Reviews

Book Review: All the Colors That I See 

All the Colors That I See is a great board book to help young children learn their colors–and that God made all of them for us to enjoy, too!

All the Colors That I See is a great board book to help young children learn their colors--and that God made all of them for us to enjoy, too! - a book review on thepajamachef.com

description of the book from the publisher:

Green and yellow, red and blue?—what favorite color did God give you?

In this delightful board book, preschoolers can learn their colors and learn where they came from—God! They’ll be encouraged to touch, tap, or pat colors on each page, and a sneaky chameleon will follow them along the way.

In the Little Words Matter™ board books, it only takes a few words to tell a big story. Crafted especially for toddlers, these books make biblical truths easily understandable and enjoyable for little ones and their parents too!

As usual, my five point review:

  • I love getting new books to read with my toddler, and this sweet board book is no exception. This book is a great way to teach your young child about all the colors God has created for us to enjoy and appreciate.
  • Most educational books for toddlers about colors or objects are pretty boring, in my opinion. I thought All the Colors That I See is so creative! The premise: teaching children about colors is pretty basic. However, the authors take this a step further by encouraging children to engage with the colors–circle them, tickle them, touch them with their nose. Silly things like that. Finally, there’s a color changing chameleon to find with each color as well. All this adds up to a fun and educational experience for your child–and you! I can see my son engaging with this book differently as he grows, so that’s definitely a bonus.
  • One thing I expected with this book, perhaps by the title, was that it would explore issues of race. It doesn’t go there at all, so just be aware of that. I think it could be used to bridge that topic with older toddlers or preschoolers in a pinch, but I know there are better books about that as well.
  • The faith content in this book is not forced or overbearing, and is very age appropriate. For instance, God made the color red and He also made red apples. On some pages the text is more explicit about God than others, but you can use a similar sort of prompt to share about God’s creation with your child whether you are reading this board book or on a walk outdoors or at the grocery store.
  • Overall, I highly recommend this book. I think we will be reading it for many years to come! My son’s favorite color changes every day and this book is a great way to explore that, and to remind him that God made colors for us to enjoy.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to B&H/Lifeway for the chance to read this great book!

Advertisements
Looking to share the story of Creation with your little ones? This sweet board book, God Made the World, is the perfect way to do that! 
Reviews

Book Review: God Made the World

Looking to share the story of Creation with your little ones? This sweet board book, God Made the World, is the perfect way to do that! 

Looking to share the story of Creation with your little ones? This sweet board book, God Made the World, is the perfect way to do that! 

description of the book from the publisher:

Who made the sun, the stars, the moon, and the animals? God did! And who made me? God did! God made the entire world! Author and artist Sarah Collins brings a fresh approach to her illustrations using geometric designs to create bright, beautiful, and exiting pictures that preschoolers will want to look at over and over again.

God Made the World board book tells the story of creation in simple, easy to remember rhymes with art that is engaging and fun for young children. And it is sure to become a classic introductory creation storybook that will be used by countless families and teachers.

As usual, my five point review:

  • What a great board book! It is absolutely beautiful to look at it and feels good too. I know that’s a little weird to say, but we read a LOT to our toddler and the more high quality board books (in terms of construction) just feel good in your hands. Thick pages that stand up to drool and being thrown, bent, and otherwise abused (parents… you know this is true!!) are important. We do teach good book behaviors, but it’s a process. 🙂
  • God Made the World covers the story of creation as told in Genesis 1. The author shares creation’s story through a series of fun rhymes that are enjoyable to read and enjoyable for a child to hear. They aren’t sing songy (which can be annoying) but are fresh and new.
  • Speaking of the Christian message of this book… it’s straight from the Bible, and that’s important to me. I want my son to be exposed to Christianity through a variety of sources–family, daycare, church, music, books, and more. I want the Bible to be repeated to my son over and over and over again, and Biblically based storybooks are great for that!
  • The illustrations are awesome. Bold and bright colors as well as fun geometric shapes and patterns make this book pleasing to look at too. I think this also holds the interest of babies and toddlers better.
  • In general, I think this is a fabulous board book! It would be a great gift idea for a baby shower, first birthday party, or even to gift to your church nursery or daycare. It’s read on repeat at our house… the test of a good book!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Tyndale House for the chance to read this great book!

Reviews

Book Review: Tell Me About Easter

Looking for a simple, fun way to introduce Easter to your toddler? This is a great pick!

Looking for a simple, fun way to introduce Easter to your toddler? This is a great pick! #Easter #bookreview

description of the book from the publisher:

Is it Easter yet?

Rhyming text fills this short-and-sweet die-cut board book that helps toddlers celebrate the true message of Easter—Jesus! Plus, foil and flocking will engage little readers’ senses as they spot and pat each fuzzy animal. Welcome, Easter!

Looking for a simple, fun way to introduce Easter to your toddler? This is a great pick! #Easter #bookreview

As usual, my five point review:

  • This a short and sweet book about Easter–both sweet spring animals and Jesus. It is absolutely perfect for toddlers! Aside from the content, we’ve been able to use it as we teach our son about colors and animals–asking him questions about what he sees and whatnot.
  • We love the illustrations in this book. It’s not just your average everyday board book–many of the animals (lambs, chicks, bunnies), flowers, and leaves are covered in soft felt flocking. A great tactile way for your kiddo to interact with the book. There is also gorgeous foil in this book as well. Both elements make this book very engaging to young readers. And a pretty book is fun for adults to read, too!
  • The book rhymes, but not in an obnoxious way like other books can. Apologies for using the word obnoxious to talk about books, but please tell me you know what I mean here! 🙂 This rhyming is sweet and sing-songy… it’s precious to see my son nodding and grinning along with the text. He even claps at the end!
  • My husband and I value good theology for books–especially kids’ books. This one is great–very straightforward and simple. You can see the majority of the spiritual content on the page above.
  • All in all, I would highly recommend this book for a way to prepare your kids for Easter, especially for the little crowd (under 3-ish?). It’s simple and sweet. My almost two year old son loves it, either when we read it aloud or when he “reads” it to himself. I could see this book being fun for older siblings to read to their younger siblings as well.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to B&H/Lifeway for the chance to read this great book!

Tired? Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith can relate. Read on to learn more about Sacred Rest.
Reviews

Book Review: Sacred Rest

Tired? Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith can relate. Read on to learn more about Sacred Rest.

Tired? Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith can relate. Read on to learn more about Sacred Rest.

description of the book from the publisher:

Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested- there’s a challenge.

How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.

Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear. Learn more about the author and the book.

Dalton-Smith pin2
As usual, my five point review:

  • This book is so practical in our day and age. We are all busy, and in need of rest in so many ways. The author, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, is no different. She set out to write this book as a way for her to address the need for rest in her own life, both from a perspective worthy of her Christian faith as well as her medical background (read: lots of research went into this book!).
  • The author divided rest into seven categories: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative. Though I’ve never thought of rest as needing to be some of those categories (sensory, for example), it makes perfect sense. The wide variety of categories do not really overlap, as I feared they would. As I was reading this book, that lack of overlap allowed me to zero in on areas in my life where I would appreciate (or need) more margin and more rest. That is so helpful!
  • Since this book aims to target the busy, the burned out, and the frenzied among us, the chapters are short, sweet, and concise. The majority of chapters contain practical advice on how to reset and rest so you can “recover your life, renew your energy, and restore your sanity.” This is very compelling! Though I read this book from cover to cover for the purposes of this review, the author encourages savoring the chapters to get the most out of them. Additionally, she gives an option of starting the book partway in (which I thought was very interesting!) so that the desperate can get practical tips, now.
  • There were two issues I must address with this book. The first is the lack of Christian content. Depending on your side of the coin, you may appreciate this (or you may not). There is some scripture in this book and you can definitely tell the author is a woman of faith. There wasn’t as much of a spiritual basis for the author’s beliefs and arguments for why we should rest. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and maybe my perspective would be different if I savored the book rather than read it straight through. This leads to my second point to address: part of the book, like most self-care/self-help/psychology based books, definitely had a me me me feel to it… a selfish feel. Maybe that was hard for me to read because, like most women, I want to take care of others, particularly my family. I didn’t get a good sense of the author’s why for rest besides just a healthy self. I think I was looking for something more here… I may not be articulating it well, and perhaps that isn’t even the point of the book. It’s just something I want to mention.
  • All in all, this is a good book. The practical tips for rest are great. Nothing earth shattering, but breaking it down by areas is a unique approach. Additionally, there is a quiz in the book to help us self-diagnose where we need to pursue rest. Though the Christian content is lacking and may not align entirely with my beliefs, there are parts that I still appreciate.

Dalton-Smith pin1
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Litfuse for the chance to read this book!

Reviews

Book Review: Refresh

Today I am reviewing Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona & David Murray.

Today I am reviewing Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona & David Murray.

description of the book from the publisher:

Life can be overwhelming. Sometimes it feels as if everything and everyone demands all of our time, our resources, our energy, and our very lives. Writing to women in the midst of this busy, do-it-all culture, husband-and-wife team Shona and David Murray offer practical tips for living at a more sustainable pace and avoiding exhaustion, depression, and anxiety. Sharing personal stories of their own struggles with overwhelming demands, they give counsel on everything from sleep to social media, relationships to recreation, and exercise to eating. This book encourages women to cultivate a healthy approach to life motivated and moderated by Christ’s transforming grace.

As usual, my five point review:

The premise of Refresh focuses on evaluating our lives through various lenses such as rest, relaxation, reduction, etc. Each of the ten chapters begins with the letter R and is called a “station” at the Refresh Gym. If you read the introduction, you’ll note that Refresh is a feminized adaption (by Shona, presumably) of of a book that David Murray wrote for men, Reset. I found the gym analogy a bit cheesy and did wonder how many women that imagery would appeal to. That aside, I would recommend the book. It began with Shona’s story, detailing her journey towards burn out. The trajectory introduced by the book argues that most (Christian) women are somewhere on this spectrum: stressed –> anxious –> overwhelmed –> burned out –> sad –> depressed –> suicidal (p. 24). I would agree with that notion; I think in our culture it is tough to not fit into one of those categories. I wasn’t clear if that trajectory was research based or not, because I would perhaps organize the spectrum differently, but for the sake of this review: I don’t think it matters.

Though I did not find the majority of this book to be “new” information, what I did wholeheartedly appreciate was the balance between psychological/medical research, self-help tips and tricks, and Gospel truth throughout this book. This was particularly poignant in discussions of physical and mental health, areas that the church doesn’t often address.

The Bible … guides us to care for both the body and the soul. The apostle Paul presents his theology of the body in 1 Corinthians 6:9–20. He starts by admitting that the human body has been damaged by sin (vv. 9–10). However, that doesn’t mean we just forget the body. No, Paul says Christ’s redemption is not just for the soul but also for the body. It’s a full-body and a full-soul salvation. “The body is . . . for the Lord,” insists Paul, “and the Lord for the body” (v. 13). He made it, saved it, and maintains an eternal interest in it. (p. 68)

One of the aspects of the book that I did not like was the approach to relaxation. There was great conversation about the Sabbath, but otherwise the application of annual vacations and daily personal times was a bit too privileged, specific, and (in my opinion) did not give room for factors such as family preferences, finances, and circumstances that do not allow for this. For instance, staycations were not encouraged because “being home” and “not doing anything” was not restful enough. I love vacations and I love personal time, but I know many people who logistically and financially cannot make things like that work, so the chapter seemed a bit exclusionary.

The number one thing I appreciated about this book was the recurring theme about vocation and work. This is so rare in Christian books written for women! Again, there was some privileged discussion here–a “choice” to work (not reality for all women, I know). Priorities in the workplace, balancing family and ministry and personal faith and work, and also accepting imperfection are all addressed at length. Other chapters addressed friendship, family matters, raising children in the faith, and our own personal relationships with God.

In general, I found Refresh to be thought provoking and helpful, a good analysis of how we can deal with life in our busy culture in a healthy, Christ-centered manner. The book closed with some thoughts for living the grace-paced life. So encouraging!

But God has taught me that, no, the grace-paced life is not only his will but more honoring to him. For me, to pace myself means less of my efforts and more of God’s grace. I have had to learn to fight hard against unbiblical, false guilt and personal expectations. I have learned to look up to God before looking across to people and ask: “What does God want me to do right now?” The key is to grasp that pacing ourselves is biblical, whereas living the fast, frantic life is not. It takes faith to believe that and to follow through with it. To live it is in fact a dying to self—a dying to our self-will, our self-sufficiency, and our self image. Have you understood frantic living versus grace-paced living in that way before? (p. 173-174)

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Crossway Blog Review Program for the chance to read this great book!