Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review: Purim is Coming by Tracy Newman, Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

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

A family is getting ready for Purim...they make cookies and fill baskets with that and other treats. When Purim starts the children dress up, parade around, and play a carnival game. Their family attends a congregation service while making noises with groggers and have a party!

This book shows that Purim can be fun not just for children but for adults too, with how they helped the children to make cookies, were involved in the congregation service, and were a part of the party. The Purim party seemed to have brought together many of the elements of how the family prepared for it: the cookies that were made were used, the children wore their costumes they dressed up in, and there were balloons like there were during the carnival game.

This is a fun book and another great Very First Board Book edition!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0827-0
  • 12 Pages
  • 6 1/2 x 6 1/2
  • Full-Color Illustrations

  • Ages: 1-4
    Grades: PreK

    Monday, January 30, 2017

    Book Review: Talia and the Haman-tushies by Linda Elovitz Marshall, Illustrated by Francesca Assirelli

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

    Talia is at her grandmother's house helping her to bake cookies for Purim. The cookies are called Hamantaschen but it sounds like Haman-tushies to Talia. As they make the cookies, Talia's grandmother tells her the story of Purim. The illustrations in the story flip back between the story her grandmother is telling with italics to Talia listening to her grandmother tell the story while making the cookies, in the font the story started with. Her grandmother tells her how to pronounce "Hamantaschen" and tells her the meaning of "taschen", which gives more meaning to the cookies they are making.

    I liked how the story flipped back between the story her grandmother was telling and going back to what Talia and her grandmother were doing. That should help children to remember that Talia and her grandmother were making cookies while she was telling the story. The story only brought out certain points of Purim and left out some important points, like Esther being afraid to tell the king she was Jewish, but that may not be important for children to learn yet at the ages this story is made for. I am glad there is a recipe for making Hamantaschen in the back of the book also. I think it would be fun for children to help make the cookies with their parents, grandparents, or with their teachers and classmates.

    My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

    I received this book free from for the purpose of reviewing it.

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    Audio Book Review: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

    Olivia Rawlings is hired to be a baker. She came from the Emerson Club in Boston, where disaster occurred. She has been hired to win a pie contest, which she just might have a good chance at since she is an expert at baking desserts. Her boss seems to be much different than what she is used to, after all she did make Olivia bake something pretty much on the spot as part of her interview. She seems to quickly bond with all the new people in her life. There is a man that seems to be interested in her, although she is concerned it will not be wise to be in a relationship with him since they work together. So far he is the only man that treats her like other men haven't and she thinks there is something different about him...but is there really?

    This audio book was in the voice of Olivia. She mimics other characters voices throughout the book. I liked how Olivia was able to start fresh with a new position after experiencing such a disappointing setback with her other one. Since I do a lot of cooking with my job, the topic of baking interested me throughout the book and I felt connected to the story a lot. I liked how the wording was very descriptive throughout the book, which helped me to imagine better what the settings and people were like. I connected better with Oliva's character during the first part of the book.

    This audio book was hard to listen to at times because there are some bad words / language (what I consider cussing) in some places on this audio book, which I wasn't expecting. Some of the descriptive language was also hard for me to bear.

    My review = 3 out of 5 stars

    I received this audio book free from Blogging for Books for the purpose of reviewing it.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    Adult Coloring Book Review: Jesus Calling : Creative Coloring and Hand Lettering by Sarah Young

    This is an interesting coloring book that brings together quotes from the Bible and from the Jesus Calling devotional. As you color the detailed drawings of animals, flowers, water, church, designs, any other kinds of drawings, you will have the opportunity to be encouraged through Bible verses and inspirational messages. There are also ways to learn hand lettering, such as at the back of the book there is a page you can trace upper and lowercase lettering, and with the lettering of the Bible verses and messages given throughout the book, they use different kinds of lettering along with normal black lettering that is already filled in. The pages with lettering are on the opposite side of the drawings; some of the lettering pages contain drawings with the lettering also (on the top and/or bottom for instance).

    This coloring book contains illustrations that can be used with many different colors, depending on how much color one can imagine in the illustrations. I colored flowers different colors (for instance on one of the flowers I colored the leaves one shade of purple and the inside of the flower a different shade of purple) and also with different shades of green (for the stems and leaves). Most of the illustrations are so detailed, such as with the illustrations of birds which are often so detailed that their beak, feet, wings, and feathers can all be colored different colors.

    I used markers, gel pens, water soluble colored pencils and regular colored pencils in this coloring book. The markers bled through some of the drawing I used them on a little bit (the paper seems pretty thick to me). The gel pens didn't bleed through any of the paper that I noticed. The water soluble colored pencils glided on smoother than the regular colored pencils and in my opinion were easier to color with (didn't take me as long to color with).  I am happy with the way that all coloring utensils worked on the drawings and paper in this coloring book!

    This book would be great to be given as a gift. There is a page where someone can fill in "To", "From", and the "Date" it is given.

    My review = 5 out of 5 stars

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


    Sunday, January 22, 2017

    Bible Review: NIV Holy Bible for Girls : Journal Edition from Zondervan

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

    This NIV Holy Bible for Girls: Journal Edition is hard bound and contains a turquoise design that a lot of girls would probably like. There is enough room on the sides of each page to write notes beside the Scriptures. It starts out with a "Presented" page if the Bible is going to be given to someone and lists who it will be given to, given by, the date it is presented on; that page can be used for someone who obtained it on their own to write their name. The Table of Contents can be found on the next page followed by the Alphabetical Order of the Books of the Bible and the Preface. From there the Bible text starts and continues through without commentary. There are notes at the bottom of each page to point out important references to Hebrew terms, Hebrew text information, and other important information. This Bible simply ends with a Table of Weights and Measures right after Scripture. It also contains a beautiful light turquoise ribbon marker and also an elastic closure.

    I read through the books of Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and James and wrote some notes of Scriptures that popped out at me. I also used it while I was reading through a devotion book that concentrated on hope. I found a lot of places in Scripture that focused on hope and wrote notes along the sides of the pages. Using this Bible for that showed me through some of the Scriptures that nobody can define hope for me but God himself, and that I should just try to concentrate on hope that the Holy Spirit shows is available for me that will not disappoint me.

    The Scripture text is kind of small to me but I think it might be that way to make up for the extra spaces the journal lines take up. If I write thin enough on the journal lines they can be doubled up. The lines can also be used to draw something that helps relate to the Scriptures, can be used as a diary, lists can be created to help with  my spiritual walk, plus for various other uses.

    The features that most people will find the most useful are probably the extra space beside Scripture to take notes and the notes at the bottom of the Scripture pages.

    My review= 5 out of 5 stars

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

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Book Review: The Story: 365 Devotions from Zondervan

    "The Story" is described as book of 365 Devotions, but there are actually 366 devotions in this book (the extra devotion is a bonus, at least it is for me). The devotions do not have dates on them, so it can be started at any time of the year. It numbers the devotions from 1 to 366, has a title for each devotion, a main Scripture verse for each devotion, contains an encouraging devotion related to Scripture, and gives readers something to think about in closing each devotion, which sometimes include how you might want to pray, an insight, or words of encouragement.  The Scripture verses are in order as they appear in most Bibles, with the exception of at least one main verse I remember reading that I think was included to help with the topic of other another Scripture like it on another day. There is an appendix in the back of the book to go deeper into "The Story", and a notes section that highlights important notes throughout the book.

    I like the format of this devotion book because of its orderly fashion with the Scriptures. The Scriptures written out often did not give the whole amount of passages for the verses given, so that was an encouragement for me to look up the whole section of Scripture and sometimes what was around it in my Bible. It also showed me in a different way than I already knew that the Old Testament is much larger than the New Testament because there were more devotions that applied to the Old Testament; only a little over one hundred and twenty of them come from the New Testament.

    What personally got the most of my attention in this devotion book was learning that Paul and Silas sang hymns (based on Acts 16:25), which I had mostly given up on in the past and replaced it with more modern songs. I have had the hymns back in my life for a short amount of time but still find myself enjoying more modern songs that apply to the ancient Scriptures sometimes also. So I am glad for learning about a verse that applies to people in the ancient days singing hymns.

    This is definitely a type of devotion that can be started at any time of the year. If you need to skip a day or want to read more than one devotion a day you can just pick up where you left off.

    My review = 5 out of 5 stars

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    CD Review: Junie B Jones: First Ever Musical Edition! with First Grade At Last by Barbara Park

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

    The Junie B. Jones: First Ever Musical Edition! contains the story First Grader at Last and 15 songs from Junie B. Jones the Musical.

    First Grader at Last is read from Junie B. Jones' point of view.  First grade sure is different for Junie; a friend of Junie's is acting much differently than she did last year. Even though her world seems like it has taken a turn of the worst through various disappointments, Junie is faced with some new experiences that didn't happen the previous year. Junie writes about her experiences in a journal.

    I think this audio book will be fun for children to listen to. I also think that first grade is probably too soon for most children to know how to write sentences in a journal like Junie does but things might have changed since I was kid. I like how the use of a journal is used in the story though to help readers see it from Junie's point of view. I like how Junie's voice sounds; in my opinion, it has a lot of animation in it.

    Junie B. Jones the Musical sounds like a live musical to me. It is full of funny, energizing songs about Junie B. Jones and her life. Junie's voice sounds very animated in the songs on this CD also. It didn't seem to me like many of the songs came from the First Grader At Last CD so I think it must be a compilation of many of the different Junie B. Jones stories.

    My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

    I received this CD book / musical free for the purpose of reviewing it.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2017

    Book Review: Watch by Rick James

    Watch is book to help people wake up from their spiritual sleep.  It will help people to see how and why our world is fast asleep spiritually through different topics that apply to modern life. Some of the chapters titles are: Sensory Data, Sleepless Cities, Psychedelic, Homeland, Speak Now, etc. There are examples given from the author's experiences, other people's experiences, information from books, news stories, etc. It will help people understand better how to get past the awkwardness of living a spiritual life that are different than the norm. It highlights a lot of areas that are relevant to any era.

    I liked the Scripture examples of being spiritually and physically asleep in this book; I believe I connected to the topic of being spiritually asleep well. I was hoping for some more ancient examples of how to come out of sleepfulness, and how they can be applied to today's times though and found myself getting lost in the various modern examples given.

    I found myself interested in the "Why I Hate Community" points section in Chapter 4, since spiritual community has been a hard thing for me to get connected to pretty much my whole life. I liked that even though the author had some important reasons why he doesn't like community, that it seemed to help him spiritually to get over the uncomfortableness and experience community in spite of them. That is an encouragement to me to help me get over the uncomfortableness I often feel regarding congregation / spiritual community.

    In my opinion, this book does a great job of showing how a lot of the world is fast asleep, but I really didn't connect with anything about how to become and stay awake spiritually. I loved learning that demonic (impure spirits) look for places to rest (based on Matthew 12:43-45), and it helped me think about how I should be on the watch for ways demonic spirits may try to come into my life, and to bring that to God when it happens so he can drive them away.

    I felt like this book has a humorous tone, which will help people that like humor to find some truth in humorous ways, although I think the book did have a serious tone at times as well.

    My review= 3 out of 5 stars

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

    Monday, January 2, 2017

    Book Review: A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada

    A Spectacle of Glory : God's Light Shining Through Me Every Day is filled with 365 devotions, one for each day of the year. Each devotion contains a portion of Scripture to focus on, sometimes it contains one verse and sometimes more. There is also a prayer at the end of each devotion that is often said in the tense of author Joni Eareckson Tada, but can be applied to each individual reader's life. There are also footnotes at the bottom of some of the devotions that list other Scripture verses as they are brought into the devotions. Joni often uses examples of what she has endured in her life to help people find a lot of hope, encouragement, and truth through their circumstances. She also sometimes uses examples of other well known people to show a spiritual example or truth.

    I felt a calm tone while reading through this devotional book. I often looked forward to pulling it out because the devotions often focused on one portion of Scripture at a time. I sometimes made notes in my Bible about verses related to hope, which I like to be reminded of when reading Scripture. Some of the devotions made me realize that no matter what life's circumstances I need to try harder to help people through their difficulties even when I'm going through my own. I often said the prayers listed at the end of devotions at night and my spirit often felt calmer. I also felt some spiritual excitement as a result of praying some of them, hoping God might answer what I was praying for. This devotion book has helped me to understand just how important it is to find time to connect with Jesus (Yeshua) every day, no matter what could distract me from doing so; I became encouraged to bust through the distractions that want my time, and find time to connect with Him each day.

    My review= 5 out of 5 stars

    I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.