art, children, crafts, creativity

Proggy Menagerie

Author: Hayley Smith
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Crafts
ISBN: 978-1-68099-337-0
Pages: 128
Price: $14.99

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Have you ever imagined making your own soft and snuggly rag rug animals? This process isn’t as hard as it might seem. Using simple supplies like fleece and burlap, you can build adorable critters. Proggy Menagerie will show you how.

In this unique craft book, you’ll learn how to make woodland creatures (fox, badger, hedgehog, squirrel), farmyard favorites (lamb, pig, bat, duck), perfect pets (kitten, puppy, bunny, tortoise), feathered friends (parrot, owl, robin, penguin), and water babies (clown fish, seal, turtle, frog). The creation of each animal is demonstrated with pictures and written instructions explaining each of the steps. Reduced-size patterns (with instructions for enlarging) are provided for cutting the pieces to be assembled.

Although I didn’t attempt one of these adorable proggy animals, I felt confident in reading the detailed instructions that I could have easily created them. Children will need an adult’s assistance in assembling these, but will easily grasp the proggy technique. I highly recommend Proggy Menagerie.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Figley vs. the Mookling Hat (Mutasia)

Authors: Suzanne Cotsakos & Ryan McCulloch
Illustrator: Ryan McCulloch
Publisher: Mutasian Entertainment
Genre: Children
ISBN: 9780692106327
Pages: 48
Price: $15.99

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When everyone in Mutasia starts wearing Mookling hats, Figley decides he needs one, too. After all, he can’t be left out of the fun. But when he tries to find one for the party that evening, his efforts end in failure. So he does the best he can, and arrives at the party with a Squonk hat, instead.

Initially, the others are puzzled by this silly, squishy hat. But when they decide his hat is so much more special than their Mookling hats, they all have to get one, too. Once everyone is wearing Squonk hats, they wonder why they don’t feel as unique as they thought they would. Figley knows the answer, and after sharing it with the rest of the Mutasians, they know what to do. Soon everyone is sporting the hat that best fits their personality.

Figley vs. the Mookling Hat is a silly story that encourages individuality. By exaggerating the ridiculousness of everyone doing the same thing, it shows kids that it’s best to be themselves, even if they’re different from their friends. And they might discover that their way is just as cool as everyone else’s.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Suzanne and Ryan stopped by Bergers Book Reviews for an interview. Please be sure to check it out here!


The Summer of New Beginnings

Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Women’s fiction
ISBN: 978-1503901247
Pages: 284
Price: $14.95

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Meghan Briggs is running the family business after her father’s death. Always the responsible one, she stepped in immediately, putting her own dreams on hold. When Meghan rescues a puppy, she tries hard not to fall in love, expecting his owner to show up any moment to claim him. But she’s not as wary when she meets the handsome new vet.

Tracy Briggs followed her heart, making a disastrous romantic decision. When she returns home as a single mother, Meghan and their mom are there to help her pick up the pieces. Her son, Lucas, will need special attention, and the family bonds in the process of helping him.

While this story is full of romance, it’s more about family and the ways they work together. All three of the ladies in this book struggles with something from their past, but now they’re making a new beginning. The Summer of New Beginnings is an enjoyable “warm and fuzzy” read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Good News for a Change

Author: Matt Mikalatos
Publisher: NavPress
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-63146-856-8
Pages: 208
Price: $15.99

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Sharing the good news about Jesus should be easy. We know He came to earth to save us from our sins and guarantee our place in Heaven, but how can we communicate this message without sounding too preachy? If you’ve ever struggled with knowing how to approach this topic with others, Matt Mikalatos offers some great advice.

Matt has had first-hand experience with these conversations, and in Good News for a Change, he shares the lessons he’s learned along the way. We learn how to identify what’s really good about the good news, frame it in a way people will not only listen to, but also understand, and make it meaningful to the person we’re speaking with.

This uplifting and inspiring book helps us see that opportunities for evangelism are all around us, and being prepared is easier than we think. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Mission Defrostable (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast)

Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Brendan Kearney
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2811-9
Pages: 40
Price: $16.95

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The refrigerator is too cold, and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are worried. What is causing this deep freeze? Suddenly, Agent Asparagus arrives, pleading for help. He’ll lead them to the freezer so they can see what’s going on.

But when Agent Asparagus is whooshed away, the pair have no idea how to get to the freezer. Lucky for them, Baron von Waffle knows the way and agrees to lead them. But this time, they are captured while the Baron escapes. All ends well when the Baron sneaks back to rescue them both, which prompts teary-eyed sniffles from the perpetrator of this frozen situation, along with a promise to turn the temperature back to normal in the fridge.

Mission Defrostable is told in rhyming verse with some larger words that children may have trouble pronouncing or understanding. But the story is so much fun that they (and their parents) will enjoy reading it over and over again. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, sports

This Is the Day

Author: Tim Tebow
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Christian inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-525-65030-0
Pages: 224
Price: $25.00

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When Tim Tebow decided to pursue a major league baseball career, many people didn’t understand. Why would a successful football player go back to the minor leagues and try to rise through the ranks? Wouldn’t it be safer to pursue a career in broadcasting, as he had the opportunity to do? But as Tim explains in This Is the Day, life isn’t always best lived by making the safe choices.

Through a series of stories, Tim shows us the times in his life where important choices needed to be made. Although he admits he didn’t always choose correctly, he recognizes that God placed him in certain situations for a reason, and it was up to him to act. Maybe we don’t always see this in our own lives, but God asks the same of us, also. If we can learn to see how important this very moment is, we can make a difference in this world.

Tim Tebow is not only a talented athlete, but also a gifted story teller. This Is the Day is an inspirational read that gives us a lot to think about. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger