Friday, November 18, 2016

Book Review: A Hanukkah with Mazel by Joel Edward Stein, Illustrated by Elisa Vavouri

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Misha has a great skill of painting, although not many people in his town can afford his paintings. He lives off potatoes he grows in his garden and milk from his cow. One day an adorable cat finds her way into his barn and snuggles up beside his cow Klara. Klara doesn't mind at all. Misha finds the cat in the barn and immediately takes her in. He names her Mazel since he thinks the cat is lucky to find him. He doesn't have much food to share with her but he finds a way to spare some potatoes and milk. One day an unexpected visitor comes to Misha's house and solves many problems for both Misha and Mazel.

To me this book does a great job of showing how a person can celebrate Hanukkah with animals and that they make the time less lonely for them. It also shows that a Hanukkah meal can be created from just potatoes, salt, pepper, and oil. I like that the book teaches about how a poor person can give out of what little he/she has. It also shows that when people give without expecting anything in return they can be blessed beyond what they can ever imagine.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of providing an honest and unbiased review.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Review: Potatoes at Turtle Rock by Susan Schnur and Anna Schnur-Fishman, Illustrated by Alex Steele-Morgan

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

It is snowing on Hanukkah so Annie and her family follow their tradition of celebrating it in the woods. Annie plans four stops in which they are supposed to end up at Turtle Rock. While they are on their journey, Annie tells her family how Great-Grandpop's mom kept him warm during the really cold winters in the putting hot potatoes in his pockets! Annie brought some hot potatoes and she and her family puts them in their pockets, which seems to keep them warm. They continue their journey with the hot potatoes in their pockets and tell some riddles and name what really scares them. They now seem not to be focused on how cold it is, probably because of the warmth of the hot potatoes! They remember that didn't bring a menorah and find a way to create one with what they have!

This book brings an interesting idea of using hot potatoes to celebrate Hanukkah during a cold journey. Children will be able to imagine that hot potatoes will keep bodies warmer if their bodies are cold and the potatoes are hot. This story might also show children how important it is for some families to include their pets during Hanukkah.

There were some Hebrew words in italics that are used in which I believe will be helpful for children listening to the story to learn. I wish that there was a glossary in the back of the book so that children that only know English could be taught what they mean; teachers that know what those words mean could bring their English definitions into the story while reading though.

I think this book does a good job of showing about an idea of how to celebrate Hanukkah and maybe children that hear this story can be asked to share how their families celebrate Hanukkah also.

My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of providing an honest and unbiased review.

Ages: 5-9
Grades: K-3

Friday, November 11, 2016

Book Review: Jesus Always by Sarah Young

Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence is a book of 365 devotions, for each day of the year. The devotions are worded as if Jesus (Yeshua) is speaking directly to the readers, while including words from Scripture in italics. There are Scripture verses at the end of each devotion that usually apply to the words in italics. The devotions help Jesus' followers to be able see that Jesus is with them always when they have God's holy spirit inside of them. Readers will come across different themes related to Scripture and are encouraged to pray at various times while reading the devotions.

Sometimes I really believed the words (or the main themes) I was reading in this devotion came directly from the heart of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I started out highlighting what I thought Jesus was trying to get across to me and ended up highlighting a good portion of the book. So, it's possible that this book was like a continuous letter from God that I was supposed to read. I noticed the "joy" theme many times in this book. Another theme that stuck out at me is how God takes our right hand and helps us (Isaiah 41:13). This book helped deepen me more spiritually in those areas.

This is probably going to be a keepsake book for some people that hear deep spiritual insights into their lives through it.

My review- 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Book Review: Hanukkah Delight by Leslea Newman, Illustrated by Amy Husband

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.
Hanukkah Delight is another great addition to the Very First Board Book series for young learners!   It is a short book that gives the basics of Hanukkah, such as what to do around the Hanukkah candles, food that is eaten, a popular game that is played, and the giving of gifts.

I like how the book taught that the blessings the people in the book recited were ancient blessings. I also like how the menorah was placed on a table around food, which showed me the characters were celebrating a special Hanukkah meal. I especially like that the characters in the book looked happy to be together, which should show children that Hanukkah is supposed to be a joyous time.

I think a lot of children will like that the friends and neighbors in the book are different kinds of animals dressed up like people. Their teacher or parents can even teach them about what kind of animals each of them are. It is a plus that this book is hardback because the entire book is hardback (including the pages within it) and should hold up longer.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.

Ages: 1-4
Grades: PreK

Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Review: Everything Beautiful Coloring Book

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

This coloring book can be colored by both adults and children. To me it looks like it was designed more for adults though. There are a lot of beautiful pictures to color throughout it of nature, animals, decorations, historic sites, etc. On the page beside the drawings there is a quote either from the Bible, a person, or a publication. There is also a quote from the Bible or a person within each drawing. I counted 45 illustrations to color.

I colored some of the pictures in this book with gel pens, gel crayons, and markers. All three worked well in this coloring book. To me the paper seems pretty thick. The markers were the ones that bleed a little bit through the paper in spots. I can see some of the color of the gel pens through one of the pictures, although it doesn't look like they bled through. I cannot see the gel crayons on the other side of the paper at all.

I enjoyed coloring some of the pictures that included a Bible passage within them. The pictures had a lot more meaning to me when they included that. For instance, "He will come to us like the winter rains" is written within an illustration of the sunshine shining from the clouds on a river, lake, or ocean of water while it is raining. Hosea 6:3 is written under the words. Because a lot of these illustrations focus so much on scripture, I believe that they can be used as illustrations in Sabbath school for children and possibly adults.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

More information about the book:

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book Review: The Adventures of Bubba Jones by Jeff Alt, Illustrated by Hannah Tuohy

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Bubba Jones and family embark on an adventure through Shenandoah National Park, although some parts of the park they knew about aren't in existence yet. They learned to decode messages to help them find their way through the journey, which they will need because of the secret messages they receive. The book goes into the facts of the park in history and brings into the story past famous people associated with their journey. There are discussion questions in the back of the book for each chapter, so that when reading different chapters listeners can be tested about what was learned.

I enjoyed this book because of the subject of journeying. I liked that Bubba and his family seemed to bond pretty well during this trip and they learned many important facts together while on their journey. They showed me how important is was for them to learn how to decode important messages to help them find their way. They also showed me that there is a lot of history for Shenandoah National Park.

I like that this book can be used with different subjects of education, such as Social Studies, Science, and Math. There is a section in the back of the book that goes into detail about what areas of each subject it can be used with. In my opinion, the illustrations really open up the story more and help visualize what the adventures were like.

I'm excited about this National Park Series for children that will help them to learn about the history associated with national parks!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Book Blog Tour: Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

Finn McGregor is taking a vocational break and is staying in a cabin in St. Louis for awhile to help clear his head. He thinks that it is a secluded place until he hears someone screaming in another cabin near him. He discovers that beautiful Dana Lewis is behind those screams when he has to break into her cabin. He also discovers that she is not in any danger though and he has to convince her that he was only trying to help her if she was really in trouble. It takes some time to show her he is actually a good guy. He is determined to learn what is behind the screaming that she went through in her dreams and has to find a way to break it to her that he did some research on her due to his curiosity, and he found much more than he hoped to learn. That could either help him in hopefully having a relationship with Dana, or hurt his chances.

This is another novel by Irene Hannon that kept me interested until the end. The suspense took a much different turn to me than I remember her other novels because the horror followed Dana because of where she lived. There seemed more of an interest in where she lived versus just going after her as a person. It was her place of peacefulness after going through some trauma in the past, which was hard for her to want to give up. The beginning pages show the reason behind one person's interest in her property but it was harder for me to understand anybody else's interest.

It seemed like Finn and Dana were able to come together based on their pasts, where they were when they met, and the events that happened that had them cross each other's paths. I believe God is really deeply involved in untangling all the webs in this story (in a fictional way that shows what he can do in real life also)!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of writing an honest and unbiased review.