Category Archives: Christian

The Basic Bible Atlas

Title: The Basic Bible Atlas
Author: John A. Beck
Publisher: BakerBooks
ISBN: 978-0-8010-7790-6

“And we will not fully understand this story unless we understand the place from which it has come. That is why you need an atlas. Because some of what the Lord has to say to us, he has said using geography,” John S. Beck writes in the introduction of his book, The Basic Bible Atlas: A Fascinating Guide of the Land of the Bible.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-seventy-six-page paperback targets those who want to have a better understanding of the lands mentioned in the Holy Bible. After a map and illustration list plus acknowledgments, the book is divided into two parts: Introduction to Geography and Putting the Story in Its Place. The ending includes notes, Scripture index, and an index of place names. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is referenced.

In this book that focuses mainly on Israel and its surrounding areas, over sixty maps with illustrations explain the Old and New Testaments’ geographical locations relating to the stories they provide. The first part has an introduction to the atlas and Biblical world that includes the ancient Near East, regions mentioned in the Bible, and Israel’s major cities, towns, roads, zones, rainfall, seasons, culture, soils, and products. The second and larger section of the book is subdivided into eight chapters covering the creation, the exodus, conquests, the kingdom’s establishments, divisions, and exile, and when Jesus was living as well as church stories.

~Why ~
This is is a wonderful read as it is basic and too the point so the reader can pick a topic of the Old or New Testament and pinpoint on a map where it took place. I loved looking at the maps’ notes and learning that Israel covered 6,750 square miles, the Jewish people’s meandering route for forty years in the desert, where Samson lived and died, the travels of the Ark of the Covenant, the expansion of Jerusalem and its Temple, and Elisha’s history. Understanding the distances Jesus traveled and places He performed miracles were interesting as well as Paul’s many journeys.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not be interested in an atlas that shows how God was and is always there, taking care of the beloved Jews and Christians. Others may wish there was more content to the discussions, but it is a basic synopsis.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were more stories of every person’s whereabouts in the Bible, but this would be a major task. Including an index by people’s names would be helpful for quick look-up. By accident, I noticed Susa (Nehemiah and Esther) was not listed in the index. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are wondering how far Moses traveled, where Bethlehem is related to Jerusalem, or how the Word of God was spread in the New Testament, this is an excellent source of knowledge that will amaze you.

Thanks to BakerBooks for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2vwG3KE

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The Bible in 10 Words

Title: The Bible in 10 Words
Author: Deron Spoo
Publisher: Worthy
ISBN: 978-1-5460-1427-0

“Each word, found in the first page or two of the Bible, sets the stage for God’s perfect world, the brokenness that follows, and the restoration God has in mind for those he loves,” Deron writes at the beginning of his book, The Bible in 10 Words: Unlocking the Message of Scripture and Connecting with God.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-nine-page hardbound targets those who like a simplistic devotion of the Word of God concerning less than a dozen keywords. Using the Christian Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the NIV is also referenced. The ending includes acknowledgments, notes, and the author’s biography.

In this short read, ten simple words from the first three chapters of Genesis are discussed and shown how they relate to Jesus being revealed from the beginning to the end of the Bible. The major words are Light, Dust, Breath, Garden, River, Eat, Alone, Naked, Afraid, and Alone as well as one final, perfect word: Jesus. With an introduction and ending, each chapter begins with a written out Bible verse or two and a quote, followed by several pages regarding the topic. Chapters end with a prayer, three to four discussion questions, and further Scripture to research.

~ Why ~
This is a thoughtful read regarding ten words from Genesis and follows them through the Bible. The author discusses finding the True Light, accepting our ordinariness with humility, having a spirit-filled breath to worship; allowing God to tend to our needs; noticing blessings and boundaries; listening with our hearts to the Lord’s instructions; being alone yet wanting God’s companionship; shedding guilt and shame when our true self is uncovered; instead of freezing, fighting, and fleeing when afraid, have the fear of the Lord; understanding life is a gift with a curse so we must persevere, and Jesus is the answer.

~ Why Not ~
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you may not like this book, yet it may be one that ties the Bible together as it focuses on how Christ is shown throughout it. Others may not appreciate reading the writer’s personal stories about his wife, children, family trips, and visits to a monastery as well as tales of chess games, the Heimlich maneuver, shoelaces, and the Mona Lisa to name a few.

~ Wish ~
While I enjoyed the down-to-earth explanations of the words conveyed, I expected there to be more detailed discussions about each as written in the Bible (one word is mentioned only twice in Scripture). I wish it was more of a study book with more Biblical research. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like reading a contemporary book of ten words found in the first book in the Old Testament and their correlation to Jesus Christ, this is a nice read at a sophomoric level that contains the writer’s personal reflections. It may be a good read for a new believer.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group for this book that I am under no obligation to review.

More about this book can be found at https://amzn.to/2Uyy1eK

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

Good Night, Fireflies

Title: Good Night, Fireflies
Author: Janet L. Christensen
Illustrator: Francesca Pesci
Publisher: Little Lamb Books
ISBN: 978-1-7332828-3-3

“God is just like these fireflies. Even though we can’t see Him, God is always with us,” Landon’s dad explains to his son in Janet L. Christiensen’s children’s book, Good Night, Fireflies.

~ What ~
This unnumbered thirty-four-page paperback targets five to nine-year-old children who like stories about not being scared or alone, especially when going to bed. Ideally for second and third graders, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. Expressive and colorful illustrations are most pages. The ending includes the author and illustrator’s biographies. The New Living Translation of the Holy Bible is referenced.

In this short story, Landon hems and haws when it is bedtime as he does not like to be alone and is afraid of the dark. When the child thinks he sees spookies and creepies, his dad comes into his room and reminds the boy that God is always with him. The two go outside and watch the fireflies. When they catch one in a jar and the insect stops being bright, the daddy reiterates how the bug is like God – He is there, even when He cannot be seen. When the child goes back to bed, he realizes there are simply shadows in his bedroom and thanks God for always being there.

~ Why ~
Teaching young ones about the Lord being with us can calm the fears in both children and adults. I appreciate the correlation of God being like fireflies. The story does not make fun of the boy being afraid and the father is caring enough to offer an example of how God works. The drawings are easy for a young one to understand and follow.

~ Why Not ~
Children who do not know or have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand how the Almighty is consistently there for us. Insecure children may relate to the child’s fear, which may or may not cause more stress. There are several two to four-syllable words that may be too complicated for beginner readers.

~ Wish ~
Some parents may be concerned that the boy kept having tummy somersaults, which were quickly dismissed but could be interpreted as an illness. This topic could be eliminated to avoid children mimicking being sick to avoid bedtime.

~ Want ~
If you are trying to help a fearful child go to bed calmly, this book that focuses on the fact of God always being there for us, no matter what, would be lovely bedtime read.

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

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

#GoodNightFireflies #JanetLChristensen #FrancescaPesci #LittleLambBooks #Bookcrash

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2tgPGMS

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Isaiah’s Legacy

Title: Isaiah’s Legacy
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-0-7352-9188-1

“I thought we wanted to make Judah better. Teach Nasseh about the true gods that could make him the greatest king in Judah’s history,” a confused Shulle considers in Mesu Andrew’s novel, Isaiah’s Legacy: A Novel of Prophets and Kings.

~ What ~
The third book in the series, this four-hundred-page paperback targets those who enjoy Biblical historical fiction involving King Manasseh, Israel’s Old Testament king whose reign of terror forced Jews to worship and sacrifice to other gods. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual situations, its topics of sorcery, physical abuse, torture, child sacrifices, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. A chart of characters, reader’s note, map, and prologue is at the beginning, while the ending includes an epilogue, acknowledgments, and author’s note. Corresponding Bible verses are written out at the beginning of each chapter with references.

Written mostly in first person, this comprehensive story covers over fifty-years of Judah’s history when King Hezekiah dies and his smart but troubled and dysfunctional son takes his place and turns from trusting Yahew, the God of his father, to worshipping foreign idols. Told mainly through the eyes of Shulle, the child, friend, and lover of the young king, she learns slowly how trusting in the Almighty no matter what the cost is the only answer to the evil, tragic, and cruel ruling of her husband, Nasseh.

~ Why ~
Having read the Bible cover to cover yearly, I was extremely impressed with the detail Andrews divulges in this rewritten story. With the tale’s focus on dark arts of curses, cures, and charms, it shows how demonic planning and plotting to take our eyes off the Lord can never be overshadowed by God’s eternal plan, even when we do not understand what it is. The writer’s characterizations are flawless of a protagonist, young king who becomes a ruthless dictator, and family members who either religiously follow or blatantly disregard God’s Word.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not appreciate the beliefs and prayers to Him for help, support, and peace. Others may not care for the ample liberties taken to enhance the storyline, but they are well written and believable. A couple of times I had to check the Bible verses or research historical facts (example: Isaiah’s death by being sawed in half is not in the Old Testament but documented in ancient manuscripts).

~ Wish ~
Although the author’s note explains vaguely what portions are historical or fictional, it would be helpful if Hezekiah’s demise, Manasseh’s release from prison, and the royal family’s extensive background were verified. I had always thought cats were the only domesticated animal never mentioned in the Bible.

~ Want ~
If you love Old Testament historical fiction about forgiveness, love, and redemption, this creative, imaginative read will not only educate you about a wicked time in Hebrew history, but it may also captivate your heart as what is your eternal legacy when you leave this earth.

Thanks to the Waterbrook & Multnomah Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#MesuAndrews #Isaiah’sLegacy #Israel’sKingManasseh #WaterbrookMultnomah

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

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Big Dreams & Powerful Prayers Illustrated Bible

Title:  Big Dreams & Powerful Prayers Illustrated Bible
Retold by Mark Batterson with Glenys Nellist
Illustrator: Omar Aranda
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-74682-9

“Jesus is the ‘author’ of our faith, and if we give him complete editorial control over our lives, he writes amazing stories through us,” Mark Batterson with Glenys Nellist writes in the introduction of their children’s book, Big Dreams & Powerful Prayers Illustrated Bible.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-twenty-four-page hardbound book targets young children from four to eight years old.  The book covers thirty stories taken from the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. With no overtly scary or violent scenes, it would best be read out loud to non-readers or beginner readers who like to look at pictures due to their limited reading comprehension level.

After an ownership page, two-page introduction, and table of contents, the book contains fifteen stories from both the Old and New Testaments, with each being six to eight pages long. Having colorful, easy-to-decipher illustrations, the designs show expressive characters and scenery on almost every page. Each story ends with a Prayer Point that is a paragraph or two applying the chapter’s theme personally with a short prayer and Bible verse written out.

~ Why ~
This chapter book has short, to-the-point stories written in a positive way. Although not all the stories told offer some facts (there is no mention of everyone dying except those in Noah’s ark, Jesus’s birth does not explain the immaculate conception, and His resurrection does not mention Christ died for our sins), it generalizes the events. Some of titles include In the Garden, By the Sea, In the Pit, With the Angel, In the Storm, In the Jail, and On the Island. Adding the prayer discussion is appreciated.

~ 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 thirty stories. Others may notice sin is rarely mentioned or no full plan of eternal salvation is given.

~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. This is a lovely Bible devotional, but it is sophomoric in its storytelling, so it may be best for preschoolers who are just hearing about our Savior.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book of thirty simplified stories from the Bible, this would be a good selection for a young one who is just learning about God’s Word, but note it is not fully accurate.

Thanks to ZBlogSquad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2PJ1gZw

#Zonderkidz #ZBlogSquad #BigDreamsandPowerfulPrayers #IllustratedBible #MarkBatterson #OmarAranda

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Piper & Mabel

Title: Piper & Mabel
Author: Melanie Shankle
Illustrator: Laura Watkins
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76086-3

“I’m just not sure Happy Tails Ranch is the place for two very wild but very good dogs,” the manager suggests in Melanie Shankle’s children’s book, Piper & Mabel: Two Very Wild but Very Good Dogs.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound with a matching jacket cover targets children ages four to eight years old. With no scary scenes, it is a story about 2 mischevious dogs who want to go on vacation with their owners. Detailed, expressive colorful illustrations cover the full pages.

In this short tale, Piper and Mable are two white-chested large black sibling pups who think they will be going to the beach with their family. However, when they learn they will have to stay at Happy Tails Ranch, they question if it will be full of excitement or dull and boring. When they realize they have nothing to do at the kennel, they escape and get lost, only to be found and reconnected to their peoples where they can happily play.

~Why ~
This innocuous, charming story shows how two dogs would rather be with their owners than anyone else. I like how they fantasize about being at the ranch chasing rabbits, running after cows, and digging in the mud and become disappointed in the boredom so jump a fence, only to be alone and lost in the woods. I appreciate how one dog writes several haikus of their situation.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like any references to God may not like this book, although He is only mentioned once at the end. Kennel owners may not like the suggestion that a dog ranch or doggie daycare is not a fun place for dogs. Due to some of the three and four-syllable words, it may be hard for beginner readers.

~ Wish ~
I wish the ending had a page explaining a haiku is a seventeen-syllable poem divided into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, usually about nature.

~ Want ~
If you want an adorable tale with fun-filled drawings for someone who loves or has dogs, this engaging book will delight kids as they read about two wild but good dogs enjoy their lives.

Thanks to Zblog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

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

#Zondelearnrkidz #ZblogSquad #PiperandMabel #MelanieShankle #LauraWatkins

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Words to Love By

Title: Words to Live By
Author: Rick Warren
Illustrator: Ag Jatkowska
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-75357-5

“The words you use show others what’s in your heart. God wants you to have a heart filled with love,” Rick Warren reiterates in his children’s book, Words to Love By for Little Ones.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page board book with rounded corners targets children ages four to eight years old. With no scary scenes, it focuses on how the words we use and speak to others can make an impact.

With colorful, engaging illustrations on every page, the story explains how important words are – both to endear or hurt others. With words being so powerful, they can spread love and kindness, show respect or thankfulness, and heal. However, they can also be spoken in anger and be hurtful. The book states that by saying what is in your heart or simply listen to others, words can change you and those around you.

~Why ~
This is a thoughtful and heartfelt way to remind young ones how words can be loving and nice or sometimes mean and cruel. I like how it promotes being kind to others through words, followed often by positive actions. Including that God wants you to have a heart full of love is appreciated and important when taught to our children. The artwork is endearing and will keep children interested.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like any references to God may not like this book, although He is only mentioned once (and Jesus is not). Others may not like the one negative comment about anger being unkind, but it does show the reality of saying something harmful to another person as it cannot be taken back.

~ Wish ~
I enjoyed this read and think it is important for children to learn early how words – good and bad – impact others. Since the author is a well-known Christian pastor, it would be thoughtful if his book reminded us that Jesus is the best example of showing love through His Word. Adding a Bible verse or two would be helpful.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a way to gently show your children or grandchildren how vital it is to be careful of what we say, this one reminds us to use words to encourage, forgive, express gratitude, heal, and love.

Thanks to Zblog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/34OBw2k

#Zonderkidz #ZblogSquad #WordstoLoveByforLittleOnes #RickWarren #AgJatkowska

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Love You, Love You

Title: Love You, Love You
Written by: Mary Hassinger
Illustrator: Alison Brown
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76841-8

“’Love You, Love You,’ Mama squeaked. Into her nest she quickly peeked. Sleeping babies softly snore. ‘I’ve never felt such love before,’” Mary Hassinger rhymes at the beginning of the children’s book, Love You, Love You.

~ What ~
This twenty-page board book with rounded corners targets children ages three years old and older. With no scary scenes, it focuses on animals and their families as they go to bed.

After a presentation page to fill out, this cute tale told in rhyming format shows an animal mother, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and siblings showing love as they put their charges into bed. The animals include mice, bears, snakes, dogs, chickens, ducks, cats, and frogs.

~Why ~
This is a nice story for those who like bedtime reads about animals getting snuggly and cozy as they hit the hay. I like the pretty illustrations and sleepy-looking critters that are calm and serene.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do care to read to their young ones when they get tucked in bed may have no interest in this short tale. Others may find it too sophomoric in content, as it only has animals in their sleeping areas.

~ Wish ~
I wish this book had more than the families simply going to bed with four-line rhymes and was more realistic to animals’ bedtime rituals. For example: The Nana snake makes sure all her grandchildren are kissed and then turns off all the lights, yet it could have been more engaging if the illustration was in a dark den than has no lamps in it.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a nice bedtime story about animals, this may satisfy your child’s interest, yet I do not think it will hold our grandchildren’s attention for long.

Thanks to Zblog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/35M62v0

#Zonderkidz #ZblogSquad #AlisonBrown #LoveYouLoveYou #MaryHassinger

 

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

Frog’s Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables

Title: Frog’s Rainy-Day Story and Other Fables
Author: Michael James Dowling
Illustrator: Sarah Buell Dowling
Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing
ISBN: 978-1949572-46-9

“You were created to make words. If you don’t make words and stories, what are you going to do?” Frog asks the rebellious letters in Michael James Dowling’s children’s book, Frog’s Rainy-Day Story & Other Fables.

~ What ~
This numbered seventy-two-page over-sized hardbound targets four to eight-year-old children who like stories about animals and valuable life lessons. Ideally for second and third graders, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. Fanciful illustrations are on most pages. The ending includes a two-page glossary, the author and illustrator’s biographies, and a further learning website link. Using mainly the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible, the Good News version is also referenced.

This collection of eight stories are written about a frog, duck, pig, turtle, owl, rabbit, hen, and goose as they deal with life’s challenges of personal glory, trusting their own wisdom, disobeying rules, being proud, seeking happiness, rejecting truth, making foolish choices, and wasting time. At the end of each tale is a highlighted saying, two quoted words of worldly wisdom along with written-out Bible verses, all relating to the moral of the story.

~ Why ~
Teaching young ones about family values should be a top priority for parents, teachers, and loved ones. This storybook hones in on building character, moral consciousness, and knowing right from wrong through the eyes of animals. Containing an unappreciated alphabet, duck adamant about direction, demanding pig with set rules, bragging turtle, wise owl recommending thinking about others, too-trusting rabbit being hoodwinked, flippant, demanding hen, and gander with a lost opportunity, the fables are cute, to the point, and charming.

~ Why Not ~
Children who do not know or have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand the validity of the “Wisdom of the Word” sections. Some young ones may get upset reading about a fox wanting to make rabbit stew. There are several two to four-syllable words that may be too complicated for beginner readers.

~ Wish ~
While I loved the stories and expressive illustrations that were easy to understand, I wonder if young readers on their own will realize that the quotes by famous people such as Lucille Ball, Ethan Embry, Swami Vivekananda, Eckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, and others in the “Wisdom of the World” sections are counter-intuitive and opposite than the Word of God written below them. I fear some may praise these quotes that are often not true to Scriptures and nowhere in the book does it explain or state their wrongness, so I have discounted the rating accordingly.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a kid’s storybook of lovely animal fables, this may be a favorite, but please be sure to clearly discuss with your children that the worldly outlook is not always in line with the Bible and Christian beliefs.

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

#Frog’sRainyDayStoryandOtherFables #MichaelJamesDowling #SarahBuellDowling #CarpentersSonPublishing #Bookcrash

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2q5sL5E

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The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling

Title: The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling
Author and Illustrator: Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76363-5

“As they drove through the night, an even merrier sound was heard–Christmas carols being joyfully sung,” states Mike Berenstain in his book, The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling.

~ What ~
Part of the Berenstain Bears / Living Lights series, this unnumbered twenty-four-page paperback targets children four to eight years old, especially those who like short stories of the well-known family of bears singing Christmas carols. With no profanity or scary scenes, the story has colorful, expressive illustrations on every page. Due to some complicated wording, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. Four postcards, a holiday door banner, and a word-search game are included.

This story has the entire Berenstain family going on a sleigh ride and joining friends as Christmas carols are sung. Often the little bears ask what words in the holiday songs mean such as bob tails, King Wenceslas, figgy pudding, a yule, and lowing.  At the end of the story, everyone meets at the chapel and sing more songs about Jesus’s birth.

~ Why ~
This book is a fun way to recall famous Christmas tunes that most of us know. I love the idea of explaining unusual words in the songs and adding the twelve cardstock postcards and doorknob card plus a word game. I appreciate the book promotes many songs about the nativity and does not mention Santa Claus.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or celebrate His birth may not be interested in this read. Some may not like the Biblical references or spiritual connotations in the songs. Due to the two and three-syllable words, some beginner readers may struggle through the pages.

~ Wish ~
Page numbers would be helpful for some readers learning their numbers.

~ Want ~
For those who like the Berenstain Bears series, this one that centers on Christmas carols, this is a great option that includes added bonuses a young one will enjoy.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2qq5FX1

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Childrens, Christian