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*

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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*

Why Dogs Are…

Thompson, Tana. Gentry, Marita. Why Dogs Are… USA: Kendall Neff Publishing. 2013.

SUMMARY:
dogRunning through the beautiful fields of Heaven, dogs originally only existed in Heaven until required on earth. When God needed to let a young boy named Brian, who could neither see nor hear, know of His existence, God sent a golden dog to earth to serve that purpose. Naming him Dog (God spelled backwards), God promised to send more dogs to earth if Dog did a good job of loving and convincing this boy. Thus the reason dogs are…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A heartwarming tale of tails!! What an absolutely amazing concept of how dogs came to be on earth. Showing comfort, support and unconditional loyalty and love, dogs share God’s love in such a special way that God decides to send lots of dogs for people to enjoy. Part of the Love Unleashed series, I can only hope for more! Stunning illustrations round out an adorable story. Even more admirable is that one-hundred percent of the net profits from the sale of the book are given to charities and organizations that support animals and their interactions with people…wow! Perfect as a gift for dog lovers and children, wonderful even as part of a Sunday School curriculum, or undeniably sweet as just a book to cherish, Why Dogs Are… is special for all ages! Woof!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Why Dogs Are… from BookCrash and Kendall Neff Publishing for my honest review*

Finding God in the Hunger Games

Sarns, Selena. Finding God in the Hunger Games. The Bible People. 2013

SUMMARY:
Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games has become a very popular mainstream book series. Selena Sarns has created a book with short devotionals designed for readers of the Hunger Games. The devotionals connect sections of the books to Christian concepts and then provide a thought to ponder.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Selena Sarns connects the Hunger Games to Christian concepts by using the technique of parallelism. The method has both pros and cons. The devotion is written for fans of Hunger Games. Sarns makes broad connections between events within the novels and Christian concepts. (For example…Katniss took her sister’s place for the Games as Jesus took our place on the cross; however, the issue of the actual Games and controversial concepts associated with them are not addressed.)
If using the devotional for adult readers, the broad parallelisms provided excellent starting points for deep thought and arriving at personal conclusions. For those using the devotion to guide young adults or even youth readers, further discussion is needed because of possible lack of understanding of the deeper issues. This devotional serves as an excellent conversation starter in attempting to explain the ramification of these issues.

My Rating:
4 (out of 5) Pennies (for Adult readers)
3 (out of 5) Pennies (for Youth readers)

*I received a complimentary copy of Finding God in the Hunger Games from BookCrash and The Bible People for my honest review.*

Haunted Waters

Jenkins, Jerry. Fabry, Chris. Haunted Waters. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2005

SUMMARY:
untitledBryce and Ashley are twin-tweens from Colorado who find adventure while on a short weekend trip. While dealing with bullying and helping thwart burglars, the twins learn to grow in their faith, stand-up for themselves, bond with each other and even save their own lives. This is Book 1 of the Red Rock Mysteries Series.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though this book is written mainly for 8-12 year olds, I found myself turning pages quickly to follow the flurry of activity. The non-stop action, along with the short chapters and the unforeseen surprise ending, all lead to a very appealing read for all ages. I especially liked the real-life situations the twins faced as well as the guidance from parents to morally approach the issues (bullying, loss, acceptance). Warning…have Book 2, Stolen Secrets, within reach of finishing this book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies (See Ratings page for Youth Book Review explanation)