Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review: Pirates on the Farm

This was a great week to review children's books, since we're on Thanksgiving break.  Pirates on the Farm received multiple readings today and was even written about by my 1st grader in his school reading log.  He chose this book over the 3-4 others he'd read today, so I know he liked it.

Here's my review of Pirates on the Farm:

Five wild and unsavory pirates cause an uproar in a "proper little southern community" when they purchase the farm next door to the narrator's family.  They lack both farming and social skills, which horrifies the mother.  The father, however, shares his farming expertise and friendship with his swashbuckling neighbors.  When the pirates steal from the church's collection plate and tear up the General Store, a "Ban the Buccaneers Brigade" begins to catalog the damage.  Only a timely sacrifice from one of the wronged townspeople can save the pirates from being run out of town.

The message of this story can be summed up in the father's words, "When you plant love, it grows."   While the story stands well on its own, the final page provides parents (and teachers) with questions leading to a discussion of the deeper meaning of the story:
  • Who is my neighbor?
  • What character most consistently lets his light shine before the pirates? 
  • How were X's (I won't give it away) actions Christ-like when the pirates' bill was paid?
The author's hope is that this story will inspire readers to show God's love to the "pirates" in their lives and plant seeds so that love will grow.

Perfect for ages 4-8 (even a 9-year-old who couldn't resist coming over to listen). Pirates on the Farm has fun characters, colorful illustrations, and includes a pirate glossary of Seadog Definitions at the end.

Pirates on the Farm
by Denette Fretze
Illustrations by Gene Barretta
Zonderkidz, 2013

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in return for an honest review.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst

A few months ago I reviewed the Unglued Devotional and wished I had a copy of the original Unglued book. Then, voila, the opportunity to review it arose this fall.

Just like my review back in March 2013, this one is a long time in coming.  It seems that fall just becomes so hectic that I can barely keep up with work and family, much less book reviews....but here goes.

Unglued is a book about examining our reactions to life in light of Scripture and according to a 4 quadrant grid that Lysa TerKeurst explains in the book's appendix.  While some people sail calmly through life, the rest of us find ourselves at wit's end--coming unglued--by circumstances and stressors.  TerKeurst identifies 4 types of unglued reactions:  the stuffer that builds barriers, the stuffer that collects retaliation rocks, the exploder that blames others, and the exploder that shames herself.

There's an introductory chapter that allows readers to figure out where they fall on the continuum. Subsequent chapters explore ways to identify when you're beginning to either stuff or explode and offer guidance on how to stay calm and handle life more wisely. 

I admire Terkeurst's openness about her own "imperfect progress" as she seeks to become a calmer wife, mother, and friend.  I think the best part of this book is her willingness to come alongside the reader as an encourager. Her writing style makes her seem like a welcome friend, the type you invite in for coffee when your house is a mess...and you are too.

This book would make a fantastic book study for a women's group and it's great simply to read on your own.  Pair it with the Devotional and you have a program for becoming a little less unglued and more of the godly woman you really want to be.

I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in return for an honest review.