Bergers Book Reviews

Bass Fishing, Brown Dogs & Curveballs


Author: Jerry McKinnis
Publisher: JEM Publishing
Genre: Memoir / Fishing
ISBN: 978-0996253505
Pages: 354
Price: $20.00 (autographed if purchased through author’s website)

Author’s website

If you know anything about bass fishing, or at least grew up watching fishing shows on ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network), you know about the very affable fishing enthusiast and television host, Jerry McKinnis. His outdoor fishing show, The Fishin’ Hole, ran for over 40 years and has the longest running tenure of any program ever on ESPN.

Fortunately for all of his fans, Mr. McKinnis decided to write an autobiography of sorts complete with sage advice, humor, and fishing stories that most of us could only ever dream about. As Jerry states on the book cover, “this is a book about fishing but it is not a fishing book.” In other words, Jerry tells us at the outset that “you can read every word on all of these pages and not improve as a fisherman one single bit.” You will, however, thoroughly enjoy learning about this gentle man’s life and adventures and maybe learn something about your own in the process.

You see, for as genuine a fellow as he appeared on TV, that is exactly how he is in the book. You can just hear his voice and calm, pleasant demeanor come through with every word. It’s like he’s sitting right next to you, sharing a cup of coffee over a nice warm fire, and you’re listening to a man who indeed was (and is) one of the most overlooked role models for our time.

Jerry’s recollections range from how he dallied with playing professional baseball as a young man, to becoming a bass fishing guide in Arkansas, and finally establishing one of the most successful fishing programs and television production companies ever.

Along the way we learn about the multitude of entertaining personalities that touched and inspired him on his life journey. Jerry’s stories are also filled with enriched insight, and the reward is that he teaches us some hard lessons he learned…in the hope of inspiring us to create our own life adventures.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Mr. McKinnis or knew that he was a major personality on ESPN for over four decades. You will still enjoy the down-home warmth his stories exude. And if you are an avid fisherman, well then, this book is just the icing on the cake. I give it my highest recommendation.

Reviewer: Gene Berger

August 30, 2017 Posted by | memoir, nature | Leave a comment

Jump, Little Wood Ducks


Author: Marion Dane Bauer
Photographer: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Nature
ISBN: 978-1-59193-585-8
Pages: 32
Price: $14.95

Buy it at Amazon

Three little ducklings are huddled together safely in their nest, high up in a tree. Mama encourages them to jump, and join her and their other siblings at the bottom. But after each plea from Mama, the three ducklings express their concern about jumping from such heights. Finally Mama says exactly the right words for the ducklings to decide to make their leap. And soon they happily follow Mama off into the world.

Jump, Little Wood Ducks is filled with up-close photographs of wood ducks in their nests, in mid-air, in the water, and on the ground below. This cute story shares a humorous look at the bravery each duck needs to have in order to make their own leap to the ground. The closing pages explain the nesting habits and other interesting facts about wood ducks. This is a fun read for home and classroom use.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 14, 2017 Posted by | nature | Leave a comment

Moon’s Messenger


Author: Virginia Kroll
Illustrator: Zuzanna Celej
Publisher: Cuento de Luz
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-84-16147-20-5
Pages: 24
Price: $16.95

Buy it at Amazon

Moon is relaxing by the sea when she suddenly sees Green Turtle. He is frowning and beckons her to follow, as he has an important message for her. They head out immediately on a journey around the world.

Along the way, they find oil spilled on the beach, men setting traps to catch minks and foxes, and a town meeting where people complain about the damage wild animals are doing to their landscaping. When they return home, Green Turtle offers some hope to Moon, who is determined to try to change things while she still can.

Man often has no regard for the animals who share the planet with us. Moon’s Messenger reminds kids that they have a responsibility to care for the earth. This is a timely message for all of us.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 1, 2017 Posted by | children, nature | Leave a comment

Make and Move: Shark


Author: Jen Green
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Animals
ISBN: 978-1-62686-490-0
Pages: 28
Price: $19.95

Buy it at Amazon

There are many kinds of sharks and most of them are harmless to humans. These fascinating sea creatures come in many interesting shapes and sizes. Illustrations and descriptions of some of these sharks are included in this guidebook, which details the features that make them unique. Skeleton, skin, size, fins and tails, as well as other body styles and behaviors are described and explained.

In addition to reading the shark guidebook, kids can make a model shark from heavy-duty cutout cardboard pieces. Make and Move: Shark is a fun book for all kids who love to learn about animals.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 27, 2017 Posted by | animals, children, nature, science | Leave a comment

See Inside the Dinosaur: An Interactive 3-D Exploration of a Triceratops


Author: Michael Bright
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Science / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-62686-566-2
Pages: 48
Price: $21.95

Buy it at Amazon

Millions of years ago, many different kinds of dinosaurs roamed the earth. See Inside the Dinosaur features some of these fascinating creatures and explains a little about them. Focusing on dinosaurs individually and in groups of like beasts, it shows when they might have lived, whether they were plant-eaters or carnivores, if they were able to fly, what kind of skin covering they had, and other interesting facts.

A dinosaur guidebook is provided, along with a Triceratops model with 33 removable body parts, and a 7-piece card stock T. Rex model. Assembly instructions are included for both.

It’s so much fun to learn about dinosaurs, and kids will really enjoy working with this kit.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 9, 2017 Posted by | children, nature, science | Leave a comment

Super Animal Powers: The Amazing Abilities of Animals

Super Animal Powers
Author: Ryan Jacobson
Photographer: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Wildlife Picture Books
Genre: Animals / Nature / Children
ISBN: 978-1-59193-648-0
Pages: 32
Price: $12.95

Buy it at Amazon

Some animals can do amazing things. In fact, you might even say they have super powers. For instance, a Peregrine Falcon can fly more than 200 miles per hour. A Dung Beetle can lift and carry 1,141 other Dung Beetles. And a Northern Raccoon is the smartest and sneakiest thief, when it comes to food.

But these aren’t the only animals with super powers. This unique book describes the amazing abilities of 14 different animals with powers like super strength, super vision, and invisibility. Each two page spread describes the featured animal’s super power, and includes several photos of each in their natural habitats.

Kids really enjoy reading about our natural world and the fascinating animals that inhabit it. Super Animal Powers: The Amazing Abilities of Animals is sure to be a big hit.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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Gold Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence.

February 27, 2017 Posted by | animals, children, nature | Leave a comment

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4

Endless Explorations
Authors: Brenda Scott-Royce, Stephen Binns, Emily Rose Oachs, Kaitlyn DiPerna
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Science
ISBN: 978-1-62686-454-2
Pages: 192
Price: $14.95

Buy it at Amazon

Science, history, and nature are interesting for kids, and Smithsonian Readers capitalizes on this desire to learn more about these topics. Endless Explorations covers predators, world wonders, space exploration, natural disasters, ocean habitats, and flight. Beautiful photos fill each page, bringing the text alive and making it more engaging. Each section closes with a multiple choice quiz to determine reading comprehension.

The Smithsonian Readers series is designed for early, developing, engage and fluent readers. In this level 4 book, kids will read extended sentences and complex words in a variety of factual texts to challenge fluent readers.

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4 is sure to generate some curiosity and enthusiasm in the home and classroom. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 20, 2016 Posted by | children, education, nature, science | Leave a comment

Tracks Count: A Guide to Counting Animal Prints (The Little Naturalist Series)

Tracks Count
Author: Steve Engel
Illustrator: Alexander Peterson
Publisher: Craigmore Creations
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-940052-07-6
Pages: 32
Price: $17.99

Buy it at Amazon

It’s time to learn how to count – animals tracks. Using tracks from various birds and animals, kids will learn their numbers from zero to ten.

First, mom and dad are given a short tour guide of the trail ahead. Claw marks, toe pads, heel pads, and dewclaws are explained, as well as how the number of each will be determined. Then, beginning with a wide open space with no tracks, kids will start to identify the marks left behind by various animals. One hoof print left by a horse. Two toe prints of a moose. Three toe prints of a rhinoceros. Each two-page spread shows the track(s) with the number associated with it on one side. The opposite side shows the animal in its natural habitat. The final pages show all the numbers and tracks together, along with descriptions of each of the animals featured.

Budding naturalists will eagerly bring the knowledge they’ve received from Tracks Count into the wilderness, as they search for tracks of their own to identify. I highly recommend this interesting and educational counting guide.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

October 10, 2016 Posted by | children, nature | Leave a comment

Larry Saves the Prairie

larry-saves-the-prairie
Author: Matt Bergles
Illustrator: Rob Peters
Publisher: Merry Dissonance Press
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-939919-29-8
Pages: 68
Price: $12.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

When Larry Haverfield received a notice that he had to poison the black-tailed prairie dogs on his land, he knew it wasn’t a good idea. These creatures are an important part of prairie life, and without them, the whole prairie would suffer. So Larry found a lawyer and began to defend the rights of the prairie dogs.

Endangered black-footed ferrets depend on the prairie dogs, as do many other species. The prairie dogs dig tunnels that other animals use, and predators need them for food. And instead of harming cattle and horses, prairie dogs keep their grazing grasses shorter and more nutritious. If they were no longer a part of the prairie, all the other animals would suffer.

Larry Saves the Prairie is an educational and inspiring tale of one man who took on an unjust law and helped preserve prairie life. Kids will enjoy cheering for Larry Haverfield in his efforts to save the black-tailed prairie dog and the prairie.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 23, 2016 Posted by | animals, children, nature | Leave a comment

Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Jungle

Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures - Jungle
Author: Emily Rose Oachs
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-62686-305-7
Pages: 64
Price: $22.95

Buy it at Amazon

The rain forest is a fascinating place with an unusual climate and several layers. Each of these is specially suited to certain plants and animals. These layers include the floor, understory, canopy, and emergent, plus rivers and flooded forests. The Jungle guidebook is organized by layer, highlighting some of the birds and animals that live there.

Deforestation is an ongoing problem in the world, as the rain forests shrink every year. This impact and how kids can help try to stop it is also presented. A metal case with rain forest scenes allows kids to place magnetic animals in the right layers or in a jungle panorama.

Kids who love nature and animals will enjoy learning about the jungle with this kit. Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Jungle would also make a great addition to classroom libraries.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

July 8, 2016 Posted by | animals, children, nature | Leave a comment