Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing has Heavenly Books!

The folks at Guardian Angel Publishing must have overheard Charlotte Mason commenting on the difference between “fluff” and good literature. They have nicely stepped around the fluff and handed over some gems that will teach their readers about character, educating their mind and as well as their soul. It was a pleasure to read the books that they sent for review!

Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair, by Mary Jean Kelso, is a sweet story with a uniquely special main character. Well, make that two. Andy is a young man who is physically challenged and must get around through the use of a wheelchair. However, put him on the back of the other star, Spirit the horse, and you have a powerful combination of freedom and equality. Spirit is different too, as you’ll see in the vibrant pictures illustrated by K.C. Snider. Spirit is an albino horse that attracts some attention due to his unusual eyes. The beautiful moral of the book is captured by Andy, when he leans down and whispers to Spirit, “Don’t worry, Spirit. You can’t help it if your eyes are pink. There’s something wrong with everybody. Just not all of it shows.” What a wonderful reminder to our children, whether they have some challenges or not!

At the end of Andy and Spirit Go to the Fair, you can read some interesting information on wild horses, as well as find out how you can adopt horses too! Furthermore, the reader is introduced to “4-H” in Andy’s story and can learn more about getting involved with the 4-H Club. (Prices vary depending on format: eBook: $5, eBook CD is $9.95 plus shipping, print book $10.95 plus shipping and coming soon is the book on DVD for $9.95 plus shipping).

Teaching your kids about nouns and adjectives has never been so fun and easy, in my opinion, as in the presentation of Hamster Holidays, Noun and Adjective Adventures, by Cynthia Reeg. This amusing poem about various hamster holidays (you know, the usual: Sing a Song Day, Puddle Jumping Day etc.), highlights the use of nouns in blue and adjectives in red. Illustrator Kit Grady has some delightfully silly pictures of these hamsters dressed up and making messes! After twelve months of holidays, the book continues the lesson with a chance for the reader to identify nouns and adjectives in another goofy, short story. Following that, there are various exercises like matching nouns and proper nouns, and adjective word-finds.

Hamster Holidays, Noun and Adjective Adventures, will really help your child identify these two basic grammar words. If you get the eBook, which I would recommend, you can print out the exercises repeatedly as your child works the puzzles and games to improve his or her prior score. (Prices: eBook: $5, eBook CD is $9.95 plus shipping, print book $10.95 plus shipping).

Bright, cartooned illustrations really caught my eye in the story Maybe We Are Flamingos, by Safari Sue Thurman. Tropical colors used by artist Kevin Collier help to tell the story of two flamingo chicks that realize they look different from the rest of the flamingo family. They are not pink! They wonder what they could be and where they really belong until their mother explains that it takes about a year to turn pink and that the change in color will occur through their diet. The flamingo chicks then go on to joke about what they might look like if they were to eat just broccoli, peppermints or other crazy things (with drawings to match!). Maybe We Are Flamingos also has a new iPhone App. that is part of a new way to explore reading from Guardian Angel Publishing ($2.99). Your kids can hear quality stories anywhere with stories that will go along with the App. Cool! (Book prices: eBook: $5, eBook CD is $9.95 plus shipping, print book $10.95 plus shipping).

The next story was just a kick to read! And, you know what? It takes many strong bones to perform a nice kick! The Sum of Our Parts: No Bones about It… by Bill Kirk is a kicky little poem (pun intended) that helps kids learn all of the proper bone names from toes to skull. Along with the poem are amazing factoids with “Did you know” questions and statements. Kids will find out how tall the tallest man was and how many bones we are born with (verses how many we end up with once some of them fuse together), among many other interesting facts.

Illustrator Eugene Ruble has put together realistic bone drawings along with some funny cartoons to help the reader make sense of all the information. The end of the book includes complete skeletal drawings with and without names so that kids can try to name the parts themselves. A neat little addition is a mystery drawing of a bone on each page that the reader can try to identify. The Sum of Our Parts: No Bones about It… is a clever way for kids to enjoy science and learn anatomy! (Prices: eBook: $5, eBook CD is $9.95 plus shipping, print book $10.95 plus shipping).

Finally, much as my kids do when they eat, I have saved my favorite book for last. Rainbow Sheep by Kim Chatel was just very imaginative, sweet, well written and beautifully pictured. I say pictured because, rather than illustrating this book, Ms. Chatel creatively uses colored wool to create pictures to complement her story. They are soft and endearing; very unique!

Genevieve is tending her sheep a hillside one rainy day. Wanting some sunshine instead, this young shepherdess climbs to the top of the hill and tickles the clouds to get them to move. Successfully done (always works for me!), a rainbow comes out but it is weak and gloomy. The optimistic Genevieve points out all the wonderful reasons the rainbow has to be happy and in the end the rainbow brightens and laughs so hard it overflows with happy tears. Well, all that rainbow stuff just gets all over everything…even the sheep!

After the Rainbow Sheep story, the reader is introduced to a short history of felting and is presented with instructions for a project to try with felt: making felted soap. (Ok, I must admit, this sounds kind of gross…fuzz in my soap? However, it looks really colorful and creative! So I probably should try it and blog about it another time!). No doubt, kids would love it…definitely a good Christmas gift project! (Prices: eBook: $5, eBook CD is $9.95 plus shipping, print book $10.95 plus shipping, DVD book $9.95 plus shipping).

Guardian Angel Publishing has many more educational and inspiring books like these waiting to be explored by your child. Their targeted age group is 0-12 years so there is a nice range of things for most kids. Take a look at their website and see for yourself: will take you there. Check out their FREE eBooks just for stopping by!

1 comment:

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Thanks for the reviews. They were a 'kick to read.' *grin*

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.