Thursday, February 4, 2016

Jesus Heals a Little Boy: A Miracle at Capernaum


Jesus Heals a Little Boy: A Miracle at Capernaum, by Rev. Jim Reimann, is the retelling of the Biblical story of Jesus healing a young boy in Capernaum. In just a few short pages, Reimann relates the events that took place there. The story references John 4:46-54 of the Bible.

The pencil illustrations by Hayim Roitblat Otsarya are very colorful and expressive.

What I Like: I really like the illustrations.

What I Dislike: The text is written of rhyme. Many of you know I am not a big fan of rhyming picture books because it’s so hard to write in rhyme and do it well. Although the ends of the lines in the text do rhyme, the rhythm is forced as the author tries to squeeze too many syllables into some of the sentences just so the end words rhyme.

Overall Rating: Ho hum.

Age Appeal: I’d say 4-8 would be the appropriate age group for this book, as the story is quite short. However, some of the vocabulary is over and above that normally used for this age group.

Publisher Info: Intelecty, 2014; ISBN: 9789657607220; Paperback, $5.99.

 

Special Info: Visit the author’s website. Read our reviews of other bookswritten by Jim Reimann.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

God and Me

God and Me by Penny Boshoff is a daily devotional written for toddler/preschool aged children.  There is a devotional for every day of the year.  Each devotional contains an applicable title,  short message, recommended Bible passage for further study and a prayer for the day.   The devotional is designed to be read with toddlers or young preschoolers.    Each day's devotional is very short which is ideal for the attention span of this target audience.

If you are looking for an engaging way to introduce your child to the Bible and Christian principles at a very young age, then this is the devotional for you!  The content and photographs are not gender specific and will interest both boys and girls.  I read this devotional with my three year old daughter and my four year old son and they were both equally engaged.

What I Like: I liked the variety of topics that were covered in this devotional. With titles such as "Twins,"  "Waiting Patiently," "Cats," "A Hungry Tummy," and more, my children learned about many different topics and Biblical principles.

I also loved the photographs on each page.  They featured real children (similar to those seen on the cover.)  Little children love to look at pictures of other children and babies.  The photographs also directly related to the day's message.  I think that it helped my little ones have a better understanding.

What I Dislike:  There was not much that I didn't like about this devotional.  However, I think there are some families that will not like the prepared "Prayer for today" written at the end of each devotional.  Many Christian families try to teach their young children to pray from their hearts more authentically and not to use another person's words.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Toddler/Preschool
 
Publisher Info: Tommy Nelson Publishing 2013; ISBN:978-1-4003-2394-4;  Hardcover Devotional, 379 pages, $19.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $14.99

Or  Buy it at Amazon.com for $16.38



Monday, February 1, 2016

The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for LIttle Ones

For Berenstain Bears lovers everywhere comes a storybook Bible for toddlers. The thick-covered Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Little Ones is a sturdy board book that highlights eight stories from the Bible: Creation, Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, The Birth of Jesus, The Good Samaritan, Palm Sunday, and the Resurrection. In true bear fashion, all the characters are portrayed as bears, including Jesus.

What I Like: I love the Berenstain Bears, so of course this book appeals to me. Seeing Biblical characters in bear-form is interesting.

 What I Dislike: For me, there is a disconnect between the format and the text. The text is geared for preschoolers through age 8, but boardbooks are typically intended for the toddler age group. In addition, some of the stories had major gaps; however, parents willing to expand on the story can easily fill in the missing details.

 Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: ages 4-8

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2015; ISBN: 978-0310749417; Boardbook or Kindle, 30 pgs., $9.99
Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $7.49
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $7.86 or buy the Kindle version for $4.99.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Trouble at Silver Pines Inn

Trouble at Silver Pines Inn, written by Gloria Repp is a Christian mystery novel for children ages 9-12.  The main character, Nick encounters mystery and adventure while working with his mother and brother at his aunt's beach side inn.  Nick meets a variety of interesting guests at the inn and also needs to take care of his grouchy grandfather.

Readers will love that the story is told from Nick's point of view.  They get to join him as he shares his faith and belief in Jesus Christ with others.   It is fun to travel with Nick as he solves mysteries in the inn, learns about the Jersey shore, makes new friends and encounters disaster!

What I Like: As a 5th grade teacher in a Christian school, I am always on the lookout for quality Christian literature for this age level. I truly loved this book!  It was exciting and suspenseful.  The characters were truly realistic and will remind the children of people in their own lives.

The author also truly did her research!  She wrote detailed descriptions of the setting and animals of the region. There was also scientific information included within the story line about why kites fly.  Best of all the author includes scripture and Biblical principles.
 
What I Dislike: There was nothing about the story or the writing that I disliked. However, I didn't think that the illustrations did the story justice.  The drawings are black and white and not as beautiful as the descriptions in the story.

Overall Rating: Very Good


Age Appeal: 9-12
 
Publisher Info: JourneyForth BJU Press 1998; ISBN:978-1-57924-000-4;  Paperback chapter book, 149 pages, $8.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $8.19

Or  Buy it at Amazon.com for $8.99

Special Info: Teachers and Homeschooling Moms should be aware that a Trouble at Silver Pines Inn Teacher's Guide is available for $23.89.  I use this guide when I read this novel with my students.  I find it extremely helpful.  It provides a verse to apply to each chapter and worksheets, activities and science experiments.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Story of An Ordinary Lion

In The Story of an Ordinary Lion, by Janet Doolaege, Leo is a lion living in the desert. One day, after suffering a thorn stuck in his paw, a winged lion comes to him in a vision and tells him to go to a nearby monastery. There he will be well cared for.

Leo limps his way to the monastery where he is met with fear and amazement by everyone except Father Jerome. Father Jerome removes the thorn and tells Leo he can stay as long as he likes.

Leo’s paw heals quickly. He decides he likes it at the monastery and has no real wish to leave. He is given the task of guarding Rebecca, the donkey, when she is out hauling firewood for the monks. When Rebecca comes up missing, Leo is accused of killing her and eating her. He is, after all, a lion. But he didn’t do it. How can he convince the monks that he’s innocent?

Only a few colored pictures by Paolo Santoro are scattered through the text, but they are all nicely done.

What I Like: I really like the illustrations. I also like the main theme of the story, that no one and nobody is really ordinary.

What I Dislike: However, having said that, I must point out that the author tries to cover many themes in the story. He mentions the importance of accuracy when translating scriptures, forgiveness, and friendship. He also throws in the idea of logic, winged lions and angels. While all of these are good topics and themes, they just seem like too much to deal with in the same book, especially for children.

Also, the author uses the word “caravanserai” in the text, but that word is never defined. I don’t know what it means. Do you?

And, she uses the phrase “…we ran hell for leather…” which doesn’t seem very appropriate for a book of this nature.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 6-12.

Publisher Info: New Generation Publishing, 2014; ISBN: 9781785070242; Paperback, 112 pages, $11.99.

The Kindle version is also available for $2.99.


Monday, January 18, 2016

God Made Polliwogs and Puppy Dogs

Young children will enjoy learning all about animal babies in Dandi Daley Mackall’s book God Made Polliwogs and Puppy Dogs. The book starts with a portion of scripture—Psalm 68:6, “God sets the lonely in families…” This snippet is framed by a family tigers, a puppy, and tadpoles. After that, each two-page spread shows frolicking animals. The rhyming, large-print text is placed one or two lines per page, and introduces the reader to various animal babies. From piglets to joeys and cygnets to keet, each animal is named and then illustrated in cute, cartoon-like fashion by illustrator Janet Samuel. After seeing a multitude of animal babies, the author focuses on a human family, reinforcing the idea that “God sure loves those babies.” The book ends with a prayer thanking God for creating all families.

What I Like: The book is fast-paced, and the rhyming meter works, making it fun to read aloud.

What I Dislike: I love the idea of pairing the book idea with Scripture, but it seems awkward to me to take only a portion of the verse to make it apply. The rest of that verse that is not printed is “he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Ages 2-5 years

Publisher Info: Harvest House Publishers, 2015; ISBN: 978-0736958738; Hardcover, 32 pgs., $12.99
Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $8.99
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $9.26.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Duney

Duney, written by K. Wendt, is an adaptation of the Biblical story of David and Goliath. In this version, Duney has to stay on the beach and watch over the sand dollars while his brothers go to Sand Village off to fight the Hermits. The Hermits want to take over the village.

During a break from his duties, Duney takes food to his brothers. While he’s there, Captain Hermy, the leader of the Hermits, issues a challenge: “If I fight one of you and win I get everything; if I lose, then I’ll go away and leave you alone.”

Duney decides to fight the Hermit. He defeats him with a stone shot from his sling shot. When their leader dies, the rest of the Hermits leave and the village is saved.

What I Like: It’s always interesting to read adaptations of well-known stories. This one was certainly different from any other version of David and Goliath I have ever read.

What I Dislike: I don’t like the illustrations. They are very cartoonish and they don’t add to the value of the story (in my opinion). In fact, I’m not sure what Duney and his brothers are even supposed to be. It’s pretty easy to tell the Hermits are crabs, but Duney and his brothers look like smiley faces without bodies. They look very strange.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: No age group is given, but I’d say 4-8 would be the an appropriate age group.

Publisher Info: Westbow Press, 2014; ISBN: 9781490839349; Paperback, $15.95.