Would you like to know?

would-you-like-to-knowAuthor: Tim Dowley

Illustrator: Eira Reeves

Publisher: Candle Books

Release Date: August 19, 2016

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A way to open the door to questions about Christianity with your child.

Ever wonder how to start the conversation with your young child about who is God or Jesus? What about the true story of Easter?  Or how to pray? This set of short books gives you the opportunity to do just that.  Easy to read with pictures on each page give young kids a chance to easily read along and ask questions.  I would say that this set of books would be great for kids that are aged 3 to 6.  They are short and easy to follow along with, but kids that are able to read will easily be able to read them on their own.  The stories are able to lead the children to understand and ask questions.  This would be a good set to have around your house or church library.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Moore’s Code

moores-codeAuthor: Chautona Havig

Publisher: Create Space

Release Date: September 2014

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fun lighthearted story about Santa, everyone around him, and what they do when a little boy finds out all their secrets.

Young Andy Heath is determined to find out the truth about Santa and Christmas after reading a famous poem and finding clues missed by everyone else who has read it. If he’s right, this will be the best Christmas he has ever had.  Andy tries to capture Santa and get the huge sack full of toys all for himself.  Unfortunately nothing goes as planned.  While he tries to figure out how to solve his problem, the elves at the North Pole are dealing with their own problems.  Not only is Santa missing, but now Clause Castle is under attack from Scrooge Clause who wants it for himself and to stop Christmas from coming again.

This is the cutest little book I have read in a long time. The tie-ins of all the extra characters made the story that much better.  I don’t want to give much away and ruin the story but I will say that I had a smile on my face the whole time. Young Andy Heath is the kind of spirited boy you would expect to find in the middle of a tale like this.  I did find his tantrums a little tiring at times, but that had to be included in order to show his change throughout the story.  I thought I would enjoy the moments with him and Santa the best, but the real story kicked off with Mistletoe and Merry Clause as well as the other elves.  All they did to find Santa and keep the castle safe really made the story.

One of the most fun I have had reading a Christmas story in a long time.

VeggieTales: The Best Christmas Gift Ever

christmas-giftAuthor: Melinda R. L. Rumbaugh

Publisher: Worthy Kids

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Helping kids understand the true meaning of Christmas!

The VeggieTales get together to share the understanding of Christmas. From putting up the Christmas tree to caroling to gift giving, they have a rhyme for it all.  But the most important part of Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, our savior, which they highlight most of all.

This is a very easy to read book that toddlers to preschool age kids will enjoy. And those clever VeggieTales are there to help keep their interest.  I read this with my 17 month old son (and still reading multiple times a day).  He really enjoys it and it conveys a great message.  I recommend this to all who love the VeggieTales as well as those with young kids.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Larger-Than-Life-Lara

laraAuthor: Dandi Daley Mackall

Publisher: Tyndale

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

This book that should be read by all young kids! It that tackles a difficult topic in a beautiful way.

Laney Grafton is a ten-year-old writing a story about what happens when her class gets a new girl who isn’t like everyone else. When Lara shows up in class, it is obvious from looking at her that she will be the target of bullying.  She is larger than anyone these fourth graders have ever seen.  Instead of letting the bullying beat her down, Lara surprises everyone and smiles through it all.  Several of the kids go above and beyond with how harsh and cruel they are.  Throughout it all, Laney stays quiet since she is being left alone for once.  With crafty titles about storytelling and an overall extraordinary tale about a girl that is able to transform an entire class, Larger-Than-Life-Lara shows us the best and worst in every single one of us.

Bullying is such a horrible aspect of growing up that unfortunately almost everyone has to deal with at some point. Larger-Than-Life Lara tackles this subject in a unique way.  By telling the story from Laney’s point of view, we see how everyone is affected in many different ways.  This is a book that I think should be in all schools and read and discussed together.  Kids of all ages could get so much out of this book.  The way that Lara reacted to the treatment of the other kids shows how she is Larger than Life in more ways than just here size. We could all learn from all of the characters in this book, either in how to act or how not to treat someone.  At times, the writing style seems a little odd but since the narrator is a ten year old it worked out really well.  The book is short, less than 200 pages, making it an easy read.  I finished it in one day.  I hate to see the need for books like this, but it is needed now more than ever.  So many kids are bullied in one way or another and being over weight is probably one of the hardest to deal with.  Mackall did an excellent job setting up this story in a way that will make an impact with readers while also not being too lengthy and losing younger readers.  Overall this was an excellent read that I will be high recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Bad Magic

bad-magicAuthor: Pseudonymous Bosch

Publisher: Little Brown

Release Date: September 16, 2014

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The author of The Secret Series is back with a new series that will make you believe what you thought unbelievable.

Clay used to believe in magic, but now to him it is BAD, fake, as unreal as it gets. He has a journal he keeps and when words from his journal appear on the school wall tagged as graffiti, he is blamed.  He is kicked out of school and his only hope of returning is to attend Earth Ranch, a camp for troubled young kids on a remote volcanic island.  He isn’t happy about it but he goes.  The longer he is there the less he can deny that the island has some interesting features.  He doesn’t want to call it a magical island, but that is all he can think of to call it.  Nothing is as it seems and he becomes more determined to find out the truth about the island than to find a way home.

When I read The Secret Series I was quickly intrigued by this new series for young readers. It was fun, witty, and totally out of the ordinary.  I wasn’t very pleased with the way that series ended, which made me a little hesitant, only a little, to start this new series.  I wanted to see what Bosch had in store for readers. At the beginning, it didn’t seem to be related to The Secret Series.  (Small Spoiler, there is a connection to the secret series, Clay, the main character here, is the younger brother of Max-Earnest, one of the main characters of The Secret Series.)  With that being said, I’m pleased to say that Bad Magic exceeded my expectations.  The story goes in an entirely different direction than the previous series and didn’t lose me for a second.  I read this very quickly and didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the characters or what was going on.  There are other connections to a few YA/Children’s books here, such as Holes by Louis Sachar, kids being sent to a delinquent camp and Peter Pan, a group of lost boys/girls working together with types of magic.  All that rolled into one make for a very interesting new series.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!