God’s Gift

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Mancini, Lee Ann (author). Sharp, Dan (illustrator). God’s Gift: Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2016.

godsgift

SUMMARY:
As part of the award winning series, Adventures of the Sea Kids, the newest addition explores the true meaning of Christmas whether celebrating Hanukkah or a more traditional Christmas. In God’s Gift, Jacob (Starfish) and Christian (Turtle) argue over the amount of presents they each will receive but soon discover the real meaning of Christmas, God’s gift to all. With adorable, full color illustrations and a lively, simple yet meaningful text, author Lee Ann Manicini and illustrator Dan Sharp coordinate again to provide a quality book perfect for sharing.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving this Christian book series already, I was excited to read another one with a timely focus on Christmas. With an impressive message and delightful child-friendly illustrations, I love the extra treat of returning to find a symbol on each page when the book is complete. Sure to be a favorite, this would be wonderful as a gift for children, great in a church library or Sunday school class, or cherished as a personal story to share at home. Hopefully, this talented team will continue with this series as I look forward to more.

RATING:
5 ( out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God’s Gift from the author and BookCrash for my honest review*

Courgeous Jack

Colwell, Cheryl. Harris, Brittany. Courageous Jack: Noble Character- Building Series- Volume 1. Inspired Fiction Books. 2015.

courageousjack

SUMMARY:
Young Jack loses his blue ball and wonders where it may have gone…in the bird’s nest? Perhaps into the cave? Or, caught in the waves? Maybe surrounded by crocodiles? None-the-less, Jack must muster up the necessary courage to find it. With rhyming verses and delightfully illustrated coordinating pictures, Courageous Jack gently teaches the character building lesson of courage, in a reader-friendly manner. Written and illustrated by a mother-daughter team, this first book in the series is dedicated to Jack, son and grandson of the authors.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already quite the fan of author Cheryl Colwell, I was excited to read this new preschool/ elementary age book from the author team. With rhyming words making it easy for beginner readers, though some of the words were a bit of a stretch, it was still successful, especially concerning the intended message. As part of a new series connected to character building, this may prove to be only the beginning of a truly inspirational collection. Perfect for Sunday school, a church library, a kindergarten bookshelf, beginning readers or part of a preschooler gift, I look forward to the next installment.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Courageous Jack from the authors and BookCrash for my honest review*

The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers

Berenstain, Mike. The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers. Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids/ Ideals. 2016.

berenstainbearbookofprayers

SUMMARY:
In true classic Berenstain Bear style, the newest book to join the BB collection, The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers, is full of prayers perfect for sharing. With prayer topics including family, pets, friends, animals, nature, food, emotions, safety, health and plenty more, this softly padded board book is even more appealing with bright colorful pictures. Author Mike Berenstain continues the beloved tradition seamlessly…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Absolutely adorable! Filled with pages of easy to recite prayers with important messages, this sturdy book contains three to four prayers per page spread and of course, they rhyme in the most charming ways! Coupled with the Berenstain Bear family characters, this sweet little book would be great in a child’s library, Sunday school room, church bag or most anywhere. I really like the varying subjects of the prayers as well as the ease with which they can be repeated and remembered. The “thanks” and “bedtime” prayers were some of my favorite. I look forward to more in the popular BB growing series.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Berenstain Bears’ Book of Prayers from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Bedtime Snuggles

Eubank, Patricia Reeder. Bedtime Snuggles. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals. 2016.

bedtimesnuggles

SUMMARY:
Babies of all different types snuggle close to their mommies as evening approaches. Bunnies, horses, raccoons, owls, dogs, sheep and people all share a good-night hug as they settle in for the night. With soft cushy covers and thicker sturdier pages, the beautiful glossy pictures embrace the sweet words inside. Perfect for bedtime reading, Bedtime Snuggles is sure to delight and invite a warm cozy cuddle. Sleep tight!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Adorable, charming, tender and gentle, author Patricia Reeder Eubank shares a lovely picture book geared towards younger children. I appreciated the construction of this charming book which invites little hands to explore and engage. As the soft message lures youngsters to dreamland, little ones become acquainted with many small animals interacting with their moms. The illustrations are especially appealing and paired perfectly with the verse. Definitely a book for any child’s book shelf.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Bedtime Snuggles from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Blessing

Berenstain, Mike. The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Blessings. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids Ideals. 2016.

berenstainbearseasterblessings

SUMMARY:
Starting with a delicious Easter breakfast, the Berenstain Bears begin their Easter morning. After saying grace, the Bears quickly finish with time to get dressed for church. With Grizzly Gramps and Gran stopping over with baskets of Easter goodies, the entire family counts their Easter blessings on the way to worship. A beautiful spring morning, a cozy tree house, family, friends and the many good folk of Bear Country, all are considered blessings. Along with Pastor Brown of the Chapel in the Woods, the Berenstain Bears learn Jesus Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With yet another adorable Berenstain Bear book added to the collection, this sturdy- weighted little book is perfect for little hands. Packed with colorful pictures and the Easter message proclaimed, this book not only entertains but teaches at an age appropriate level. Trusting the Berenstain Bears to delight, my expectations were certainly met. Definitely a book for the church library and a Sunday school classroom, this quality book belongs in an Easter basket surrounded with treats.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Beresnstain Bears’ Easter Blessings from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

All Things Bright And Beautiful

Alexander, Cecil Frances (author). Hudson, Katy (illustrator). All Things Bright And Beautiful. Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids/ Ideals Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Discovering all the beauty in God’s delightful world, three small children camp in the great outdoors. Fruits, bugs, water, birds, trees, meadows, night creatures…the Lord God made them all and gave us the eyes and lips to enjoy His creation. Written in the mid 1800’s by an author no longer here on earth and accompanied by gorgeous colorful illustrations from an illustrator very much still alive, this stunning child’s book celebrates the simplicity yet depth of exploring God’s beautiful achievements. To be shared by young and old alike, this gem is truly a masterpiece spanning the decades…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Remarkable! Joining verse written years ago with contemporary pictures, author Cecil Frances Alexander and illustrator Katy Hudson join talents to design a visually pleasing and artistically written story. All Things Bright And Beautiful is perfect to be shared multi-generationally at home, church or Sunday school. With full pages filled with color along side a simple faith stanza, this is such a treasure! Lovely!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of All Things Bright And Beautiful from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

What a Bragger!

Mancini, Lee Ann (author). Sharp, Dan (illustrator). What a Bragger: Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
BraggerHaving the most sand toys, the most delicious ham sandwich, and the best lunchbox, Melissa the Puffer-fish loves to brag about her items. Finding her upset one day, her classmates discover Melissa and her family are actually quite in need. Collecting treasure coins to throw Melissa a surprise birthday party at school, the Sea Kids gather together to let her know they care which results in Melissa learning a lesson about bragging…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Absolutely loving the first book in the Sea Kids series, Fast Freddy, I knew I had to read this one! While teaching a lesson gently, this book also incorporates faith, adorable characters, lots of color, and the most fantastic pictures. The hidden Jesus symbol on each page is an added bonus. (I even needed help finding one of the fish!) Combining an author with several Master degrees in Theology with an illustrator who designs for Disney and Warner Brothers, What a Bragger is perfect for children (and adults) of any age. Part of the proceeds of this book are even donated to Christian charities that minister to children…I may just love the Sea Kids as much as the author and her sisters do!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of What a Bragger from the author and BookCrash for my honest review*

Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Girls

Elliott, Rob. Hawkins, Jonny (Illustrator). Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Girls. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
doodlesgirlsThe perfect companion for girls on long car rides, summer vacations or lazy afternoons at the beach, Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Girls is sure to alleviate the boredom and constant questions…”Are we there yet?” and “I’m bored.” Filled with oodles of doodles to complete, silly jokes and riddles and encouragement to share with others, Rob Elliott has created a priceless tool for making time pass effortlessly.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
More creative and hands-on than video games, complete with an invitation to share conversation (and jokes) with family and friends, just the right size to pack in a car bag or suitcase…this little pocket-size book is charming, inviting and appropriate. (“How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it!”) LOL.  Sure to be just as enjoyed as the counterpart for boys, Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Boys, adults and children alike will appreciate it.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles For Boys from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Fast Freddy

Mancini, Lee Ann. Sharp, Dan (illustrator). Fast Freddy: Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
freddyFreddy, a new student in class, is a bit different…he has the head of a shark and the body of an octopus. Feeling like a fish out of water in his new school, Freddy struggles to get along with the other children until he is asked to join the Catfish Cruisers Swim Team. Accepting the challenge, he soon learns that being unique is a true gift with many blessings…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A simple yet complex story on friendship, uniqueness, God-given gifts, and acceptance all coupled with amazing colorful pictures, I truly enjoyed the message and stunning presentation of Fast Freddy. Definitely a book to be shared with children, even adults will gravitate towards this story. Complete with a hidden Jesus-fish symbol on each page, the lessons on kindness and friendship run deep. As the author of the Adventures of Sea Kids series as well as having completed several theological degrees, Lee Ann Mancini pairs well with illustrator Dan Sharp, artistic creator for Disney, Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbara.   A Benjamin Franklin Award book…well done!

RATING: 4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fast Freddy from the author and BookCrash for my honest review*

The Littlest Christmas Kitten

Jackson, Leona Novy. Dupre, Kelly. The Littlest Christmas Kitten. Maryville, MO: Snaptail Press. 2006.

SUMMARY:
kittenOn the holiest of nights long, long ago…a small kitten is lost. Mother cat looks high and low all throughout the stable until she finds him snuggled in the manger which is soon to be used by Joseph and Mary for the birth of the Christ child. Scampering home safely, Mother and Father cats still share the story of the night Baby Jesus shared the manger bed with the baby kitten…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Adorable! With a caring story about kittens and the birth of Jesus, this child’s book reveals how intertwined life and faith can be in the smallest, simplest of ways. A beautiful version of the Christmas story is coupled with magnificent print making illustrations making this book glorious to read and share. Even more, the double-page layout contains smaller artwork pieces which relate directly to the story on each page. A glossary of relevant Christmas symbols (Stable, Nativity, Star, Holly) is included at the back with a special note on cats (keeping them safe, life-long commitments, special friends). Absolutely charming!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Littlest Christmas Kitten from BookCrash as well as the author for my honest review*