Category Archives: Business / Money / Education

The Physics of Everyday Things

The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary DayTitle: The Physics of Everyday Things
Author: James Kakalios
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 978-0-7704-3773-2

“Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing visible forces that surround us,” James Kakalios writes in the front flap of his book, The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-fifty-six-page hardbound targets those who enjoy learning about science, physics, and how objects work in our world. With no photographs but a few sporadic figures, the book includes seven chapters about the science of physics in a day in the life of a common adult and ends with acknowledgments, notes, figure captions, and an index.

Covering when a person awakens at home in the morning to going to bed at night in a hotel room, the chapters float from beginning the day having coffee and checking a smartphone to driving to the city, going to the doctor and airport, taking a flight, giving a business presentation, and going to a hotel. All involve items that humans depend on and how they use physics to work.

~Why ~
It is fun to know how things are made, especially because we get caught up in using objects without understanding the why and how behind them. I like how the author discussed pendulums, piezoelectric crystals, thermodynamics, electromagnetic and millimeter waves, magnets, and semiconductors to name a few in objects such as a clock, coffee maker, phone, watch, earbuds, toaster, automobile, GPS, radio, elevator, thermometer, MRI and ATM machines, and lithium batteries. Stating why cars still do not fly is also covered.

~ Why Not ~
The main issue I had with this book is it is rather dry. Granted the author’s intention is to call attention to the reader to notice why and how things work around him or her, but the book lacked in detail and excitement as the person goes through a supposedly average day. Not being a scientific person, I did not learn anything substantial in the chapters.

~ Wish ~
I wish the details of the objects were more succinct in explaining what would happen if physics were not applied to them or made differently. After reading this book, I now understand why my son and daughter-in-law got their PhDs in chemistry instead of physics as, to me, it seems a lackluster topic.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that may be interesting for a high school or college reader who is into physics in everyday life, this may be good for them, but I found it missed the sparks I expected.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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If You Were Me and Lived in … Cuba

If You Were Me an Lived In... Cuba: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World (If You Were Me an Lived In... Culture)Title: If You Were Me and Lived In … Cuba
Author: Carole P. Roman
Illustrator: Kelsea Wierenga
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 978-1545100769

“If you were me and lived in Cuba (Cue-ba), you would live on an island located in the northern Caribbean (Ka-rih-bee-an) in the western hemisphere,” Carole P. Roman writes in her children’s book, If You Were Me and Lived On … Cuba – A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World.

~ What ~
Part of the international series, this thirty-four-page paperback targets preschool to early elementary school-aged children and readers who like learning about other countries. With no profanity, scary scenes, or violence, it would best be read to beginner readers based on some complicated words that usually include pronunciation. Typically, colorful illustrations cover one side of the page with a nicely sized font wording on the opposite side. Several pages at the end of the book reiterate how to pronounce certain words and their meanings.

Although Cuba is a small country, its capital of Havana is well-populated. This book discusses the capital’s bay location, the Castillo del Morro Spanish fort with its ceremonial show, the beaches of Cayo Coco, and the carnival at Santiago de Cuba.

Favorite foods are bocodillo, café con leche, cumpleanos, tostones with garlic and sour orange mojo, arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, Moros y Cristianos, papas rellenas, and tres leches cake. The people enjoy participating in baseball games, boxing, and exercising.

The reader learns names for mother and father. Also taught are common names for boys and girls, as well as words for money and school.

~ Why ~
Not written as a fictional story, this educational book is a simple way for a young child to learn about a foreign land, especially if he or she knows someone living there or is planning a trip to visit. I love how the author explains a country’s characteristic, famous sites, food dishes, and people in an easy to understand manner.

~ Why Not ~
The book contains many multi-syllable words, some in foreign languages that may frustrate beginner readers, but it also is a way to learn new words from another country.

~ Who ~
Award-winning author, Roman has written complete series for children of books based on countries, civilizations, and pirate genre as well as non-fiction for adults. She lives in New York with her husband and close to her children and grandchildren.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were books like this on every country so children could see and learn about the vast array of different cultures throughout the world.

~ Want ~
With so many countries in the world, one looks forward to future books in the series to learn more about a particular location.

Thanks to the author for furnishing this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every PresidencyTitle: The Gatekeepers
Author: Chris Whipple
Publisher: Crown
ISBN: 978-0-8041-3824-6

“Each chief can make or break an administration, and each president reveals himself by the chief he picks,” the front jacket flap states in Chris Whipple’s book, The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-eighty-four pages, this hardbound targets those interested in the behind the scenes of the highest office in the United States, the presidency. After an introduction, nine chapters cover the different presidential chiefs of staff from 1968 to 2013, followed by an epilog, notes, bibliography, author’s note, acknowledgments, and index.

From Nixon to Obama’s terms in office, the chiefs of staff are dissected in how they got the position, their goals, frustrations, and perspectives, what they did or did not accomplish, and why they were fired or left the position.

~Why ~
I found this read extremely detailed and informative when it came to explaining how the presidential office runs and who helps or hinders history. By reading its contents, I remembered the blaming of Halderman for a causing Watergate, Rumsfield being effective keeping Ford on track, the press core loving Cheney, Baker and Duberstein rescuing Reagan from the Iran-Contra scandal, Panetta bringing discipline into Clinton’s administration, Card not empowered to control Bush’s advisers, and Obama’s Emanuel to name a few. Having written-out audio tapes, memos, and documents show the strengths and weaknesses as well as successes and disasters of both presidents and their top aides. By having to do grunt work and telling it like it is, all chiefs had few moments of peace performing the daunting task of advising their presidents.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like recalling the political turmoil of several of our past presidents may show no interest in reading this book. Others may find its contents sometimes gossipy and name-dropping with the who’s who of politics and Washington D.C. socialites.

~ Who ~
An acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Whipple is also a writer, speaker, and journalist who has won several awards.

~ Wish ~
I wish more photographs were included.

~ Want ~
If you are curious about who has been the United States presidents’ chiefs of staff the past fifty years, this well-written book offers a plethora of differences and similarities of the men holding the second most powerful job in government.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Preventing Credit Card Fraud

Preventing Credit Card Fraud: A Complete Guide for Everyone from Merchants to ConsumersTitle: Preventing Credit Card Fraud
Authors: Jen Grondahl Lee and Gini Graham Scott
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 978-0-979174100

“While it may not be possible to protect yourself against all fraudsters, the tips and techniques in this book will help to prevent many fraudsters from taking advantage of you as both a consumer and merchant/provider,” Jen Grondahl Lee and Gini Graham Scott write in the introduction of their book, Preventing Credit Card Fraud: A Complete Guide for Everyone from Merchants to Consumers.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-fifty pages, this hardbound targets those who want to protect their finances when it involves credit cards or identity. After the authors’ biographies, foreword, and introduction, the book is divided into two parts that total fourteen chapters, ending with notes and an index.

The first section discusses in nine chapters how a consumer or client can protect themselves when it comes to credit cards. Topics cover using the new chip credit cards, guarding financial information, inspecting card offers, phishing, and what the victim should do if scammed. The second part contains five chapters from the merchant or service provider’s point of view related to encouraging cash payments, potentials of fraud, avoiding chargeback frauds, and establishing security with barriers.

~ Why ~
Having had our credit cards hacked, we want to be fastidious in protecting our finances and identification. I like how the authors push using cash whenever possible and if you use a credit card, leave a trail of documentation, especially online. Explaining free trial scams, naming phony products, getting your money back, alternatives to using cards, and supplying sample written letters are included. With skimmers, cameras, and flagrant online abuse, we all need to be more careful in how we purchase items, products, or services.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not use credit cards may not be interested in this book; however, they may find some information on how to protect one’s identity. With the book mainly about consumers, the merchants/vendors may wish their section included more.

~ Who ~
Lee is a successful Californian bankruptcy attorney who is dedicated to helping individuals and small business owners deal with debt issues and long-term plans for financial stability. An author of over ninety books, Scott is also a consultant, speaker, and seminar leader.

~ Wish ~
Since the book covers both sides of credit card issues, a consumer may not want to read about the merchant suggestions while the provider may not want to know about fraud from an individual basis. With the amount of book’s content, it could be divided into two separate entities. Since I am aware of credit card protection, I did not glean any new concepts from a consumer’s aspect.

~ Want ~
For those who are interested in protecting their credit card information, both as a consumer or vendor, this is a helpful go-to advice book.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and the authors for this book that I freely evaluated.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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If You Were Me and Lived in … the Mayan Empire

If You Were Me and Lived in....the Mayan EmpireTitle: If You Were Me and Lived in … the Mayan Empire
Author: Carole P. Roman
Illustrator: Paula Tabor
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 978-1535046213

“If you were me and lived during the Mayan (My-an) civilization, you would be born around 1500 years ago in the year 572 and would have made your home in one of the many Mayan cities,” Carole P. Roman writes in her children’s book, If You Were Me and Lived in … the Mayan Empire  – A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World.

~ What ~
Part of An Introduction to Civilizations throughout Time series, this sixty-four-page paperback targets elementary to middle school-aged children and readers who like learning about historical eras. With no profanity, scary scenes, or violence, it would best be read to beginner readers based on some complicated words. Full-color illustrations cover the right side of the open pages with black wording against yellow backgrounds on the left side. A dozen pages at the end of the book include Mayan contributions to the world, brief information on eight famous Mayan individuals, and a five-page glossary that also includes pronunciation for each word.

In this book dedicated to the Mayan Empire, its history, religion, culture, clothing, and activities are explained. Readers can learn what their names would be, employment, city and home environment, famous buildings, food choices, necessary attire, monetary values, education, hobbies, and important people and what they accomplished.

~ Why ~
Not written as a fictional story, this educational and detailed account is a way for children to learn about another period in history and how it changed the world. As an adult, I appreciate the information on the Mayans’ societal hierarchy, communal living, foods eaten, attire worn, and gods worshiped. Learning about why Mayans gave specific names at birth, hunted for agouti and peccary, ate food with obsidian and flint, females wore a huipil, forced-formed babies’ head shapes, and got tattoos were interesting.

~ Why Not ~
While the book contains long paragraphs and three- to four-syllable words, it would have to be read out loud to new readers. Some may think its contents may be too advanced for young children, but the pictures are interesting.

~ Who ~
Award-winning author, Roman has written several series for children of books based on countries, eras, and the pirate genre. She lives in New York with her husband and close to her children and grandchildren. Illustrator Tabor is also a portraitist, caricaturist, and art show award winner who lives in Texas.

~ Wish ~
I wish more creative books like this one were available that promoted historical events to be used as educational tools for teaching children.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a new series that covers a gambit of historical places and people, this one will teach your children about living during the Mayan Empire

Thanks to the author for furnishing this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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If You Were Me and Lived in … Germany

If You Were Me and Lived in...Germany: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World (Volume 20)Title: If You Were Me and Lived in … Germany
Author: Carole P. Roman
Illustrator: Kelsea Wierenga
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 978-1539135944

“If you were me and lived in Germany (Ger-man-nee), you would call your country Deutschland (Doytch-land), but the rest of the world would know it as the Republic of Germany,” Carole P. Roman writes in her children’s book, If You Were Me and Lived in … Germany – A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World.

~ What ~
Part of the international series, this thirty-six-page paperback targets preschool to early elementary school-aged children and readers who like learning about other countries around the world. With no profanity, scary scenes, or violence, it would best be read to beginner readers based on some complicated words that usually include pronunciation. Often, colorful, expressive illustrations cover one side of the page with a nicely sized white font wording against a brown background on the opposite side. Four pages at the end of the book reiterate how to pronounce certain words and their meanings.

Readers learn that Germany is part of the European Union, has sixteen states, two rivers, and is located as the crossroads of the continent. In addition to explaining names given to children and relatives, it discusses forms of money, places to visit such as the Neuschwanstein Castle and Miniatur Wonderland, Oktoberfest, favorite foods, and five interesting facts.

~ Why ~
Not written as a fictional story, this educational book is a simple way for children to learn about Germany. I love reading about the miniature model railway and the marvelous food such as sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, apfelstrudel, hot brezel, aal, rollmops, and schweinebraten.

~ Why Not ~
The book contains many multi-syllable words that may frustrate beginner readers, but it also is a way to learn new words related to Germany.

~ Who ~
Award-winning author, Roman has written several series for children of books based on countries, eras, and the pirate genre. She lives in New York with her husband and close to her children and grandchildren. Illustrator Wierenga has a self-publishing background and is a freelance children’s book illustrator who lives in Michigan with her family.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were books like this so children could see and learn about countries around the globe.

~ Want ~
Readers who want to learn about countries will look forward to future books in the series to learn more about a particular location. This is a wonderful, educational series that shows what life is like elsewhere.

Thanks to the author for furnishing this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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How to Pack

How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any TripTitle: How to Pack
Author: Hitha Palepu
Illustrator: Kelly Lasserre
Publisher: Clarkson Potter/Publishers
ISBN: 978-1-101-90564-7

“When you understand the motivations behind how to pack, we’ll drive into the nitty-gritty of creating a packing station at home, selecting the perfect travel clothing and accessories, and putting everything together, ready to be put to use at your destination,” Hitha Palepu writes in the introduction to her book, How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip.

~ What ~
At one-hundred-and-twenty-eight pages, this small hardbound targets those who travel and want to pack their bags efficiently and effectively. After an introduction and how to find your packing personality, the quick read contains six sections regarding travel luggage tips, ending with acknowledgments and blank packing lists.

The six divisions include how to pre-pack, choosing clothes with style, the right accessories for the right look, toiletry needs and beauty must-haves, how to pack for maximum space, and how to survive and thrive in the airport and beyond. The reader first determines if they are the anxious overpacker, forever forgetful, jumbled travel, or impractical daydreamer and applies the packing timeline before he or she learns ways to pack, unpack, and organize a suitcase.

~Why ~
My husband and I travel to see our out-of-state sons and their families so having well-prepared packing is a must. I like how the book helps qualify the type of traveler while explaining in depth the different kinds of luggage, attire for various different trips, folding versus rolling garments, toiletry bags and Dopp kits, and the value of coconut oil and herbal teas. I love that the eight blank packing lists at the back of the book are perforated for easy removal.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not travel will have no need for this book. Others may glean little new information in the book, so it would be best for the novice traveler. Some men may want more details regarding their belongings.

~ Who ~
Having traveled over a half-million miles worldwide, the author is an entrepreneur and writer in the life sciences, travel, and technology fields who lives in New York with her family. No information is given on the illustrator.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were an even balance of both sexes mentioned in the book as it favors women and their accessories more often than men.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book for the beginner traveler, this is a viable option.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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A True Princess of Hawai’i

True Princess of Hawai'i, ATitle: A True Princess of Hawai’i
Author: Beth Greenway
Illustrator: Tammy Yee
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62855-9491

“A true princess is known by her deeds,”Nani is told in the story section of Beth Greenway’s children’s book, A True Princess of Hawai’i.

~ What ~
This thirty-two unnumbered page paperback with a thick folding jacket cover targets children ages five to eight years old who enjoy educational information about Hawaii’s volcanoes. With a couple of scenes of fiery lava encroaching the town that may concern some young ones, it may be best read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.

Based on historical events in the late 1800s, this short story is about a young girl named Nani who wants to be a princess, especially when Princess Luka comes to Hawaii to save the town from an erupting volcano. As Luka asks a goddess who lives in the volcano to stop it, Nani learns how to be kind, generous, and thoughtful even though she may not dress like princess.

The last four pages have more educational tools of learning activities for creative minds that involve information about the Pacific Rim of Fire, the factual story of Princess Luka and Mauna Loa, questions regarding facts and fiction, volcanic vocabulary matching, respecting Hawaii’s natural resources, and a map of its many volcanoes.

~ Why ~
This book is a fictional tale of a historical princess, goddess named Pele, compassionate young girl, and a volcano. I like that the underlying lesson learned is about the girl who freely offers an old lady and horse her candy and the princess part of her clothing. I found the informational data at the back of the book for older readers the most interesting. Any child will enjoy looking at the colorful pictures with plenty of details while understanding mighty volcanoes.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of potentially dangerous volcanoes may steer away from this educational book, but they may learn a thing or two. Others may not like the tale’s inferences to a goddess or princess who tosses a red cloth into the lava, chants, and sprinkles a bottle on the fire. Some of the educational information may be above the suggest age level.

~ Who ~
Having lived in Hawaii for several years while raising her three daughters, Greenway has authored several books and now lives in Mississippi. Artist Yee is a native of Hawaii and has illustrated more than thirty books.

~ Wish ~
Not knowing Hawaiian folklore or history, I wish the story were told more accurately such as the mentioning that the town prayed instead of the volcano being stopped by Luka and Pele.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book about a Hawaiian volcano for preschool to early elementary aged children, this may be a viable option, but the story is fictional.

Thanks to Arbordale Publishing for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

This review will be posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Pinterest, Godinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Moonlight Crab Count

Moonlight Crab CountTitle: Moonlight Crab Count
Author: Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis
Illustrator: Veronica V. Jones
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62855-9316

“Leena counts crabs while Mom writes down the data. Bobie doesn’t even bark once,” Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis write in the story section of their children’s book, Moonlight Crab Count.

~ What ~
This thirty-two unnumbered page paperback with a thick folding jacket cover targets children ages eight to twelve years old who enjoy educational information about horseshoe crabs. With no scary scenes, it may be best read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.

In this short story, Leena and her mom along with their dog, Bobie, live near a bay on the East Coast. In the dark of the night, they take their boat to an island and count the horseshoe crabs they find. After writing down the time, temperature, and wind speed, Leena spots the crabs, reporting if they are male or female as her mom charts the information on a clipboard. Leena turns a few crabs over while the dog silently watches. By morning, the crabs have returned to the sea, and the project is accomplished.

The last four pages have more educational tools of learning activities for creative minds that involve information about the characteristics of horseshoe crabs, where they live and procreate, the writer’s vocation as an ecologist, a step game about citizen scientists, and how to help horseshoe crabs.

~ Why ~
Although I never have heard of horseshoe crabs since I live on America’s West Coast, they are interesting creatures as this book explains. What makes this book fun is not only the tale about counting the tailed creatures, but their medicinal value and facts regarding their ten eyes, bright blue blood, and tiny hairs along with their ability to lay twenty-thousand eggs at a time which are sometimes eaten by red knot birds. Any child will enjoy looking at the pictures while learning about the crabs.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like crabs may steer away from this educational book, but they may learn a thing or two of interest. Others may not like how dark the illustrations are in the book, but it is portrayed as night throughout the story.

~ Who ~
An associate professor in Pennsylvania, Bathala has studied sea creatures around the world. She lives in New Jersey, and this is her debut children’s picture book. Illustrator Curtis is an award-winning author of more than a dozen books about wildlife rescue, animal care, and citizen science and lives in Maryland. Jones is a freelance and children’s illustrator who lives in Virginia; this is her debut picture book.

~ Wish ~
I wish more books like this were available that had a story yet provided knowledge and information that a young child could learn in a fun, engaging way.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book about horseshoe crabs for elementary school aged children, this one offers a lot of information that would be helpful for a book report or school discussion, especially if you lived on the East Coast.

Thanks to Arbordale Publishing for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

This review has been posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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Honey Girl

Honey Girl: The Hawaiian Monk SealTitle: Honey Girl
Author: Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrator: Shennen Bersani
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62855-9224

“Hopefully, in the years to come, many more Hawaiian monk seals will be spotted off the islands of Hawai’i,” Jeanne Walker Harvey writes toward the end of her children’s book, Honey Girl: The Hawaiian Monk Seal.

~ What ~
This thirty-two unnumbered page paperback with a thick folding jacket cover targets children ages five to eight years old who enjoy educational information about seals. With no scary scenes, it may be best read out loud by adults to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.

In this short book, Honey Girl is a favorite Hawaiian monk seal that is injured by a fishing hook and line. Scientists and veterinarians take her to an aquarium where they remove the hook and nurse her back to health. However, when they release her back into the ocean, they are concerned about her weight. Over time, she gains weight and becomes pregnant. Volunteers keep her and her pup safe on the sand until the mammals return to the sea. Later, Honey Girl has another pup and also becomes a grandmother.

The last four pages have more educational tools of learning activities for creative minds that involve information about the monk seal’s life cycle, fun facts about seals and mammals with maps, a discussion on conservation, and a word scrambler game about rescuing and rehabilitating Honey Girl.

~ Why ~
What makes this book fun is not only the charming story about an injured seal that is taken care of by people, but it also explains the characteristics of a monk seal. I enjoyed the information on their weight, length, and fur while also describing what it eats and where it lives. The illustrations are descriptive and engaging to hold the attention of the age group.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like seals may steer away from this educational book, but they may learn a thing or two of interest. Young ones may have trouble understanding the words and ideas, but it is a good teaching tool for those interested in seals and protecting them.

~ Who ~
The author of several award-winning books, Harvey has been a language arts teacher who currently gives school tours at a museum. She lives in Northern California with her cat and visits sea lions often in the bay. An award-winning children’s book illustrator, author Bersani loves nature and life lessons for children of all ages. Having illustrated many books with her detailed, realistic designs, the artist lives in Massachusettes.

~ Wish ~
I wish more books like this were available that had a story yet provided knowledge and information that a young child could learn in a fun, entertaining way.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book about monk seals for elementary aged children, this will delight those that like stories and teach those wanting to learn.

Thanks to Arbordale Publishing for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

This review is posted on Amazon with links on Bookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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