children, Christian

Night Night Bible Stories

Author: Amy Parker
Illustrator: Virginia Allyn
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0891-3
Pages: 208
Price: $16.99

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Bible stories make terrific bedtime stories, if they’re told in a way that children can understand. In Night Night Bible Stories, children will hear fifteen Old Testament and fifteen New Testament stories, told in a simplified manner.

Each of these stories has a refrain that is repeated in various ways throughout the story that are used to emphasize certain key ideas, so kids can repeat them along with Mom or Dad, as they listen. They each conclude with “Night Night…” to the people in the story, along with another key thought. Stories are about four pages long, filled with cheerful illustrations.

Although these stories are paraphrased from the Bible, the text remains true to the message with no significant alterations. Parents will love being able to share these Bible stories with their little ones while reinforcing their own faith in the process.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, self improvement

Parker Plum and the Journey Through the CATacombs

Author: Billie Pavicic
Illustrator: Madeline Timm
Publisher: Boys Town Press
ISBN: 978-1-944882-43-3
Pages: 32
Price: $10.95

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Parker Plum is an expert on ancient Egypt and excited to be visiting the Metropolitan Mummy Museum with his class. But he’s upset that a new student – Skyler Blue – has just joined the class, and everyone is focused on Skyler and not him.

Strange things happen at the Mummy Museum, and Parker finds out first hand when a cat statue begins to talk to him. The cat realizes that Parker wants to feel special, so he contrives a way for that to happen. Parker is only embarrassed, so the cat decides to let him in on a secret to handling that not-special feeling. He gives him the formula C-A-T: Consider the things you do well, Accept that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and Try not to focus on the things you can’t change. Once Parker puts CAT into action, he’s not as jealous of Skyler’s attention, and begins to think of all the things he does well. He begins to accept himself just as he is.

Tips for parents and educators are included at the end of this fantastic teaching story, giving a step by step process in working through the CAT formula. I highly recommend Parker Plum and the Journey Through the CATacombs.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, children

Pope Francis Says…

Author: Pope Francis
Illustrator: Sheree Boyd
Publisher: Loyola Press
ISBN: 978-0-8294-4653-1
Pages: 32
Price: $8.95

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What better way is there to share Catholic teaching with your young child, than with the words of our Pope? This board book shares some of the wisdom Pope Francis would like kids to know as they grow up.

In Pope Francis Says…, children will see that God loves them, listens to them through their prayers, and expects them to live a good life. He encourages them to be joyful, peaceful, and grateful. As kids look through each page, they will see images of children from all races and backgrounds playing together and living in harmony with each other. Finally, Pope Francis reminds kids that he’s praying for them, and asks for their prayers in return.

Pope Francis Says… is the perfect first book for your preschool child. It should be in every Catholic family’s home.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, audio book, nature

Sounds of the Night

Author: Brent A. Ford
Publisher: nVizn Ideas
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 9781947348745
Pages: 40
Price: $11.95

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Nighttime animal sounds make a summer symphony that’s a joy to hear. But what are the animals that make them? Curious kids can find out by listening to Sounds of the Night.

This unique interactive book uses QR codes for kids to listen to various sounds of the night. Its opening track is a long segment of night sounds that includes all the animals presented in the book. Then each animal is featured separately in sound, with a prompt for kids to try to identify it. Once we know who it is, the original comprehensive track is played so kids can try to find it among all the others. Animals featured include various species of bugs, birds, frogs, and toads.

As a nature lover, I found this process fascinating, and I had fun trying to guess the animals as I listened to their sounds. Kids will enjoy listening to this interactive book, and will apply what they’ve learned as they spend time outdoors at night. I highly recommend Sounds of the Night.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


The Book in the Book in the Book

Author: Julien Baer
Illustrator: Simon Bailly
Publisher: Holiday House
ISBN: 9780823442430
Pages: 56
Price: $18.99

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Thomas is on vacation at the beach with his parents. But when they take a nap, he’s bored and decides to walk around. After watching the folks around him, he realizes it’s late. He can’t figure out which way to go to get back to his parents, when he suddenly finds an abandoned book.

The second book in a book is the identical text of what has taken place at the beach, but this time he’s at a ski resort. When the same thing happens, he finds a book that casts him and his family in space. Finally, his parents find him and they all go home.

The Book in the Book in the Book is a unique adventure in three different settings. Children will get a kick out of seeing how the exact same words work in each scene. This fun read will be a hit with kids.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, birds, children, nature

The Big Book of Birds

Author & Illustrator: Yuval Zommer
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Birds
ISBN: 978-0-500-65151-3
Pages: 64
Price: $19.95

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Birds delight us with their brightly colored plumage and beautiful songs. But how many different kinds of birds are there? And what are the various categories they belong to? The Big Book of Birds shares a wealth of information regarding these fascinating creatures.

Beginning with a bird family tree, kids are introduced to birds of prey, woodland and forest birds, owls, seabirds, perching birds, water birds, and flightless birds. Feathers, beaks, songs, nests, migration, and flight are explained, and several species of birds are explored in more details. Colorful images fill the pages, as kids get to know these interesting birds.

Bird watchers of all ages will enjoy the touch of whimsy in these unusual illustrations. I highly recommend The Big Book of Birds for anyone who loves to watch birds.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, nature

Can You Count the Critters?

Author & Illustrator: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Children / Nature
ISBN: 978-1-59193-819-4
Pages: 32
Price: $8.95

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Counting to twelve just got a whole lot more fun! Rather than just counting the animals in these amazing nature photographs, kids have the opportunity to read about each animal while they learn their numbers. Featured animals are: Monarch butterfly, American toad, Eastern cottontail, American black bear, Black-tailed prairie dog, Elk, Bald eagle, Virginia opossum, Lesser long-nosed bat, Painted turtle, Mallard duck, and American bison. In addition to the text on each photo, fun facts on each animal are included in an appendix.

Stan Tekiela is a talented nature photographer, and the images of these animals are close-up and candid. I highly recommend Can You Count the Critters? for all young nature lovers.

Reviewer: Alice Berger