Advent Calendars

My blogosphere friend, Tez Brooks, has some words of encouragement about using Advent Calendars with your children. You’ll find them here.

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The Baby King – PB Reveiw

Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall.

Last week I reviewed an ARCH Christmas book and couldn’t give it my thumbs up.
But I must say their 2017 book, The Baby King, is a big improvement.

20181112_122718The Baby King was written by Gregory Hyatt and illustrated by Joseph Qiu.

The illustrations are lovely and realistic. They remind me of the old Sunday School paintings we used when I was a child.

The story is again told in rhymed quatrains. This version is much better written than the 2003 book. But the meter still needs some work.

Also, the rhyming is good, but it’s obvious to me that some lines were used simply to create a rhyme. They contain details that are not relevant to the story. For instance:

Joseph and Mary journeyed.
     They could not even relax.
     They had to go to register
     For Caesar’s government tax.

Not the best writing I’ve read.

The story is accurate and the illustrations are lovely.

I think The Baby King  will be a good book to add to your Christmas collection.

C is for Christmas

Another Christmas picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall

C is for Christmas was written by Michelle Medlock Adams and illustrated by Louise Hargreaves.

C-christmas.jpgLittle Lamb Books (AKA “the publisher of my book to be released soon”) released it in 2018 a few days ago. I received my copy and jumped right into reading it!

First, Hargreaves’ illustrations are A-DOR-A-BLE. They are tailor-made for preschoolers. The cover is beautiful with all kinds of critters crowded into the stable with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

C is for Christmas is, of course, an alphabet book. Most everything you can think of that is associated with Christmas is mentioned in these cute pages.

 

For instance:
      S is for SNOW

      Though it’s not always possible,
      white Christmases are grand.
      The SNOW makes all things beautiful…
      A winter wonderland.

I’m betting the little ones in your family will want you to read C is for Christmas again and again.

Congratulations, Michelle!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS, YA’LL!

One Small Donkey-PB Review

Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall

20181115_110010One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story was written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. It was published by Tommy Nelson in 2016.

Dandi Daley Mackall has created an adorable story that uses the birth of Christ to help young children understand that none of us is too small. Not too small to help, not too small to be loved, not too small to be part of a family, not too small to be part of God’s bigger plan.

I love the last page:

     One small donkey with a hee-hee-haw!
       Cheering at the Savior’s birth—
     One Small donkey with a giant heart
       Welcomes Christ, our peace on earth.

 

Mackall’s rhyme is great. The rhythm was a little hard to follow in places because it doesn’t followt that sing-song nursery rhyme rhythm.

Meguens’ illustrations are simple, cute and sweet. I plan to give this book to my six-year-old granddaughter. I think she’ll cherish it!

In my opinion One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story is another hit for Mackall. I believe it will be another “read it again” favorite for young children.

Merry Christmas to you all!

12 Things You MUST Remember

Yes, I’m back with my lists! If you’re not sure aboutchild-1528308_1280-2 any of these please leave a comment. I’ll be delighted to explain!

 
• How to be silly.
• Ways to honor your child’s feelings.
• When to be a good loser.
• When to say “I’m sorry.”
• How to discipline without crushing their spirits.
• It’s more important for children to learn HOW to think than WHAT to think.
• To show approval and love regardless of the child’s performance or grades.
• When to lecture, and when to calmly question.
• When and how to point out the positive in a person or situation.
• Not to EVER withhold love. NEVER.
• How to exercise grace.
• To compliment every hand-made project or gift.

Where Jesus Slept — PB Review

Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall.

Where Jesus Slept was written by Norma Lewis and illustrated by Katy Hudson. It was published in 2016 by Worthy Kids/Ideals.

20181112_122746This is also definitely a Christian Christmas book. It begins by quoting Luke 2:10B-11, and ends by quoting John 3:16. I like that.

Hudson’s illustrations are soft pastels except for the sapphire sky. The expressions of the animals and people look friendly and inviting.

Where Jesus Slept is a cute take on a very familiar story. It’s written in a circular fashion like “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” I like that, too. Young children enjoy the story repeating the same phrases in the same rhythm.

 

It begins, “This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” Lewis continues to add characters to the story and then repeats the previous text.

I think your preschoolers will really enjoy this cute story of Jesus’ birth.

A Solid Foundation for Children

Excellent wisdom from the book Parenting Your Powerful Child: Bringing an End to the Everyday Battles by Dr. Kevin Leman we read on page 177-178:

The society we live in today is a dangerous one. There are plenty of big bad wolves out there that will devour your child without batting an eye.

What kind of foundation are you giving your kids? Sand? Straw? Twigs? Or cement blocks? If you use anything other than cement it’s not a good idea. I know that because [my wife] told me. She even proved it to me while she was laying brick around the house. I saw it with my own two eyes as I sipped a can of Pepsi.

people-3289384_1920So what does your child want the most?
• To feel valued.
• To be loved unconditionally.
• To be taken seriously.
• To contribute to your family.

Those are the foundations that are like cement blocks: firm and there to stay for a lifetime.

What kind of parent do you tend to be now? Authoritarian? Permissive? How might you change to be that balanced, authoritative parent you need to be—for your own welfare and for your child’s?

 

 

Proverbs 22:6 Amplified Bible
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree – PB Review

Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall.

61YIz7RqVOL._SX430_BO1204203200_Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree was written by David Martin and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. Candlewick Press published it in 2011.

Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree is a cute little story about a bunny who is tired of always being the smallest kid. On Christmas Eve he falls asleep under the tree and has a magical experience. He gets to be the biggest kid for a while. With the help of new friends Little Bunny also has a life-long dream come true.

 

Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree is  about family, friendship, and self-worth, I think.

It’s okay to me, but I didn’t add it to my list of all-time Christmas favorites. It seemed slight—cute but no real meat to it.

If Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree were being published today (2018) I suspect it would have much fewer words and maybe a theme or message with a little more depth.

Tune in next week, friends, for another Christmas Picture Book Review.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Guest Post at A3

Please pop in to read my guest post about Christmas Stories at Almost An Author.

http://www.almostanauthor.com/what-is-a-christmas-story/

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Thanks and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

 

Parent’s Good Night Prayer

blur-1867402_1920 cropWe sit on the bed beside our child and listen as they pray before going to sleep. Why?

• Prayer is a great habit we’re trying to develop in them.• Prayer helps them relax and rest better.
• Prayer works.
• Prayer reminds them of the people they pray for.

But what about us parents? Do we pray before we fall asleep for the night? Maybe a beautiful memorized prayer might help US develop the habit of evening prayers, too.
Here’s a lovely and effective evening prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Print it out, or jot it on a card. Read it each night before falling asleep.

 

EVENING PRAYER

My Lord God, I thank you
That you have brought this day to an end;
I thank you that you let body and soul come to rest.
Your hand was over me;
It protected me and preserved me.
Forgive all the faintheartedness, lack of faith,
And unrighteousness of this day,
And help me to gladly forgive those who have wronged me.
Let me sleep in peace under your protection,
And preserve me from the assaults of darkness.
I commend to you those close to me;
I commend to you this house;
I commend to you my body and my soul.
O God, may your holy name be praised.
Amen.

“I will both lay me down and sleep in peace,
For Thou, Lord, only make me to dwell in safety.”
Psalm 4:8

New Christmas Picture Book

She’s done it again!

My sweet friend, Jill Roman Lord, has worked her word-magic again and 20181022_130120-1959204136-1540227944493.jpgbrought the first Christmas night to life for young children. Her verses are in perfect rhyme and meter. Her insights into the celebration surrounding the birth of Jesus are not only cute and clever, they are probably quite accurate. I can’t imagine the animals around the manger NOT celebrating the greatest event in history, can you?

Kelly Breemer’s illustrations are whimsical and adorable.

I think any two or three year old will love snuggling on somebody’s lap with this book. Get your animal voices on and get ready to moo and quack your way through this great little book.

 

Merry Christmas, ya’ll!

Good Night Prayers

We often teach our children sweet little prayers to say before going to sleep. That’s important! It helps them build a habit of praying before retiring. It helps them learn to trust God. It reminds them that God watches over and protects them. These are important steps toward building their faith. When they are ready you can help them vocalize their own personal prayers to God. But until they are, a short memorized prayer is a wonderful teaching tool.
Here are a few to consider:

Father unto You I pray,
You have guarded me all day;
Safe I am while in your sight,
Safely let me sleep tonight.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I know You, Lord, my soul will keep.
Guard me, Jesus, through the night,
Wake me with the morning light.

 

Father, we thank thee for the night,
and for the pleasant morning light;
for rest and food and loving care,
and all that makes the day so fair.

Help us to do the things we should,
to be to others kind and good;
in all we do, in work or play,
to grow more loving every day.

–Rebeecca Weston – 1890
Jesus, tender shepherd, hear me,
Bless this little lamb tonight.
Through the darkness be down near me,
Keep me safe till morning light.
—Mary Duncan

 

Lord, keep us safe this night,
Secure from all fears;
May angels guard us through the night
Till morning light appears.

 

I will lie down in peace and sleep,
For You, Lord, alone make me live in safety.
–Psalm 4:8

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