Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Regret Free Parenting by Catherine Hickem

Regret Free Parenting: Raise Good Kids and Know You're Doing it Right by Catherine Hickem, LCSW is an effective parenting guide for moms- dispelling popular child rearing myths.

Hickem speaks directly with empathy and authority to the reader, providing sound guidlines based on biblical principals  for raising children.  Nevertheless, this book is just as appropriate for the secular parent as well.  Well organised, each essential parenting principal has its own dedicated chapter.  Through the use of real life personal stories and anecdotes, Hickem, objectively addresses common parenting issues and misconceptions about raising childre.  For example, there is a chapter "Respect Is Necessary, Happiness Is Not" which seemingly is a direct contradition in today's permissive, feel good society- which is devoid of morals.  Nevertheless, this guide teachers the value of respect, and honor, in contrast to permissive feel good parenting practices which in the long run, do nothing to empower children and their parents. Biblical principals are woven throughout this child raising guide.  The last chapter includes a parenting guide for the reader to complete and work on over the course of four weeks.

As a blogger for Thomas Nelson's booksneeze blogger program I recieved this book for the purpose of writing a review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari by Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark illustrated by Vincent Nguyen is a children's story book, in which two personified animals, help to tell an encouraging moral tale about courage and friendship.  The well developed animal characters, two unlikely friends: a turtle and dragon, have a sleepover outside in the dark, in which they share more than fun memories, and imaginary adventure but rather they develop a deep friendship where kindness, cooperation and empathy prevail. The two animated personalities and adventure as well as the full color illustrations are sure to capture the attention of young readers.  In the end of the book is the additional "story" that was not told within the main story and also contained are discussion questions for parents to engage in a dialog with their children.  As a blogger for Water Brook press I recieved a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

The Case of the Missing Mountain By Kim Jones

The Case of the Missing Mountain By Kim Jones is a hybrid between an activity book and a non fiction science book.  Fully illustrated in full color and simple cartoons, this 80 page book includes an assortment of puzzles and activities as well as full color photos and facts.  The young reader will follow their tour guides, Myster Rangers Jack and Jen as they complete various puzzles and activities to solve the geological, scientific mysteries.  In a round about way, the reader/ sleuth- will learn about geology and earth science as well as the evidence for the case of creation.  Obviously, the secular schooling establishment will not appreciate the obvious agenda of this applied science/ activity book.  This book would be perfect to take along for traveling families.  One consideration is that the puzzles and activities- which involve deciphering codes, unscrambling words and filling in the missing letters, may become repetative or  may present a challange, and therefore frustrate  younger readers. Younger students will need an adult guide to help them through this book.  This activities and puzzles in this book may be more appropriate for older students in terms of skill, but illustrations, and in general, the concept of this book might not capture the interest of the older student.   In general, the concept of this book is a good idea as it brings a voice to the overlooked ideas of creation.  In a society where the theories of evolution create a monopoly, it it emlightening to see some material that advocates other views and theories.  As a blogger for New Leaf bloggers I recieved a copy of this book from Master Book publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

The Earth: Its Structure & Changes student text and Teacher's Guide

The Earth: Its Structure & Changes is an elementary fully illustrated - 88 page, soft color science text for elementary students.  Although marketed as an elementary text for the home schooled market, this book easily fits into the popular non fiction science genre for young pre-teen readers and students. This stand alone book need not be confined to the classroom.  Illustrated with full color photos, diagrams, charts and illustrations, this book is sure to hold the attention of any young reader.  Hands on "Investigation" pages/ experiments are dispersed throughout the text of the book. The Earth: Its Structure & Changes Teacher's Guide and Student Journal accompany the student text for the purpose of offering a complete curriculem.  As with any other teacher's text, the student text/ pages are reproduced in black and white within the teacher's guide. Objectives and study questions are included to guide the parent/ teacher, leading the discusiion.  The second half of this guid makes up a student journal, consisting of work sheets with space for answering the questions for each of the corresponding 20 investigations in the student text.  If there were more than one student, obviously these work sheets would need to be repoduced for multiple students.  Otherwise, the having the student write directly in the book as with any traditional workbook would be appropriate.  One thing to consider is that this dual puspose book- teacher guide and student jouranl would be more appropriate as two seperate books rather than one combined book.  In sum, the student text does not require the teacher's guide/ student journal- as it is complete on its own merits.  But, the Teacher's Guide and Student Journal is not a stand alone book and require the use of the student text book. In my opinion, the students text, The Earth and its Changes fites well into the ever popular, emerging non fictrion science genre as supplimental reading for any young reader.  As for using it as a text, perhaps as a suppliment to a more thorough science text- it is good way to bring to life, the subject of Earth Science.  Unless you are a homeschooling parent, the Teacher's guide/ student journal may be a bit redundant. As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I recieved a copy of these two books by Master Book publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

The Beginning Reader's Bible Tommy Nelson Publishers

The Beginning Reader's Bible created by Tommy Nelson Publishers (a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers) and illustrated by Marijke Ten Cate, is a brand new children's bible which tells bible stories using  actual bible excerpts, rather than summarized passages.  As with other childrens' bibles- this is more like a story book collection of the most poular and well known bible stories from the old and new testaments in chronological order.  Beautiful full color art accompanies each story. Yet unlike some of the more thorough bibles for children on the market, this seems more like a bible story sampler as it selects some of the more popular bible stories, while omitting others.

As with other bibles for young readers, this one can be read by a parent to a younger child, or by an older child. Popular stories included are: the story of creation, the tower of Babel, Noah's ark Daniel and the lions and many others.  New Testament stories include the birth of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, the story of Zacchaeus and more. What makes this bible unique is that each story is a word for word excerpt from the actual bible text, and references are provided.  The only problem  is that in the New Testament some important stories are simply not included.  The baptism of Jesus is left out and the preaching of the kingdom by John the Baptist is excluded.  There is no account of the temptation in the dessert by the devil either.  My first impression is that this book just seems incomplete- that it just seems to be missing some thing. The fact that these and other important biblical accounts is omitted makes this bible not the best choice if it is your only children's bible. 

Additional material is included at the end of this bible, inclusing the : ten commandments, the Lord's prayer, a reading chart for kids, memory verse chart and more! This is a perfect bridge from a kids' bible to an actual bible.  The illustrations by Marijke Ten Cate are cartoonish and simple.  Yet unlike other illustrated children's books/ bibles, there is very little "white" space as the author makes use of the entire page for the richly colored illustrations. Overall, this bible is a beautiful children's bible.  But because I feel it lacks some of the more important new testament stories, I feel that it can not serve as the primary children's bible in any household.  As a blogger for Thomas Nelson publishers, booksneeze blogger program I recieved this book for the purpose of writing this review and the opinions expressed are my own.

iShine Bible NLT

As a blogger for the the Tyndale blogger program, I had the opportunity to review a modern, yet well known and reliable translation of the bible, The New Living Translation NLT. In particular, this copy of the NLT is the iShine Bible, a pink, flexible pocket sized bible marketed for tween girls (ages 9-13) . Believing in the importance of the Good News of the bible, and having faith that the bible is the word of God to the human race, I feel it is essential that the bible is translated into easy to read language that can be understood by all. It is a grave diservice to prohibit or condemn easy to understand translations of the bible as some cults and religions do. There is no reason whatsoever to maintain the antiquated opinion that only the King James version (or other proprietary or antique versions for that matter) have a monopoly on the word of God. After all the KJV is in of itself a translation. Regrettably, the antique English style of the KJV and many other older translations, although poetic, make it prohibitive for many to read and understand the bible's message. So what's the point of having a bible if one can not understand or appreciate it.

The NLT is among one of many respected modern English translations. What makes this iShine bible stand out from other NLTs is that this is a pocket sized bible intended for young girls.  There are three fully colored inserts within the bible text focusing on concepts such as: value, purpose and identity. Other than the colored inserts and the attractive duo-tone pink cover, the text/ font size is extremely small and may be too intimidating for a young pre-teen reader.  There are no graphics or helpful articles within the text either. Other than the small size making it easy to fit in a backpack or pocket, this bible in particular, is proabably not the best choice for a preteen/ teen.  The packaging is appealing, but beyond that, the text is not presented in an appealing easy to read format- which is essential inj order to capture the interest of this age group. For a youne teen/ pre-teen, a study bible in a larger font would be a much better choice.
 In general, the only downside to this casual translation is the fact that it may not be as literal as the original texts. But this is perfect for those who wish to have an easy to understand bible.  I highly reccomend this translation. It is important to keep in mind that the text is somewhat of a paraphrase- a meaning for meaning, rather than a word for word translation. This bible is perfect for reading and for drawing close to the truths of God, but not exactly the best for an indepth theological study.Supplemetal study articles add indepth information for those readers who wish to have more knowledge. As a blogger I recieved a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing this review and the opiniosn expressed are my own- other than its small easy to carry isze, this particular bible is not the most suitable for a young pre-teen girl.