Friday, March 3, 2017

Would You Like to Know Collection by Tim Dowley, with Illustrations by Eira Reeves




My Thoughts:


This is a cute little set of books. It looks like something that would be used with preschool aged children that aren't used to being taught the Bible or aren't used to going to worship services. It might be great for little ones just being introduced to God's Word. While I don't have experience in the realm of foster care, I can't help but think that these would be perfect in the situations where a child is in a new Christian environment.

At the end of one of the books, the child is told to ask their family if they can go to Sunday School. I wouldn't dare give something like this to a child without their parent's approval, so I'm not completely sure what the author had in mind here. It doesn't seem likely that these books would be randomly picked up by the target age very often, and most of them wouldn't be able to read it themselves. I can see adults stepping into dangerous territory with these.

Within this set are these books:

Would You Like to Know the Bible?
Would You Like to Know the Story of Christmas?
Would You Like to Know How to Pray?
Would You Like to Know About God?
Would You Like to Know the Story of Easter?
Would You Like to Know Jesus?

If you know me at all, you'll probably already know that I would change a word/sentence here and there, or leave them off completely. The first time I looked at Would You Like to Know Jesus, I got the impression that it had a "Prayer of Salvation" in it. Since this is nowhere in the Bible, I don't tolerate the teaching of it, especially not to preschool aged children. After a bit of time had passed and I read it again, I didn't see it that way quite as much. It seemed mostly to be a simple moment of prayer for a child. Of course, you'd want to read it for yourself and make your own decision there!

Overall, I wouldn't overly recommend these to children that have been taught the Bible well. It is a good set full of basics for those that are new to the Bible, and most of them would even be nice for Bible classes, especially when visitors came.

*I was given a free copy of this collection.


Friday, January 13, 2017

These are a Few of My Favorite.....Unlucky Characters



Today, Friday the 13th, is a celebration of Warren the 13th, from Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye. He won me over completely, and I'm greatly looking forward to reading more of his adventures in Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods. My Firefly is especially fond of Warren, too, as some of you that know us better might expect.

Would you like to read a special short story about Warren and his Friday the 13th? Here ya go! There's also some activities your child can do at the end. I'm not superstitious at all, but it's all in good fun.






Today, I'm mentioning a few of my favorite "unlucky" characters, from both books and movies. (I've tried to avoid spoilers, so explanations are brief.)

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Lady Edith from Downton Abbey

I have mixed emotions about Downton Abbey. I loved parts, and others not so much. I can't leave Lady Edith off a list of unlucky characters, though. She may just deserve the #1 spot!

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Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

She has a pretty unlucky past, and while her luck turns dramatically when the series starts, she still has moments of bad luck. (I'm currently in Anne of the Island, so I don't yet know how her luck plays out through the rest of the books.)

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Leonora Bowman, also known as Charlotta the Fourth, from Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I'll include Charlotta the 4th, since she describes herself as unlucky in Anne of Avonlea. (I happen to think she's more on the lucky side, though, considering her boss, Lavender Lewis, is one of my most favorite people in the series so far.)

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Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Coincidence that this series comes to Netflix today, Friday the 13th? Nah. These are 3 very unlucky children!

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Jane Hayes, from Austenland by Shannon Hale

The book wasn't my favorite, but I LOVE the movie. It's up there with my most favorite ever. That said, the book does show more of her "unluckiness" when it comes to guys.

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Salem, from Sabrina the Teenage Witch

As punishment, he's living life as a black cat.(He's quite the handsome cat, though, and reminds me of my sweet black cat, Bing. Some folks out there kill black cats, thinking they'll have bad luck otherwise. Don't be that person!)

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Speaking of cats, this list wouldn't be complete without Eanrin, from Tales of Goldstone Wood.

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Jurassic Park

In honor of my Grasshopper and his complete obsession with ALL things Jurassic Park, I include every single character from any of those movies in this list. It's pretty unlucky to spend any amount of time running for your life, attempting to not get eaten by dinosaurs. Dr. Alan Grant is especially unlucky in the third one. (My Grasshopper was Dr. Alan Grant for Halloween.) We must not forget the poor, cowardly guy that gets eaten while on the potty in the first one, and Zara in Jurassic World. My heart was even broken for a few unlucky dinosaurs.

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Bucky Barnes, from Captain America

This poor guy has a long string of unlucky moments through his life.

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Harry Potter

Some might consider him more on the lucky side, but he has plenty of unlucky moments.

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Ron, also from the Harry Potter Series

Poor guy!

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Batman

He had an unlucky past that he turns into good. Have I mentioned he's my most favorite hero? ;) He has no super powers, but uses his own strength and imagination.

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And last, but not least, Warren the 13th.

He's the thirteenth Warren, for one. He also looks a little like a toad. That's unlucky!

If you'd like to read more about Warren, check out his official site, where you can also learn more about his creators.


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Do you have a favorite character you would consider "unlucky"? I'd love to hear about them!


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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Scripture Doodle Books by April Knight


Description:

Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God’s promises and faithfulness to His children.

ScriptureDoodle God’s Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God’s Word in all circumstances.

This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.


My Thoughts:

I was sent a copy of both Scripture Doodle and Scripture Doodle: God's Promises. To me, they make me think of something that might be used in a ladies' class that might meet on a Thursday(or another day that isn't official "church gathering" time). It mixes teaching you how to doodle and create art with a Bible lesson. April gives you instructions on how to do things, from super basic and up. These books are mostly about the art, though it is meant to create art that keeps the focus on God. The lessons are truly like a Christian art class within a book, and I think that's awesome.

The lessons aren't super deep, but they are nice reminders. Each day gets a Bible verse, along with the mini devotional(around 3-9 sentences), and then an assignment for that day's art. Obviously, it doesn't take long to read the lesson, and most of the time is spent attempting the art assignment.

These are both beautiful books! I believe anyone that enjoys creating art, or wants to learn how to do it better will enjoy these books. I must admit that I'm a bit fascinated by them.

*I was given free copies of both books.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pray from A to Z: A Practical Guide to Pray for Your Community by Amelia Rhodes



Description:

Change the world one prayer at a time.

How would our community change if instead of absently saying, “I’ll pray for you,” we actually did pray–deeply, intensely, and purposefully?

Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.

With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter–three prayers of petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God’s presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong–on His strong shoulders.

Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.

My Thoughts:

You really can't go wrong with this book! It might sound a little corny to list prayers from A to Z, but it greatly opened my mind to those that need my prayers(and yours). There are many that I don't think about on a regular basis, and this book has been a great reminder to do just that. Plus, it's not just prayers for those in need. There's also prayers of blessing and praise.

Each letter will get several topics, and each topic gets a page with a Bible verse, an assignment for prayer, and then a sample prayer. The author makes it clear that the prayers listed in this book aren't meant to be recited. They should be seen as "conversation starters". I firmly believe that prayers should come from my heart, not the heart of someone else, so I greatly appreciate that reminder from her.

To give you an example of what you might see: The letter "D" gets the topics of "Depression and Mental Health", "Divorce", "Dementia and Alzheimer's", which are "Prayers of Petition" and "Deliverer", and "Dwelling Place", which are "Prayers of Praise".

The book is super simple, but so helpful! You're encouraged to write notes and use this book and these prayers as just a starting point. (I'd recommend a separate journal or notebook for that, because there's not a ton of room left over. I don't write tiny, though.)

This book truly IS a practical guide for praying for your community. Again, you can't go wrong with it.

*I was given a free copy of this book.



Friday, December 2, 2016

Candle Day by Day Walk with Jesus and Bible by Juliet David, with Illustrations by Jane Heyes


Candle Day by Day Bible

If you'd like a super quick summary of what I say below for both books(because it's a bit long): Gorgeous illustrations, but make sure you read and compare with God's true Word!


I really like the whole idea of this "Bible". It's made like a flip type calendar, being spiral bound on the top. It has a very sturdy stand, which makes it easy to set on a desk or counter(or wherever you wanted to display it). The stand also folds up, so it can be flat if that's what you need(for moving or storage, etc). The pages aren't that thick, though, and with it being spiral bound, especially on top(making less holes to be torn), I worry about the lasting power of this thing, particularly if little ones are around. It's labeled for 5-7, but as far as content, I think it would be nice for younger children, too. It's a bit simple for older children.

It appears that this is actually a desk version of the Day by Day Bible, so if you have that version, this one would simply make it easier to keep in sight every day.

You turn the page each day and get a new picture and a new part of a "story". It's a nice and easy way to get a little extra Bible in each day. Of course it doesn't cover every single event from the real Bible, but it's great for little ones. Just to make sure we're clear, no, I wouldn't recommend this as a lone Bible source. It's a nice little supplement, though!

I would have liked each page to have the Bible verses it was summarized from to have been included. This would have made it a better option for older children, too. They could read each day's page, similar to a devotional, and then read the Bible verses associated with it. That way they could fill in the details and compare for themselves between God's Word and the summary, all while getting great visuals, which I think are perfectly lovely. That said, it is easy enough to find the real events within the Bible by searching ahead of time. Having it included would have just made it easier on me, though.

(Just to give you an example of exactly why I highly recommend reading alongside God's Word, and never taking the word of us imperfect humans: This book says that Moses wrote God's "rules"(The Ten Commandments). God's Word makes it clear, repeatedly, that God wrote on those tablets Himself. (Exodus 31:18, 32:15-16, and 34:1) (I have to admit that Exodus 34:27 does make things a bit confusing, but I'm still left with the same conclusion when I add verse 28.) I relied on other people's summaries too often in my younger days, and even into years too recently. I'm still learning, and I won't claim to be able to pick out everything that's wrong with summary books like this. I still get things wrong and I still miss things that are wrong! This is just one event that I commonly compare, and it's frequently wrong within books. There's almost always something like this within books, so be careful. They're useful, IF used with the REAL thing, though, and more than anything I enjoy the variety of illustrations.)

I also like that the pages are numbered, as opposed to dated. You can start using it any day of the year. You don't have to start on January 1st, and I like that freedom.

Overall, it's really nice, if you think the spiral part of the page will survive your children, and you use it WITH the real Bible.



Candle Day by Day with Jesus: Read the Story of Jesus in 40 Days


I can mostly say the same things about this book.



This  one is in regular book form, though it is a little smaller than the average book. Each page gets a brief "story", along with a Bible verse(from a wide variety of versions). I like that the Bible verse gives you a reference, though not exact, to go straight to the Bible for comparison and extra details. Each page also has a question or informational sentence. It starts with "Day 1" and continues from there. You can also start this on any day of the year, and finish it any day you want.

The illustrations in this book are also done by Jane Heyes. The ones in this book are actually within the Day by Day Bible, too. Again, though, I really love the illustrations and think they are beautiful!


Both of these are nice for devotional type books, done alongside God's Word, for younger children. It would be a great way to give them a little independence, of course with discussion afterwards with the parent(s). They're also great for quick little devotionals done with parents for younger little ones.

*I was given free copies of both books.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible: Illustrations to Inspire and Color


Description:

The NIV Wonders of Creation Holy Bible explores the wonders of our created world though detailed black-and-white illustrations—each one ready to be filled with the hues of your imagination. From amazing Eden-esque gardens to the creatures God made, this Bible features over 50 ready-to-color pages alongside the full text of the New International Version (NIV) translation.

My Thoughts:

These days, I'm constantly catching my Grasshopper coloring. (At the table, in the floor, in his bed well past bedtime) He loves to color! He went through a stage where he didn't care to at all, so I was pretty surprised when I started catching him with coloring books and crayons stashed around the house. I thought this Bible might be a little treat for him.

It turns out that this thing is super girly. I'm not even the pickiest with my boys playing with "girl" things. They've all had dolls in their younger years. I share my "girly" LEGO sets and they enjoy playing with them as much as any other. They wear "manly" pink! ;) This Bible is an invitation to bullying, though(or at least "picking on", or laughing behind his back), so I can't recommend this for boys. It was hard to tell online when I first saw it, though it does look perfectly obvious now that I look again, but there's lots of pink on the front and back, and even a pink bookmark. For girls, it's nice. (Thankfully, I have a sweet niece that this is perfect for.) I would have loved for the outside(and the bookmark) to have been a little more gender neutral, though!


This is a full NIV Bible. It has 13 sections throughout with coloring pages. These sections are all two pages, front and back, and they are on thicker paper. The middle is a full two page spread, so you technically get 3 coloring pictures per section. The insides of the front and back covers are for coloring, too.


I'd probably recommend this for 7-11(on average). I imagine it'll start looking too childish for older girls, and most younger won't be able to color the complicated sections. (Of course, all children are on different levels, so that will vary, depending on the child.) I wouldn't want to give it to a child too early, especially if they just carelessly color the pages. It wouldn't end up being the treasure it has the potential to be.


Overall, this is cute for a girl!

*I was given a free copy.