Friday, July 21, 2017

Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna Dumont, illustrated by Adrian Lubbers [Review & Giveaway]

Durable Softcover $12.99
Ages 8-12
ISBN: 9781426327964
My thoughts:  National Geographic Kids Books is debuting titles that are perfect for celebrating not only our country’s amazing history, but learning more about our founding fathers — and those that followed in their footsteps. Weird but true! Know-it-all U.S.Presidents is simply packed with interestiing bits of information about each of the U.S. presidents. Some of it is funny, some intriguing, and some basic information about their presidency. It is quite a treat to learn some of this hitherto little known information. Some bears witness to the greatness of the man and some bears witness that they were simply humans with flawed personalities just as the rest of us are.

While this probably wouldn't be considered a go-to source for research papers, it certainly could be a springboard for such. Also, delving into the pages of this book will most certainly whet the appetite to learn more and dig deeper into the recesses of history.

This will make super reading (to stave off the dark pit of the summer slump) during the summer and then a handy resource for projects during the school year.

I highly recommend.

About the book:  Weird But True Know-It-All: U.S. Presidents by Brianna Dumont, illustrated by Adrian Lubbers (ages 8-12, $12.99, June 2017) - What's so weird about U.S. presidents? Plenty! Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a great wrestler? That Ulysses S. Grant got a speeding ticket riding his horse – twice! Or that Benjamin Harrison was afraid of electricity? And let's not forget that President McKinley had a pet parrot that whistled "Yankee Doodle Dandy" duets with him. Every president — from the 1st to the 45th — is spotlighted, featuring important historical information alongside vignette’s highlighting the oddities of each prez. “Extras” include an introduction that delves into the powers of the President, Congress, Supreme Court, an explanation as to how the electoral college works, a glossary, an index and even a listing of the Presidents’ most outrageous pranks.
Begins July 22
ENDS August 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids Books and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

KISSES FOR KINDERGARTEN by Livingstone Crouse [Review and Giveaway]

My thoughts: Often books about going off to kindergarten with reluctance focus on the child's inability to separate from home and family to venture into the strangeness and unfamiliarity of kindergarten. In Kisses for Kindergarten the vibrant Stella Isabella Harden simply has another solution - her dog is going to hold classes and her dog says she doesn't need to go. Well, that is until the end of the book when they both realize that her dog can't help her with books.

I found the illustrations to be lively and cheerful - well, alright, downright funny. The joy exuding from the pages is sheer happiness. Stella Isabella is a cute, active, happy child and young readers will fall in love with her.
The rhyming lines and alliteration are fun and catchy. Rhymes always capture a child's attention when infused with rollicking rhythm and lively cadence.
Stella Isabella Harden
contemplating kindergarten
declared she didn't have to go,
because her puppy told her so.
This is a fun book and helps generate interest in going to kindergarten and presents it as a good opportunity for the child. After all, who doesn't want to learn to read the words on the pages of a book?
About the book: School is about to begin, and Stella Isabella Harden decides that kindergarten just isn't for her. Instead, she decides to spend the day learning from her puppy named Buster. Together these two adventurers plan a day full of playtime, teatime, naptime, and storytime.

After every "lesson," Stella gets the best reward: a kiss from her best friend and favorite puppy. But will she change her mind about kindergarten before the first day of school? Join Stella and Buster in this lyrical read-aloud and uplifting story about growing up.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Livingstone Crouse has spent the last 20 years either selling, editing, or writing books for children. He's even done all three at once! So recently he decided he'd focus entirely on writing the kinds of books he likes to read, books in verse that are filled with heart, word-play, and lots of laughs. Books like this one. Livingstone lives in a large, 200-year old farmhouse in New York's Hudson Valley with his husband and a dog named Kat. (And you can be fairly certain that Livingstone Crouse is not his real name. But don't tell anyone!)

Macky Pamintuan was born and raised in Davao, a city in the southern Philippines. As a young child, drawing was his favorite pastime and an activity that brought him delight and satisfaction. Early on, his parents discovered that giving him paper and pencil was a sure way to keep him busy, quiet, and out of trouble. He still remembers the day when he successfully drew Mickey Mouse and Superman, a huge breakthrough and a sweet triumph. He moved to San Francisco at age 21 and in 1998 enrolled in the Academy of Art College to pursue illustration. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in December 2003. When not illustrating, Macky enjoys playing basketball, his other true passion.
Begins July 21
ENDS August 4 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy on behalf of the Silver Dolphin Books and the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Crafts and Recipes to Entertain Kids at Home This summer - The Lemonade Stand Cookbook from Burnt Cheese Press [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: This excellently designed and wonderfully appropriate book for children is a must-have. I would have loved to have it when my children were young. So at the onset let me say that I encourage moms, aunties, and grandmas to get one for their young folks.

Does it just address the budding entrepreneur who wishes to set up business on the front lawn? Absolutely not, though it has wonderful tips and instructions along that line.

This book is replete with a variety of yummy items requiring a sparse amount of ingredients that boys and girls can produce in the kitchen. Then not to be left out, the artsy can find several fun crafts to occupy and bring them a bit of creative joy.

The pictures are so beautifully done and the layout great. I love the happy children shown throughout the book. It simply speaks joy and happiness and exudes the possibility of happy times spent becoming a lemonade stand owner or simply making mom and dad a glass of cranberry lemonade or strawberry lemonade.


  • LOL (Lemon-Orange-Limeade)
  • Watermelon Agua Fresca
  • Polka Dot Blondies
  • Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops
  • Sunflower Crunch Balls
  • Hayley's Flower Pencils
  • Friendship Bracelets
  • Fingerknit Scarves
About the book: Lemonade stands . . . kids have been running them for decades, whether to raise money for a new bike, for a charitable cause, or simply to conquer boredom. Inspired by dozens of kid experts from all over the country, author Kathy Strahs pours her expertise as a food writer, entrepreneur and mother of two school-aged children into the ultimate guide to setting up your own lemonade stand. Step-by-step illustrations and full-color photographs of each recipe and craft make each page easy and fun to dive into. Find delicious drinks, such as Classic Lemonade and Cold-Brew Iced Tea, sweet treats such as Polka Dot Blondies and Chocolate-Dipped Marshmallow Pops, grab-and-go snacks such as Owen's Cheddar Chompers and Sunflower Crunch Balls, and creative crafts such as Hayley's Flower Pencils and Friendship Bracelets. Tips for setting up a successful stand, packaging ideas, cooking technique tutorials, and real-life "stand stories" from kids themselves are sure to inspire kids everywhere to "give life a squeeze."

Crafts and Recipes to Entertain Kids at Home This summer (find it on Amazon - click here The Lemonade Stand Cookbook )from Burnt Cheese Press.

(Limited Time Available)
Begins July 19
Ends July 27 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and freely given.

Monday, July 17, 2017

This Book Stinks!: Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash by Sarah Wassner Flynn (National Geographic Kids) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  The title of this National Geographic Kids' book is a bit misleading because the "book" doesn't stink. No, the book is about garbage that stinks. And we all know that rotting garbage is putrid smelling and no one wants to be around it.

Reading through This Book Stinks! is basically a journey of bold infographics that give facts - interesting and stunning, about all the stuff that today's people around the world use, abuse, and trash. The mind-boggling facts and images of the huge mountains of trash dumps and landfills cause deep concern to this reader. Designed as a book to inform and education young readers of the importance that acceptance of their own individual responsibility to reduce the production of waste in the world, it is still entertaining.

The pictures and graphics are great and so well done. The coupling of factual information and statistics that even a child can understand are well presented with text that informs in bite-size pieces easily absorbed.

Who will enjoy this book? Kids, of course, and parents will also become enlightened. I do advise, though, that constraint be exercised regarding the information on "dumpster diving" as it can lead to forays into some nasty stuff while the seeker hopes to find treasures to use or up-source.

About the book: Get up close and personal with a wonderful world of waste. From composting and recycling, to landfills and dumps, to how creative people are finding new ways to reuse rubbish. It's fun to talk trash when it's jam-packed with infographics, thematic spreads, wow-worthy photos, sidebars, serious stats, and fabulous facts. Also included are quizzes and activities to inspire kids to take action, be proactive, and rethink the things we throw away.
Begins July 17
Ends August 7 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review on behalf of National Geographic Kids. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Getting frugal with our pocket book and with the enviroment

The world is full of stuff. The stuff that makes life pleasant, beautiful, enjoyable, doable, workable, easy, tasty, and so much more. The stuff that we buy, make, grow, and bring into our lives to enrich it and make life as good as possible.

But stuff gets worn out, has wrappings that we toss away, has scraps that need to be tossed and simply gets replaced by more stuff.

But the stuff that gets replaced or becomes too worn out to continue to use or that we just simply don't want anymore, gets tossed into the trash container, picked up by the trash collector, and tossed onto the trash dump. Then what happens?
That's the story of stinky, mountains of trash. Its origin and its destination. But it is destined to remain in piles, floated down rivers, dumped into the ocean and swirled into the Garbage Patch of the Pacific. 
But we can each do a little to stop the piles of trash, and in the course of helping the world a bit this way, we help ourselves. We help our budget. We get to feel good about things.

So let's get frugal. Let's get into living smart. Let's do a few little things....

  1. Broth: You don't have to purchase a can of broth when you need it for gravy, sauces, or soups. You can make your own. Did you buy a rotisserie chicken? Slice off the meat and then boil the carcass (bones, skin - yes, the skin, and remaining bits of meat) with a bit of salt and pepper. Then strain the broth and save. Pick the meat from the bones and save for the soup you make with this delicious broth. You can use the broth and meat within a few days after refrigerating or you can freeze it for later use. And there is no can for the trash container! Another opion is you can purchase some chicken parts or the whole bird and boil to make your broth. Then you have lots of wonderful, tender, tasty meat to use for casseroles, salads, or creamed dishes. This way you don't have to purchase canned chicken with all the additives. And.... no can for the trash container!
  2. Bags: We all know about the reusable bags you take to the stores so you don't have to bring home the store's little plastic bags (or paper bags). Well, those little plastic bags are terrible for the environment. I feel so good when I remember to take my own bags to the store and use and reuse them over and over again. No, I'm not perfect and I sometimes forget them. But I am trying to cut down on my plastic footprint on this sphere we can home.
  3. Linens: If you have a sewing machine and can sew a relatively straight line, you can do lots with towels, sheets, and shirts that are wearing thin. Cut them down to use for other purposes. A towel getting worn in the middle? Cut it down for a kitchen dish cloth or a cleaning rag to use and reuse. Sheets getting worn in the middle? Cut them down and make pillow cases. A pillow case is just a strip of cloth stitched into a rectangle and hemmed at the open end. Just look at the ones you already have, cut a "pattern" allowing for seams, and make them. Or you can cut a large sheet down for a child's bed or a crib or just a light cover to toss over a sleeping child. Napkins can be made from bits of sheets or the backs of Dad's shirts that are too worn to wear. This way you don't buy as many cloth or paper napkins. You have a colorful assortment for the family to use and reuse. You've saved money. You've purchased less items. You've slowed the growth of the trash pile a little.
  4. Bottles: Try to use your own refillable water bottle. All those plastic water bottles that folks purchase in daunting quantities end up in the landfill. They just don't degrade. They are there and they stay there. Try to avoid them as much as possible. If you must use them, be sure you recycle the plastic.
  5. Coffee to go: Do you love your coffee house buys? Love to get that special blend as you're on the go? Some shops let you bring your own travel mug and they fill it (you purchase the drink). That way you don't toss another disposable cup in the trash container and some shops even discount you a little for not needing their disposable cup. To be a frugal coffee drinker, though, make your own drink at home and take it with you. You've saved money and maybe helped the environment a little.
Is that all? Of course not. It is just a start. There are lots of ways to live frugal and there are lots of ways to help manage the environment. You don't have to be a miser or "tree hugger" to do any of these. It is just good common sense and a caring attitude.

©Chat With Vera. Permission to use this written material wholely or in part may be acquired by contacting Vera via email in the side bar. The Youtube Garbage Pile of the Pacific was gleaned from the internet and used solely for the purpose of enlighting my readers and not for personal gain. Permission granted to use the written material can be granted by Chat With Vera and does not include granting permission to use the video.

Friday, July 14, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived in .... CUBA & Oh Susannah: It's In the Bag by Carole P. Roman [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1947118485
Softcover $12.96
My thoughts:  The author has written extensively about countries around the globe introducing children to cultures that vary and yet prove to be somewhat similar. Just what is it like to be a child living in..... Cuba?

We explore the daily life, food, and special events of a couple of kids living in Cuba. It seems that the family in the story eats a lot of rice dishes. Of course their name for rice is different from "rice" and it seems they combine it with meats and vegetables. The island's history is touched upon and entices the reader to delve into the settlement of the Spaniards on this little island so far away from Spain.

The glossary in the back of the book is helpful with word or phrase meanings and proncunciation.

Another interesting introduction to world cultures by Carole P. Roman.

Abou the book: Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the exciting island of Cuba in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the Caribbean to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the country through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place.


ISBN: 978-1543034615
Softcover: $8.99
My thoughts:  The author's foray into early reader chapter books is interesting and provides more than just an entertaining story about Suzannah. It teaches that Suzannah, and all of us, can't simply tuck our problems away and out of sight just because they are difficult.

Suzannah learns to ask for help in solving those nagging and tedious emotional, learning, or social problems. The book is short with 34 pages but fairly complex for a young reader. Suzannah goes about her day toting around her ever-present backpack into which she puts problems with which she has difficulty - math tests, invitations, book report - so many hurdles.

The picture of Suzannah at the start of the book and on the cover are charming and you just want to love this sweet little girl. I would love to have seen the illustrations larger and sprinkled thoughout instead of tiny thumbnail images at the beginning of each chapter. I love the way mom and dad come to her rescue and help Suzannah find solutions.

I'm looking forward to more from little Suzannah and just wish this were a hardcover book so that libraries would add it to their collections.

About the book:  From award-winning author Carole P. Roman comes a new chapter book featuring Susannah Logan, a young student having a very bad day. It all begins with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover that she doesn’t want to go to. Would you want to go to a sleepover in a creepy house? Rather than dealing with her problems, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack. But how much can a backpack take? Will she be able to confront her worries before the backpack bursts? Or will she just continue to hide them away? Join Susannah and her friends in this story sure to charm busy young readers everywhere.
3 winners chosen to receive 1 copy of each book
Begins July 14
Ends August 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
About the author: Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children. She hosts two blog radio programs and is one of the founders of a new magazine, Indie Author's Monthly. She's been interviewed twice by Forbes Magazine. Carole has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. Oh Susannah is her first Early Reader Chapter book series. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.

Her series include:

  • Captain No Beard
  • If You Were Me and Lived in- Cultural 
  • If You Were Me and Lived in- Historical
  • Nursery series
  • Oh Susannah- Early Reader
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review of my own opinions. I was not compensated. Winner's copy is provided directly to the winner by the author.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Double Take! A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood & illustrated Jay Fleck [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 978-0763672911
Hardcover $16.99 - Ages 3-7
My thoughts:  Educational and entertaining books are always winners - well, that is if they capture the attention of the child, engage their minds, and provide illustrations and text that prove accurate and enduring. There is a plethora of "counting" books and a goodly number of books that teach shapes and, yes, opposites. The author, Susan Hood, has presented a new perspective on opposites. Perspective is what it is all about in most everything in life whether you view the trees from the mountain top, or from the flat lands. How one looks at things from their own perspective.

So in Double Take! A New Look at Opposites the young reader is introduced to a new perspective on opposites. Looking at that which is opposite as it relates to you or others or one item to another.

The presentation in rhyming text about what is near and what is far and how they are opposites is taken into account with varying perspectives. A look at strong and weak, close and far and then the author states that "a careless assumption can be a mistake." Again, looking at things more than once or from a different perspective changes one's outlook.

This is quite a good book with cute illustrations that are simple, uncluttered and definitely fun. A good educationally and entertaining book - at least from my personal perspective. (By the way, I intentionally used the word perspective to get across the value of looking at things from more than one angle or point of view.)

About the book: When it comes to opposites, it’s all a matter of perspective! Lively text and fun retro art engage kids in the finer points of a favorite concept.

Do you know opposites, yes or no? On. Off. Asleep. Awake. Opposites are a piece of cake . . . right? Not so fast! Time for a quick double take. Who knows what’s BIG unless there is SMALL? Does SHORT mean a thing except next to TALL? What is ABOVE and what is BELOW? The answer depends on who wants to know! Writer Susan Hood and illustrator Jay Fleck lead us on a topsy-turvy fun-house journey into the concept of opposites and takes it to the next level — with detours into relative terms and points of view (and a dollop of yin and yang for good measure).
Begins July 13
Ends August 3 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA - No P.O.Boxes.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review which I happily and freely give. Opinions are my own, alone. Your "perspective" might, of course, be different. This is a fun book with which to learn.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gareth Lucas Noisy Books: Dinos on Deck! & Noisy Books: Dig Dig, Digger from Silver Dolphin Books

Two new books from Silver Dolphin to delight the young child.

My thoughts:  Children love when an adorable book has buttons they can push and produce sounds. Usually, books with pre-recorded sounds have one-button-fun sound opportunities for the young reader. With Gareth Lucas' Noisy Books there are "spots" to push on each two-page spread giving multiple opportunities to introduce specific noises into the story.  What fun!

Sounds of squawking, splashing, sand-digging, etc. are ready for finger-poking fun. The story is simple but fun.

Kids will love the adventure of the dinos and parents can replace the batteries so the Dino sounds can continue on and on.

About the book: Join your favorite dinosaur friends on an adventure in the seas in Gareth Lucas Noisy Books: Dinos on Deck! Hoist the sails, press the sound buttons, and laugh along as a Triceratops, a Stegosaurus, a T. rex and more search for treasure. With humorous art by Gareth Lucas and charming rhyming text, this sound book will be a perfect addition to story time. What will these dinosaur friends find when they open the treasure chest?

My thoughts:  As the construction crew digs and hammers their way through the pages of this fun book, there are sounds - noises - that alert to a backing vehicle, hammers that bam, whistles that shrill, etc. Lots of fun activities of the construction crew and the end result is a fabulous playground with a lovely tune to end the story.

Told in simple sentences the story is a fun read that little ones - boys or girls - will enjoy.

Replaceable batteries will enable parents to prolong to life of the book and the noises that delight the child.

About the book: Dig, dig, dig…and dig some more with your favorite animal friends! In Noisy Books: Dig, Dig Digger, children will be amused by the hilarious antics of the animals as they build an adventure playground. Young readers will delight in Gareth Lucas's artwork and in finding the sound button on every spread. Each turn of the page will bring humor and fun with hippos, bears, camels, and more on their day at the construction site.

DISLCOSURE: I was provided complimentary copies to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Carson Crosses Canada by Linda Bailey & illustrated by Kass Reich

ISBN: 978-1101918838
My thoughts: As a citizen of the United States I find it interesting to read books - especially illustrated books - about other countries. In the children's picture book Carson Crosses Canada we have a little doggie and a little old lady packing their suitcases (dog's and suitcases? Well, this is a children's imaginative book.) and get into their little yellow car and hit the road. They are crossing Canada to see her sister.

The illustrations done in watercolors capture the essence of Canada's mountains, beautiful trees, and varied landscapes. Like the United States, Canada is a big, beautiful, and varied land of beauty.

I think perhaps it would have been better had Carson, the doggie, not left his "little souvenir" on a grassy spot although we all know that is the nature of doggies.

Their mapped route shown on the end pages also is a simple map of the grand land of Canada showing the provinces and places they stopped.

A cute book and nice introduction to Canada for little ones. Click here to find it.

About the book: Feisty Annie Magruder and her dog, Carson, live in British Columbia, Canada, and they're setting out to visit her sister, Elsie, in Newfoundland. In their little rattlebang car, packed with Carson's favorite toy, Squeaky Chicken, and plenty of baloney sandwiches, Annie and Carson hit the road! They travel province by province, taking in each unique landscape and experiencing something special to that particular part of this vast, grand country. For example, they marvel at the beauty of the big, open sky -- and grasshoppers! -- in Saskatchewan and discover the gorgeous red earth and delicious lobster rolls in PEI, before finally being greeted by Elsie -- and a surprise for Carson!

I received a complimentary copy from and the publisher and was not obligated to provide a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dark Deception (Defenders of Justice #2) by Nancy Mehl from Bethany House Publishing (Christian fiction)

ISBN: 9780764217784
My thoughts:  The author, Nancy Mehl, writes books of mystery or suspension with a touches of romantic interest. Often set in a small town where a strong conservative religious community abides, her stories have heretofore been quite receptive to the Christian fiction reading audience.

In the new Defenders of Justice series, we are given stories set in the average city or town and populated by characters that take the reader into emotional journeys beyond the pale. Book two  exposes the raw depravity of the criminal that is the serial killer.

Dark Deception truly lives up to the title that graces the cover of the book. The story has a darkness that permeates and that embraces several planes of life. There is deception that is incomprehensible and which creates a case that proves difficult or near impossible to be solved by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

I am not fond of stories that delve into the mentally warped mind and actions of a serial killer, the emotional storm that pervades the lives of survivors, or the twisted connections lives take from youth into adulthood as a result of cruelty imposed on their childhood. While not a favorite, Dark Deception is most certainly a good read and within the bounds of acceptable Christian fiction. If readers enjoy having their mind rather immersed in the element of society that is portrayed in Dark Deception, this is definitely one to read. If readers simply want to brush shoulders a bit with suspense or mystery, then perhaps they would want something a bit milder. I did enjoy Nancy Mehl's writting and the character development was really good. I particularly enjoyed Detective Leon and his wife. I liked Tony Deluca and his penchant for sticking to Kate's situation and going the extra mile. I look forward to more from the pen of Nancy Mehl.

About the book:  
Four years ago, Kate O'Brien and her twin were attacked by a serial killer and only Kate survived. She's been in witness protection ever since her testimony led to a conviction. When new evidence is found suggesting they got the wrong man, Kate is terrified. With a target on her back, can U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca keep her safe until the new trial begins?

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House a division of Baker House Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere Historical Romance Fiction from Bethany House London Beginning Series #1 [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: As Christian historical fiction The Captain's Daughter provides some mildly entertain reading that is clean and that touches on the period of London in 1879. I found it interesting that the story included backstage activity and references to the famous Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "HMS Pinafore."

The story is rife with dramatic events and villians that prey on innocent young ladies and a charming hero who ultimately rescues the young lady. It begins with young sisters atop a hill and swiftly switches to the heroin, Rosalyn, fleeing the wrath of her employee who accuses her of being a thief. Rosalyn lands in London and barely escapes the clutches of the lowest of the low of London's immoral street life. She then is swept into the rescuing arms of lovelies in the theater.

I wonder at the choice of title as the Captain seemed to be missing in the book. However, she was a captain's daughter and though her father was missing, the sweet ending references this and connects it to HMS Pinafore. I'm just wondering how Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan would like the connection. The book is entertaining though not a favorite. I can recommend it because it is not offensive, it is clean and decent, has a sweet romance, and it has interesting characters. It just wasn't appealing to me.

More reviews and other information about The Captain's Daughter - click here

About the book: London, 1879

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don't catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided---until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

This warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life.

About the author: Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades and lives in North Carolina with her husband. Visit her online at
Begins June 20
Ends July 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the publisher Bethany House and the author. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New series from Silver Dolphin Books: Woodworks Nursery Rhymes - Old MacDonald & Wheels On the Bus [Reviews & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

My thoughts:  Silver Dolphin is fast becoming a favorite of mine for durable, interesting, educational, play-worthy, and readable books and play sets. This new series with a delightful little wooden vehicle (school bus and farm tractor), picturesque play mat, fold out building, and charming little board book for each set will guarantee hours of fun play. The little wooden vehicle and board book are small enough for little hands to play with and carry around to their heart's content.

The illustrations are "little people" charming and the simplicity of every aspect of the sets makes this a product that parents will like having their children possess.

Featuring the old nursery rhyme songs that have been favorites of kids for so many years the words of The Wheels On the Bus and Old MacDonald' Farm can be simply read aloud or taught as a song. The book does not include audio accompaniment - but then, most adults will already know these old tunes from their own childhoods.

The play mat is of foldable, plastic that is thin but still durable. The set up is simple enough for young children and it all packs back into the charming carry case that includes a "rope" handle.

I highly recommend these as truly play-worthy.

About the book/playsets: Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O! This brand-new playset featuring the classic children’s singalong song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" will be the perfect addition to your child’s library. With a chunky board book, a wooden tractor, and a playmat, little ones can read and play along as they go through the farm and meet cows, ducks, horses, and more! Join Old MacDonald and his farmyard friends for a reading adventure in Woodworks Nursery Rhymes: Old MacDonald. (ISBN: 9781626869554 - $13.99)

The wheels on the bus go round and round! Climb aboard the yellow bus with this sweet playset featuring a chunky board book, a wooden school bus, and a playmat for added fun. Young readers will enjoy reading and playing along with their favorite nursery rhyme as they drive around the town and sing their way through Woodworks Nursery Rhymes: Wheels on the Bus. (ISBN: 9781626869561 - $13.99)

GIVEAWAY ~ 1 Winner
One Set
Woodworks books
Nursery Rhymes: Old MacDonald and Wheels on the Bus
Begins June 29
Ends July 20 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA/CANADA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own, alone and are freely given. Publicist or publisher will ship winner's set to winner.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Israel - God's Heart Landscapes and Legacy of Israel by Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett Travel / Nonfiction

ISBN: 9789657670002
My thoughts:  My father had always desired to visit the Holy Land and walk where his Saviour, Jesus, walked. That never happened. Dad was a knowledgeable and astute teacher of the Bible though a lay person. He would have thoroughly enjoyed this little book, Israel - God's Heart for the lovely pictures and insightful text.

Though a small book by "coffee table book" standards, this would qualify as one you would want to leave laying about so it could be perused by family and visitors to enjoy the lovely photographs taken from a birds eye view and to read a bit here and there.

I believe I would have chosen a different image for the cover - one that pictured more of a Biblically historic visage than the blooming fields. While certainly relevant to the fertile area this now has become, we often think of Israel for its historic imagery rather than modern Israel. However, the book shows Israel as it is today in beautiful landscapes, buildings, mountains, lakes, etc.

This is a very nice book and affords the non-traveler that opportunity to see and experience quite nicely Israel in its beauty.

About the book: A captivating pictorial of the Holy Land and a scriptural journey through God's redemptive story.

Many of us only dream of traveling to the Holy Land. Very few, like Israel's top aerial photographer, Ron Gofni, soar above the craggy mountains ranges of Masada, the salty Dead Sea, and the iconic locations where Jesus walked. Israel - God's Heart - Landscapes and Legacy beautifully captures the ancient landscapes of this great nation, as well as presents the legacy of God's redemption plan for the world.

As you slowly turn the pages, you will find unexpected vantage points, such as the Tower of David surrounded by city lights and fast-paced cars and a hot air balloon floating over a field of cotton. From a bird's eye view, you will also experience a vibrant, bustling, modern Israel. Biblical references and thoughtful narrative by author Kathleen Barrett intertwines with awe-inspiring photography to bring you to the Holy Land time and time again.

Flip through a digital sample here! Learn more & purchase a copy.

Experience the Holy Land from a bird's eye view! Sign up to review in the sidebar.

Meet the Authors: 
Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in "National Geographic," and his company,, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel.

Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40 year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.

More reviews and information - click here

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flowerpot Children's Press presents two new books: Peace Dragon picturebook series - HOW I DID IT & ALPHABETTER [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1486712106
Series: Peace Dragon
Flowerpot Press 


About the book; Empower your vocabulary with this hilarious dictionary full of playfully re-paired words that motivate, uplift, and inspire. Laugh and learn as you read each new word, and discover the amazing power our words have when we use them to encourage others and ourselves!

My thoughts: This cute picture book takes word definition and development to a new dimension. The author has created new words by combining existing words into a new dictionary. It is quite true that language is an ongoing developmental process and new words come to the fore quite often. These newly minted words are a "fun" excursion into thinking and creating.

I see the purpose of this book that of creating a peaceful, accepting mindset for the child. "Firarming {Fire + Warming} Use your inner fire for warming others, not burning them." Every letter of the entire alphabet is given a brand new word in this system of creating new from two.

While I find the book cute, delightful, engaging and the concept of creating a thoughtful, peaceful mindset in children really good, I personally don't care for the confusing words that are created by combining two words. Perhaps children "get" it. This grandmother didn't.

ISBN: 978-1486712113
Series: Peace Dragon
Flowerpot Press


About the book: Curious and inspired, I was full of ideas. I turned adversity into adventure when I took a chance and tried to change. Readers young and old will be inspired by how I did it.

My thoughts: This is a delightfully illustrated  story that is so much fun to read. As with most of us, "I" is the central character. And "I" has an idea and from that point on "I" gallops through the pages with his penchant for doing something different from the ram-rod straight letter he (or she) is. "I" wants to be different from the way he is designed and so experiments with bending, curling, and being like the other letters of the alphabet. "J" tells "I" to quit being a joker and being all bent out of shape. And then "I" got himself between the lines of the page and had an entirely different point of view.

The letters of the alphabet exclaim with words beginning with their letter: G = good grief; E = take it easy; W = What's wrong with wondering? wondered W.

The gist of the story is that we can be different from what we are perceived to be. And that is certainly true. We should as parents and adults, though, be careful to help our young charges to understand that living by the rules is just as important as realizing our own full potential.

A delightful book. Well done, colorful, and nice and sturdy.

The author's use of words and letters (A saw what C saw) is tickle-your-funny-bone delightful.

About the Author: Linda Ragsdale wants everyone to be a dragon, a Peace Dragon that is! As an author, illustrator, international speaker, and peace teacher, Linda has developed her Peace Dragon series to teach us how to harness our fiery energy into a peaceful and productive outlet by owning our human powers of view, voice, and choice. Linda invites you to be a peace dragon ambassador and join the 30,000 students she has taught around the world!
Begins June 22
ENDS July 14 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Giveaway copies are provided via publicist and publisher.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Busy Builders: Construction Site, Airport, Fire Station from Silver Dolphin Books

Great Summer Fun

Each book in the Busy Builders series includes a 32-page fact book, a 3-D building, and 48 model pieces. These sets remind me of my childhood when we played with "paper dolls." We had stiff paper dolls that had the ability to stand alone. They were not real durable, but they were fun and we had hours of fun playing with them.

The Busy Builders sets have lots of "bells 'n whistles" that make this modern-day paper construction set come alive for the kids. Educational. Fun. Packed with imaginative play tools and sure to please. The whole product is "playable" - the box unfolds into the "house" or building with streets on both sides and curved pieces of street that connect. The figures have stand-up features. Once the set is removed from the box and "constructed," it can not fit back into the box without completely taking it apart. To extend the life of the  set one will need to provide storage. It would be fun to have all three sets to play with and have a "city" so-to-speak. Originally priced at $20 each, they can be found for less online at Amazon, etc.

Busy Builders: Construction Site will bring young children to a busy building site, where they will meet the construction crew at work on a new school. The fact book introduces kids to the people and machines at a construction site, using colorful illustrations and simple text. Plus, the box folds out to form a school under construction, complete with model pieces for the building, vehicles, and construction workers.
A page inside the Construction Site book.
My thoughts: It is always fun to see kids playing with toys / replicas of the tools used in the construction of buildings - especially large buildings. In this construction site set they will have great opportunities to engage in imaginative play around a building under construction, put together the figures and tools, and read the informative book that begins with the first worker to enter the construction site for the day and unlock the gate.
Busy Builders: Airport takes young children behind the scenes at a busy airport, allowing them to see how all the flights and passengers move smoothly through the terminal. The fact book introduces kids to the various procedures at an airport—from check-in to arrival—using cute illustrations and simple text. The box folds out to form an airport terminal, and the included model pieces for the runway, air-control tower, airplane, and baggage carts provide hours of interactive entertainment.
My thoughts: The concept of a play set and accompanying story book is nice and lends itself to the opportunity for educational play, reading conceptual information, hands-on opportunity to put together a play set, and an opportunity to simply have some fun.
Constructed of sturdy cardboard it will last through many play times, but it is not intended for long term play. 
I see the Airport construction/play set as a grand opportunity to introduce boys and girls to the concept of airport travel. The book takes the reader through the various parts of traveling through the airport from arrival, going through getting a ticket, the security scanner, the posts of arrivals and departures, etc.
Busy Builders: Fire Station takes young firefighters inside a busy fire station, where they will learn how rescue teams prepare to fight fires and save people from danger. The fact book introduces kids to the daily routines—and a variety of emergencies—of a firefighting crew using cute illustrations and simple text. Once children have read the book, they can spend hours with the foldout fire station, complete with model pieces for a fire truck, helicopter, and firefighters.
A page inside the Fire Station book.
My thoughts: Fire fighters are always heroes and people to which children look up to and admire. Engaging in the imaginative play activities of a fire fighter by putting together the fire house, road around it, and vehicle will surely provide hours of fun for boys and girls alike.
Playing with the three sets -  Construction Site, Fire Station, and Airport together will provide a family of children wonderful interactive play time together imagining how a city functions.

I recommend these Silver Dolphin Book products.

Purchase on Amazon here: Busy Builders: Fire Station Busy Builders: Construction Site Busy Builders: Airport

DISCLOSURE: I was provided complimentary products/books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Captain's Daughter (Historical Romance Christian Fiction) by Jennifer Delamere [Giveaway]

London, 1879

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don't catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided---until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

This warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life. Sign up to review in the sidebar.
Watch for Chat With Vera's review on July 1.
Begins June 20
Ends July 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades and lives in North Carolina with her husband. Visit her online at

Monday, June 19, 2017

Scanorama interactive 3 book series - Amazing Animals, Deadly Predators, & Dinosaurs [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

My thoughts: 

Silver Dolphin Books produces some really interesting, fun, and educational non-fiction books and educational products for the young reader. Their new series with a sliding scanorama in the book and some lift-the-flap features is packed with wonderful facts, images, and a categorization that takes the reader into thought provoking areas about the specifics of each book.

In Scanorama: Amazing Animals each group of information tells about the "Biggest Beasts," the "Fastest Movers," "Awesome Brainpower" "The Kingdom's Strongest," "Amazingly Tiny Animals," "Ruthless and Deadly," "Glowing Bright," "Longest Lifespan," "Mega Migrators," Weird and Wonderful," "Wild's Toughest," and "Camouflage Experts." Within each of these two-page spreads encapsulated bits of information are presented where the reader can see just which animals and insects glow, which is the known longest living creature, which would be the biggest.

The quality of these publications is really nice and sturdy. The lift-the-flap and slide/scan features reveal further and quite interesting information. The covers are dimensional adding touch-appeal. Designed for the seven year and up population, older readers will also find details and information new to them. Clearly the publication is designed to also encourage consciousness of the need for conservation and protection of species that are endangered.

A well-designed and quality addition to the home library and a great purchase for that young reader who has a penchant for living creatures.

In Scanorama: Deadly Predators they almost leap off the page in a ferocious attack. The information and images will make the reader respect the strength and danger these predators present to mankind - a respect that will give the reader a desire  to avoid them as well as protect them as a conservationist because an understanding of their place in the world.

Another addition to the home library and young reader's wish list.

In Scanorama: Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Creatures  The conservationist theme is moot because dinosaurs have been extinct for a long time. However, scientists have discovered fossils and based on these finds have reconstructed the dinosaur animal line quite effectively. In Scanorama a "fleshed-out" dinosaur is pictured but the sliding window reveals what we truly know about the dinosaurs - their bones.

I did find one point in particular that raises concerns for me and that is the statement that has dinosaurs dying out completely prior to man's appearance on Earth. It is my understanding that fossil remains have been found showing a human footpring alongside a huge dinosaur footprint and this would indicate co-existence. Otherwise, I believe this book provides all those who love reading about dinosaurs a grand opportunity to find additional nuggets of information and wonderful illustrations to accompany them. A super addition to the home library and for those dinosaur lovers.

About the books:

Scanorama: Amazing Animals readers will meet a variety of species from across the animal kingdom and learn about their astounding feats of strength, speed, and endurance—including an anaconda, a thorny devil, and a blue whale. Captivating facts, photographs, and illustrations provide even more details on each animal, and interactive flaps to lift enhance the scan-tastic educational experience.

On the pages of Scanorama: Deadly Predators, kids are treated to a virtual X-ray tour featuring some of the world's most dangerous animals. Featured animals include a tiger, a scorpion, and a great white shark; each animal is covered in detail through informative text, photographs, and illustrations.

Scanorama: Dinosaurs gives young readers the feel of working as a lab technician as they study dinosaurs and other amazing prehistoric animals—such as the deadly T. Rex, the armored Ankylosaurus, and the massive Argentinosaurus. Detailed text, photographs, and illustrations provide insights into how each animal survived in the prehistoric world, and even more facts can be found under the interactive flaps throughout the book.
All 3 books for 1 winner
Begins June 20
Ends July 12 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Silver Dolphin Books to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Grandfather Whisker's Table(Trade Winds Series) by Eun-Jeong Jo & illustrated by Bimba Landmann from Eerdmans' Books for Young Readers

My thoughts: The Trade Winds Series of books published by Eerdmans' for young readers is intended to introduce the concept of global trade and the history of how it was established. As an educational tool it utilizes historical fiction whereby the child has an engaging story that also imparts a historical fact. The back pages are packed with information that is intended for the older reader or the adult to further enhance the educational experience with factual information and a time line.

I previously reviewed Lion, King, Coin, Father's Road, and Leather Shoe Charlie in this series and found them to be a fountain of information. Children can learn facts and enjoy their reading time while doing so when a story is well presented. Each of these books has utilized illustrations that fit nicely with the period and locale of the story. In the case of Grandfather Whisker's Table the story is about an even in Siena, Italy during the Medieval period. The art is stark and somewhat abstract with colors of burnt sienna with reds and browns. It is an interesting art form for a young reader's book in that the heads of the characters are at really weird angles and cubist forms quite abstract. I reviewed previous books illustrated by Bimba Landmann - I Am Marc Chagall, and In Search of the Little Prince. While not a-typical of children's books, I find these books provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce and explain different art forms to children.

The story of "Grandfather Whisker's Table" is a sweet and charming tale of a little boy at a major even in his town and he lovingly purchases a toy for his younger brother. Then the banco (bank) aspect of the story begins with the exchange of various currencies at Grandfather Whisker's table and so the little boy "deposits" his toy with the banker for later retrieval.

The concept of currency exchange, deposits, and withdrawals is taught with the story as well as the early history of how banks operated.

This is a very good book and has a lot to offer young readers.  I think this series would be excellent additions to libraries both school and public in sturdy hardcover editions so that children can examine different art styles and learn some of the history behind global trade.

About the book: A children's story about the world's first bank

Enzo and his father are excited to be in Italy for the Palio di Siena festival. Enzo buys a toy woodpecker for his little brother, but the piazza is so crowded that Enzo worries he will lose it. Luckily, an old man named Grandfather Whisker is loaning and exchanging money at the festival. He agrees to keep the toy safe and gives Enzo a receipt so he can collect it later. But now Enzo must be careful not to lose his receipt amidst all the festivities.

This latest installment in theTrade Winds series offers readers a relatable story while providing historical information about the first known bank."

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

With You Always (Orphan Train #1) by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  As always, I highly anticipate a new book from author Jody Hedlund. When I saw she was writing a series featuring the Orphan Train of the 1850s I had an additional interest. My mother and her brother were placed in an orphanage in the early 1920s because their father died and their mother had no means of supporting them herself. She wanted them safely kept and their needs met. This was not an Orphan Train case, but still the situation of desperation that society imposed on the poor necessitated that desperate steps be taken. This was hard on my mother, her brother, and their mother.

As I read With You Always, I came to the realization that this story was essentially laying the story behind the desperate times and desperate people who resort to desperate resolutions. Poverty is always around us, but in the financial crisis of the 1850s despair and need resulted in children, young ladies, young boys, and whole families living on the streets - much like some situations today. But in 1850 there was little help available.

Now factor into the story the wealthier side of society and land development around existing railroad lines and you have the need to send men and women into new situations for work to establish new towns with homes, farms, and accompanying businesses. And with the crisis that society's ills placed on young and old alike, these rail lines were used to send forth children as orphans to work these farms and help in these homes. In With You Always the sending of children is hinted at as it touched on the family of Elise Neumann who was working to help "build" one of these new towns.

I am sure that as future books in the Orphan Train Series are available, we will see the plight of the children placed on these trains and sent forth into unknown areas and situations that sometimes were good but often were not.

Hedlund paints a wonderful word picture of the times and events and draws characters that are charming, fun, unlikeable, witty - the whole gamut of personalities.

The historical record of this period in New York with the financial crisis, gang war and rioting, and destitute situation of a huge number of the populace is well written in this book. Another good read from the pen of Jody Hedlund.

About the book: When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.
Begins June 17
Ends July 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

National Georaphic Kids' 2018 Almanac helps to stop the "Summer Slide" by providing fun and challenging reads for your kids [Review & Giveaway]

I completely believe that play is the work of children and lack of untethered playtime causes detriment to their overall development. However, even considering the value of free time with time to play and relax, the summer with its unfettered time away from the classroom has its downside. It's call the SUMMER SLIDE. I don't mean a water slide or backyard slip 'n slide. I mean the mental, educational, mind numbing slide where the child's brain begins to slide or coast along. It is belileved that reading skills are lost during the summer vacation period and it takes time to regain those skills. No, they don't just pick up where they left off, they have to regain lost skills. Teachers have to work to get student's brain development back on track. It is said,  "Brain drain is very real and has lasting repercussions that can impact a student’s long-term academic performance."

So parents need an effective and affordable way to ensure students are on track academically and you can visit the library, purchase books, swap books - get the kids reading. They have play time and they will need to have "down" time where they are inactive and yet not bored. Reading provides that non-boring down time when their body can relax and rest and tbeir mind can maintain the reading skills learned the previous school year.

My grandchildren just love the National Geographic Kids Almanac and having one of their very own rather than borrowing it from the library or a friend provides more bang for the buck than you can imagine. Sized for handy carrying about, it is literally packed full of fun information on a variety of subjects and presented in eye grabbing detail and imagry so that their attention focuses on the pages in front of them and they simply become engrossed in the subject. Then there are activities that they can take their own pencil or pen to and mark up to their heart's content.

Workbook? No. This is a fun book. An information treasure trove. A journey into the detail or the minute and a fact finding puzzle journey of the  mind.

I encourage you to grab one for the age 8-12 (and perhaps a bit older, too) child in your life.
The Nat Geo Kids Almanac 2018 (ages 8-12, $14.99) is the perfect way to take a big bite out of the summer slide.
Begins June 16
Ends July 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible, Hardcover, Full Color Interior from Zondervan Publishing

The NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible brings the Bible to life for children for ages 8-12 in four-color illustrated splendor. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they'll want to explore. Beautiful cover featuring gloss Review Process

Age 8 to 12
Hardcover $32.99 USA
ISBN: 9780310758600
My thoughts:  My preference for versions of the Bible would be the King James or perhaps the New King James. However, I recognize that often the prefered version is the NIV. This new NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible will certainly provide many opportunities for the older child to learn deeper studying techniques of the Bible. Children are basically visual leaners and when illustrations, stand out infographics, maps, and photographs draw attention to specifics in the Bible, it stirs the interest and enhances the learning experience.

The layout with visuals spaced through the Bible and the feel is definitely not that of a picture book. This is a study Bible and these are study aids intended to enhance the educational experience of studying the Word of God.

I especially like how the side bars (every page) have a reference particular to that page and an explanation of something specific from that referenced verse. Example - see illustration that follows:

Study Bibles often have "footnotes" that are exlanatory and linked to specific passages. They also provide additional references to the same topic. In the Kid' Visual Study Bible the "footnotes" are essentially the notes in the sidebars.

At the beginning of the books, pertinent information relating to authorship, purpose of the book's being written, for whom it was written, and important teachings in the book (these are specifically referenced with book/chapter/verse).

Indexing is always essential in a study tool and the NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible has an Infographic Index and a Maps Index (small maps throughout the Bible). There is also a collection of maps at the back of the Bible and a Table of Weights and Measures.

About the Bible:  The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible, for ages 8–12, brings the Bible to life in four-color illustrated splendor. This study Bible includes a spectacular full-color interior featuring over 700 illustrations, photos, infographics, and maps on every page that visually represent key Bible information. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they’ll want to explore.


  • Over 700 four-color photographs, illustrations, infographics, and maps throughout
  • Full-color design
  • Book introductions, including important facts and an image to orient the reader
  • One-column format with side bar study notes for ease of reading
  • Presentation page
  • The complete text of the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible
  • Beautiful cover featuring gloss

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy on behalf of the publisher, Zondervan, to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.