Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review: #8 The Imagination Station ~ Battle for Cannibal Island

I've been a fan of the Adventures in Odyssey radio series since it's 1987 inception.  Our children absolutely love listening to Odyssey stories on CD.  They are (by far) a family-favourite activity and as a bonus, everyone quiets down to listen.

Our seven-year-old son is such an animated listener.  He's the one who tries to play Wii games sitting down and ends up standing on the couch, jumping with each character jump (at least until I notice and tell him to stand on the floor to jump)!  Even with Adventures in Odyssey, some of the stories become more suspenseful and he is the one quite literally sitting on the edge of the sofa trying to hold his sounds-of-anticipation down...usually unsuccessfully.  It doesn't matter how many times our kids listen to the AIO stories; they still get excited about them.  The thrill doesn't dissipate with age either ~ I guarantee we'll all still love them in our 90's.

I noticed a couple years ago that there are Adventures in Odyssey books available.  "The Imagination Station" series currently ranges from volume #1- #9 and is geared towards children aged 7 and up.  Going by our childrens' interests and reading levels, I could see this being a hit with ages 7-10.  I know they will be slightly challenging for our 7-year-old but I've heard other children his age read quite fluently so it is on-target with what many 6 or 7-year-olds would be reading.  It will be a very easy read for our 10-year-old but knowing how much he likes Adventures in Odyssey, he will be thrilled to read both #8 and #9. 

Battle for Cannibal Island is rated by Flesch-Kincaid as grade level 2.1.

In this 8th book of the series, Patrick and Beth are taken via the infamous Imagination Station to Fiji in the 1850s.  They meet missionary James Calvert, and are inadvertently brought directly into the midst of cannibals who have been burning Christian villages.  James Calvert's desire is to follow God's calling on his life to reach out to these people.  Self-proclaimed 'king' Toki is the head of this cannibalistic tribe and he vehemently spews out his hatred for God and Christians.  Will Beth and Patrick come to understand what it means to die to self and live for Christ?

Admittedly, I've heard of James Calvert before but don't know much about him.  Lately, we have been reading various missionary stories and I know there are books about his time as a missionary.  Reading Battle for Cannibal Island followed or preceded by James Calvert's life story would be a great way to extend this adventure.  I love that while this is a fictional account of Patrick and Beth's adventures; James Calvert is a real-life person who reached the "unreachable" to share God's love and message of salvation with them.

Thank you, Tyndale, for giving us this free copy to review.  Our boys will love it!

Review: #9 The Imagination Station ~ Escape to the Hiding Place

Escape to the Hiding Place is the newest (#9) volume released in Adventure in Odyssey's "The Imagination Station" series of books, geared toward ages 7+.  Interlacing adventure, historical fiction, real people who lived during the time period, and extolling the virtues and promises of God makes for excellent reading material that children (and parents) will love.

In this book, Patrick and Beth find that the Imagination Station (which is like a time machine) has transported them to Holland...and not at a peaceful time.  They have arrived during World War II and are immediately thrown into a potentially dangerous situation; they are needed to help save a Jewish baby's life.  They learn that faith in God and relying on Him in any situation is what real courage is.  In the words of the book, Corrie Ten Boom states, "God doesn't always protect us from danger, but He's always with us when we face danger.  And that's enough."

Beyond fiction, this book brings world history and Godly peoples' lives into the forefront of the reader's thoughts.  What a great way to introduce the life of Corrie Ten Boom into your child's growing interests.  Corrie Ten Boom's family saved hundreds of peoples' lives during World War II, hiding them in a specially-built room in her house.  Fear of the Germans and all that could happen to them if caught didn't keep Corrie from doing what God wanted her to do.  That's one of the most important lessons your child will walk away with after reading Escape to the Hiding Place. 

I encourage your family to expound on this historical fiction book by reading Corrie Ten Boom's biography.  Bring the truth of God's love for us and hand on our lives into a more vivid light in your child's heart.

Thank you to Tyndale for giving us the opportunity to review this lovely book.  I plan to purchase more of this series and look forward to future books; great Christmas gift idea too!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Review: Explore Meteor Crater & Petrified Forest with Noah Justice

Our children aren't the only ones who love the Awesome Science DVDs that Noah Justice hosts.  We already have 2 of them and were excited to receive the 3rd and most recent edition, "Explore Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest" for review.  It sure didn't disappoint; we all enjoyed this 30-minute episode.

I really didn't know much about the petrified forest or meteor craters before watching this program.  We plan to look for more books and photos of these areas.  The videography of this DVD is excellent (as all the Awesome Science DVDs are).  However, half an hour goes by too quickly!

More than just photos and the typical information regurgitated in evolutionary science texts, this DVD gives scientific evidences based on a Biblical history. 

In addition to this great DVD, there is an individual study guide available, allowing you to test your/your child(ren)'s knowledge regarding what they just viewed.  There are true/false questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, and "facts".  I like that this is all laid out in writing as it is easier to go back to details on paper vs in a video.  Using the menu options on the DVD, you could easily adapt this for homeschooling; select which topic you want to watch and then continue with the study guide based on said topic.

I can't recommend these DVDs enough!  Just tonight, I noticed that there are 3 new DVDs set to be released toward the end of October; can't wait to watch them with our family!

This book is published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions ~ Volume 2

Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions (Vol. 2) is another excellent book written by the combined authorship of Ken Ham, Bodie Hodge, and Tim Chaffey.  Designed to give Christians a Biblical basis to stand strong on God's Word, this book does away with the "smoke screens" that unbelievers will throw in your path.

This book has 40 chapters, one  for each (you guessed it) supposed Bible contradiction.  It's interesting to follow through Biblical chronological history, the original language the texts were written in, and other fact-revealing methods of determining what some have considered contradictory scripture passages.

Even several supposed inconsistencies I had heard of before (that seemed so obvious as non-contradictory) are laid out in reader-friendly terms.  It's nice to have easy-to-relate answers to those who have questions.

The Bible doesn't contradict itself in any way.  As the book states, it is written to show you that the Bible is completely trustworthy.  If we have a difficult time understanding or accepting something, it doesn't mean it is false.  We need to look into the issue on a deeper level.  I believe that God has preserved His Word through the ages and the original manuscripts were inspired by God.  Reading this book has encouraged me to dig deeper into passages before glossing over information that appears more tedious or difficult to understand.

I have yet to read Volume 1 of Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions; it is now on my to-read list. I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

 This book is published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing Group.

Review: Beginner's Bible (app) ~ Zondervan

Zondervan recently release The Beginner's Bible as an iPad app.  This is a nicely put together app that is (currently) free.  It includes 6 free stories with corresponding puzzles, coloring pages, and games. 

Our 5-year-old daughter has the "Read and Share Bible" on our iPad; each story is purchased separately for $1.99.  This "Beginner's Bible" app comes with the free items mentioned above.  There is an in-app purchase available for 6 more stories, puzzles, coloring pages, and games; more reasonably priced than "Read and Share".  As time progresses, I'm sure Zondervan will continue to add new stories and activities.

The games are relatively easy for toddlers and a little too simple for our 5-year-old.  Our toddler loves Thomas the Train app-puzzles and took to these Bible story puzzles right away. Since our 5-year-old is learning to read, I like that the books have the read-to-me feature where words are highlighted.  She enjoys listening to Bible stories and the short-length stories are just the right amount of time to keep her 2-year-old brother interested in sitting with her. 

The stories themselves all come with interactive illustrations.  Our 2 youngest children both enjoy tapping on characters or objects to hear them makes sounds and/or move.  One thing that I like is that the reading continues and isn't disrupted by little fingers tapping on objects.  Some book-apps we have stop the reading-mode when something is tapped on.  Creators definitely had little children in mind when putting this app together.