Bergers Book Reviews

Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer

Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer
Author: Ali Maier
Publisher: Erie Island Media
Genre: Middle-grade
ISBN: 978-0-9893755-0-4
Pages: 208
Price: $9.95

Author’s website
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Max and Maggie can’t seem to get along. Their mom finally has enough of the constant squabbling, and tells them they need to keep a shared journal during the summer so they can develop better communication. They will alternate picking the topics to write about, but each has to share on the same topic.

Over the course of the summer, they discuss doctor visits, babies, ice cream, sports, and other topics common to ten year olds. They will receive extra points for good spelling, and they aren’t allowed to be be mean to each other. And if all goes according to plan, their mom hopes that they will be getting along better by the end of the summer.

The format of this book is lined notebook paper with “hand-written” font and numerous drawings and side notes. This kid-friendly style is sure to appeal to the younger reader. But I couldn’t really see these discussions happening between two normal middle-grade kids, especially twin siblings. The language was too perfect, they were too well-behaved, and the conversation felt repetitive as each child shared on the same topic. There just wasn’t enough humorous give and take in the dialogue. However adults will like the fact that Max and Maggie are mostly respectful of each other and their parents.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 1, 2015 Posted by | tween | Leave a comment

Bug Detective

Bug Detective
Author: Maggie Li
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1516-4
Pages: 28
Price: $14.95

Buy it at Amazon

Bugs can fly, scurry, and slither. But what else do you know about these interesting creatures? In Bug Detective, kids will learn more about each category of creepy-crawly.

Butterflies, stick insects, beetles, worms, centipedes, and more are all covered in two-page spreads. Each shows the normal life cycle of this group, along with feeding habits, reproduction, and other fascinating facts. Bug detective activities and a glossary are also included.

If you have a budding entomologist in the house, this book would make a great gift. So grab your magnifying glass (included on the front cover) and go explore nature!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 24, 2015 Posted by | children, nature, science | Leave a comment

Hit Count

Hit Count
Author: Chris Lynch
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Genre: Teen / Sports
ISBN: 978-1-61620-250-7
Pages: 368
Price: $17.95

Buy it at Amazon

Arlo Brodie is obsessed with football from the moment he puts on his junior varsity uniform in high school. Determined to make varsity by sophomore year, he trains hard and hits harder. By the end of his freshman season, he’s made a name for himself.

But Arlo, or “Starlo” as his teammates taunt him, doesn’t know when enough is enough. Now possessed by the idea of making it to a Division I college and the NFL, he thinks of nothing else. Pushing his girlfriend, his friends, and his family aside, he keeps on training and hitting hard.

Hit Count addresses concussions in contact sports, and Arlo soon racks up several. Although his mother warns him about constant head injuries, Arlo brushes off her concerns, choosing to deal with the after-effects on his own, with little complaint. But when his hit count gets too high, there will be consequences.

Maybe it’s just because I’m female and have never played contact sports, but I had a very difficult time relating to Arlo. I can’t fathom why someone would punish his body relentlessly the way Arlo did, and how easily it became such an obsession for him. But I suspect teen boys would probably enjoy this hard-hitting book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 21, 2015 Posted by | teen | Leave a comment

Lois Lane: Fallout

Lois Lane - Fallout
Author: Gwenda Bond
Publisher: Switch Press
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-1-63079-005-9
Pages: 304
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Lois Lane has just moved into Metropolis after her army father is transferred once again. Determined to make this a better visit than her last, she vows not to interfere in anything that’s none of her business. But with her nose for news and determination to stick up for the oppressed, she’s doomed from the start to fail.

As soon as she checks into her new school, Lois learns of a group bullying a student through some sort of mind control. When the principal shows no interest in stopping them, Lois uses her status as teen reporter at the Daily Planet to step in. Are the students really the problem, or is there some kind of mastermind behind their unusual behavior?

Lois has an online friendship with a teen boy she knows only as SmallvilleGuy. With SmallvilleGuy’s help, along with her new reporter friends, Lois is determined to get to the bottom of this bullying problem and put a stop to it. Lois Lane: Fallout is a fast, fun read that teens will enjoy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 18, 2015 Posted by | teen | Leave a comment

Mariama: Different But Just the Same

Mariama - Different But Just the Same
Author: Jerónimo Cornelles
Illustrator: Nívola Uyá
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
Genre: Children
ISBN: 9788416147601
Pages: 28
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Mariama, a girl from Africa, is moving to a different country, far, far away. Now she lives in a big city with tall buildings, goes to a school where the language is strange, and eats unfamiliar foods.

Mariama doesn’t feel like she fits in, so her mother encourages her to make new friends. They teach her the language and her new country’s customs, and she shares her African heritage with them. Although her life is now very different, she finds that her playmates help her feel more at home in this new place.

Moving away is always a difficult transition for children, as they leave friends and family behind. But there are new joys to be discovered, if they keep their minds open to the possibilities. Mariama: Different But Just the Same reminds kids that they can make new friends wherever they find themselves.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 17, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Richebourg Affair

The Richebourg Affair
Author: R.M. Cartmel
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-9929486-0-3
Pages: 328
Price: $13.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Commandant Charlemagne Truchaud returns home to Nuits-Saint-Georges for his brother’s funeral. But while he’s there, he begins to notice that things are not all as they should be. His father is acting unusually, his brother’s widow shares some disturbing news about the last season’s harvest, and he begins to suspect that some kind of foul play may be afoot.

As he digs deeper, a local wine merchant is murdered, one of his own police staff is seriously injured, and he begins to think his own and several other people’s lives may be threatened. But who is behind these anomalies and why?

Taking place in French wine country, The Richebourg Affair is rich in setting. Cartmel delivers a crash course in wine making from the grapevine to the bottle. Although more of a novel than a true whodonit, this suspenseful story captures the reader’s imagination from the beginning, and is an enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 9, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Slay a Werewolf and Definitely Live to Tell the Tale

How to Slay a Werewolf
Author: Martin Howard
Publisher: Ticktock Books
Genre: Humor
ISBN: 978-1-78325-113-1
Pages: 128
Price: $6.99

Buy it at Amazon

Professor Van Helsing is probably the most successful – living – werewolf slayer. Naturally he wants to share his secrets with wannabe slayers, and maybe even boast a bit – well, more like a lot. In fact, Professor Van Helsing would also love to sell you all his werewolf slaying products. Hawking his wares throughout the book, he reminds the reader that he knows what he’s doing, and if you follow his lead and buy everything he’s selling, you’ll also be successful.

How to Slay a Werewolf and Definitely Live to Tell the Tale is laugh-out-loud funny, and I found myself reading several amusing parts aloud to my husband. Although this is probably a children’s book, adults will also find it a fun read. If you think you have a werewolf problem, you’ll definitely want to check out Van Helsing’s advice. “And remember, if you are eaten, Professor Van Helsing will give you 100% of your money back!”

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 4, 2015 Posted by | humor | Leave a comment

Could You Lift Up Your Bottom?

Could You Lift Up Your Bottom
Author: Hee-jung Chang
Illustrator: Sung-hwa Chung
Publisher: TanTan Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-939248-04-6
Pages: 34
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Frog is on her way to a friend’s house when her hat is blown away. Elephant sits down on the hat before Frog can retrieve it. But Elephant is very hungry and won’t give back the hat unless Frog provides food in many shapes. First round foods, then triangle, then rectangle. Then circles within circles, triangles within circles, and other combinations. Elephant continues to demand more food, while Frog pleads for him to lift up his bottom.

Finally, Frog tricks Elephant into standing up, and quickly grabs her hat. Elephant gets a nasty surprise and learns a lesson in treating others more kindly. The last pages of Could You Lift Up Your Bottom? are ideas for food in different shapes and how to recognize the different shapes. Lots of pictures are provided.

Kids will giggle at Frog’s desperate attempts to get Elephant to stand up, and Elephant’s determination to eat everything he possibly can. And while they’re having a fun time with the story, they will be learning how to recognize shapes. This book would make a great addition to any classroom library.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 1, 2015 Posted by | children, mathematics | Leave a comment

Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth

Author: Hugh Halter
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0997-1
Pages: 224
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Jesus came to earth to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins through His death and resurrection. But he also spent 33 years living among us – three of which are recorded in the Gospels. In those three years, He didn’t just teach us. He also showed us how to live.

Jesus was really good at drawing people to Him so they would listen to His teaching. But as Christians try to evangelize, sharing the truth with a reluctant audience, we often simply drive people away. By emulating Jesus, we can create opportunities to talk to people who might not want to hear what we have to say.

Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth shares some of the important things Jesus did while on earth that made Him so successful at reaching people. By becoming God in flesh, Jesus could touch us in a way the Father in Heaven couldn’t. And if we study this book that shows us what Jesus did, we can also lead others to God. Isn’t that what we’re really here for?

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

F.I.T. Faith Inspired Transformation

Faith Inspired Transformation
Author: Kim Dolan Leto
Publisher: Fedd Books
Genre: Fitness / Christian
ISBN: 978-0-9907044-0-9
Pages: 173
Price: $19.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Health and fitness can be a struggle when we don’t have the right support. But if we partner with God in our weight loss efforts, we may find we’re a lot more successful. God cares about us and our bodies, and if we ask Him for help, He will provide it.

Kim Dolan Leto suggests that we permanently lose the diet mentality. Weight loss and fitness are not something we do for a little while and then quit once we’ve reached our goals. Instead, we should focus on God’s goals for us for the rest of our lives. Studying God’s word, praying, eating the natural foods God made, finding proper perspective and living in joy, we can change our lives for the better. Weight loss will not be our only concern – but it will most likely occur when we turn our fitness and health over to God.

F.I.T. Faith Inspired Transformation doesn’t give us any specific diets or exercise programs. Instead it focuses on making small, positive changes and becoming closer to God. Small groups will find this a great book to study and share together.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Christian, fitness | Leave a comment


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