Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review :: Doodletopia Fairies: Draw, Design, and Color Your Own Super-Magical and Beautiful Fairies by Christopher Hart

Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart is a fun book! It is one of three titles currently in Hart's Doodletopia line of books. It combines instruction, inspiration, and a space for your doodles all in one. This book is intended to be drawn in. 
Doodletopia Fairies is divided into 9 sections. They are:
- Introduction
- Complete Fairy Heads and Faces
- Draw Fairy Bodies
- Create Magical Clothing and Accessories
- Design Fairy Wings and Flying Poses
- Give Your Fairies Personality
- Conjure Up Magical Powers
- Finish Musical Instruments
- Design Fairy Dwellings

The book is printed in two color scales - grayscale and purplescale. The purplescale words and drawings are generally helpful tips and guides (such as base shapes and center lines) to give you a "base" for your drawings.

As in Hart's other Doodletopia books there is great variety (faces, bodies, accessories, poses, scenery, etc.), plenty of fun instruction, and room to practice. The Doodletopia books are instant favorites in our house, and Doodletopia Fairies is no exception. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging For Books book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review :: Journal the Word Bible, KJV, Large Print

Journaling Bibles have become very popular in the past year or two (for good reason), and the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) is one that will fill several "wants" that I have come across in Bible art & journaling circles. (There are several variations of Journal the Word Bibles - large or regular print, different cover styles, different Bible versions, etc.)
The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) comes in a cardstock band/slipcover and has a black hard cover with an elastic strap for closure. It also has a ribbon bookmark. If you have seen the popular ESV single column journaling Bible, the cover size is almost the same for the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print). The text of the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) is larger than standard size, but is slightly smaller than the print in the large print version of the Inspire Bible. (The cover size of the large print version of the Inspire Bible is much larger than the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print), however.) The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) measures approximately 6 1/2" wide x 8 1/8" tall x 2 1/2" thick/deep. It is one of the thicker Bibles in the journaling Bible market.

The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) has black text in a single column format. The words of Christ are in red in this version...a rarity in the journaling Bible market. For the single column, the words span from one side of the column to the other, not leaving extra journaling space as some single column journaling Bibles do. The margin size is approximately 2" wide (with an 8" page height) and are lightly lined. The lines are spaced at 3/16" apart.

As you will find in many KJV Bibles (not sure if it is always the case, as I don't own many KJV), the verse numbers are always at the very left of the column. This makes it easy to find the verse numbers, but may mean that sentences are split up to accommodate this feature. 

The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) has cream/ivory colored pages (toward the yellow end of the range). There are an extra 3 lined pages for notes at the back of the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print).

Finding a journaling Bible is a different search for everyone, but if you prefer KJV, large print, and red lettering for the words of Christ, this is definitely the one for you. 
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, December 27, 2016

Book Review :: The Lord's Prayer: Words of Hope and Happiness, by Rick Warren, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson

The Lord's Prayer is a new book by author Rick Warren. (I am reviewing the board book version, but there is also a hard cover version available.)
The Lord's Prayer goes through the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6: 9b-13) with commentary from Rick Warren. It almost reads as if it is two books in one...with one line or portion of the Lord's prayer (KJV) on each two-page opening with additional wording (by Rick Warren) that corresponds with that portion of the text. The two sets of text are separated, so you can read through the book with just the prayer, just the commentary, or both together. (It is an odd flow, in my opinion, to read them both together, but you can decide for yourself.)

Some of Rick Warren's words seem more related to the actual direction of the prayer than others (ex: for the "and the power" portion from verse 13, he says that we can ask God for strength when we are tired. That part of the prayer seems to be ascribing power and dominion to God as praise, not as a "power source"...but that is just my perception, I guess. I understand that it may not seem "off" to others as it did to me, but just wanted to mention it.

The commentary by Rick Warren is written from the perspective of the reader ("I", "me", etc.) and each page ends with a line to God (from the reader).

The last page opening has the full text of the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6: 9b-13, KJV) on one page and a paragraph about the topic of prayer (by Rick Warren) on the opposite page.

The illustrations are well done with beautiful colors and sweet imagery. I appreciated that it showed diversity in the children depicted.

My little one loves to look at The Lord's Prayer and I think it will continue to be one of his go-to books, even though we may not be reading it in the manner the author may have intended. 
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.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review :: Zacchaeus and Jesus / Jesus and Zacchaeus by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak

Zacchaeus and Jesus is such a neat book! This book is the first time that I encountered the Flipside Stories series, and I loved it! What a unique idea. This is two books in one cover - just flip the book over to read the other story. One side of the book is Zacchaeus and Jesus ("Zacchaeus's Side of the Story"), and the other side is Jesus and Zacchaeus ("Jesus' Side of the Story").
Zacchaeus and Jesus is written in rhyme with short, easy-to-read text.

The illustrations in Zacchaeus and Jesus are my favorite part. I love how big and bold they are and I appreciate the fact that the illustrations are from the perspective of the person "telling" the story (Zacchaeus in the front side, and Jesus in the flip side).  

The Flipside Stories series has won me over - I love this idea!
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, December 20, 2016

Book Review :: Time for Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book by Daniel G. Amen, M. D., illustrations by Gail Yerrill

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead is a book that, per the author, is a "sophisticated psychological visualization game" to help kids get to sleep.
Time for Bed, Sleepyhead is written as if Momma Bear is telling a story to Little Bear, but when you get into the story portion of the book it will sound like you are talking to your child. The short version of the story is that some animals go to the beach, play, come home, and take a bath and get ready for bed.

Put very basically, the author has created an overly detailed, drawn out story...and I can't decide if it is a brilliant sleepytime story or just incredibly boring. I tried a few times to read this to my one and a half year old (who loves books) and he closed it on me several times and tried to reach for other books. (And I can't say I blamed him.) Even though I found it drawn out and boring, I did end up getting tired while reading it, so I guess maybe it works? There are "[yawn here]" cues in the text (so you insert forced yawns), but I did find myself yawning at other times, too.

My favorite part of Time for Bed, Sleepyhead is the adorable illustrations by Gail Yerrill. They are done in soft colors and feature cuddly creatures.

Overall, we will enjoy looking at Time for Bed, Sleepyhead, but I am not sure how often we will be reading 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.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Prince of Peace Christmas Card Set {The Twinery}

Wow!
Christmas is coming up quick

While I do love many things about Christmas (especially the real reason for the season), the abundance of red is just not my style. So, going with a completely non-traditional color scheme of blues, browns, and golds, I created this watercolor Christmas card set:
Since I was creating a card set, I did everything assembly-line style. I started out by stamping the focal image on several pieces of watercolor paper. Next, I added a few highlights with some quick watercolor.
I then hand placed a few small star-shaped sequins, to give it a little bit of sparkle:
Once the watercolor panels were done, I adhered them to a variety of colored card bases that I created from some cardstock.
To finish it all off, I tied everything together with some of The Twinery's Solid Marigold twine. Twine is a great way to keep a stack of cards and envelopes together and ready for giving away, while still being able to see the card design. The bell added an extra holiday touch:
I hope you have a very merry Christmas!
Supplies: 
Twine: The Twinery (Solid Marigold);
Cardstock: Papertrey Ink;
Watercolor Paper: Canson (Watercolor 140# Cold Press);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Prince of Peace);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Other: Martha Stewart (Sequins);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review :: Ready, Set, Find Christmas by Zonderkidz

Ready, Set, Find Christmas is an adorable board book for the Christmas season.
Each of the 5 thick board book pages in Ready, Set, Find Christmas is tabbed, making it easy for little ones to separate and turn the pages. On each tab is a little preview image to show what is on that page of the book. (There are preview images on the backs of the tabs, too.)

On the left side of each page opening in Ready, Set, Find Christmas is a portion of the Christmas story along with 8 images to find. On the right side of each page opening is a full picture, including the images to find.

Ready, Set, Find Christmas is adorably illustrated and has been one of my baby's favorites this season. It's a great book for Christmas.
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, December 14, 2016

Book Review :: Say & Pray Devotions (First Words, Devotions, and Prayers) by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Sarah Ward

We have loved the Say & Pray Bible and Say & Pray Devotions is another great Say & Pray book.
Say & Pray Devotions is a cute choice for a first "devotion" book for your little one. Say & Pray Devotions is a padded hardcover board book, with cute illustrations in a gentle color palette. There are 20 page openings (for a total of 40 pages) that each have: a title, a very short "story" (about 2-3 sentences), a verse (from either ESV, ICB, or NLT), a short prayer, and several first words.

I love that Say & Pray Devotions combines regular situations/activities (in three categories: God's World, God's Gifts, and God's Love) with simple prayers and basic first words. It brings everything together in one place. I think it is a great option for your little one's bookshelf. 
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, December 13, 2016

Book Review :: Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Rachel Clowes

Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is another "love letter" book from Glenys Nellist. Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories takes you through 7 Bible stories themed around the birth of Jesus), with a "Love Letter from God" to go along with each story. 
If you've seen the "love letter" books before, they all share similar attributes. Each love letter is adhered to the page after the story, and the contents of the letter can be accessed by lifting the flap. The pages and love letters are a good weight - not exactly as thick as heavyweight cardstock, but not so thin that you should have to worry much about your 4-8 year olds ripping the pages (unless they are generally rough on books). Each love letter begins with "Dear _______," so a child's name can be written in if you choose. At the end of the book is a blank love letter titled "My Gift to Jesus" that can be filled in by the child. 

These are the stories told in Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories:
- Isaiah's Good News
- Mary's Song
- Joseph's Dream
- Bethlehem's Road
- Jesus Joy!
- Shepherd's Surprise
- Wise Men's Wonder

Each Bible story is retold as a story (not the Biblical text). Each of the stories in Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is three pages long, with a rhyming portion of the story on the second page. The retellings are cute, but if you are looking for something that is strictly biblically accurate, this book is probably not what you are looking for.  I think it is the same with most Bible story books - with each story the author will take certain creative liberties with the retelling. 

Along with each story is a verse ("God's Perfect Promise") that goes along with the theme of the story. (The verse is not taken from the story itself.) Each "Love Letter from God" goes along with the theme as well. The themes are a wonderful start to discussions with your child(ren). 

The illustrations by Sophie Allsopp are great, giving the child plenty to look at without being overwhelming. The illustrations are mainly hand-drawn, but there are a few scanned/photographed pieces mixed in. I wish the illustrations had all been hand-drawn - the artist is very talented.

As I've said before about these books - I think Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is a great book to share with little ones. This is one of those instances where I think it is important that you go with your gut. If you don't like the idea of an author writing words "from God", this is not a book I would suggest for you. If you don't like the idea of Bible stories told in words other than what is directly written in the Bible, this book is not for you. But, if you like to use a variety of books to tell your children about God and His love, and appreciate the perspective and creativity of a variety of authors and artists - get Christmas Love Letters from God: Bible Stories to share with your loved ones.
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, December 12, 2016

Book Review :: A Royal Christmas to Remember by Jeanne Young & Jacqueline Johnson, illustrated by Omar Aranda

 A Royal Christmas to Remember is a new book from The Princess Parables line of books. This is a hard cover book that has a dust jacket featuring glittered accents.

 A Royal Christmas to Remember follows the 5 princesses (Joy, Hope, Grace, Faith, and Charity) as they get ready to celebrate Christmas.The princesses are preparing for their "best Christmas yet" (focused on their possessions) when robbers plunder the village and are finally caught in the castle. Because so many in the village have been robbed, the princesses decide to bring Christmas cheer to the village by decorating the houses and passing out gifts. 
In the end, the five princesses have changed their focus and true Christmas spirit is in the air.

I wasn't sure what I was going to think about  A Royal Christmas to Remember (I've read another book in this series in the past that I didn't care for), but I was pleasantly surprised with the focus coming together in the end.
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.