Monday, April 30, 2012

Reviews: God Bless Our Home & Under the Baobab Tree


Two books. Two reviews. 

Let's begin with Under the Baobab Tree.  Follow siblings Moyo and Japera as they travel to the baobab tree.  Written by Julie Stiegemeyer, this story introduces readers to life in the African savanna.  The watercolor illustrations beautifully depict the dusty roads, termite mounds, and gazelles. All along the way, the siblings wonder "who will gather today under the baobab tree?"   Will people gather for a market?  Maybe for long talks?  In the end, everyone gathers for a time of prayer and songs. 

Heidi's Thoughts: 
The illustrator did a beautiful job depicting a church service at the end of the book.  "No windows, or doors.  No church bell or steeple.  No organ or flowers.  Just a cross and a bible, a pastor and songs, voices and prayers."  This opened up a conversation about how others gather to worship God.  Sadly, a lot of the book was confusing and random for my kiddos.  It required a lot of fill in for them to follow the storyline.    Loved the multiculturalism just wish the storyline would have contained more detail to make it flow.

Next, The Berenstain Bears: God Bless Our Home (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights).  Berenstain Bears are not new to this blog and hopefully not to you either.  I enjoy the classic stories of this bear family.  The Living Lights series is the newest set from the mom and son team.  Each book contains a Bible verse and activities and questions to further the learning. 

In God Bless Our Home, the reader learns how the bear family moved into their tree house home.  Through time, they have outgrown the space and need more.  Brother and Sister Bear love their home and protest at the thought of moving.  As a family, they come up with a solution and work together to fix the problem. 

Heidi's Thoughts:
I love any depiction of a family united together to solve a problem and where work is being done as a team.  This is exactly what this book shows.  But as with several of the books that I have reviewed in the Living Lights series, I believe the book set up a great plot but missed the finish line .  First in the title.  Even after reading the book, our kiddos still did not understand what it means for God to bless their family.  Secondly, the plot set up an excellent situation to discuss how we accumulate so much stuff.  Instead of giving away these things, the family moved them to another location.  Sadly, these points were  simply glossed over.  I encourage the adult to bring out these points for discussion. 

Thank you to Zonderkidz for allowing me to review these books.

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.