Friday, February 22, 2013

Paintings & Poems by Evelyn and Lyndon Pugh

Paintings & Poems describes life, nature, and history through twenty-two beautiful works of art and twenty-one thought provoking poems that reflect the images.
Evelyn uses watercolors to paint nature, woodlands, flowers, water, and sunsets - just to name a few. Lyndon’s poems are written to reflect the beautiful Welsh culture.

What is interesting about Paintings & Poems is the inclusion of history which is explained briefly. It offers just enough to entice the reader to want to research more on their own. For example, Evelyn’s painting of Pentre Ifan in West Wales looks like England's Stonehenge. There’s a mystery to explore and compare.

There seems to be a personal side to this lovely little book – about childhood and life’s situations. As in life, not always pretty.
My favorite is ‘Night Fears’. The watercolor is a black and purple open window with an ominous view, and the poem describes the title.

Whether or not one is a painter or a poet, Paintings & Poems can be enjoyed by everyone.

I Pledge Allegiance . . . Stories of Valor, Heroism and Patriotism. Written by the Wednesday Warrior Writers.

A Las Vegas based writing group, the Wednesday Warriors, became inspired from a member’s personal story of her grandson’s death serving in Iraq. It made such an impact that they decided to compile a book of stories to celebrate American valor, heroism and patriotism.

The stories in I Pledge Allegiance are written by Merle Savage (the grandmother who inspired the book), Charles McKee, Jack Miller, Marshal Taylor, Rena Winters, Robert Fregeau, Robert Cawley, Keith Bettinger, Dennis Griffin, Rob Corbin and Michael MacQuarrie.

Each story is unique and thought provoking. Besides absorbing the stories shared, well known clich├ęs are reinforced, such as:

-        True heroes are silent, and sadly the ones who don’t return.

-        Don’t judge a book by its cover.

-        People aren’t always what they portray on the outside.

I learned the history of the “Dog Tags”, some interesting facts about the GI Bill, Adolf Hitler, and torture, to name a few.

The stories included in I Pledge Allegiance are not only from war heroes, but from law enforcement, firefighters, and everyday citizens. The term heroes and patriotism are used often and reflection is imminent.

The proceeds from I Pledge Allegiance will go to the USO Las Vegas. The USO provides respite and services to U.S. service members that travel through McCarran Airport.

The Wednesday Warrior Writers are proud American patriots.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Unglued Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst

A spiritual self-help book filled with Scripture readings, devotions, thoughts for the day, and closing prayers. Lysa Terkeurst’s main goal is to guide her readers through 60 days of learning how to turn emotions that unglue us into positive experiences.

Unglued Devotional is a short, easy read that may help those who struggle with everyday situations. It is 60 days of imperfect progress, with practical advice offered in a down to earth style.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Incredible Animal Moms: Fun, Facts & Incredible Photos (Exploring Our Incredible World Series) by Mark Smith

A mini encyclopedia of twenty animal moms describes Incredible Animal Moms.  Children are aware of how their mom takes care of them, and Mark Smith provides a non-fiction book bursting with information for children to learn how animal moms take care of their children.

Once again, Mark Smith does not disappoint his readers with superb writing and remarkable pictures. He offers his young readers just the right amount of interesting facts to build a knowledge base. For example, a Cichlid is such a good mom because she keeps her little fish fry in her mouth to protect them from creatures waiting to eat them up.

Incredible Animal Moms: Fun, Facts & Incredible Photos (Exploring Our Incredible World Series) is sure to spark a child’s interest in the animal kingdom while expanding reading and listening skills.

Mark Smith does not include where the animals live, which encourages the parents and children to research further for information.  Ideal motivation!

Spark - A Bedtime Rhyming Picture Book by Mark Smith

Night lights rule for every child who reads Spark. A requirement of childhood is having a night light to keep away monsters, creepers, snakes, and spiders - as Spark stays up all night doing.

The rhymes are kid friendly; the illustrations creative, which combined makes Spark a perfect story for the young reader.

If your child is night light deprived, he or she will be asking for Spark at the end of Spark - A Bedtime Rhyming Picture Book by Mark Smith.

ABC Animals - An Alphabetical Rhyming Picture Book by Mark Smith

F is for Ferret whose cousin is the Skunk, is an example of Mark Smith’s expertise into the minds of children.

Each animal has a page of its own and includes a speech bubble that displays clever text, such as, M is for Manatee who swims all day, and the manatee asks - Want to go for a swim?

The pictures are magnificent, perfect for the young reader to enjoy. In no time at all children will take over reading ABC Animals on their own. The rhyming pattern is written emphasizing a set of two letters, which encourages children to recognize and remember the last rhyming words of each sentence. For example, O is for Octopus who has eight creepy legs. P is for Parrot who sits on its eggs. The ultimate result is children reading the entire sentences without effort.

Educating children in a fun, subtle way, is what Mark Smith has mastered in ABC Animals - An Alphabetical Rhyming Picture Book.

The End page is a picture of a dog without a speech bubble. I would have liked a culmination end page of all the animals with a speech bubble.