Bergers Book Reviews

Busy on the Farm


Author: Holly Dufek
Illustrators: Paul E. Nunn and Mike Kasun
Publisher: Octane Press
Genre: Children / Farming
ISBN: 978-1937747794
Pages: 32
Price: $10.00

Publisher’s website
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It’s a beautiful morning, and Casey and her friends are ready to get to work. Baling hay, tending to the animals, and other assorted jobs keep them all busy. Casey relies on an assortment of tractors and farm equipment to maintain the farm properly. Each piece of equipment has a specific purpose, designed to make work easier and simpler for Casey.

Busy on the Farm also shares some interesting farming information that kids will be eager to read. Feed crops, hay baling techniques, precision farming, and cattle breeds, as well as other topics are briefly covered. A glossary of terms and some fun facts are also included.

Farm kids will really enjoy seeing Casey in action as she manages Happy Skies Farm. I highly recommend the Casey and Friends series of farming books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 20, 2017 Posted by | children, farming | Leave a comment

Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them


Author: Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D.
Illustrator: Jo Gershman
Publisher: Smart Love Press
Genre: Children / Parenting
ISBN: 978-0-9838664-1-1
Pages: 32
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
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Jilly is a happy kangaroo most of the time. But every once in a while she has a terrible temper tantrum. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she acts out in a big way. But mom and dad know how to talk to Jilly, as they attempt to calm her down. They offer her a hug and then reason with her demands. Jilly stops screaming and carrying on, and complies with their requests. Soon Jilly notices when she’s about to have a terrible temper tantrum, and runs to mom for a hug instead. She’s learned how to handle her frustrations on her own.

Jilly’s parents have adopted the Smart Love® approach to managing children’s behavior, which avoids both the negativity of discipline and the laxity of permissiveness. Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them shows Jilly’s parents in action as they love her through her unacceptable behavior, serving as a model for both children and adults. This book would be a great resource for parents of young children.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 16, 2017 Posted by | children, parenting | Leave a comment

Colorful Creations: Positively Inspired


Author & Illustrator: Jess Volinski
Publisher: Design Originals
Genre: Art / Creativity
ISBN: 978-1-4972-0260-3
Pages: 80
Price: $9.99

Author’s website
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Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore, and Jess Volinski takes her Colorful Creations series to a new level of artwork. Positively Inspired is filled with beautiful designs coupled with positive messages for us to fill in with crayons, markers, or colored pencils. But in addition to these black and white line drawings, Volinski includes information on how to create a pleasing palette using the color wheel. Sample colored designs provide inspiration for our own masterpieces, and several color wheel diagrams help us choose the right colors to create mood or harmony.

Volinski’s designs begin as beautiful artwork and are just waiting for us to add our own personal touch to bring them to life. I highly recommend these adult coloring books.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 12, 2017 Posted by | art | Leave a comment

Find Mom’s Wok


Author: Jung Hee Kim
Illustrator: Jung Ah Noh
Publisher: Tantan Publishing
Genre: Children / Chinese Culture
ISBN: 978-1-939248-23-7
Pages: 38
Price: $17.95

Buy it at Amazon

Shao Ming needs to bring her mother’s special wok to her uncle’s house for a feast. While walking through the streets as the people are celebrating the Zhongqiu Jie Festival, Shao Ming puts it down to watch a performing dragon. As she turns to leave, she suddenly realizes she has lost the wok.

Hoping to find the special wok, Shao Ming visits the shops and restaurants in the area that smell like food. Her mom’s wok has a dragon carved on the handle, so it should be easy to identify when she sees it. Along the way, she samples Szechuan, Shanghai, Guangdong, and Beijing cooking. Finally, Shao Ming realizes she is very late to the feast, and reluctantly and tearfully heads toward her uncle’s house. But when she arrives, she finds a very happy surprise.

Find Mom’s Wok gives kids a fun and colorful introduction to Chinese culture. Along with the story, sidebar notes explain some of the food items and vocabulary of the text. The end pages share some of China’s history and cuisine.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 6, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Habit Stacking


Author: S.J. Scott
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Self-improvement
ISBN: 978-1545339121
Pages: 330
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Developing better habits can be tricky, since old habits keep us locked in patterns that feel hard to break. But what if there was a way to make this easier? What if we could group several habits together, making it more likely that we complete them all every day?

Habit Stacking shows us how to add good habits to our day by “stacking” them into manageable thirty minute time slots. If it makes sense to do them at the beginning of the day, we can stack them in the morning. Or maybe we’d be better off doing them in the middle or end of the day. That’s fine, too. Just schedule the stack, make a list of new habits we’d like to develop, and get ready to see positive changes.

S.J. Scott provides suggestions for 127 new habits that could improve our lives. These are grouped into categories: Career, Finance, Health, Leisure, Organizing, Relationship, and Spirituality. Habits are also categorized as Keystone, Support, and Elephant, based on how they are developed and used. Scott also shares some of the tools he finds useful, such as websites and apps that help in developing these new habits. And he tackles any resistance we might feel at adding new habits to an already overcrowded lifestyle.

Habit Stacking shares a unique and helpful approach to new habit formation. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 5, 2017 Posted by | self improvement | Leave a comment

I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God


Author: Diane Stortz
Illustrator: Diane Le Feyer
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Children / Bible stories
ISBN: 978-0-5291-2066-3
Pages: 224
Price: $16.99

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God is revealed in the Bible in the many names He gives us. Creator, Good Shepherd, I AM, and Immanuel are just some of the forty names of God presented in this storybook of the Bible.

Beginning with the Genesis account of creation and ending with a white horse in the book of Revelation, short segments of the Bible are paraphrased and illustrated. Each includes some thoughts regarding the story’s meaning, plus a bridge to the next segment. Kids are also given the Bible references if they want to read the actual stories in the Bible. Illustrations are done in a style reminiscent of today’s animated movies.

Paraphrases make me uncomfortable, since so much can be lost in the author’s attempts to make Bible stories readable for kids. Thankfully, most of these stay true to the intent of the Bible passage, except for the Last Supper. The author chose to insert the word “like” in the words Jesus spoke in instituting the Eucharist. Rather than the actual spoken words of Jesus, kids will see “This bread is like my body” and “this drink is like my blood.” A heavy-duty black marker quickly solves the problem, making this a nice Bible story book for kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

June 2, 2017 Posted by | children, Christian | Leave a comment

Animal Adventures: Sharks


Aathor: Cynthia Stierle
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Animals / Children
ISBN: 978-1-62686-487-0
Pages: 40
Price: $21.95

Buy it at Amazon

Sharks are fascinating creatures, but how much do kids really know about them? How do they breathe, what do they eat, how do they reproduce, and who are their friends and enemies? In using Animal Adventures: Sharks, kids will get to read all about these dangerous ocean-dwellers and play with the materials provided. Each kit contains a 40-page reference book, six plastic sharks, four 3-D models to build, 20 fact cards, and a dramatic seven piece diorama to create and decorate with 54 reusable stickers.

Kids who enjoying learning about animals will love this kit. This is a great resource for classroom or home use.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 26, 2017 Posted by | animals, children | Leave a comment

The Hand Manual


Author: Sung Eun Kim
Illustrator: Ji Won Lee
Publisher: Tantan Publishing
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-939248-15-2
Pages: 34
Price: $17.95

Buy it at Amazon

Young children may not realize just how important their hands are. The Hand Manual gives kids an overview of this fascinating body part and all the amazing things it can do.

Illustrations show how hands can be used for everyday actions like brushing their teeth, scratching their back, pressing a button, or measuring the weight of an object. Hands are also needed to play games, create art or music, communicate, and share emotions. Kids are reminded to take good care of these hands by washing them well, wearing gloves when it’s cold, and keeping fingernails neatly clipped.

Preschools and Kindergartens will enjoy having this “hands-on fun” resource in the classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 24, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

Mary: Seeing God through the Eyes of a Mother (Drawn In Bible Study)


Author: Eugene H. Peterson
Publisher: NavPress
Genre: Bible Study / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-63146-785-1
Pages: 96
Price: $7.99

Buy it at Amazon

Mary is the mother of Jesus, but the Bible is surprisingly quiet about her role in raising Him. However, the small glimpses we do have of our Blessed Mother are very illuminating. This Drawn In Bible study focuses on important moments of her life, such as the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Wedding at Cana, and the Crucifixion.

Using the Message translation, Peterson guides us to notice details in the story to ponder in our own hearts what Mary might have been thinking and feeling. Then we’re asked to see how these words affect our own lives today. Coloring pages are included so we can pause and contemplate the ideas we’re studying. A helpful guide to facilitating a Drawn In Bible study makes up the final chapter.

As a Catholic, I was immediately drawn to this book on Mary, and within the scope of an introductory four-week Protestant study, it delivered what it promised. Using the Message gives a slightly different perspective on the words we may have become overly familiar with, but the scripture references are provided if we want to use a more traditional translation for our study. The price is also attractive to small groups on a budget. After completing this study, Catholics who would like a more in-depth look at Mary might want to look at studies by Edward Sri or Scott Hahn.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 23, 2017 Posted by | Christian | Leave a comment

Finding the Narrow Path: Patterns, Faith and Searching


Author: Lin Wilder
Publisher: Wilder Books
Genre: Catholic / Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-942545-54-5
Pages: 151
Price: $13.50

Author’s website
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Lin Wilder grew up in a family where mother and children went to church on Sundays, and all the standards of morality were practiced. So when she suddenly realizes she doesn’t believe anything she’s ever learned and rejects the Bible as a myth, she feels lost and bereft. Throwing herself into her work, with ever increasing responsibilities, she determines to make a good life for herself.

Adrift without a strong moral compass, Wilder attempts to navigate through several troubled relationships, hoping to find happiness with a man. At a crucial turning point in her life, she receives good advice to clarify her intentions about what she’s really searching for. This finally opens the door for Wilder to discover the Catholic Church – to finally come home.

Finding the Narrow Path is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. Jesus Christ allows Wilder to drift along aimlessly, never staying far from her, finally inviting her back to Him and into his Church. And when she does return, she finds a love she couldn’t imagine existed, that thrills her more than anything she has ever experienced.

As a Catholic convert myself, I had to smile as I read of Wilder’s overflowing joy at becoming Catholic. Those who have converted and those who are maybe only thinking about converting will really enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Catholic, memoir | Leave a comment