children, dogs

Stay Benson!

Author & Illustrator: Thereza Rowe
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Dogs
ISBN: 978-0-500-65153-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Before she leaves for school, Flick tells Benson to stay. But as soon as she’s gone, Benson runs outside to play. As Benson explores, the cat reminds him that he’s supposed to stay, not play! The day ends too quickly and Benson must rush home to be there when Flick arrives.

Creative page cut-outs allow the reader to see scenes from before and after the current page, and the artwork is minimalistic in bright colors. Kids will enjoy this whimsical day in the life of a disobedient pup.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, Christian

The World of the Bible

Author: Jill Rubalcaba
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Bible history
ISBN: 978-1-4263-2881-7
Pages: 128
Price: $14.99

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Connecting Bible history to real world places and times can make the word of God come alive for readers. In The World of the Bible, National Geographic Kids shows us when these Bible stories took place and what the world may have looked like at the time.

Spanning the time periods of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, this book looks at early history, the Exodus, the judges, prophets, and the kings, as well as some of the places Jesus would have visited as he traveled around Judah and Samaria. Artifacts from excavations, photos of ruins, and artwork depicting the various scenes help readers to picture the events more clearly.

Although it isn’t truly possible to revisit the past, The World of the Bible makes it easier for kids to see these stories in a more realistic setting. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, birds, children

The Song of Spring

Author & Illustrator: Hendrik Jonas
Publisher: Prestel
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-3-7913-7379-9
Pages: 52
Price: $12.95

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It’s springtime, and all the birds are singing their mating calls. But one little bird can’t remember his song. He wants to find a birdie friend, so he attempts to discover it through trial and error.

Time after time, he sings a song, but his moos, meows, and oinks fail miserably. Soon he’s surrounded by farm animals but no birdie friend. Until one day a strange song comes from the distance – a little girl bird attempting to find her own song.

The Song of Spring is an adorable tale of friendship, as each of these animals come to keep little bird company. Kids will love these charming illustrations of cheerful animals in spring. I highly recommend this cute story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Mr. Mouthful Learns His Lesson

Author: Joseph Kimble
Publisher: Iguana Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-77180-229-1
Pages: 32
Price: $11.40

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Mr. Mouthful and his pet monkey, Dupree, stroll through the neighborhood. As he encounters some children, he speaks in fancy words too difficult for them to understand. His warnings go unheeded, as they are left pondering what on earth he just said.

But when a little girl named Juno finds herself in a precarious predicament, it’s up to Mr. Mouthful to figure out how to rescue her. Luckily, he puts aside his preposterous vocabulary and uses a simple word that saves the day.

Mr. Mouthful Learns His Lesson will have kids giggling as they reach for the dictionary, trying to discover the hidden meaning behind his unusual choice of words. Parents, don’t be surprised if some of these funny sayings creep into your youngster’s conversations. This is a fun story that kids will enjoy reading over and over again.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


40 Days of Doubt

Author: Eric Huffman
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Genre: Christian
ISBN: 978-1-5018-6913-6
Pages: 176
Price: $14.99

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If you’ve ever had doubts about your faith, you’ve probably looked for answers. In 40 Days of Doubt, Eric Huffman tackles some of the issues Christians grapple with, in an attempt to reassure the reader of God’s constant presence in their lives.

In a series of eight weeks of topics, Huffman covers doubts about: God, Jesus, the Bible, the human condition, faith and science, quality of life, sex and relationships, and religion. He addresses the concepts of miracles, the Old Testament God, happiness, and pain, as well as many other issues we struggle with today. Each entry is about four pages long, and would easily fit into a daily Lenten reading plan.

For the most part, Huffman’s ideas are ecumenical in nature, but I felt it was unnecessarily harsh to bash the current (not 4th Century, as the author states) Catholic belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity. But overall, this book is a nice summary of answers to doubts people might have about Christianity.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

cats, children

Cat & Mouse

Author: Britta Teckentrup
Publisher: Prestel
Genre: Children / Board book / Cats
ISBN: 978-3-7913-7374-4
Pages: 24
Price: $14.95

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Little Mouse is running away from the black cat. Inside the house, to the stack of boxes, through a hole in the ground, and outside, he darts away from the cat. But after a while, he gets tired, and the cat is closing in on his tail. How is he going to escape?

Throughout this imaginative tale, cutouts show the various escape holes the mouse will be darting through, adding to the story’s charm. But children will have nothing to worry about once they see the final page, as Cat and Mouse curl up together for a nap. Cat & Mouse is sure to be a favorite with kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Jewish, marriage, relationships, romance, spirituality

The Joy of Intimacy

Author: Manis Friedman with Ricardo Adler
Publisher: It’s Good to Know Publishing
Genre: Relationships / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9862770-0-9
Pages: 216
Price: $14.00

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Today’s marriages are failing at an alarming rate. But what if we discovered the way to experience true intimacy with our life partner? In The Joy of Intimacy, Manis Friedman shares timeless Jewish wisdom in creating a meaningful and lasting relationship with our spouse.

Much of Friedman’s advice is based on orthodox Jewish teaching on marriage. These include proper modesty, relations only at certain times of the month, and an emphasis on creating a baby as a result of the marriage act. But Christians (and especially Catholics) would also relate to many of these concepts. God gifted the married couple with these pleasures, and He wants our marriage to be alive, fresh, and fulfilling. Following this advice would be the perfect start in growing closer to each other.

The Joy of Intimacy would be a great resource for all couples starting out in their marriages, as well as those who may have hit some snags along the way. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger