children

Bad Apple


Author: Huw Lewis Jones
Illustrator: Ben Sanders
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-500-65243-5
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Apple is a nasty piece of fruit. He drank Pea’s tea. He stole Cat’s hat. And he pushed Spud in the mud. So what happens to a really bad apple? He just might just do something to Snake that he will regret.

Bad Apple is a mischievous tale that reminds kids that it’s not a very good idea to be bad. In fact, it can have terrible consequences.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, self improvement

Stilte: The Dutch Art of Quietude


Author: Mirjam van der Vegt
Publisher: Worthy Books
Genre: Christian / Self improvement
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1578-9
Pages: 224
Price: $21.00

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Author’s website

Do you long for more silence in your life? Do you find that your prayers are short and squeezed in between daily activities? Would you love to go on a retreat but can’t find the time? If so, Stilte is perfect for you.

After a brief explanation of the importance of silence, forty short meditations follow with ideas on how to cultivate it in our own lives. The include pruning, slowing down, and stopping the multitasking that never allows us to focus on only one thing at a time. We learn how to be silent while in motion, in contemplation, and in visiting places that are conducive to silence. Silence can be everywhere, if we only know how to find it.

Our world is filled with noise and busyness, which contributes to our high stress levels. In the silence, we can slow down and seek God’s direction in our lives. Stilte offers wonderful ideas on how to do this. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children

P Is For Puffin


Author: Timothy Young
Publisher: Schiffer Kids
Genre: Children / Board book
ISBN: 978-0-7643-6247-7
Pages: 26
Price: $8.99

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P Is For Puffin is a unique alphabet board book. Rather than using more traditional animals associated with each letter of the alphabet, the author has chosen to show us some unusual and unique animals instead. Kids will be introduced to echidnas, kinkajous, and vaquitas, as well as many others. Each animal is pictured along with a short description about it, along with a pronunciation guide.

There is so much to learn from P Is For Puffin and children will love reading about these animals. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

mystery

Striking Range


Author: Margaret Mizushima
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 978-1-64385-746-6
Pages: 288
Price: $27.99

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Police Deputy Mattie Cobb needs to talk to the man who tried to kill her, and may have killed her father, but he is murdered at the jail just before she and cold case detective Jim Hauck arrive. But he has left a clue – a map to the area where Mattie nearly died.

Jim and Mattie investigate the area, but have limited success. But when a pregnant young woman who had visited Cole Walker’s veterinary practice a few days prior turns up dead, the investigation turns in a different direction. Is there a connection between the two cases? When Mattie and Cole realize the truth, their lives, along with Mattie’s K-9, Robo, are in jeopardy.

More information regarding Mattie’s father’s death is revealed in this fourth installment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series, as it builds to its conclusion. Striking Range is a suspenseful and enjoyable read.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

business

A Minute to Think


Author: Juliet Funt
Publisher: Harper Business
Genre: Business
ISBN: 978-0062970251
Pages: 288
Price: $29.99

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Is it possible to reclaim creativity, conquer busyness, and do your best work – at work? Sounds too good to be true? A Minute to Think can show you show.

First, we need to address the problem – what is really causing our busyness? Next, we take a stragetic pause, conquer the thieves of time, learn to simplify, and unhook from the culture of now. Finally, we need to overhaul our email practices, elevate communication and work together with our teammates.

Throughout this book, author Juliet Funk provides examples and strategies on how to put these practices in place, reminding us that we can be more effective in our work once we eliminate the minutiae that distracts us. With a little more space to think, we will find the creativity that makes us even better at our jobs.

I highly recommend A Minute to Think for all business people who feel like they can never meet all the demands of their busy jobs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

This is NOT a Book!


Author: Kellie Byrnes
Illustrator: Aśka
Publisher: EK Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-925820-50-8
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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Illustrator’s website
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A boy declares that what we’re reading is NOT a book. He explains that a book needs a main character, interesting places to visit, action, problems, and a solution. And as he explains each, he finds himself in the exact situation he’s describing.

The boy’s reactions to what’s happening in this NOT-book are hilarious, and kids will laugh as they learn the various pieces of a published story. I highly recommend This is NOT a Book!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

This Small Blue Dot


Author & Illustrator: Zeno Sworder
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-760-76111-0
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95

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A baby’s big sister welcomes a newborn to earth, excited to share all the things she’s learned about life so far. The earth is small blue dot in a universe of stars, and it holds a wealth of things to explore. Nature, playtime, sunny and dark days, and interesting people fill her world. The earth is full of dreamers, and this newborn is its newest explorer. Big sister can’t wait to show off the things she’s discovered.

This Small Blue Dot shares some of the wonders of life through the excited eyes of a child. I highly recommend this book and its positive message.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

health, home

Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health


Author: Laura Ascher
Publisher: Mango
Genre: Home / Health
ISBN: 978-1-64250-548-1
Pages: 188
Price: $19.95

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Many of the household products we buy are filled with dangerous and toxic chemicals. But if you’re looking for alternatives, they aren’t always available or they can be very expensive. It’s helpful to be able to create your own from natural ingredients that you know are safe.

Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health is filled with wonderful recipes for anything you might need at home. This guide included natural kitchen, bathroom, laundry, bedroom, baby & kids, bath & beauty remedies, as well as roller bottle recipes and diffuser blends. Common ingredients such as vinegar, rubbing alcohol, Castile soap, baking soda, and essential oils are used to create safer and better smelling household products.

While the idea of creating nontoxic recipes is terrific, it’s also helpful that many of these turn out to be cheaper than the more toxic varieties. Once you’ve made the initial investment in the common ingredients, you will be able to create whatever you need from them, over and over again. I highly recommend Natural Remedies for Your Home & Health.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, history

So You Want to Be a Knight?


Author: Hannah Pang
Illustrator: Takayo Akiyama
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 978-0-500-65211-4
Pages: 96
Price: $14.95

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Eddie, Kate, and Angus are back again, and this time they’re exploring the possibility of becoming a knight. But their dream of swapping their backpacks for a suit of armor and riding off to join their fellow knights on a quest might turn out to be more difficult than they expect.

In order to be successful as a knight, they will need to be physically fit, accomplished horseback riders, and great on the dance floor. Having wealth and a family of influence also helps, since a knight’s suit of armor can be expensive. Knights thrive on chivalry, and socializing and jousting are a big part of their job description. But on the battlefield, expertise with a sword, lance, and shield is expected, and this can pose a problem while riding, since the equipment is very heavy.

So You Want to be a Knight? is a fun, tongue-in-cheek look at how to be a knight. I found it very entertaining, and it will be a big hit with kids, who will enjoy the author’s sense of humor. I highly recommend it, along with all the others in the “So You Want to Be a …” series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

business

Iron-Sharpened Leadership


Author: John L. Gronski
Publisher: Fidelis Publishing
Genre: Business
ISBN: 978-1-7358-5636-0
Pages: 296
Price: $17.00

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John L. Gronski is a U.S. Army Retired Major General. He has faced situations where his decisions were crucial for the preparation and survival of his team, and he knows how to lead effectively. In Iron-Sharpened Leadership, he shares his military experience and demonstrates how to use it in a civilian setting.

Gronski believes there are three things that define a leader – character, competence, and resilience. Focusing on his years in the military, he provides examples of how he handled situations and worked with the people around him. Leadership is critical when lives are at stake, but it’s just as important in the work force, and his advice would be helpful for any manager.

Iron-Sharpened Leadership is well-written and inspiring for anyone who wants to be a great leader. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger