Bergers Book Reviews

Babushka

Babushka
Author: Dawn Casey
Illustrator: Amanda Hall
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Children / Christmas / Russia
ISBN: 978-1-68099-188-8
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

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Babushka is very busy cooking and cleaning in her tiny cottage. One day three men visit her home, telling of their wonderful journey as they’re led by a star to find a newborn baby. They invite Babushka to come with them, but first she must clean up after their visit. After they’re gone, she reconsiders, as she sees the star shining brightly. She packs up lots of handmade toys, clothing, and baked goods and heads out to follow them.

The snow has covered their footprints, and Babushka wanders with her cat through the frozen landscape. As she travels, she comes across people who need the good things she’s carrying, and she gives them away joyously. Babushka hasn’t found the Christ child, but she spreads the Light of Love throughout the land.

Babushka is a traditional Russian Christmas tale retold in this charming book filled with bright and beautiful illustrations. Children will delight in this magical story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 5, 2016 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

Jesus Is Born

Jesus Is Born
Author: Sophie Piper
Illustrator: Anne Yvonne Gilbert
Publisher: Good Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-68099-187-1
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99

Buy it at Amazon

Christian parents enjoy sharing the story of the first Christmas with their children. Reading directly from the Bible would be a nice way to do this, but the story is not told in its entirety in any of the Gospels. Jesus Is Born highlights important passages from both Luke and Matthew, so that children can read the whole story.

Beginning with the Gospel of Luke, the text opens with the Angel Gabriel’s request from God that Mary should carry his Son. Carefully avoiding the sensitive subject of virginity, Mary simply states that she can’t be a mother if she’s not married. Then children read about the census decree and Joseph’s need to return to Bethlehem along with Mary. Angels appear to the shepherds announcing the birth of their Savior and they hurry to see Jesus in the manger. The story then shifts to the Gospel of Matthew, as we read of the Magi visiting King Herod before finding Jesus in Bethlehem. King Herod’s horrifying decision to slaughter the innocent babies is briefly mentioned, as Joseph leads the Holy Family away to safety. Throughout this story, we’re reminded that Jesus will bring God’s blessing to the world.

Jesus Is Born faithfully follows biblical texts with very little embellishment and the illustrations are incredibly beautiful and lifelike. Children will enjoy reading this special story over and over again as they anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas morning.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 1, 2016 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

Christmas Quiet: Receiving the Gift of His Presence: A 25-Day Devotional Coloring Book

christmas-quiet
Author: Maisie Sparks
Illustrator: Lauren Younis
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-4555-7108-6
Pages: 112
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season sometimes makes it difficult to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Taking a few minutes out of our hectic days can restore the sense of anticipation that Advent asks of us. Christmas Quiet provides a meaningful reflection for the 25 days leading up to Christmas, along with an accompanying coloring page.

For the Israelites, the hope of the Messiah began in the Garden of Eden, which is where this devotional begins. We visit with Mary, Anna, Simeon, the wise men, and the shepherds as we see snippets of the Christmas story throughout its pages. But we also read of impatiently waiting in line, dealing with holiday pain and grief, and wishing for wonderful gifts. Ultimately, though, we are guided to long for the true gift of Christmas – God’s gift of his only son, Jesus.

Each of the coloring pages contains a message relating to the devotional text, along with small pictures and doodles. In slowing down to fill them with color, we can absorb the message and ponder it in our own hearts, just as Mary did. Christmas Quiet presents a beautiful opportunity to slow down and savor this most wonderful of seasons, as we anticipate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 22, 2016 Posted by | Christian, holiday | Leave a comment

Casey’s Bright Red Christmas

Casey's Bright Red Christmas
Author: Holly Dufek
Illustrator: Paul E. Nunn
Publisher: Octane Press
Genre: Children / Farming / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1937747619
Pages: 32
Price: $14.99

Octane Press
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It’s Christmas Eve and Casey has too much to do. She wants to decorate the farm, bake cookies, and get ready for the team’s celebration. But first she has to care for the cows, fix the fence, and work in the shed, and her nasty cold is making her sleepy. Maybe a nap will perk her up and give her the energy she needs to get her chores done.

Casey’s team of tractors and farm equipment sees how Casey is feeling and comes up with a plan. Knowing she works so hard for all of them, they decide to do Christmas for her. As she sleeps, the team puts up lights, picks out the Christmas tree, and bakes. When Casey wakes up with a start, she has no idea what surprises are awaiting her.

Farming is hard work, and Casey is dedicated to the job she loves. Having a team of dependable equipment makes her job easier and a lot more fun. And celebrating together is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday. Farm kids will enjoy this cute Christmas story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 9, 2016 Posted by | children, farming, holiday | Leave a comment

Christmas in America (Ellis the Elephant)

Christmas in America
Author: Callista Gingrich
Illustrator: Susan Arciero
Publisher: Regnery Kids
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-62157-345-6
Pages: 40
Price: $16.99
Reading Level: N

Author’s website
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Ellis the Elephant wants to discover how Christmas has been celebrated in America. Going back to the beginning of the nation’s history, he visits the people as they enjoy their Christmas holiday. Colonists, prairie settlers, George Washington’s troops, soldiers overseas, and presidential guests all had unique ways of sharing the holiday and making it special.

Told in rhyming verse, Christmas in America is a unique look at America’s history through the lens of Christmas past. Focusing on the warmth of sharing the holidays with family and friends, it also reminds us of the real reason for the season – the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas has become more of a celebration of lights and gifts these days, and it’s so refreshing to see a book that shares the true meaning of Christmas. I highly recommend Christmas in America.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 19, 2015 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers Field Guide: Ancient Secrets for Modern Kids

Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers
Author: Emily J. Parnell
Genre: Children / Holiday
ISBN: 978-0-9862937-0-2
Pages: 80
Price: $27.99

Author’s website offering 30% discount!

When kids start to grow up and ask questions about Santa Claus, many parents are stumped for a good answer. Kids feel cheated when they discover the truth, and often spill the beans to their younger siblings. But it doesn’t have to be like this, if kids feel they are part of the secret.

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers introduces kids to the people who maintain the magic and mystery of the holidays. When kids are admitted, they choose an Agent Advisor (aka an adult) to guide them through the training course. Then these Agents in Training learn how their Agent Advisor has made the holidays magical for them, and how they can continue the tradition for others.

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy don’t have to stop existing once kids are old enough to understand the truth. Instead they can live on through the participation of Agents of the Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 17, 2015 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

When, When, When Will it be Christmas?

When, When, When Will it be Christmas?
Author & Illustrator: Cathy MacLennan
Publisher: Boxer Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-907152-27-6
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Red birdies, white mice, kittens and reindeer are all helping to get ready for Christmas. There are lights, presents, stories, songs and a spectacular Christmas show. But when, when, when will it be Christmas? Finally, it’s Christmas Eve, and the children are snuggled in bed, stockings hung beside them. Will this be the best Christmas ever?

Repetitive phrases and color naming make this a great Christmas book to read aloud with little ones, who can join in on the refrain of, “When, When, When Will it be Christmas? Soon, soon.” Impatient children can vent their frustration along with the narrator in wishing Christmas was right now.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 26, 2014 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas
Author: Clement C. Moore
Illustrator: Tom Browning
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1355-9
Pages: 40
Price: $6.95

Buy it at Amazon

Reading Clement C. Moore’s classic poem is part of Christmas Eve tradition in many homes. This nicely illustrated version is printed in a larger size for dad to hold open while reading to children nestled beside him. The sturdy cover will keep this paperback in good condition for years to come. If your old copy is getting a bit worn or this is the first year you plan to read this poem to your family, this would be a great book to pick up for your Christmas celebration.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 25, 2014 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving

Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving
Author: Howard Binkow
Illustrator: Susan Cornelison
Publisher: Thunderbolt Publishing
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-0-9826165-4-3
Pages: 32
Price: $15.00

Author’s website
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Howard B. Wigglebottom doesn’t like to share. He keeps his toys all to himself and he is working on a very long gift list for Santa. But when he is unexpectedly separated from his family at the train station, along with his big bag of toys, Howard has to figure out what to do. He’s very fortunate to meet some new friends who want to help him get home. And in the process he learns to be thankful for what he has and how to give.

Just like the rest of this series, Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving includes a discussion guide for parents and teachers to focus on the main points of this story. Kids will talk about why new gifts lose their luster quickly, how to start letting others play with their toys, and what it might feel like not to have the people and home they take for granted. This book provides a great lesson in gratitude and sharing.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 24, 2014 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment

Christmas Fun Sticker Activity Book

Christmas Fun Sticker Activity Book
Author & Illustrator: Simon Abbott
Publisher: Ticktock Books
Genre: Children / Christmas
ISBN: 978-1-78325-184-1
Pages: 64
Price: $8.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The anticipation of Christmas can be hard for little ones to bear. So it’s a good idea to keep them occupied while waiting for Santa’s arrival. The Christmas Fun Sticker Activity Book is the perfect answer to their impatience. With plenty of puzzles, reusable stickers, and images of Santa and his reindeer, kids will enjoy Christmas for weeks preceding the holiday.

Keep this book on hand, along with plenty of hot chocolate and cookies, Christmas music, decorations and lights, and your kids will really enjoy the holiday season.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

November 22, 2014 Posted by | children, holiday | Leave a comment