Category Archives: Childrens

Animal Skins

Title: Animal Skins
Author/Photographer: Mary Holland
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64351-3393

“Fur (hair), feathers and scales are animal skin coverings that look very different from each other but do many of the same things,” Mary Holland begins her children’s book, Animal Skins.

~ What ~
A part of the Animal Anatomy and Adaptation series, this oversized thirty-two-unnumbered-page hardbound with a duplicate jacket cover targets children ages four to eight years old who enjoy educational information about nature. With no scary scenes, the book may be best read out loud by adults to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.

In this artistically photographed collection, the outer coverings of animals are the focal point. Beginning with the wings of a moth, the pages show a cicada, porcupine, skunk, fawn, birds, frog, salamander, toad, snake, turtle, and little child, explaining what each’s covering is, does, and how it protects them.

The last four pages have more educational tools of learning activities for creative minds that involve a matching skin game, how animals’ skins are used, special skins of a hairy-tailed mole, European honey bee, turkey vulture, and gray treefrog, and animal classes with answers.

~ Why ~
What makes this book fun is not only the full-page, full-color photographs and explanation of skin coverings but also the informational data at the end for older readers. A child will enjoy viewing the animals and insects that show the skin and skin covering differences between species.

~ Why Not ~
Those who have no interest in animal life and their skin may not appreciate this book. Others may prefer more information in chart or comparison format. Beginner readers may struggle with the many two- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
To me, skin is usually the epidermis on a human, animal, or some insects, yet this book considers fur, hair, and feathers to be skin while technically these three are coverings on the skin. Thus maybe the book should have been titled “Animal Skin Coverings” or “Animal Covers.”

~ Want ~
If your child is interested in an educational series about the different parts of animals such as ears, eyes, legs, mouths, noses, and tails, this one on skin is a good choice.

Thanks to Arbordale Publishing, Bookpleasures, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ArbordalePublishing #AnimalAnatomyandAdaption #MaryHolland

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2O1pFcg

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Business / Money / Education, Childrens, Non-Fiction

The Forest in the Trees

Title: The Forest in the Trees
Author/Illustrator: Connie McLennan
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-64351-3508

“Deep in the woods near a foggy sea, there’s a hidden forest in the trees,” begins Connie McLennan’s children’s book, The Forest in the Trees.

~ What ~
This oversized thirty-two-unnumbered-page hardbound with a duplicated jacket cover targets children ages seven to ten years old who enjoy an informative story about forests. With no scary scenes, it may be best read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. Expressive, colorful illustrations grace both sides of the pages.

In this short rhyming tale that mimics The House that Jack Built in format, the building sentence-upon-sentence story on the left sides of the pages is about a redwood forest with its tall trees, new growth, rich soil, interesting bugs, crawling creatures, abundant ferns, berry bushes, lacey lichen, flying squirrels, spotted owls, leafy laurel, and diving auk. The right sides of the pages include geographical, physical, scientific, and animal/plant facts.

The last four pages have more educational tools of learning activities for creative minds that involve information about the coastal redwoods, a forest vocabulary matching game, animals of the forest and their basic needs, and how new trees are made.

~ Why ~
Since I live in the Pacific Northwest and love trees, this is an ideal book geared for children that teaches about the magnificent redwood trees and how their eco-system protects thriving insects, animals, and plants. The rhyme is cute while the sidebars of interesting facts are educational. I like the attention given to the highlighted words such as reiterations, canopy, humus, crustaceans, epiphytes, fern mats, and lichens. The drawings are detailed and eye-catching.

~ Why Not
Those who do not like an educational read about forest and trees may show no interest in this book. Beginner readers may have issues with some of the two- and three-syllable words. Others may wish there were more puzzles or games included.

~ 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 redwoods for elementary-aged children, this will delight many as they realize how abundant life is in a forest.

Thanks to Arbordale Publishing, Bookpleasures, and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#ArbordalePublishing #ConnieMcLennan #CoastalRedwoods #educationalchildren’sbook

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2O4mkJl

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Business / Money / Education, Childrens

Super Cool Space Facts

Title: Super Cool Space Facts
Author: Bruce Betts PhD
Illustrator: Steve Mack
Publisher: Rockridge Press
ISBN: 978-1-64152-521-3

“In this book you’ll find a basic description of each thing we talk about, some awesome pictures, and tons of super cool space facts. And jokes–lots of jokes,” Bruce Betts writes in the introduction to his children’s book, Super Cool Space Facts: A Fun, Fact-Filled Space Book for Kids.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-twenty-four-page paperback states it targets children four to eight years old who want to learn about space. With no scary scenes but colorful illustrations and photographs within circles, there are facts about planets, stars, constellations, black holes, jokes, and more.

After an introduction, there are five chapters that cover the universe, stars and constellations, the solar system, comets, meteors, and other sky shows, and rockets, satellites, astronauts, and more. The ending includes a glossary, resources, index, acknowledgments, and the author’s biography.

Containing limited paragraphs about the related topics in one to two pages each, the chapters are filled with circles that are either colored with white writing or photographs with boxed explanations, diagrams, big word alerts, and jokes.

~ Why ~
Most kids love space, and this is an engaging source for children to learn more about it. I appreciate the many interesting facts written in the different-sized circles and the explanations.

One of my favorites was Stars that discuss how they are giant balls of hot glowing gas. The two photos are of hundreds of stars that make up the Quintuplet star cluster and the colorful Hyades star cluster. The two-colored circles mention different sizes of stars and how some solar systems have more stars orbiting them. The big word alert is plasma, an electrical charge-filled gas, and the joke is What did the cool star say to the hot star? Hey, why are you so blue?

~ Why Not ~
Those who have no interest in space may not like this book or want to take the time to learn about our universe. Those who are creationists like me will cringe about the promotion the earth is 13.8 billion years old. Some may think the content is rudimentary or that the jokes are corny.

~ Wish ~
Online it states the book is for preschool to third grade, but its contents may be better geared and understood by ages 8 to 12 years old. I wish somehow God would be given credit for creating the amazing universe where we live.

~ Want ~
If you know a child who is into space and wants to learn more about it, this is an entertaining yet educational book.

Thanks to Callisto Publisher’s Club and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#supercoolspacefacts #spacebookforkids #CallistoPublishersClub

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2ZIRKqV

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Business / Money / Education, Childrens, Non-Fiction

Little Fingers Ballet

Title: Little Fingers Ballet
Author: Ashley Marie Mireles
Illustrator: Olga Skomorokhova
Publisher: Familius
ISBN: 978-1-64170-155-6

“The other swans on the lake make way for the lead swan’s magical fouettes!” ends Ashley Marie Mireles’s children’s book, Little Fingers Ballet.

~ What ~
This ten-page board book targets children five to six years old who love ballet, ballerinas, and having a visual way to express dancing by using their fingers. With a clear plastic clamshell, the right side of the book has a reusable holder for two pair of mini-pointe shoes for young ones to wear on their fingers.

Focusing on famous ballets, this beautifully illustrated short book has two holes cut through the entire board so that a young child can put the blue or pink dancing tights on their first and middle fingers, stick them through the holes, and become part of the two dancers’ legs on each of the story’s pages.

~ Why ~
This is a fun way for an avid little ballerina to learn about famous plays or stories that contain dancing while using the puppet finger pointe shoes. I like that there is one page each dedicated to Coppelia, Cinderella, La Bayadere, The Snow Queen, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake. The holes for the leggy fingers are perfectly placed on the pages so a child can move them around. The illustrations are vivid, detailed, and expressive.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like ballets, dancing, or using their fingers as puppet legs may not like this book that does not list the stories by name. It contains many foreign and multi-syllable words that may frustrate beginner readers, but it also is a way to learn new words about the ballet. Some children’s fingers may be too small or large to fit through the holes appropriately.

~ Wish ~
Children may not understand some of the ballet terms that are bolded such as releves, grand battlements, grand jete, arabesque, chasse steps, and fouettes so adding an explanation and the name of the ballets at the back of the book or on its jacket would be helpful. I wish it concentrated on only one ballet, not several, so the reader could understand and act out the scenes.

~ Want ~
If your child is fascinated with being a ballerina, this lovely illustrated book that comes with two pair of mini-tights for the fingers will charm and delight your up-and-coming dancer.

Thanks to Familius and the author for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Z8Xvhq

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens

Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide

Title: Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide
Author: Rashad Jennings
Illustrator: Alan Brown
Publisher: Zonderkids
ISBN: 978-0-310-76743-5

“He wants the Triple T Token. He’s not going to get it. It belongs to me,” Arcade emphatically tells his friends in Rashad Jennings’s young adult novel, Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide.

~ What ~
The second in the Coin Slot Chronicles, this two-hundred-and-forty-page paperback targets those who enjoy magical time-traveling mysteries that contain Christian morals. With no profanity, the book is geared toward ages eight and older, especially tweens and preteens. The ending has fifteen discussion questions, acknowledgments, an excerpt from the next book in the series, and advertisements.

In this story based mainly in Virginia, young Arcade continues to time-travel with his sister using the Triple T Token. When they stumble on their parents being young and in love at a mini-golf course, they visit their previous hometown, trying to figure out why the entertaining location has fallen apart. With the help of Arcade’s friends, they travel to Egypt, Holland, India, the Golden Gate Bridge, Niagra Falls, and a hospital as they secretly repair the fun facility and are followed by someone who wants the magic token.

~ Why ~
This is an engaging, entertaining series that many third and fourth graders will enjoy and appreciate. I loved the way the author inconspicuously introduced topics such as choice, control, humility, generosity, and forgiveness without being preachy. The relationship dynamics between the kids are endearing and charming as the siblings watch out for each other and friends pitch in and help solve dilemmas.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that mention God, Jesus, praying, and the Bible may not like this read. While the book has references to Christianity, it does not offer the simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may find inconsistencies in some of the facts or the concept of time traveling through a glittered elevator unrealistic, but it is innocuous.

~ Wish ~
I thought the writer did a wonderful job connecting to his audience through the “dope” dialogue and interests of the age group targeted, but I was disappointed when he repeatedly used the supposedly cool word “namaste,” perhaps not realizing that its literal translation means “the divine in me bows to the divine in you,” which is based on Hinduism. Vulnerable young readers may now repeat the word, unaware that they are acknowledging false gods, not the One True God. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like a series for young tweens and preteens who enjoy adventures, time-travel, and mysteries with an undertone of Christian morals, this would be appreciated by the young adult market, but I have marked it down a full point for possibly misleading others about false gods.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Hc35tp

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Childrens, Christian, Fiction

Bible Gems to Remember Devotions for Kids

Title: Bible Gems to Remember Devotions for Kids
Author: Robin Schmitt
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-74625-6

“This book offers a year’s worth of inspiring, encouraging Gems–one per week–paired with insightful devotions to help readers understand the Gem and relate to it,” the note to parents states in Robin Schmitt’s children’s book, Bible Gems to Remember Devotions for Kids: 52 Devotions with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-ninety-two-page paperback targets young children from eight to twelve years old who like applicable devotions gleaned from the Holy Bible. By using less than five-word “Gems,” the topics are easy to remember and memorize. The New International Version of the Bible is referenced, and colored photographs with highlighted areas that include pictures of gemstones are added.

After an ownership page, table of contents, and introduction, the book contains fifty-two devotions to be read one a week. Covering two to four pages, each chapter begins with a short title that can be memorized, followed by a written out Bible verse or two. Several paragraphs relate to the topic, whether about the Old or New Testament, a Biblical character, or current day event or object. The subject correlates how the reader can be closer to God or learn more about Him. Two to three Gems are at the end with corresponding verses to look up or research.

Some of the chapters are titled: Christ has set us free, The last will be first, Come near to God, Fight the good fight, Guard your heart, Set an example, Rejoice in the Lord always, and One person sharpens another.

~ Why ~
Teaching vulnerable young adults about God can be challenging, especially when they want to take a step further and do devotional reading. I like that this one is easy to read and relate to by its age group while using the concept of memorizing short “gems” from the Bible. It is thoughtful that the author has written an illustrated Bible in the same manner for younger kids, while this one is geared toward those older.

An example of one chapter I enjoyed is “There is Only One God” with Romans 3:30 written out. The contents explain how Elijah from the Old Testament was in a contest with the prophets of Baal to start a fire, and he won when he called upon God. The section challenges the reader to be convinced of God’s existence and power. The two ending Gems are “You alone, Lord, are God” from 2 Kings 19:19 and “There is none like you” from Psalm 86:8.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not want to promote teaching a tween or pre-teen about God and the Bible will pass on this book. It appears the book is mainly for those who already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It may be too advanced for younger readers.

~ Wish ~
I could not find the eternal plan of salvation at the beginning of the book and wish Jesus dying on the cross for our sins was mentioned before the 48th chapter. I prefer all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want
If you are looking for a book for older kids of devotions from the Bible that can be read one a week throughout a year and contains memory words related to them, this would be a good choice for a young Christian who wants to get closer to God.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2KSdQSE

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble with Tryouts

Title: The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble with Tryouts
Authors and Illustrators: Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76783-1

“Sister learned something very important that day. Things can go from bad to worse. But they can also get better. Sometimes they can even go from bad to great,” the ending states in Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain’s book, The Berenstain Bear: The Trouble with Tryouts.

~ What ~
An Early Reader Chapter Book, this numbered ninety-six-page paperback targets children six to ten years old, especially those that like a short story of the well-known family of bears. With no profanity or scary scenes, it is a chapter book with a few black and white expressive illustrations. Due to some complicated wording, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. An excerpt to another book in the series is added.

This brief tale is about small-statured Sister wanting to be on the school’s soccer team but cannot get the attention of the coach. Because of her diminutive size, the young bear is offered the job as the team’s manager, which she must pick up balls, pass out water, and collect dirty towels and uniforms. Being repeatedly bullied by older team players, she picks up the balls with a kiddie wagon and accidentally spills a bucket of water on herself. It is only when she gets angry and kicks the bucket hard that the coach acknowledges her skills and lets her play on the team where she scores the winning goal.

~ Why ~
For years, the Berenstain Bears have filled Christian homes with their wholesome, morally-promoted, and God-focused stories. I love that the books have a similar pattern of the bears facing an issue and learning to deal with it; this one concentrates on bullying and not getting everything you want instantly. The illustrations are descriptive and interesting for the age group.

~ Why Not ~
This story is not in the usual Berenstain format in that there is little reference or reliance on God as it only concentrates on one’s capabilities. A few readers may find some scenes stereotypical, such as the coach being on her cell phone and the teammates’ constant mocking. Some may not appreciate that the main character, although made fun of by her teammates, whines, contemplates revenge, and ends up being physically angry, yet she is awarded for her behavior without considering that God can deal with the bear’s attitude and actions.

~ Wish ~
Only mentioning once that the coach gives a pregame prayer, it would have been more apropos if  Sister’s parents took the time to pray with her or show her that God is there for her; this was not included, not even a Bible verse mentioned like prior books. I was disappointed that the story rewarded the protagonist for her anger by getting on the team instead of dealing with any repercussions for her outbursts.

~ Want ~
If you or your child like the Berenstain Bears series, this may be another one for the bookshelf, but I am sorry; I cannot pass it on to our six-year-old granddaughter as its undertones convey to have a tizzy fit to get your way without suggesting how God can help you when dealing with taunting peers.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for providing this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/33I2qcP

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Filed under ** Think Twice - I Didn't Like It, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

Bible Gems to Remember Illustrated Bible

Title: Bible Gems to Remember Illustrated Bible
Author: Robin Schmitt
Illustrator: Kris Aro McLeod
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-74688-1

“Children will learn 52 wonderful, pocket-sized truths from God’s Word, truths they can carry with them forever,” the note to parents states in Robin Schmitt’s children’s book, Bible Gems to Remember Illustrated Bible: 52 Stories with Easy Bible Memory in 5 Words or Less.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-twenty-page hardbound book targets young children from four to eight years old who like fifty-two retold stories from the Holy Bible. Due to its complicated wording, it would best be read out loud to non- or beginner readers who like to look at pictures due to their limited reading comprehension level. The New International Version of the Bible is referenced.

After an ownership page, table of contents, and introduction, the book contains twenty-six stories from the Old Testament and twenty-six from the New Testament, with each being six pages long. Vivid, colorful illustrations are on every page with black font writing on solid background areas. Highlighted inserts with no more than five-word memorizations related to the topic but from other portions of Scripture are included in every story.

~ Why ~
For some reason, I love children’s illustrated Bibles, and this one covers the gambit of the most iconic stories from God’s Word. I like that each story is mostly accurate and that the illustrations are engaging. I appreciate that the simplistic plan of eternal salvation of Jesus dying on the cross for our sin and rising from the dead is promoted.

I enjoyed the chapter titled The Lord will guide you about Isaac’s servant trusting God when he searched for a wife for his lord and finding Rebekah.

The three highlighted gems are:
Ask God for help from I Timothy 5:5
The Lord is my helper from Hebrews 13:6
Show me the way from Psalm 143.8

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not want to promote teaching a child about Bible stories will pass on this book. It may be too advanced for beginner readers due to the two- and three-syllable words. Some may not realize this is not a fully-illustrated Bible but many stories are missing. A few young children may be frightened of the depiction of God giving Moses the Ten Commandments on a flaming Mount Sinai, Samson killing a lion and attacking people, Christ carrying a cross (the crucifixion is a silhouette), and Paul being shipwrecked.

~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. I found some of the stories did not include all of the outcomes such as God destroying the Baal worshippers, Daniel’s accusers being put in the lions’ den, King Herod killing the babies, and Peter denying Jesus three times.

~ Want
If you are looking for a book of simplified stories from the Bible that can be read one a week throughout a year and contain memory words related to them, this would be an excellent choice for a young one who wants to learn more about God and His Word.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2z4yzNw

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

The One & Only Wolfgang

Title: The One & Only Wolfgang: From Pet Rescue to One Big Happy Family
Authors: Steve Greig & Mary Rand Hess
Illustrator: Nadja Sarell
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76823-4

“It makes no difference that Waylon can’t hear, or that Stuart is a rabbit, or that Bikini is a pig, or that Betty is a chicken, because … Family is Acceptance,” Steve Greig and Mary Rand Hess write near the end of their book, The One & Only Wolfgang: From Pet Rescue to One Big Happy Family.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page over-sized hardbound targets children ages four to eight years old who like stories about pets, especially those that have been rescued.  With no scary scenes, it is about a group of older or handicapped animals that may seem like misfits but are perfect as a family.

In this short tale, a dozen animals with different personalities and characteristics live in a large house. Whether they have disabilities such as no teeth or being hard of hearing, are small or huge, or like to eat cheese or watch movies, they enjoy each other and are thankful for family and friendships.

~ Why ~
This is an adorable book about a bunch of mangy critters from tiny 18-year old Eeyore the Chihuahua and tea-cup size Englebert to the gargantuan horse-sized Enoch and fashionista Edna, along with more dogs, a pig, chicken, and rabbit. I like how the illustrator combined photographs of the rescued animals with hand-drawn backgrounds.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like the idea of rescuing abandoned, unadoptable pets, but these have a special charm of their own as they live happily with each other. Beginner readers may have trouble with the more complicated three- or four-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
I think the concept of this book is important and needed in a society that discards or cannot take care of pets for different reasons. I did not like the use of the word “ain’t” in one of Bikini’s quotes as it is not helpful as a new reader may consider it acceptable to use.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book about how rescued animals become one big, well-loved family, this is a good read that would be appreciated by the Humane Society and other animal shelters.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2ZagOH0

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Fiction

One Big Heart

Title: One Big Heart
Author: Lindsey Davis with Beverly Davis
Illustrator: Lucy Fleming
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76785-5

“But the thing that matters most is something we can’t see. The touch of God that’s inside you and also inside me,” Lindsey Davis with Beverly Davis writes in her children’s book, One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than Different.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page, oversized hardbound targets children ages four to eight years old who like to read stories about how God makes us unique yet the same. With no scary scenes, the book should be read out loud to beginner readers based on several three or more syllable words. Full-page detailed illustrations with expressive-looking young ones cover all pages.

After an ownership page, this story is told in rhyme about children at school who learn each are different yet similar. As the boys and girls notice their different skin tones, hair styles, and skills both in the classroom and on the playground, they also learn they are more alike than different in that they smile, move, run, jump, dance, and play together. As they discuss feelings and friendships, they learn the most important thing they have in common is that God is inside of us.

~Why ~
I like how this book is colorful and visually stimulating as each page has engaging illustrations that are fun and interesting while the rhyming words flow across the pages. Encouraging young readers to be aware of God is important.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God may avoid this book. Some children may have trouble accepting others, but this is a good way to overcome biases. Without explaining who God is, the Biblical aspect of accepting the eternal plan of salvation is missing.

~ Wish ~
With the book stating the concept that God is inside all of us, I wish it better explained the true God or Jesus and how we can “ask Him into our hearts.”

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that focuses on children noticing what is the same and different among their peers, this one is acceptable. However, it may not convey how God’s “touch” gets inside of us.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Nf9Pup

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Childrens, Christian