Wednesday, May 20, 2015

FaithGirlz Big Book of Quizzes: Fun, Quirky Questions for You and Your Friends

If you’re a teenage girl and you like to take those quizzes you often find in teen magazines, then this is just the book for you. The editors of FaithGirlz have created FaithGirlz Big Book of Quizzes: Fun, Quirky Questions for You andYour Friends.

The book contains more than twenty quizzes divided into four categories: All About You; School Sitches and Stuff; Besties, Boys and Other Bafflers; and Faith and Family. You can explore how you feel about all these topics. Take the quizzes by yourself or do them with your friends.

In addition to the quizzes, there are some topics of interest with good advice for girls such as 7 Ways to Succeed in School and 6 Great Ways to Stay Cool in the Pressure Cooker. This is a great interactive book for girls ages eight to twelve.

What I Like: Everything.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: 8-12.

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2014; ISBN: 9780310746041; paperback, 128 pages, $12.99.


 
Special Info: Read our reviews of other books in the FaithGirlz series. This book is intended for girls.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari

Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari is the third book in the Good News Shoes series written by Jill Osborne. Geared toward pre-teen girls. The story follows shoe model Riley Mae on an African trip. Besides posing for photo-shoots, Riley learns a lot about life and her faith. For life, she discovers some of the challenges faced by people in Africa, including clean water issues, safety in the face of wild animals, orphans, education, and hardship. For faith, Riley learns she can pray for others, listen to God’s voice, and share the gospel. Though at the beginning of the story, Riley is very reluctant to be in Africa away from her dad, brother, friends, and comforts of home, she comes to appreciate the strong sense of faith and community she discovers in the African village. More importantly, she realizes she can be a missionary right now, no matter where she lives.

What I Like: This book is a good, clean read for pre-teen girls. Riley is spunky and athletic, which I love. She also often turns to God in prayer, which is a great behavior model for this particular age group. I also appreciated seeing the change in attitude Riley underwent.  In addition, there was a wonderful scene where Riley reaches out to an orphan and helps her accept Christ into her heart. Reading this may help kids realize that they too can plant seeds of faith.


Finally, I enjoyed the glimpse into African life. From the strange-sounding food to running miles to get to school to avoiding elephants, the accurate details helped paint a picture of the village.

What I Dislike: There were numerous references to events and characters in the previous two books. I strongly recommend readers read the previous two books in order to understand the relationship between the characters (or who are even some of the people they are hiding from) and ultimate dangers they face. Without that background knowledge, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did.



There was also a point early in the book that bothered me a little, where Riley lies to and tricks her mom in order to run in a race. In the midst of her scheming, she tries to witness to another person about her Christian faith. While I understand that’s part of the adventure and excitement, I would have preferred a different approach.


Overall Rating: Very Good (as a stand alone-- Excellent as a series)
Age Appeal: 8-12 years
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2014; ISBN: 978-0310742838; Paperback and Kindle, 256 pgs., $7.99

There was also a point early in the book that bothered me a little, where Riley lies to and tricks her mom in order to run in a race. In the midst of her scheming, she tries to witness to another about her Christian faith. While I understand that’s part of the adventure and excitement, I would have preferred a different approach.
Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $6.29

or the ebook for $4.99
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $7.19 or the  Kindle version for $4.99.

Special Info: Click here to read other CCBR reviews of Riley Mae books. Purchase the first two books in the series too: Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek and Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag



In The Berenstain Bears and the Biggest Brag, Brother and Sister bear always seem to one-up each other. If Brother brags he got an A on his math paper, Sister brags she got an A+. If Sister brags she scored a goal in soccer, Brother brags he scored the winning goal. Mama and Papa are pretty tired of it, but reminding the cubs that it's not a loving thing for siblings to do ("You know what the Bible says about love - 'It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud'") doesn't seem to help.

One day Brother and Sister are relaxing, looking at the clouds in the sky. Pretty soon, they start mentioning the shapes they see in them. And, true to form, they begin trying to outdo each other. Their cloud claims grow pretty outrageous, as they claim to see complicated designs such as knights fighting fire breathing dragons with castles and princesses nearby. Pretty soon, their voices are raised, and all they can think about it making the greatest claim.

Then Grizzle Gramps happens by. He says he sees two heads in the clouds. Brother and Sister struggle to see them until Gramps finally says, "Right there...They look like the faces of two of the biggest, bragging-est fools I ever saw." Now the cubs feel foolish and Gramps reminds them, "Remember what the Bible says...'Where there is strife, there is pride.'"

As the siblings walk away, one says, "I bet I win at checkers!" And the other replies, "No, I'm going to win!" But they check themselves, remembering Gramps' wise words.

The book ends with suggested activities and discussion questions.

What I Like: Berenstain Bears books are often a great way to introduce a topic with young children, and this book is no exception. I love that several quotes from the Bible are used. I even like the fact that there's no pat ending; we can see the subs will still struggle with this sin. But we also see that now they want to change their ways.

What I Dislike: Nothing, particularly, although I don't think this is the strongest Berenstain Bear book I've read.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: About 4 - 8.

Publishing Info: Zonderkidz, 2014; ISBN 978-0310734796; paperback, 24 pgs., $3.99

Buy at Amazon for just $3.59

Or buy it for the Kindle for $2.99

Or buy it from ChristianBook.com for $3.49

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Battle Begins: The Story of Creation



Introducing a brand new series of Action Bible graphic novels featuring vivid new artwork from Sergio Cariello.

Even as God walked through the beauty of His new creation, and breathed life into Adam, His masterpiece ... a warrior-angel gives into his pride—and commits the ultimate betrayal. Witness Adam and Eve falling into Lucifer's trap, as the battle for eternity begins in this brilliantly presented retelling of Creation, the Fall, and God's promise of redemption.

What I Like: This book is a more detailed story of creation than I have become accustomed to. It includes what is going on in heaven before and after creation giving an insight into why the serpent tempted Eve and how fallen angels became fallen angels. I really liked that the book included much more than I usually read.

The book is also created a comic or graphic novel as they refer to it so my 8 year old son was immediately drawn to the "superhero" like illustrations and the layouts of the pages.

What I Dislike:  The layout of the graphic novel includes the wording in speech balloons just like traditional comics. I am not a comic book reader and found the dialog in balloons slightly distracting. I had to make sure I was reading it correctly which took away from just simply enjoying the book. It was a very minor issue for me. but my son had no issues with that whatsoever.

Overall Rating: Really Good
Age Appeal: 9-12 but I would say 8-14
Publisher Info: David C. Cook, 2014; ISBN: 978-0781411424; Paperback, 104 pgs., $12.99

Special Info: Since the story is about creation, the book does include Adam and Eve being nude. The illustrations use shadows, scenery and "headshots" as a way to keep the story clean and appropriate for children.

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $9.49

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $11.11

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ephesians 6: 10 -18 Review Plus Giveaway!

Children learn about the protective armor of God, and how they can apply this Biblical principle. Relatable illustrations help clarify the verses and applications presented, while historical facts support the concept of the armor.

What I Like: In the book, each piece of armor is described with scripture and an easy to understand explanation of the scripture. The author also used a Roman soldier's armor as a visual to help a child understand the meaning of the Armor of God. Each piece of armor is detailed on a separate page.

The illustrations in the book are awesome. I really love them. They are all so full of detail and add an element to the story beyond just seeing a picture. My eight year old son read this with me and the illustrations invoked conversations about how he thought the images related to what he read.

What I Dislike: The title of the book is a little unimaginative and I would have much preferred Armor of God as opposed to Ephesians 6. Although I know the book is based on Ephesians 6,  the scripture on each page didn't include the book name, chapter or verse. I found it a little bothersome because I didn't know which verse I was reading. I also prefer that it be included to help children memorize it.

Overall Rating: Very Good!

Age Appeal: 7 and under, but my 8 year old liked it.

Publisher Info: iCharacter, 2014; ISBN: 978-1623870119; Paperback, 32 pgs., $8.45
Buy it Now at Amazon.com for $8.45
Also available is the Ephesians 6 Activity & Coloring Book

Additional Info: Author Page www.iCharacter.org

CCBR - Ephesians (Armor of God) Paperback & Activity Book




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship and Fashion Disasters (Desperate Diva Diaries Series)

Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Dork Diaries series will likely enjoy Angie Spady’s Christian version, The Desperate Diva Diaries. This first book, Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship, and Fashion Disasters, introduces the reader to middle school student Catie Conrad. Catie is not terribly athletic (she hates P.E.) and a bit socially awkward (especially when she smiles with broccoli stuck in her teeth), but she does have a creative streak (art is her forte) and a sharp eye for fashion.


In the pages of her diary, Catie gives the reader the details of her life: daily struggles with her annoying little brother and his pet skunk, numerous run-ins with a popular but mean girl, and the regular teenage drama—like boys and zits. Catie also shares her prayer list and various verses of the Bible that inspire her to be a better person. Things foremost in Catie’s mind are the upcoming school dance, boy crushes, the art contest she hopes to win, and a family mission trip.

Visually, the pages of the book are lined like a real diary and filled with concise entries. Because each day is a new adventure, the story moves along at a fast pace. There are also frequent (and sometimes funny) cartoonish sketches of people or situations in her life, the skunk, and fashion designs. Since Catie dreams of becoming a fashion designer, she focuses in on brands and clothing styles she enjoys.

What I Like: Because of its style (short entries, fun pictures, fast pace) I think this book will appeal to tweens who are both avid and reluctant readers. The content is clean and the chapters often swing back to focus on God with a short thought about adding things to a prayer list or a helpful verse. These books may even encourage teens to keep their own diaries. My favorite character was her best friend Sophie, who was loyal, encouraging, and down-to-earth.

What I Dislike: Catie’s character was fun but lacked depth for me, which made her “struggles” seem superficial. She began to emerge a little (I thought) as a more complex and believable character when she finally started thinking about others and the larger world in general rather than herself. However, that third dimension came fleetingly and later in the book. Maybe the next book will dive into that aspect a little bit more. But it's a clean, light hearted book, which holds its own merit. Some kids will love it, some will prefer Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Dork Diaries, but it's definitely worth checking out!

Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 8-12 years
Publisher Info: B&H Kids, 2014; ISBN:  978-1433684609; Hardback/Kindle, 304 pgs., $12.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $9.99 or buy the ebook for $5.99
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $11.69
OR Buy the Kindle version for $5.99.

Special Info: Readers might enjoy the second book in the series, Catie Conrad: How to Become the Most (un)Popular Girl in Middle SchoolYounger readers might enjoy this author's popular $5.99 Channing O'Banning series for ages 7-9, which include Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail , Channing O'Banning and the Tickled Pink Pencil Problem , Channing O'Banning and the Rainforest Rescue or their $3.99 Kindle versions at Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail and Channing O’Banning and the Rainforest Rescue.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Kiss Won't Miss

If you’re looking for a ritual bedtime tale for youngsters, check out My Kiss Won't Miss by Lesley Dahlseng. The story starts where the day ends…with a mother tucking her beloved child in to bed for the night.

Using friendly banter, the mother in the story connects with her child quite beautifully. She makes it clear: if he runs and hides, she’ll blow a kiss, which will always find him. It’s a comforting reminder of how a parental love follows children no matter where they stray. It’s a love that’s faithful, and echoes the even more powerful, pursuing love of our Heavenly Father. To make doubly sure children understand this blessing, the tale ends with the words from Romans 8:38-39. (Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.)


The book is written in rhyming couplets, which makes it kid friendly and memorable. Timeless illustrations by Mirela Tufan accompany the text. They are whimsical, loaded with delicate details, and tied together with a wispy dream-like thread that flows from page to page. Tufan depicts children from around the world in playful but sleepy splendor… showing the universal aspect of love.

What I Like: Everything. As a side note, Amazon states that the book won these awards:
*Gold Medal Winner of the Feathered Quill Awards
* Gold Medal Winner of the Illumination Awards
* INDIEFAB Book of the Year Finalist
* Five Star Publications Award for Best Children's Illustrated


What I Dislike: Nothing

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: Pre-K through Kindergarten.

Publisher Info: Whetword Press LLC, 2014; ISBN:978-0615987040 ; Hardback, 32 pgs., $17.99
This book is not available at Christianbook.com.
Buy it at Amazon.com for $13.36.