Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Book with a View December 2009

Book Title: The Drummer
Author: Abe Rosa
ISBN: 978-1-4327-4509-7
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com
Genre and Target Market: fiction; Christian; thriller
Publication Date: 2009
Book Review by: Sarah Moore

There is a variety of ways through which an author can present a message through his work. In some instances, the lesson being taught is a blatant one that is plainly on display as the primary focus on the book. Other times, the important theme may be more subtle and only strike the reader after the book is closed and reflected on in its entirety. With the third approach, the author can make his message an imperative component of the story but integrate it with an accompanying plot that is compelling on its own merits. The last approach was the one taken by author Abe Rosa in his new release The Drummer. Rosa creates an action-packed sequence of events as the backdrop for sharing his faith with his readers, and certainly leaves people with some serious questions to ponder.

The Drummer was created as one avenue through which author Abe Rosa could share his Christian beliefs with others. However, this is far from your typical “how and why you should get saved” book. Rosa paints a picture of a time in America in which Christianity is banned by the government under the threat of death. Angela Reyes is a superstar drummer with the band MUDROCKET who learns that her mother has been arrested for distributing Christian materials. While not a believer in Christ herself, Angela answers the call when recruited by the United Movement to Advance Christianity (UMAC) to save her mother’s life. As the mission progresses and her own life is threatened, Angela’s long-held cynicism towards the faith of her parents is tested.

Author Abe Rosa does a great job of creating a fast-paced plot that brings the reader into the lives and fears of his characters. While a compact work at only forty-six pages, The Drummer feels like a lengthier novel as there is so much action on every page. The pace that Rosa takes with the story mimics the speed with which Angela and the others at UMAC must work to save her mother’s life and this compels the reader to move forward until reaching the end. The high-energy nature of the novel, as well as its inclusion of a rock band and a young heroine who displays a relatable attitude toward religion, will be particularly appealing to adolescent and collegiate readers.

There is no doubt that The Drummer is a controversial book that is perfect for sparking discussion. Abe Rosa describes a country that some in the United States believe could become a frightening reality as the debates over religious liberties and the role of government in our lives are increasingly finding their way into our evening news. However, to promote the idea that the president in the novel should be eliminated along with other government officials who support the ban on Christianity will be quite shocking to some readers. This book almost requires time for a group debriefing, as I am sure the opinions on its content will be strong and varied.

Whether you are a Christian who echoes the sentiment of the author, someone who is curious about faith and the possible future it faces, or just a reader who enjoys a good thriller, you will take away something from reading The Drummer. Author Abe Rosa has written a book that is sure to be discussed and remembered by all who encounter it.

Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains
Author: Dawn Menge
ISBN: 978-1-4327-1169-6
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com, 2009
Genre and Target Market: children; fiction
Reviewer: Sarah Moore for WITS

In my capacity as someone who enjoys a profession in the writing and publishing world, I am always excited when an author whose work I have enjoyed in the past comes back with another book for me to review. As the mom of a three-year-old girl who loves her bedtime stories, I am particularly thrilled that author Dawn Menge has gifted all of us with another wonderful tale of Queen Vernita and her friends, who teach young readers through their daily adventures. In her first book, Queen Vernita’s Visitors, Dawn Menge introduced us to her title character and the decision she makes to have a different friend visit every month of the year. Menge continues this concept in her new release, Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains, and improves on a first book that itself is worthy of much praise.

Queen Vernita invites her friends back for another year of fun, but this time the destination is the Blue Ice Mountains. Queen Vernita and her guests use this beautiful location to learn interesting details about science and nature. As a former school teacher, I am a strong advocate of any learning tool that gets kids thinking about the world around them. Every page offers fun facts about a specific animal or place that I am sure will be educational to both parents and their children alike. On Tuesday in March, Christopher is there to learn that when ice melts and breaks away from glaciers, it is called calving. On Saturday in July, Queen Vernita and Susanna learn that brown bears can weigh up to 900 pounds. And, on Thursday in November, the two friends discover that sponges in the ocean are sessile invertebrates. Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains is well-researched and packed with information that will fascinate young readers.

Every aspect of the book is expertly designed to be engaging and educational for children. The colors on each page capture a child’s imagination, with the dominant use of bold, primary tones in the detailed illustrations and the text for each month printed on a different muted color. We all know that if the pictures grab a child’s attention, interest in the words that surround them will more likely follow. Menge also effectively uses the important learning tool of repetition to teach children the days of the week, with each month featuring a different fact for Monday through Sunday. By the time you reach December, you may find that your child is calling out the months before you have a chance to read them. The fact that the author is currently working towards her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction is evident throughout the book’s format, word choice, and graphics.

Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains is a beautiful book that I am excited to add to my daughter’s collection. Even the youngest child will learn details about plants and animals that she will be proud to share with others while improving her calendar skills along the way. Perhaps even more importantly, readers will be presented with the idea that friendship is to be valued and openly appreciated. Queen Vernita is genuinely excited for each visitor to arrive and enjoys every moment of every month with a dear friend. What could be a better lesson to learn? Whether or not you have already had the pleasure of reading Queen Vernita’s Visitors, I strongly recommend that you discover the joy within Dawn Menge’s second offering. I only hope that Queen Vernita has more plans for her guests and, therefore, more books to come!

The Great Mrs. Claus
Chris A. Shoemaker
Claus Family Christmas, LLC (2009)
ISBN 9780979818660
Reviewed by Madeline McElroy (age 8) for Reader Views Kids

This story starts off with a man named Sparky, a very tall elf, who builds toys for Santa Claus. Sparky has one niece and one nephew. At the beginning of the book he tells them lots of stories about Santa when he was young - about the time he tried to make reindeer fly and when on his first take-off, his first suit ripped. You won't believe how Santa met Miss Suzie, later to be, Mrs.

This is a silly story about Santa Claus and his wife. There are also many poems throughout the story about the way Santa feels about Mrs. Claus. He feels lucky to have her. He shares a secret about a special kiss at the end of the story.

This is a very large book with a lot of good and colorful artwork. It took me almost an hour to read it and find all of the hidden places on the map. Sparky had a surprise for his niece also. He would often give her clues, but would never tell her what it was that he was making until it was finished. I thought this was a fun book to read. This would be a book I would read again.

There are two very large “picture searches” that you can search for places like where Santa lived, toy stores, bakeries, candy stores and a lot more! There are puzzles and great things to find and see in The Great Mrs. Clause by Chris A. Shoemaker. It comes with a candy caned striped magnified glass to find all the places on the map. This was my favorite part of this book!

Secrets of a Christmas Box
Steven Hornby
Ecky Thump Books (2009)
ISBN 9780981588308
Reviewed by Bobbie Wilson (age 8) for Reader View Kids

I think “Secrets of a Christmas Box” would make a perfect bedtime-story book for the month of December, starting on December the first with twenty-four chapters and it’s full of Christmas. This book is as important to the Christmas season as the story of the “Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” Every chapter is an adventure that makes me want to jump right into the next.

The story opens with Mr. Ferguson and the children, Aaron and Emma, returning home from Christmas shopping, to the amazement of their mother, with a huge Christmas tree. Then the tree is brought into the house, placed in the corner and trimmed with all the treasured decorations, including the special Christmas box.

Larry the snowman and his friend Tinsel come to life as soon as night falls and the house becomes quiet. The adventure starts developing with all the many decorations as they come to life. The two old friends have all sorts of adventures from the top of the tree to the bottom and then around the back to the dark side.

“Secrets of a Christmas Box” by Steven Hornby is a fun book and I’m going to tell my friends about it. Mr. Hornby's writing kept my attention through the book.

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Books for Children

Author: Yvonne Perry
ISBN: 978-0982572207
Publisher: Write On! (Writers in the Sky), 2009

A must have book for every child! Bravo to Yvonne Perry for writing this book to help children through challenging issues in a gentle, kind and spiritual way! From dealing with the death of a pet, learning inner guidance and understanding destiny and making choices (to name just a few) these stories are tender, beautiful lessons a parent or grandparent can share with the children in their lives. This book is truly a treasure to help every child see themselves as a gift, and help them grow into the person they were meant to be." ~ Barbara Techel, Author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog Book Series
"I had a chance recently to read through The Sid Series, a book of stories for kids (3 - 9 mostly) and have to say I was quite impressed. This is more than a series of cute little stories; it is a series of life lessons that every parent or grandparent can relate to on some level. It is a "read to" series that your child or grandchild will ask for again and again. I highly recommend it." ~ Dennis S. Martin
Read more reviews on Amazon
Praying 101 for Kids and Teens
Author: Dottie Randazzo

Publisher: Creative Dreaming, 2007
ISBN: 978-0615147253
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry
Where was this book when I was a kid? This prayer book could have changed the course of my life! Fortunately is never too late to learn how to pray effectively and with right motives. An adult could benefit from using the prayers in this book, but it is geared toward children and teenagers. The prayers in this book are some that any parent would love to hear their child pray.

What parent wouldn’t want their child to pray for good grades, true friends, good judgment, good health for self and others, safety on the Internet, or to have better communication with parents, and wisdom to resolve conflicts? Dottie puts it on the level with kids and teens using examples of things teens might want or ask for. Sounds great so far, but it gets even better.

Addressing such issues as pimples, braces, glasses, lost pets, popularity, bad hair days, passing a test, being the new kid at school, winning at sports, waking up on time, and getting a date for prom night, Praying 101 for Kids and Teens meets the everyday needs for this unique age group. But there are more serious issues that kids face and need divine help in resolving. This book has a specific prayer for kids dealing with anorexia/eating habits, low self-esteem, anxiety or panic attacks, drug addiction, step-family issues, breaking up with a girl/boyfriend, gang involvement, divorcing parents, abusive relationships, and teen pregnancy. Each simple and practical entry can be read as a prayer to manifest the highest and best outcome in any situation.

Who should kids to pray to? God, Goddess, Higher Power, Lord, Father, Masters of the Universe, Saint, Angels—it doesn’t matter. This book is non-denominational. I could see Christian or Pagan parents recommending this book to their kids. I plan to give a copy to my nine-year-old grandson. Why wait until a child has problems to teach him how to manage life from a spiritual vantage point?

The book is jammed-packed with powerful prayers to help kids find courage to stand up for themselves, and wisdom to know when and how their prayers are being answered.

Word Trippers: The Ultimate Source for Choosing the Perfect Word When It Really Matters
By Barbara McNichol

As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

That’s why choosing the exact right word is important. For example, do you know when to use “affect” versus “effect” in your writing? Or “further” versus “farther”? Or “famous” versus “notorious”?

If you’re not sure, Word Trippers is the perfect reference ebook for you. This ebook contains 49 pages of 300+ pairings of words in alphabetical order and searchable on your computer, so they’re easy to find. Each word pairing is explained, then used in sentences to easily show how each is properly used, like this:

Affect, effect – “Affect” is a verb meaning to change or influence. “Your quick action affects (influences) the outcome.” “Affect” is also a noun to mean feeling, emotion, or emotional response. “During his grief process, my client displayed an uncharacteristically flat affect.” “Effect” is a verb meaning to bring about, to cause. “You can effect (bring about) a change easily.” “Effect” is also a noun meaning result or outcome. “The story has a desired effect.”

Whether you’re writing for business or crafting the next great American novel, this Word Trippers ebook will lead you to choosing the correct word when it really matters. It’s been created by expert nonfiction editor Barbara McNichol.

This reviewer highly recommends Word Trippers as an excellent reference tool, and gives it a four-star rating.
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