Friday, February 12, 2016

Hooked on the Book

Hooked On The Book: Patrick's Adventures Through the Books of the Bible (Morgan James Kids) by Liz and Jack Hagler is a chock full of great information put in a kid friendly way to give children a great overview of what is contained in each book of the Bible.

Each large comic strip styled page of this 96 page book gives a fantastic overview of each book of the Bible along with little tidbits and great connections to give kids not only a book by book view but the overall thread that starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation.

The book is broken into chapters to give logical places to stop to keep children (and adults) from being overwhelmed by all of the content

I do not usually like busy pages in kids books, but the busyness of the pages in this book works.  So much information is given concerning each book of the Bible, I think the authors chose the best format to present it.

What I Like: As a homeschool mom, I try to teach both of my children the same information as much as possible. I was able to read this book to both of my children (ages 4 and 8), and they were both equally engaged.

I also really liked the illustrations. They appear to be hand drawn but they really work with the style of this book. Some of the information has been cleverly inserted into the illustrations, which kept me looking at the pages long after I had read the actual words.

What I Dislike: I really liked this book.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 6-12 years old

Publisher Info: Hagler Publishing, 2011; ISBN: 978-0-615-46549-4; hardcover, 96 pgs., $19.95

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Big Book of Bible Stories

My Big Book of Bible Stories: Bible Stories! Rhyming Fun! Timeless Truth for Everyone! by Phil A. Smouse is a fun way to introduce your young ones to Bible stories.

The Bible stories are all written in a rhyming fashion which, as the back cover suggests, "sound a lot like Dr. Seuss!" By finding creative ways to rhyme words and with the use of nonsensical words, the author has brought a new way to teach these accounts to children.

What I Like: I really enjoyed the formation of the rhymes. It has been great to read these to my children and see them smile just as widely as me as the words used to make the rhymes complete.

The illustrations are simple, colorful, and cartoon-like which perfectly matches the Dr. Seuss style of writing.

What I Dislike: I wish the stories had been left in chronological order. While it starts out with "Creation" and "Adam and Eve", it then jumps to "Daniel and the Lions" and back to "David and Goliath."

One of my main goals in teaching my children God's Word is to develop a deep respect for the Bible and the Heroes of the Faith inside. I personally felt that some of the approaches to the characters were too light-hearted for my taste (I am not a super uptight person). I understand that some of this was due to the need to make the verse rhyme.

Overall Rating: Very good

Age Appeal: 3-8 years old

Publisher Info: Barbour Books, 2011; ISBN: 9781607428947; e-book, 256 pgs., $14.99

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Play- Along Bible

My almost four year old daughter Ella loved the Play-Along Bible!  

Before we even had a chance to read it to her, my daughter loved looking at it on her own during her "nap" time in her bed.  The colorful and kid-friendly illustrations invited her into this hardcover storybook. There were 50 carefully chosen stories from both the Old and New Testament that each had a beautiful drawing to accompany it.

At bedtime, my husband always reads to my daughter.  She has several different Bibles and devotionals that we have used.   What was different about this book was the multi-sensory approach.  Each story had motions that the parent models as they are reading to encourage the child to participate with during the story. 

For example, while reading the story of Noah, in parentheses the book guides the parent by telling them when to encourage the child to make motions. They suggest the reader make animal noises, slap their hands on their legs to mimic the sound of the rain coming down, pretend they are hammering like Noah building the ark and more!

What I Like: I like how this Bible storybook will hit more than one of your child's senses when reading this book.  Not all children learn the same.  Some are visual learners and will learn best through looking at the pictures.  Some are auditory learners and will learn best through hearing the story read to them.   These two types of learners can have their needs met through most Bible storybooks.  I liked how this Bible storybook meets the needs of the kinaesthetic learner who learns best through movement.  These learners are often left out with traditional storybooks.  This book would not disappoint. It is a great way to enhance a child's understanding of God's Word at a young age.
What I Dislike:  Nothing
Overall Rating: Excellent
Age Appeal: 3-6 years old
Publisher Info: Tyndale Kids,  2015;  ISBN: 978-1-4964-0864-8 ; Hardcover, 104 pgs.,  $12.99

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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

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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 for $7.49
OR Buy it at 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 for $8.19

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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.