Three Show Saturday!

I have not been a diligent blogger lately.

My life has felt like a three show Saturday or maybe even a three ring circus as I attempt to get my shop ready for business.

I’m looking forward to having time to get back to my blog schedule once the shop is open 🙂 I’m still reading and reviewing books, just haven’t posted as often as I should.

So today is really a three show Saturday because I’m bringing you writing prompts, book reviews, and some quotes!

Too much?

Never!

Who wants writing inspiration?

I do! I do!

I’d love to hear some of your favorite quotes in the comments below or let me know what you’re reading this week 🙂

And now ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages…on with the show!

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
– Stephen King

I love thrillers. I don’t care for horror so much, but nail-biting, what’s inside the closet, don’t look under the bed, kind of stories are the best. I love to think about what might be lurking in the abandoned house at the end of the road.

This children’s book isn’t exactly creepy or a thriller, but it is strange.

Rosie the Raven

Written and Illustrated by Helga Bansch

rosie raven

Rosie hatches from an egg just like her brothers and sisters, but that is where the similarities end. Sure she’s a little different, but she’s still a raven….right?

“Rosie the Raven” written and illustrated by Helga Bansch is a bizarre, but enjoyable story. The illustrations are incredible and the book could be read over and over just to look at the pictures. The story itself may not be for everyone. Rosie is a tiny human hatched out of an egg and raised by Ravens. There is no explanation given for this, but that’s ok, it works. Rosie is precious and her raven family appears to love her very much. The family dynamics are cute and the message of being confident, even if you’re different, is a great one.

I read something recently that said sometimes as a writer, we are too nice to the main character. This was eye opening for me. In some of my favorite stories, the protagonist suffers greatly and has to overcome so many obstacles, but often in my own writing I didn’t want to cause my precious protagonist any undue stress or pain.

Make your character suffer.

It makes sense really, but it’s definitely hard to let bad things happen to your beloved characters. As a fun exercise, take your character and put him/her in a mundane situation, then think of all the things that could possibly go wrong. How does your character respond?

A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
– Sidney Sheldon

I am loving Zondervan publishing. They make such wonderful Biblical themed books for children. I also didn’t realize Christian/Biblical fiction was such a huge thing. I remember reading the Left Behind series years ago, but otherwise, I’m pretty unfamiliar with this genre.

The Adventure Bible: Great Stories of the Bible

Pictures by David Miles

great stories of bible

From the Adventure Bible series comes another great collection of I Can Read stories bound in one hardback volume. This great collection of six stories includes fully illustrated Old and New Testament stories. From the creation story to parables of Jesus, each story has been carefully summarized from the Bible in words beginning readers will easily grasp. Engaging, exciting and incredibly illustrated, this book will be treasured by parents and children alike.

In “The Adventure Bible: Great Stories of the Bible”, Zonderkidz delivers another great selection for beginning readers. Geared toward newly independent readers aged 6-8, this book may be enjoyed by children reading alone or with the help of an adult. Short, interesting sentences and beautiful illustrations will keep the attention of even younger children. Some stories include a short Biblical passage, but every story includes a summary page at the end with more information from the Bible. A great resource for churches and youth groups, this is truly a beautiful collection of stories that would make a lovely gift.

I love the idea of retelling old stories. Whether drawing inspiration from religion, or from other ancient tales, there are themes of love, loss, betrayal, deceit, faith, and forgiveness that resound across culture and time.

Think about your favorite parable from Jesus or another of your favorite stories. Think about the characters and their motivations. What if your character was in the same situation? How would your character respond? Does your character seek forgiveness from someone? Why? Did your character betray someone? Why?

In stories and in real life, I love attempting to understand what motivates people. We all react to situations in vastly different ways and our characters do to.

The wonderful world of writing! These are the reasons I love it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!

I review for BookLook BloggersReviews PublishedProfessional Reader

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Net Galley for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

Adventure Bible and Grumpy Pants

Happy Thursday!

I hope you all are having a wonderful week and getting a lot of reading done 🙂

Two fun books for you today. One comes from Zonderkidz, another great compilation of I Can Read stories from the Adventure Bible. The other, a fun picture book, comes from Albert Whitman & Company.

Happy Reading 🙂

heroes of bible

Adventure Bible: Heroes of the Bible Treasury

Pictures by David Miles

In this fabulous collection of six books in one, beginning readers learn about great heroes of the Bible. Stories include: Noah’s Voyage, Joseph the Dreamer, Moses Leads the People, Elijah God’s Mighty Prophet, Brave Queen Esther, and Paul Meets Jesus. Bound in hardcover and fully illustrated, this is a beautiful treasury of stories. The Bible comes to life for young readers through engaging illustrations and exciting text. Perfect for children still needing a little help with reading or for newly independent readers.

This Adventure Bible collection is outstanding! The book is beautifully put together and the story selection is perfect for children. The selected stories are high interest and well summarized to include action and interesting dialogue sure to keep children entertained. Once again the illustrations are incredible for an I Can Read series. Each book is separated with a title page and at the end of each story is a nice summary page with an additional fun fact from the Bible. These books may also be purchased separately as soft cover books, but they are lovely bound together in this hardcover edition.

Highly recommended for Sunday school classrooms, Vacation Bible schools, Youth Groups, and Church Libraries.

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Zonderkidz for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

grumpy pants

Grumpy Pants

Written and Illustrated by Claire Messer

Grumpy boots. Grumpy coat. Grumpy everything! Penguin is grumpy just so you know. He doesn’t know why he’s so grumpy, but he is! Can anything help him be less grumpy?

“Grumpy Pants” written and illustrated by Claire Messer features a very grumpy penguin struggling to comprehend his bad mood. A simple, cute read about emotions and expressing oneself. Children will love grumpy penguin in his grumpy underpants as they think about times they felt sad, mad, or grumpy, and couldn’t explain why. This book provides a great starting point for parents to talk with children about feelings, and healthy ways to make oneself feel better on a bad day.

Thank you to Albert Whitman and Company for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday Review and Contest Winner!

Good morning and happy Sunday!

First I’d like to congratulate Emily S. for winning the copy of “South of Sunshine”!

Thanks to all who entered and helped make my first giveaway a success. I’m looking forward to more giveaways in the future and hopefully I will work out all the Rafflecopter kinks by then.

New review today for you all. Another book from HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Zonderkidz. I’m really loving the quality of books Zonderkidz produces. Today’s review is of the Kids’ Quest Study Bible. Wow! This is a fantastic resource. Check out the review for more information but kids and adults alike can learn something from the extra info in this book.

kids quest bible

Kids’ Quest Study Bible

Published by Zonderkidz

With answers to over 500 questions about the Bible, the Kids’ Quest Study Bible is a fabulous first Bible for older children and preteens. Thoughtful, intelligent questions and answers grace almost every page of this Bible. With a bright cover and fun little illustrations accompanying each question, this Bible is sure to grab a child’s attention. The text of the New International Reader’s Version is written plainly, making it an excellent version for children to grasp unfamiliar words and concepts. A great resource for Sunday School teachers, Vacation Bible school leaders, Youth groups and church libraries.

Having reviewed the Under the Sea Bible, I was concerned this Bible would be similar with only a few pages of extra information sparsely distributed throughout the book. Instead, this Bible is packed full of questions, small illustrations, and extra facts about each book. At the start of each book of the Bible, there is an information page stating who wrote the book, when it was written, why it was written and more. This is a great way to get kids interested and focused on who is important and why in each book. The summaries are written plainly and focus on the big picture, making the passages more accessible to children.

Overall, a fantastic resource for children and adults. Lots of great information which enhances the reader’s ability to understand and enjoy this ancient text.

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Zonderkidz for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday Special

Happy Sunday!

I have an exciting post for later this week all about the Unbound Book Festival in Columbia, Missouri! My friend and I went yesterday and loved it! We didn’t spend the whole day but next year we will plan a little better 🙂

Today I have a new Christian book review for you and later this week I’ll put up reviews that have appeared in my newspaper column.

I’ll also be participating in a blog tour in May with an author interview, and I am so excited to share this book and amazing author with you all!

On to the review…

my little bible

My Little Bible

Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer

Published by Tommy Nelson

Children are never too young to hear exciting tales from the Bible. Tales of love, adventure, courage, and helping others. My Little Bible presents Biblical stories in a format easy for children to grasp. Fully illustrated with beautiful, detailed images, little ones are sure to want to read about baby Moses, Noah, Daniel and others again and again.

My Little Bible has been designed specifically for children. The Biblical passages have been summarized carefully in a way children can understand. Each story is accompanied by the Bible verse where the story originates, a full-color illustration, and a question either about the illustration or the story.

These short, high-interest stories will introduce children to many important Biblical figures. The selection of verses spans Old and New Testament, and both popular and less familiar verses.

While the book is designed for young children, and the small size is supposedly better suited to small hands, the book seems a bit small. The size could make it difficult for parents to read with children, but little ones will certainly feel special having their own little Bible to carry wherever they go.

Thank you BookLook Bloggers and Tommy Nelson publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Mud Show Monday

adventure bible activity book

Adventure Bible: Wild About the Bible Sticker and Activity Book

Published by Zonderkidz

Inspired by the Adventure Bible and the I Can Read Adventure Bible series, this sticker and activity book brings Biblical stories and people to kids in a fun way. Fully illustrated and packed full of puzzles, kids will love learning about the Bible. Stories include Creation, Noah, Moses, Esther, and the parable of the lost son. Connect-the-dots, crosswords, word puzzles, mazes, word searches and lots of stickers, make this a fun activity book for children ages 4 to 8.

Zonderkidz consistently produces high-quality and engaging Biblical content for kids. Their Adventure Bible line is no exception. The I Can Read series is exceptional and this activity book is full of eye catching illustrations and creative puzzles. The stories are not described in detail, but enough information is provided to either get kids interested in wanting to read more, or provide further learning for children familiar with the Bible. The book is not divided into Old or New Testament stories. While this is just an activity book, it would have been nice to have more organization. For example, Noah activities appear opposite an activity about Jesus. Overall, a fun addition to Bible school, children’s church, Sunday school or for a home library.

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Zonderkidz for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

maybe-a-fox-9781442394353_hr

Maybe a Fox

Written by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

Sylvie and Jules are as close as two sisters can be. They do nearly everything together, except for when Sylvie wants to run fast. Sylvie is the fastest, and Jules has no hope of catching her when she decides to run. Jules doesn’t like being left behind when her sister runs fast, but she knows her sister will always come back….right? Deep in the woods, Sylvie runs and a fox is about to be born. Could the two events be connected in any way? What if this fox is a special fox….a fox not entirely of this world? A fox that will become a part of the girls’ lives in a way they never imagined.

“Maybe a Fox” written by Kathii Appelt and Alison McGhee is told mostly from the third person perspective of Jules. Other perspectives include the neighbor boy, Sam, and the fox. The back and forth storytelling style is lovely and gives the book a wonderful rhythm. This book is difficult to put down as the reader will continuously wonder what comes next. The characters are beautifully developed and readers will weep through much of this book. The ending felt a bit rushed after the gentle pace of the rest of the book, but it was not so terrible as to ruin the whole story. A moving and clever piece, sure to leave readers thinking about the world in new ways.

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.
Reviews PublishedProfessional Reader

Christian Book Reviews

I was out of town yesterday so missed putting up my Sunday reviews on Sunday. Here are a few new reviews for parents or children looking for Christian-themed books.

Later this week I will have an author interview to share! And more great reviews which will be in this week’s newspaper. Then next month I will be part of a blog tour for a new picture book debuting in May.

Thanks for sticking with me while my schedule is a bit crazy 🙂

Yay for new books!

under sea bible

Under the Sea: Holy Bible

This New International Reader’s Version of the Holy Bible is beautiful with it’s sea themed cover and inserts. This is not a children’s beginning reader Bible, this is the full text of the Bible with a cute cover and three pages dispersed throughout with readings designed for children.

Under the Sea: Holy Bible would make a great gift for a young person. This Bible is not designed for a very young child, but a pre-teen would appreciate the design and enjoy the insightful meditations on the inserts. The inserts cover love, the ten commandments, prayer and what it means to be a christian. There is also a page listing passages related to children in the Bible which is especially interesting.

Overall, a beautifully designed Bible that could be treasured as a first Bible for children.

And now reviews of two board books. I thought these were picture books when I requested them, but I’m fairly certain they are board books. I received e-copies so I’m not positive about the print format but the text is exceptionally simple.

noahs noisy animals

Noah’s Noisy Animals

By Rebecca Elliot

The ark is full of animals. And those animals are noisy! Two lions, two monkeys and more will squawk, snap and roar as children read through this colorful biblical themed tale.

“Noah’s Noisy Animals” written by Rebecca Elliot is perfect for toddlers. Bright colors, short phrases and lots of animal sounds will encourage interaction among reader, child and the book. Simple, short and sweet, a great board book for nurseries and home libraries.

silent night

A Not So Silent Night

By Rebecca Elliot

All is dark, but all is not quiet. Night time should be quiet time, but there are too many animals in the stable for that. Will the animals wake the baby?

“Not So Silent Night” written by Rebecca Elliot is another board book great for toddlers. Once again bright, colorful pictures and fun animal sounds combine in a short, simple text. There is little to critique with such a short, simple book, but the baby is only referred to as “the baby” which feels out of place when Mary and Joseph are referred to as “Mary” and “Joseph”. Children are not likely to notice and perhaps the omission of the baby’s name could start simple conversation about the first Christmas and the identity of the baby in the stable.

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Net Galley for copies of the books in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday Special

Happy Sunday Morning!

Only one book review today, but it’s a new Berenstain Bears book and they are always popular with children. This book is part of a new collection offered by Zonderkids which features Christian themed Berenstain Bears stories.

berenstain bears mothers day

The Berenstain Bears: Mother’s Day Blessings

By Mike Berenstain

Mother’s Day is fast approaching in Bear Country and the cubs want to do something special for Mama Bear. With Papa Bear’s help, the cubs decide to take Mama Bear and Grizzly Gran out for brunch on Mother’s Day, but they want to keep it a surprise. On Mother’s Day, Mama Bear points out all the other Mothers and cubs celebrating Mother’s Day in their own special ways. Lucky for her, the cubs have a special surprise for her too!

“The Berenstain Bears: Mother’s Day Blessings” by Mike Berenstain, based on the original characters created by Stan and Jan Berenstain, is a sweet tale for Mother’s Day. Though lacking in any real conflict or climatic point, the tale is still fun and a nice reminder for children to do something extra for their Mother on this special day. In Bear Country, as in real life, Mothers come in all shapes, sizes and occupations, and some even have to work on their special day. An easy, fun read for children and their Mothers anytime of the year, but especially fun to share on Mother’s Day.

Thank you to Book Look Bloggers and Zonderkids for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Sunday Special

Changed my clocks and forgot what day it was! I almost forgot to put up my Sunday book reviews.

Two fun Christian books today. One great for early readers, especially boy readers, the other a sweet Christmas story.

elijah the prophet

Adventure Bible: Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet

Adventure Bible Series

Pictures by David Miles

Meet Elijah, a faithful servant of God. Elijah was a prophet and told the people of Israel that God was not happy with them but they did not listen. A drought plagued the land because they turned away from God. Elijah listens to God and wants to help the people of Israel, but what can he do? Can Elijah help the people of Israel hear God’s word?

Part of the “Adventure Bible, I Can Read” series, “Elijah, God’s Mighty Prophet” illustrated by David Miles retells the biblical story of Elijah the prophet. The story is engaging and well told, and the pictures are exciting and interesting. Elijah comes to life through the words and pictures, in a way children will understand. As part of a series, this is a great way to introduce children to the Bible. Early independent readers, especially boys, will love this exciting lesson from the Bible. An excellent addition to any home or church library.

if he had not come

If He Had Not Come

Originally written by Nan F. Weeks

Reintroduced by David Nicholson

Illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz

Bobby is excited to go to bed because when he wakes up it will be Christmas! He’s excited to see what’s in the presents under the tree, but he’s also thinking about the story his Dad read to him. It was the story of Jesus and now, despite his excitement for Christmas and presents, he can’t get Jesus’s words out of his head. “If I had not come” Bobby thinks about this verse over and over. He falls asleep thinking about it and when he awakens, the world is a different place. In this world where Jesus did not come, there is no Christmas. It isn’t just the lack of a holiday that makes the world different. People are angry and rude. Bobby doesn’t like this world. Is this what the world would have been like if Jesus had not come?

“If He Had Not Come” intertwines the celebration of Christmas with the story of Jesus, drawing inspiration from John 15:22, “If I had not come”. The story explores a world in which Jesus did not exist. Jesus was never born so there is no Christmas, but what else would be different? The reader, and Bobby will discover that these five words make a profound statement on how different life could have been. Children may not be drawn in by the cover illustration, but this sweet, touching read perfect for Christmas or anytime of the year.

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Harper Collins Christian Publishing for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Sunday Special

Good morning!

More book reviews for your Sunday 🙂

7 days of awesome

7 Days of Awesome

Written by Shawn Byous and Illustrated by Colin Jack

Join a colorful and crazy cast of creatures, as they rhyme their way through the seven days of creation. Hear the creation story in a new way, as you learn of God’s power and wisdom. Seven awesome days, in one awesome book!

Shawn Byous and Colin Jack have created a delightful retelling of creation in “7 Days of Awesome”. The rhyme and verse is clever and creative, and flows wonderfully. The illustrations are bright and fun, and will certainly keep children engaged. If you are looking for texts to introduce your child to the Bible, this is one that will definitely get them excited to hear more Bible stories. A fun read for children of all ages.

rainbow egg

The Rainbow Egg

Written by Linda Hendricks, M.D. and Illustrated by Christine Greer, R.N.

Hope is a chicken who lives in the woods. One day, she discovers she’s laid an egg. A rainbow egg! She carries the egg with her everywhere since she has no nest. The egg is heavy and makes her tired. What will she do with this egg? Can she find a nest for her egg?

At first, “The Rainbow Egg” seems like just a cute story about a chicken and her oddly colored egg, but soon it becomes apparent the story carries a much deeper meaning about adoption. While the message may be too subtle for young children, this story will likely spark questions from older children. I admire, the author’s attempt to tackle a sensitive issue and think this text could be a great resource for parents wishing to discuss adoption with their children. The illustrations are cute but not spectacular. A good read for those needing an analogy when approaching the topic of adoption.

I received complimentary copies of these books from BookLook Bloggers and HarperCollins Christian publishing in exchange for my honest review.
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Sunday Special

I never imagined I’d have so many books to review! This is a good problem to have…I think 😉

I’m still learning how to run this blog, and it will take a bit to get in the groove of things. I’ll still have Mud Show Mondays (hooray!) but I will also post book reviews at other times during the week. Mondays will now be reserved for the books I enjoy the most.

Sunday reviews will be reserved for books with a christian influence or message.

I have joined BookLook Bloggers, operated by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, and the books I receive from them generally have a spiritual message, but not always. Sometimes the books are simply kid friendly texts published by a christian publisher.

On with the reviews!

Angels in the Bible Storybook (2016, Zonderkidz)

There are angels throughout the Bible. Some appear with song and trumpets, while others are peddlers on the road. This storybook brings to light all that angels have done for many important figures in the Bible. With a message that angels are all around us, the text carries the reader through various Bible passages where angels acted on God’s behalf to bring his love and guidance to the people.

“Angels in the Bible Storybook” written by Allia Zobel Nolan and illustrated by Alida Massari retells the Bible with an emphasis on the actions of angels, in a beautiful and loving way. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and bring to life the stories from the Bible. Each passage used in the book has been carefully paraphrased by the author. The passages selected are interesting, as some may be lesser known to children. The text is perfect for beginning and early readers to grasp many pivotal stories from the Bible.

The book itself is heavy and solid with a beautiful cover illustration. Overall, this is a treasury of stories and illustrations, sure to delight both children and adults.

Five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

 

Willie Out West (2016, WestBowPress)

Willie Walrus is bored! He wants adventure in his life. When he hears about danger in the Big West he’s ready to go, and then Octopus shows up on his doorstep asking for help. Willie must go, of course! The citizens of Big West are glad to see him, until Old Walter rolls into town. When the citizens tuck tail and run, will Willie have the courage to face Old Walter on his own?

In “Willie Out West”, writer and illustrator Rhonda Walker combines two of kids’ favorite things, animals and the wild west. Children will enjoy the illustrations and the Octopus with a spur on each tentacle, but the story itself falls a bit flat. The text is too wordy for the book’s intended audience of beginning readers. The plot itself will also leave more questions than answers and the ending is less than satisfying. Also, I was expecting a christian message as this was advertised through a christian publishing company, but there is no clear christian or religious theme.

Children who enjoy pictures of animals decked out in wild West gear will enjoy this tale. They might have fun making up their own story about Willie Walrus in the Big West.

2.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for a Mud Show Monday!