It’s Good to Be Kind

Author: Lauren DuBois Rosemond
Illustrator: Marco Cutrone
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 978-1541040540
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Leonard the Lion has just celebrated his first birthday by opening a magical box. Inside is a crown, a cape, and instructions for how he should behave, now that he has become King. Rather than using his powers to hurt, he’s instructed to help others instead.

Lex the Leopard watches closely as Leonard changes his ways, going about his business in the jungle. Leonard is now kind to all the animals he meets, helping them whenever he is able. Lex is puzzled until Leonard explains the power of the cape.

It’s Good to Be Kind shows kids kindness in action. Leonard is not only the King of the jungle, but he’s also becoming very popular as he helps his friends. Leonard has learned it’s good to be King, but it’s even better to be kind. And by the power of example, Lex has learned this lesson, also. This cute story has a great message without being preachy.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, humor

Mary Had a Little Jam: And Other Silly Rhymes

Author: Bruce Lansky
Illustrator: Stephen Carpenter
Publisher: Meadowbrook Press
ISBN: 978-1-4814-9278-2
Pages: 80
Price: $8.95

Buy it at Amazon

Old nursery rhymes have met their match, as Bruce Lansky and other talented poets give them a totally modern spin. Humorous illustrations accompany these creative and silly poems. This new edition has been kid-tested, and only the most giggle-worthy poems are included.

The original edition of Mary Had a Little Jam sold over 800,000 copies, making it the most popular book of funny, contemporary nursery rhymes in the English language. Kids are sure to love this expanded version.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

birds, cats, children

Max and Bird

Author & Illustrator: Ed Vere
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4926-3558-1
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Max, a black kitten, meets Bird, and would like to be friends. Bird is very young and doesn’t know how to fly, but Max thinks Bird might be fun to chase and will make a tasty snack. Bird thinks otherwise, and decides Max can help him learn to fly before chasing him. Max agrees and they begin to research the art of flying.

Finally, Bird achieves his goal with Max’s full support and encouragement. And in the process of teaching Bird to fly, Max realizes that it simply wouldn’t be very nice to eat Bird, now that they are good friends.

Max and Bird are adorably illustrated in a minimalistic style with big, bold eyes and expressive appearances that kids will love. This cute story will appeal to everyone, and parents won’t get tired of reading it over and over again, as it quickly becomes a family favorite.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, marriage

Created for Connection: The “Hold Me Tight” Guide for Christian Couples

Authors: Dr. Sue Johnson with Kenneth Sanderfer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Christian / Marriage
ISBN: 978-0-316-30741-3
Pages: 336
Price: $26.00

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Couples in thriving marriages have learned how to communicate in ways that are loving and constructive. Rather than tearing each other down in arguments, they know how to address issues without attacking the other person. But for many of us, this skill isn’t something we know intuitively – we need to learn how to communicate with our partner.

In Created for Connection, Dr. Sue Johnson explores the conversations a couple can have that are designed to bring them closer together, rather than pulling them apart. When troubled times arrive – and they always do – these conversations will guide the couple through them in a way that will not only leave their relationship intact, but also strengthen it. In recognizing old communication patterns that aren’t working, they can then move to sharing their old hurts and expressing forgiveness, bringing them closer. Physical intimacy is also a key form of communication in keeping marriages healthy and vibrant.

Johnson provides numerous examples of couples’ conversations that take place over a variety of difficulties, and the reader gets a good sense of how to apply these ideas to his or her own situation. Even if your marriage is not struggling, this book can help you make it even better. I highly recommend Created for Connection.

Catholic, Christian

Stories on the Journey: A Homilitic Biography (Cycle B Homilies)

Author: Rev. Peter G. Jankowski
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Catholic / Christian
ISBN: 978-1544933160
Pages: 344
Price: $12.95

Video series
St. Patrick’s Church of Joliet, IL
Buy it at Amazon

Cycle B Homilies picks up in the second year of Catholic Church readings, and follows the Cycle A Homilies published last year. Following in the same pattern, each of the homilies includes the designated Sunday title, as well as the scripture readings for that Sunday’s Mass in Cycle B. Father Pete expands on the Gospel readings each week, sharing stories of his own experiences as priest, as well as his interactions with parishioners. These homilies are warmly written and encouraging in style, sometimes challenging his listeners to respond to the words of Jesus and what He demands of us. But they’re also down-to-earth and meant for the average reader who doesn’t have a theology degree.

Father Pete has no interest in portraying himself as perfect, and willingly shares his faults and foibles with the reader. I found myself chuckling at some of these stories, as I learned a bit about his service to his Parish and the surrounding community, and I will enjoy reading them during each Cycle B year. This is part of a planned four-volume series, which includes Cycles A, B & C, as well as special homilies. Proceeds from the sales of Stories on the Journey will benefit St. Patrick’s Church.

Reviewer: Alice Berger