Sunday, January 24, 2016

Flora and Uylsses

Flora & Ulysses *****
by Kate DiCamillo

Overview: Flora and Ulysses is a great story about a girl named Flora who saves a squirrel. Flora's mother is a typewriter; she writes love stories. Flora's mom also has a lamp, Maryann, who is a big part of the story.
Flora believes the squirrel, Ulysses, is a superhero. Ulysses writes poems about things. 
After all the trouble Ulysses gets into, Flora's mother wants to kill it! Flora's mother gives her husband the job to kill it. The dad doesn't want to kill it either, so he takes Flora into the car, and doesn't kill the squirrel. Then Flora's neighbor, Aunt Tootie, has a niece William Spiver. William Spiver thinks he's blind and wears black glasses. You'll see if William Spiver is really blind.

Positive Elements: Friendship, team work, and love

Negative Elements: Smoking

In Conclusion, Flora and Ulysses is a great book for ages seven to thirteen. 

Written By: Summer Staples, 9. 



Saturday, January 23, 2016

Raising Uncommon Kids

Raising Uncommon Kids ****
by Sami Cone

Overview: Rather than write a book about how to raise selfless kids, Sami Cone writes to the parents that they must first let God work in their lives. If we want selfless, uncommon kids, then we must be selfless, uncommon parents. She talks about the fruits of the spirit in relation to different areas of our lives. For example, she talks about living out love in our homes, about having kindness toward our neighbors, and compassion for the world around us. Each of the 12 traits also focus on an area of our lives...home, neighbors, school, city, world, etc.
Themes: Christian living, parenting
Positive elements: I loved the organization of the book, and the practical ideas for implementing these character traits in the home. Each section also had a "Mentor Moment," which was a story and advice from an older, wiser woman.

Negative elements: none
Conclusion: I would recommend this book for moms who are looking to be encouraged in their mothering and in their own personal spiritual walk. Sami Cone makes it clear that God is the one who works to change our kids' hearts; however, she does offer practical and Biblical advice to help you point your kids to Jesus. And to remind us mothers that we must ask God to be first changing our hearts and making us selfless.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cats in Paris

Cats in Paris
by Won-Sun Jang

The is a beautiful, soft-covered adult coloring book about cats. I gave it to my seven-year-old to color, and she is so excited! The art work is very detailed, so you have to really take your time in coloring. These fancy coloring books are fun since they are bound like real books and have such high quality paper. I haven't taken to sitting down and coloring, but these books kind of make me want to take up coloring!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sacred Influence

Sacred Influence *****
by Gary Thomas

Overview: Gary Thomas wrote this book for women to show them how God can use wives to greatly influence their husbands. I really enjoyed the chapter on what it means to be a helper to your husband. I also enjoyed the chapter on how men function so differently from women. So often I get frustrated with my husband because he isn't acting like a woman! The last few chapters are devoted to specific troubles a woman may be having with her husband such as a workaholic or angry husband.
Themes: marriage
Positive elements: well-written, Biblically based
Negative: The book is a little slow to get going...the first few chapters I just skimmed.
Conclusion: I would recommend this book to any married woman. Even if you feel like you have a pretty good marriage, this book will still encourage you to purse Christ and love your husband better. If your marriage is in a hard place, it will hopefully encourage you. I only wish I'd read something like this when I was first married. There are also questions in the back so you could go through this with a friend or in a Bible study.

Dear Mr. Knightly

Dear Mr. Knightly *****
by Katherine Reay

Overview: Young Samantha is trying to rise above her broken past and finally enter into a normal life. An anonymous benefactor grants her a scholarship for graduate school to study journalism. The only catch is, she must write him letters about her experiences while in the two-year program. Dear Mr. Knightly is comprised of one-way to letters to this "Mr. Knightly."
Themes: foster care, redemption, friendship, love, classical literature
Posititve elements: This book is very well-written and creative! It's fiction, and yet it is very believable. You truly enter into her story as you read her letters.
Negative elements: none
Conclusion:  I don't normally read Christian fiction, especially love stories. In my experience, they tend to be poorly written, predictive, and silly. This story was none of those things. The book is also full of quotes from the classics including Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Emma, etc. It was the perfect book to relax and read on a cold afternoon or evening. I highly recommend it! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Shiloh *****
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

There once was a dog who was mistreated, and there was a boy. He wanted to let the dog be treated right. As we all know, the dog is Shiloh, and now we all know the dog is treated badly. But at the end of the story, the end is good. I think 8 and 9 year olds will like it. If you like dogs, you may like it when you are 10. 

By: Sabrina, 7

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Winter *****
by Marissa Meyer

Overview: This is the final book of the Lunar Chronicles series. The first book Cinder was the story of Cinderella. (I also reviewed it on the blog.) Then, each book of the series has added a fairy tale character. So, while each book tells its fairy tale, it is also part of one complete story. This last book is the retold story of Snow White.
Themes: friendship, love, good vs. evil, truth vs. deception
Positive elements: great characters, very well-written, fast paced
Negative elements: war, murder (but nothing graphic) 
Conclusion: This was one of the better books in this series. So refreshing to read a good, clean, love and adventure story. I would recommend it for middle schoolers and up.