Friday, April 24, 2015

Green River by WonKyeong Lee

Green River
WonKyeong Lee
Illustrated by HyeWon Yang

Little Beaver Kobe loves his home on the Green River.  There were many trees and many fish.  But people also loved Green River.  They came with their cars and caught the fish.  They had picnics and left their litter.  Green River became dirty with trash.  Beavers got hurt by broken glass or plastic rings.  The beavers held a meeting to discuss what to do.  Most of the beavers wanted to move away from Green River.  Kobe wanted to keep his home and voted to clean up the river.  No one would listen.  Kobe decided to do the work himself.  He began by clearing trash. He worked morning, noon and night.  When the other beaver’s saw what he was doing they made fun of him.  They told Kobe that he was strange and that he smelled bad.  But Kobe kept working.  Just when the beavers were ready to move they noticed that Green River was cleaner.  Some of Kobe’s friends decided to follow him and see what he did with the trash he took away.  Kobe told his friends he had a secret plan to clean the river and do something else with the trash.  Soon the other little beavers were helping with the secret plan as they hauled away trash each day.  The adult beavers began to wonder what the little beavers were up to.  They followed the little beavers.  They were surprised when they saw the trash had been cleaned and had been made into a little beaver playground. The adult beavers were amazed and ashamed.  They decided to stay in their home at Green River.  From then on they helped with the trash clean up.  This book contains real projects children can participate in to help keep their community clean.  It gives ideas for crafts made from cleaned “trash items”.  There are also helpful suggestions for parents and teachers to encourage and educate children about recycling.

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

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Surprise Prize by Anita Yasuda

The Surprise Prize
Anita Yasuda
Illustrated by Steve Harpster 

Sara the Triceratops is excited to eat her Dino Delights cereal.  If she saves enough box tops she can get a prize.  Sara and her friends Dot the Diploddocus, Cory the Corythosaurus the TY the T. Rex all have fun guessing what the prize can be.  Is it a balloon, a car, or a boat that they could use to travel on adventures?  What could it be?  Sara decides it is simply a mystery.  She eats the Dino Delights cereal for meals and snacks.  She is eager to get her prize.  The day finally arrives when she has enough box tops saved.  She sends away for the prize and waits.  When the truck arrives with the box containing her surprise she calls her friends.  Dot, Cory and TY all stand around the box as Sara opens it.  To her astonishment it contains many boxes of Dino Delights Cereal!  Although Sara cannot bear to eat one more piece of Dino Delight cereal she chooses to be thankful.  She gladly shares the boxes of cereal with her friends.  This book contains a parent page for tips on how to get the most out of the book.  Tips include ways to help your child with compression, reading with expression, discussions on character and plot and much more.  The end page has a glossary of words and total of words contained in this book.

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

One, Two, Three…Jump! by Carol Thompson

One, Two, Three…Jump!
Carol Thompson
Illustrated by Carol Thompson

            Babies frolick in this cheerful little book all about different ways to jump.  One, two three babies jump!  Babies jump little and jump on the bed.  Babies jump up and down and land on their bottoms or their heads.  Babies jump like animals such as chickens, kangaroos and rabbits.  Babies jump in costumes and pajamas.  Babies jump alone or together.  Babies jump with a lot of laughter and fun.  Illustrations show the babies in gleeful expressions.  Their faces are filled with joy as they experiment with all types of jumping.  The babies are drawn to depict the beauty of different cultures.  The babies also have different styles of dress and different toys and objects with each one. All the babies are shown having fun and enjoying the time with their baby friends.  This is a book that concentrates on one activity:  jumping.  The art of baby jumping is shown to be a delightful occupation!

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

First I want to say that the author has some beautiful and meaningful things to say about self-worth and not letting a tragedy define who you are.  Ms Gray wrote some very profound conversations in regards to those subjects.

However, this book is part of a Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series.  This book had very little to do with the World’s Fair.  Brief mention is made of the fair but no details as to what was being presented during this time at the world’s fair.  I found that disappointing.  Along with this I found the plot a bit boring.  The romance section kept coming back to the same point over and over.  It didn’t seem to progress or move on and suddenly the couple was engaged.  It felt unrealistic.  The mystery part was not well developed and it was frustrating to just get snippets of that portion of the story but not enough to sink your teeth into.  I found myself waiting for something of significance to happen and it never really did.  It was a predictable plot and did not give me the intrigue I had hoped for.

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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mike The Knight and Sir Trollee Adapted by Daphne Pendergrass

MikeThe Knight and Sir Trollee
Adapted by Daphne Pendergrass

            Mike the Knight wants to participate in a knightly tournament.  There is only one problem.  He has no one to compete against.  Suddenly he has a brilliant idea.  He will ask his good friend Trollee to join him in the tournament games.  Trollee is thrilled to be asked to play in the tournaments.  His dream to be a knight is finally coming true.  But as each event takes place Trollee realizes he is unprepared.  He has never shot an arrow from a bow.  He doesn’t own a real shield.  He has never even practiced balancing on a log.  In each event Mike the Knight far outshines Trollee.  Mike the Knight’s arrow hits the bull’s eye.  Mike the Knight’s shield protected him.  Mike the Knight could roll the log around the entire arena.  Mike the Knight was having so much winning each event that he didn’t notice the discouragement of his good friend Trollee.  When Trollee gives up and leaves the tournament Mike recognizes that the games were not fair.  Mike the Knight decides that it is time to act like a true Knight.  He finds his friend Trollee and begins to train him in various knightly activities.  They continue the tournament and Trollee wins some of the games.  They both end up champions.  This book takes a high adventure tale and turns it into a compassionate story of true friendship, honorable conduct and good sportsmanship.  The story is told in child friendly language to get the important points across to young children.

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

More or Lessby Bettina Takacs

More or Less
Content Consultant Bettina Takacs
Design by Keith Plechaty

This handy sized board book teaches a toddler about the concepts of “more” and “less.”  Each page has colorful photos of objects that would be familiar to a toddler.  On one side of the page it shows the item that is “more”.  An example from the book is a photograph of four balls.  The caption reads “Four is more than two.”  On the corresponding page is a photo of two balls.  The caption on that page reads “Two is less than four.”  The book continues in this pattern with photographs of kittens, cookies, blocks, and pumpkins.  The conclusion page has miniature photos of the entire book and a question at the bottom of the page.  The question is:  “What is more?”  “What is less?”  The child is encouraged to point to the various photos.  The back page gives parents and caregivers an idea of how to play the “more and less” game in a toddlers daily life.  Ideas include meal time and play time and stacks of objects symbolizing more and less. This is a board book which makes it easy for toddlers to grip and turn pages while the story line is detailed enough to intrigue preschool children.  The story is cleverly designed to entertain and inform at the same time.

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

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Willow’s Boy-Crazy Birthday by Jen Jones

Willow’s Boy-Crazy Birthday
Jen Jones
Illustrated by Jen Jones

This chapter book starts with an introduction of the main characters.  A page is dedicated to each girl:  Maren, Willow, Delaney, and Ashley.  Each girl is described by their personality, talents, fashion style and dreams.  In the first chapter we discover that Willow has a twin brother.  Their birthday is coming up and their mom suggests a double party where both of the children invite their friends.  This is the first ever co-ed party for Willow and her brother Win.  The theme is Halloween and Birthday mixed together.  Willow suddenly finds herself jazzed about the idea and quickly shares it with her best friends:  Maren, Delaney and Ashley.  The plot thickens as the girls try to think of the best costumes to wear, who to invite, what food to have and what games to play.  Willow learns a lot about including others and enjoying the company of true friends rather than impressing those who don’t really care about her.

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Creole Princess by Beth White

The Creole Princess takes us to a perilous time in the Gulf Coast of America.  The story takes place during the late 1700s.  The story has many twists and turns with a lot of characters. 
White does an excellent job or portraying realistic spiritual struggles and growth.  She gives a lot of historical detail to this little known part of American history.  She weaves into the story interesting facts regarding social status, political climate, dress and foods of the Gulf Coast culture as well as spiritual insights. 

The story is intriguing, however some characters were not fully developed.  Some of the main characters stories ended abruptly or the characters did not behave in a manner that was realistic.  The book did not tell the why and how about some of the key events that led up to where the main characters are at the point of this story.  I’ve read the first book in this series and the answers are not there either.  So I kept waiting for things to be revealed or made clear or explained and it didn’t happen.  This brought a feeling of confusion and frustration.

I received this book through Revell book publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

The Legacy by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

This is the fourth book in The Restoration Series.  The focus is on the youngest son of Marilyn and Jim.  Throughout the story the reader is lead to feel the emotions of the different key characters:  Doug, his parents, his siblings and his closest friends:  Jason and Christina.
  Doug is the youngest of three children and away at college.  During his time there he begins to experiment with independence, but not always in the healthiest of ways.  He gets involved with a group of kids who smoke pot and have beer parties on the beach.  Their self-centered life style begins to rub off on Doug.  As he tries to balance two different lives, the one his family upholds with Christians values and the one his friends promote with self-indulgence, he finds that instead of feeling free, he feels in turmoil.  The turmoil peaks just when a tragic accident occurs with life altering impact.

Walsh and Smalley make a great team.  Although I’ve read many books on “wayward” children.  This is the first book I’ve read that really addresses sincere, Christian parents who have done their best but still have a child walk away from the Lord.  Most books cast blame on the parents.  This book does an excellent job of showing where each person (including parents) need to take responsibility but it also helps a grieving parent realize there’s a point where no matter how much you did right a child may still choose to turn away from God.  Told in story form the message of this book is a profoundly healing book filled with hope, forgiveness, unconditional love and God’s power.

I received this book through Revell book publishers and was not required to write a positive review.