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*

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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*

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*