Friday, February 25, 2011

Paws and Tales: God Cares For You DVD & a Giveaway

We had the chance to receive a copy of Paws and Tales an animated series by Chuck Swindoll and based on his radio show of the same title. We received the God Cares for You DVD from this series which included two 20-25 minute episodes. The first is titled 'The Good Shepherd' where the Wildwood kids have the opportunity to help a Shepard tend his flock while he has to go away for a day. After spending the day with the Shepard no one is sure they really want to take on this task but C.J. sticks with it and shines through in the end. All along the way the characters share about and make comparisons to how Jesus is the good Shepard to us. The second episode is titled 'A Good Foundation' where the kids decide they need to build an official club house for their club. There are lots of teachable moments like cooperation, patience and the main theme of needing to build on a solid foundation whether it's a club house or our lives. These are cute movies that my two really enjoyed. As an adult they did not keep my interest and I found some of the humor silly at times of course they are geared towards children. They are bright and colorful cartoons that are well done. The characters are likable. I thought 'The Good Shepard' episode did a better job at integrating the message throughout the show while the second episode didn't get to the relation to God's word until the conclusion. I asked my kids questions about the show and you can see in the first response that they took more away from 'The Good Shepard'. I think the integration and gradual build was really effective. I'm not sure why that was not followed in the other episode. There are also songs for each episode with a video for each, activity sheets, games and other resources included. I think these movies are a fun way to teach about God's truths that really excited my kids and engaged them. The age range is pre-school to early elementary.

My kid's take on this one:

What did you learn from it?
My oldest (5) - (1st episode)We learned about God. How He helps us, watches us and guards us from bad guys. Oh and He loves us. (2nd episode)You have to learn to wait for your parents and God to help you.

My youngest (3) - Watch out for wolves and that the movie was about God.

Did you think the movie was entertaining and would you want to watch it again?

Both - Yes!

Would you like to see the rest of the series?
There is a preview clip of other Paws & Tales shows and they were asking if they could see more shows.

My oldest - I want to see the show about the train.

My Youngest - I want to see the princess one.

Who was your favorite character(s)?

My oldest - The boys (C.J. and Ned)

My youngest - All the girls (Staci, Gooz and Marsha)

For more information visit

On to the Giveaway:
I have One Gift Certificate good for one copy of Paw & Tales: God Cares for You DVD version from Tyndale publishing. It's redeemable through your local Christian bookstore or via mail from Tyndale publishing. Certificate does not cover taxes where applicable. You can enter to win through Monday, February 28, 5:00 PM eastern standard time.

To Enter:

1. Simply leave a comment

2. For two extra entries follow my blog and leave a comment that you are now a follower or that you are a follower. (Be sure to leave extra comments for each).

This giveaway is open to anyone in the United States. I will either utilize random number generator or the good old draw a name from a hat method of selection. Be sure to leave a way to contact you. If your contact info is not easily attainable I will draw a new winner.

***Certificate expires April 1, 2011, so if you win be sure to get your copy before then.***

I received a free copy of this copy from Tyndale Publishing's review program. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari is the second book in an interesting new series by Donita K. Paul, Evangeline Denmark and illustrated by Vincent Nguyen. I love the characters of Padraig the dragon and Roger the turtle, two really good friends indeed. In this adventure the two friends are camping out for the evening. They are having fun pretending that they are explorers on a safari and wondering what wild animals they will see in the morning or that they are hearing that night. The two friends have a series of fears, and troubles to overcome in their night camping out. But the two friends help one another and work together to overcome each one. The story itself doesn't make reference to scripture or to God as Christian children's books usually do but it does illustrate being courageous, concern for others and how to be a good friend. In the back of the book there is a discussion topic page with questions for you and your kids to discuss which does relate the story to scripture and God's teachings. The authors also share the scripture that this story was based on in this section, Deuteronomy 31:6. It's a longer read good for ages 5 & up. The use of British phrases seemed out of place and caused us to step back from the storyline as they are unfamiliar to my two but other than that it was a fun adventure to join in on. There's also a bonus silly tale in the back called 'The Legend of Mount Sillymanborrow' which is a little of a puzzler read. The watercolor illustrations are colorful, charming and imaginative. I'm looking forward to reading the first book in this series now, titled The Dragon and The Turtle.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Part 2 - Spotlight on the Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Welcome to part two of my spotlight on author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She has published about 16 children's books and even a few adult books too. I'd love to highlight a few of our favorites here today.

First up is a fun little series of simple books that play on the opposite of what one might suspect like a little owl who would rather go to bed than stay up, a pig that's neat and doesn't enjoy having to mess up his room and a pea who wants to eat healthy food rather than junk food for every meal. Little Hoot, Little Pig and Little Pea are illustrated by Jen Corace and her simple line drawing with soft touches of watercolor illustrations add so much charm to these little books. These books have a fun way of teaching kids that it's good to clean up, get your rest and to eat the right foods.

Spoon illustrated by Scott Magoon is a funny book with a great message that we are all special in are own way. The illustrations add lots of humor in their depiction of different utensils like knife, fork, chop sticks and spork.

Bedtime for Mommy has Ms Rosenthal back to her humorous flip on the expected with a little girl attempting to tuck her Mommy in for the night only to be met with the usual excuses of wanting just a few more minutes, a glass of water, a bedtime story and so on. After succeeding at the task of getting Mommy finally to bed the poor little girl now has to get Daddy to bed. Its a great way of using humor to teach kids about situations in this case bedtime. This book was illustrated by LeUyen Pham and is filled with funny, lively and brightly colored pictures.

Other books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal include: Duck! Rabbit!, Yes Day!, One of those Days, the OK book, It's Not Fair!, The Wonder Book and coming soon Al Pha's Bet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons in Love - part 1 spotlight on the author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Continuing on with some sweet Valentine's Day reads is the book Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons in Love by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer. This post is actually one of two of a spotlight on the author post. I decided to break up this post as Ms Rosenthal has published numerous books that are favorites of ours. Also this little series works so well with the Holiday so I felt it would be a fun highlight post of it's own.

This book is one of four 'Cookies' books all which follow a similar format. All have charming illustrations of children and animals baking, sharing cookies and such. These books are a great fit for us and the Holidays because we love making seasonal sugar cookies together. These books look at the meaning of words that relate to the theme of the book and of course cookies. Sample of words defined include: tenderness, trustworthy, bliss and considerate. The words are defined with a heart response not a dictionary definition. This use of example defining of the words makes it very understandable and easy to relate for kids. These are simple, sugary sweet reads that are yummy to share with your little ones. There's even a sugar cookie recipe in the back of this book.

Other titles in this series include: Cookies: Bite-size Life Lessons, One Smart Cookie: Bite-Sized Lessons for the School Years and Beyond, and Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A little book about finding love

This next book has become a Valentine's Day staple around here. It's called Bloom!: A Little Book about Finding Love by Maria Van Lieshout. Bloom has an amazing love only she doesn't realize it because she's busy following an unattainable love instead. A classic love tale indeed. The unattainable love is a blue butterfly that flutters away as butterflies do and leaves Bloom heartbroken. But her friend that has been right there all the time has a special surprise to cheer her up as really good friends often do. The illustrations are simple line drawings with swishes of watercolors. The text is as much a part of the illustrations as pictures themselves. The words are thoughtfully arranged on each page and pink.

Maria Van Lieshout has a series of these little gems including; Peep!: A Little Book about Taking a Leap, Splash!: A Little Book about Bouncing Back and Tumble!: A Little Book about Having it All. They will delight readers of all ages.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Heart is like a Zoo

My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall is a fun book we picked up for this Valentine's Day. The bold illustrations are of different zoo animals made up of collage hearts. There's a cute rhyme that shares how one's heart is as 'snappy as a crab', 'cool as a penguin' and 'jumpy as a frog'. Its a clever fun book that also has some funny comparisons to animal traits. My two giggled several times throughout this read. We did a our own 'heart' animals for a craft to go along with this read. I let the kids pick two out each and I got busy cutting out hearts. Then they helped glue them all together. They loved this and they picked out two more to do the next day! For those who it might not be apparent to, we have a moose, a crab, an owl and a bear.

A Mommy's Adventure stART

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tea Collection's New Spring Clothing Line

Tea Collection has just launched a fabulous new spring clothing line for women and children! This vibrant and colorful collection is Catalonia-inspired and has a distinctively urban, modern feeling. I especially love the coastal vibe of the new Barcelona Beach collection for boys and girls. These pieces, inspired by bright art nouveau tiles, breezy plaids and awesome graphics, are not only beautiful but also they’re wearable. Here are some of my very favorites:

The La Rambla Dress for women is stunning, fashionable and perfectly poised to transition from casual to smart.

The Jardin Ruffle Twirling Dress for girls is absolutely gorgeous and sells for only $29!

The Surfer Stripe Hoodie for boys has a laid back, Barcelona beach feel while remaining super stylish. Best of all, it’s only $27!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Beginning Reader's Bible

The Beginning Reader's Bible compiled by Tama Fortner and illustrated by Marijke ten Cate is impressive. First I must say I simply love the artwork in this Bible. Marijke ten Cate has done an incredible job illustrating this collection of scriptures from the Bible. The pictures are very engaging, vibrant, colorful, detailed and visually beautiful. Anyone would enjoy simply looking through this illustrated version of the Bible. This is a collection of various scripture passages from the Old and New Testaments, 13 from each and is not the Bible in its entirety as the title seems to suggest. The translation used is the International Children's Bible, which isn't one of my favorites but I see how it is understandable for children. There is also a resource guide in the back including items like Bible facts, songs about Jesus, and charts for tracking progress. It is a good Bible for family devotions with young children as well as a great first devotion Bible for older children. Included along with each scripture passage is a scripture verse for memorization, an applicable activity to do along with the reading and another scripture passage selected as a prayer verse. I appreciate this relation of read, memorize, apply and pray. It sets up a good practice of how to read through the Bible. We will use and enjoy this book for many years.

I received a free copy of this book from Book Sneeze blogger review program for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

Could you use a Hug?

Well, I like to get hugs for Valentine's Day as much as I enjoy getting kisses so I've got a book of hugs for you here today. It's called Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell the writer of the 'Mutts' comics has written and illustrated a great little children's book all about hugs. The cat, Jules, decides that he'd like to give the whole world a hug and in doing so will make it better. He makes a Hug To-Do List and heads off around the world. He makes his way eventually to the North Pole where he finds himself alone, 'sniff'. Then out of the white emerges a polar bear who sees how sad Jules is and offers him a hug. So why not share a hug and make the world a little bit better!

I'd like to close this post with a Shel Silverstein poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Hug O' War

'I will not play at tug o'war.
I'd rather play at hug o'war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.'

-Shel Silverstein

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Basket Full of Kisses

Valentine's Day is coming up so I wanted to share some of our favorite reads for the Holiday. Today, I've grouped some of our favorite Valentine books that all focus on kisses.

If Kisses Were Colors by Janet Lawler and illustrated by one of my favorites Alison Jay. A mother shares with her child that if kisses were colors, pebbles, comets, flowers and so on that there would be an abundance of each. The mother concludes that her kisses are her way of showing her love. It's a heartwarming, simple book that is a shower of love to share with your own little ones. The illustrations are gentle and soft perfectly complimenting this story done in Alison Jay's usual folk art, crackle style.

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz is a perfect Valentine's read for even the youngest of kids. A family helps lull their baby to sleep by counting down kisses starting with 10 kisses on babies toes all the way to 1 kiss on baby's head. Sure to fill your little one with love and giggles!

Next up is Kiss Kiss! by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo. Bold, colorful and lush illustrations of jungle animals and their parents accompany this story of a little hippo in such a hurry to start his day that he forgets to do something very important. But all along the way he gets reminders and he hurries home to give his Mom a kiss. My two are often in a hurry to get to their school or play dates that I don't even get a goodbye. I love this great little reminder to say goodbye and that a kiss is nice too.

If Animals Kissed Good Night by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by David Walker is a wonderful good night book close to this little basket of books. Soft, but vibrant pictures of baby animals and their parents kissing goodnight fill this book. The story is of a Mom tucking in her own little one as they wonder together how the different animals might say goodnight. Each kiss shares traits with the animal. One of our favorites is the sloths that kiss so slow that we have to check back in throughout the story to see if they have finished.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Classic Book - Guess How Much I Love You

Love is in the air this month so I thought I'd share Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram for our classic book. It's a sweet story of a father nutbrown hare and his son sharing how much they love one another. I used to play the 'guess how much I love you game' with my Mom. Though back then it was just as wide as my arms could reach. While I've always found this read charming it really became a favorite in my heart when my son started playing 'I love you super duper much...' with me in the evenings. It was something he started up all on his own and I look forward to it as part of nightly routine. I guess there's just a time when kids realize that they feel a lot of love for their family and want to express it. As a parent I always want to share that I love them that much too and so starts up our own little game! My two will be getting this classic book for this Valentine's Day! Shhh, don't tell them okay? I love the soft and sweet watercolor illustrations as much as the story.

I would recommend checking out the entire series of Nutbrown Hare reads: When I'm Big (also titled Guess How Much I Love You in the Spring) Colors Everywhere (Guess How Much I Love You in the Summer) A Surprise for the Nutbrown Hares (Guess How Much I Love You in the Fall), Let's Play in the Snow (Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter) or get all four in the complete Guess How Much I Love You all Year Round.