Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review: 'The Great Easter Egg Hunt' by Michael Garland.

✰✰✰½ On Easter morning a young boy receives a mysterious invitation from his Aunt Jeanne. As instructed through notes, Tommy races to follow a bunny in a pink vest. Tommy is magically transported to a town where it is Easter all the time. The lucky little boy follows the clues to visit the Easter egg factory, buildings made of chocolate, the Jelly Bean Machine, and an Easter-basket assembly line. His adventure is full of holiday surprises, but the best one is waiting for him at the end. You, too, are invited to explore this magical land filled with chocolate bunnies, decorated eggs, little lambs, and fluffy chicks to count.

The Bottom Line: This brightly illustrated picture book challenges young readers to search for holiday related objects. Also, readers can search for letters that spell out a special holiday messages. Plus, readers learn to follow directions through a variety of puzzles. Recommended holiday reading for kids ages 3 through 8.

Details: The Great Easter Egg Hunt (A Look Again Book) written & illustrated by Michael Garland. Hardcover picture book published by Dutton Children's Books in 2005. 32 p. ISBN: 0-525-47357-2

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review: 'St. Patrick's Day' by Anne Rockwell

✰✰✰ On St. Patrick's Day all the children in Mrs. Madoff's class wear something green. They learn about why there are no snakes in Ireland and how to dance a jig. Together they learn about shamrocks and the life story of St. Patrick. It's a busy, fun-filled day as the children learn why so many people celebrate St. Patrick's Day whether they are Irish or not. 

The Bottom Line: This picture book is a pleasant introduction to the activities involved in celebrating St. Patrick's Day. It is a good choice for classroom storytime for kids in grades K - 2. If you enjoy this one, check out the other books in the series. 

Details: St. Patrick's Day written by Anne Rockwell & pictures by Lizzy Rockwell. Hardcover picture book published by Harper in 2010. Unpaged. ISBN: 978-0-06-050198-3 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review: 'Have a Little Faith' by Mitch Albom

✰✰✰✰✰ First there was a question: "Will you do my eulogy?" Then there was another question: "Will you save me, Jesus?" These two very different questions were asked by two very different men. One man was Jewish, and the other was Christian. One was white; the other was black. One was a rabbi; the other was a pastor. Both men dedicated their lives to helping others; yet, each came to the job via very different journeys. What could these two men possibly have in common?

Author Mitch Albom explores faith in his first nonfiction book since Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson. This is a story about how two very different men changed the world for the better. This is a story about faith and hope. It is a story about how we are all more alike than different, and how we can find these common bonds if we give each other a chance.

The Bottom Line: Albom is the type of author who writes when something moves him rather than writing on a schedule. He waits until just the right story comes along. In this small, but powerful book, Albom alternates between the life stories of two men. By illustrating the differences, Albom highlights the similarities of these two clerics. Along the way, Albom finds he is on his own journey, a journey of faith and discovery. This is a journey that anyone of any faith or culture, in any country can take. Highly recommended reading for everyone. This is for anyone with an open mind who is interested in learning about other religions and exploring faith. This gentle book will make you think differently about yourself and others.

Book Club Notes: This was easily one of our favorite books. With an average rating of 4.5 stars, book club members were eager to share their views and ask questions. The discussion was lively and the hour passed much too quickly. This was a fantastic book to introduce different religions. Through comparing and contrasting the two clerics, we learned a lot about faith in general. Highly recommended for book clubs interested in exploring religion, faith, and inspiration. Visit Mitch Albom's website for the Reading Guide with Questions.

Details: Have a Little Faith: A True Story by Mitch Albom. Paperback edition published by Hachette Books in 2014. 260 p. ISBN: 978-1-4013-1046-2