Sammy and His Shepherd – Great Read

Sammy and His Shepherd by Susan Hunt, is a bit longer than most of the books I have reviewed thus far, although I would still consider it a “children’s” book. It is based on the 23rd Psalm and each 1-3 page chapter’s title comes from one of the lines of the 23rd Psalm. The story is about Samuel (called “Sammy” for short) who has a good shepherd. One day, Sammy meets an unnamed sheep who has a lazy, uncaring shepherd. Sammy calls this sheep “My Friend,” and they compare stories about their shepherds. Sammy keeps an eye out for “My Friend” and one day, when “My Friend” gets into trouble, he starts bleating and running around until his shepherd becomes aware of what has happened. The good shepherd buys “My Friend” and renames her, “Precious.”

It takes Precious a while to come to trust her new shepherd, but with time and Sammy’s help, she begins to realize that she has been bought by a shepherd who will take good care of her, lead her beside still waters, allow her to lie down in green pastures, and keep away their enemies. She also learns how to get along with other sheep who even annoy her sometimes because Sammy reminds her that every sheep in their flock has been bought by their shepherd and is precious to their shepherd, and that they should try to get along if only for their good shepherd’s sake.

This is a touching story that parallels the 23rd Psalm in a way that young children can understand. It has a set of questions at the end of the book for each chapter so you can discuss the book with you child(ren). The pictures of the sheep are a touch cartoony, but  they are also beautiful with lots of bright colors and beautiful scenery.

My two year old doesn’t have the patience to listen to the whole story at once (as it’s 43 pages long), but she does enjoy reading a few pages at a time. This will definitely be one of our “read it again” books.

Many thanks to Reformation Trust Publishers for providing this book for my review. They did not ask for a positive review, merely an honest one.

~ jenelle

Book Give-Away

I have 3 copies of Dawn of the Dragon’s Eye, in hardcover, to give away!

Contest Deadline: November 17th, 2010
How to enter for your chance to win one of these (3) free copies:

Either:
1) Post about my books on your facebook or your blog
or
2) Get 5 people to “like” my author fanpage

Then: come over to my fan page and leave me a comment with (a) information on your post (and the link to your blog if you posted there) or (b) the names of the people who you invited to “like” my fanpage.

The winners of the contest will be decided by a random drawing of all the names entered.

~ jenelle

Creation Curriculum: "God Made the World & Me" Review

What is even more exciting right now than getting free books? Getting free educational materials! This book, God Made the World & Me by David and Helen Haidle and Susan Laurita is a 13 lesson curriculum unit on the Creation Story. It goes hand in hand with the book I reviewed a few weeks ago: The Creation Story for Children. You can read my review for that book in the post before this one.

Anyway – I have read through this curriculum and I will definitely be using it. Though most of the material is preschool-oriented, I may even use some of the ideas now with my 2-year old. And I felt that the material would scale well – you could use this with older kids (not tons older, but definitely anywhere in the 3-7 range), which would be nice if you had two children in that age range and wanted to use the same curriculum for both of them.

Pros:
-Cross curriculum activities. For example, each lesson has ideas for a Physical Center, Science Center,  and Art Center. Each lesson has songs that you can sing with the kids, a memory verse, and quite a few game ideas. Each lesson also has at least one Older Children idea and one idea for Younger Children, which helps to make the curriculum scale well depending on the age of your children.

-There is a parent note for each lesson if you were to be using this in a larger classroom as a teacher.

-There are discussion questions for each lesson.

-There are extras for each lesson as well if the other ideas aren’t enough to keep you busy.

-I like that they have large group vs. individual instructions for some of the activities. I also like that there are often multiple options for the same type of activity (e.g. two art options in Lesson 2, two physical options in Lesson 3).

Con:
-The only thing that I found to be a con was that there was a graph that the kids were supposed to make during the week for Lesson 2, and I thought it would have been nice if the curriculum had a sample graph for the kids/parents to look at. I know that it would be an easy thing to figure out, but I’m so very visual and graphs are not my strong suit.

Overall, this seems like a great, hands-on, curriculum that is very cross-curricular. It’s not just a set of science lesson plans, it also includes art and music, PE, critical thinking, some writing, and it is not at all just a workbook. It is very home-school oriented, but I like that it would also be very easy to use in a classroom full of kids. This is definitely something I will use with my children.

Many thanks to New Leaf Publishing Group for providing this curriculum for review. The FTC requires that I inform you that NLPG did not ask for a positive review, merely an honest one. Therefore, I like NLPG more than I like the FTC… but I also like not being fined… so I include the disclaimer as ordered.

~ jenelle

The Creation Story for Children by David and Helen Haidle – Great Read!

The Creation Story for Children by Helen and David Haidle is a simply told and beautifully illustrated retelling of the creation story. Each page encompasses one day of the creation. Each page begins with the verses from Genesis and then has a short paragraph that retells those verses in more of a story-form.

Pros:
-The verses are taken from the King James Version, which some might consider a con, but as an English major, I appreciated. I don’t think children and younger generations get enough exposure to the sort of beautiful language that can be found in the King James Version of the Bible.

-The illustrations: every page has a beautiful depiction of what was created on each day. I really enjoyed the inclusion of dinosaurs in the illustrations.

-The last few pages after the story of creation talk about how God specially created and cares for each person from conception through our entire lives, how He thinks about us, how He has plans for us, etc.

-The story ends at the end of day 7 of the creation, before the fall. After thinking about it for a while, I actually am listing this as a pro. After all, the book is called: The Creation Story.
Cons:
-I can’t think of any.

Overall:
-This is a great book. I loved how it used the actual Bible verses in the retelling of the story, it kept me from feeling as though the authors were “adding” or “changing” the Bible story. I really can’t say enough about the illustrations, they are gorgeous. The text of the book is a bit advanced (a lot of words per page) for my 2 year old daughter, but she loves the pictures, and if I just read the Bible verses or just read the story part to  her she can pay attention for the whole story. Her favorite part? The day where God created fish and whales, of course! :)

The FTC demands that I inform you that I received this book for free. New Leaf Publishing Group, however, demanded nothing from me. They did not ask for a positive review, just an honest one.

~ jenelle