Bergers Book Reviews

Maurice the Unbeastly

Author: Amy Dixon
Illustrator: Karl James Mountford
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1953-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Maurice’s parents are concerned that he’s much too civilized, so they enroll him in the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts. But no matter how hard he tries, Maurice simply can’t seem to fit in. He’s convinced he will be a gargantuan failure.

But one day a mysterious creature arrives in the classroom, and none of the other students know what to do. Drawing on his own natural abilities, Maurice catches the creature and subdues it, immediately earning the respect of everyone in the school.

Maurice is different from the other students, and he believes his differences are bad. But when he discovers his hidden talent, he realizes that being different is okay, and he’s grateful. Children will love Maurice the Unbeastly.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 10, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

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
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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

September 26, 2017 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

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

September 19, 2017 Posted by | children, humor | Leave a comment

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
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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

September 14, 2017 Posted by | birds, cats, children | Leave a comment

Electricity in Your Life

Author: Bo-hyun Seo
Illustrator: Sung-hwa Kwak
Publisher: Tantan Publishing
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-939248-16-9
Pages: 30
Price: $17.95

Buy it at Amazon

Electricity is useful in powering many everyday items. It keeps refrigerated foods fresh, rooms well lit, and televisions ready for entertainment. But how does electricity work?

Electricity in Your Life shows kids some electric powered appliances and how they receive their source of electricity. It touches on the operation of power plants and the wires that send electricity into their homes. And it shows what happens when there is a power failure and all is dark. It also explains the importance of conserving energy and how to use electricity safely.

Most kids don’t realize the importance of electricity in their lives until there is a power failure. In this interesting and informative book, they will see how their household appliances work and what happens when they unplug them. This is a great introduction to electricity for kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 25, 2017 Posted by | children, science | Leave a comment

Dustrats: Or, The Adventures of Sir Muffin Muffinsson

Author & Illustrator: Adrià Regordosa
Publisher: POW!
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-57687-821-7
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

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Sir Muffin Muffinsson sits beside Baby Emma, carefully watching her as she sleeps, in case her dreams get carried away. Suddenly seven dustrats, one for each day of the week, creep out from under her bed, intent on mischief. Sir Muffin chases them throughout the house with his trusty vacuum, hoping to stop them before they do too much damage. Each one has picked up on Emma’s dreams and is living the visions they contain.

Dustrats is a simple story, but the illustrations that accompany it are truly spectacular. In each, we see beautiful details of Emma’s vivid imagination. Polar regions, a fantasy forest, medieval kingdoms, and the ocean depths, as well as several other scenes come to life, as Sir Muffin chases the dustrats through the house.

Kids will enjoy playing “find the dustrat” who is hiding among each of the dream elements. Parents will have fun pointing out the picture on Emma’s wall that changes from scene to scene, as well as various stuffed animals on the shelves that move and show varying expressions. There is so much to see and notice on each page that kids will never tire of reading this book. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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

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
Buy it at Amazon

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

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

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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

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

Buy it at Amazon

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 | 4 Comments