Saturday, April 30, 2016

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Song of Silence PK
Song of Silence (Abingdon, April 2016)
Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?
Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.
Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.
When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.
Cynthia Ruchti

{MORE ABOUT CYNTHIA RUCHTI}

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.
Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.



MY REVIEW:  I've read several books by Cynthia Ruchti and always connect right away with her Wisconsin/Great Lakes settings, but my connections to this story went way beyond the setting.  I can count on one hand how many times I've found a really good book with a main character who is facing the issues common to the 55+ crowd.  And Ruchti handles these problems in a story that is realistic, at times humorous, at times profound, and often just a step away from a nonstop cry.  Lucy, 57, is the victim of RIF (reduction in force); in other words, her music program at a private school system has been eliminated.  For Lucy, teaching was not a career; it was a passion that filled her life.  Her husband, who has already taken early retirement, sees her job loss as an opportunity to begin again a life together.  Lucy feels numb and almost unable to breathe.  As the story progresses, Lucy begins to see her new life as the "rest stops" or silences in a piece of music.  As she had always told her students those moments of silence are as critical to the whole song as the played notes; now, it is a period of life, seemingly without instruments and singing -- a kind of silence, that Lucy must find meaning in.  This is not easy, and Lucy must reach outside herself to find answers.
There was so much I could relate to in this book.  First there is the connection to one's career that goes beyond mere job satisfaction.  Even though I've been retired five years and I chose my retirement date, I still sometimes feel a type of disconnect.  I'm no longer a school librarian and English teacher, and that work defined who I was in part.  Am I less because I no longer do that?  
Then there is the whole disappointment in her community for letting the elimination of the music program happen.  A year or so before I retired, I read about a school in Northern Wisconsin (near where we have  a vacation cabin) had made the decision to eliminate their elementary library.  They were going to disperse the books among the classrooms and then use the big empty space for a place where kids could do presentations.  Excuse me, how often do kids do presentations? A couple times a year, maybe??? A library can be used everyday, all day -- if you staff it!!  Now, this wasn't even my school, and it certainly did not threaten my job, but it still felt like a blow to the gut.  I wanted to dig out every article about the value of staffed libraries in schools-- the increase in reading schools and other factors in success.  I disgress, but let's say from a career stand point, I could empathize with Lucy.
Next was Lucy's relationship with her husband Charlie, a man whom she loves dearly, but whose cheerful presence at the moment is extremely taxing.  My hubby and I have been married just 6 weeks shy of 45 years, and when Lucy was biting back sarcastic words, I was chuckling out loud.  Any couple who has adjusted to both people being home every day has got to connect with Ruchti's portrayal of Lucy and Charlie.  I always tell people that R. and I built a bi-level home as our retirement home on purpose.  We each get one floor, and if we need to switch, we can, but we always have space away from each other!!  Ruchti has gotten that couple dynamic right on; they love each other deeply, never want to hurt each other, but they definitely approach life differently, even after so many years together.  
As I read the book, I found myself stopping to mark passages about marriage, silence, and more.  At times it seemed like I was reading a marriage or retirement advice book. but never in a boring way.  Lucy and her family's story always took the forefront, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I don't want to give too much away but I encourage you to find out what HHATT, the name of her new book club means, and what little boy enters Lucy's life and how he and her mom help Lucy find a place and reason to be. I received a copy of this title from Litfuse for my honest review. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Embarrassing moment sure to be a lifelong grandpa memory

One never knows when or how a lifelong memory will be made.  When I answered the phone Sunday night and told our 8 year old granddaughter that I would pick her up after school on Monday, I certainly did not think she would leave our house with a story that she is sure to be telling for years.
About 4:10 yesterday, I picked her up from her auntie's house and brought her to our place. Back here by 4:35.  While she wrote out her spelling words, I finished making our supper.  We were on a tight timeline.  We needed to eat and then she needed to change clothes for her spring school concert.  We needed to be at the school (15 minute drive plus time for parking and getting into the school) before 5:50.  Her cousin Ethan's kindergarten portion of the concert started at 6 and we needed to be in our seats.  So after we ate (about 5:15-5:20) I told her to get dressed.  When I looked a minute or so later, (as I was filling out two fundraiser forms for her) I saw her looking around the great room with a puzzled look on her face.  I inquired if she was looking for her clothes, and she said she was, but could not find them.  She told me she had already checked the car and they weren't there.  She had also checked the downstairs family room.

Now when I picked her up, she had a backpack, a lunch bag, and a plastic grocery bag,  I figured her clothes and shoes were in the plastic bag.  I checked everywhere she had checked and was beginning to panic when I suddenly realized that Grandpa had gathered all the garbage right before supper and taken the big garbage can to the curb for Tuesday pick up.  Like many people, I line our small wastebaskets with grocery bags.  He had gathered several of those, tied them up, and taken them to the large trashbin.  As he was doing that, I had yelled to him that I had already emptied the kitchen trash (meaning I had taken it all the way to the big trash bin).  He must have thought I meant that I had set a bag by the entry steps and he grabbed the bag of clothes/shoes, neatly tied shut) and dumped them in the trash.  Thankfully that lightbulb went off and I asked him if he had taken a bag from near the steps.  "Yep," he answered. "Well, get up off the couch, and go out to the curb.  You thew away her dress!"

He was able to locate the bag and disaster was adverted.  The clothes were still clean, and to our granddaughter's glee, not stinky!! But she had some sage words of advice to Grandpa.  "Next time, peek in the bag before you throw it away!"  And she assured him that someday she will tell her grandchildren about the time Grandpa threw away her good concert clothes along with the trash!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Upcoming book tour for THE INHERITANCE by Michael Phillips and contest.

I will be reviewing this title in early May but wanted readers to learn about the give away.



inheritance - 400

https://promosimple.com/ps/9735

What happens when past and present collide in the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef? Don’t miss master storyteller Michael Phillips’ dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace: The Inheritance. Everyone assumed Tulloch’s heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David’s calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance. Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .
Enter to win a copy of The Inheritance—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced May 12 on the Litfuse blog!
###
The Inheritance

{MORE ABOUT THE INHERITANCE}

The Inheritance (Bethany House, April 2016)
The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whale’s Reef into turmoil.
Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch’s heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David’s grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And while Hardy doesn’t enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate’s assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island—and its traditional way of life—hangs in the balance.
Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .
Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips’s dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.
Michael Phillips

{MORE ABOUT MICHAEL PHILLIPS}

Michael Phillips is a bestselling author with more than 70 of his own titles. In addition, he has served as editor/redactor of nearly 30 more books. He is known as the man responsible for the reawakened interest in George MacDonald of the last 30 years. In addition to the MacDonald titles adapted/edited for today’s reader, his publishing efforts in bringing back full-length quality facsimile editions also spawned renewed interest in MacDonald’s original work. Michael and his wife, Judy, spend time each year in Scotland but make their home near Sacramento, California.

Friday, April 22, 2016

THE BACHELOR GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Rachel McMillan

Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder Rachel McMillan has captured 1910 Toronto in her new mystery THE BACHELOR GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER.  Single women who defy tradition and their parent's wishes to find a mate, and instead pursue a job, or perhaps a passion for crime solving, are called bachelor girls.  Such streaks of independence and defiance against society's norms were so feared that historic Toronto had "women's courts" and arrests were made for "incorrigibility" according to the author's notes.  To create that feeling, McMillan adds a fictional Morality Squad, a vigilante type group of men sent out at night to find any women breaking the codes of feminine behavior.  Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts, two ladies in their twenties, intent on being the female versions of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, don disguises of trousers and large shirts when they first attempt to help police officer (and friend) Jasper Forth solve the murder of an immigrant girl. Their every action could catch the attention of the Morality Squad.  When Jasper is pulled off the investigation after another girl is found murdered, he is told that it is because he let Merinda near the body.  After the formal investigation stops altogether, Merinda is sure something is fishy and actively begins to investigate on her own, with Jem's help.

I loved that although it appears that Mirenda is the "brains" of the duo, much of the story centers on Jem.  When masquerading in her oversized pants, she literally bumps into Ray DeLuca, a reporter for a Toronto rag, who is as ambitious as the two women. Soon Jem's interest in the Italian immigrant is more than business, but she keeps her feelings hidden from both Mirenda and Ray.  And when Mirenda wants Jem to keep company with a reporter from another paper to help their investigation, Jem complies.  Rachel McMillan has chosen to tell this mystery with a creative blend of humor, seriousness, and unique style.  Each chapter begins with a quote from either a guide to solving mysteries or a book on bachelor girlhood, each quote setting a tone for Jem and Mirenda's story.
Footnotes are almost never used in fiction, but McMillan has added them for points of clarification a that would not be possible with her narration style.  Although footnotes can be annoying and slow down the reader, these tiny messages add a layer of wit and insight.

Mirenda and Jem are not new characters for McMillan, although this is her first novel.  The sleuthing pair appear in a collection of short stories, and lucky for readers now shine in this full length story, whose ending certainly leaves the impression that Jem and Merinda will be sleuthing again.  I received a copy of this title from LITFUSE for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA by Heather Barbieri

 As I remember, THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA by Heather Barbieri was a popular read when it first was published and soon made it on many bookclub lists.  I never read the book back then (2009-2010) but kept the title in mind for a future read.  When I finally decided to request the book on interlibrary loan this spring, I was anxious to make my "trip to Ireland" and to be charmed by the small village in which the book is set.   Kate, a talented clothing designer who hasn't quite found her niche, takes off for Ireland, the isle of her ancestors, after her boyfriend dumps her.  This is a trip that she had always planned to take with her mother, but it never happened, and then her mother died.  Seeming to be wandering without a purpose, Kate ends up in the village of Glenmara, a place who seems to have barely left the 1800's and the Great Potato Famine.  With no viable transportation for several days, Kate agrees to stay with Bernie, a widow who gladly opens her too-quiet home to the young American.  As Kate begins to explore the village, she learns about the group of women who meet several times a week to make lace, just as their mothers and grandmothers did.  The women try to sell their lace, carefully sewn on traditional Irish linens at weekly markets and fairs to raise money for their families and village, but each year their endeavors are less successful.  As the women show Kate how to make the lace, she (and we the readers) learn more about each of the women -- their sorrows, burdens, and hopes.  But when Kate encourages the women to try their lace on something new -- lingerie, she invites the wrath of the village priest who sees her as an outsider and a negative influence.

As I said before, I began this book with great hope, and at first I was delighted by the setting and the author's language.  I could close my eyes and see the green grasses of Glenmara and smell the damp air, but as the story went on, the delightful language seemed to disappear, and I felt all the characters were just slightly disappointing.  Wondering if I missed something, I checked reviews on Goodreads and found quite a variety of responses.  Many readers were ecstatic about the novel, but others commented much as I felt -- that the characters seemed to fit a pattern found in women's fiction -- a new love with a bit of mystery about himself,  a woman with an abusive husband, another with a difficult teenager, the widow, and a jealous friend.  Even the priest seemed to be pulled from a mold.
Plus, I had a problem with the whole lace proposition.  To be fair to the author, she mentions several types of lace that the ladies made, including crochet and bobbin.  I don't know how to make lace, but my sister in law learned how to make bobbin lace when she lived in England, and it is not a hobby that ones just catches onto, as Kate seemed to do.  That such delicate, complicated work would just be added to ready made panties and bras and suddenly be sexy or fashionable seems to be a major flow in my reality department.  It would make more sense that Kate would design lingerie from scratch and incorporate the lace makes more sense (that is what happens at the end, sort of).

So I am glad that finally read THE LACE MAKERS OF GLENMARA, but I am also glad that bookclub did not chose this as a monthly read.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Wonderful time in Branson

Last week we spent four days in Branson (and two traveling) with our eldest son's in-laws and had a great time. This makes our fourth trip to Branson, and if Russ had his way, we would already be planning the next.  I must confess that I would not balk at the idea; there are still many shows that we have not seen, and we have not made it to Silver Dollar City or Branson Landing yet.

We saw five shows and could have easily fit in several more, but we wanted to lunch at the  Keeter Center at the College of the Ozarks and show George and Liz the campus. Perhaps you've heard of the college as Work U; students who attend this school have their tuition (not room and board) covered by working on the campus.  One of the main attractions is the big Keeter Center, a conference center with a huge dining facility.  Many of the breads and pastries come from flour milled right there, and the milk and pork are from the school's own farms. Russ bought some pancake mix from their mill, and I bought a bottle of pear honey salad dressing made in the kitchens that make jellies, jams, salad dressings, and fruitcake.

 The weather in Missouri was as near perfect as I could want it.  I was neither hot nor cold, and although it rained most of the trip down, it was dry while we were there. Redbuds and other spring trees were in bloom and pansies blossomed all around the condo and the town.  But back to the shows.  I won't name them all, but want to mention two.  First, like 2,180 other vacationers we spent Tuesday afternoon at the Sight and Sound theater watching Moses.  What a spectacular production- chariots, burning bush, blood on the doorposts, angel of death, and the parting of the sea.  We've been to the S and S theater before to see JONAH.  While MOSES was is one of the most important stories in the Jewish and Christian faith, I believe the theatrical play JONAH and its special effects of the storm on the ship and the whale was designed just a bit better than the special effects of MOSES.  But then parting the sea is quite difficult to translate to a stage production.  If you've never been to the Sight and Sound theater, I recommend it; there is one in Pennsylvania as well as Missouri.

The other show that I will mention was on the opposite end of the spectrum.  No special effects or large cast.  TWICE ADOPTED is a show featuring 7 siblings who sing.  They come from a family of either 9 or 10 adopted kids, most from Guatemala and Peru.  Really most of them are now adults but they perform as a family still.  The twice adopted refers to their legal adoption by their parents (mother sadly died in 2014 from a blood infection) and then their adoption into the family of God.
Two of the sisters with very strong voices were the main performers with the one brother who is still with the group adding several numbers.  This was a refreshing wholesome show.  I had heard of them before and always wanted to see them.  I also now have a CD so I can listen to them again and again.

It was a great time and I liked that again we traveled during a time that was not the prime summer rush.  Despite the light crowds, we ran into many Wisconsin people including 5 couples that live nearby.  One couple George and Liz knew and another couple Russ and I knew.  Small world, or maybe lots of Wisconsin people were trying to escape our weird April.  The 11+ hour drive home (which turned into over twelve because we stopped at a slow, slow restaurant for lunch) was an exhausting day, but we chose not to break it into two days of driving because Russ and George had a concert on Sunday; they both sing in the Friesland Men's Chorus.  I am delighted that we came home to warmer weather, blooming daffodils, and green grass.  I've been busy out in the garden beds, cleaning away dead debris.  As much as I would love to spend the whole day out there, I have to limit my time in the sun because of a med I take, and I also have quite a few book reviews coming up.
So I will work out there in spurts and then read some each day.  Hopefully I can get in the sewing room again, too.  


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Greater Love: A tides of truth novel by Robert Whitlow

Greater LoveWritten by Robert Whitlow, a practicing attorney, GREATER LOVE is a contemporary Christian novel (Book Three of A Tides of Truth series) centered on Tami Taylor who has just finished law school.  Now she must decide if she will accept a job with the prestigious law firm where she had interned or accept a much less certain future by joining two other woman just starting a law practice.  Now I can't say too much more about that without slipping in spoilers, but I will say Tami looks to her parents for advice and also considers the counsel of a Sister Dabney, a colorful street preacher, whose odd pronouncements seem to become sage truth.  After Tami passes the bar exam, selects a job, and begins work, she is assigned a pro bono job defending a young girl accused of burglary.  Within minutes, Tami can tell that Jessie is hiding something, including her true identity and age, but Tami cannot get her to open up.  But Tami is able to get Jessie a safe place to stay, at the same home where Tami herself is staying-- the home of an elderly woman who sometimes needs looking after.  It is when Jessie cares for Mrs. Fairmont that the young woman begins to learn trust.

GREATER LOVE is the third book in the series A TIDES OF TRUTH which all feature Tami Taylor.  I've never read the first two, but I would recommend that anyone interested in Whitlow's work read the books in order.  I missed out on the complete explanation regarding Tami's ultra-conservative mountain family and her work at the large law firm which earned her a super opportunity with the firm right out of law school.  I also missed the beginnings of her relationship with the young lawyer Zach who accepts her strict views and agrees to an old fashioned courting relationship.  But there is also Vince, a law student who is clearly interested in Tami.  I never quite understood how close these two were and what had brought them together since that happened in either DEEPER WATER or HIGHER HOPE, but I was able to follow the action of this book and just accepted that Vince and Tami had some type of history.  This book read a little slower than most legal novels I've read including one I've read by Robert Whitlow; however, I must confess while I read this one, I was also preparing for a vacation.  Let's just fault my concentration level, not Whitlow's writing for the slow pace.

GREATER LOVE was published in 2009.  Since then Whitlow has written LIFE SUPPORT, WATER'S EDGE, THE CHOICE, THE LIVING ROOM, THE CONFESSION, and A HOUSE DIVIDED.  I've read WATER'S EDGE and recommend it, and I am quite sure I also read THE CONFESSION but cannot find a review.  When I have a break from other reading commitments, I will finding copies of his other works.  

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Two If by Sea by Jacqueline Mitchard

Two If by SeaAt one time Jacqueline Mitchard lived in Madison, WI and had a column in the Sunday newspaper which I never wanted to miss.  I liked her quirky musings about family, the seasons, and life in general.  When her novel THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN was Oprah's first pick and then made into a movie, I cheered, read the book, saw the movie, and continued to be a fan.  When she started writing teen novels, I bought the first ones for the high school library (I've since retired so I don't know if more have been bought).  But Jacqueline and family moved from Wisconsin and I sort of lost track of her writings.  When I saw that she had published a new book, I got my name on the waiting list at the local library.  When it came in, I needed to move it up on the reading pile so other patrons at our small library would have a chance.  The first page begins in Australia on Christmas Eve of the big tsunami; you can't start with more action than that.  An American living in Australia, Frank has just left his pregnant wife (married a short time) and her family at the hotel for a late evening walk when the big wave hits.  He can see it destroying the hotel and knows that no one has survived.  His police and emergency worker training kicks in and he makes it to safety, and the next day begins to help with recovery and rescue efforts.
His crew comes upon a partially submerged car with a woman and two young boys.  When Frank reaches to grab the nearest boy, the young boy tells him to save his younger brother first, and Frank is sure that the boy says the other one is special.  Frank has just grabbed the littlest boy and pulled him to safety when the car goes under.

Within hours of rescuing the boy, who remains completely silent, Frank knows he cannot part with the child, not knowing why.  Perhaps it is grief, he thinks. Despite a photo of him rescuing the child appearing in the paper, no one comes forward to claim him, and Frank decides to leave for America with the child.  This means forged passport and identity papers, but Frank finds a way to do it.
Very quickly he senses that there is something very different about the boy; he appears to have no fear, and can calm animals that no one else can, as evidenced when he walks right under a very temperamental horse on the Australian horse ranch where Frank works.  Back in Wisconsin, Frank and the boy whom he has named Ian begin to settle in with Frank's mother and sister, when strange happenings begin.  Clearly someone dangerous is searching for Ian, and more certainly the boy has some kind of physic powers, ones he uses for good but could easily be twisted by others for harm. The rest of the book is a mix of new romance for Frank, unnamed and mysterious villains, and a quest for safety for Frank's family that stretches across three continents.

I cannot give this book either an endorsement or a pan.  I was so excited to start the book and felt the early tsunami scenes were powerful.  I was delighted that the book was going to have a Wisconsin setting, but felt her portrayal of Southern Wisconsin just missed the mark, and I found that strange since she had lived there.  And while the English countryside setting of the last fourth of the book was charming, the reasons that drove the family there were just strange.  Throughout the book, I kept thinking that the authorities would have shown up or intervened, and I just could not get past that.
Plus I felt the writing throughout the book was uneven, delightful at times, but not consistent enough to pull everything together.  I've seen reviews by others who agree with my mixed thoughts, but I have also seen solid positive reviews.  Wonder what my book club and fellow readers would think?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

ROOTS AND SKY: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four SeasonsChristie Purifoy and her husband move into their Pennsylvania brick farmhouse just weeks before their fourth child is born.  Christie is sure that the decrepit structure named Maplehurst is home, the spot she has been searching for.  But then baby Elsa Spring arrives and Christie does seem to be able to quite find all the joy she had been anticipating.  A never satisfied baby and endless chores consume her time and thoughts, and she struggles to see God in this place and time.  Her descriptions of a winter that will not go away and her fierce hold on the promise of a coming spring (seed catalogs, spindly seedlings ready for ground that will not warm, an Easter egg hunt that may not happen if snow remains) are all tales that anyone who has lived in a four season climate will recognize; her obvious postpartum depression, hopefully, is not so commonly seen.  Purifoy sees the promise of God's love in her family's settling down into their rural life and her sharing of Christ's redemption comes through in the small actions of that life.  As she and her family put down roots at Maplehurst, both figuratively as a family and actually as toilers of the soil, the greater understanding of God - the sky of the title- grows, also.

I find it very difficult to give this book a label.  It really does not give enough facts to be a memoir.
Purifoy refers to previous years of childlessness and then the past two years as a disappointment and trial, but never goes into details.  The book is not a devotional or a how to find God book, but it records Christie's introspection in a lyrical prose that makes it at times to read and decipher, and at other times so delightful and insightful that I had to stop and mark passages.  Usually I give away review copies when I am done with them, but I may need to save this one.  There is such beauty in her words that I want to reread them.

My life has been an ordinary life, one of family, work, and small pleasures.  Christie gives beauty and validity to these choices.  This passage comes from near the end of the book.  Excuse its length, but there is no better way to share the beauty of Purifoy's writing than to share it:
        I lean over the heat of my saute pan, push a wooden spoon through bright yellow squash, gold oil, and browned bits of garlic.  There is no gold star when I entice my children to eat their vegetables. No gold star when I remember to sweep the kitchen floor. Yet Paul told Jesus;s first followers that humble lives, emptied of selfish ambition, would shine 'like stars in the sky.' (Phil. 2:15) And he gave them this surprising charge:'Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.' (I Thess. 4:11)      pages 200

I received a review copy of this title from Revell Reads for my honest opinion. To learn more about Purifoy and her writing, check out her website



Monday, April 4, 2016

Would a Worm Go on a Walk written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Bill Bolton

Hannah C. Hall, Bill Bolton, and Worthy Kids have partnered to publish a bright, colorful children's book just right for spring.  It begins with a two page spread showing a pair of children's feet wearing purple tennis shoes and a smaller earthworm wearing red sneakers amidst colorful dandelions.  The question for those first pages, "Would a worm go on a walk if you could lead him down the street?" After another page of questions about the worm, the answer is "No, no matter how he tries, worms weren't made for walking and they don't like exercise."  The question/answer format continues with different animals, silly questions, and delightful illustrations, all building to the main idea that each animal was formed on purpose by God, each with its own uniqueness.  The story ends with the little girl with purple shoes holding a dandelion sitting on a rock, learning that God's masterpiece is her (or the child reading the book).

This book would be a wonderful addition to a church's nursery, youngest Sunday school class, or children's library.  I believe books make wonderful baby shower gifts, and while most people give board books, I think hardcover picture books are the start to creating a life long reader.  Spring flowers and green grass dance off the pages of this book, guaranteeing smiles on the listeners' faces. I think this title will find a new home at my granddaughter's Christian daycare where it can be enjoyed for many springs to come.  I received a copy of this book form Worthy Publishing and First Look bloggers for review purposes.

Check out Hannah C. Hall's website to learn more about her writing.