A Short List of Picture Books for Kids

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Autumn is a season that reignites our family’s love of reading, when we cozy up more often on the sofa with a good book. This past Sunday afternoon, my husband made hot cocoa, and he and our oldest read The Return of the King. For us, that’s a perfect afternoon.

And November was Picture Book Month! To mark this special month, we made an extra trip to the library just for picture books. Margaret Wise Brown is best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, but in recent years a collection of poems was discovered in a trunk in her sister’s barn. Part of that collection was published as A Celebration of Seasons: Goodnight Songs. Twelve artists lovingly created the illustrations for the book, and the poems celebrate the seasons, animals, and children. The book also comes with a CD collection of the poems set to music that won’t drive you crazy, parents.

Alexander Calder of the series Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists tells the story of the great sculptor and creator of the mobile. The book is engaging and interesting for children and adults alike. Other books in the series cover artists like Botticelli, Da Vinci, Monet, and Picasso, giving children a taste for art throughout the ages.

When I was Young in the Mountains is a nostalgic story of simpler times in West Virginia. It covers the activities of a family as they go throughout the day: greeting their grandfather, eating dinner, getting ready for bed, going to church. These ordinary activities take on beauty and meaning in the setting of a loving family.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn shows the changes in nature as the seasons change through the eyes of a young girl as she takes a walk. She observes the cool winds blowing tree branches, the animals searching for food, the late-blooming flowers, the rumbling thunder, and the falling leaves covering puddles. If you live in a place where the changing season doesn’t actually bring much change (Hi, Phoenix!), this is an especially good book for autumn.

In Owl Sees Owl, little owl jumps, flutters, flaps, and flies from his nest, looking for adventure by the light of the moon. This story is told in reverso poem style and will delight your littlest one who won’t sit for a longer story. You could even bring out a mirror when you read so baby sees baby.

In The Good Little Bad Little Pig (another fun book from Margaret Wise Brown), Peter would like a pet, and much to the surprise of his mother, he wants a pet pig. Not just any pig though. This pig must be a “good little bad little pig.” And his pig is sometimes good and sometimes bad, sometimes clean and sometimes dirty, but Peter always loves his pig.

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Pass it On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, by Champ Thornton

Reviewed by AB

In the publishing world, producing a bestseller is difficult enough, and producing two bestsellers proves even more challenging. With the publication of Pass It On, Champ Thornton follows up his successful The Radical Book for Kids with what I believe is an equally impressive, though much different, work bound for the devotional bestseller list.

OVERVIEW

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Pass It On is an in-depth, journal-style study of the book of Proverbs that excels in its ability to clearly define the structure and purposes of this much-beloved portion of Scripture. What makes this study of Proverbs different is its unique keepsake format. Thornton’s passion for sharing the truths of God’s Word with the next generation is clearly evident in this book, as well as his The Radical Book for Kids; and the deeper the reader gets into this study of Proverbs, the more that passion becomes contagious. With plenty of space for recording thoughts on what you’ve gleaned from God’s words of wisdom, you’ll be encouraged to share wisdom from your own life with a child, grandchild, or other young family member.

STRUCTURE

pass it onThornton begins with an overview of Proverbs that is deep but attainable. Each of the 31 passages is presented and then followed by a section for reflection, which includes the following divisions: Identifying a Verse (a meaningful verse with explanation for why it impacted the reader), Going Deeper (questions for in-depth analysis), Connecting the Gospel (matching a passage in Proverbs with a passage from the New Testament that shows how both point to Jesus), Personalizing a Prayer (prayer for the reader himself and the one he hopes will inherit this keepsake), and Sharing Your Story (personal examples of how the reader has seen the words of this particular proverb acted out in his own life).

Personally, I’m excited about this study for my own understanding of the book of Proverbs, and I love that I can gift it to my children with words of wisdom from my own life experiences. I give this keepsake 5 stars.

To find out more about Pass it On, visit the Litfuse Blog Tour here.
For a great deal on  Pass it On, click here.

Disclaimer: I received an early copy of this book as part of the Litfuse blog tour. 

 

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Serafina and the Splintered Heart, by Robert Beatty

3 reviewers reflecting on the 3 Serafina books – and how book #3 compared to the others. 

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS OF THIS THIRD BOOK COMPARED TO THE OTHER TWO
(Serafina and the Black Cloak [1] & Serafina and the Twisted Staff [2]): 

Serafina 3AB: I thought Beatty continued to do an excellent job of hooking the reader. Within the first few pages, I found myself asking, “What in the world is going on here?” In that respect, Beatty does not disappoint.”

Natalie: This one didn’t land for me quite like the other two. But I have been reading a lot of fantasy lit lately, and I think maybe I overdid it in the supernatural. It was fun to read it so close to Halloween.

Meg: Once again, I read this in a sitting. It’s gripping and a little darker than the other two, but in a similar fashion still gives you something good to fight for. I did think this one was a little more “mystical”/New-Age-y than the previous two.

SO WHICH BOOK OF THE THREE IS YOUR FAVORITE? 

Continue reading

Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger

by Natalie

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Eleven-year-old Reuben Land shouldn’t be alive. He failed to breathe after he was born, and it was only when his father commanded him to breathe that he did. His father, Jeremiah Land, is a peculiar man, seemingly with the ability to perform miracles. The Lands live a quiet life – until Reuben’s older brother Davy kills two local villains who attempt to harm the family. Davy is arrested and tried but escapes before his sentencing. As the Lands set off in search of Davy, they’re followed by a fed who’s convinced they’ll lead him to Davy’s hideout. Providence brings them to Roxanna, whose stories and home give the family warmth through winter in the Badlands.

Leif Enger’s novel, a beautiful story of a family in 1960s Minnesota, is woven throughout with cowboy and outlaw tales as well as references to biblical stories and other works of literature. This is at the same time an adventure story, love story, and a somewhat supernatural story. I hesitate to compare anything to To Kill a Mockingbird because reading that was a formative experience for me. But as I read Peace Like a River, I kept thinking that this could be Leif Enger’s TKAM. He didn’t need to write another book (although he has). This is a perfect book to cozy up with this fall and winter. Savor a cup of tea or coffee while you drink in the beautiful, poetic sentences and endearing (but not sappy or sentimental) story.

Purchase Peace Like a River here.

Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle, by N.D. Wilson

outlaws of timeUpon first glance, Sam Miracle’s name appears to be a misnomer. After all, he is stuck in an orphanage in the middle of the desert, and his arms don’t work. Miracles aren’t exactly likely for this teenager. All he has going for him are his incredibly vivid dreams in which he time-travels to fight the evil El Buitre . . . and in which his arms function properly. Continue reading

Reading Challenge Update with a little bit of everything (by Meg)

I know. I haven’t posted an update in a while, but I promise I’ve been reading and keeping up with this challenge. In a way. I’m on track with my book count – but I do keep switching out books. I know, this is kind of cheating, but I mean, all of you people keep recommending more good stuff that I have to read. So anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading since the last updateScreen Shot 2017-09-12 at 10.42.43 PM

First off, I ended up reading a bunch of AB and Natalie’s recommendations, like …

  • Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey – Loved this. The perspective into someone struggling with dimentia coupled with a whodunnit was brilliant, IMHO.
  • Long Way Gone, by Charles Martin – With the exception of the ending** this was a powerful retelling of the Prodigal Son. I was on a bus full of teenagers on their way to camp … trying not to cry my eyes out (and hide this fact from said teens). The part where Cooper finds the map from his father is worth the entire novel.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstoreby Robin Sloan –  The perfect vacation read, esp. for millenials in love with their technology … while also bringing in the love of real books.

I also finished a few that I’d mentioned in previous posts but hadn’t reviewed: Continue reading

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

GUEST REVIEW BY DAVID WYNN  – 2-stars**

Ready Player One is 61d6DhRCBSL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_set in a not too distant, mildly dystopian future (seriously, you can still order pizza).  Following the same, tired tropes as the last few decades of science fiction, Ernest Cline assumes a world where man-made climate change has created bizarre weather patterns, most of the world’s oil has been consumed, and economic depression has transformed suburbia into wasteland.  The year is 2044, and the internet has been replaced by a free-to-access, virtual reality world called the OASIS.

Enter Wade Watts, the story’s hero.  Wade is a nerdy high school student who lives in a stack (a vertical trailer park) with his abusive aunt and her boyfriend-of-the-month.  His only escape is consuming 80s pop culture inside the OASIS, while otherwise he has all but given up on life, ranting about the human condition.  (Cline uses this opportunity to go out on a limb and agree with most of the non-religious world comparing God to the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.)  Wade unintentionally illustrates the futility of such a world view, complaining of “epic loneliness” and that it “[makes him] feel like jumping off a bridge.”

And then comes the announcement of James Halliday’s death. Continue reading