Sunday, April 6, 2014

Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids by Jill Osborne

Riley learns that life is unpredictable as she goes on an adventure with her friends and family in book 2 of the Good News Shoes series Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids by Jill Osborne. Aimed at pre-teens -- this adventure novel is a great mix of humour and spiritual morals.

Riley Mae is the 12 year old spokesperson for a line of shoes.  To promote the new Riley Mae river sandals, Riley heads to Montana for a photo shoot and there the adventure begins -- or rather -- continues.

Sometimes you can pick up a book 2 in a series and figure out where you are, but this is a time when I wish I had realized this was book 2 and read book 1 first since there were references to the first adventure throughout this novel.  What this book needs is a great big "2" in the upper corner!

Some of the pluses in this book were a reference to sponsoring children and writing letters to them as well as references to making a difference in the lives of others through helping them or sharing the gospel with them.  One quote from the novel that highlights this is 

"God cares more about what we give than what we have."

Some points worth mentioning are the mature themes that are referred to.  Murder and death threats are both mentioned as well as a child who is abandoned by her mother.  Riley's friend, Sunday, has leukemia and, while that is dealt with more in depth, it is handled very positively.  In fact, Sunday is a beacon of hope to everyone around him.

The squeemish (like my daughter) should know that there are references to needles a couple of times and references to an injury as "hamburger".

I like that Riley at one point flips open the Bible to a random page hoping for the answer to her question and she discovers that that doesn't work for her.  Some Christian books have all the answers readily available for the characters and I like that this novel is more true to life.  Sometimes you don't have the answers you hope for right away, but you can still trust that God is with you and is orchestrating things for your good.  

While there is some talk of a crush between two adults, Riley's interest in a boy back home is simple and innocent.  Riley isn't gushing about boys or makeup or fashion.  She doesn't try to impress anyone by acting older than she is.  

Riley is a girl with a growing faith who learns that she has been called to share God's Good News with those around her.  She and her friends are the kinds of Christian role models you want your preteen to read about.  And considering the great adventures Riley and her friends have, the Good News Shoes series are the kinds of book your preteen will want to read.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Adventure Bible Handbook

The Adventure Bible Handbook -- A Wild Ride Through the Bible by Robin Schmitt and David Frees, illustrated by Craig Phillips, published by Zondervan.

I'm sure you've noticed a trend towards comic-style books and graphic novels lately.  Well this comic-style Bible handbook has maps, photographs and works of art that help flesh it out -- making it very visually captivating.

The story line is sure to be a hit too -- with time travelling kids working together to rescue their father as they see first hand stories from the Bible brought to life.  

But I do have some reservations.  One of my concerns is the over-simplification of the 7th commandment:  "Keep your thoughts and actions in check.  Be self-controlled.  Remember your body is a temple of God."

This is something that my kids would instantly notice.  I guess the authors figured they would modify the 10 commandments to be kid specific, but I would like it better if it stated the 10 commandments directly ie: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and then explained it or made it kid specific afterwards.

Another concern of mine is a picture of Ezekiel and the dry bones that come to life that is a bit graphic for younger or more sensitive readers.  My kids are the type who get creeped out by visuals at times when other kids might not bat an eye

Aside from these minor concerns there are some errors that keep me from recommending this handbook whole heartedly.  I don't think my kids would notice them, but I don't want my kids repeating them as facts either.  Some mistakes that other reviewers have mentioned include: who Absalom's mother was, the list of the Kings of Israel and the Kings of Judah being reversed, implying that the Bible was written in two languages originally and not three.

When I have a book based on the Bible I really want it to be true to Scriptures and factual so I can trust what I'm putting in my kids' hands.

The book lays out clearly what sin is, but I wish it was more direct about the solution to sin.  Yes, references are made early on in the book that there had to be "a sacrifice to fix the problem"  and great detail is given to Jesus' death and resurrection, but I wish there had been a clear section answering Nicodemus' question "What must I do to be saved?".  The Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed are all here, but the steps to becoming a Christian have been overlooked.

This book is one that I would recommend only as a supplement to a Bible and not as a Bible itself.  Kids who are unlikely to open a Bible might be willing to start with a comic-style story book and then hopefully use it as a springboard to look at the Bible more in depth.  But unfortunately, many kids will likely read this book for entertainment and leave it at that.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book through in exchange for my honest review.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Kirk Cameron's "Unstoppable" - Giveaway

Kirk Cameron's DVD Unstoppable is a newly released DVD that discusses the question "Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?"

The DVD begins with Kirk telling the story of a 15 year old family friend who passed away recently.  Then Kirk talks about mankind's first experiences with sin and suffering.  Stories from the Bible that are touched on include: creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, the flood, the tower of Babel and Abraham.

What I liked least about the movie is the artistic license that was taken with the story of Adam and Eve.  First, the graphic image of the rib being removed from Adam was over the top in my opinion.  Second, the serpent was depicted as a man with a skin condition.  And third, when Adam and Eve are hiding from God, Adam turns and growls -- presumably at God who is about to find him.

I always thought that God supernaturally removed Adam's rib with no surgery required and no blood as a byproduct (this was pre-fall after all).  I always pictured the serpent as... well... a serpent (but with legs).  And my understanding is that Adam was afraid and ashamed -- not angry.  These three issues alone are enough that I would not want to show this movie to my children or to unsaved friends of family.

There are some music choices (heavy metal/dissonant style) that I didn't love, but I'm sure someone else may think they're great.

What I liked most of all is the metaphor of the rainbow as a bow (a weapon) in the sky.  Kirk was suggesting that the bow points up into the sky referring to the day on the cross when God's judgement and wrath would come to Him instead of to mankind.

Another thought provoking part of the DVD is God's promise to Adam and Eve that one of Eve's descendants would crush the serpent's head and how this was fulfilled in Christ's death and resurrection.  Jesus was able to protect His bride (the church) in a way that Adam hadn't.

The song "The Time is Now" by Warren Barfield was a highlight of the DVD.  And, of course, the moral of the DVD is something that I agree with -- God continually demonstrates his love and mercy for mankind.
I'm not sure who the intended audience is for the DVD, but I would suggest it only for adult Christians who are firm enough in their faith that they can overlook the artistic licenses taken.

Check Out Unstoppable on Twitter and Facebook.

Buy It:  You can buy Unstoppable via the official website.

Win It:  One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the DVD Unstoppable!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Books I've Read in 2014

I love reading books meant for all ages.  Any book with stars by it is one I'd consider reading again in the future (or would consider having my kids read in the future) so presumably you (or your kids) might like it too.  If you've read (or wondered about) any of these books feel free to comment -- I'd love to chat with you...  Oh and if you love a book I don't (or vice versa), we can still be friends.

The Truth of Me, Patricia MacLachlan
This novel tells the story of  a young boy and the relationship he has with his absentee parents and his loving grandma.  Aimed at pre-teens.  An easy read, but some harder themes.

***Someone Named Eva, Joan M. Wolf***
Milada and her family face terrible trials when they are separated by the Nazi's in World War II.  Milada, a young girl from Czechoslovakia, is re-trailed to be the perfect German citizen.  Inspired by real events.  Aimed at pre-teens, but a great read for adults too.

Son, Lois Lowry
This is the fourth book in The Giver series which brings closure for the series and its characters.  I was really drawn into the first part, but liked the second and third parts less.  I was back on track by the ending.  Aimed at teens.  

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, Ellis Weiner
This tongue in check novel will have pre-teens chuckling to themselves as they follow Abigail and John on their journey.  Some sarcasm.  Aimed at pre-teens.    

Messenger, Lois Lowry
This is a sequel to The Giver and Gathering Blue.  This novel tells the continuing story of characters introduced in the first two books.  Themes include doing what's right and loyalty.  Special powers are also thrown into the mix.  Aimed at teens.  

***Escape on the Underground Railroad, Nancy LeSourd***
This is a book in the Liberty Letters series that tied into our homeschool outcome of the Underground Railroad and Canada's part in helping to abolish slavery.  Aimed at pre-teens.  Recommended by Desiree (age 10) and me for any age pre-teen and up.

Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
This sequel to Delirium was hard to get into at first.  I just kept thinking do you or don't you have silverware?  Half way through it picked up pace, but little inconsistencies and predictability in the novel made it frustrating.  Aimed at teens.

Delirium, Lauren Oliver
This dystopian fiction tells of a world where love is considered a disease that you must be cured of.  Lena is looking forward to her procedure until... (dot dot dot).  There was some necessary suspension of belief, but it was an interesting read -- not as violent as other dystopian novels.  Aimed at teens.

*** The Longest Ride, Nicholas Sparks ***
This novel tells the story of two couples -- one couple's story is set during World War II and the other is set in the present day.  Themes include love despite differences, financial struggles, keeping secrets.  Soon to be released as a movie --  I hope it's a great one! 

Pie, Sarah Weeks
This novel tells the story of a young girl and her relationship with her aunt prior to her death.  Themes in this mystery include a secret pie crust recipe, competition and love (in family and friendship).  Aimed at pre-teens.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"1 Girl Nation" CD Giveaway

Hi, I'm Desiree.  I am 10 years old and I am writing a review on this cd.  I like this cd because it has Christian songs about Jesus.  

My favourite song is "While We're Young" because it has a good beat and good lyrics.  The moral is that it's better to believe in Jesus while you're young instead of waiting till you're older so you can save yourself from the heartache of sin.

Here are some of the lyrics:

We’re gonna save ourselves the heartache 

We’re not looking back on what we wished we’d done 
We’re gonna risk it all for one thing 
And live for Jesus while we’re young  

What I dislike about One Girl Nation is I think that the way that they dress is super modelish.  Also I don't like the way they act in the music video.  I would prefer if they were acting normal and wore regular clothes.  

I like the songs on the cd, but I don't like the cd cover.  

I think this cd would be good for girls my age.  I hope you like it too.  Goodbye.

Buy It:  You can buy 1 Girl Nation via LifeWay Christian Stores -- on sale now!

Win It: One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the CD 1 Girl Nation!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising."

~ Desiree ~

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Audrey Bunny" Giveaway

Audrey Bunny, written by Angie Smith and illustrated by Breezy Brookshire, is a delightful picture book about a young girl and the bunny she loves, but at the heart of this simple story there is a message that means so much more...

Audrey is a stuffed bunny who is continually passed over at the toy store because of a smudge over her heart.  She fears her imperfection means that no one will ever pick her.  When she is finally chosen by a young girl she feels she needs to hide her imperfection so as not to be found out.

Ultimately Audrey Bunny and the reader learn that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God  (Psalm 139:14) and He loves us -- imperfections and all.

This book is heartwarming and beautifully illustrated.  The back of the book even contains a Parent Connection page which includes additional verses, discussion questions and an activity.  This book is sure to become a much loved favourite.

Check Out the Audrey Bunny Book Trailer on youtube

Buy It: You can buy Audrey Bunny via B&H Kids 

Win It: One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the hardcover book Audrey Bunny

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising."
~ Chelsey ~

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Can't Wait Willow" Giveaway

Can't Wait Willow, written by Christy Ziglar and beautifully illustrated by Luanne Marten, is the story of a young girl who learns an important life lesson through the gift of a second chance.

Willow has a hard time saying 'no' to various distractions on her way to the Over-the-Top Circus.  When she arrives late and has no money left, Willow realizes that she can't enjoy the Circus or the cotton candy she was so looking forward to.

The purpose of the story is to get children to think beyond instant gratification and see how their current decisions have consequences later.  The moral is: "Sometimes you've got to say 'no' to the good, so you can say 'yes' to the best."  Thankfully, the man who shares the moral also offers Willow grace in the form of a ticket for tomorrow's show and the circus is everything Willow imagined it would be and more...

A neat feature of the book is the little star on each page that helps parent and child to discuss the choices Willow makes along her journey.  Talking about consequences and how one decision impacts another can help children make more thoughtful choices in their own lives.

Can't Wait Willow is the first book from Shine Bright Kids -- a book series that provides children and their families the opportunity to discuss key life skills through the sweet stories of Willow and her friends.

Check Out: Shine Bright Kids for games and resources and to sign up for the newsletter.  
Buy It: You can buy Can't Wait Willow via Barnes and Noble

Win It: One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the hardcover book Can't Wait Willow

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 225: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising."

~ Chelsey ~
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