Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear ones!

May peace and joy fill your hearts and homes.

Thinking of you and praying for a new year overflowing with God’s blessings.

xo


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The Season of Hope: Advent 4 The Visit of the Magi

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Matthew 2:1-12 NIV

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

I would have loved to see the star that shone so bright, leading wise men to find the Christ child. Later we read that they visited the family in a house, so Jesus was between baby and young child, possibly around two years of age. Unexpected but bearing precious gifts, the Magi provided worship and the means for survival for this young family. Praise be to God for the way He works through a rich tapestry of events!


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The Season of Hope: Advent 3 The Shepherds and The Angels

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Luke 2:8-20 NIV

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I cannot imagine giving birth in a barn or cave. Alone except for a husband and animals. But God was with Mary and Joseph. Glory to God for announcing the Good News to hearts that were ready to believe.


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Book Reviews: So You Want a Pet Dragon? by Tania Pourat, Be a Big Hero by Jennifer Bacon, Scromlette the Omelet Chef by Zach Christensen, Finding Feelings by Jennifer Gafford #BookBirthday

I am sharing four books in this post. Please scroll down to read more about the book that catches your eye!

So You Want to a Pet Dragon?

By Tania Pourat

Illustrated by Tristan Tait

Mascot Books, December 2020

Be a Big Hero

By Jennifer Bacon

Illustrated by Lara Calleja

Mascot Books, December 2020

Scromlette the Omelet Chef

By Zach Christensen

Illustrated by Chiara Civati

Mascot Books, December 2020

Finding Feelings

By Jennifer Gafford

Illustrated by Terri Kelleher

Mascot Books, December 2020

So, you want a pet dragon? Of course I do! I loved this adorable and funny picture about about how to care for your dragon (or else). Easy reading, wonderful illustrations, and plenty of enjoyment to go around. I’m pretty sure I now know enough to care for my own dragon. So You Want a Pet Dragon? is a great read!

Amazon Blurb:

Taking care of a pet is no easy task, and a dragon is no exception. Luckily, this book has all the tips and tricks you’ll need to take care of your very own feisty, fiery friend. Simply follow this advice, and see for yourself how rewarding owning a pet dragon can be!

I appreciate the message of this book, something I taught to my children and now my grands. Care for the world around us. Be a Big Hero focuses on how garbage negatively impacts our oceans and rivers. But it also goes on to suggest very concrete ways to help solve the problems of trash in our bodies of water. Told in rhyme, this story shows how wildlife struggles with trash and offers some solutions for readers to take action in caring for the natural world. Great environmental message!

Amazon Blurb:

With a message that is as educational as it is heartfelt, Be a Big Hero takes the readers on a journey that follows plastic and litter as they make their way into our oceans. Detailing the human actions that allow for trash to pollute the seas, this lyrical tale gently teaches children about the harmful effects of littering and the overuse of plastic on the environment. With uplifting words and encouragement, this book explores the ways in which we can all be heroes- and how we can help take steps to be better global citizens.

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What a great message! Scrom goes from a bullied child to an adult who shares his love of making omelets with those on the streets. I enjoyed reading how Scrom survived the bullies of his childhood by hanging on to what he loved: making omelettes. The closure of what the bullies did and seeing them later in life as adults in need helps Scrom understand why they did what they did, and offers him a chance to help even more. The colorful illustrations help tell the story. Scromlette the Omelet Chef makes me hungry for an omelet!

Amazon Blurb:

Scromlette the Omelet Chef is a story that encourages children to pursue things that are life-giving for themselves- while also providing services for others. In this lyrical tale, Scromlette learns how to succeed in a way that benefits himself and the world around him. Exploring themes of anti-bullying and forgiveness, Scromlette the Omelet Chef encourages readers to make peace with their enemies, and allow themselves to heal.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the richness of this book about feelings. Instead of just being told how someone feels, as a reader, I heard what was going on and then had to search and find the person experiencing those feelings. I loved the seek and find aspect of this picture book. An answer key is included at the end, complete with an illustration of each person experiencing the feelings. The detailed illustrations provided me with plenty of opportunities to look for specific emotions and actions. Oh, the conversations that could be had when reading this book! Finding Feelings is a great read and a very good resource for parents, teachers, therapists, and care givers.

Amazon Blurb:

Have you ever been nervous to walk into your classroom? Have you ever felt frustrated with the long lines at the grocery store? Do you feel brave when you make a new friend? What makes you feel peaceful? In Finding Feelings, you will look for kids experiencing the same feelings you have in your life. How many feelings can you find? In this unique search-and-find book, children read body language and use situational clues to locate both good and difficult feelings in the characters. Finding Feelings builds emotional vocabulary, gently exposes children to uncomfortable emotions, and encourages compassion towards others. It is a little book for big hearts!

Books can be found at www.mascotbooks.com and www.amazon.com.


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The Season of Hope: Advent 2 The Birth of Christ

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Matthew 1:18-25 NIV

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The Bible is filled with miracles. But the greatest Christmas gift for all mankind is the miracle of the virgin birth-Jesus, both God and man, who came to deliver all people from their failures. Believe in miracles. Especially believe in the miracle of Jesus.


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Book Reviews: The Butterfly Tree by Kelly Harrison Spining; The Adventures of Chips & Salsa by Cynthia Petillo; Lunk by Connor Anvar

I am sharing three books in this post. Please scroll down to read more about each books.

The Butterfly Tree

Written by Kelly Harrison Spining

Illustrated by Abby Rocha

Mascot Books: December 8, 2020

The Adventures of Chips & Salsa

Written by Cynthia Petillo

Illustrated by Ana Sebastian

Mascot Books: December 8, 2020

Lunk

Written by Connor Anvar

Illustrated by Tristan Tait

Mascot Books: December 1, 2020

The Butterfly Tree by Kelly Harrison Spining

Who wouldn’t love a butterfly tree? This tale of three evokes memories of a folk tale. Three trees, three personalities and gifts, and three opportunities to welcome a tired butterfly. But only one has the gift of hospitality. I enjoyed this lovely tale of looking beyond appearances and importance to see what is truly in someone’s heart.

Amazon Blurb:

Three trees sat upon a grassy hill, two tall and strong, one small and frail. As the gentle breezes of spring blew one day, a beautiful butterfly floated by looking for a new home. What happened next would create a lifelong friendship between two unlikely creations of nature. Inspired by the writers experience of seeing the beauty of a tree covered in butterflies, The Butterfly Tree conveys a timeless message of love and acceptance.

The Adventures of Chips & Salsa by Cynthia Petillo

Chips loved his neighborhood and watching out the window. When neighbors moved in, Chips met a new friend named Salsa. Play time at the local dog park offered Chips and Salsa plenty of opportunity to play with friends, and unfortunately, have run-ins with dog bullies. I enjoyed reading about this story about a hero in a tiny package and changed hearts.

Amazon Blurb:

Meet Chips, a happy-go-lucky, friendly beagle, and his pals as they welcome Salsa, a tiny, shy Chihuahua who is new to the neighborhood. The dogs become fast friends and, before they know it, find themselves on a playful adventure in the park. And though Salsa may be tiny, he proves that true loyalty, friendship, and love come in all sizes. Join Chips and Salsa as they take readers on a fun-filled and exciting journey full of new adventures!

Lunk by Connor Anvar

Oh, Lunk! A plain chicken wants to be a fancy lunkalicious chicken. But things do not go as planned for the fancy version of himself. I laughed as I read this fairy tale tale (including a fairy chicken godfather). This fun tale was written by six-year-old Connor Anvar.

Amazon Blurb:

Lunk is an ordinary chicken who desires to become something greater. As his wish comes true, he wonders if his new life will bring him the happiness he was expecting.

Books can be found at www.mascotbooks.com or on www. amazon.com.


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The Season of Hope: Advent 1 A Child Will Be Born to Us

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Isaiah 9:2-6 NIV

2 The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I am hopeful, this season, for a new year filled with fresh possibilities and renewed spirits. I am thankful, this season, for the hope that arrived so many years ago in the form of a tiny baby. Jesus.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Cor. 9:15 NIV)


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Book Review: “Smelly” Kelly and His Super Senses by Beth Anderson

“Smelly Kelly” and His Super Senses, How James Kelly’s Nose Saved the New York City Subway

Written by Beth Anderson

Illustrated by Jenn Harney

Calkins Creek, An Imprint of Boyds Mills & Kane; 2020

Thank you, Beth Anderson and Tina Cho, for sending me this delightfully smelly picture book! I first read about “Smelly Kelly” and His Super Senses when I read a post by Tina Cho on the Group Blog. You can read the post here: https://groggorg.blogspot.com/search?q=smelly+kelly

We all want to be special in some way, right? James Kelly had a super sense-his nose! Besides his great sniffing skills, Kelly was an inventor and investigator. Using his skills, “Smelly” Kelly kept the New York City subway safe for years.

I enjoyed reading this well-written and colorful picture book. I shared it with two of my grands, and my grandson in particular was captivated by the information and illustrations. His little scientific mind was hard at work, trying to figure out what was going on. He often figured it out before I even read the entire page!

Congratulations, Beth Anderson and Jenn Harney, for a book well done!

Why I Loved This Book:

~ fascinating story about a historical person

~ reading about someone with an unusual super power

~ wonderful illustrations that set the tone just perfectly

~ lots of interesting tidbits and events from the life of James Kelly

~ very informative backmatter, which includes a photo of the real James Kelly

~ great read

~ lots of STEM concepts and problem solving included

Amazon Blurb:

James “Smelly” Kelly used his super-senses and intelligence to make sure that the New York City subway in the 1930s ran safely throughout his lifetime and beyond.

James Kelly smelled EVERYTHING: rats in the shed; circus elephants a mile away; tomorrow’s rain. His sense of smell was EXTRAORDINARY. But what good was a powerful nose? How could his super-sniffer make him special? In the New York City subway, James found his calling–and earned the nickname “Smelly” Kelly. Armed with his super-sniffer and the tools he invented, he tracked down leaks from the dangerous to the disgusting, from the comical to the bizarre. Then, he sprang into action to prevent cave-ins and explosions in the tunnels beneath the city. Smelly Kelly not only hunted leaks but also saved lives–and he discovered the truly extraordinary power inside him. Beth Anderson’s fast-paced text and Jenn Harney’s comical illustrations bring to life this everyday superhero.


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Happy Thanksgiving!

May the Lord bless you and keep you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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Haiku Moment: fall’s siren song

crimson flames top trees,

fire-tipped shelter burns my eyes

with fall’s siren song

fall’s siren song by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley