture book. She lives in New York with her husband and three sons. Visit Catherine’s website at CatherineCiocchi.com.

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 Ig nacio’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 www.cathymorrison.blogspot.com.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Primate School by Jennifer Keats Curtis

ISBN: 9781628555646, $9.95
About the book: Gorillas using iPads, lemurs finger painting, squirrel monkeys blowing bubbles...these primates are pretty smart! Could you make the grade in Primate School? Learn how diverse the primate family is, and some of the ways humans are teaching new skills to their primate cousins. Author Jennifer Keats Curtis is once again working with organizations across the country to share fun facts about primates through this photo journal.

Review: This is an interesting book packed with pictures of a plethora of primates from various parts of the World. Included in the pictures which will garner the interest of children is the story that includes bits and pieces of interesting facts about these intelligent animals.

While the pictures are excellent, the level of information and text seems a bit old for the K-3 grade child. Assuredly, with guidance, the precocious child will grasp much of the information afforded in this little book. Actually, it is a good book to have in the classroom or library at any elementary grade level because it is not a "cute" book, it is packed with information.

As usual with Arbordale books, the For Creative Minds pages at the back are packed with additional learning opportunities intended to stretch the mind and imagination of the child.

Author/illustrator: Award-winning nature author Jennifer Keats Curtis is frequently found among students and teachers, talking about literacy and conservation. In addition to Kali's Story, the Animal Helpers series, Baby Owl’s Rescue, and Turtles In My Sandbox for Arbordale, some of her other recent titles include Seahorses, Osprey Adventure and Saving Squeak: The Otter Tale. Jennifer resides in Maryland with her family and a wide variety of pets. Visit her website at www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Captain No Beard's adventures include finding A Flag for the Flying Dragon [Review & Giveaway]

Captain No Beard is now dealing with an unhappy crew and the problem of getting an appropriate flag for his ship. Unrest amongst the crew members results from little Zach not having his own job on ship. They try to find something for him, but he interferes and creates a mess. They are unhappy and something needs to be done.

Their solutions are in the form of the team learning to help and get along with each other. And they do find a flag for the ship in an unexpected source.

Bonnie Lemaire continues to illustrate the playful crew of the Flying Dragon with her signature watercolors.
Begins May 19 & ENDS June 5 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. 
 Open to USA addresses only. 
Disclosure: A complimentary copy was provided by the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer and no compensation was received for this review.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Wandering Woolly by Andrea Gabriel

32 pg, 10 x 8.5, Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
Hardcover ISBN: 9781628555585, $17.95
About the book: Little Woolly leaves her mother behind as she chases a toad down to the river. When the glacial ice breaks, she is swept away in the rumbling, rolling water. Now alone, the mammoth calf struggles to survive. She must sneak past cave lions, bears, saber-toothed cats and humans. Exhausted and afraid, she must even hide from stormy weather as she fights her way back to her herd. How can she find them? Will she ever get back?

Review: This is a fictionalized tale of a young Woolly Mammoth. These creatures are now extinct and remains have been found by archaeologists. The author/illustrator is basing this gentle Woolly tale on creature remains found and the assumption that these creatures are from the family that is related to modern elephants and that they behaved similarly to elephants.

The story is just that - a story. The "For Creative Minds" section at the back of the book - which is always a big hit - provides information on Ice Age Sequencing based on scientific thinking in some areas. Also included is a comparison of Mammoths and Elephants stating that the last woolly mammoths died 4,000 years ago. This comparison is very interesting.

The For Creative Minds section also includes information on other Extinct Ice Age Animals (some mentioned in the story) and on the Clovis People purported to be the first humans in North America. Again, all of this is very interesting information.

Wandering Woolly provides a beginning discussion point for young children being introduced to the concept of ice ages and extinct animals.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Warrior's Faith: Navy SEAL Ryan Job, A Life-Changing Firefight and The Belief That Transformed His Life, By Robert Vera

ISBN: 9781400206780
A Warrior’s Faith is a well written and thoughtful portrayal of Ryan Job’s service to the United States as a Navy Seal. Vera does a masterful job of detailing the personal consequences of Job’s service to his country and fellow Seals.  As a history teacher and a Christian, I found the storyline to be compelling and arresting.

We are introduced to Ryan Job and the author while they are on a hike sponsored by Camp Patriot for wounded veterans. The difficulty of that hike for a blind veteran is indicative of the grit of Job and his story. Throughout the book; Vera makes reference to the contrast between the biblical story of Job and the contemporary account of Ryan Job’s trials and triumphs. This comparison is done with compassion, humor, and in a very matter of fact way. Seemingly like the way Ryan Job came face to face with a radically transformed life due to the nature of his injuries.

Each of us will go through life at our own pace, but no one is totally independent. Vera explains throughout the narrative how he came along side Job, that it was a God thing, leaving a successful and apparently secure financial career. Like the disciple Peter who steps out of a boat by faith to walk with Jesus on the water, Vera stepped out by faith and walked along side Ryan Job. Vera humbly recounts the struggles of assisting a blind man and with humor sheds light on the transformation that took place in Job’s life as a result of a sniper’s bullet that found its target on a roof top in Ramadi, Iraq.

“A Warrior’s Faith” is a story of the transforming power of faith. The author of the biblical book, Hebrews, tells us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our lives are faith journeys; and Vera powerfully and personally shares his faith journey with us on the pages of his book.

Vera gives the reader  a look behind the headlines that captivate for only a moment, thus providing us with a simple, no nonsense look into the brief but important life of an American hero: Ryan Job. (reviewed by Ken Delorge, Principal, ACS)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by BookLook on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Salamander Season by Jennifer Keats Curtis, J. Adam Frederick, & Shennen Bersani

About the book: One cold, rainy, spring night, a young girl and her scientist father participate in “Salamander Night” to follow hundreds of spotted salamanders as they venture into a vernal pool to mate and lay eggs. Together, the father-child team studies the salamanders through their complete amphibian metamorphosis, culminating in the adult salamanders' disappearance into the woods in late summer. In easy-to-understand text, the girl relates the tale through her illustrated, photographic journal.

Review: This is a well-done book teaching a young child in terms and pictures they can understand the scientific life-cycle of the Spotted Salamander. Father and daughter stroll through the evening and discover yellow spotted salamanders crossing the asphalt road and going to a vernal pool.

What is a vernal pool? CLICK HERE for pictures and information. "Biological description of a vernal pool - A vernal pool, because of its periodic drying, does not support breeding populations of fish. Many organisms have evolved to use a temporary wetland which will dry but where they are not eaten by fish. These organisms are the "obligate" vernal pool species, so called because they must use a vernal pool for various parts of their life cycle. If the obligate species are using a body of water, then that water is a vernal pool. In New England, the easily recognizable obligate species are the fairy shrimp, the mole salamanders and the wood frog."
The photographs are really great as they picture the various stages of the spotted salamander. Other illustrations are done with ink and crayon. I especially like the For Creative Minds pages at the back of the book which cover "Salamander Classification," "Spotted Salamander Life Cycle Sequencing," "Salamander Nights, and "An Environmental Biologist." There is top-notch information on these pages.

Although this little book is designed for the grades K-3 or age 4-8 child, I see it being useful on into the upper elementary grades. The story is easy flowing and packed with tidbits of information that will pleasantly educate the youngster.

Highly recommend this book for its scientific pack and appeal to the child and educator.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was provided for this review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Country By Mike Berenstain

About the book: The Bear family and their Bear Country neighbors celebrate the Fourth of July with a big parade. But not before the Bear cubs get a lesson about the blessings of freedom for their country. Features 12 full-color stickers.

Review: For the small price of $4.99, you can acquire this republished Berenstain Bears book that has been beloved for years. God Bless Our Country is illustrated in the endearing Berenstain tradition that will charm the current youngsters just as it did many years ago.

The Fourth of July (Independence Day) celebration is approaching and the Berenstain Bears are making preparation to participate in their town's parade and other activities. They are learning about the history of the United States and how faith was a cornerstone in the building of this country.

I just love Berenstain Bears and this reprinting gives wonderful opportunities for children and parents to enjoy the adventures of these lovable bears.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of ZonderKidz to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Trees: A Compare and Contrast Book by Katharine Hall

Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
Hardcover ISBN: 9781628554533, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781628554618, $9.95
About the book: Trees grow in many habitats, all around the world. Some trees are short and some are tall. Some grow in hot deserts and others grow on cold mountains. Some have leaves that are broad and wide and others are short and narrow. Some trees stay green all year round while others have leaves that change color. Compare and contrast the different characteristics of trees through vibrant photographs.

Review: Trees have such an important roll in providing an atmosphere that is conducive to life here on Earth. In Trees: A Compare and Contrast Book, the author Katharine Hall provides beautiful photographic illustrations that feature the teaching points of this little children's book on Trees. She compares areas where tree roots can take hold, the difference between evergreens and deciduous, broad leaf and conifers. The reader (or listener) will even learn places where trees will grown and the one place trees do not grow. Interesting!

The "For Creative Minds" section in the back of the book provides information that further helps the reader to learn and the teacher to teach the absolute value of trees. I like this book. Well done.

DISCOLSURE: A complimentary paperback copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing  to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Animal Helpers: Raptor Centers by Jennifer Keats Curtis

Hardcover ISBN: 9781628554472, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781628554557, $9.95
Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
About the book: Even powerful birds of prey can get sick or hurt. When that happens, animal helpers at raptor centers come to the rescue! Dedicated staff treats injured, sick, and orphaned animals. They return the birds to their native environment or find forever homes at education and raptor centers for those that can’t survive in the wild. Follow along in this photographic journal as staff and volunteers come together to care for these remarkable birds.

Review: This is actually a vocation book where young children can learn about the work of being an animal helper (Veterinarian) in a Raptor Center. The need for birds of prey - raptors - to have help in order to survive is presented. The recovery of raptors from situations where they are injured and transferred to a raptor center is examined with text and illustrations.

Then the young child is asked several questions - would you clean the cage of a raptor, would you weigh a new born raptor, etc. Identification of various raptors via quality photographs is good.

As usual, Arbordale has a For Creative Minds section at the end of the book that allows further exploration into the realm of raptors. This is always a highlight of these books.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Double Cross (FBI Houston Series Book 2) by DiAnn Mills

About the book:  FBI Agent Laurel Evertson's investigation into a scam targeting the elderly takes an unexpected twist when key evidence leads her to Morton Wilmington, a felon she arrested five years ago on her first undercover assignment. That case has haunted her since, and though she's vowed to forget Wilmington--and what she sacrificed to put him away--he is now her best lead.Houston Police Officer Daniel Hilton fears his grandparents may be the scammer's next targets, and he'll do anything to protect his family--even force interagency cooperation. But he's quickly drawn to Laurel's empathy and zeal and agrees to follow her lead . . . even if it means teaming up with a felon.As the unlikely trio uncovers evidence suggesting the scam is more extensive and deadly than they imagined, both Laurel and Daniel find themselves in the crosshairs of a killer. Together they must decide if they can trust Wilmington's claims of redemption, or if he's leading them straight into a double cross.

Review: Double Cross captures the reader's attention with the involved, fast faced suspense tale where the FBI and local police work together to solve a scam that turns deadly.

This story involves undercover work with felons, charity scammers duping vulnerable senior citizens, and heroes turned bad.The depth of deception is not revealed until the final pages. A good read where Christian faith is presented as a source of strength and in a felon character who found redemption while in prison. A sweet blossoming romance is part of the story as well.

Author DiAnn Mills Website Author Facebook

DiAnn Mills talks about working with the FBI to research the FBI: Houston Series

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Tyndale Blog Network on behalf of the publisher Tyndale Fiction to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Little Gray's Great Migration by Marta Lindsey & illustrated by Andrea Gabriel

Hardcover ISBN: 9781628554526, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781628554601, $9.95
Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
About the book: Little Gray loved his lagoon and the humans who came to visit him there. One day, Mama announces that they must swim north to a far-away sea. At first he is sad to leave his home, but Little Gray soon realizes the importance of their journey.  What happens along the way and how does Little Gray help his mother? Swim along with Little Gray as he finds the way to this special, food-filled sea.

Review: People are fascinated by whales and according to the author's story-line in Little Gray's Great Migration, Gray Whales are also fascinated by people - so much so that they relish entertaining people and receiving their applause.

While entertaining, I find the story just a bit too fictional to be classified as a children's non-fiction. However, the story is cute, sweet, and will most certainly entertain and engage young children.

As usual, Arbordale Publishing has included a For Creative Minds section at the end of the book. I found this very good and informative and believe it to be this book's redeeming factor. Included are Whale Surfacing (Don't we love it when they breach?), Whale Fun Facts, A Migration Map (fascinating!), and Whale Food. This section alone is well worth the money you spend to acquire this book.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Animal Eyes by Mary Holland

Hardcover ISBN: 9781628554465, $17.95
Paperback ISBN: 9781628554540, $9.95
Ages 4-8, Grades K-3
About the book: The sense of sight helps an animal stay safe from predators, find food and shelter, defend its territory and care for its young. We can tell a lot about an animal from its eyes: whether it is predator or prey, whether it is more active during the day or night, and sometimes even its gender or age. Award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal eyes with readers of all ages.
Review: This non-fiction picture book for young school age children is "spot-on" with age-appropriate information, beautifully detailed photographs, and educational appeal. It is sure to captivate the young mind as they learn of the variety of eyes in insects, animals, and people.

Written in straight-forward prose, the child will absorb facts tucked away that teach the difference in the eyes of predators and prey animals. They will learn just what a predator and what a prey animal is. They will learn that different eyes have more eyelids than human eyes have and the purpose of these extra eyelids.

They will learn about the number of eyes creatures have and why they have more than two. Also, the positioning of the eyes and the purpose behind the positioning.

As with other publications from Arbordale, there is a For Creative Minds section in at the end of the book. This will stretch the mind of the young child and be interesting to the older reader.

This book is a real winner!

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dino Treasures by Rhonda Lucas Donald and illustrated by Cathy Morrison

ISBN: 9781628554588
About the book: Just as some people dig and look for pirate treasure, some scientists dig and look for treasures, too. These treasures may not be gold or jewels but fossils. Following in the footsteps of Dino Tracks, this sequel takes young readers into the field with paleontologists as they uncover treasured clues left by dinosaurs. Readers will follow what and how scientists have learned about dinosaurs: what they ate; how they raised their young; how they slept, fought, or even if they ever got sick. True to fashion, the tale is told through a rhythmic, fun read-aloud that can even be sung to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Review: The illustrations are striking and interesting. The artist has taken an imaginative tour of prehistoric time and fleshed it out. Perhaps too much liberty for a line of books such as Arbordale which tends to educate as well as entertain. I really like the illustrations but consider them flights of one's imagination.

The author has taken the findings of archaeological discoveries and attempted to translate them for the mind of the young child. Children do seem to be fascinated with dinosaurs and this book will certain feed that imagination.

Each two page spread focuses on a rhyme that beats well to Itsy Bitsy Spider song of the nursery. There is a lot of text in each of these. Example - "Skin Samples":
"Say, can you describe what dino skin was like?
If you said, "it's scaly," you'd be in the right.
But finding dino skin is not an easy task.
Most fossils are of bone, as skin just doesn't last.
Can you now imagine how great it must have been
to find a duckbill fossil complete with dino skin?
Plain as you can see are scales of different size,
which makes this fossil find a rare and special prize." 
At the back of the book there is a section For Creative Minds. The difference between a Biologist and Palentologist is examined. Ways to read clues in body and trace fossils are presented.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Ride by Kayla Davidson and illustrated by Kim Felts

About the book: Learning to ride a bicycle is a risky challenge for Olivia. She avoids this risk and even turns down ice cream, her favorite snack. What will encourage Olivia to overcome her fear and take a chance?

The Ride gives children hope and understanding. Regardless of the size of the task or regardless of the person's age, gaining strength and courage from the Lord is only a prayer away.

In this, her second book, Kayla Davidson creates a fun, playful way to teach children how to include God in their everyday lives.

Review: The Ride is a story of how a young girl overcomes her fear of riding her bike without her training wheels by relying of God. The encouragement of her supportive mother, the lure of a trip to the ice cream parlor, and the use of prayer help Olivia overcome her fear.

While the story is sweet and I always love a story where one’s trust in God is encouraged, I found the lovely art a bit off with the story. The child using the training wheels is pictured as a school age girl who appears older than one would expect a child to be who uses training wheels. But this is just my opinion.

The illustrations are lovely. The story is sweet. The lesson learned wonderful!  “I can do all things with Christ.”

DISCLOSURE: The author provided a complimentary copy in exchange for our review. No compensation was received and opinions are those of the reviewer.

Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews & illustrated by Colleen Madden

About the book: From the author ofThe Kid Who Changed the World, this hilarious rhyming story, complete with charming art, offers comfort to children who often feel left out or are in need of a good friend.

At some point, almost every child struggles with feeling like they don't fit in or are left out just like Henry Hodges. Henry is a lonely little boy on a lonely little street who longs for a friend. One day, his mother and father take him to a pet rescue shelter and his lonely world is changed! Told in a playful rhyme with adorable illustrations, this book will be a favorite among children and parents who love dogs and, ultimately, will comfort and encourage children who struggle with feeling accepted and finding friends.

Review: I think the illustrations of Henry Hodges Needs a Friend a "spot on" bringing vivid coloring, whimsical expressions, and child-friendly creatures to enhance the story. Written in rhyme, Henry's search for a special friend explores Henry's imagination of just what a "One-of-a-kind" friend (think pet) would be like.

A figure-skating hippo
Would really be nice.
But he'd eat way too much
And break through the ice.

Henry and his parents go to a shelter and find a cute dog to be Henry's friend. The end of the book reveals that a one-of-a-kind friend is "YOU" and that is what your friends need. The book teaches that each friend is unique and you need to be a friend to someone.

I enjoyed this children's book think that families that enjoy pets would find it a treat to read.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the BookLook Blogging program on behalf of the publisher Tommy Nelson a Division of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Monster Needs a Party (A Monster & Me™ book) by Paul Czajak – illustrations by Wendy Grieb

ISBN: 978-1-938063-55-8
Hardcover - $16.95
About the book:  A Monster & Me Book – That time of year is finally here: Monster’s birthday has arrived!  With pirates, prizes, and playful rhyme, this story is sure to surprise readers until the very last page.

Review: This is a really, really fun book and the second one I have read in the Monster & Me series.  I will not hesitate to read any future editions.  The rhyming pattern to the story is so easy to read and the illustrations are wonderful

It’s Monster’s birthday and he wants to have a pirate party with all his friends, but it seems that no one can attend.  Monster is very sad, so his friend offers to take him to Pirateland in hopes this will make him glad.  Monster says,”Okay, I’ll go” but doesn’t really expect to have much fun, you know.  But he was greatly surprised at all the fun games and rides!  When it was time to go home, Monster was no longer glum and walked into a birthday surprise.  All his friends did come to his birthday party and Monster had the best birthday ever.

Paul Czajak never disappoints with his illustrations and rhyming story. Fun, cheerful, and appealing in a monstrously delightful way.

If you have a chance to read this book, you’ll have fun too! (reviewed by P.Howard)
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.