Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flowerpot Children's Press presents two new books: Peace Dragon picturebook series - HOW I DID IT & ALPHABETTER [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 978-1486712106
Series: Peace Dragon
Flowerpot Press 

ALPHABETTER


About the book; Empower your vocabulary with this hilarious dictionary full of playfully re-paired words that motivate, uplift, and inspire. Laugh and learn as you read each new word, and discover the amazing power our words have when we use them to encourage others and ourselves!

My thoughts: This cute picture book takes word definition and development to a new dimension. The author has created new words by combining existing words into a new dictionary. It is quite true that language is an ongoing developmental process and new words come to the fore quite often. These newly minted words are a "fun" excursion into thinking and creating.

I see the purpose of this book that of creating a peaceful, accepting mindset for the child. "Firarming {Fire + Warming} Use your inner fire for warming others, not burning them." Every letter of the entire alphabet is given a brand new word in this system of creating new from two.

While I find the book cute, delightful, engaging and the concept of creating a thoughtful, peaceful mindset in children really good, I personally don't care for the confusing words that are created by combining two words. Perhaps children "get" it. This grandmother didn't.

ISBN: 978-1486712113
Series: Peace Dragon
Flowerpot Press

HOW I DID IT


About the book: Curious and inspired, I was full of ideas. I turned adversity into adventure when I took a chance and tried to change. Readers young and old will be inspired by how I did it.

My thoughts: This is a delightfully illustrated  story that is so much fun to read. As with most of us, "I" is the central character. And "I" has an idea and from that point on "I" gallops through the pages with his penchant for doing something different from the ram-rod straight letter he (or she) is. "I" wants to be different from the way he is designed and so experiments with bending, curling, and being like the other letters of the alphabet. "J" tells "I" to quit being a joker and being all bent out of shape. And then "I" got himself between the lines of the page and had an entirely different point of view.

The letters of the alphabet exclaim with words beginning with their letter: G = good grief; E = take it easy; W = What's wrong with wondering? wondered W.

The gist of the story is that we can be different from what we are perceived to be. And that is certainly true. We should as parents and adults, though, be careful to help our young charges to understand that living by the rules is just as important as realizing our own full potential.

A delightful book. Well done, colorful, and nice and sturdy.

The author's use of words and letters (A saw what C saw) is tickle-your-funny-bone delightful.

About the Author: Linda Ragsdale wants everyone to be a dragon, a Peace Dragon that is! As an author, illustrator, international speaker, and peace teacher, Linda has developed her Peace Dragon series to teach us how to harness our fiery energy into a peaceful and productive outlet by owning our human powers of view, voice, and choice. Linda invites you to be a peace dragon ambassador and join the 30,000 students she has taught around the world!
GIVEAWAY
Begins June 22
ENDS July 14 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Giveaway copies are provided via publicist and publisher.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Busy Builders: Construction Site, Airport, Fire Station from Silver Dolphin Books

Great Summer Fun

Each book in the Busy Builders series includes a 32-page fact book, a 3-D building, and 48 model pieces. These sets remind me of my childhood when we played with "paper dolls." We had stiff paper dolls that had the ability to stand alone. They were not real durable, but they were fun and we had hours of fun playing with them.

The Busy Builders sets have lots of "bells 'n whistles" that make this modern-day paper construction set come alive for the kids. Educational. Fun. Packed with imaginative play tools and sure to please. The whole product is "playable" - the box unfolds into the "house" or building with streets on both sides and curved pieces of street that connect. The figures have stand-up features. Once the set is removed from the box and "constructed," it can not fit back into the box without completely taking it apart. To extend the life of the  set one will need to provide storage. It would be fun to have all three sets to play with and have a "city" so-to-speak. Originally priced at $20 each, they can be found for less online at Amazon, etc.

Busy Builders: Construction Site will bring young children to a busy building site, where they will meet the construction crew at work on a new school. The fact book introduces kids to the people and machines at a construction site, using colorful illustrations and simple text. Plus, the box folds out to form a school under construction, complete with model pieces for the building, vehicles, and construction workers.
A page inside the Construction Site book.
My thoughts: It is always fun to see kids playing with toys / replicas of the tools used in the construction of buildings - especially large buildings. In this construction site set they will have great opportunities to engage in imaginative play around a building under construction, put together the figures and tools, and read the informative book that begins with the first worker to enter the construction site for the day and unlock the gate.
Busy Builders: Airport takes young children behind the scenes at a busy airport, allowing them to see how all the flights and passengers move smoothly through the terminal. The fact book introduces kids to the various procedures at an airport—from check-in to arrival—using cute illustrations and simple text. The box folds out to form an airport terminal, and the included model pieces for the runway, air-control tower, airplane, and baggage carts provide hours of interactive entertainment.
My thoughts: The concept of a play set and accompanying story book is nice and lends itself to the opportunity for educational play, reading conceptual information, hands-on opportunity to put together a play set, and an opportunity to simply have some fun.
Constructed of sturdy cardboard it will last through many play times, but it is not intended for long term play. 
I see the Airport construction/play set as a grand opportunity to introduce boys and girls to the concept of airport travel. The book takes the reader through the various parts of traveling through the airport from arrival, going through getting a ticket, the security scanner, the posts of arrivals and departures, etc.
Busy Builders: Fire Station takes young firefighters inside a busy fire station, where they will learn how rescue teams prepare to fight fires and save people from danger. The fact book introduces kids to the daily routines—and a variety of emergencies—of a firefighting crew using cute illustrations and simple text. Once children have read the book, they can spend hours with the foldout fire station, complete with model pieces for a fire truck, helicopter, and firefighters.
A page inside the Fire Station book.
My thoughts: Fire fighters are always heroes and people to which children look up to and admire. Engaging in the imaginative play activities of a fire fighter by putting together the fire house, road around it, and vehicle will surely provide hours of fun for boys and girls alike.
Playing with the three sets -  Construction Site, Fire Station, and Airport together will provide a family of children wonderful interactive play time together imagining how a city functions.

I recommend these Silver Dolphin Book products.

Purchase on Amazon here: Busy Builders: Fire Station Busy Builders: Construction Site Busy Builders: Airport

DISCLOSURE: I was provided complimentary products/books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Captain's Daughter (Historical Romance Christian Fiction) by Jennifer Delamere [Giveaway]

London, 1879

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don't catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided---until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

This warm-hearted Victorian romance brings 1880s London to life. Sign up to review in the sidebar.
Watch for Chat With Vera's review on July 1.
GIVEAWAY
Begins June 20
Ends July 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
Jennifer Delamere's debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She's been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades and lives in North Carolina with her husband. Visit her online at www.jenniferdelamere.com.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Scanorama interactive 3 book series - Amazing Animals, Deadly Predators, & Dinosaurs [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

My thoughts: 

Silver Dolphin Books produces some really interesting, fun, and educational non-fiction books and educational products for the young reader. Their new series with a sliding scanorama in the book and some lift-the-flap features is packed with wonderful facts, images, and a categorization that takes the reader into thought provoking areas about the specifics of each book.


In Scanorama: Amazing Animals each group of information tells about the "Biggest Beasts," the "Fastest Movers," "Awesome Brainpower" "The Kingdom's Strongest," "Amazingly Tiny Animals," "Ruthless and Deadly," "Glowing Bright," "Longest Lifespan," "Mega Migrators," Weird and Wonderful," "Wild's Toughest," and "Camouflage Experts." Within each of these two-page spreads encapsulated bits of information are presented where the reader can see just which animals and insects glow, which is the known longest living creature, which would be the biggest.

The quality of these publications is really nice and sturdy. The lift-the-flap and slide/scan features reveal further and quite interesting information. The covers are dimensional adding touch-appeal. Designed for the seven year and up population, older readers will also find details and information new to them. Clearly the publication is designed to also encourage consciousness of the need for conservation and protection of species that are endangered.

A well-designed and quality addition to the home library and a great purchase for that young reader who has a penchant for living creatures.

In Scanorama: Deadly Predators they almost leap off the page in a ferocious attack. The information and images will make the reader respect the strength and danger these predators present to mankind - a respect that will give the reader a desire  to avoid them as well as protect them as a conservationist because an understanding of their place in the world.

Another addition to the home library and young reader's wish list.

In Scanorama: Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Creatures  The conservationist theme is moot because dinosaurs have been extinct for a long time. However, scientists have discovered fossils and based on these finds have reconstructed the dinosaur animal line quite effectively. In Scanorama a "fleshed-out" dinosaur is pictured but the sliding window reveals what we truly know about the dinosaurs - their bones.

I did find one point in particular that raises concerns for me and that is the statement that has dinosaurs dying out completely prior to man's appearance on Earth. It is my understanding that fossil remains have been found showing a human footpring alongside a huge dinosaur footprint and this would indicate co-existence. Otherwise, I believe this book provides all those who love reading about dinosaurs a grand opportunity to find additional nuggets of information and wonderful illustrations to accompany them. A super addition to the home library and for those dinosaur lovers.

About the books:

Scanorama: Amazing Animals readers will meet a variety of species from across the animal kingdom and learn about their astounding feats of strength, speed, and endurance—including an anaconda, a thorny devil, and a blue whale. Captivating facts, photographs, and illustrations provide even more details on each animal, and interactive flaps to lift enhance the scan-tastic educational experience.

On the pages of Scanorama: Deadly Predators, kids are treated to a virtual X-ray tour featuring some of the world's most dangerous animals. Featured animals include a tiger, a scorpion, and a great white shark; each animal is covered in detail through informative text, photographs, and illustrations.


Scanorama: Dinosaurs gives young readers the feel of working as a lab technician as they study dinosaurs and other amazing prehistoric animals—such as the deadly T. Rex, the armored Ankylosaurus, and the massive Argentinosaurus. Detailed text, photographs, and illustrations provide insights into how each animal survived in the prehistoric world, and even more facts can be found under the interactive flaps throughout the book.
GIVEAWAY - USA/CANADA
All 3 books for 1 winner
AMAZING!
Begins June 20
Ends July 12 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of Silver Dolphin Books to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Grandfather Whisker's Table(Trade Winds Series) by Eun-Jeong Jo & illustrated by Bimba Landmann from Eerdmans' Books for Young Readers

My thoughts: The Trade Winds Series of books published by Eerdmans' for young readers is intended to introduce the concept of global trade and the history of how it was established. As an educational tool it utilizes historical fiction whereby the child has an engaging story that also imparts a historical fact. The back pages are packed with information that is intended for the older reader or the adult to further enhance the educational experience with factual information and a time line.

I previously reviewed Lion, King, Coin, Father's Road, and Leather Shoe Charlie in this series and found them to be a fountain of information. Children can learn facts and enjoy their reading time while doing so when a story is well presented. Each of these books has utilized illustrations that fit nicely with the period and locale of the story. In the case of Grandfather Whisker's Table the story is about an even in Siena, Italy during the Medieval period. The art is stark and somewhat abstract with colors of burnt sienna with reds and browns. It is an interesting art form for a young reader's book in that the heads of the characters are at really weird angles and cubist forms quite abstract. I reviewed previous books illustrated by Bimba Landmann - I Am Marc Chagall, and In Search of the Little Prince. While not a-typical of children's books, I find these books provide a wonderful opportunity to introduce and explain different art forms to children.

The story of "Grandfather Whisker's Table" is a sweet and charming tale of a little boy at a major even in his town and he lovingly purchases a toy for his younger brother. Then the banco (bank) aspect of the story begins with the exchange of various currencies at Grandfather Whisker's table and so the little boy "deposits" his toy with the banker for later retrieval.


The concept of currency exchange, deposits, and withdrawals is taught with the story as well as the early history of how banks operated.

This is a very good book and has a lot to offer young readers.  I think this series would be excellent additions to libraries both school and public in sturdy hardcover editions so that children can examine different art styles and learn some of the history behind global trade.

About the book: A children's story about the world's first bank

Enzo and his father are excited to be in Italy for the Palio di Siena festival. Enzo buys a toy woodpecker for his little brother, but the piazza is so crowded that Enzo worries he will lose it. Luckily, an old man named Grandfather Whisker is loaning and exchanging money at the festival. He agrees to keep the toy safe and gives Enzo a receipt so he can collect it later. But now Enzo must be careful not to lose his receipt amidst all the festivities.

This latest installment in theTrade Winds series offers readers a relatable story while providing historical information about the first known bank."

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

With You Always (Orphan Train #1) by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  As always, I highly anticipate a new book from author Jody Hedlund. When I saw she was writing a series featuring the Orphan Train of the 1850s I had an additional interest. My mother and her brother were placed in an orphanage in the early 1920s because their father died and their mother had no means of supporting them herself. She wanted them safely kept and their needs met. This was not an Orphan Train case, but still the situation of desperation that society imposed on the poor necessitated that desperate steps be taken. This was hard on my mother, her brother, and their mother.

As I read With You Always, I came to the realization that this story was essentially laying the story behind the desperate times and desperate people who resort to desperate resolutions. Poverty is always around us, but in the financial crisis of the 1850s despair and need resulted in children, young ladies, young boys, and whole families living on the streets - much like some situations today. But in 1850 there was little help available.

Now factor into the story the wealthier side of society and land development around existing railroad lines and you have the need to send men and women into new situations for work to establish new towns with homes, farms, and accompanying businesses. And with the crisis that society's ills placed on young and old alike, these rail lines were used to send forth children as orphans to work these farms and help in these homes. In With You Always the sending of children is hinted at as it touched on the family of Elise Neumann who was working to help "build" one of these new towns.

I am sure that as future books in the Orphan Train Series are available, we will see the plight of the children placed on these trains and sent forth into unknown areas and situations that sometimes were good but often were not.

Hedlund paints a wonderful word picture of the times and events and draws characters that are charming, fun, unlikeable, witty - the whole gamut of personalities.

The historical record of this period in New York with the financial crisis, gang war and rioting, and destitute situation of a huge number of the populace is well written in this book. Another good read from the pen of Jody Hedlund.

About the book: When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.
GIVEAWAY
Begins June 17
Ends July 9 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

National Georaphic Kids' 2018 Almanac helps to stop the "Summer Slide" by providing fun and challenging reads for your kids [Review & Giveaway]

I completely believe that play is the work of children and lack of untethered playtime causes detriment to their overall development. However, even considering the value of free time with time to play and relax, the summer with its unfettered time away from the classroom has its downside. It's call the SUMMER SLIDE. I don't mean a water slide or backyard slip 'n slide. I mean the mental, educational, mind numbing slide where the child's brain begins to slide or coast along. It is belileved that reading skills are lost during the summer vacation period and it takes time to regain those skills. No, they don't just pick up where they left off, they have to regain lost skills. Teachers have to work to get student's brain development back on track. It is said,  "Brain drain is very real and has lasting repercussions that can impact a student’s long-term academic performance."

So parents need an effective and affordable way to ensure students are on track academically and you can visit the library, purchase books, swap books - get the kids reading. They have play time and they will need to have "down" time where they are inactive and yet not bored. Reading provides that non-boring down time when their body can relax and rest and tbeir mind can maintain the reading skills learned the previous school year.

My grandchildren just love the National Geographic Kids Almanac and having one of their very own rather than borrowing it from the library or a friend provides more bang for the buck than you can imagine. Sized for handy carrying about, it is literally packed full of fun information on a variety of subjects and presented in eye grabbing detail and imagry so that their attention focuses on the pages in front of them and they simply become engrossed in the subject. Then there are activities that they can take their own pencil or pen to and mark up to their heart's content.

Workbook? No. This is a fun book. An information treasure trove. A journey into the detail or the minute and a fact finding puzzle journey of the  mind.

I encourage you to grab one for the age 8-12 (and perhaps a bit older, too) child in your life.
The Nat Geo Kids Almanac 2018 (ages 8-12, $14.99) is the perfect way to take a big bite out of the summer slide.
GIVEAWAY
Begins June 16
Ends July 7 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible, Hardcover, Full Color Interior from Zondervan Publishing

The NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible brings the Bible to life for children for ages 8-12 in four-color illustrated splendor. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they'll want to explore. Beautiful cover featuring gloss Review Process

Age 8 to 12
Hardcover $32.99 USA
ISBN: 9780310758600
My thoughts:  My preference for versions of the Bible would be the King James or perhaps the New King James. However, I recognize that often the prefered version is the NIV. This new NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible will certainly provide many opportunities for the older child to learn deeper studying techniques of the Bible. Children are basically visual leaners and when illustrations, stand out infographics, maps, and photographs draw attention to specifics in the Bible, it stirs the interest and enhances the learning experience.

The layout with visuals spaced through the Bible and the feel is definitely not that of a picture book. This is a study Bible and these are study aids intended to enhance the educational experience of studying the Word of God.

I especially like how the side bars (every page) have a reference particular to that page and an explanation of something specific from that referenced verse. Example - see illustration that follows:



Study Bibles often have "footnotes" that are exlanatory and linked to specific passages. They also provide additional references to the same topic. In the Kid' Visual Study Bible the "footnotes" are essentially the notes in the sidebars.

At the beginning of the books, pertinent information relating to authorship, purpose of the book's being written, for whom it was written, and important teachings in the book (these are specifically referenced with book/chapter/verse).

Indexing is always essential in a study tool and the NIV Kids' Visual Study Bible has an Infographic Index and a Maps Index (small maps throughout the Bible). There is also a collection of maps at the back of the Bible and a Table of Weights and Measures.

About the Bible:  The NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible, for ages 8–12, brings the Bible to life in four-color illustrated splendor. This study Bible includes a spectacular full-color interior featuring over 700 illustrations, photos, infographics, and maps on every page that visually represent key Bible information. Each page also features important facts located near the relevant verse. Intriguing facts; colorful, engaging maps; photographs; and illustrations make this a Bible they’ll want to explore.

Features:

  • Over 700 four-color photographs, illustrations, infographics, and maps throughout
  • Full-color design
  • Book introductions, including important facts and an image to orient the reader
  • One-column format with side bar study notes for ease of reading
  • Presentation page
  • The complete text of the New International Version (NIV) translation of the Bible
  • Beautiful cover featuring gloss

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy on behalf of the publisher, Zondervan, to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley


ISBN: 978-1-4964-1740-4
My thoughts:  This is the first book in the "I've Questions Series." Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? is a sweet little book that the author tells in appealing rhyme many of the questions that inquisitive little ones can pose to parents. And the response, again in charming rhyme, gives an answer with more information that educates the little one to the characteristics of the animals about whom the original question was raised.

Quite an array of critters and question about them are given - elephants, bears, ladybugs, mice, ducks, eagles. This is a charming way to begin educating the child to each critter. Anytime a story is told in rhyme, it is dually teaching the information as well as quietly teaching words that rhyme and cadence. 

The ending is especially nice in that the author shares that all critters are in God's care and that God made them.

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? is the first book in the I’ve Got Question Series, which includes Does God Take Naps?.  

This is a Christian publication and I highly recommend it. Little ones will absolutely love it!

About the book: Kids ask a lot of questions. Some silly and some innocent. Some deep and some serious. The books in the I’ve Got Questions series address many of those childlike questions and offer satisfying answers. The content is lively and fun, yet meaningful and respectful of a child’s inquisitive mind. While the books have a strong educational component, the deeper purpose is to show parents how they can respond to their child’s questions with patience and love. Illustrations feature multicultural characters both male and female.

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? answers questions about animals. Children learn about starfish, elephants, bears, stars, earthworms, eagles, trees, and heaven, while absorbing the underlying themes of God’s love and grace and a parent’s love for a child.

DISCLOSURE: Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate a review of my opinions which are freely given.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Beauty and the Beak - by Deborah Lee Rose & Janie Veltkamp (True story of how science & human compassion rescued a Bald Eagle) [Review & Giveaway]

Ages 5-13

ISBN: 978-1-943978-28-1
I recently reviewed a book from Cornell Lab’s children’s book imprint PERSNICKETY PRESS and was very impressed with the great information about the wildlife (think primarily birds) featured in the book and also about the telling of the story itself. Now they have brought forth the story of "Beauty" the Bald Eagle who lost his beak from a poacher's shot and faced dying because he could no longer exist without it.

But this story has a delightfully happy ending and it is due to the empathy and skill of folks who used the technology of the 3-D printer to create a temporary prosthetic beak for Beauty ensuring a chance for survival.
Showing Beauty's injured beak
The text is written in easy to understand language that gives a background story that is a supposition based on, it is assumed, studies about the early life and development of the Bald Eagle. Then it resolves into the sad happening of when the eagle is injured and his desperate attempt at survival, being found and rescued, and then the development of the life-saving prosthetic. 

Beautifully done photographs of eagles in the wild as well as those of the process of caring for Beauty tell this heart wrenching story and will help young readers learn of compassion, empathy, care and use of their skills to help wounded animals. There is also extensive back story information from the Cornell Lab that is fully factual and great for further study and learning about eagles and endangered species.

This is a great book for helping young minds to understand the importance of wildlife conservation and it also brings out the modern ability of using a consortium of people with various skills to enable the preservation or survival of individual critters. The combined technological skills for the coding of the 3-D printer, the dental surgical skills for attaching the prosthesis, and the design efforts to create a life-like beak for Beauty is truly astonishing and quite an encouragement for future generations.

Dentists use their skills to fit new beak to Beauty.
As August is the 10th anniversary of the Bald Eagle’s removal from the Endangered and Threatened Species List, the Persnickety Press release of Beauty and the Beak is particularly appropriate. The true story of Beauty the Bald Eagle is especially inspiring. "Beauty" made international news after she was shot in the beak, survived until rescued, and received a pioneering 3D-printed prosthetic beak. 

 
Replica of the 3-D printed beak. 
About the book: Beauty was born high above the Alaskan river, and quickly grew to be big and strong like her parents – soaring over lakes and streams to catch fish in her sharp beak. One day, while perched on a branch in the Alaskan territory where she was born, Beauty was shot by a poacher, which shattered her beak and scratched her eye. Without her beak, Beauty could not eat, drink, or groom her feathers to keep them in top flying shape, and would soon starve. Fortunately, she was rescued and came under the care of raptor biologist Janie Veltkamp, who was determined to find a way to help Beauty. After hundreds of hours of design and testing, Janie, along with an engineer and a dentist, used a computer and 3D printer to make and surgically attach a new beak for Beauty.

Dozens of photographs bring this uplifting tale to life, from baby eaglets to Beauty’s beak surgery, while the text teaches all about eagles: how they grow, what they eat, where they live, and more. Beauty’s story and the success of efforts to protect Bald Eagles, demonstrate the importance of wildlife conservation – as well as the advances of science and technology to help both humans and animals that need prosthetics. Named to the California Teachers Association’s CALIFORNIA READS Teacher Recommended Books List, Beauty and the Beak makes these concepts accessible to young readers, and encourages them to grow into environmentally- conscious and responsible adults. Extensive back matter from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the world-renowned scientific authority on birds, features additional resources on how kids can help protect eagles and other birds of prey, more information about Bald Eagles and the Endangered Species Act, and a note from Janie Veltkamp on humanity’s responsibility to nature.

About the Authors: Deborah Lee Rose is an internationally published, award-winning author of many beloved children’s books. Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue is a Reading is Fundamental/Macy’s Multicultural Collection title and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Students K-12. Into the A, B, Sea was named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Books to Read and Share. Deborah helped create and directed communications for the ALA/AASL award-winning national STEM education website Howtosmile.org, and helped created STEM activity apps for Lawrence Hall of Science which have been downloaded more than one million times. She also served as Director of Communications for Lindsay Wildlife Experience, which includes one of the first wildlife rehabilitation hospitals established in the U.S. Deborah lives in Walnut Creek, CA, and speaks at book events, conferences, schools and libraries across the country. Visit her website at deborahleerose.com.

Jane Veltkamp is a raptor biologist and rehabilitator, wildlife educator, trained nurse, and master falconer. She led the team who developed Beauty the bald eagle’s prosthetic beak and has lifetime care of Beauty. Jane is founder and executive director of Birds of Prey Northwest, in Idaho, a raptor center which educates the public about raptor conservation, including through live raptor programs, and has provided medical treatment and rehabilitation to thousands of injured birds of prey to return them to the wild. She spent ten years of her career reintroducing ospreys and peregrine falcons to regions where they had disappeared from their habitat in South Dakota and Indiana. She rescues and cares for bald eagles, including Beauty, by permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jane lives near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and is also the eagle expert for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Native American Aviaries. Visit her website at birdsofpreynorthwest.org.

About the Persnickety Press: Persnickety Press is the sister imprint of the Cornell Lab Publishing Group. Persnickety publishes a broad range of books for children and young adults, both fiction and nonfiction, from picture books through teen titles. Our books focus on empowerment, showing young people that what they do matters, what they care about is worthy of their attention and dedication, and even as children, they can make a real difference.
GIVEAWAY
Begins June 14
ENDS July 6 at 12:02 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity Group on behalf of Persnickety Press and the authors to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Friday, June 9, 2017

What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  The author has begun a new series - The Amish Bishop Mysteries - with a delightful story about a group of Amish who settled in the San luis Valley area of Colorado. I don't know if the series will feature Bishop Henry Lapp in all of the books, but I just love his gentle guidance that carries a bit of humor and a lot of strength for the members of his community. I hope to read more about him in future stories.

As a peaceful, pacifist group they find themselves embroiled in and the target of murder and arson when one of their own's home is burned out and left murdered in the fire. This is only the start of a series of violent arson acts that seem connected. Yet, the arsonist also strikes a couple of non-Amish establishments leading to questions about how they, too, would be the object of the serial arsonist's attention.

Characters' experience with special gifts of intelligence are brought forth and it is shown how their gift can affect personality and development. Henry is considered a savant because of his unique ability to draw detailed images from his subconscious memory. A good link on savant syndrome is at the NIH website. A concise definition could be....
Savant syndrome is a rare, but extraordinary, condition in which persons ... have some ‘island of genius’ which stands in marked, incongruous contrast to overall handicap. ...Whatever the particular savant skill, it is always linked to massive memory. 
I found one of the warm-fuzzy charcters to be the little puppy that Bishop Henry Lapp adopts added a layer of warmth and joy to the story. Delightful. Heartwarming. And the young girl, Katie, is so loveable. I am thinking she would be a strong interest to follow should the author continue the series with the same characters.

Vannetta Chapman writes an easy to read story and her mysteries are interesting and just suspenseful enough to keep one's attention and yet not get too convoluted. Character development is always a plus with Chapman's books and the story line is always well developed.

I can highly recommend What the Bishop Saw.

About the book: Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?

What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.
GIVEAWAY
Begins June 9
ENDS June 30 at 12:01 a.m. EDT.
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and I was not compensated. Winner's copy is provided and shipped by author or publisher.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lion, King, and Coin Paperback by Jeong-hee Nam & illustrated by Lucia Sforza (Eerdmans Publishing)

My thoughts:  I have been quite pleased with the new Trade Winds Series of children's books which feature historical stories that revolve around the development of global trade. In Lion, King, and Coin the young reader learns the fable or legend of King Midas who had the golden touch to the development of gold coins in ancient Turkey in around 600 BCE.

The gently flowing story speaks to the region and how the people of Sardis sifted the river sands for deposits of gold which they melted down and shaped into saleable objects. It tells of young Laos who helped his father and grandfather sift for gold and then trade their wares at the local market. Notice: the key word is "trade" and not "sell." They and others had to find someone with something they wanted and who in turn wanted the object they had available to trade in order to make a deal.

Eventually, the idea was born to melt the gold and use it to "buy" and "sell" the market goods. The idea was taken to the king who further developed it and charged Laos' family with the development and minting of gold coins. These were the first coins.

At the end of the book, there is additional information that tells of the times and the development of gold coins. There is a bit of geography giving the location of these events and also a great timeline.

The illustrations are great and so reminiscent of ancient Asia Minor art forms. The colors used primarily are soft gold and a soft blue that has some turquoise in it. There is limited use of reds and purples - all bespeak the area and times.

I found this an interesting and educational story though it is surely a work of fiction woven beautifully with historical fact.

About the book: A fascinating story about the invention of currency

Laos enjoys his life in ancient Turkey. His father and grandfather are blacksmiths, famous for melting gold into beautiful objects. Laos helps by working in his grandfather's market stall, bartering their gold for food and livestock.

But exchanging such different goods and quantities is complicated. What they need is something to represent the value of their goods, something durable and lightweight. And so the king comes to Laos's family with a very important task: to create something that will make the market accessible to everyone.

This Trade Winds book introduces readers to the world's first coin and gives them an appreciation for modern-day currency.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Eerdmans Young Readers a division of Wm.B.Eerdmans Publishing Company to facilitate a review of my own opinions which are freely given.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Candlewick Press has new Podcast featuring Candlewick authors & a super 6- book giveaway [USA/CANADA]

Candlewick Press Presents a new podcast about the storytellers behind your favorite children’s books. The show will air weekly over the summer on iTunes and Stitcher from 6/8 until 8/31.



Who will be the guests on these Candlewick Press Presents Podcasts? Look at this fabulous list......

You and your children can listen weekly to hear what these award winning authors are saying about their work and themselves.

And because this is such a special occasion and launching, Candlewick is offering Chat With Vera readers the opportunity to subscribe on either Stitcher or iTunes to listen to the podcasts at one of the links provided in the Rafflecopter entry widget below.

What books are in the Chat With Vera & Candlewick 6-book giveaway (to a SINGLE winner)? Hey! The prize pack also includes a Candlewick Podcast Pen!

  1. Journey http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763660531&pix=y
  2. Out of Wonder http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=076368094X&pix=y
  3. The Impossible Rescue http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763650803&pix=y
  4. Big Mean Mike http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763649902&pix=y
  5. Growing Up Pedro http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763668249&pix=y
  6. The Whale http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763679658&pix=y

The giveaway would be for a 6 title prize pack and a Candlewick Podcast pen. Entries are for anywhere in the US or Canada.

GIVEAWAY ~ 6 Books & Pen
Begins June 8
Ends June 29 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
No P.O. Boxes.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLAIMER:  I was provided a complimentary set of books which will be donated to a local school library. This post is to facilitate informing my readers of the Candlewick Press Podcast opportunity. Prize pack is provided by Candlewick Press and shipped directly by Candlewick to the winner.

Hello Stars (A Faithgirlz story) by Alena Pitts & Wynter Pitts

ISBN: 978010760597
Paperback $8.99
My thoughts:  It seems that there is a continuing fascination for all things star-studded and by that, I mean entertainment stars - not solar system stars. The "FaithGirlz" publications are about empowering young girls to be what God has planned for them. You might want to check out the FaithGirls website (click here) for more about this program and their publications. I previously reviewed a couple of the FaithGirlz books for the 8-12 crowd and today I'm looking at "Hello Stars" another of the fiction books that tells the story of a young girl of faith and how she goes about life trying to live for God.

Written by mother and daughter who are both entertainers and about them as entertainers (fictional), we get into the star-studded life. How does being a young entertainer impact the life of a young girl? How "normal" a life can she live? In Hello Stars we learn that Lena struggles with obedience just as a "normal" girl does. Her mother guides her toward prayer about circumstances and decisions.

I found it refreshing that Hello Stars features a young African-American girl and her mother. This will be a good read for girls 8 to 12 of any race. It is about a Christian young girl and her mother so be sure to expect references to God, faith, Jesus, and prayer.

About the book: Hello Stars, a book co-written by a mother/daughter team, for girls 8-12 years old.This Faithgirlz series entitled Lena in the Spotlight, written by Alena Pitts, star of War Room and tween blogger of For Girls Like You, and co-written with her mother, editor and author, Wynter Pitts, is a reflection of Alena's own life experiences as she reaches for the stars and keeps her faith in balance.Quick Overview: Hello Stars, Alena Pitts' debut novel in her Faithgirlz series Lena in the Spotlight, introduces Lena Daniels. When Lena unexpectedly lands a movie role, is it too good to be true? This spirited 11-year-old must find a way to balance stardom with "real" life. Suddenly Lena wishes she had time for her three younger sisters and her friends.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Handlebar Publicity on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Big Look Bible Book Make Believe Ideas By Make Believe Ideas Published by Thomas Nelson


ISBN: 9780718074883
Board Book $9.99 US - $12.50 CAN
My thoughts:  The "Make Believe Ideas" line of books is relatively new to my acquaintance, but I have been quite pleased with them. (See my review of All Things Bright and Beautiful - board book with handle).

The text of Big Look Bible Book is concise and tells the five major Bible stories main points and there is a nice focus on God in each story....
...they had not obeyed God....God kept them safe....God was with Joseph...God helped David win...God kept Daniel safe....a Son who would save all people....Son of God is born today!... bring joy to the world....God's Son, as was foretold!...Jesus saved us from sin.
The illustrations are cute, lively and in a full pallet of colors. The board book is sturdy and will withstand a lot of being lovingly treasured. The pages are each individually shaped which adds a somewhat unique aspect to the book.

Lovely and fun and a great way to introduce youngsters to the beloved stories of real people in the Bible. I recommend.

About the book: Your family will love these classic Bible stories with bright colors and fun shaped pages! Big Look Bible Book is the perfect way to start engaging your child with some of the most-loved stories from the Bible.

Creatively designed for young children who are learning more about God and about some of the most-beloved people in the Bible, the Big Look Bible Book is a fun and unique way to show children the Word of God! Each page is fully illustrated with colorful artwork, and every page has shaped pages to make the stories memorable and unique.

Little ones will love to see the story on the left-hand side of the pages and a giant die-cut image of a Bible character, animal, or scene on the right side! Nine favorite Bible stories are told in a fun style. Stories include Noah and the ark, Joseph, Moses, David and Goliath, Daniel and the lions’ den, the nativity, and many more!

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Review Program on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing - TommyNelson.com and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Botanicum: Welcome to the Museum by Kathy Willis & illustrated by Katie Scott [Review & Giveaway - Open USA & CANADA]

My thoughts: This is a gorgeous book! It is a book jam-packed with such a plethora of information about plants from the tiniest to the largest, from above ground to those tucked away underneath rocks or soil. It is a treasure trove of botanical information for the young and young at heart.

The book is touted for those ages 8 to 12 but surely they can't mean that! This book is a treasure and plant lovers (and soon-to-be plant lovers) of ALL ages will find themselves immersed for hours observing the detail of these beautiful illustrations by Katie Scott and reading the explanations by Kathy Willis that is all about each particular plant.

Couched in the guise of a "night at the museum" or a "let's visit the museum" you are introduced to the plants as though you were on a tour of a lovely plant museum. The pages are laid out with just the right amount of information (don't forget, they said this is for those "tweens" you know, but hint-hint very busy adults will find that the amount of information is just right for them as well). The lay out is not so crowded that the reader is overwhelmed and is just right so that the fine details can be readily absorbed.

What Audubon did with his fabulous illustrations of the birds of the world, this book does for plants. This is a marvelous coffee table book and one that you will be proud to display. Great for home and all libraries - schools and public.

About the book: Discover more than 160 exhibits in this virtual museum, open all hours.

ISBN: 9780763689230 - Ages 8-12
$35 US / $47 CAN
Hardcover 112 pages ~ Size: 11" x 14.9"
Picture compliments of Candlewick. Isn't it adorable! Just makes you want to go to your backyard
and see if you can find some of these fabulous plants!
From Big Picture Press's Welcome to the Museum series, Botanicum, is a brilliantly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.
~ GIVEAWAY ~ 
Begins June 6
Ends June 27 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA & CANADA addresses.
NO P.O. BOXES, please!
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press on behalf of Big Picture Press and the author and illustrator to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped by Candlewick diretly to the winer.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Princess Prayers by Crystal Bowman (inspired by the illustrated parable stories from Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson) from Zondervan Publishing

My thoughts:  This is a charming little board book suitable for upwards to eight year old girls. The little rhymes cloaked in prayerfulness cover a nice variety of concepts and activities that young girls will encounter.

Part of the Princess Parables line of books from ZonderKidz there are a 15 prayers that will take young girls from morning to bedtime and all types of activities and situations in between. The sweet prayers are Scripture based and each has a special insert at the bottom of the page with a Bible verse supporting the thought. I am not sure of the version used in this case, but the Biblical reference is provided so parents can use the version with which they are most familiar.

A lovely little book that girls will surely love and that will guide their hearts and thoughts in loving, Christ based thoughts.

About the book: 
Good morning, Lord, it’s time to rise.
The sun is shining bright.
I’ve got my day ahead of me,
so help me do what’s right.
Help me to be kind and good
and do my very best
to show my love for you today
so others will be blessed.
Princess Prayers includes fifteen sweet prayers for little girls who want to live like princesses for God their King. Prayers are included for girls to be able to pray and learn alongside princess Grace, Hope, Faith, Charity, and Joy. Every little girl is a princess, and this padded cover board book will help them engage with Scripture and discover how to open their hearts to God.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a copy by the BookLook Reviewers program on behalf of ZondereKidz to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells: The Daring Life of a Crusading Journalist by Philip Dray & illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

My thoughts:  A well-done picture book biography for young children that is especially good for teaching the period of history associated with the emancipation proclamation. It will encourage African-Americans to discover their heritage and it will enlighten all children in America's history and those who shaped it.

The author generously provides a narrative that is somewhat extensive for a picture book and yet the illustrations are abundant so that young readers and reluctant older readers can learn of Ida B. Wells. The topic is a bit heavy for typical picture book readers and perhaps might be best read to or by older middle elementary age students because the subject of lynching is articulated as well as social injustices.

Illustrated using a style somewhat cubist, the colors and actions depicted in the art work tell the story well and fit well with the text.

As a freed slaved and crusading journalist she was, as a woman and as an African-American woman, a real pioneer in the field of social injustices and employment of a woman as a teacher and also as a journalist.

This is a good book for elementary libraries and would be quite informative for studies on the Emancipation Proclamation.

About the book: In 1863, when Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from the bond of slavery. For her family and others like them, it was a time of renewed faith in America's promise of freedom and justice for all. Blessed with a strong will, an eager mind, and a deep belief in this promise, young Ida never turned away from the challenges she faced.

She insisted on holding her family together after the death of her parents. She defied convention and went to court when a railroad company infringed on her rights. And she used her position as a journalist to speak out about injustice.

But Ida's greatest challenge arose after one of her friends was lynched. How could one headstrong young woman help free America from the shadow of lawlessness that loomed over the country?

Author Philip Dray tells the inspirational story of Ida B. Wells, from her birth into a slave family in Mississippi and her early encounters with racism to her lifelong commitment to end injustice. Award-winning illustrator Stephen Alcorn's remarkable illustrations recreate the tensions that threatened to upend a nation a century ago while paying tribute to a courageous American hero.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.