Bergers Book Reviews

Owlegories: The Sun, The Seed, The Water

Created by: Thomas and Julie Boto
Producers: Chad Gunderson and Keith Alcorn
Actor: Jaden Roberts
Format: DVD and app
Total running time: 45 minutes

Buy it at Amazon

Class is in session with Professor Owlester. Student owls Violet, Gus, Joey, Nora, and Twitch will be learning about the sun, the seed, and the water, and how all three show us more about God. As they head out through the magic door, they drop to a scene far below where they will begin their adventures. But Fink and Devlin are waiting for them, to try to thwart their efforts.

Professor Owlester is onto the demonic pair, and he arrives to help guide his students and protect them. Humor and songs fill these short and fun episodes, and kids will enjoy the interactions of the various owl characters as they attempt to locate the clues they need.

My only criticism of this adorable new series is the fact that there are sermons tacked on to the animated cartoons. Each cartoon is about 10 minutes long. Then each one abruptly shifts to a speaking adult giving a 5 minute sermon. I felt the sermons were way over the heads of the age group this video series is targeted toward, and kids wouldn’t have the attention span to actually listen to them. But, since this is at the end of each video, they can simply skip over them if they want.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 28, 2015 Posted by | children, Christian | Leave a comment

Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Wildlife

Author: Kaitlyn DiPerna
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Animals / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-62686-307-1
Pages: 64
Price: $15.95

Buy it at Amazon

Animals are amazing creatures, and kids love to learn about their unique characteristics. Which animals live in the ocean, the rain forest, the prairie, desert, or the woods? Which animals carry their young in a pouch? How do animals camouflage themselves from predators?

In Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Wildlife, these and many other questions are answered, as kids match the reusable stickers to the various worksheets. Kids love stickers, and they’ll have fun with them as they learn about the featured animals. And once they’ve placed them all in the correct spots, this workbook will be a valuable resource that they can turn to again and again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 27, 2015 Posted by | animals, children, nature | Leave a comment

The Zoo is Closed Today!

The Zoo is Closed Today!
Author: Evelyn Beilenson
Illustrator: Anne Kennedy
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4413-1526-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

Sue and John decide to visit the Kalama Zoo on a warm sunny day. But when they arrive, they find a sign letting them know the zoo is closed today. Puzzled, they ask the zookeeper, Pete, what’s wrong. Pete explains that the animals are all sick, and then he details their illnesses to the kids.

As Pete explains each of their problems, cute illustrations demonstrate the animals in sad but humorous condition. The elephant has a cold in his nose, the floppy-eared bunny has an earache, and the monkey’s tail is broken. These and other ailments have put the animals out of commission, forcing the zoo to close. Finally, Sue and John return home, vowing to visit the animals when they’re feeling better. But maybe the animals have another idea in mind!

Told in rhyming verse, The Zoo is Closed Today! is a really fun and cute read. Kids will love it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 25, 2015 Posted by | animals, children | Leave a comment

I’m Not Cute!

I'm Not Cute!
Author & Illustrator: Jonathan Allen
Publisher: Boxer Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-907967-97-9
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Baby Owl doesn’t want everyone to think he’s cute. Instead, he believes he’s a “huge, scary, sleek, sharp-eyed hunting machine.” But as he makes his way through the woods, Rabbit, Fox and Squirrel all tell him he’s cute and give him a hug. By the time he reaches his mother, he’s angry and frustrated.

His mom reassures him that he’s absolutely right, and also gives him a big hug. But Baby Owl is still not satisfied. Finally, his mother tucks him into bed, saying the right words that will make him smile.

I’m Not Cute! is charmingly illustrated with soft images of a fluffy baby owl and sweet forest animals. Kids will relate to the frustration of feeling that adults only see them as “cute” when they have so much more potential. I highly recommend this adorable book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 23, 2015 Posted by | animals, children | Leave a comment

Kittens Can Kill

Kittens Can Kill
Author: Clea Simon
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-4642-0358-9
Pages: 294
Price: $24.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

When Pru Marlowe visits the home of David Canaday, she is expecting to be caring for a new kitten. She hardly expects to find David lying on the floor, dead. After rescuing the tiny feline from his feuding daughters, she attempts to determine what really happened.

Wallis, her resident tabby, resents this intruder to her home, but tries to find out what he might have seen. Although Pru can usually hear what Wallis has to say, she struggles to understand the kitten. Other canine friends also share their opinions on the Canaday daughters and David himself. Pru tries to piece together these and other tidbits of information she receives from sometimes lover, officer Jim Creighton, and the regulars at Happy’s bar.

Pru is never sure if her ability to communicate with animals is a gift or a curse, and she struggles with not letting anyone know. Keeping Creighton in the dark is a necessity, as she fears he may doubt her sanity if he learns the truth. Bourbon is her crutch when life feels too overwhelming.

Kittens Can Kill is the fifth installment in the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series, and this one is just as enjoyable as the rest. Pru and Wallis make a great team, and cat lovers will find their interactions amusing. Any cozy mystery and pet lover will really enjoy this one.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 21, 2015 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Christmas in America (Ellis the Elephant)

Christmas in America
Author: Callista Gingrich
Illustrator: Susan Arciero
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-62157-345-6
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99
Reading Level: N

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Ellis the Elephant wants to discover how Christmas has been celebrated in America. Going back to the beginning of the nation’s history, he visits the people as they enjoy their Christmas holiday. Colonists, prairie settlers, George Washington’s troops, soldiers overseas, and presidential guests all had unique ways of sharing the holiday and making it special.

Told in rhyming verse, Christmas in America is a unique look at America’s history through the lens of Christmas past. Focusing on the warmth of sharing the holidays with family and friends, it also reminds us of the real reason for the season – the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas has become more of a celebration of lights and gifts these days, and it’s so refreshing to see a book that shares the true meaning of Christmas. I highly recommend Christmas in America.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 19, 2015 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers Field Guide: Ancient Secrets for Modern Kids

Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers
Author: Emily J. Parnell
Genre: Children / Holiday
ISBN: 978-0-9862937-0-2
Pages: 80
Price: $27.99

Author’s website offering 30% discount!

When kids start to grow up and ask questions about Santa Claus, many parents are stumped for a good answer. Kids feel cheated when they discover the truth, and often spill the beans to their younger siblings. But it doesn’t have to be like this, if kids feel they are part of the secret.

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers introduces kids to the people who maintain the magic and mystery of the holidays. When kids are admitted, they choose an Agent Advisor (aka an adult) to guide them through the training course. Then these Agents in Training learn how their Agent Advisor has made the holidays magical for them, and how they can continue the tradition for others.

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy don’t have to stop existing once kids are old enough to understand the truth. Instead they can live on through the participation of Agents of the Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 17, 2015 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings

The Color Monster
Author & Illustrator: Anna Llenas
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1729-8
Pages: 20
Price: $19.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The color monster is all mixed up. He’s covered with crayon colors all over his body. A little girl suggests that he identify the feelings that go along with each color, and put each into its own bottle. Yellow happiness, red anger, blue sadness, and others are all depicted in pop-ups on two page spreads. Finally, all the bottles are shown filled with the color and feeling identified on them.

Pop-ups are always a favorite with kids, but younger children will need to be careful with some of these elaborate creations. The cover is durable, and as long as the book is closed properly, it should last for a while. The Color Monster is a cute book that will help parents explain feelings to their kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 11, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions

Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions
Author: Sheila Grau
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Fantasy / Middle-grade
ISBN: 978-1-4197-1370-5
Pages: 288
Price: $15.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Runt Higgins is a third-year student at Dr. Critchlore’s school for minions, and the runt of the litter – of werewolves. Trouble is, he hasn’t morphed since he was seven, and he has no memory of the event. Dr. Critchlore’s school is in desperate trouble, and Runt believes someone is attempting sabotage against it. Unfortunately, there are several likely suspects, since quite a few people at the school have a reason to dislike Dr. Critchlore.

Runt is a nice guy who absolutely loves the school, and he will do anything he can to save it. Putting aside his own Junior Henchman aspirations, he risks everything to try to prevent destructive attempts on the school, along with his loyal friends. But Runt’s attempts end up causing him grief, as he gets into trouble over and over again, causing him to believe he must be cursed.

Dr. Critchlore’s is similar to Hogwarts, but with monsters training to serve Evil Overlords instead of wizards learning to manage their powers. Ogres, giants, imps, and zombies, as well as other living and undead beings populate this unique university, where being evil is not only good – it’s expected. Runt and his friends are really cool characters with lots of personality, and kids will relate well to them. I absolutely loved this book, and I can’t wait for the sequel.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 10, 2015 Posted by | fantasy, tween | Leave a comment

All the Lost Things

All the Lost Things
Author & Illustrator: Kelly Canby
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4413-1804-6
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Olive goes for a walk in the city and hears a strange noise coming from the manhole below. Curiosity gets the better of her, and she climbs down the ladder to see what it is. An old woman greets her, letting her know that she is the keeper of all the lost things. And since no one has come to claim them, Olive can have as much as she likes.

One might think a young girl would look for toys and candy among the neatly labeled boxes, but what she takes with her is surprising. She fills five jars with amazing things that she wants to give to others. And as she shares her goodies, she turns the drab black-and-white city to vibrant full-color.

All the Lost Things has a great message for kids that their own actions can really impact the people around them. I highly recommend this uplifting and hope-filled book.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 6, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment


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