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Sticker Encyclopedia: Animals
Sticker Encyclopedia: Animals
by DK Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.13
47 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Bright, Hands On Fun, Sept. 19 2015
The Sticker Encyclopedia: Animals from DK Publishing divides 38 animal types into 6 major groupings: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Each animal type is given its own page with 4-5 specific species listed and described with a blank spot for the appropriate sticker. Primates, for example, are given South African galago, squirrel monkey, western gorilla, and ring-tailed lemur. Animals are briefly described and children find the correct stickers in the back of the book to complete each 'encyclopedia' page.

The encyclopedia portion of the book is 49 pages in length. 11 pages are biome centred pages where children can place animal stickers in the appropriate habitat. The remainder of the book includes the stickers for your child to remove and place. Over 600 stickers are included, larger ones for completion the encyclopedia (these are labelled for accurate placement of unfamiliar animals), habitat pages, and many smaller extra stickers that your child can use freely.

My oldest daughter filled out all of the pages on the sticker book, but rarely looked at it after completion. For her, the joy was in the doing. Reading the information, searching for the correct stickers and placing them in their homes. In fact, the many extra stickers weren't used for much here.

The book, while being a softcover, is quite sturdy. It has thick, semi-glossy pages, large, bright stickers, and interesting - if introductory - explanations and trivia.

With only a paragraph dedicated to each animal, this Sticker Encyclopedia doesn't provide a great deal of depth. It's fun, hands-on format does provide a fun introduction to many animals, their general classification, and appearances. It makes for a fun supplementary resource, travel book, or summer project for the animal loving child in 2nd grade.

I received a review copy of this title. All thoughts are my own.

Pippo the Fool
Pippo the Fool
by Tracy E. Fern
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.95
25 used & new from CDN$ 1.81

4.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Tale, Sept. 15 2015
This review is from: Pippo the Fool (Hardcover)
Pippo the Fool is an inspirational tribute to the architect of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, Filippo Brunelleschi. Presented with an architectural conundrum, the city of Florence posed a contest to design the dome of a cathedral that had stood without one in the face of architectural complexities which seemed unsolvable.

With competing -- Lorenzo offering up his own design, Fern contrasts frippery, pride, and flattery with the humility, earnestness, and dedication. More than a tribute to the man himself, Pippo celebrates the essence of ingenuity and invention, even when others do not appreciate it (and at times mock it.)

Author Tracey E. Fern's text is paired with rich, earth-toned illustrations from Pau Estrada. The main characters are often drawn in a caricature-like style emphasizing the character traits developed in the story. The people of Florence are Renaissance extras, and the architecture of the great city is depicted with reverence. A note from both author and illustrator help provide additional details and historical context.

While a charming story and beautifully depicted, Pippo the Fool is something of a niche offering. It is a more involved picture book that may not capture younger readers for the length of it's telling. As such, I recommend it for independent readers rather than a read aloud for younger children. It is especially well suited as a literature supplement to studies of the Italian Renaissance (set in 1420) and architectural studies. A Junior Library Guild Selection, this title is a natural selection for larger children's libraries with the capacity for more specialized, in-depth titles.

Price: CDN$ 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun, Sept. 13 2015
This review is from: Numb (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoy sci-fi, but I don't enjoy sci-fi featuring aliens for the most part. Aliens schmaliens. Don't get me started!


Thankfully, John W. Otte has penned Numb - a stand-alone sci-fi tale that takes place in a post galactic imperalism/expansion, but sans aliens! Woohoo! As a nice bonus it also includes some faith-based themes of dead religion vs. a life lived by the direction of the spirit. Sort of a reformation-persecuted church in....spaaaaaace. But less corny than that, trust me.

Crusader is a church-sanctioned assassin. The Ministrix says kill, he does. It's all for the good of his soul and helps him work towards alleviating an ever-presence sense that he's not right with God. Or so they tell him. Thankfully he's pretty much immune to feelings, both physical and emotional (hence the book title) because of some church tinkering. That is, until his feelings go ablitz and a mission goes wrong when he fails to eliminate target Isolda Westin. It's a wild dash-and-chase ride after that, full of political maneuverings, action, and grit.

It's probably too gritty to make it as a mainstream CFBA-style read, hence the Marcher Lord Press imprint (man, I love those guys). There is some true-to-the-story action and violence, but the language is clean, and the male-female character interactions are squeaky as well.

It's SO nice to be able to read sci-fi without scanning for humanistic/evolutionistic tendencies and Otte delivers. Good fun read, recommended!

Easy Gluten Free Muffin Recipes and More!: 21 Delicious Mouth Watering Recipes
Easy Gluten Free Muffin Recipes and More!: 21 Delicious Mouth Watering Recipes
Price: CDN$ 3.86

5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal, Sept. 12 2015
Easy Gluten Free Muffin Recipes is written by an intolerance and allergy-experienced author, Sherie Venner. Having lived (and baked) gluten-free for over twelve years herself, she has also developed corn free alternatives for the allergies of other family members.

Including not only muffin recipes, Venner provides delicious recipes for scones, waffles/pancakes, donuts, cookies, biscuits, and more (many based on an easy to use master mix - recipe included). The ingredients and instructions are very clear and well written. The only thing I would like to see different is a clear yield at the beginning of each recipe instead of hunting for it in the instructions (we have a large family).

There are actually twenty-three recipes (including baking mixes) in this book, and they are all useful. As opposed to many 'fluffy' cookbooks, Venner knows her stuff and focuses in on what she does well. These are authentic, tasty, time-tested recipes; not ones that have been copied and pasted from the lives of others.

If you are struggling to find yummy gluten/corn free deserts with good texture, this e-book will greatly simplify the task before you. I'm confident that many of these offerings will soon make their way into your family recipe files, as they have my own.

Draw of Kings, A
Draw of Kings, A
by Patrick Carr
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.91
36 used & new from CDN$ 6.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Conclusion, March 19 2014
This review is from: Draw of Kings, A (Paperback)
I’m fussy when it comes to fantasy. My first genre-love when it comes to reading, but after becoming a Christian I totally stopped reading for a time. After a few years I was able to start reading again, but selectively. I had to use discernment and hedges for myself to keep my heart stayed on Christ. Thankfully, Patrick W. Carr’s is one fantasy series that I can recommend without reservation (and without making disclaimers and warning notes!) When the third and final installment in the series – A Draw of Kings - came in the mail, I cried. Really, I did. The story got off to a bit of a bumpy start with A Cast of Stones, the first novel. Our main hero was entirely unlikeable and it took a while for him to journey through an incredibly authentic process of change and maturation. After reading The Hero’s Lot (book two) it was bookish love, all together and entirely. So, book three, I couldn’t wait to get started!

Now, it’s always tricky to review second and subsequent novels in a series for fear of giving away plot points in the earlier books for new readers. What can I say? We see a lot of the princess Adora in this book, making her a much more real character. We also see more Liam than we normally do, which is nice – he still seems like a distant figure in many ways. Sadly though, we don’t really feel Errol as much in this book as we have in others. That being said, it could simply be that there is a lot going on. What with all the diplomatic missions, church reformation, exotic voyages, political machinations, war, and demonic beings – times are busy in Illustra!

After finishing the series, I can say that the story isn’t as much of a pure parable as I thought it might be. It does deal with the themes of sacrificial love, redemption, the struggle between the forces of darkness and of good played out on a human scale, but it isn’t a straight across parallel like you find in some Christian fantasy. I’m good with that. While it is definitely an adult-level fantasy, and includes some war and violence, the romances are tender, sweet, and for the most part, chaste. There are a few kisses (three-four?), but that’s througout the entire series. I’m thankful for that, it means my fantasy loving children will be able to read it at earlier ages once they can handle the political alliances and battle scenes.

Now, I have to admit, series finales are tough to write, and A Draw of Kings wasn’t my favorite of the series, that would be book two, The Hero’s Lot. Still when all is said and done, the series closed well, and I recommend it highly as a favorite Christian fantasy series of mine. I’m keeping my books on the shelf!

Passport To The World: Your A To Z Guided Tour
Passport To The World: Your A To Z Guided Tour
by Craig Froman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.49
19 used & new from CDN$ 17.00

4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging, Language-Based Journey, March 2 2014
Passport to the World is a unique journey around the world based on languages. Opening with an account of the tower of Babel where the world's one and only language was split into a wide variety of language families, the book then goes on to cover one language and a focus country for each letter of the alphabet.

There is a map-based table of contents in the front identifying all of the included languages and focus country names with page numbers. English is assigned to Australia, Cherokee to the United States, Welsh to the United Kingdom, Xhosa to South Africa, and so on. Clearly, the assigned country isn't the only place these languages are spoken, nor is it the only language spoken in that country, but again, the focus is on language groups and not as much on geographic divisions.

If you'd like a list (and can't guess from the flags on the front cover – don't worry, I don't know them all either!) we have:

Armenian in Armenia, Bengali in Bangladesh, Cherokee in the United States of America, Dutch in the Netherlands, English in Australia, French in France, German in Germany, Hebrew in Israel, Icelandic in Iceland, Japanese in Japan, Korean in South Korea, Lithuanian in Lithuania, Mandarin in China, Norwegian in Norway, Oriya in India, Pashto in Afghanistan, Quechua in Bolivia, Russian in Russia, Spanish in Mexico, Turkish in Turkey, Ukrainian in Ukraine, Vietnamese in Vietnam, Welsh in the United Kingdom, Xhosa in South Africa, Yoruba in Nigeria, and Zulu in Swaziland.

The inside cover of the book includes a 'real' passport book that your child places a sticker of a passport stamp in once she has made a visit to each country (stickers at the back of the book). She can date the stamp with the date she read each country's entry.

Each language is given a two-page spread featuring the demographic facts of the country it is being associated with in the book. A colourful picture a child (or children) from today who speak the language is included beside a map of the country, an image of its flag and other photographs of interest (a special favorite here is the picture of someone in traditional or historical costume). Facts on currency, special foods, interesting facts about the language, other languages in the country, geography tidbits, etc. Are also given on each spread. My children's favorite parts were always the 'Speaking' section where the same four words were given along with a pronunciation guide: hello, goodbye, thank you, and peace and the part of the page where a proverb originating from the culture was given.

The back of the book comes with “Country Facts at a Glance” section, giving demographics for population, life expectancy, literacy, square miles, internet users, and monetary unit for each country for each comparison. It also includes two quiz pages for practicing the names of the flags of all the countries and identifying them based on their shapes. A page of resources for learning about and caring for children in other countries around the world is also included at the end of the book.

We've used this book as a free exploration resource in our homeschool, just having it available for the children to enjoy (and oh, they have enjoyed it!) The pictures of other children their ages, the exotic languages and foods, the different types of money, it's all been so engaging and intriguing. The glossy, visual appeal of each country's two page section has really drawn them in.

My oldest daughter has loved this book! I think the key that has really kept my oldest coming back for more as she moved through the book is the passport and stickers. I only wish I could buy additional stickers and passports for it for her younger siblings. While she was reading through it, she would approach me on a daily basis to try out her new vocabulary words, show me pictures of the children, and tell me about what she was learning.

Passport to the Word has been a lovely, language-centred jaunt around the world that focuses not as much on a unifying theme as it does on a unifying format.

Scholastic Children's Atlas of Canada
Scholastic Children's Atlas of Canada
by Scholastic Canada Ltd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 15.45
11 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great First Atlas, Feb. 4 2014
The Scholastic Children's Atlas of Canada is a fantastic early-elementary atlas. The clear, large-font type paired with full color illustrations and interesting topics make the work accessible and engaging. It's a good thing this title is a hardcover, because my children love looking through thet wide range of maps and fact charts available.

Please be aware that this work IS deliberately simplified for new atlas users. Special features include a section on maps and atlases (how to use them, how they are developed etc.) The atlas places Canada on the earth in reference to major geographical features and other continents, gives an overview of the country, a chart of First Nations regions and a pictorial timeline of European settlement to the present before devoting a four page section to each Canadian province.

Each four page spread includes overviews of the province, facts, flora, fauna, special geographic features, and other interesting tidbits, including each province's emblems and important industries. The most interesting aspect of the atlas is that the first map given for each province is adorned with illustrations for the type of landscape as well as plants and animals that live in the province.

The second map is a more typical flat map but it still includes illustrations for types of industry and shows varying development levels based on the size of buildings (small houses represent smaller towns, skyscrapers for large cities, parliament buildings for capitals etc.) These illustrated maps really make the provinces come alive for young readers. Being simplified it only includes only the major cities in each provincial spread and has no index. The book closes with some basic facts and demographics about Canada in a two page spread. It does have a very simple one page terminology listing at the end of the book.

All in all, we're delighted by this first foray into Canadian geography. This accessible and visually engaging volume will provide a splendid starting point for exploring our large, diverse contry.

A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword Book #1)
A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword Book #1)
Price: CDN$ 0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars CLASSIC Fantasy, Sept. 15 2013
Errol Stone is something of a misfit in the village of Callowford. His fondness for drink the driving force of his life, the only kindness he's shown comes from a reclusive (and somwhat irregular) priest. When a church messenger offers him a rich sum to deliver a message to the afore-mentioned priest, he gladly accepts, only to find himself fleeing for his life and swept into a web of political intrigues as the tme to choose a new King draws near.

I'll admit that I wasn't certain about A Cast of Stones (I often reserve judgement on new series) - I had my discernment antennae up about the reader's art where stones are carved and drawn to determine the truth. However, never fear fellow readers who avoid occultic practices by the good guys! These stones are akin to lots in the Bible, because the king has no successor, the next king must be chosen by casting stones that can only be created and read by those with the ability to do so. The importance of the lack of an heir becomes more pronounced as the book progresses. Not only is this king a political figure, he's also the descendant in a sacrificial line, and vitally important to spiritual shields that stand around the kingdom, providing it with protection from evil forces.

Carr draws a fine line with Errol, he truly is almost completely unlikeable for a good third of this first title in the series. His character development is then truly authentic, slow-paced, and believable. His fellow companions in his hero's journey are portrayed vibrantly as well, making for interesting travelling partners. When their paths diverge and the point of view passes back and forth, both of the plot streams are equally enjoyable.

Now, I have to admit (and this is to your advantage) - I've already read the second in the series, The Hero's Lot, and I can confidently say that Carr is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine! This excellent epic fantasy series from Bethany House (God bless them for continuing to publish Christian fantasy novels) includes a classic hero's plot arc, political intrigues, exotic locales, and of course, a certain amount of romantic tension as well. We are also treated to hints of a burgeoning reformation in a spiritual system that closely mirrors the bureaucracy and power-mongering of the Middle Ages Catholic church and force of darkness at work to manipulate politics for their own ends.

Essentially - I cannot wait for the third book to come out! Draw of Kings, I long for you! (Slated for release in January 2014!)

Candle Classic Bible, The
Candle Classic Bible, The
by Kregel Publishing
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.99
32 used & new from CDN$ 6.20

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Older Newbies, Aug. 21 2013
We adore storybook Bibles here - I'm reluctant to admit how many of them I own! So I was excited to take a peek at The Candle Classic Bible which I received to review. The Bible includes 365 stories from the scriptures, both Old and New Testament, and the readings are divided into 365 short selections, designed for daily reading. The book is beautifully bound - a sturdy hardcover with a ribbon bookmark, great presentation.

However, I've struggled to actually read it to my five children (they range from 10 months to 10, so I have a few to read to). The illustrations - while detailed and elaborate, almost like a graphic novel - aren't eye-catching for young children. My husband loves them, but the colors are all muted and dull and have a dark feel to them. The stories themselves are very short, we're used to reading more than a few paragraphs for a single event.

I asked my oldest if she'd like to read it on her own, and she declined, saying, "I've already had so many Bible stories read to me." Well, I suppose that's true, but she is in the intended age range of 8-10. She's moving on to more meaty explorations of God's Word already.

So - who would I recommend this work to? Older children who can read independently - possibly boys because of the darker illustrations, possibly older children of newly converted parents, or as a gift for children who don't have much discipleship at home - those who don't yet have a solid foundation in basic Bible story retellings and need a primer. It's a lovely choice for those situations even if it isn't the best fit for us.

Trim Healthy Mama
Trim Healthy Mama
by Pearl P. Barrett
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 42.99
29 used & new from CDN$ 37.00

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mom of 5, 43 lbs. Lost, Aug. 21 2013
This review is from: Trim Healthy Mama (Paperback)
UPDATE: I've now lost 44 lbs. in 6 months, going from 188 to 144 - only 4 lbs. away from the middle of my healthy weight zone, definitely within normal weight ranges for medium frame, 5'6" (125-155).

I'm the mother of five children so far, and like many moms, I have never found it particularly easy to lose weight after having children - even while exclusively breastfeeding. While I was able to get fairly trim after my first child, and my second to some degree, some bad bouts of postpartum depression and hormonal imbalances led me to settle in at a weight of 180-190 after my subsequent pregnancies.

Having been 140 in high school and 150 when I married, I knew I was `plump' but justified it due to my status as a mom. In reality I was just into the obese zone for my height (5'6").

After my fifth baby was born and I felt like I was gaining weight while breastfeeding (not again!) and my blood sugar was incredibly swingy, I was ready to give up on food. Not mainly because of my weight, but just because my blood sugar made me feel so terrible. There is a lot of diabetes in my family, and I was worried. I felt better if I didn't eat because then I didn't have blood sugar lows afterwards. I just wanted someone to tell me how to eat.

Enter Trim Healthy Mama.

Some of my local homeschooling moms had been talking about Trim Healthy Mama. I decided to check it out for real after they talked about it at a group meeting. After finding the Facebook group and joining it, I was so inspired by the stories of women who'd improved their health and lost 20-30 lbs. in around 3 months or so. I thought to myself, "Hey, I could certainly stand to lose that much weight!" I started to believe that just because I was a mom of many (just like Serene and Pearl the authors) didn't mean I had to carry that extra weight burden around with me. I had hope that it was possible, that other real moms were doing it, and maybe... just maybe, so could I. I purchased the ebook from the author's site and started my journey, slowly implementing the principles as I learned and read. Best money I've ever spent.

I've lost 32 lbs. in 14 weeks, my blood sugar is much more stable and I've never eaten such satisfying, nutrient-rich food. Now I get to pick what I eat instead of being driven by low blood sugar and cravings. My journey isn't over yet, but today I am almost in my healthy weight zone - 156.5 lbs. Things are so different post-baby this time, and I'm incredibly, incredibly thankful for that!

I bought the ebook from the authors to avoid shipping delays!

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