Bergers Book Reviews

The Crown Jewel Mystery (A Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mystery #4)


Authors: Anna Elliott and Charles Veley
Publisher: Wilton Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0999119105
Pages: 118
Price: $5.99

Author’s website
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Lucy James is intent on discovering her heritage when she visits the Capital and Counties Bank. While attempting to break into a safe deposit box she believes holds some clues, she and her companion, Johnny Rockefeller, realize the bank is being robbed. But any notion of escaping is quickly thwarted, as the robbers discover them both in the back room.

Time begins to tick as the robbers struggle to complete their mission and begin to panic, threatening to kill everyone in the bank. Lucy knows it will take her quick wits and Johnny’s cooperation to free them all. But will they be able to act in time?

The Crown Jewel Mystery is a quick and fun read, drawing the reader into the story from the opening scene. Even though I picked this book up first, I didn’t feel I missed out on anything important by reading it out of sequence from the others. I didn’t know what to expect of a Sherlock Holmes takeoff story, but I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable this book is. Lucy James is a spunky heroine with a sharp mind of her own, and I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 14, 2017 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Danza! Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet


Author: Duncan Tonatiuh
Genre: Children, Mexico, Dance
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2532-6
Pages: 32
Price: $18.95

Author’s website
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Everyone expected Amalia Hernández to grow up to be a teacher, just like her mother and grandmother. But when Ami saw folk dancers put on a show in a town square, she was hooked. She decided on the spot that she would be a dancer, too.

Soon Ami was enrolled in ballet classes, on her way to becoming a talented dancer. But ballet wasn’t enough. Ami wanted to add elements of the folk dances she loved so much into her ballet routines. After spending time traveling around the country, learning as much as she could from the local dancers, she developed performances to showcase them. The people loved them, and her dance troupe grew. Soon El Ballet Folklórico de México was traveling around the world.

Amalia Hernández was a pioneer in creating performances inspired by the folk dances of Mexico. Although she originally envisioned spending her time in the classroom, she devoted her life to teaching her students the beautiful dances she developed. Danza! is a wonderful story about this interesting and accomplished choreographer.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 12, 2017 Posted by | children, dance, Mexico | Leave a comment

The Runaway Dandelion


Author: Jill Regensburg
Illustrator: Leticia Plate
Publisher: EarthWardProject
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-0998459608
Pages: 48
Price: $10.99

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One day, some large equipment arrives in a beautiful meadow and rips out all the trees and plants, before a huge house is built and a lawn planted. After the owners finish spraying for weeds, one lone dandelion survives, but she’s lonely. All her friends are gone. So when her yellow flower petals turn to a fluff of seeds, she floats away to another meadow that looks inviting.

Now she lives with people who care about the environment, and she’s much happier. They grow their own vegetables, use solar and wind power to heat their home, and play outdoors rather than watch too much TV. And best of all, they think dandelions are a tasty addition to their fresh salads. They don’t want to kill her – they really appreciate her.

Sustainable living is not an idea many city dwellers give much thought to, but even if one lives in the suburbs, it’s possible to be more mindful of the environment. Kids will learn about this concept as they follow the little dandelion to her new and nicer home. A glossary of terms is also included. I highly recommend The Runaway Dandelion.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 3, 2017 Posted by | children, nature | Leave a comment

Mokomaki!


Author & Illustrator: Satu Kontinen
Publisher: POW!
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-57687-805-7
Pages: 24
Price: $14.95

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Mokomaki are tiny birds who love to look for lost animals. A little fox has gone missing, so they search the forest to find her. Along the way they discover several more missing babies that they need to locate.

As the story unfolds, the Mokomaki listen carefully to the descriptions of the missing animals and try to identify them in the pages that follow. Sometimes they’re given clues to its appearance, and they need to study a group to see which one it is. As they look around, they discuss the situation with each other, offering assistance, giving new challenges, and providing some chuckles.

Mokomaki! contains cute computer graphic images and a fun concept for kids. Parents and children will enjoy searching for the missing baby animals.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 30, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

The Historical Heroines Coloring Book


Author: Elizabeth Lorayne
Illustrator: Kendra Shedenhelm
Publisher: White Wave Press
Genre: Women’s History / Coloring Book
ISBN: 978-0-9979098-9-0
Pages: 80
Price: $14.93

Author’s website
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In the 18th and 19th centuries, women made significant contributions to the math and sciences community. But they lived in a society where their roles were limited by their gender, and their achievements were often discounted or credited to the men they worked with.

The Historical Heroines Coloring Book introduces kids to some of these pioneering women through one-page summaries of their lives and accomplishments. An accompanying coloring page shows each woman in action in her field of science.

In the introduction, author Elizabeth Lorayne proclaims, “My hope is that through coloring these illustrations of strong, brilliant, hard-working women scientists, you will feel inspired to go forth and seize your own dreams and that you will in turn continue the circle of empowering yourself and others.” After reading this interesting and inspiring book, I believe she has achieved her goal.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 29, 2017 Posted by | art, children, history | Leave a comment

A Pocketful of Rainbows


Author: Joanne Lécuyer
Illustrator: Ana Santos
Publisher: Topsy Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-927353-73-8
Pages: 32
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Mattie enjoys watching the sky for rainbows, but she’s sad they only appear when it rains. One day she has an idea. What if she drew rainbows to give away so people didn’t have to wait for them?

After a day spent giving away all the rainbows in her pocket, Mattie comes home. She’s feeling a little glum that she doesn’t have any left to lift her own spirits. But Dad shows her a wonderful surprise Mother Nature has in store for her.

Mattie is a special girl who wants to brighten the lives of those around her. A Pocketful of Rainbows is a delightful read that will lift everyone’s spirits.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Bergers Book Reviews spent some time chatting with Joanne Lécuyer. Please be sure to read what she has to say!

November 27, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Girl Ghosted (Penny Wade Mysteries #3)


Author: Lucy English
Publisher: New Sun Press
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-0692882238
Pages: 296
Price: $12.99

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Penny Wade has decided to give online dating a try. But when her roommate doesn’t come home one evening, it really scares her. Meeting so many strangers can be dangerous, and she needs to be careful. But maybe, just maybe, she’ll meet “the one” for her.

In the midst of her romantic pursuits, Penny is attempting to help a single mom and her two kids. The family has been referred to her office by the school, since the kids are struggling. Their mom suffers from depression, and Penny does all she can to try to get their lives back on track.

I can’t say much more about the mystery without giving too much away, but I found this one took a very long time to develop. This is more of a traditional novel than a true mystery. Those who enjoy deeper character development will enjoy it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 21, 2017 Posted by | mystery | Leave a comment

Princesses of Bread


Author: She Shil Kim
Illustrator: Eun Hwa Jung
Publisher: TanTan Publishing
Genre: Children / Mathematics
ISBN: 978-1-939248-138-
Pages: 38
Price: $16.95

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The Queen of Bread oversees the royal bakers, guiding them as they make delicious breads she sells to neighboring kingdoms. One day she becomes ill and her daughters, the Princess of Bread, must step in to take her place. But the princesses have never paid attention to how the Queen makes her breads, and can’t give good directions. Their loaves are tasteless and ugly.

One evening, as they once again attempt to duplicate the Queen’s bread, a Fairy Godmother arrives with a magic cookbook. She shows the princesses how to measure length, volume, and weight to create perfect loaves of bread. The following day, the princesses show the bakers what they’ve learned and they successfully bake their daily quota of delicious bread. The kingdom is saved and they turn their attention to the Queen’s health. Thankfully, the Fairy Godmother has also provided a recipe for magic bread that cures illnesses, which the princesses easily produce.

Princesses of Bread introduce the concepts of length, volume, and weight, and how to measure each. Kids will also have the opportunity to practice these in the exercises provided. This cute story would be a great resource for classroom study.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 17, 2017 Posted by | children, mathematics | Leave a comment

7 Lessons From Heaven


Author: Mary C. Neal, M.D.
Publisher: Convergent Books
Genre: Christian / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-451-49542-6
Pages: 288
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
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In 1999, Mary C. Neal died in a kayaking accident when she was trapped underwater and drowned. She tells of this experience in To Heaven and Back, but realized later that she left out important lessons that still needed to be shared – lessons that taught her how to live a joy-filled life.

As a medical professional, Neal first confirms that she had a true near-death experience (NDE). After exhausting all possible physical causes for what happened to her, she speaks with others who had similar experiences, and confirms that they’re all similar. She did have a true NDE. Next she describes her impressions of heaven and meeting Jesus, who was there at the time of her death to comfort her. Finally, she reveals some of the lessons she learned as a result of her NDE, and how she looks at her life today. Death holds no power over her now, and she guides the reader to see God in a new and wonderful way.

God is real, present, and working in our lives today. 7 Lessons From Heaven shows us just how much He loves us and wants us to share eternity with Him in heaven. I am so grateful to Neal for sharing this story with us.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 16, 2017 Posted by | Christian, inspiration | Leave a comment

Mindset Matters


Author: Bryan Smith
Illustrator: Lisa Griffin
Publisher: Boys Town Press
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-944882-12-9
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

Buy it at Amazon

Amelia is in second grade, and she’s working on a difficult building project. Frustrated, she exclaims, “I quit!” and throws down her hammer. But her dad suggests the problem might be her mindset and not her constructions skills. Amelia is suffering from the “down-in-the-dumps” mindset. She has a negative attitude, excuses, and believes she’ll never be good at what she’s doing. Dad explains that Amelia needs a “gonna-get-it-done” mindset instead. She should be determined, have a positive attitude, and believe that she’s just not good at that… yet.

Using her dad’s advice, Amelia throws herself back into the project and it turns out great. Encouraged by her success, she tackles schoolwork, skateboarding, and fishing in a similar way, also achieving good results. Amelia is convinced her dad is right. Her new gonna-get-it-done mindset has changed her life.

It’s easy for kids to become discouraged when tackling new challenges for the first time. Mindset Matters shows them that they can change their way of thinking to accomplish their goals. This is a wonderful resource for classrooms and homes, and kids will enjoy reading of Amelia’s successes, as they dream of their own.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 10, 2017 Posted by | children, self improvement | Leave a comment