Monday, October 26, 2015

Doodletopia Cartoons

Doodletopia Cartoons  *****
by Christopher Hart

Overview: This is a fun workbook style how-to book on drawing cartoons. It guides you in drawing different people, animals, settings, outfits, expressions, etc. There are a variety of ways that the book tries to teach you how to draw including drawing the mirror image of a character, finishing the details on an animal, adding clothes to a character, putting different faces on people, changing a basic shape into different kinds of animals, competing a scene, etc.
Theme: drawing cartoons
Positive elements: I like that the book is filled with such a variety of cartoons. I wanted my daughter to be able to learn some new drawing methods, and I was pleased by the variety of things to draw and the good tips. The pictures are also appropriate for kids.
Negative elements: The only gross thing was a page talking about writing with a "horror" look. The letters look like they are dripping with blood. That was a big gross, I thought. But that was the extent of the questionable content.
Conclusion: I would recommend this book for older kids or adults who want to learn to draw or would even just enjoy a fun book to doodle in.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands

The Best Yes   *****
by Lysa TerKeurst

Overview: This is a very practical guide to making wise decisions. The focus of the book is that if we say "yes" to too many things, we won't have the time or energy to say "yes" to the things that God wants us to be doing...our "Best Yeses."
Themes: decision making
Positive elements: humorous, practical, biblical, very well-written, quotes from the book in the back for review, a decision making picture chart for reference
Negative elements: none
Conclusion: We do live in a world where there are so many demands on our time. And it is easy as Christian women especially to feel like it is wrong to say "no" to helping someone. This book will challenge you to look at your life and ask God to show you what his "Best Yeses" are for you right now. And then how to say "no" when you need to. This is a book you could re-read every few years for a refresher...probably worth buying rather than just borrowing.


Wonderstruck   *****
by Brian Selznick

Overview: This is the second graphic novel by Selznick. (His first was the popular Invention of Hugo Cabret.) Two story lines run through this book and converge at the end. The main characters are deaf, and the story centers around a museum.
I loved the mystery of the book and how the art and the text went together so well. One of the stories is told mainly through the drawings and the other through the text. Very creative and enjoying to read! 
I did feel like the story would be hard for younger readers to follow. My 9-year-old read it and understood some of the story. However, a middle schooler would probably get even more out the book.
Themes: family
Positive elements: visually beautiful, explores the Deaf culture, well-written, creative
Negative elements: an out-of-wedlock child, a few different deaths, a kid hiding and smoking, some mysticism
Conclusion: Kids love these illustrated novels because they can read a 630 page book in one day! However, I would only recommend this book to middle schoolers and older. Not only would they be able to follow and appreciate the mystery better, but they could handle some of the negative elements better. 

Puzzle Journey Through Time

Puzzle Journey Through Time   *****
By Rebecca Heddle 

Puzzle Journey Through Time is a great mystery book! They ask you if you can find things. If you can't find it, there are answers in the back. That's one of the reasons I like it! A lot of puzzle or mystery books do tell you the answers in the back. I like the ones that do! Puzzle Through Time is a book for seven and older because there are a lot of words, and they are pretty small, too! They are great for road trips and just reading. There are no bad words. Each page is a new journey with the same charters named Matt and Lou. Matt and Lou travel with a magic box. There are other Puzzle Journey books that are good, too.
Hope you enjoy it!
By: Summer Staples
Age: 9 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Street God

Street God  *****
by Dimas Salaberrios and Angela Elwell Hunt

Overview: Dimas was born with the drive to succeed and be at the top. Unfortunately, he saw the men with the money and power on his street were drug lords. The book takes you on a first-hand journey through the drug world. In and out of jail, close to death many times, Dimas finally surrenders his life to Jesus. The second half of the book shows how he learned day by day how to follow Jesus and put all his drive and energy to work for Jesus instead of himself.
Themes: redemption
Positive elements: The second half of the book is full of story after story of God's miracles.
Negative elements: The drug world is a dark and evil world. The first part of the book talks about murder, theft, sex, drug use, selling drugs, making drugs, prison, witchcraft...probably more things I'm forgetting.
Conclusion: The first half of the book was a bit long as he went into all the details of his drug dealing days. However, the amazing stories of God's faithfulness and relentless pursing of this man made it worth reading. I was truly encouraged and reminded of God's great power! My husband really enjoyed this book as well.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret  *****
by Brian Selznick

This is a story about Hugo Cabret. He tells this story about when he was young. He is a thief, and so whenever he is getting ready to steal, he will rub a button on his coat. Hugo's father died in a fire in the beginning of the story. Hugo runs clocks for the whole train station where he lives. He meets a girl named Isabelle at the toy booth that her godfather owns. When Hugo's father dies in a fire, Hugo finds a broken automaton (robot) that writes a secret letter! Hugo is great at fixing things things because he fixes clocks! He has to fix the robot to find out the secret message. I will let you find out the rest! 

The themes in this story are about friendship and family.

There are only three negative things in the book. There is a lot of stealing, and there is one picture with a immodest mermaid with only a little bit of clothing. Also if you are sensitive to homeless children this wouldn't be a good fit for you!

I give this story five stars because it has a good ending and is a wonderful story! This book has awesome pictures! Almost the whole book is pictures! I loved it! I think this book is good for 8 and older. There are some hard words even I couldn't understand! It is a great book! Enjoy this wonderful story of Hugo Cabret!

By: Summer Staples
Age: 9         

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Time Chamber

The Time Chamber *****
by Daria Song

The Time Chamber is part coloring book and part picture book. It has a soft cover, but the quality is more like a real picture book than a coloring book. The book has a high quality dust cover with lovely gold embossing. The book is printed on high quality paper as well.
The story is about a fairy who lives in a clock. She comes out at night and discovers all the wonders of the little girl's room in which she lives. There are very few words but enough to give the book the feel of a picture book rather than just a coloring book. 
The pictures are beautifully drawn and very detailed. This would make a great gift for a seven-year-old or older girl.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

More for Girls Only Devotions

More for Girls Only Devotions
by Carolyn Larson and Colonel Moutarde

This is a daily devotional book for girls. Each day starts with a short story and Bible verse. Then there is a quiz, a list of ways to apply what you've learned, and some related Bible verses and famous quotes.

My nine-year-old daughter has really been enjoying reading through this book on her own. She feels very grown-up having her own Bible study to do. I'm hoping that she begins a habit of studying God's word daily on her own.

This study is appropriate for young girls around my daughter's age. It isn't a very serious study. If I had a teenager or maybe even middle schooler, I'd want to challenge her with some more in depth study. This is a very light study but perfect to start developing a devotional life.