Read & Play Baby Bible from Zonderkidz | Children's Book Review

Read & Play Baby Bible from Zonderkidz

Book review disclosure.

Illustrated by Gustavo Mazali
Juvenile Nonfiction (ages infant-8)

Cuddle up, read, play--repeat! With fun stories written just for little ones and activities like tickling bellies and singing along with David and his harp, children won't just learn God loves and cares about them . . . they'll experience it! This is a Bible they'll want to read over and over again. Fill story time with lots of love, hugs, and kisses with the Read and Play Baby Bible.

My Thoughts

The new Read & Play Baby Bible is a delightful way to begin introducing your little ones to pivotal passages of Scripture. There are twenty-two different stories with about half being in the Old Testament and the other half in the New Testament. 

What I really like about this board book is that it is quite interactive. On the left-hand page there is the Scripture title with reference and a short synopsis of what the passage contains. On the right-hand page is a short little dialogue that contains words and action (tickling, holding hands, huming a song, etc.) that helps to convey the particular message of the Scripture.

If you have a little one you know they enjoy interaction when reading a story. This little book provides ample opportunity to incorporate that aspect. My youngest grands would be delighted to participate in the telling of the story in this way. I would recommend this as a baby shower gift for an expecting momma or a sweet just because gift for your favorite little one.

Disclosure of materials.

Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn | Contemporary Fiction Review

Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

Book review disclosure.

Father Christmas #3
Contemporary Fiction / Christmas

Bestselling, award-winning author 
Robin Jones Gunn welcomes us back to the 
cozy English village of Carlton Heath for a 
winter romance that will melt your heart.

Anna's first visit to Carlton Heath in England was last May for the wedding of her cousin Ian to Miranda. The beautiful event ended with a dance under the stars and Anna receiving an unexpected kiss from Peter, the groomsman who caught her eye and now holds her heart.

Now, at the invitation of family and friends, Anna is returning to Carlton Heath for Christmas. She has Peter's recent email to fill her with assurance that he's looking forward to seeing her again as well.

More than his brief words, though, the vivid memory of their unforgettable kiss provides a promise of more to come. Anna, ever the imaginative artist, has been busy painting a romantic conclusion to her holiday visit. Certainly she's not the only one who has been dreaming of another dance and another kiss.

But when she sees Peter again, his intentions seem to shift as speedily as the blustery winter weather. Is Anna's heart misleading her, or will Father Christmas bestow on her the gift of love for which she has long dreamed?

My Thoughts

Kissing Father Christmas is the third and final novella in the Father Christmas series by Robin Jones Gunn. I loved the first book, Finding Father Christmas, and I thoroughly enjoyed the second book, Engaging Father Christmas. I also enjoyed this novella.

The first and second books focused primarily on Miranda and then Miranda and Ian. This book shifts to Ian's American cousin Anna and Ian's friend and colleague Peter. The two met during Ian and Miranda's wedding which took place between the books. Now Anna has returned to Carlton Heath for a visit with the hopes that the friendship that began may develop into more.

While I was excited to return to Carlton Heath and catch up with what the characters had been doing, I just didn't click with Anna and Peter's story until almost the very end. I wish we knew earlier what is revealed later and then we could spend some time seeing the two's relationship deepen.

Even though I say that I am still a big fan of this book and series. Robin Jones Gunn has a way of developing characters that make them seem to dance off of the page and into the realm of reality. This particular series has a top story that is about a wonderful holiday romance. It's charming and inviting. But what separates her stories from the many others is the underlying story. If you look past the sweet romance you see a spiritual journey that convicts and entices you to look to your own walk with God. 

These books will most definitely go on my shelf to be revisited in years to come. I recommend them to anyone that is a fan of Christmas novellas. I would say that the books could probably read as stand-alone titles but they go so nicely together that you should scoop them all up.

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Disclosure of materials.

Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny by Dr. Tony Evans | Christian Life Review

Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny by Dr. Tony Evans

Book review disclosure.

Christian Living / Spiritual Growth

God has a plan for your life. 

More often than not, it’s a detour, one that can leave you feeling temporarily stalled and slowed down. Which nobody likes. But detours are necessary if any improvements are going to be made on the paths we travel. Or if any wreck is going to be cleaned up or a hazard avoided. Detours are designed for our own good, regardless of how we view or feel about them.

Detours are a good thing that often feels bad.

Tony knows a thing or two about detours, and one of the things he knows for certain is that God works through detours to bring about His blessing. To deliver you to the place He has created just for you. Yet what we often do is try as hard as we can to work our own way to the circumstances we believe are best for us.

Using examples from the life of Joseph, Tony will leave readers with answers to the following questions:
  • How do you find the destiny God has designed for your life?
  • How can you make the most of the detours God has planned for you?
  • Is there a way to shorten a detour and speed up your progression in life?
  • What is the purpose of a detour?

My Thoughts

If you've lived any time at all I can guarantee you've experienced a detour. Maybe it's been a short one or maybe it's gone on a long time. Sometimes they seem to come in succession. Some are painful, some are tedious and some may even be a pleasant diversion. Regardless every one of them are part of the journey towards our ultimate destiny.

In his own unique way Dr. Evans takes us on a journey through the life of Joseph. Along the way we experience Joseph's detours towards his destiny and apply each twist and turn to our own circumstances. I personally don't think I'll ever look at the life of Joseph in the same way. I'm a church girl so the story is almost overly familiar. This was a refreshing new look at God's sovereignty. 

If you are experiencing a detour of your own you need this book. Detours can be depressing. And by nature they are quite unpredictable. But this book will remind you that there is purpose in everything. What is going on in your life isn't only about you. God uses every one of us to complete His plan in His way and in His timing. 

If you enjoy the teaching ministry of Dr. Evans you will most certainly enjoy this book. It is written in his distinctive voice. I felt like I could actually hear him reading to me in my head. There is also a follow-up Bible study that would be nice for a small group.

Connect With The Author

Dr Tony Evans

Disclosure of materials.


Lots of Love by Kim Washburn | Children's Board Book Review

Lots of Love by Kim Washburn

Book review disclosure.

Kim Washburn
Illustrations by Jacqueline East
Juvenile Fiction / Board Book

In art class we make sweet cards
With glitter and some glue.
I make my big heart sparkle
And write "From Me to You!"

Celebrate all the ways we show love--from hugs and kisses to sharing and helping others. Snuggle up with your little ones as you explore the sweet rhymes and whimsical artwork illustrating the special bonds of love between families and friends.

My Thoughts

With Valentine's Day just around the corner I'm on the hunt for some non candy treats for my grands. I think Lots of Love fits the bill perfectly for the two little ones on my list. It's a sturdy board book that their little hands can manipulate without worry of torn pages.

And the message . . . it's all about love! In fact let me tell you my favorite verse and you will get a glimpse of the entire book's content.

"God fills my life with blessings.
He loves me through and through.
My heart is overflowing
And I want to show love too." 

The story revolves around a little girl and how she gives and receives love throughout her day. It starts early in the morning as she wakes and greets the day cuddling with her puppy. She then moves on to her family and friends at preschool. Eventually she's back at home and finishes her day by expressing her thanks for the love she has given and been given.

This is a delightful way to reinforce that we are called to love one another. I think it would make a wonderful Valentine's Day gift but of course love is in style any time of year so it would make a great gift regardless of the occasion.

Disclosure of materials.


The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker & Activity Book | Juvenile Fiction Review

The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker & Activity Book

Book review disclosure.

Jan & Mike Berenstain
Juvenile Fiction (ages 4-8)

Looking for hours of fun, wholesome entertainment for your kids? Look no further! Celebrate Valentine's Day and every day with Papa, Mama, Brother, Sister, Honey Bear, and the rest of the Bear Country gang. Puzzles, activity pages, more than 50 reusable stickers, and a whole lot more provide the kind of creative and interactive fun your kids crave.

My Thoughts

Valentine's Day tends to be all about the candy! Don't get me wrong I enjoy candy as much as anyone but a kid on a sugar-high tends to come crashing down and it's rarely a pretty thing. With that in mind I try to send my grands something to balance out the candy. This year it's The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker & Activity Book.

In my opinion you can't go wrong with the whole gang from Bear Country. They are so lovable and gently teach our kids important life lessons. This sticker and activity book does that with a little twist. It is filled with all kinds of activities like fill-in-the-blank, find an item, mazes, stories, pages to color, and stickers to stick. 

The nice thing is that it provides lots of quiet time activity that allows the kids to ponder the lessons and the mommas to have a couple of minutes of peace. (That scores me extra bonus points as the granny!) 

The age recommendation is 4-8 and that seems about right. I have two grands that are younger than that and one that is older but I am giving it to them all. I don't expect the two-year-olds to understand it but I know that they will enjoy coloring the pictures and sticking the stickers all over the place. The almost ten-year-old is getting one too because I think she'll still enjoy it and she'd feel left out if everyone else got a copy but her. If you're looking for a fun supplement to your Valentine's Day celebration I would recommend you consider this adorable resource.

Disclosure of materials.

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