Sunday, March 24, 2019

Little Book of Grandma’s Love by Jean Fischer

Precious Moments’ Little Book of Grandma's Love is a padded board book that features Bible verses, original poems, and poems with outside attribution.

Spreads contain themes about having fun with Grandma (biking, gardening, playing hide-and-go-seek, going to the beach, etc), Grandma caring for the children (helping them learn, caring for them when there sick, settling the, in at bedtime), and Grandma helping the children learn about God (prayers, reading the Bible, and of course the Bible verses on each page). The themes of each spread are carried out well and the Bible verses match the themes, too.

The illustrations are in the classic pastel-colored, youthful-style of the Precious Moments brand. Even the grandmother often looks very childlike, though also sometimes appears as a grey-haired, but still youthful-looking person. They are fit very well to the text, especially in the poem that describes a drawing that a child makes for grandma that is shown exactly in the adjacent page’s picture.

Overall, it’s a pleasant book that shows grandmothers’ love for their grandchildren, and grandchildren’s love for their grandmothers. Compared to Jean Fischer's Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories, I'd say given the choice between the two that the Bible Stories is a stronger, more substantive book. For even more substance in the Precious Moments style, the 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury is worth checking out. However, if you're looking for something specifically about the grandmother-grandchild relationship, such as for a gift giving opportunity, this book is obviously well-suited.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to post a positive review. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Put on Your PJs, Piggies! Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

Put on Your PJs, Piggies! is a not-quite-square board book that walks though nighttime routines, including little piggies stalling for more time. A bedtime snack is followed by a bath, then into PJs. The little piggies sing their nighttime song, say their prayers, count sheep, and then fall asleep. The daddy pig helps them through their routine and is mentioned in the text. The mommy pig is shown in the illustrations during the nighttime song, prayers, and sleep time.

One of the little piggies is much smaller than the rest and the littlest pig is my favorite part of this book. The littlest pig is too small to know to close her eyes during the prayer and continues her wide-eyed laying pose that she has throughout the entire story. The funniest part is on the last spread where every other animal in the barn is sleeping, but the littlest piggie is still wide awake.

Each spread features a four line stanza of rhyming couplets. Each also has a phrase about PJs: "Almost PJ time, piggies!" "Get ready for PJs, piggies!" "Time for PJs, piggies!" "Put on your PJs, piggies!" However, even after the piggies have put on their PJs, the "Put on your PJs, piggies!" line is repeated five more times. It doesn't really make much sense, especially after the piggies have already fall asleep.

The illustrations are very well done. There are lots of little details that make them very enjoyable, like bubbles from the bath s\till apparent on the grass in the next spread while the piggies are putting on their PJs.

Other animals that appear in the illustrations include a calf and its mother, a foal with a parent, a cat, a baby mouse with parent, and a sheep family of one parent with three small sheep. The front cover features some spot slitter on the piggies PJs and on the moon.

Overall, it's a cute book, but the text, especially the repetition of "Put on your PJs, piggies!" is a little disappointing. Repetition can be a positive feature in a board book, but I was not a fan of how it was carried out in Put on Your PJs, Piggies! It was much more effective in Sydney Hanson's other Bedtime Barn Book, Go to Sleep, Sheep! because the repetition happened in the middle with a different first and last page message. The sheep family featured in Put on Your PJs, Piggies! will be very familiar to anyone who's read Go to Sleep, Sheep!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to post a positive review.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Bedtime Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen, Illustrated by Julie Sawyer Phillips

Bedtime Blessings is a familiar board book for children with bible verses, rhyming couplets laid out in quatrains, and Really Woolly animals. Each spread has a title, followed by a verse (not clearly connected to the rhyming stanzas), two quatrains and a small image on the left-hand side, with a rhyming couplet and nearly full-sized illustration on the right. Certain keywords are bold-faced and colored, such as in "Heavenly Blessings," where attention is drawn to smiling, brave, love, dreams, and happy.

Julie Sawyer Phillips uses the classic Really Woolly animals, with each spread featuring the sheep, bunny, and duck. The colors are muted, pastel, almost watercolor-looking. They contain a lot of great details that will hold up to many re-viewings. For example, in "Sunny Blessings," the animals ride bikes through a park where a play set in the background has a miniature rock wall, cyclone climbing pole, and tire swings, while off to the side two squirrels climb a tree.

The illustrations are the highlight of this bedtime book because of the attention to each detail that gives the eyes many places to look while the story is being read. I found the text just okay. The sentiments were nice ("Your Shepherd loves to watch you play / and bless your sleep at the end of your day"), butt the rhymes and rhythms didn't stand out. The Bible verses were mostly generically about sleeping, with some other comforting protection, love, etc. verses as well, but it was disappointing that they didn't have a more direct relationship to the rest of the text or illustrations.

This is the second Really Woolly book I've read, and it seems that the great illustrations are a feature of this series, which also seems to put less emphasis on the text. Though I wasn't a fan of the poems in the Really Woolly books, I did really enjoy Bonnie Rickner Jensen's writing in God, I Know You're There.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to post a positive review.