The Great Escape

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Thomas, M.J. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape- Book 3. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Traveling to Ancient Egypt to witness the Exodus, Peter, Mary and their faithful companion dog Hank, find themselves on a treasure hunt for scrolls. Having only 14 days to find the missing ancient scrolls or being stuck in Egypt forever, Peter, Mary and Hank must work together in the past time period to discover the secret. Journeying through a desert, befriending the Pharaoh’s daughter, understanding the plagues, and learning biblical history and truths in the process, The Great Escape provides a captivating, honest and exploratory experience in a beginning chapter book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Book 3 in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series, this newest addition, The Great Escape, continued the adventures, imagination and success of the previous two books in the same series. Geared towards ages 6-9 year olds (grades 1-3), this starting chapter series is Biblically accurate, immersive in history, and has relatable characters and interesting events. Perfect for the intended audience, the series would also work well as a Bible lesson in Sunday school, a study section for elementary school, or personal time either reading aloud or beginning to read on own. I appreciated the suggested further reference to the Bible at the end of the book. Hopefully, more books in this series will follow shortly.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Great Escape from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

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Planet 316 Story Bible

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Planet 316 Story Bible with Augmented Reality. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Alongside more than 100 Bible stories accompanied by colorful illustrations, the Planet 316 Story Bible adds another exciting element-Augmented Reality. Downloading the free app allows the readers to move their devices over the pictures causing them to spring up in 3D. Audio and movement add context, depth and interaction to the characters encouraging a more meaningful and lively experience. The stories are written in child-friendly language, include the related Bible verses, and make the Bible very approachable for young readers.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A team of talented writers, artists and developers, Planet 316 uses current technology to bring the Bible to life, engaging and immersing readers in Bible stories. With easy to use technology (even for adults-LOL), I was enthralled with the characters seeming to pop off the pages, complete with voices and noises. Meeting the current young generation at a place where they are obviously very comfortable, using that technology to learn is genius. Definitely a novel and captivating idea, I would absolutely recommend this Bible to readers ages 4-8; however, older readers reading on their own may also enjoy the awesome interaction opportunity. So cool!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Planet 316 Story Bible from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

That Grand Easter Day!

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Lord, Jill Roma (author). Trunflo, Alessia (Illustrator). That Grand Easter Day!  Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Read to the tune of “This is the House that Jack Built”, That Grand Easter Day! follows the format in both rhythm and rhyme. Along the way of the story, main characters are introduced with the initial verse of “That Grand Easter Day!” repeated throughout. Easy to read with gloriously stunning illustrations, this book contributes joyously to the Easter celebration!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully illustrated with a straight-forward, simple yet eloquent verse, That Grand Easter Day! praises the Easter jubilation in a perfect way. I loved the easy to read and rhyme stanzas with the repetition of certain phrases; wonderful to read to little ones while also being remarkable enough for new readers. Liking the bunny that appears in the story, I admire the way tradition meets contemporary with room for both. (After all, didn’t God create bunnies?) I hope to find more same-style books from Jill Roma Lord and Alessia Trunflo observing other important holidays in a like-manner. (Perhaps a series of them?)  Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of That Grand Easter Day! from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

VeggieTales-Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers

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Kennedy, Pamela. And Kennedy-Brady, Anne. VeggieTales- Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
In a soft, cushy board-book, authors Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy-Brady fill the sturdy pages with nighttime prayers. Surrounding the prayers are familiar, colorful and playful VeggieTales characters. With a mix of shorter and a bit longer prayers, each contains rhyming verse which reads quite easily. A few Scripture verses mingle on the pages in conjunction with the prayers, all with smiling Veggie figures.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sweet, amiable, cheerful and engaging, VeggieTales- Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers is perfect for the evening routine of bedtime prayers. I like the simple rhymes which can be very calming as well as quickly learned. Familiarity is so important at a young age which VeggieTales delivers. The packaging of the book is soft yet strong for those chubby little hands (and spills). Great for home use, a church library, or baby gift, this board-book is sure to please.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of VeggieTales- Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers for my honest review*

The Bible Explorer’s Guide

Zonderkidz. The Bible Explorer’s Guide: 1,000 Amazing Facts and Photos. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Is it possible that the olive trees at the traditional site of Gethsemane could be 900 years old?  Did you know the Philistines were one of Israel’s fiercest enemies because they knew the technology for making iron weapons? With 16,000 animals on board the ark, who knew that included 12 tons of animal waste every day? Filled with loads of Bible tidbits, references, and information, each two page spread is divided into themes, then sprinkled with material surrounding that theme including accompanying photographs. Easy to read yet packed full of information, The Bible Explorer’s Guide is perfect to share with all ages.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Visually pleasing with interesting portions of Bible trivia, though this book tends to be geared more towards elementary children, I enjoyed paging through it while sharpening my Bible skills and even learning a thing or two.  I was also impressed with the lead to the Bible scripture associated with the Bible facts shared in the different sections. Wonderful for a classroom, library or Sunday school lesson, it would also be perfect as a gift or for generational sharing. Drawn to the colorful photographs yet submersed into the fascinating information, it is definitely a book which could be used often and repeatedly. Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Bible Explorer’s Guide from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Made for a Purpose

Wilde, Kristie. Made for a Purpose: Joyful Creation Series. Sonora, CA: Wilde Art Press. 2016.

SUMMARY:
With every one of God’s creatures made for a specific purpose, author Kristie Wilde shares the special features given to each. With webbed feet and waterproof feathers- ducks can spend the day in the water, and with strong skull bones and long tongues-woodpeckers can find bugs for dinner…just a few of the included animal facts that are coupled with God’s purpose for us- to know Him and enjoy His creation! Beautifully illustrated, colorful pictures accompany each 2-page layout; part of the Joyful Creation series.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written for preschoolers while appealing to the “why?” in every child, Made for a Purpose is a charming paperback book sure to delight. Like a little science book combined with related pictures while at the same time teaching about God, I found the beginning book of this new series to be wonderful. Aimed right at the preschool level with bold, highlighted terms and illustrated examples, this book would be perfect for a personal library, church library, Sunday school class or birthday gift. I look forward to more from this talented author and artist; truly a blessing.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Made for a Purpose from Bookcrash and the author for my honest review*

God’s Gift

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

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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*

God Made the Sun and God Made the Moon

Simon, Mary Manz (author). Walkley, Lizzie (illustrator). God Made the Sun. God Made the Moon. Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids Ideals. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
As a pair of books that share God’s unconditional love during both the day and evening, God Made the Sun and God Made the Moon are adorable. With rhyming stanzas, a die-cut sun and moon shape, thick cardboard pages and lots of color, these books are sure to please little hands. Matching pictures to each verse help solidify the message of God’s goodness, no matter the time of day. Perfect to share with children at home, church, school or in a library, marveling at God’s beauty.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Cute, sweet, bright and textured, these books are separate yet work well as a pairing. The illustrations bring the rhymes to life making it easy for toddlers to learn, repeat and begin to read. With an important message included, these books would make an excellent gift, work well in Sunday school, or for a quiet snuggle. Hopefully more books will be added to this delightful set of books.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God Made the Sun and God Made the Moon from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Blessing

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

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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*