Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Amazing Stardust Friends Step into the Spotlight by Heather Alexander

The Amazing Stardust Friends Step into the Spotlight
Heather Alexander
Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer

Marlo and her mom start a new life as part of the Stardust Circus.  This chapter book deals with the subject of being abandoned by a father.  The author focuses on the positives of the close relationship the child has with her mother.  Marlo has many adventures being part of a circus act.  She also longs to be part of the circus family.  The story details the hard work of traveling with circus animals and practicing to make each act memorable for the audience.  The author describes each act and the preparations made to ensure safety and entertainment so the crowd will keep coming back for more.  A private teacher for the schooling of the children of the circus performers is part of the team.  Marlo learns to pitch in with the work involved, practice diligently to get her act right, and study hard to learn her lessons.  But most of all she wants to feel like she belongs.  This book has an excellent scenario when she confronts the other girls and asks why they don’t include her.  In the end Marlo not only learns to have self-confidence but she also gains the friendships she longs for.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

This book will break your heart and then put it back together again!

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

It was time for bed and I was just going to read a chapter before I went to sleep.  But when I started to read this book I couldn’t put it down and continued non-stop!  This is exactly how GOOD this book is!  This story will break your heart with its pathos and yet put it back together with the beauty of unconditional love and courage during the vileness of human atrocities.

Cambron weaves a story of modern day art collectors who face fierce trials in their professional and personal lives.  The story goes back and forth between their modern day lives and the life of woman journalist during WWII that gets sent to a concentration camp.  There are mysteries to be solved, questions of loyalty and who one can really trust and what does it mean to truly do as Jesus would do.

Carefully crafted with detailed historical accuracy blended with the human spirit of grit, hope and endurance combined with a faith the holds on with amazing love – This story is one that you will not forget.  This is the second book in “A Hidden Materpiece” series.  You won’t want to miss book one:  The Butterfly and the Violin.  These books are breathtaking in their raw pain that is superseded by God’s grace and love lived out by individuals in immense struggle.

I received this book from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Orleans Mother Goose by Ryan Adam

New Orleans Mother Goose
Ryan Adam
Illustrated by Marita Gentry

            Ryan Adam and Marita Gentry have created a book that take the familiar, favorite nursery rhymes and add a dash and splash and twist of New Orleans flavor thrown in.  Each nursery rhyme is retold using a smattering French words and unique New Orleans jargon.  Into this fun mix are added historical facts about how New Orleans came to be.  The author uses word pictures that perfectly describe the appeal of New Orleans.  The rhymes tell about important people to the history of this city and occupations such as bakers and fishermen, and various vendors that shaped the atmosphere of New Orleans.  The foods, traditions, and entertainment that New Orleans is famous for are interspersed throughout the verses.  There is even a bit of geography included in the poetry and hand drawn maps.  The poetry flows with fun cadences that are pleasant to the ear.  The illustrations are fun, frivolous, eye catching and memorable.

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wild! Playtime by Courtney Dicmas

Wild!  Playtime
Courtney Dicmas
Illustrated by Courtney Dicmas

            This book lends itself to a lot of interactive play between child and reader of the book.  After reading the book or during the reading a child may want to experiment with the actions of the baby animals portrayed in this book.  Baby animals are present playing in movements that the real animal would do.  Puppies wag tails and wiggle.  Otters swim and play in the water.  Cranes duck their heads and wave their feathers.  Fox kits leap and pounce.  Kangaroo joeys leap, jump and bounce.  Lion cubs crawl and chew on dear old dad.  Each illustration is draw with happy, smiling creatures and demonstrates them having fun with their parents.  This book entertains while giving a realistic look at how baby animals play and interact with each other and their parents.  Each page has a different color background.  The animals are in soft muted shades with splashes of color in the plants or other objects in the picture.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Wood's Edge by Lori Benton is a complex emotional tale about forgiveness.  The story takes place during the late 1700s in what is now New York State.  The British colonists, British militia, French trappers and various Native American tribes interact in entwining commerce, political and personal ways.  

The story begins with the birth of three boys.  Twins born to one woman and a single baby boy born to another.  They are all born in Fort William Henry on the day of a savage attack.  In the confusions and chaos a British officer faces his own private torment when his newborn son dies hours after he is born.  The major's rash decision to switch his dead child for one of the living twins sets in motion consequences he could not possibly fathom at the time.  

The guilt and grief of the parents involved in this spellbinding story draw the reader in immediately and keep the reader there to the conclusion of the book. 

Questions arise in the story.  Does God punish us for our mistakes?  When is a mistake a sin?  Is there a sin that is unforgivable? Does God expect us to forgive someone who wronged us and altered the course of our life irrevocably?  What about forgiving one's self?  Is it possible?  What does God expect in terms of restitution for a wrong done to another?

Read this enthralling novel and find out answers that you might not have expected!

I received this book free from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hey Baby, It’s Time to Come Out by Harriet Ziefert

Hey Baby, It’s Time to Come Out
Harriet Ziefert
Illustrated by Emily Bolam

  This book tells the story of the birth of a sibling in a sweet and simple way.  It begins with Max watching his Mommy’s tummy growing bigger and bigger.  He has lots of questions about the baby and is anxious to meet the baby.  The next pages are small flaps that when turned go through each day of the week beginning with Sunday.  On each day Max tries a different strategy to get the baby to come out.  On Saturday he finally decides to use reverse psychology and tell the baby it can stay inside his mommy’s tummy for as long as it wants.  Then next pages are filled with pictures of Max having fun.  He goes to the park, rides his tricycle swings, plays ball and takes a long walk with his parents.  Back at home grandma is waiting and they make a big batch of cookies.  Max makes a special cookie for his baby.  During the night while Max dreams his mother is taken to the hospital.  When he wakes up he goes to meet his brand new baby sister.  The book shares simple facts such as the baby grows inside the mother for nine months combined with feelings of expectation and wonder about having a sibling.  It also helps a young child with the concept of the days of the week and what it means to wait for something special. 

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Game Time, Mallory! by Laurie Friedman

Game Time, Mallory!
Laurie Friedman
Illustrated by Jennifer Kahlis

This chapter book is told in the first person.  Mallory takes the reader on a journey with her involving the first time her school had a girls’ basketball team.  Mallory’s excitement in the new league, uniforms and fame is somewhat dampened by some of her friends’ lack of enthusiasm to join up.  Despite the fact that Mallory’s best friends decline the invitation to join the basketball team Mallory finds that she can make friends with the other girls on the team.  The story explores individual initiative and goals balanced with team work and sportsmanship.  In humorous episodes throughout the book the author also helps readers understand that playing a sport isn’t all fun and games.  Through Mallory’s eyes and narrative the reader is drawn into the understanding that being on a team takes practice, dedication, commitment, perseverance and being able to adjust to difficult situations.  Mallory learns that having a good attitude is as important as being able to make a good shot.  The coach’s pep talk at the end of the book before their last game brings it all together.  As he reminds them to do their best and focus on the positive Mallory realizes it has been worth all the effort to be on the basketball team and that she has enjoyed herself. 

I received this book free from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.