Posted in Adult Nonfiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading

ANYTHING BY JENNIE ALLEN

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How can I possibly pray “Anything, LORD?”  Those kind of words have always filled me with fear.  What might God do with me?  Where might He send me?  What if I don’t want to do that?  But how can I disobey my God?

We live life chasing things of the world trying to fill those empty places inside of us.  For a moment, that new home, the nice car, the cute dress, the different job seems to make us feel better, happier, more content…for.a.moment.  Then we revert back to feeling the same way…discontent, unhappy, sad, yet still looking for what might satisfy us.  On page 46, Jennie says, “So the concrete things we can see and touch, they become the wind, they become the things we try to catch, and over and over, they pass through our fingers and souls, keeping us empty.  But when I take my empty self to God, he feels familiar and stable and more like concrete than wind.”        

Turning to God in our quiet moments, we begin to hear Him, to hear from Him.  We hear what plans He has for us.  But it is not just about listening.  It is about letting pieces of the self-pie go and surrendering that self to God.  He wants an undivided child to work through in order to touch others in this world.  God wants us to seek Him first and foremost.  He wants all of us.  The prayer, “God we will do anything.  Anything” is an incredibly difficult prayer to pray.  Yet if we truly want to walk with Him and be His servant in this world, praying “Anything” is just what each one of us needs to do.  

Jennie Allen’s book will turn your mind over, make your heart beat faster, and will give you plenty to ponder.  For such a young woman, she is beautifully wise and compassionate.  Her book is well worth reading, but not just to read from page to page.  There is meat here…meat to chew upon, to digest, to be absorbed into our bloodstreams in order for those nutrients of the Christlife to be absorbed into our spiritual bodies to grow as Christians.  God is not a God to be feared (I am still learning).  He is compassionate and just and loving.  He knows His plans for us.  He just wants to take us there, but he cannot until we release, surrender, abandon this person that we are in this world.  Only then can He use us for His glory.  Praying “Anything” is a mighty prayer, a courageous prayer, a serious Christian prayer.  May we each find the stability, the comfort, and the power of God.

Award
2013 New Author of the Year Christian Book Award

Author
Jennie Allen
is a young woman, is passionate, and is inspirational.  Jennie Allen states on her website: My passion is to inspire a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. I love words and I believe God uses them to heal souls and to reveal Himself to people.  She received her Master’s in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.  She is the author of two Bible studies, Stuck and Chase.  She was named by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) “New Author of the Year” winner of Anything and Restless, which also includes a DVD-based study.  She is the founder of IF: Gathering, http://ifgathering.com/home/   Jennie and her husband Zac, have four children.   You can find more about Jennie @  http://www.jennieallen.com/

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780849947056
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Originally reviewed for first book blog in June, 2014.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Picture Book, Reading

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY by Judith Viorst

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“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”

Carpool, school, friendship and then feeling leftout, no dessert in his lunch bag like everyone else, a dental appointment where a cavity was found were just part of the many things that Alexander experienced that gave him this “no good, very bad day.”  The more Alexander experienced, the more things around him gave him these “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” feelings.  At bedtime, his mom reminds him that “some days are like that.”   I heartily agree.  Yes, they are!

This is a good book to help children know that not every day is wonderful.  They can see that they are not the only ones who have some bad days, but they can also learn to look for the good in a day.  It has been over forty years since this book was first published, continuing to remind us that we will have days that just don’t go as we had hoped or expected.  It doesn’t matter how old or young we are, where we live, or who we are or who we are not; we just might have a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day(s).”

Ray Cruz, the illustrator, drew detailed scenes using pen and black ink contrasting on white paper.  Alexander’s facial expressions and his moods focus the reader’s attention on his latest predicament with each turn of the page.

Reading Level: 5 – 8 Years

Author:
Judith Viorst is an American author, newspaper journalist, and psychoanalysis researcher.  She is a prolific writer of poetry for children and adults, as well as books for both groups.  She has also written musicals which have been performed around the country.  She graduated from the Newark College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University.  She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband of 54 years, Milton Viorst, a political writer.
More about Judith Viorst can be found at http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Judith-Viorst/707395
http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/family/alexander/author.html
http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/judith-viorst

Illustrator:
Ray Cruz is the illustrator and an author.  Little is known of Mr. Cruz, but you can check out the many books he has illustrated as well as the ones he has written at http://www.jacketflap.com/ray-cruz/128856

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780689711732
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/15/1987 (original publication date 1972)
  • Series: Alexander Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.52 (w) x 7.42 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Originally, I reviewed this in August, 2014.

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

A LIBRARY BOOK FOR BEAR BY BONNY BECKER

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“Bear had never been to the library….  Bear was quite sure he had all the books he would ever need.” 

So this story begins.  He had seven (7!!) books and he was sure that he had enough!  We know differently, don’t we?

His friend, Mouse, and he were supposed to go to the library, but now that Mouse had come for him, he was sure that he had made a mistake in accepting this invitation.  But Bear consented, put his roller skates on; Mouse hopped into the basket carried by Bear, and off they went.  As they approached the library, which could have been a Carnegie library for its grand outward style, Bear called it, “Most excessive.”  Then when he walked into the library and saw all of the books and the size of the library, he proclaimed, “Terribly extravagant.”  Mouse began to bring books to Bear, hoping that Bear would find one that peaked his interest, but Bear’s voice only grew louder and louder with each new negative response to Mouse.  A patron told him, “Quiet voices in the library.”  He was also shushed by a mother squirrel from the other side of a bookshelf.  Then, to his amazement, he saw many young animal patrons with a parent or two listening intently to the librarian as she read a children’s book for story time.  After another doubtful moment when Bear could just not handle being in the library, the librarian caught his attention.  She was able to make a real library book reader out of Bear, but you will have to read the story to find out how she managed this!

The illustrations are soft and easy to look at as the story unfolds through each page.  Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton have worked together on the series of Bear and Mouse books since 2008, making this one the sixth in that series.
Reading Level:  3 – 7 Years

Bonny Becker had a dream of becoming a writer, but before she published her first book, she went to college two times, getting a degree in Psychology and a degree in English/Creative Writing.  She is the author of six books about Bear and Mouse, including the New York Times bestseller A Visitor for Bear. She is also the author of a number of award-winning picture books and middle-grade novels. Bonny Becker lives in Seattle with her online presence @ http://bonnybecker.com/

Kady MacDonald Denton is an award-winning illustrator and has authored some of her own children’s books as well.  She observed in 2011 that “I’m in that quickly-shrinking group of illustrators who doesn’t use a computer at any stage in the illustration process.”  Kady MacDonald Denton lives in Ontario, Canada and can also be found @ http://kadymacdonalddenton.ca/

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780763649241
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2014
  • Series: Bear and Mouse Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally, I reviewed this book in August, 2014 for my first book blog site.

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Poetry, Reading

A GIRAFFE AND A HALF by Shel Silverstein — 50th Anniversary Edition

3534942If you had a giraffe and he stretched another half . . . you would have a giraffe and a half.

And if you glued a rose to the tip of his nose . . .

And . . . if he put on a shoe and then stepped in some glue . .

And if he used a chair to comb his hair . . .

And so it goes until . . . .

A rhyming, silly book that is fifty years old this year, first published in 1964.  It is still a favorite and a great read-aloud.  It is filled with funny situations, mostly ones that probably never could happen except in one’s imagination (and seen in a book), but they are so fun and so laughable.

Shel Silverstein’s is the artist as well and has drawn wonderful black line drawings on white paper that dance with the rhyming words on every page.  This fiftieth anniversary edition has the original cover art from 1964.

Zany.  Goofy.  Fun!  You can’t help but love this silly book and the giraffe which gets into all kinds of crazy situations.

Reading Level: 4 – 8 Years

Author/Illustrator:
Shel Silverstein is the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.
He served in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea in the ’50s and drew cartoons for Stars and Stripes, the American military publication.   He also wrote several songs.  His country-western song “A Boy Named Sue” was a hit for Johnny Cash in 1969.  His song for Postcards From the Edge, “I’m Checkin’ Out,” was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe.   Shel Silverstein was born September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, and died on May 10, 1999.  He is remembered in all the smiles he put on our faces as we read his many books which include Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?, and Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back.  His more serious but wonderful book is The Giving Tree.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780060256555
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/4/1964
  • Edition description: 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

2869037_origOriginally reviewed May, 2014 on first blog site.

Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Classic, Poetry, Reading

A FAMILY OF POEMS BY CAROLINE KENNEDY

4843940A Family of Poems – My Favorite Poetry for Children is an especially fine collection of poetry.  Caroline was raised with poems.  She was encouraged to write them, to illustrate them, to choose a favorite poem and use it in a birthday card.  “If our parents read to us as children, we remember the closeness of the moments together, the sound and power of voice and expression, the sense of wonder that a poem inspires,” said Caroline Kennedy as she shared thoughts about piecing this anthology together.  Ms. Kennedy wrote the introduction for the entire book and then for each of the seven sections.  She includes memories from her childhood, the importance of poetry in her life, along with thoughts about the power of reading together.

This book has over 100 poems from well-known authors  (A.A. Milne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack Prelutsky, Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, T.S. Eliot, Carl Sandberg, William Shakespeare) two poems by her mother, and poetry from the Bible.  These poems are placed into sections reflecting a child’s world: About Me, That’s So Silly, Animals, The Seasons, The Seashore, Adventure, and Bedtime.

A sampling:

  • About Me:“‘Hope’ is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • That’s So Silly:“Happiness” by A. A. Milne and Today is Very Boring” by Jack Prelutsky
  • Animals:“The Porcupine” by Ogden Nash and “The Crocodile” by Lewis Carroll
  • Seasons:“Ecclesiastes 3:1-8” Holy Bible, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “The Daffodils” by William Wordsworth
  • Seashore:“Sea Joy” by Jacqueline Bouvier and “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” by e.e. cummings
  • Adventure:  “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat” by Edward Lear and “Goblin Feet” by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Bedtime:“Sweet and Low” by Alfred Lord Tennyson and “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket” by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

There is a Table of Contents and an Index for finding just the poem you need for any given moment.  Near the end, the poems that were not written in English to begin with are written in their original language, making it rather enjoyable to read when you know one or more of these languages or if you are up for learning a poem in its native tongue.

The illustrations are outstanding and beautifully dance with each poem.  Jon J Muth is an exceptional artist, binding each poem with a painting or drawing, making this anthology such a delight to read and share.

Reading Level:  4 – 12 Years

Awards:  
New York Times best-seller

Author:
Caroline Kennedy is the editor of eight New York Times bestselling books on American history, politics, constitutional law and poetry, including She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems and A Family of Poems.  She is the Honorary President of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and has this book for sale on the site @ http://store.jfklibrary.org/A-Family-of-Poems-by-Caroline-Kennedy/PAAAIABHJOEIKFDC/product   Ms. Kennedy is also the United States Ambassador to Japan.  Her experience working with the New York City schools has shown her “how poetry can connect us to each other in new and powerful ways.”  

Illustrator:
Jon J Muth is the author and artist of the New York Times best-seller and Caldecott Honor book, Zen Shorts.  He has illustrated many award-winning books.  Jon can be found @ http://jonjmuth.com
“Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, I drew and drew and drew and drew, and painted. Drawing was my way of making things exist which didn’t exist. And writing became a way to have my drawings interact. My mother was an art teacher and she took me to visit museums all over the United States. I studied painting, drawing and printmaking in several schools here and in Europe.”   

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780786851119
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Originally reviewed on first blog site March, 2014.

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