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Children’s Corner — Near

25 Mar

I am excited to share a wonderfully engaging children’s board book based on Psalm 139. With Sally Lloyd-Jones‘ verse and Jago’s illustrations, Near is sure to become a favorite in your family.

From Sally Lloyd-Jones, the author of the bestselling The Jesus Storybook Bible, comes an uplifting new board book in a soft padded format that is a perfect fit for little hands. Inspired by Psalm 139—which begins, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me — Nears lyrical text reminds little ones that God is with them anywhere they go in God’s wide world.

God is my Father who made everything.

And I am a little explorer of the wide world.

He is near me

And he protects me.

He sees me

And he knows me.

He is strong

And he looks after me.

He is with me—always!

Sally Lloyd-Jones is a Brit who came to the US in 1989 “just for a year.” She’s still here.

Born in Kampala, Uganda, raised in East, and West Africa and at a boarding school in the New Forest, the first book she ever remembers reading all the way through was THE COMPLETE NONSENSE by Edward Lear. Things have not been the same since.

She lives in Manhattan and enjoys dividing her time between the front half of her apartment and the back.

My Impressions:

I loved Near by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The author takes the beloved Psalm 139 and presents it in a way that even the littlest of readers can understand. The verse shows God as creator, provider, and sustainer in all situations and in all places. The accompanying illustrations by Jago are wonderful. Not only are they vivid, but they help a child visualize what the Psalm means to them. I am looking forward to sharing this one with my granddaughter! Highly recommended!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: preschoolers

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Children’s Corner — Valentine’s Day Treats

3 Feb

Looking for a special way to spend Valentine’s Day with your littlest sweetheart? Consider Valentine’s Day Treats by Tara Knudson — all the inspiration you need to have a fun-filled day.


Author Tara Knudson and illustrator Pauline Siewert — the team behind Christmas Cookie Day and Easter Egg Day — offer these sweet rhymes, illustrations, and a cherry on top . . . a recipe to make your very own heart-shaped cake with your little one!

From sparkly cards to heart-shaped cakes to a party with friends, Valentine’s Day Treats captures the joy and fun of holiday traditions. The fun, read-aloud rhymes and bright, adorable illustrations are perfect for evoking favorite holiday memories and — with the included recipe to make your very own heart-shaped cereal treats — creating new ones!




My Impressions:

Valentine’s Day Treats is a cute board book with lots of Valentine’s Day activity going on throughout. Bright illustrations and rhyming verse introduce the raccoon family as they make cards and a special treat to share with their neighbors. After reading this book together, your little ones will be eager to create their own Valentine’s Day fun. There’s even a recipe for a sweet treat of their own included. So make sure you have some colored pencils or markers, doilies, and construction paper, not to mention some pantry items to recreate all the fun!


Audience: children aged baby to preschool

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Children’s Corner — God Loves You, Little Peanut

2 Dec

Aww, what a sweet, sweet story for a newborn and his or her parents! I loved the message of love in God Loves You, Little Peanut.

God Loves You, Little Peanut is a heartwarming premium picture book about the deep bond between a parent, grandparent, or any loved one and their little one. From playtime to bedtime, silly time to cuddle time — the sweet rhymes and adorable illustrations show many different wonderful moments shared with a child, reminding boys and girls how special they are and how much they are loved.

Little Peanut there’s so much to know.
At night we’ll share stories or maybe tall tales
of giants and lizards and huge talking whales.

God Loves You, Little Peanut!

Annette Brashler Bourland has been writing books, poems, cards, cartoons, and jingles ever since she can remember. With more than 25 years in the publishing world, Annette has a love for creating entertaining, great content for children. She earned degrees in English and Business Administration from Hope College, and an MBA from the University of Colorado. Annette lives in Michigan with her husband and son, and runs her own publishing consultant business.


Instagram: annette.bourland


My Impressions:

What a sweet, sweet story! I have to admit that God Loves You, Little Peanut brought a couple of tears to my eyes as I imagined reading it to my granddaughter. The message of love for a child — both of his or her earthly parents and God — is told in rhyming verse with charming illustrations. The story tells of all the special, yet everyday moments in a child’s life. As I was reading the book, I kept thinking that my son and daughter-in-love just had to have this book! Perfect for a newborn’s library, this book will be cherished for years. I can’t wait to share this book when my son’s family visits in a couple of weeks.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: children.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)






Children’s Corner — Two Books to Delight Your Toddler

25 Nov

I have two board books to share with you today — Fun Fall Day and Sleepy Time Colors. The pages of both books feature a surprise. Textures and colors teach and entertain your child. All the details are below.


Fun Fall Day by Tara Knudson

Fun Fall Day is a sensory celebration of the season for little ones. Young children can scratch a leaf, feel a smooth pumpkin, and brush a horse’s coat in this colorful touch and feel board book.

Parents, grandparents, and anyone else with little loved ones in their lives will be kicking up some leaves and some laughs this autumn every time they read Fun Fall Day. The magic and splendor of fall comes to life at the harvest fair, where there’s a petting zoo, corn maze, pumpkin patch, and plenty of treats for everyone!

It’s a celebration of the unique sights and sounds of fall through adorable and engaging illustrations, simple and playful rhymes, and touch and feel elements on every page of Fun Fall Day.


My Impressions:

I read this book to my grandbaby when my son’s family came to visit. At eleven months of age, her curiosity of the world around her knows no bounds! She loved feeling all of the textures each page features. The bright colors are engaging, and this sturdy book took all of her abuse, including chewing the corners. LOL! And children a little older than my grandchild will enjoy finding all their favorites of the Fall season. Fun Fall Day is a good book to introduce to the smallest of readers.


Audience: toddlers. 

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Sleepy Time Colors by Deb Gruelle

If you’re looking for that one colorful and cozy book your little one wants to read before bedtime again and again … you’ve found it! A follow-up to the bestselling Ten Little Night Stars, snuggle your little one in their favorite jammies as they lift the flaps to learn their colors alongside cuddly animal friends in this bedtime board book.

Sleepy Time Colors:

    • Is an early learning concept book of colors in a playful format that includes sleepy-eyed, bedtime rhymes and an interactive lift-the-flap element that’s perfect for little ones age 0 to 4
    • Is written by Deb Gruelle, the author of bestselling Ten Little Night Stars, with over 100,000 units sold
    • Is the perfect gift for birthdays, baby showers, adoption parties, Valentine’s Day, Easter baskets, stocking stuffers, and holiday gifting
    • Deb Gruelle is the great-great-grandniece of Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and AndyTeach your child colors as you read these playful, sleepy time rhymes together. Utilizing calm, play-based learning,‎ your child will love to lift the flaps to reveal all the different colors while they gain fine motor skills and learn basic concepts.


My Impressions:

Sleepy Time Colors is a great book for bed time reading. Each page introduces a little one getting ready for bed. The focus is on colors as each rhyming verse introduces the pajamas that the animals are donning for night. A color is hidden behind a flap — what fun to discover their favorite colors. While my grandchild is a bit young for this book’s color concepts, its bright colors and rhyming text will engage her. And its sturdy board book format will withstand all of her exploration 😉 . I look forward to reading this to her in the near future.


Audience: Toddlers.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Books I Wish I Had Read As A Child

8 Sep

While I have always been a voracious reader, my tastes have always run towards mysteries. Nancy Drew was my first book heroine, and I soon moved on to all things Agatha Christie. I visited the library frequently, both public and school, and was gifted books for every occasion. Yet somehow I missed reading all the standard children’s classics. So today’s Top 10 Tuesday post is all about missed opportunities 😉 . My daughter didn’t like to read as a child, so I missed some vicarious reading. Her brothers made up for it, but Poulson and Dahl were their favorites. I have another chance though — my first grandchild ( a girl) will have all the books!

What books do you wish you had read as a child?

Find out more bloggers’ lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.



Top Books I Wish I Had Read As A Child


Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Eleven-year-old Anne Shirley has never known a real home. Since her parents’ deaths, she’s bounced around to foster homes and orphanages. When she is sent by mistake to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she wants to stay forever. But Anne is not the sturdy boy Matthew and Marilla were expecting.
She’s a mischievous, talkative redheaded girl with a fierce temper, who tumbles into one scrape after another. Anne is not like anybody else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special, a girl with an enormous imagination. All she’s ever wanted is to belong somewhere. And the longer she stays at Green Gables, the harder it is for anyone to imagine life without her.

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis

Four adventurous siblings — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie — step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Open the door and enter a new world! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages with a magical land and unforgettable characters for over sixty years.

Little House on The Prairie series (this book is actually #3 in the series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls and her family are heading to Kansas! Leaving behind their home in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, they travel by covered wagon until they find the perfect spot to build a little house on the prairie. Laura and her sister Mary love exploring the rolling hills around their new home, but the family must soon get to work, farming and hunting and gathering food for themselves and for their livestock. Just when the Ingalls family starts to settle into their new home, they find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict. Will they have to move again?

The nine books in the timeless Little House series tell the story of Laura’s real childhood as an American pioneer, and are cherished by readers of all generations. They offer a unique glimpse into life on the American frontier, and tell the heartwarming, unforgettable story of a loving family.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. But when she learns that she’ll never see her beloved father gain, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and genorosity are all the riches she truly needs?


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Ten year old Mary Lennox, a spoiled and pompous child from a wealthy family, is suddenly turned on end when her parents die. She is sent to live with her wealthy Uncle in his isolated house in Yorkshire, England. Her spoiled nature and aggression again take form in her new home, but soon a servant informs her of a private, walled-in garden with the entrance’s key missing. The mysterious and cordoned garden intrigues young Mary as much as the mysterious cries that echo the hallways during the night.


Children’s Corner — Grandma Snuggles

19 Aug

Grandma, this one’s especially for you! Cuddle your grandchildren close with this adorable book. Written by bestselling author Glenys Nellist, this board book celebrates the loving relationship between a grandma and her little ones with sweet animal rhymes and charming illustrations.

Grandma Snuggles is an engaging, board book that celebrates the love between a grandma and her little ones. Whether it’s Grandma Mouse who shares her cheese or Grandma Duck who splashes in the lake, this book shows special cuddles and love, relaying a message that all grandmas are special in their own ways.

So, hop, skip, and run with Grandma Rabbit and roll into a ball with Grandma Hedgehog. Most of all, celebrate Grandma who’s as sweet as pie!

Through the fields and gardens,
We hop, and skip, and run.
God made the world’s best Grandma —
She’s really lots of fun.

Glenys Nellist was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple children’s books, including the bestselling ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas, The Wonder That is You, and the popular series Love Letters from God and Snuggle Time, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy in the world. Glenys lives in Michigan with her husband, David.


My Impressions:

I cannot wait to share Grandma Snuggles with my grand baby! The perfect choice for grandma/mimi/nanna time, this book features rhyming verse about a variety of grandma and grandchild relationships. Besides showing the animals in their unique habitats, the book reinforces the wonderful bond within extended families. The illustrations are cute and will keep your child interested as you turn the pages. In fact, talking about each animal will lengthen the fun read together time. This beefy board book will become a favorite.


Audience: babies to Pre-K

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



Book Review: Pugtato Finds A Thing

5 Aug

Enchanting illustrations. Giggle-inducing text. Unique and loveable characters. Join Pugtato and his cute and quirky pack of pals in this heartwarming picture book that celebrates the power of friendship, compassion, and believing in your own unique gifts. 

When Pugtato’s simple, quiet life is disrupted after he digs up a strange object in his garden, he enlists his best “spuddies” to help (they are more clever than he is, after all). Tweetroot is certain it’s a new egg for her nest. Tomatoad is quite sure it’s a toy just for him. And Purrsnip simply won’t stop scratching it! Luckily, Pugtato has another very special spuddy to ask . . . .

Sophie Corrigan is a freelance illustrator and authour from Lancashire, UK. She graduated from University of Central Lancashire in 2013 with a first class degree in Illustration, and recieved a Distinction in her Masters degree in Children’s Book Illustration from the same university. In 2017, her children’s picture book I’m a Little Monkey was Highly Commended in the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Book Illustration, and she has since worked with publishers such as Bloomsbury, Chronicle Books and Wicked Cow.

Sophie has produced illustration work for Hallmark Cards, Papier, Moonpig, Ohh Deer, Jellycat and Boomf, and her work has been stocked by John Lewis, Paperchase, Urban Outfitters, Sainsbury’s, Clinton Cards, Hot Topic, Topshop, Tesco, The Range, Ryman Stationery, Calendar Club, SOMA Gallery, Yard Gallery, ASOS and the RSPCA shop.

When not illustrating and maintaining her online art shops, Sophie spends the spare time she has going to shows, watching nature programmes, eating vegtarian food, hanging out with her pet cockatiels, and occasionally crafting cute things from wool and clay.


My Impressions:

Pugtato Finds A Thing is a quirky and cute book — a delight for kids of all ages. The rhyming story follows Pugato, a charming character that is part pug dog and potato, as he searches for the answer to the mysterious thing he has dug from his garden. He asks all his friends, including Purrsnip, Colliflower, and Croccoli, to help him puzzle out what he has found. I thought the combination of vegetables and animals was very original, and I can’t help but imagine a child’s eager turning of the pages to discover what fantastical creature awaits them and probably coming up with combos of their own! The whimsical illustrations complete the fun. Each character’s individuality is emphasized, and in the end Pugtato discovers the key to who his newest friend is. I have a young niece who is going to love this book. Cannot wait to share it with her.


Audience: preschoolers to young elementary-aged children.

(Thanks to Zonderkids for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Children’s Corner: Honesty Counts

23 Jul

In The Berenstain Bears Honesty Counts the Bear family is headed out for the annual cub campout and are especially excited about the canoe race down Rapid River. Who will win the big race and ribbons? The competition between Brother and Sister’s team and Too-Tall’s gang is fierce. But when Too-Tall and his gang decide that winning is the most important thing — even more important than telling the truth — Preacher Brown makes sure the cubs remember just how important honesty is!

This fun, new book in the popular Zonderkidz Living Lights series — beloved by parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren alike — will earn a quick spot on your child’s bookshelf. But not for long! Your child will want to read along with you again and again as the kid-friendly text and easy-to-read, easy-to-remember Scripture verses teach valuable life lessons, encourage discussion, and take you down memory lane with each subsequent reading.

Parents and grandparents looking for a Bible-based, read aloud story that encourages faith in Jesus and instills a love of reading in their children and grandchildren need look no further than the newest book in the Living Lights series — The Berenstain Bears Honesty Counts.


My Impressions:

If you are looking for a book that will allow your kids to keep up with their reading skills during this long break from school and learn a valuable lesson, then The Berenstain Bears Honesty Counts is a great choice. As always the Berenstain Bears look for the right ways to do things, and honesty, even when there may be a shortcut available, is the focus of this book. I found the vocabulary challenging enough to polish skills, while the story engages the reader. Scripture to back up the moral to the story is naturally inserted into the narrative. Whether you use this book as a family read-along or as a means to encourage reading in an early reader, Honesty Counts is a winner!


Audience: early elementary ages.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Children’s Corner — God Loves The Animals

15 Jul

Take a beautiful nature walk through Bear Country with the beloved Berenstain Bear family. Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear savor the great outdoors and greet all their animal friends.

This point-and-learn board book helps early readers learn animal words!

There’s a family of ducks nestled amongst the cattails, a horned owl perched in a tree, and a rabbit making trouble in a cabbage patch! And whether the animals have fur, feathers, or scales, God makes sure they have a place to live and food to eat.

As you read aloud, toddlers will delight in pointing out all the different creatures throughout Bear Country as they are comforted by the message of God’s boundless love.


My Impressions:

The Berenstain Bears are back with a cute board book that focuses on the animals in God’s creation — God Loves The Animals. Each page of this colorful book points to specific animals and their environment. I loved this! Kids learn that an alligator looks like a log and that a skunk and a possum live in a designed-just-for-them home. Besides the variety of animals that God has made, children can see the provision He has set up for each one. I predict God Loves The Animals will become a favorite for the whole family.


Audience: preschoolers.

(Thanks to Zondervan for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Children’s Corner — The Great Farmapalooza

1 Jul

It’s never a dull day in the barnyard, and these quirky and colorful animals are having a farmapalooza to celebrate God’s love and thank Him for His creation! The ducks are thanking God for their quacks, the hens are thankful for their feathers, and the donkey is singing praises that God made him so handsome. All in all, it’s a day and a barn full of praise.

This fun board book pairs flaps and whimsical illustrations with fun-to-read rhymes that will have kids mooing and quacking along with the farm’s crazy cast of characters.


My Impressions:

The Great Farmapapalooza has so many great things going for it! Cute, cute farm animals with engaging expressions, rhyming verse, and hidden gems behind flaps combine to keep your little one engaged. But best of all is the reminder that everything in God’s creation praises Him. I loved how each animal — rooster, cow, donkey, and so on — praised God for how they were made and what God provided for them. Joy-filled, this book is a great way to introduce that special child to the wonder and uniqueness of God’s creation. This sturdy board book will be a an often requested read in your library.


Audience: children ages 1-5.

(Thanks to B&H Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)