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Book Review

Listed in alphabetical order:


Always Daddy's Princess

Karen Kingsbury (author); Valeria Docampo (illustrator); published by Zonderkidz, a trademark of Zondervan

Summary: In simple rhyme, a daddy rejoices over the birth of his daughter. He shares special moments with her as she grows — tea parties, soccer games, learning to drive, prom and her wedding. Letting his daughter go as she becomes an adult is bittersweet, but he soon delights in a second princess — his granddaughter.

Christian beliefs: Many pages include Scripture verses relevant to the daughter's hobbies or stage of life. The father prays for his daughter as she becomes a young woman.

Authority roles: Daddy is loving, attentive and supportive of his daughter's activities as she grows. Mom also appears on the sidelines of soccer games, helps dress her daughter for prom and celebrates at her wedding.


Audrey Bunny

by Angie Smith (author); Breezy Brookshire (illustrator); published by B&H Publishing Group

Summary: A stuffed bunny lives in a toy store barrel for a long time, believing no one wants her because of the smudge mark over her heart. When a girl named Caroline adopts her and names her Audrey, the bunny still feels she must conceal her mark or be sent back to the store. Caroline takes Audrey to school for show-and-tell, and the bunny fears that she won't be able to hide her secret imperfection. Then Caroline reveals to her class that Audrey's mark was the very thing that let her know the bunny was meant for her. Caroline tells Audrey she loves her, and the mark makes her beautiful.

Christian beliefs: The book ends with verses from Psalms about being wonderfully made and includes discussion questions about God's view of our imperfections.

Authority roles: Mom smiles and holds her daughter's hand as she takes Caroline to the toy store to pick out a stuffed animal.


The Circle Maker for Kids: One Prayer Can Change Everything

by Mark Batterson; Antonio Javier Caparo (illustrator); published by Zonderkidz, a trademark of Zondervan

Summary: Taken from a story found in the Talmud, it has not rained in Israel for a year, and people are losing faith in God. They consult an old man named Honi. The people watch as Honi draws a circle in the dirt. He prays, saying he will not leave the circle until it rains. At first, too little rain comes, then too much. Honi faithfully remains in the circle until the grateful people get the rain they need. The story says that his bold prayer reached the heart of God, opening the heavens with rain. After that day, people draw circles and pray whenever they need a miracle.

Christian beliefs: Honi teaches the people to pray with humble hearts because one prayer can change everything. He shows them that God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God.

Authority roles: Honi demonstrates unwavering trust in God. God shows His faithfulness by answering the people's prayers and providing just what they need.



by Emma Dodd (author/illustrator); published by Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press

Summary:  A mama polar bear frolics with her cub, saying she will always do her best to cheer him up, keep him safe and support his dreams. She assures him no matter what their journey brings, she will love him forever. This short, rhyming story includes illustrations with shiny silver embellishments.

Christian beliefs: None

Authority roles: Mama promises her cub that she will care for him in every aspect of life. With a smile, she snuggles, guides and plays with her baby, assuring him her love will never end.


It's True!

by Mercer Mayer (author/illustrator); published by Tommy Nelson, a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc

Summary: Little Critter has a bad habit of telling partial truths. When his teacher announces an upcoming air show, he announces that his grandpa has a biplane. The biplane is a model, but his friends believe Grandpa will be flying in the show, and Little Critter doesn't correct them. Little Critter realizes that not telling the whole truth is the same as lying. He considers running away so he won't have to face his friends with the whole truth, but Grandpa convinces him to stay and be honest. When Little Critter tells his friends the whole truth, they forgive him. At the air show, everyone enjoys playing with Grandpa's remote-control model.

Christian beliefs: Grandpa tells Little Critter that in the Bible God says the truth will set you free. Grandpa says without telling the truth a person can never be happy. Little Critter realizes God is right and that telling the truth does make a person feel good.

Authority roles: Little Critter's mom tries to get honest answers from her son about whether he is managing his daily responsibilities. Grandpa encourages Little Critter to open up and tell him what's wrong. He shares godly wisdom about honesty with his grandson.


Not Your Typical Dragon

by Dan Bar-el (author); Tim Bowers (illustrator); published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), Inc

Summary: Crispin Blaze comes from a proud family of fire-breathing dragons. When he is unable to breathe fire on his seventh birthday, his parents worry what the neighbors will think. Crispin breathes other things, such as whipped cream, Band-Aids and marshmallows, but his failure to be what his father calls a “real” dragon causes him to run away. Crispin meets a young knight named Sir George who returns him to his family. Crispin and Sir George's fathers argue, and Crispin's dad nearly burns down their home in a fiery rage. None of the other dragons can stop the flames, but Crispin breathes water and saves the day. Everyone realizes Crispin isn't a typical dragon, but that his talents are unique and special.

Christian beliefs: None

Authority roles: Crispin's parents, especially his father, are concerned and embarrassed by his inability to breathe fire. Crispin's dad stands up to Sir George's father when the man insults his son. Both of Crispin's parents come to embrace the young dragon's uniqueness. Sir George's father insists his son fight a fire-breathing dragon and mocks Crispin for his inability to produce flames.


Psalm 23

by Richard Jesse Watson (illustrator); published by Zonderkidz, a trademark of Zondervan

Summary: Inspired by World Vision photos, artist Richard Jesse Watson creates colorful, detailed illustrations of children from different nations with sheep and an attentive shepherd.

Christian beliefs: The only text is the King James Version of the 23rd Psalm.

Authority roles: Illustrations show an angel pointing the way, a powerful lion guarding a sleeping girl and a watchful, comforting shepherd protecting children and sheep.


Saturday Is Dadurday

by Robin Pulver (author); R.W. Alley (illustrator); published by Walker Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.

Summary: After the twins are born, Mimi and Dad create a special Saturday bonding time called Dadurday. Following a special breakfast, they each write down activities, such as playing checkers, riding bikes or splashing in puddles, and do whatever matches from both lists. But when Dad has to work on Saturdays, Mimi sulks and feels sorry for herself. She finally turns things around, with Mom's help, by putting together a Dadurday party to surprise her father after work.

Christian beliefs: None

Authority roles: Dad lovingly gives his full attention to Mimi on Dadurdays and is delighted by the party she throws him. Mom offers to play with Mimi and tries to soothe the girl's frustration, even as she tends to her new twins.

tallulahs-toe-shoesTallulah's Toe Shoes

by Marilyn Singer (author); Alexandra Boiger (illustrator); published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Group

Summary: Tallulah can't wait to get toe shoes so she can dance like a real ballerina. When a bigger girl throws away her old pair, Tallulah secretly takes them home and tries them out. Her feet get red and sore, and she dances hunched over like a rat. Discouraged, she returns the shoes to the trash can at her ballet studio. The former owner sees her do this and encourages her, saying she (the older ballerina) never thought she'd get toe shoes either. Tallulah returns to her class with renewed hope and enthusiasm.

Christian beliefs: None

Authority roles: Tallulah's parents and teacher encourage her dancing but say her feet aren't ready for toe shoes. An older ballet student urges Tallulah to work hard as a dancer.

this-is-the-ropeThis is the Rope

by Jacqueline Woodson (author); James Ransome (illustrator); published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group

Summary: More than 6 million African Americans migrated north between the early 1900s and 1970. A young girl named Beatrice tells her family's migration story by showing how they used and reused a single piece of rope over the years. Her grandmother jumped rope with it as a girl in South Carolina. It steadied Grandpa and Grandma's belongings as they drove to New York to begin a new life. The rope held dried flowers and drying clothes before becoming her mother's jump rope. It tied things down in the car and held up a family reunion sign before becoming Beatrice's jump rope. The images depict the family's growth and change through three generations.

Christian beliefs: None

Authority roles: Parents, grandparents and other family members encourage and care for Beatrice and each other.

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