Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review :: Jesus Calling My First Bible Storybook by Sarah Young, illustrated by Antonia Woodward

Jesus Calling My First Bible Storybook is a new Bible story board book from the Jesus Calling line of books. 
While many of the Jesus Calling books are quite unique in nature (having words written as if they are from Jesus to the reader), Jesus Calling My First Bible Storybook is a fairly typical Bible storybook for toddlers. Yes, this does have some wording written as if it were directly from Jesus, but they are just one short sentence on the page opposite the Bible story. 

With that said, though, I do like the Jesus Calling My First Bible Storybook. It includes many of the basic "starter" Bible stories and some that are not often found in toddler versions of Bible storybooks. 
The stories included are:
- God Made Everything!
- Noah's Big Boat
- God's Promise to Abraham
- Baby Moses
- Ten Commandments
- David and Goliath
- Jonah and the Big Fish
- Daniel and the Lions
- Queen Esther Is Brave!
- Jesus Is Born
- Jesus Is Baptized
- A Little Boy's Lunch
- Jesus Calms the Sea
- The Prodigal Son
- Jesus Loves Children
- Zacchaeus
- The Cross
- Jesus Is Alive!
- Jesus Is Coming Again
- God's Family

What puts this one over the top for me is the illustrations - they are adorable!

If you love the Jesus Calling books, be sure to check this one out (and Jesus Calling for Little Ones, too!).
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Book Review :: My Little Prayers - compiled by Brenda Ward, illustrated by Diane Le Feyer

My Little Prayers is the newest book in the My Little® series from Tommy Nelson. 
My Little Prayers is a compact book of prayers (both traditional and modern) covering a variety of topics: My Day, My Mealtime, My Bedtime, My Family and Friends, My Favorite Things, My Feelings, My Special Days, and My Time with God. Each of the 8 topics have their own section in the book, and each section is introduced with a verse.

Each two-page spread in My Little Prayers has a prayer (or verse) on the left-hand page and an illustration on the right-hand page. The illustrations are cute and I enjoyed the diversity in the people depicted (age, gender, and race).

Prayer books are not a new idea, but I loved that My Little Prayers contains a compilation of not only modern prayers, but traditional prayers as well.

My Little Prayers is a cute, useful book and is a great way to introduce children to a variety of prayers.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Adventures in Bible Art & Journaling :: Exceedingly Abundantly

Oh boy...
I've got a confession to make. 

I started out Bible journaling saying I was going to try to use a minimal amount of supplies (mainly pens and colored pencils) and here I am today sharing two pages smeared with various colors of paint.
It's just fun, though...and suck a quick way to splash some color onto the page. (And with 4 kids, I have only got short bursts of time to be able to do Bible art.) 

So, apparently my pages aren't going in quite the direction I had imagined, but I am just going to have to be okay with that - because, for now, it's what works for me.
This first page was inspired by one night of reflection and discussion among our church family - looking at a few weeks in particular that just seemed like God was heaping the good onto our little group. Now, the past week or two have been pretty rough going for our group as a whole, but no matter what...God is still good. And he still blesses us "exceedingly, abundantly more" than we could ask or imagine.

The next page came from a night of family Bible reading - these words from Psalm 63 just jumped out at me.
I envisioned a great, beautiful sunburst (perfect for the current Creative Worship Bible Journaling group challenge), but this colorful splatter is just going to have to do.

I used the same two new Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps stamp sets that I used on my previous page (Classy Script Alpha and Outline Alpha) - I just love these together!
I stamped the Outline Alpha onto various washi tape pieces and fussy cut them...I love the finished effect.

Although I do love how these two pages turned out, I am more excited about how these concepts will be highlighted in my mind for a long time to come.

Thank you for visiting today!
Find all my posts pertaining to Bible art or journaling here.

Supplies:
Bible: Zondervan (NIV Holy Bible, Journal Edition); 
Page Preparation: Ranger (Multi Medium - Matte);
Paint: Michaels/Craft Smart (various colors);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps (Classy Script Alpha, Outline Alpha, Seek Him);
Markers/Pens: Sharpie (Marker - Fine, Black); Sharpie (Paint Pen - White, Extra Fine);
Washi Tape: (Various);

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review :: NIV Lifehacks Bible: Practical Tools for Successful Spiritual Habits - notes by Joe Carter, foreword by Kevin DeYoung

It's Bible week on my blog!
Stay tuned this week as I review a variety of Bibles.
The NIV Lifehacks Bible is a new Bible out from Zondervan that focuses on spiritual formation. The version I am reviewing is the hardcover, but there are also imitation leather cover options available as well as a Kindle version. The hardcover is sturdy and comes with a matching dust jacket (both are printed as shown in the cover photo, but the hardcover does not include the back cover text from the dust jacket).

The fun color scheme on the cover of the NIV Lifehacks Bible is what initially sparked my interest, but unfortunately that is where the color stops. The interior pages of the NIV Lifehacks Bible are all grayscale. The NIV Lifehacks Bible has all black text (including the words of Christ) and the Bible text is laid out in two columns. (The added readings are single column.) This is the NIV version of the Bible (© 1973, 1978, 1984, & 2011). The text is standard size - not large, but not extra small. The NIV Lifehacks Bible does contain some basic footnotes.
Surely putting "lifehacks" in the title is just a way to catch a person's attention, but what this Bible really focuses on is spiritual formation. (And that's a good thing.) There are a total of 365 readings placed throughout the NIV Lifehacks Bible text. (The readings are each placed on a full page, so they do not interrupt the flow if you are just reading Scripture.) Having 365 readings means that they can be completed in a year by reading 1 per day throughout the year. The readings link to corresponding passages of the Bible. The readings don't seem to be the tug-at-your-heart kind that you might consider a "devotional", but they do make you think.

There are a few study helps as well as some full-color maps at the back of the NIV Lifehacks Bible. The study helps are: a "Table of Weights and Measures", "Endnotes", "Subject Index", and "Index to Readings by Habit".

With both a Bible and 365 readings in one, I find the NIV Lifehacks Bible to be a great value and a good tool for our spiritual walk.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Review :: Guys Slimline Bible NLT, TuTone (Tyndale)

It's Bible week on my blog!
Stay tuned this week as I review a variety of Bibles.
The Guys Slimline Bible NLT is a nice Bible that is suitable for anyone looking for a compact Bible. (It is less than 1" thick.) It would make a great gift. 

The cover is TuTone (imitation leather) in a very dark charcoal gray (almost black) and blue chevron with dark gray stitching. The cover is soft and flexible and feels well-made. The dark gray portion of the cover feels like you would expect imitation leather to feel like, but the blue portion has a faint texture that gives a slight "record scratching" sound effect when you run your fingernails over it. It is an attractive combination of materials. Inside, there is a presentation page. The pages of the Guys Slimline Bible NLT have silver edging. The Guys Slimline Bible NLT comes in a paper sleeve (not a hard box) and also includes an attached ribbon bookmark. Aside from the paper sleeve, there is only a small line on the copyright page referring to this as a "guys" Bible.

The Guys Slimline Bible NLT has black text (including headings) with the words of Christ in red, and is laid out in two columns. This is the Holy Bible, New Living Translation (© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013) version of the Bible. The text seems to be slightly smaller than standard size, but is not too small (in my opinion). There are footnotes throughout.

There are 8 full-color maps on coated pages at the back (like you might find in many Bibles), along with a few other helpful resources like: "Dictionary/Concordance" (54 pages), "Great Chapters of the Bible" (1 page), "Great Verses of the Bible to Memorize" (3 pages), and "365-Day Reading Plan" (4 pages).

The Guys Slimline Bible NLT has the basics you need (plus a few extras), wrapped up in a nice cover. I think this is a great choice for a Bible.
FTC Declaration: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through their book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Book Reviews :: God Bless America, God Bless Texas, and God Bless Florida (A Land That I Love Book series) illustrated by Peter Francis

God Bless America, God Bless Texas, and God Bless Florida are three new board books from the A Land That I Love Book series (illustrated by Peter Francis). Because the three books share many qualities, I am going to review them together. 

In God Bless America, Henry the bear takes a trip across the USA. He travels to New York, South Dakota, Florida, Texas, California, and Washington DC before heading home.

In God Bless Texas, Henry the bear takes a trip to Texas. He travels to Guadalupe Peak, Austin, Dallas, the Alamo, Houston, and Big Bend before heading home.

In God Bless Florida, Henry the bear takes a trip to Florida. He travels to Miami, Tallahassee, Daytona, the Everglades, the Space Center, and a "park" (described similar to Walt Disney World without using the name) before heading home.
In each of the three books (God Bless AmericaGod Bless Texas, and God Bless Florida), the first four pages share the same wording (with only the location description changed). The illustrations on the first four pages are very similar as well, with a few changes to reflect the location(s) of his trip. Again the last four pages of each of the three books are worded and illustrated very much the same. In God Bless America, a page or two from both God Bless Texas and God Bless Florida are copied into the main body of the book.

Although I don't think I would pay to purchase more than one of these books (because there is so much overlap with about half of the content being repeated), I do think that they are cute and I really like that Henry the bear ends his trip(s) by praying and thanking God for his fun vacations. I say that...but if one came out about my family's home state I sure would love to own it.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review :: Counting Blessings by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Lee Holland

Counting Blessings is a children's board book, written in rhyme.
Counting Blessings counts through ten blessings that the little bunny has as you might find in many counting books. What I think makes Counting Blessings unique is that the list of blessings continues on after the counting. The original list of blessings is more focused on what the little bunny has directly (family, friends, food, clothing, etc.), with the continuation of blessings being more universal (colors, snow, songs, puddles, grass, animals, etc.). I love that Counting Blessings states that our blessings can never truly be counted.

Although Counting Blessings does not directly reference faith or God, I feel like this is a great book to help teach your little ones about the many blessings that God gives. I look forward to reading Counting Blessings with my kids, over and over.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review :: 7 Days of Awesome: A Creation Tale by Shawn Byous, illustrated by Colin Jack

7 Days of Awesome is a hard cover children's book, written in rhyme. (There is also a dust jacket. Both the dust jacket and the hard cover feature the same cover image.)
The rhyming text in 7 Days of Awesome feels Dr. Seuss-ish. It is very fun to read and the colorful pictures are great, too.

I have read many children's books about creation, and I feel like 7 Days of Awesome is definitely one of the most (if not the most) entertaining. I'll definitely be reading this one with my kids again and again. Five stars, for sure!
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Review :: God is Watching Over You by PJ Lyons, illustrated by Tim Warnes

God is Watching Over You is a children's board book, written in rhyme. (Another cute board book by the same author/illustrator team is Thank You, Lord, For Everything.)
God is Watching Over You is a great little book that is centered on the idea that God is always watching over you - I think it is really a great topic to share with your little ones.

The illustrations in God is Watching Over You are really cute. They feature the little lamb on the cover and follow him as the night ends and he gets ready for bed.

God is Watching Over You is a cute book and a wonderful choice for your family's bookshelf.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Reviews :: Sticker & Activity Books - Adventure Bible Wild About the Bible & The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Fun

The Adventure Bible Wild About the Bible Sticker & Activity Book is a 32 page activity book with an insert of over 50 reusable stickers. The pages in the activity book are full-color (with the exceptions of the images that are intended to be colored in by the child).
In my opinion, this particular sticker and activity book would probably work best for 6-8 year olds. There are a range of activities such as:
  • basic coloring
  • simple mazes
  • finding stickers to complete the pictures
  • word searches
  • a crossword puzzle
  • solving secret codes
  • connect-the-dots pictures (with numbers up through 30)
  • word scrambles
The pages in the Adventure Bible Wild About the Bible Sticker & Activity Book cover various popular Bible stories.



The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Fun Sticker & Activity Book is a 32 page activity book with an insert of over 50 reusable stickers. The pages in the activity book are full-color (with the exceptions of the images that are intended to be colored in by the child).
In my opinion, this sticker and activity book would probably work best for 5-7 year olds. There are a range of activities such as:
  • basic coloring
  • simple mazes
  • finding stickers to complete the pictures
  • a simple word search
  • a simple crossword puzzle
  • search-and-find pictures
  • a connect-the-dots picture (with numbers up through 26)
  • a color-by-number picture
The pages in The Berenstain Bears Bear Country Fun Sticker & Activity Book cover various topics that you might find in any of The Berenstain Bears books. Although this book is not necessarily about the Bible or Bible stories, you will find references to God and church.



I am impressed at what you can get for under $7 retail. The full-color pages are fun to look at even without the activities, and the activities and stickers just add to the fun. I think that these sticker and activity books are a great value and would be a great gift for any child. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.