2019 February

Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

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Okay, total honesty? This is probably my favorite of Luke’s prayer books. It has everything—Scripture verses, rhyming devotional, ends with a prayer. Boom. Complete package. Oh wait. There’s more! Stinkin’ cute animal characters all throughout the pages. Can your heart take this much ooey-gooey sweetness?

There is a theme to every page and all three components (verse, devotion, prayer) match the topic. Some of the gratefulness themes include thanking God for. . . listening, loving, watching, rescuing, singing, teaching, showing, blessing, encouraging, understanding, shining, befriending, choosing, promising, and planning. It’s a great storybook for bedtime, because these wholesome words encourage your little one to dwell on all of God’s blessings as his/her last thoughts of the day. The main character is a sheep. Some people count sheep to go to sleep, but what about counting your blessings?

Bedtime Prayers (My First Book of Prayers) by The Clever Factory

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This is a short and sweet board book that was gifted to me at my baby shower. (Gee, I feel like I am always writing that origin of ownership. We were truly blessed with a lot of books!) Anyway, it is part of series which is themed for prayers a child might use throughout the day: Bedtime Prayers, Friendship Prayers, Thank You Prayers, and Mealtime Prayers. This one covers —you guessed it— a prayer to say at bedtime. It begins with a sweet little rabbit character getting ready, brushing his teeth. Then, his parents read a storybook, kneel for prayers, and tuck their child in. The last page shows the rabbit child, snuggling his stuffed toy in a dark room with a big, old smile on his face. Ahhh, doesn’t that just leave you with warm and fuzzy contentment?

It’s a super short story, word-wise. Each page only has two lines, but they do rhyme. So that’s fun! My favorite thing about the book is the art. I love the color palette, the character designs, and the consistency of the scenes. I just love these little gems that fell into our lap! Our baby boy is growing to appreciate them, too!

Jesus Loves Me! (My First Book of Prayers) by Lisa M. Gardiner

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This board book is a part of series, My First Book of Prayers. I don’t believe there’s any specific order you must read them in. Jesus Loves Me was gifted to me at my baby shower by my mother-in-law. This one focuses on traditional, old-fashioned hymns most Christians grow up singing. Each page is a different hymn, written out, word-for-word. The songs include: All Things Bright and Beautiful, Jesus Loves Me, Michael Row the Boat, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

There is comfort found in these familiar words and verses. The tune, just like any nursery song, can easily get stuck in your head for days. The accompanying illustrations, also done by Lisa Gardiner, match the style perfectly. Two thumbs up!

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren

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This is one of those baby books that get me all teared up and emotional. I don’t think that’s an unusual reaction either. As a mom (or dad) reads this story to their child they can’t help but relive their own journey to parenthood. You can’t help but be touched with the sweet, and very familiar, scenario of a child asking where she came from. Mama Bear goes over all the stage: from wanting, celebrating, waiting, preparing, growing, delivering, etc. After each step in the journey, Little Cub asks questions and Mama explains, ending with the consoling phrase, “Because God gave us you”. The repeated phrase wraps the reader in loving comfort and wonder.

Each time I read this book, I find something new I like. Writing this review had me going back through admiring the illustrations. Laura J. Bryant does a beautiful job. I especially like the variety of arctic animals portrayed.

This book does a marvelous job of expressing a parent’s gratitude for the gift of having their child. I love sharing this story with my precious baby. All the warm and fuzzy feelings!

Bible Tales Children's Book Bundle by Sarah Conner

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These Bible Tales come from a set of six board books that focus on Bible stories and parables about animals. As you would expect. . . they are stinkin’ cute! These stories are bite-size versions of the actual Biblical chapters, so they are perfect to introduce your tiny tot to. They aren’t really told from the perspective of the animal like I assumed, but the titled animal is the star and focal point.

The author, Sara Conner, is also the illustrator of the series. Bold colors, kid-friendly style, and overall simple design enhances the books. Bravo!

Which Bible story was your favorite as a child? I have always loved animals, so I guess you could say these struck a chord with my inner child.

The set includes: The Camel’s Tale, The Lion’s Tale, The Whale’s Tale, The Zebra’s Tale, The Donkey’s Tale, and The Lamb’s Tale.

My First Library by Baby Einstein

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Baby Einstein has a collection of mini board books that are perfectly sized for newborns and infants. So teeny-tiny! Luke has grabbed, held, and nibbled on these books as soon as he developed those fine motor skills.

This collection contains: Bath Time, Good Night, Happy Birthday, Colors of the Rainbow, Four Seasons, Play Day, Fruits & Veggies, Things That Go, Number Farm, At the Beach, Jungle Safari, & At the Park (12 stories in all).

Every little board book has 10 chunky pages, and they are pretty durable (as tested by my Luke). Each one has a different theme/subject. I love the variety and the topic relatability. The stories focus on constants in a child’s life such as bedtime, play dates, and foods. Einstein board books are a simple way to introduce your child to these everyday subjects!

The collection comes in a cute box with a peek-a-boo window and handle for carrying. Our box set was a baby shower gift from my hubby’s co-worker. Tell me about a gift you received that has become a favorite for you or your child. What would you recommend as “essential” for soon-to-be mommies and daddies?

Little Suzy's Zoo: Rainy Day Friends by Nancy Parent

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Perfect weather to get a shot for this book! “Little Suzy’s Zoo: Rainy Day Friends” is a short and sweet board book. The story follows some of the familiar characters of the “Little Suzy’s Zoo” crew. It begins with Little Suzy friends worried their turtle buddies will get wet in the impending rain. How stinking cute is that?! Now, I love turtles 🐢, so this subject struck a chord with me. Funny plot + adorable characters = 👍
What’s not to love about friends caring about others?

Little Suzy’s Zoo is full of cutie-patooties. What beloved cast of characters from your childhood still sticks with you? I loved reading/watching Arthur and Berenstain Bears.

King Raven Trilogy by Stephen Lawhead

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This review might be the harshest I have written. I poured hours into this long trilogy. I fell into a cycle of picking it up, putting it down when life got crazy, forgetting the storyline, starting the entire series over again to “refresh” my memory. A long cast of characters and drawn-out descriptive settings definitely took a toll on my reading speed. But, after finally persisting and completing all three books: the ending left me soured on the whole story. I’ll admit frustration and disappointment flavor my review of this retelling of Robin Hood myth.

** spoiler alert ** King Raven Trilogy: Hood, Scarlet, & Tuck.

I am not one to shy away from long descriptions, and I can appreciate a full-bodied fantasy story. (Heaven knows I over-share details in my own storytelling. The scenes are thoroughly described, almost to the point of being redundant. Characters’ names, language use, and locations were a bit hard to follow due to the unusual spellings. I understand the author was basing it on old Welsh, but it does slow the reader down to wade through Celtic spellings. Lastly, I found the death of the child, Nia, totally unnecessary. It did not further the story nor force a character’s growth. On the contrary, her death was not as grieved as Angharad’s. The focus of a mournful scene is split unequally with Nia’s parents and the protagonist. Emotionally, I wanted to grieve with Bran, but I couldn’t get past my shock and frustration of Nia’s demise.

Wingless by Heather Trim


Wingless by Heather Trim is the sequel to Wingbound. Lemme tell ya..... I couldn’t wait to dive into this! The author left quite the cliffhanger in Book 1.
So, an interesting thing about this book is the point of view change throughout the story flow. The author flip-flopped perspective between Ledger (the main character of the first book) and his older brother, Tolliver. You’d think this would become confusing and hard to follow, but she does the POV change at the start of each chapter and clearly labels it.
I admit to having a soft-spot for Ledger since the reader follows him in Wingbound. He’s such a lovable character! I think of Ledger as a lanky and timid underdog. But, I did enjoy discovering more about Tolliver. His secret past consumes him in this storyline, but hey, that drives the action!
Wingless definitely has more heart-wrenching moments than the first. More drama and plot-twists are sprinkled along the way, too.
Heather Trim hooked me again. I can’t wait until Book 3. She left us, and the peoples of Ellery and Balfour dangling. I do have a small suspicion the reader might get a third POV from Angus, one of the core characters. But that’s just me speculating 🤔
I am so honored Heather sent me the e-version in exchange for a review and promotion.

The Tooth Book by Theo LeSieg

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Who doesn’t love Dr. Suess? This one was written under Theo LeSieg which was a different pseudonym Ted Geisel used for books he didn’t illustrate himself. Joe Mathieu is the illustrator. Not to be harsh on his work, but the pictures are my least favorite part. I find them to be a little on the creepy side due to the exaggerated mouths & teeth, but it’s for kids. Of course, it’s okay to be silly! "The Tooth Book" is special to me and my baby, because my aunt (and Luke’s great-aunt) got it for my baby shower. She picked it out especially because she’s a hygienist and my father is a dentist. So you could say teeth are kinda important to my family!

Obviously, I LOVE my dentist, but I know a lot of people have anxiety going to their appointments. Are you afraid of the dentist?

Books can help us deal with our fears. What other books helped you overcome those negative emotions? (Ooo, this question can go deep!)