Bergers Book Reviews

Mom’s Dresses

moms-dresses
Author & Illustrator: Mónica Carretero
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-84-16147-74-8
Pages: 36
Price: $16.95

Author’s website
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Mom has quite the collection of dresses, and each comes with its own adventure. A checkerboard dress sends a young girl on horseback to rescue a pawn. Mom’s long, flowing blue dress reminds her of the ocean, and she’s sailing a ship among mermaids and seagulls. The flowered dress is a great big field that she runs through, picking flowers and decorating her hair.

This mom and her daughter have a close bond and they share their love of her unique dresses. Each day she wears a new one, and her daughter’s imagination takes her off on another adventure. The final pages of this book include a dress-up doll along with cut-out clothes to dress her in. Girls can enjoy making up their own adventures along with the main character.

Mom’s Dresses is a fun read for girls who enjoy dreaming and letting their imaginations run wild.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 29, 2016 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4

Endless Explorations
Authors: Brenda Scott-Royce, Stephen Binns, Emily Rose Oachs, Kaitlyn DiPerna
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-62686-454-2
Pages: 192
Price: $14.95

Buy it at Amazon

Science, history, and nature are interesting for kids, and Smithsonian Readers capitalizes on this desire to learn more about these topics. Endless Explorations covers predators, world wonders, space exploration, natural disasters, ocean habitats, and flight. Beautiful photos fill each page, bringing the text alive and making it more engaging. Each section closes with a multiple choice quiz to determine reading comprehension.

The Smithsonian Readers series is designed for early, developing, engage and fluent readers. In this level 4 book, kids will read extended sentences and complex words in a variety of factual texts to challenge fluent readers.

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4 is sure to generate some curiosity and enthusiasm in the home and classroom. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 20, 2016 Posted by | children, education, nature, science | Leave a comment

Finding Calcutta: Memoirs of a Photographer

Finding Calcutta
Author: Marie Bissell Constantin
Publisher: Lulu
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-4834-5478-8
Pages: 128
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
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Marie Bissell Constantin took the photograph of Saint Teresa of Calcutta that was unveiled at her beatification ceremony. One of may Constantin took, this one best captured the heart and soul of this great Saint. During three visits to Calcutta while discerning a possible vocation, Constantin had the opportunity to see Saint Teresa in action.

Opening with an anecdote from her school days, Constantin shares a moment in the convent and the life changes that came about as a result of her daily interaction with one of the Sisters. Having other religious relatives sparked her curiosity, and she spent many years attempting to determine if she shared a similar calling. These searches led her to Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity.

In addition to stories of her own volunteer service, Constantin shares some of the horrible treatment suffered by religious sisters as they work among the poor and marginalized in society. As they face persecution and the horrors of war, the habit is sometimes a shield and other times a target.

Although this memoir was written for family, those who admire this wonderful Saint will enjoy seeing snippets of her in real life, and not just as the woman who carried the dying home with her. Those who are attempting to discern their own vocations will also find Constantin’s honesty refreshing and may gain some insights in reading the author’s struggles. I highly recommend Finding Calcutta.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Christian, memoir, Saints | Leave a comment

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

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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