Tuesday, October 31, 2017

God's Great Love for You by Rick Warren [Review & Giveaway]

Click here to find book information
Profound: having intellectual depth and insight; difficult to fathom or understand; extending far below the surface; all encompassing  
My thoughts: When I received God's Great Love for You, I was prepared for another lovely, sweet, charming faith-based children's book. I was truly surprised at the depth of the simple statements from the start to the finish of this lovely picture book.

As Christians we know and realize that God has a great and wonderful love for us. Well, for all of mankind. He did, after all, give his only begotten Son to be our Saviour. But to calmly sit down and read a sweet little children's book that unabashedly states that God has a great love for YOU! That's right! You. Me. The kid down the street. All of us. And then to contemplate, even briefly, such a statement makes us realize just how profound that idea, that action, that depth of love is in actuality is almost beyond comprehension.

This is a book to read repeatedly to the young child and with each reading, the adult should read slowly contemplating and comprehending the depth expressed in the simple statements. While a sweet reading for a child, it becomes a source of soul-reaching contemplation for the mature reader.
"Deeper than all the oceans/ Higher than the moon and the stars”
“God’s great love for you is... perfect"
"will never end”
The illustrations feature a bright-eyed little girl with beautiful backgrounds and include a trailing "ribbon" or flutter of specks that seem to signify fluidity and continuity. Another understated feature of the illustrations is the simple white dove that is present throughout. As Christians know, the dove is symbolic of the Holy Spirit or God's presence. The book is charming.
The bare, stark beauty of God's perfection and how that perfection is shown in a perfect love for us.

About the book: God’s Great Love for You, written by #1 New York Times bestselling author and respected pastor Rick Warren, takes children on a whimsical and heartfelt journey that lets them know God’s love is with them wherever they go. With breathtaking illustrations by Chris Saunders, the simple yet poignant text comes alive as a child journeys to places far and near and discovers God’s great love is perfect, and everywhere, and will never end.
God’s Great Love
Created the entire universe
And everything in it
Including you.
No matter where we are or how isolated we are God is there.
Always when we sleep at night in the darkness of sleep or despair.

GIVEAWAY
Begins November 1
Ends November 11 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to Continental USA addresses only
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the Chat With Vera, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Good Night Tales: A Family Treasury of Read-Aloud Stories by C. S. Fritz from NavPress an affiliate of Tyndale House Publishers


ISBN: 9781631465567
Hardcover $19.99
Ages 3 - 8 Years
My thoughts:  This is a lovely book with classic illustrations that are absolutely charming. The stories and illustrations combined to make this a cherished bedtime book for generations to come.

As the stories use Biblical themes and lessons but are told in a woodland setting with delightfully drawn animals as characters living their lives in kingdoms.

Parents can use the discussion leads for each of the stories that are in the section at the back of the book to engage their children in Biblical application of the situations in the stories.

This can lead to further discussion and reading of the actual associated texts from the Bible.

I am absolutely enthralled with the illustrations and see the author/illustrator C.S. Fritz as one to watch for future presentations.

I highly recommend this enticing book of Good Night Tales.

About the book: Good Night Tales leads your children through a vivid, beautiful, and imaginative adventure through Scriptural truths. This collection of Scripture-based stories brings a forest to life through animal kings, trolls, plum-loving giants, and fiddle-playing crickets. Stories include reimaginings of Israel asking for a new king, parables about searching for the kingdom of God, and Psalm 23.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale Blog Network on behalf of NavPress and the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.
.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Make and Play: Christmas & Make and Play: Nativity by Joey Chou from Nosy Crow Publishing [Review & Giveaway USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 9780763696160 - Hardcover $11.99

Make and Play: Christmas 

My thoughts: This book focuses on the secular aspects of the Christmas holiday with trees, ornaments, Santa, songs, and activities of a secular nature. The press out pieces can be made into ornaments for decoration or can be played with by children.

The "book" portion includes the words to songs "Jingle Bells," "Deck the Halls," and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Recipes include Snowball Truffles and Gingerbread Cookies.

About the book/activity: This innovative new activity book includes ten press-out pieces to play and decorate with. The simple die-cut shapes, including Santa, a reindeer, and an angel, are easy to press out and slot together. The book also includes lots of activities, songs, and recipes to help celebrate Christmas!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ISBN: 9780763696177 - Hardcover $11.99


Make and Play: Nativity

My thoughts: This is definitely my favorite of the two books! I love that little ones can "make" their own nativity scene with the easy to press out pieces and then play with it to their hearts content. Engage the whole family as they "act out the story" with the various pieces.

And then in the "book" portion it begins with "Read the Nativity Story" told in brevity. However, I would suggest parents also open their Bibles to Luke 2 and read it regularly to their little ones during this special time.

Words to carols "Away in a Manger," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "We Three Kings," and "Silent Night" are included. Be sure you sing with your little ones. Memories like this last a lifetime.

About the book/activity: With twenty easy-to-assemble press-out pieces as well as the narrative, this book includes everything you need to bring the Christmas story to life. A perfect gift for the holiday season!
4 Winners chosen: Each will receive 1 book based on the order in which they are chosen via the Random Selection process. 1st 2 winners chosen will receive the Nativity book, next 2 winners (winners 3 and 4) will receive the Christmas book.
Begins October 27
Ends November 16
Open to USA and CANADA addresses
NO P.O. Boxes accepted
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary copies from Candlewick Press and Nosy Crow to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Giveaway copies are provided by the publisher and shipped directly to the winners.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Living Things and NonLiving Things by Kevin Kurtz from Arbordale Publishing [Review & Giveaway]

Click Here to find the book & more
My thoughts: Learning to think beyond the obvious is an important part of the educational experience. We look at a picture or see the object in real life and we think, if we think beyond the fact that the object is an animal, a rock, or a star, "How pretty" or "How nice."

In Living Things and NonLiving Things the author takes the reader on a deeper plunge into looking at the world around him. What is a living thing? What is a nonliving thing? How do we determine them?

Thinking beyond the fact that what is man-made is nonliving and what is breathing is living. Wow! This introduction or journey into the world of comparing and contrasting is fantastic! And then in the back of this Arbordale publication is a great selection of "For Creative Minds" pages with additional material and exercises.

Easy to read. Great pictures. Can be understood on an elementary level but promotes more complex thinking into the comparisons of living and nonliving things and their attributes.

This is one that I can highly recommend for homeschoolers, classrooms, and libraries everywhere!

About the book: Using a wide variety of stunning photographs, author Kevin Kurtz poses thought-provoking questions to help readers determine if things are living or nonliving. For example, if most (but not all) living things can move, can any nonliving things move? As part of the Compare and Contrast series, this is a unique look at determining whether something is living or nonliving.

This nonfiction picture book with a cuddle factor includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book and a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online. Living Things and Nonliving Things is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers.
GIVEAWAY
Begins October 27
Ends November 17 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Arbordale Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Giveaway copy is provided by Arbordale.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The H. L. Hunley Submarine: History and Mystery from the Civil War (Young Palmetto Books from University of South Carolina Press)

My thoughts: Learning about the early submarines is quite interesting. Submarines have proven to be amazingly crucial to defense of nations across the globe. To learn about one of such historic importance is an opportunity not to be missed. This publication for young students is especially appealing because it is produced by The University of South Carolina Press, Young Palmetto Books which definitely places it into a category of educational and dependable for historical value.

Parents of homeschooled children will find this an especially valuable resource for Civil War research and it should definitely be in public and private school libraries across the Nation.

A brief history of the War Between the States, The Civil War, is presented and it is not flavored to favorably represent the Confederates though the book is a University of South Carolina Press publication. Simply stated, the development of this early prototype of a submarine, it's ultimate sinking, and recent discovery and raising is one of significance. We are able to actually see what the hull of the H.L. Hunley and other artifacts from this vessel and period as they have been restored and preserved.

I highly recommend this book and feel it presents a wonderful glimpse into this period of our histoyr.

About the Book: The story of the H. L. Hunley submarine is about American ingenuity and real people who were inventive, loyal, brave, resilient, persistent, and adventurous. The Hunley, built by the Confederate Army during the Civil War, was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship during wartime. After that historic feat, the Hunley disappeared.

For more than a century, the fate and location of the Confederate submarine remained unknown. In The H. L. Hunley Submarine, Fran Hawk tells the exciting and compelling tale of how the “fish boat” was invented, how it underwent trials and tribulations in war, and how it got from the bottom of the ocean to its current resting place in the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Who invented the H. L. Hunley? How did it operate without an engine? How and why did it sink? What did researchers find when they investigated the submarine? Archaeologists and conservationists from all over the world have studied the historic vessel in search of answers. Which mysteries have they solved,and which mysteries remain for future generations to answers.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of the author and Young Palmetto Books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Christmas at Carnton By Tamera Alexander (A Novlla Published by Thomas Nelson)

My thoughts:  As with Tamera Alexander's other works, this novella centered amidst the Civil war and involving elaborate preparations for a Christmas auction and festivities was well written with characters that the reader's heart warmed to immediately and a story line that engaged.

Just a bit longer than some novellas, it was a completely satisfying read from start to finish. It shows the reality of those left at home where there is scant to live on and those whose hearts and lives are broken from war. Civilians and soldiers alike.

Carnton is a Southern home or perhaps plantation in Tennessee. The slaves are all gone except for an elderly lady who cooks and charms. This is not a story about why the war was fought or opinions and sides to be taken. It is about people. Good people that are living the best they can on what they can and helping each other at every opportunity.

Christmas at Carnton is a very good read and highly recommended. It is also a prelude to a new series by the author. Based on this novella, the series should be a very good one to read.

NOTE: A plus at the end of the book is a small collection of recipes that were perhaps being served at Carnton by the ladies and the beloved cook.

About the book:  
Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year-old son. With the bank threatening to evict them, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace book #3 by Carolyn Miller

ISBN: 9780825444524|
$14.99 | Paperback
Kregel Publishing
My thoughts: Delving into the pages of Austin style prose of a Carolyn Miller Regency period novel is like journeying back in time where social mores were rigid and social position steeped in tradition and expectations. Miss Clara DeLacey is a young lady born of well placed social standing whose conduct in a previous book in the Legacy of Grace series was dubious and placed her in a position of dishonor. Hence..... The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey.

True that by today's standards her behavior was quite acceptable. In the year 1815 it certainly was not and placed her character in question and her hopes for a grand marriage quite dim.

The story's male lead is quite the honorable and trustworthy hero of military fame. His faith and trust in God is strong just as is his personal strength and character. It is quite interesting to read the exchanges and interactions of Clara and Ben.

The thread of faith was woven beautifully throughout the story as those of strong faith encourage others to exercise faith in God and to be willing to follow God's leading for their lives.

Mention of previous characters in the Legacy of Grace Regency Series - some involved with the story's action in The dishonorable Miss DeLancey and some back story mentions - connects this concluding book in the series nicely to the previous two. It is nice to read the books in correct sequence, but not necessary for the story to be enjoyed.

About the book: Will a damaged reputation and desire for society's approval thwart the legacy of grace?

Tainted by scandal and forced to leave London for the quieter Brighton countryside, the Honorable Miss Clara DeLancey is a shadow of her former society self. She's lost the man she loved to another and, in a culture that has no patience for self-pity, is struggling with depression. A chance encounter brings her a healing friendship with the sisters of an injured naval captain. But Clara's society mama is appalled at the new company she's keeping.

Captain Benjamin Kemsley is not looking for a wife. But his gallant spirit won't let him ignore the penniless viscount's daughter--not when she so obviously needs assistance to keep moving forward from day to day. Can he protect his heart and still keep her safe?

When they're pushed into the highest echelons of society at the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion, this mismatched couple must decide if family honor is more important than their hopes. Can they right the wrongs of the past and find future happiness together--without finances, family support, or royal favor?

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey is full of the captivating, flawed characters, fascinating historical details, and masterful writing that Carolyn Miller's fans have come to know in The Elusive Miss Ellison and The Captivating Lady Charlotte. If you love Lori Wick, Georgette Heyer, and other clean, wholesome Regency romance, you'll love this third book in the Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace series.

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

If You Were Me & Lived in... The Mayan Empire: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 4) by Carole P.Roman [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN: 9781535046213
My thoughts: This new series of children's books, An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, is very special. They are geared toward elementary students and perhaps on into the early middle school grades. The Mayan Empire incorporates factual information throughout the story while immersing the reader as the "You" in the story. I found it intriguing to peek into this ancient people's civilization that so little is taught about in schools.

The Mayans were quite advanced mathematically. Their worship was of many gods with one being more important. The Mayan civilization dates back to 1800 BC. That is truly ancient. They left a written record of their civilization.

The reader can place himself right at the center going through what a day in the life of a child during this period was like. I found the daily life and facts surrounding life as a Mayan to be very interesting and well-written by Ms. Roman in a manner easy to understand yet not too simplistic.

The illustrations are very well done and indicative of peoples currently living in the area of the ancient Mayans. The geographic location of the Mayan Empire was that of the Yucatan Peninsular and included today's Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize.

I especially like the sections in the back of the book. There is a section with pictures (stylized drawings that look like carvings from archaeological discoveries) and short biographies of important people during the period, Mayan Contributions to the World, and a wonderful glossary.

This is an excellent resource for the home or classroom library. More sturdily bound editions would be wonderful in children's school libraries and the children's section of public libraries.

About the book: Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Viking Europe, and what children who lived during the Han Dynasty did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.
GIVEAWAY
5 winners
Begins October 23
Ends November 14 @ 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 of my own opinions. I was not compensated nor obligated to give a positive review.

Press Out and Color: Christmas Ornaments (crafting) illustrated by Kate McLelland [Review Giveaway USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 9780763696184
Ages 7-10 years


My thoughts: Children love the make things - especially when they are pretty, can be utilized, and are gift-worthy. This book with press-out pieces that easily become lovely decorations will certainly provide hours of coloring and construction time. The construction would simply be the interlocking (slotting together) of pieces.

The product is a pressed board that is sturdier than cardboard one usually finds in such projects. The pages are white with gold foil - YES! LOVELY GOLD FOIL! Even the drawn lines decorating the ornaments are gold foil. What a treat for brightening wintry days in preparation for the Christmas season.

I highly recommend this for groups of children, families, and just anyone that wants a bit of lovely fun.

About the book/craft: Each of the twenty press-out Christmas decorations in this book can be easily slotted together to create cheerful hanging ornaments to adorn the Christmas tree or to add a festive touch to any space. Perfect for all ages, these gorgeous ornaments look elegant in white and gold, but even more glorious when colored.
GIVEAWAY
Christmas Ornaments (craft)
2 Winners
October 23
November 13 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA & CANADA
No P.O. Boxes accepted
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book/product from Candlewick to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

BONAPARTE FALLS APART by Margery Cuyler

ISBN: 978-1101937686
My thoughts: As many know, I simply do not participate in Halloween. When I saw the book Bonaparte Falls Apart, I almost skipped past it. I read the promo for the story and decided to give it a try. After reading the story and looking at the pictures, I'm convinced that this is NOT a Halloween story at all. This is simply a story about a fear of going to school when one has physical issues that embarrass.

Told in an unforgettably funny way it recounts the many ways poor bony Bonaparte simply loses one piece (or rather bone) after another. His friends try to help him past this by various means and they all fail. A "service" dog is introduced and becomes the key to Bonaparte's managing to hold it all together.

The puns and play on words are simply hilarious. Of course, young children will most likely miss these but parents will have a truly fun time reading. And it is a good opportunity to help the little ones learn a bit of fun with words, too.

I think the illustrations are fun and well done. Not that I like scary creatures and Frankenstein type characters, even though they are nice and charming. This is simply a fun book and a subtle lesson in helping others and incorporating a helper or "service" dog.

About the book: Bonaparte is having a tough time. It’s hard for this young skeleton to just hang loose when he can’t keep hold of himself. When he plays catch, his throwing arm literally takes a flyer. Eating lunch can be a real jaw-dropping occasion. How can he start school when he has so many screws loose? Luckily, Bonaparte hit the bone-anza with Franky Stein, Black Widow, and Mummicula, three true, bone-a fide friends who all have some boneheaded ideas to help pull him together. But will it be enough to boost his confidence and get him ready for the first day of school?

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Book of Gold by Bob Staake

Schwartz & Wade
ISBN: 978-0-553-51077-5
Ages 4-8 years
My thoughts:  I was sent an unbound galley copy  of this interesting children's picture book designed to tell the story of a young boy who is desirous to discover the path to riches. And he learns through various means that there is a book of gold somewhere. Hence he pursues that book by reading all he could get hold of.

He learns a valuable lesson in that the book or books don't turn to gold, but they enable him to have the knowledge he needs to succeed in life and that is worth more than gold.

The illustrations are interesting and really capture the essence of the story and the young boy's path to learning. The pictures utilizing a lot of browns and black with tans and golds with a sprinkling of primary colors are interesting and perhaps digitally created. They are fun to look at. There is a lot of story text for a picture book, but this makes for a good read for the child who listens well or who is an avid reader. The story emphasizes the value of books and education.

About the book: Acclaimed illustrator Bob Staake brings us an emotionally rich picture book about a character who discovers that the search for knowledge is more important than knowledge itself in THE BOOK OF GOLD.

Young Isaac Gutenberg isn't a curious boy . . . that is, until he meets an old shopkeeper who tells him about The Book of Gold, a special book, hidden somewhere in the world, that turns to solid gold when opened. Isaac is determined to find the book—it will make him rich! He opens many books in his search, and quickly closes them when they don't turn to gold. But when a glance at a page makes a question pop into his mind, everything changes, and he begins reading every word. This sweeping picture book asks important questions: Is searching for knowledge better than having it? How important is curiosity? And what makes a life meaningful?

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Plume by Isabelle Simler from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

ISBN13: 9780802854926
Hardcover 42 pages 
 Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
My thoughts:  The delicate drawings in beautiful color of the feathers - plumage or plumes, is a real treat to ponder over.

The amazing variety of birds pictured by Isabelle Simler is wonderful and while the feathers are rather detailed and startlingly beautiful, the birds themselves are less natural or detailed. They are quite sufficient to identify the bird and she has imbued them with subtle expressions that indicate their knowledge and fear of black cat which is nearby.

Young children probably won't fully appreciate the delicacy and intricate drawings of the beautiful bird feathers. Nor will they "get" the sneaky, stealth of the black cat. But the cunning black cat is present and creeping up on the birds all through the book.

The "story" is virtually non-existent. Each two-page spread features and names a bird with a bit of Plume the black cat shown. And at the end the "...or Me" ("Me" is cat whose name is Plume). The artist/author is obviously using a play on words to name the cat Plume (definition of plume is "a long, soft feather or arrangement of feathers used by a bird for display or worn by a person for ornament") since he collects feathers.

Who will enjoy this book? I think that guided reading or perusal by parents, teachers, or librarians with children would be appropriate and enjoyable. A rare child might enjoy it on his or her own and grasp the beauty of the feathers and the stealth and character of the black cat, Plume.

About the book: In this lovely book, young readers are introduced to a variety of beautiful birds, from the familiar chicken to the exotic ibis. But lurking in the background of every page is a cat, who also seems very interested in the birds.

With its funny illustrations and engaging concepts, this clever counting book will invite readers to linger over every page.

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

George Washington's Rules to Live By: How to Sit, Stand, Smile, and Be Cool! A Good Manners Guide From the Father of Our Country by K. M. Kostyal (Adapter) & illustrated by Fred Harper

My thoughts:  I have it straight from a young mother of four girls - "They love it!" My grand-girls simply love George Washington's Rules to Live By and frequently check out a copy from their public library. Our First President lived during a genteel era and he was a gentleman who moved in the higher echelon of his day - socially and politically. He was, of course, cognizant of how his behavior  and those under his care and leadership reflected on who they were and whom they represented. Good manners was not something taken lightly.

Today's youngsters and even their adult leaders don't feel the need for instruction in etiquette, but truly it is very much needed. Parents should start young with this instruction. A book such as George Washington's Rules to Live By is written for children and teens and in such a light hearted, fun, spirited manner and packed with bright funny illustrations that make learning to live the gracious life actually fun.

This would be a superb book to use on a regular basis in the classroom - kind of like a "thought for the day" exercise. The teacher could encourage a team effort watching for "caught you using good manners" for those caught exercising the "Rules to Live By" in their daily life.
 Small bits of the life of President Washington are also part of the text and provide insight into the man he was. I think this is a superb book for homes with children, school libraries, and public libraries.



About the book: This innovative gift book allows kids to peek into the mind of George Washington and the more than 100 lessons by which he lived his life. Modern translations and hilarious caricature illustrations provide a lighthearted and fun way to learn about history and good manners at the same time. Featuring the Rules of Civility that George Washington learned when he was a child, this book focuses on 50 of George's maxims, ranging from table manners to polite conversation to being a good citizen. Because the Rules of Civility are centuries old, this book also includes "translations" of the rules into contemporary and witty kid-friendly explanations that any young reader can relate to. Paired with laugh-out-loud illustrations, this book is a sure-fire guide to amazing etiquette.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids publishing to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Gift Boxes to Decorate and Make: Christmas illustrated by Sarah Walsh

Children absolutely love to color and teens and adults are now getting into the relaxing coloring act with a plethora of sophisticated coloring books available. With Christmas fast approaching and colder days when staying inside is more the plan, children need activities that engage their interest and satisfy.

So now there is a "coloring book" that serves as a project to create one's own boxes in which to place those treasured Christmas gifts. The book  is 11" by 10" and has 50 pages to color and fold into boxes with an intended audience of ages 8 to 12. The book is a great resource for creating 24 gift boxes and there are lovely "gold foil" gifting stickers to use, also.





Each box will have beautifully intricate pictures to color on the inside and outside providing an opportunity to really embellish the box with beautiful colors of one's choice making it uniquely theirs as a gift to the recipient. The little boxes can also  be kept so the child can keep his or her own treasures in a beautifully individualized box.

At $15.99 (imprint retail pricing) this book will provide 24 boxes for "gift wrapping" at about $.66 each. Current Amazon pricing would make the little boxes about $.50 each.

About the book/product: Each page of this brilliant book can be colored and made into a box! Simply tear out and fold to create a gift box perfect for storing all kinds of Christmas treats. The boxes are beautifully decorated with festive black-and-white designs, which you can color in with pens or pencils to make sure your gifts are extra special this Christmas. 

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer - Contemporary fiction from Waterbrook Press [Review & Giveaway]


My thoughts:  The author has written an exceptional story of multigenerational conflict, past hurts, present anger, and faith in God that heals and saves.

Did I like all the characters? No. I particularly took a dislike to Diane who is the middle person in this three generational story. The actual cause for her personality is the result of what happened in the fourth generation back.

Written with scene jumps between 1943, the present time, and anywhere in between and in varying voices, the reader had to pay close attention to who was speaking and in what period.

Ms. Sawyer added an interesting twist to this involved story of conflicting family and conflicting generations. She wove a decades old mystery into the pages resolving it at the end in what would prove mind boggling in real life.

The story is filled with faith through the thoughts and conversations of Hazel and Sean who are both very strong Christians.

And just who is "Maggie"? In action, she is a very minor character. In reality, she is the thread woven through the pages as cause and effect and joyful solution.

About the book: Decades of loss, an unsolved mystery, and a rift spanning three generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year-old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year-old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can't understand her mother's overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother's inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan---a cold case agent---cherishes her grandmother's lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel's painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that's been lost?

About the author: Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren. Learn more at kimvogelsawyer.com.

Learn more and purchase a copy
GIVEAWAY
Begins October 3
Ends October 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
Winner's copy is graciously provided via Litfuse Publicity Group, the author, and publisher.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Friday, October 13, 2017

KJV Know the Word Study Bible from Thomas Nelson [Review & Giveaway]


Bible Features: The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

Features Include:

  • King James Version Bible text
  • Three easy approaches to study the Bible (book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic)
  • Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Beautiful two-color interior page design
  • Comprehensive list of theological notes
  • Concordance
  • Full-color maps
  • Gain a greater understanding of the Bible, book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic.  Sign up to review the hardcover in the sidebar.
My thoughts: I am so very honored and happy to have the opportunity to share with you this new release of a King James Version of God's Word. Thomas Nelson Publishing always does a wonderful job of producing Bibles and this edition is no exception. My review is not intended to focus on arguing the pros or cons of a KJV translation but is simply to present my review of this study Bible and utilization of it as a study Bible.

The beauty and timeless accuracy of the King James Version continues to ring true and bring joy to this reader. I enjoyed using this Know the Word Study Bible as the verse-by-verse feature allowed clarifying insights into a variety of facts and information tied to specific verses - material that is both new to me and as reminders of previously gleaned knowledge.

Throughout the Bible there were inserts with topical material. The Topic by Topic articles are indexed at the beginning of the Bible and give the page that particular material can be found on. Maps found at the back of the Bible are typical and as usual interesting for those who enjoy visualizing the location of Biblical events. I found the map showing the actual locations of events in the life of Christ particularly interesting as well as the missionary journeys of Paul.

This is not a comprehensive study Bible. I personally believe the intended reader audience is probably those relatively new to the study of God's Word. That is not to negate the inclusive study material that supports the Biblical text, it is simply that the material is not as in depth as that which a seasoned student of Scripture would desire. It certainly is not on a level that a pastor or theologian would desire for personal use. It is a study Bible in that it offers information to aid in understanding one's reading of Scripture and lead the reader into deeper study utilizing these materials as well as more comprehensive aides.

Do I recommend this KJV Know the Word Study Bible? Absolutely! I love the KJV. I encourage everyone to find a study Bible that suits their particular level of Biblical knowledge. I believe this Study Bible will benefit many users. A large contingency of Bible readers prefer the NIV or some other translation. I encourage students of The Word to delve into the KJV along with whatever version you normally prefer for comparative reading. On a further note: the Know the Word Study Bible also comes in the NKJV version. 

Here is your opportunity to win your own copy of this wonderful King James Version "Know the Word Study Bible" from Thomas Nelson or you may buy a copy - click here

GIVEAWAY
Begins October 13
Ends October 31 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only
More reviews & information - click here
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. The winner's copy from the Giveaway/Contest hosted here on Chat With Vera is provided by and shipped by either Litfuse or Thomas Nelson directly to the winner. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Adorable Forest Friend Lottie Doll Enters world of fairy imaginings [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]


Click here for Forest Friends Lottie Doll
It is nearly that time of year when visions of sugar plum fairies, ballet dancers, fairy tales and all sorts of imaginary happenings and loveliness enter the hearts and minds of young girls everywhere. Enter:  Forest Friend Lottie Doll. She is dressed in a whimsical net layered dress in greens and purples. Her shape and build is designed to represent a young girl (not womanly shaped). She has the look of innocence and delight.

Yes, Christmas is coming and plans are already being laid and shopping planned. A couple of Christmases ago I gave my 5 young grand-girls Lottie Dolls. They absolutely loved them. I also review a couple of the lovely dolls here on Chat With Vera. I highly recommend these as quality products that bring a high degree of loving play to the child receiving them.

I am especially adamant about giving young girls dolls appropriate for their age. I don't believe that the image put forth of glamorous, heavily made-up, seductively dressed, and curvaceously shaped dolls helps our girls develop into girls who have a good sense of self-worth. But providing dolls more appropriate to their age and dolls that encourage development for various roles in life certainly provides quality playtime and time for dreaming about what may be in their own future.
  1. Lottie dolls are age appropriate and award winning.
  2. Lottie dolls have NO MAKE UP and NO JEWELRY
  3. I recommend as great "any time" purchases for girls.
  4. Lottie Dolls has a "boy" doll, too.
  5. There are great accessories available.
  6. The selection is great for choosing the doll most suited for your special child.
  7. Lottie dolls are priced  and sized so a child can enjoy a collection of the dolls and a variety of outfits.
  8. Lottie dolls make great Christmas gifts.

Product information:  

Reading her book at bedtime, Lottie is enchanted to learn about all the magical forest fairies that live deep in the woods and forests. Lottie imagines how exciting it might be to discover a secret fairy door on a tree, where fairytales come to life and anything can happen! Perhaps the forest fairies might sprinkle fairy dust all around her so that her wildest dreams come true?
Forest Friend Lottie Description: Hair: Red; Eyes: Green - Lottie is dressed in a delightful green and lilac fairy-inspired costume comprising a velvet-style bodice and petal tutu skirt. A cute bow hairband and sparkly gold ballet flats complete the look. Doll height: 18 cm - Recommended Age: 3 years +
Includes:• Green and lilac fairy-inspired costume with a cute bow hairband and gold ballet flats

See selections (USA & International) - Join "Club Lottie" and for a first-time order get a discount of 10% and also for October use code SHIPFREE for free shipping in October. Club Lottie

GIVEAWAY
Prize: Choice of any doll up to the value of $25
Begins October 12
Ends November 2 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA and CANADA
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out my reviews of Lottie Dolls:

Click here for English Country Garden review
Click here for Fossil Hunter review
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary product to evaluate and review. Opinions are my own and are freely given. Winner's prize will be provided by and shipped by Lottie Dolls directly to the winner.

Thomas Nelson's 'KJV Know The Word Study Bible' Kindle Fire Giveaway

Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
  • A Kindle Fire 7
  • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.



Watch for Chat With Vera's review & single copy giveaway on October 13

Monday, October 9, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan - Legal Suspense from Bethany House Publishing [Review]


My thoughts:  I find it fascinating to read about the inner workings of legal procedures as a case comes to trial. It doesn't matter if the main story is about the prosecution's side or that of the defendant. It is interesting. Of course, I don't understand the terms being used, but the author's ability to write about how information is gathered and presented and what is and is not allowed in court is certainly evidenced in Deadly Proof as practicing attorney and author Rachel Dylan takes us into the world where pharmaceutical research and marketing meet the road with attorneys and judges.

I live in an area that has several major  pharmaceutical research and development companies. These are mega corporations with global marketing. I have known marketing people and research scientists personally in some of these companies. There are also a couple of major research hospitals in our area and these play a major role in the development of cutting edge medicines that are marketed by these global corporations. I can see a situation such as the one fictionalized in Deadly Proof easily a reality.

As author Rachel Dylan weaves this story of corporate greed, medical travesty, and thrilling legal expertise the depth to which corporate greed and criminal intent can go lead the reader through scenes terrifyingly rife with nail-biting realism.

Touched by a bit of romance that softens the harshness of a world gone bad, the book concludes on an uplifting and joyful note.

About the book: Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company's dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He's still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything---even commit murder---to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can't help but admire Kate's courage and resolve---but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

About the author: Rachel Dylan writes Christian fiction including inspirational romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and the Windy Ridge Legal Thriller series. Rachel has practiced law for almost a decade and enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids--two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at www.racheldylan.com

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


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump by Carole P. Roman [Review & Giveaway]

Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump

Book #2 in the "Oh Suzannah" series by award winning author, Carole P. Roman continues with charming Suzannah encountering life and its problems as they pertain especially to her. In Book #1, Oh Suzannah: Its in the Bag, young Suzannah learned that you can't simply tuck your problems away and out of sight just because they are difficult.

In Things That Go Bump, Suzannah learns ways to manage her fears. The book is short with 44 pages but fairly complex for a young reader. As Suzannah faces an invitation for a visit for a sleepover at a "scary house" that creaks she learns that noisy houses are just that, noisy houses and not scary things like ghosts.

I do not celebrate Halloween and don't participate in scary stories. This book appears on the cover to be a story involving Halloween with its Jack-o-Lanterns and ghostly faces in the trees and scrubs. It is, however, simply a story about the fears one encounters - fear of catching a runny nose, fear of clowns, fear of creaky old houses. We all have fears at some point in our life and Suzannah learns that she can overcome or manage these fears she encounters.

The portion of Suzannah's story that included an event to which Suzannah's mother took her that was sponsored by her employee and benefited physically challenged children was a highlight. Suzannah had a friend at the event who was visually impaired and the compassion shown and friendship is a true plus for the story.

The colorful cover of Things That Go Bump is charming and you just want to love this sweet little girl and her friends. I would love to have seen the illustrations larger and sprinkled throughout instead of tiny thumbnail images at the beginning of each chapter.
Sample page "Things That Go Bump"

Oh Susannah: Color With Me: An Oh Susannah Coloring Book


Oh Susannah is now a coloring book. Filled with Mateya Arkova's delightful pictures, you can color pivotal scenes in Susannah Maya Logan's life. Join Susannah and her friends and retell Carole P. Roman's charming story through illustrations.

What a fun companion to the two Oh Suzannah books. This little coloring book helps children immerse themselves into the stories by providing pages to color of illustrations featuring the characters and actions from both stories.

Read Chat With Vera's review of Oh Suzannah: It's In the Bag - Book #1

GIVEAWAY - 3 Winners
1 Grand Prize: Books #1 & #2 + Color With Me
2 Other Winners: Book #1
Begins October 7
Ends October 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each book to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given. Author will provide winner's copy and ship prize directly to the winners.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Chomp!: Fierce Facts about the Bite Force, Crushing Jaws, and Mighty Teeth of Earth's Champion Chewers by Brady Barr from National Geographic Kids [Review & Giveaway]


ISBN: 9781426328398
My thoughts:  This is truly an amazing book that is packed with fascinating information that the author, Brady Barr, has gleaned from the four corners of the globe about a huge variety of animals, water life, birds, reptiles, and even insects. The focus is on the bite of each of the creatures and how it enables said creature to survive. How they eat. How they capture their prey.

The book will be quite appealing to young naturalists. I can just see kids sitting (or laying) around engrossed in the pages with these enthralling bits of information and pictures that show just how powerful these creatures' jaws are that CHOMP down on their food or their prey.

As the author describes the jaws and biting ability of these creatures, he educates the reader as to their bone structure and the type, location, and purpose of their teeth.

Some of the antics Dr. Barr got himself into were quite challenging and even sometimes funny as he tried to measure the Bite Strength of a variety of the creatures. The animals are large, fierce, and quite protective of their territory and don't like to be disturbed by a mere man.

National Geographic Kids has hit a homerun with this book and it should find a home in libraries and personal collections.

About the book: National Geographic Explorer and snake wrangler Dr. Brady Barr has been bitten by a lot of creatures over the years. So this book is born from first hand er, tooth experience of getting close to some of the biggest biters in the animal kingdom.

It turns out that there's a lot more to biting than meets the eye. Physical features and the how (and when and why) an animal bites reveals much about the animal itself. Chomp! highlights an array of awesome creatures with a diversity of chomp styles from shredders and slicers to grippers and gulpers. Then it shows how tooth type, bite force, jaw shape, and food source all come to together to make each an incredible member of the animal bite force!"

GIVEAWAY
Begins October 5
Ends October 26 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
Giveaway hosted on this blog and prize provided by publicist or publisher and sent from them directly to the winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids and the author to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and freely given.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science by Louie Giglio (Published by Thomas Nelson)


My thoughts:  What a grand opportunity to lead your child to discover the indescribable wonders of the universe made by our wonderful Creator. And this new devotional book for kids will enable families together to embark on this wonderful journey of discovery.

Every day's devotional is packed with wonderful scientific information and a brief scriptural reference that ties it together. The doors for discussion will swing wide open when families use this book for family devotions.

But it is not only a book that can be used in a family setting. Kids themselves will wonder at the awesome God that created our world as they read through these 100 devotions on their own. An opportunity to establish a habit of daily time with God.

Seriously, my husband and I (we're grandparents and great-grandparents) have enjoyed reading some of these devotionals together and are quite frankly simply amazed at the material. It is so well presented and not too "little-kiddie-themed."

I highly recommend this little book and know it will be a treasured addition to a child's or family's library.

About the book: Discover the Wonders of the Universe with the Creator

It’s impossible to out-imagine God. He orchestrates time, creates light, and speaks things into existence—from the largest stars to the smallest starfish. God is a powerful, purposeful, personal, unparalleled Creator.

Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens tell the glory of God. And the skies announce what his hands have made.”

Indescribable displays the majesty of creation with scientific findings, photography, and original illustrations. These 100 devotions encourage awe at God’s creativity with an in-depth look at

• Space, Galaxies, Planets, and Stars
• Earth, Geology, Oceans, and Weather
• Animals—from Hummingbirds to Dinosaurs
• Our Minds, Bodies, and Imaginations

Each devotion features a “Be Amazed” section with fascinating facts, hands-on activities, and a closing prayer. Based on Louie Giglio’s popular messages “Indescribable” and “How Great Is Our God,” Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God & Science will help kids discover the incredible creation of our indescribable God.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Review program on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishers and the author to facilitate a review. Opinions are my own and freely given.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Bringing Maggie Home by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Contemporary Fiction from WaterBook Press) [Giveaway]


About the book: Decades of loss, an unsolved mystery, and a rift spanning three generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year-old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year-old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can't understand her mother's overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother's inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan---a cold case agent---cherishes her grandmother's lavish attention and affection.

When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel's painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that's been lost?

About the author: Kim Vogel Sawyer is a highly acclaimed, best-selling author with more than one million books in print, in seven different languages. Her titles have earned numerous accolades including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in central Kansas with her retired military husband, Don, where she continues to write gentle stories of hope. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and grandchildren. Learn more at kimvogelsawyer.com.

Learn more & purchase a copy
GIVEAWAY
Begins October 3
Ends October 19 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
Winner's copy is graciously provided via Litfuse Publicity Group, the author, and publisher.
Watch for Chat With Vera's review soon!