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Reviews Written by
Charles Ashbacher (Marion, Iowa United States)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Little Jimmy Says, "Same Is Lame"
Little Jimmy Says, "Same Is Lame"
by Jimmy Vee
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.15
17 used & new from CDN$ 12.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainingly colorful and contains a valuable message, Nov. 25 2014
This delightful and colorful book is a celebration of the diversity in the physical appearance of people. The author is barely five feet tall and an adult, so he is a physical outlier. The title is a rhyming statement that everyone looking the same would be dull and uninteresting, the first arguments are a list of several advantages to being short. This is followed by the advantages of wearing unusual glasses and some of the other skills that the author possesses such as being a ventriloquist and a magician.
Other physical traits such as having a bald head, a large nose, a distinctive voice and having a prominent scar on your face are described as being advantageous, depending on the circumstances. The emphasis throughout is that being different is cool and there will always be ways in which those differences will be an advantage.
This book has some of the most visually attractive artwork that I have ever seen in a children's book. The colors are very bright and attractive without being so dominant that they would overload the senses of a young child. The text is in short snippets, at most three or four sentences on a page and embedded around the images. The cover art is also very crisp with attractively colored images.
Children largely see differences between children but tend to ignore them and consider them inconsequential, but only to a point. That point is often too easily reached and should be avoided if possible. This book won't help children ignore their differences but it will help them keep the mindset that differences are a positive thing.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

OZ Naturals Facial Moisturizer - This Sea Infused Face Moisturizer Is Not To Be Underestimated - Contains Powerful Vitamin C & Algae Keratin Extract For Superior Anti Aging, Anti Wrinkle Moisturizing & Antioxidant Benefits.
OZ Naturals Facial Moisturizer - This Sea Infused Face Moisturizer Is Not To Be Underestimated - Contains Powerful Vitamin C & Algae Keratin Extract For Superior Anti Aging, Anti Wrinkle Moisturizing & Antioxidant Benefits.
Offered by OZ Naturals Canada
Price: CDN$ 28.45
2 used & new from CDN$ 28.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Good product but not as great as some of the other OZ Naturals products, Nov. 24 2014
Review written by Adriana Boettcher, edited by Charles Ashbacher

The Oz Naturals skincare line is the best I've used yet. I've previously tried seven of their products and loved them, both initially and over time. Recently, I tried two more and had some reservations about each. The Vitamin C cleanser works really well. It has a pleasant, citrusy fragrance and a cool, penetrating feel. I used this cleanser over several days and found that it alone made my skin feel softer. The only downside was that it dried the skin around my nose slightly.
To remedy that side effect, I tried the Sea Infused moisturizer. This product is recommended to use after cleansing, exfoliating, toning and serum application. The moisturizer comes out of the tube a muddy brown, similar to other masks I've used in the past. However, the directions on its package recommend you let the moisturizer dry, but it never states to wash it off. This is a must. The moisturizer works well, but similarly to other masks, it leaves a stiff feel on the skin. After having tried other Oz Naturals products and loving them, I would have to rate these two products slightly lower. I liked the results very much, but had slight problems with each. Comparing the Vitamin C cleanser and Sea Infused moisturizer to others on the market, the Oz Naturals have a clear advantage. However, when comparing these Oz Naturals products to other Oz Naturals, I was slightly disappointed, just because my previous experience had been so positive with these products. Compared to the previous A+ OZ products that I have examined, these two are A-.

This item was made available for free for review purposes.

OZ Naturals Facial Cleanser Contains Powerful Vitamin C - This Natural Face Wash Is The BEST Anti Aging Facial Cleanser On The Market - It Deep Cleans Pores While Providing 8 Times The Anti Oxidant Protection For A Healthy, Radiant Glow.
OZ Naturals Facial Cleanser Contains Powerful Vitamin C - This Natural Face Wash Is The BEST Anti Aging Facial Cleanser On The Market - It Deep Cleans Pores While Providing 8 Times The Anti Oxidant Protection For A Healthy, Radiant Glow.
Offered by OZ Naturals Canada
Price: CDN$ 30.63
2 used & new from CDN$ 30.63

4.0 out of 5 stars Good product but not as great as some of the other OZ Naturals products, Nov. 24 2014
Review written by Adriana Boettcher, edited by Charles Ashbacher

The OZ Naturals skincare line is the best I've used yet. I've previously tried seven of their products and loved them, both initially and over time. Recently, I tried two more and had some reservations about each. The Vitamin C cleanser works really well. It has a pleasant, citrusy fragrance and a cool, penetrating feel. I used this cleanser over several days and found that it alone made my skin feel softer. The only downside was that it dried the skin around my nose slightly.
To remedy that side effect, I tried the Sea Infused moisturizer. This product is recommended to use after cleansing, exfoliating, toning and serum application. The moisturizer comes out of the tube a muddy brown, similar to other masks I've used in the past. However, the directions on its package recommend you let the moisturizer dry, but it never states to wash it off. This is a must. The moisturizer works well, but similarly to other masks, it leaves a stiff feel on the skin. After having tried other Oz Naturals products and loving them, I would have to rate these two products slightly lower. I liked the results very much, but had slight problems with each. Comparing the Vitamin C cleanser and Sea Infused moisturizer to others on the market, the Oz Naturals have a clear advantage. However, when comparing these Oz Naturals products to other Oz Naturals, I was slightly disappointed, just because my previous experience had been so positive with these products. Compared to the previous A+ OZ products that I have examined, these two are A-.

This item was made available for free for review purposes.

OXO Good Grips Coarse Grater Bi-Directional (White)
OXO Good Grips Coarse Grater Bi-Directional (White)
Price: CDN$ 16.99
5 used & new from CDN$ 16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Allows you to make fast work of grating crisp vegetables, Nov. 24 2014
With this grater I was able to go through an entire cabbage very quickly followed by a few full-size carrots in order to make some slaw. I placed the end of the grater on a chopping block and used the handle to hold it at roughly a forty-five degree angle. This allowed me to hold it firmly enough to do the rapid chopping of the vegetables.
I really liked the grip, it fit well into my hand and allowed me to put enough downward pressure on the grater so that it did not slide on the block. This is an excellent grater, while it only does coarse grating, since this tends to be done on the sturdier vegetables, it will solve most of my grating problems.

The Crew Goes Coconuts!: A Captain No Beard Story Volume 6
The Crew Goes Coconuts!: A Captain No Beard Story Volume 6
Price: CDN$ 3.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle lesson for children on the wrongness of teasing, Nov. 23 2014
Captain No Beard and his crew have once again embarked on a great adventure, but this time the crew is splintered into factions. Matie the goat is the focal point of the dissension, with only Hallie and Cayla thinking that Matie is pretty. The others are making fun of Matie, hurting her feelings and generally being mean. Only Fribbet the frog refuses to take sides and take a chance on alienating some of his friends.
Finally, Captain No Beard intervenes, ordering each member of the crew to say something good and something they don't like about themselves. It is difficult at first, the Captain has to pull rank in order to get the proper admissions. The lesson is quickly understood, namely that everyone has good and bad qualities, so each person is worthy of praise and can also be criticized for faults. The key is to find something to like in everyone and to work together to solve their problems, in this case a lack of something to drink.
The most effective lessons are those learned early and in a gentle manner, especially when the lesson is discerned by the learner. This is a book where children learn a valuable lesson that is wrapped up in the wonder of a great imagination, where all things are possible, even a goat shedding a tear because it is being teased.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

I Want To Do Yoga Too
I Want To Do Yoga Too
Price: CDN$ 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great lesson for children, Nov. 23 2014
Children quite naturally want to do the same things their parents do, so when Mommy and Hallie go to the studio where Mommy does her yoga, Hallie wants to do the same things Mommy does. However, she is told that she needs to go to the child care area where she will play with Robin and that makes Hallie sad.
While Hallie is waiting for Mommy to complete her yoga exercises, Robin takes her through a series of movements and poses. Each time she does one, Hattie says, "But I want to do yoga too." When Mommy comes to get her Robin tells Hallie that what she was doing was yoga. From that moment on Hallie is excited about coming back to the center and doing her yoga exercises.
This is a cute book for it imparts the lesson that even when they are shunted to another place, children can still be doing what their parents are doing. Disappointed through most of the story, Hallie emerges pleased and is excited about doing the same thing the next time.
The story is written at the level of the second grader, with illustrations that amplify the story where only the key parts of the image are colored.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Mary Mary Quite: On Raising Children: (And Other Mind-Altering Substances)
Mary Mary Quite: On Raising Children: (And Other Mind-Altering Substances)
by Mary Huckstep
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.38
2 used & new from CDN$ 27.38

5.0 out of 5 stars A humorous look at coping with the comical aspects of life, but generally only after the event, Nov. 23 2014
The writing of Mary Mary Quite is not contrary to your having a good time. (I just had to say that.) This book is very amusing, especially if you have been a parent, a profession that no one can prepare for because everyone has a different experience. There are episodes of cleaning the messy room, cleaning up the garage, cleaning a house co-inhabited by people that tend to be very messy, attempting to prepare a home-cooked meal, battling an invasion of ants and examples of the inherent conflict between parents and their children.
The author includes the father and husband, a. k. a. “Old Hunk” in her descriptions of the challenging adventures in her life. One of my favorites is “MMQ: On Springtime,” a rendition of the first season of t-ball. I coached many youth sports as my daughter was growing up, t-ball, basketball, soccer and softball. There is nothing more entertaining than seeing a collection of children playing a sport for the first time and the adjustments coaches have to make based on the skill levels. In t-ball we instructed the infielders to roll the ball to first base rather than throw it because the players could not catch the ball. We also ended up stationing a coach behind each of the lines when the players were warming up by playing catch. Since they rarely caught the ball the coach was there to pick it up so that they could get more throws in before the game. The author captures these magic moments, the organized chaos that is a t-ball game.
Everyone that has been through the parenting experience to roughly the age of the child turning 21 will have experienced the delightful “trauma” of the life of Mary Mary. She made some compromises, discovering that putting a child on a leash is not as ridiculous as she had thought earlier. Particularly when the child is faster than you are and can get a running start, the more imaginative child can find danger when no reasonable person could.
Amusing throughout, this book relies on a few stereotypes regarding gender roles, such as the wife store versus the Scratch and Dent Warehouse and boys being smashers while girls are dainty. Her conclusive evidence is the boys’ use of doll carriages with occupants to enact violent collisions. Mary Mary’s wit reminded me of Erma Bombeck in that the stories are probably only funny when you survive to write about them some time after they happened.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Apaches (Version française)
Apaches (Version française)
DVD ~ François-Joseph Cullioli
Price: CDN$ 17.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Teens making escalating bad choices, acting gets weak and it lacks intensity, Nov. 22 2014
This review is from: Apaches (Version française) (DVD)
This movie is set on the French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea and involves the interaction of two cultures, an imported Arab one that are members of the working class and the French that are often the privileged. Two Arabs, an older man and a teenage boy work in maintaining a luxury villa while the owners are away. In an attempt to impress his friends, the teenage boy invites his friends to come with him to the villa at night for some partying.
Things get out of hand, rather than just swimming in the pool they break into the house, drink some of the alcohol and one of them gets very sick, vomiting all over. Things get worse when they decide to steal some of the items in the house, including some valuable guns.
When the wealthy owners return they are furious and enlist the aid of some local crime figures that conduct a strong arm investigation. One of the boys gives in and returns all of the items other than the guns, for one of the other boys is determined to sell them to get money to impress his girlfriend. This leads to a split between the four boys, and it rapidly escalates to extreme hostility where one of them is considered a traitor.
The initial segment of this story is one that is very common among teenagers, doing things to impress your friends without thinking through any potential consequences. Often, these actions involve the trespassing or damaging of the property of others, fortunately in most cases it ends before anyone gets seriously hurt.
In this story the reader is lightly exposed to the Arab subculture that is embedded in Corsican life. These are boys that are in a working class subculture and question whether they will ever be able to raise their economic status. The story is well told but it is often not riveting, the criminal muscle men are not played well enough to get the reader nervous and the acting sometimes weakens. This is a good movie, but not one where your disbelief is strong throughout.

This DVD was made available for free for review purposes.

If you were me and lived in... Russia: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World
If you were me and lived in... Russia: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World
Price: CDN$ 1.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for teaching children about another culture, Nov. 22 2014
This is another excellent entry in the “If You Were Me and Lived in …” series of books, in this case the country is the largest in the world, Russia. The reader is given a brief introduction to how a child in Russia would live, including some of the landmarks and a small set of Russian words widely used by children in Russia. Some of them are the words for mother, father, school, thank you, some of the most popular games played by children and a few of the most popular names.
American children need to learn about other cultures and how similar their lives are. When similarity is emphasized and understood, it is harder to demonize others and that is done far too often. This book is well written, simply and effectively illustrated and strongly recommended for all children’s libraries.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

Becoming an Entrepreneur: How to Find Freedom and Fulfillment as a Business Owner
Becoming an Entrepreneur: How to Find Freedom and Fulfillment as a Business Owner
by Jake Desyllas
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.40
3 used & new from CDN$ 11.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Short, but all the really good stuff is in here, Nov. 22 2014
Desyllas correctly identifies the biggest hurdle in going from an employee to an entrepreneur, losing the mindset of being an employee where the key decisions and responsibility for them are the purview of others. Even if there are legitimate concerns over the fate of the company you work for, if you are an employee you may lose your job, but you will not have to take the blame or assume a burden of debt. Desyllas points out that many people maintain the employee mindset even after they start their own company, a residual mindset that puts you on a path to failure. To be successful in a start-up, you must go beyond the “cog in the works” position to one of being the power of the entire machine.
The main path to success in a business should be a principle that is so simple and so obvious that it should not have to be stated, but in fact it generally has to be stated and repeated. “To be a success you have to offer something that people will pay for at a price that allows you to make a profit.” So simple, so true and yet so often ignored. Many people have the passion for starting a new business, but they lack the key component, getting people to buy what they are selling. Sometimes they are even uncertain as to what they are trying to do.
If you can develop a product that people want and can afford at a price where you can profit, then while there are pitfalls, the remaining operations are more in the area of the mechanical. You may fail in the execution, but people are always willing to pay for good product ideas. Most of the advice put forward covers the change in mindset needed to be an entrepreneur, making sure that you have a product that can be sold and the fundamentals of how to run a startup business.
One additional high quality item of advice is to avoid being funded by outside investors if at all possible. While these people can be the lifeline of your company, the name of the television show “Shark Tank” is not misnamed. These investors will ask for a great deal in order to give you money, the vast majority of the time they take so much that there is little left for you and any co-founders. While they be your last hope, Desyllas is right when he says they should be your last resort and only after all other avenues have been exhausted.
There are many books about entrepreneurship on the market, some of them are so full of jargon and hype that they just bore you, even if they might be packing valuable advice. Desyllas avoids all of that, he is relatively brief and compact in telling the reader most of the things they will have to do in order to be a successful entrepreneur. No guarantees, but reading this book shifts the goalposts in a direction that favors your success.

This book was made available for free for review purposes.

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