Bergers Book Reviews

Babushka

Babushka
Author: Dawn Casey
Illustrator: Amanda Hall
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Children / Christmas / Russia
ISBN: 978-1-68099-188-8
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

Babushka is very busy cooking and cleaning in her tiny cottage. One day three men visit her home, telling of their wonderful journey as they’re led by a star to find a newborn baby. They invite Babushka to come with them, but first she must clean up after their visit. After they’re gone, she reconsiders, as she sees the star shining brightly. She packs up lots of handmade toys, clothing, and baked goods and heads out to follow them.

The snow has covered their footprints, and Babushka wanders with her cat through the frozen landscape. As she travels, she comes across people who need the good things she’s carrying, and she gives them away joyously. Babushka hasn’t found the Christ child, but she spreads the Light of Love throughout the land.

Babushka is a traditional Russian Christmas tale retold in this charming book filled with bright and beautiful illustrations. Children will delight in this magical story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 5, 2016 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

Jesus Is Born

Jesus Is Born
Author: Sophie Piper
Illustrator: Anne Yvonne Gilbert
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-68099-187-1
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

Christian parents enjoy sharing the story of the first Christmas with their children. Reading directly from the Bible would be a nice way to do this, but the story is not told in its entirety in any of the Gospels. Jesus Is Born highlights important passages from both Luke and Matthew, so that children can read the whole story.

Beginning with the Gospel of Luke, the text opens with the Angel Gabriel’s request from God that Mary should carry his Son. Carefully avoiding the sensitive subject of virginity, Mary simply states that she can’t be a mother if she’s not married. Then children read about the census decree and Joseph’s need to return to Bethlehem along with Mary. Angels appear to the shepherds announcing the birth of their Savior and they hurry to see Jesus in the manger. The story then shifts to the Gospel of Matthew, as we read of the Magi visiting King Herod before finding Jesus in Bethlehem. King Herod’s horrifying decision to slaughter the innocent babies is briefly mentioned, as Joseph leads the Holy Family away to safety. Throughout this story, we’re reminded that Jesus will bring God’s blessing to the world.

Jesus Is Born faithfully follows biblical texts with very little embellishment and the illustrations are incredibly beautiful and lifelike. Children will enjoy reading this special story over and over again as they anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas morning.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 1, 2016 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

Cricket Media – Babybug, Ladybug, Spider, and Cricket magazines

Cricket Media has been providing high-quality, ad-free reading materials to children since 1973. Targeted toward four age groups, these magazines are a fun read for kids.

double-the-givingDuring this holiday season, Cricket Media is teaming up with Libraries Without Borders and the Parent-Child Home Program to provide magazines to children who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to read them. For every gift subscription purchased, one will be donated.

 

 

Babybug

 

 

BABYBUG (ages 6 mos.-3) is for babies who love to be read to – and for adults who love to read to them. A parents’ reading guide is provided to get the most out of each issue.

 

 

 

Ladybug

 

 

LADYBUG (ages 3-6) contains fun fiction, non-fiction, poetry, puzzles, and songs. Small secondary characters provide entertainment at the bottom of the pages.

 

 

 

Spider

 

 

SPIDER (ages 6-9) contains fiction and non-fiction geared toward a slightly older audience, poetry, puzzles and lots of humor. The secondary characters at the bottom of the pages have a more involved storyline.

 

 

 

Cricket

 

 

CRICKET (ages 9-14) includes fiction, non-fiction, comic strips, poetry,
do-it-yourself projects, puzzles and contests, as well as lots of reader interaction.

 

 

 

Holiday Celebration
 

All purchases totaling $75.00 or more at Cricket Media will earn a free copy of A Cricket Holiday Celebration, offering a cornucopia of holiday stories, songs, poems, and recipes drawn from more than 40 years of award-winning Cricket Media publications.

 

 

 

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 28, 2016 Posted by | children, magazine | Leave a comment

Christmas Quiet: Receiving the Gift of His Presence: A 25-Day Devotional Coloring Book

christmas-quiet
Author: Maisie Sparks
Illustrator: Lauren Younis
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7108-6
Pages: 112
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season sometimes makes it difficult to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Taking a few minutes out of our hectic days can restore the sense of anticipation that Advent asks of us. Christmas Quiet provides a meaningful reflection for the 25 days leading up to Christmas, along with an accompanying coloring page.

For the Israelites, the hope of the Messiah began in the Garden of Eden, which is where this devotional begins. We visit with Mary, Anna, Simeon, the wise men, and the shepherds as we see snippets of the Christmas story throughout its pages. But we also read of impatiently waiting in line, dealing with holiday pain and grief, and wishing for wonderful gifts. Ultimately, though, we are guided to long for the true gift of Christmas – God’s gift of his only son, Jesus.

Each of the coloring pages contains a message relating to the devotional text, along with small pictures and doodles. In slowing down to fill them with color, we can absorb the message and ponder it in our own hearts, just as Mary did. Christmas Quiet presents a beautiful opportunity to slow down and savor this most wonderful of seasons, as we anticipate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 22, 2016 Posted by | Christian, holiday | Leave a comment

Trish’s Team

Trish's Team
Author: Dawn Brotherton
Publisher: Blue Dragon Publishing
Genre: Middle-grade / Girls / Sports
ISBN: 978-1-939696-12-0
Pages: 128
Price: $5.99

Buy it at Amazon

Trish loves to play softball, but her parents don’t seem to care about her interests. When an opportunity comes up for Trish to take her game to another level, she’s faced with a choice – play softball or continue with the orchestra. If the decision was left up to her parents, softball wouldn’t even be considered.

Taking matters into her own hands, Trish tries out for the Lady Tigers. But in the process of making her choice, she needs to be dishonest – something that even her new friend sees is wrong. Will Trish’s actions hurt her and the team?

Trish’s Team reinforces the fact that actions have consequences, as Trish discovers when the truth is finally revealed. But it also demonstrates that kids have opinions too, and good parents take time to listen, even if what their kids say makes them uncomfortable. Girls who love sports will relate to Trish’s dilemma and cheer for her to make the right choices.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 18, 2016 Posted by | girls, sports, tween | Leave a comment

Casey’s Bright Red Christmas

Casey's Bright Red Christmas
Author: Holly Dufek
Illustrator: Paul E. Nunn
Publisher: Octane Press
Genre: Children / Farming / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1937747619
Pages: 32
Price: $14.99

Octane Press
Buy it at Amazon

It’s Christmas Eve and Casey has too much to do. She wants to decorate the farm, bake cookies, and get ready for the team’s celebration. But first she has to care for the cows, fix the fence, and work in the shed, and her nasty cold is making her sleepy. Maybe a nap will perk her up and give her the energy she needs to get her chores done.

Casey’s team of tractors and farm equipment sees how Casey is feeling and comes up with a plan. Knowing she works so hard for all of them, they decide to do Christmas for her. As she sleeps, the team puts up lights, picks out the Christmas tree, and bakes. When Casey wakes up with a start, she has no idea what surprises are awaiting her.

Farming is hard work, and Casey is dedicated to the job she loves. Having a team of dependable equipment makes her job easier and a lot more fun. And celebrating together is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday. Farm kids will enjoy this cute Christmas story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 9, 2016 Posted by | children, farming, holiday | Leave a comment

Crash! The Cat

Crash!  The Cat
Author & Illustrator: David McPhail
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-3649-1
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Life with Crash, the cat is never boring. He crashes into Kait’s drum, Krissie’s doll, a birthday cake, and even into the basket of clean laundry. A visit to the vet reassures everyone that Crash’s eyesight is just fine.

Crash is a lot of work, but he lets the girls carry him and dress him up, and he even sleeps with them. And when a mouse gets into the house one night, Crash will wake everyone up with the racket he’s making.

Cat owners know that their treasured pets can easily get into mischief, and Crash is no exception. Crash! The Cat is a humorous story that kids will love. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 4, 2016 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Camp Dork (Pack of Dorks)

Camp Dork
Author: Beth Vrabel
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Middle-grade
ISBN: 978-1-63450-181-1
Pages: 240
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Sheldon really wants to go to Camp Paleo for the summer, so he convinces Lucy, Sam, April, and Amanda to join him. Lucy is excited to be spending time away at camp with Sam, until his plans suddenly change. Now she’s stuck eating caveman food and digging up fossils without him.

But if she thought Camp Paleo’s strict diet and strange activities hard to deal with, the sudden loss of her friends is even worse. April has changed and decides to hang out with Kira, and Amanda wants nothing to do with Lucy, while Sheldon is obsessed with the fossils. So what does Lucy try to do? Regain her pack, anyway she can. Even if it means creating imaginary romances that cause havoc in camp.

Camp Dork reaches middle grade kids exactly where they are, caught between close friendships and raging hormones. Girls will relate to Lucy’s predicament, while maybe wishing she handled things a wee bit better. This sequel to Pack of Dorks is a fun and engaging read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 31, 2016 Posted by | tween | Leave a comment

Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation, and Fear

befriend
Author: Scott Sauls
Publisher: Tyndale House
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0094-9
Pages: 240
Price: $15.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Those of us who attend church regularly might find we belong to a sort of clique. Without meaning to, we’ve surrounded ourselves with like-minded people and don’t really associate with those outside that inner circle. Befriend challenges us to look outside the circle and include the others we’ve unintentionally excluded.

In each chapter dedicated to a specific group of people, Scott Sauls presents challenges and opportunities in getting to know them. Some of these people include prodigals and pharisees, those grieving and dying, children, the other race, and people with disabilities and special needs. Sauls asks us to see them and reach out to them as Jesus would. Each chapter closes with a summary, Scripture verse, and a question to consider. A discussion guide is also available for book clubs and church groups.

Sauls reminds us that we live in a digital age, where we may have many so-called “friends” online, but only a handful of real friends we can call on when we need them. Befriend provides an insightful look at those we don’t normally associate with, and a timely reminder that we’re all God’s children. My only disappointment with this book was that I was expecting more of a “how to” develop closer friendships, while Sauls only touches on this concept in the context of reaching out to these specific groups.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

That’s Not the Monster We Ordered

That's Not the Monster We Ordered
Author: Tara Black
Illustrators: Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-5107-1136-5
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

Everyone is excited when the Turners get their very own monster. He can roar like a lion, tumble down the steps like a slinky, and even carry all the kids home on his back. So the children ask their parents if they can have a monster, too. Finally, after much deliberation and debate, the order is placed. But when the monster arrives… he’s not at all what they expected.

As they live with the monster for the next few days, they discover he can’t do any neat tricks. His stomach gets upset when he eats the grass they expected him to keep trimmed. And he isn’t very good at baking. He’s not the monster they ordered and will just have to be shipped back. But what if the monster they received is really the right one for them after all?

That’s Not the Monster We Ordered is a lighthearted story with a nice message of acceptance. Rather than simply giving up on their defective monster, the family learns to love him just as he is. In this day and age of disposable relationships, kids will learn that there are redeeming qualities in all of us and we’re all lovable in our own unique way. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 21, 2016 Posted by | children | Leave a comment