Preparing for Baby: Books

One of the things we were most excited about on our recent trip to AZ was getting to go to Bookmans.  For those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to live in Flagstaff, Bookmans is just about the best used bookstore ever.  And, as any elementary ed major at NAU knows, they just so happen to have a really great children’s book section.  Like, amazingly great.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a HUGE advocate of early literacy.  I could literally go on-and-on about it, but I’ll spare you. 🙂 It’s no surprise, then, that one of the big things I wanted to prepare for the arrival of Baby B was a good start to a children’s book library.  I knew that Bookmans would help us do just that.

It didn’t disappoint. 

Really, though, it was just as fun for us looking through the books as it would be for a kid.  It’s amazing how much emotional sway a book can hold over us, isn’t it?  Just seeing a book can instantly bring back a whole slew of memories.  When we were checking out, the store worker snatched up Blueberries for Sal and exclaimed, “I haven’t seen this in years…I loved this book!”

Isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do to us?  I can’t wait to share some of these favorites with our sweet little man!  But, anyway, I digress.

Here’s a list of some of the (what we consider) classic books we were able to snag:

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

The Foot Book

Caps for Sale

Little Bear

The Story About Ping

The Poky Little Puppy

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

Blueberries for Sal

Where the Wild Things Are

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

The Very Busy Spider

We were also able to get:

Yonder-This was totally a God thing, as I’ve been looking for this book for years!

How I Became a Pirate-We’d never seen this before, but it’s very cute and, we thought, quite necessary for a little boy 😉

A stack of the classic little golden books

Several picture books on Arizona

Several other favorites

Books we still want to get:

Green Eggs and Ham

God Dog Go!

Goodnight Moon

The Runaway Bunny

Are You My Mother?

Curious George

The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Stone Soup

The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

A Beatrix Potter collection

The Story of Ferdinand

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

We’re also looking for some good children’s Bibles and Bible story collections.

What were some of your favorite children’s books growing up?  Any recommendations?

PS: Be sure to check out Newlywed’s Bliss today.  There are several great posts up, and I’m discussing making vacations with in-laws and family “work”.  Check it out!

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms?

When I received The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, by Cindy Woodsmall, in the mail, I was excited to get to read a shorter story that seemed like it would be an easy read.  I like good, meaty books, but every once-in-a-while, something lighthearted is exactly what I need.  Unfortunately, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms was not what I was looking for.

Cindy Woodsmall’s latest book is about an Old Order Mennonite girl, Annie Martin, who falls for a Old Order Amish boy named Aden Zook.  Unfortunately, their different backgrounds prevent them from from being together.  I’m sure that you can guess the ending, just as easily as I did.

The predictability, however, was not the biggest turnoff of this book for me.  Frankly, I found the story line a bit boring and slow, and the writing was not particularly good.  There was nothing that really drew me in. 

Furthermore, although the messages about God and redemption were great, there was part of me that felt averse to the love story.  Throughout the book, Annie and Aden continually go behind their parents and grandparents’ backs to see each other, justifying their actions in believing that God meant for them to be together.  In the end, there are no consequences for this blatant disregard for their parents’ concerns…concerns that were very justifiable.

In the end, I couldn’t wait to finish the book and start a different one.  The Scent of Cherry Blossoms simply falls flat.  If you like to read fiction stories set in Amish Country, then you might like this one…there certainly are some interesting parts about culture.   However, you’d be much better spending your time on one of Beverly Lewis’ books, which are both historically accurate and very well written.  That’s where the truth lies: Woodsmall’s latest book could have been good, but it didn’t hold a candle to other Amish fiction stories I’ve read.  My advice?  Pass on The Scent of Cherry Blossoms.

These views are entirely my own.  I received this book for free to review.

Then Sings My Soul: A Book Review

Have you ever wondered what the story is behind your favorite hymn or song?  Then look no further than Then Sings My Soul: Book 3 by Robert J. MorganThe third of an installment of books, this book tells the stories behind some of the greatest hymns of all time. 

I really enjoyed reading through all of the stories, and I found them both encouraging and enlightening.  One that I found especially interesting was they hymn “Victory in Jesus”, by Eugene M. Bartlett.  Bartlett was a music publisher his whole life, but this particular hymn wasn’t written until during his last two years of life.  This was the last song he would ever write, and it was written after a stroke left him partially paralyzed.  During the hardest time of his life, he wrote about the victory he had in Jesus.  How incredible is that?

One of the things I liked most about this book was that the author included not only the lyrics, but also the music.  As an avid piano player, I loved being able to read about and then play this compilation of songs.  This helped too because I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the hymns.  I’d be interested in reading the first two books in the series to see if the hymns are more recognizable.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of hymns, which were written all the way between A.D. 400 and 2001. 

If you enjoy hymns and worship music, I would definitely recommend this book.  It will also be a great teaching tool for our children later on.  What a great book to bring to family worship time!

Book Review: 50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know

When I first picked up the book 50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know by Kay West, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was interested to learn a little more about etiquette, and perhaps some things I would like to teach my own daughters someday.  What I found was a nicely written book with short anecdotes, as well as do’s and dont’s for young ladies to follow. 

I wasn’t sure who exactly classified as a young lady, but it seemed like the book was written more for ages 12-16 than anything.  It also contained lots of modern advice about acting like a lady.  In this day and age, a true “lady” is hard to find, so I was glad that this book emphasized how important being one still is.  I especially liked it’s emphasis on modern social areas, such as texting or Facebook.  I guess there’s hope that manners and etiquette can still be used in our technology-saturated lives.

My only critique was that I wasn’t exactly sure how many young girls in the target age would actually read such a book.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think at that age I would have fully appreciated a non-fiction book with short points to it.  I might have skimmed it, but not actually read it.  It would have seemed more appropriate to write the book for mothers in order to help them know what to teach their daughters.

Overall, though, it was a good, short read, and I was pleased to find I learned a lot of new pieces of etiquette as well.  I would recommend this for mother’s or teenage girls who want to learn a little more about etiquette and manners.

Book Review: One Call Away

I was excited to read One Call Away by Brenda Warner for two main reasons.  The first is that Brenda’s husband, Kurt, was the driving force behind the Arizona Cardinal’s making it into the Superbowl.  Being from Arizona, I was one of the many Arizonans that suddenly became a Cardinal’s fan.  The second is that Brenda’s parents had been killed in a tornado in Mountain View, AR—where I now live.  Somehow, I felt that connected us in some way.

I had mixed emotions while reading One Call Away.  On the one hand, I felt a bit surprised by her early life, when her faith in Jesus and her actions didn’t really seem to match up.  On the other hand, it was refreshing to read the memoir of someone who wasn’t always perfect.  She made mistakes, and justified her actions at the time, but don’t we all do that in some way?  And then, the mistakes she made are not portrayed positively.  They realized their mistakes and worked to correct them.

That said, the thing I liked most about One Call Away was that it was real.  This is no perfect woman or warrior of the faith.  Instead, she is someone just like you and me.  Read it, but don’t take it as a “how-to-live-your-life” book.  Instead, take it for the authentic and encouraging story that it is.  Be encouraged by the reminder that God is always there, even in unspeakable pain and hardship…even in normal, everyday lives.

I received this book through Booksneeze.  Check it out!