Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Bug Collection, Hermie & Friends, 3 Complete DVDs.

A great way for young children to learn about prayer, good behavior, and getting along with others. These three DVDs are set up using an outstanding lesson plan as a model. Max Lucado introduces and closes the stories with his young audience in mind. His tone and mannerism is perfect in delivery. He never condescends to children.

The voice of God was the only injustice done to children. Young minds may look for the voice when asking for God’s help.

The stories include smidgens of adult humor, which serve as pleasant extras for the adult who will undoubtedly watch the DVDs more than once.

There are many bonuses following the DVD stories themselves, such as; sing-a-longs, quizzes, and a before bedtime story.
There is an added bonus choice; to use the DVD on TV and/or a computer.

The voice talents chosen for the cute characters are outstanding. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy these three DVDs with lifelong lessons to learn and relearn.

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Book Review by Mary Crocco

Milo Moon, by Derek Haines

Derek Haines book, Milo Moon, is a story that has a ring of familiarity. It touches on the sci-fi with a hint of political suspense. The author’s strength is the fun he has creating his characters. Any reader will enjoy the adventures of Milo and Mary, which is the compelling reason to finish the book.

The prose and dialogue are simple which makes for an easy read. There are a few occurrences which automatically categorize the book for adults. Without these scenes Milo Moon could have been enjoyed by young adults, obviously, not the author’s choice for this story.

I recommend Milo Moon for the sci-fi audience. I could see a fan wondering what Milo and Mary would look like on the big screen.

Book review by Mary Crocco

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February The Fifth, by Derek Haines

February The Fifth, by Derek Haines

February The Fifth, is the first book I have read by Derek Haines. It was an easy read with slight touches of science fiction and comedy throughout. There was no shortage of characters, some of whom the reader would most definitely relate to thereby making the book more enjoyable.

I think young adults would be the target audience for Derek’s book. The learning curve for the characters unexpected responsibility and out of this world (literally) adventures would be enjoyed most by middle-school age children. I can picture the variety of favorite characters and the childrens' reasoning for their choices as a productive writing project. The book is rich with description for both characters and places that would undoubtedly spark children to improve their writing skills. What a great compliment to an author!

As an adult and aspiring writer, I was greatly impressed with the ending. Derek’s words in his last paragraph, his last two sentences, could not have been written more perfectly to end this entertaining story.

The most loyal of loyal readers.

The Very End

Book review by Mary Crocco

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Long Way Home, by Bill Barich

Long Way Home, by Bill Barich

A quick and easy read

Long Way Home, by Bill Barich, left me wondering if the book would be more entertaining if written at a different time in history. The idea for his cross-country journey was sparked when Barich unexpectedly came across the book, Travels in Ireland. He decided to return to the U.S. and chronicle his journey while talking with Americans about the state of the country, much like John Steinbeck’s, Travels with Charley.

Barich is critical of some small town Americans. He seems to take too much pleasure in writing about the shortfalls of those he interviewed. On the other hand, he does highlight other Americans and shares their positive stories and views, also taking pleasure in his research.

I thought there would be more thought provoking stories in the book. I find it difficult to review because there was not much substance to it. When I finished reading it, I have nothing to think about it. I find that undesirable.

I would recommend the book for a quick read if you had no other book available. It is an okay read, but not very stimulating.

Book Review by Mary Crocco

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On Hallowed Ground, by Robert M. Poole

Every page an inspiration

On Hallowed Ground, by Robert M. Poole, bestows upon readers deep emotions and realizations that will be ingrained forever. Poole begins with informing readers of the history of Arlington National Cemetery: Robert E. Lee owned Arlington, Virginia’s plantation during the Civil War. Even if one is versed in this era of history, something new is learned in every chapter. For example: the year Taps became official, appearing in the U.S. Army Infantry Drill Regulations in 1891.

Not all the history of Arlington makes us proud. Poole tells many stories from the Civil War to present day. The reader needs to keep in mind the time frame to empathize with decisions made. Poole is thorough and the facts complete the reader’s prior knowledge.

Poole states there are more than 300,000 bodies buried at Arlington. Millions of visitors have experienced the ceremonies conducted on the grounds over time. Even if one has not personally lost a loved one in a war, the visit is emotionally draining. Pondering over those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms, while standing on the sacred grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, is what Poole describes with such inspirational storytelling expertise.

I recommend this book for every American. I think young adults would benefit from a parent reading it to them. I feel obligated to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. I did not feel as strongly about making this trip before reading On Hallowed Ground. Robert. M. Poole has heightened my awareness to experience this in my lifetime with hopes Arlington will never run out of space.

Book review by Mary Crocco

The Power Based Life, by Mike Flynt

Run of the Mill

The Power Based Life, by Mike Flynt, is a self-help book with a spiritual twist. Flynt writes to an audience who would appreciate sport analogies to realize one’s real life goals and dreams. He is a strength training coach and writes about twelve ‘power based’ strategies to strengthen one’s body, mind, and spirit using a fitness guide. He incorporates Biblical verses to reinforce his strategies.

The book seems to be of most value as a first self-help book for someone needing guidance physically, mentally, and spiritually. As for the avid reader, it does not contain any new information or ‘a-ha’ moments. For example, most know to ‘play to one’s strengths, strive for a positive attitude, and change one’s adversities to work for us vs. against us.’ The book just adds a Biblical verse to these ‘power bases’ for the reader.

I would recommend this book to a younger audience who may not have read self-help books before and who enjoys sport analogies. It certainly is not a bad book, just another run of the mill book for realizing one’s life goals and dreams.

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Book Review by Mary Crocco