(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Fiona the Hippo
by Richard Cowdrey
Zonderkidz (August 7, 2018)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8
'On a cold Winter's night, a baby hippo was born.'
It's a great opening line. It just encourages you to turn the page and read more. I can just imagine my grandkids encouraging me, "What happens next, Nan? Read it!" It's the opening page of the picture storybook, Fiona the Hippo, published by ZonderKids.
You know, there's something about a hippo, isn't there, that almost everyone seems to like, especially a baby hippo.
So.. will you and your kids enjoy this book? Is it worth buying and reading to them? I did, and here's what I found. Oh... and Zonderkids have also produced a special bonus. You can find it below.
1. Fiona the Hippo is a real character.
But first.... Fiona the Hippo. One of the appeals of this picture storybook is that Fiona is, in fact, a real baby hippo not just a fictional character created for a children's book. She was born at the Cincinnati Zoo but as a premmie. She arrived 6 weeks early and quickly became an online celebrity. She now has her own Facebook show.
You can read about Fiona in the introduction of this book, Fiona the Hippo, or check out the clip below to find out more about her rough start to life. Show the clip after you've read the story to them.
2. The simple text makes this an easy book to read.
There have been times when I've ordered a picture storybook online only to be disappointed when it arrives. Sometimes, there is just too much text, too much detail for young ones to appreciate. And kids quickly become bored.
A good picture storybook uses engaging language that is age-appropriate. Ideally, there should be only a sentence or two per page. You'll be pleased to know that this book uses simple text really well.
3. The illustrations in this book are, well, just beautiful.
Richard Cowdrey is an New York Times best-selling illustrator. His artwork can be found on advertisements, calendars, book covers and prints. And he also illustrates storybooks. I'm sure you'll love his artwork in this book... it's great.
But there's more to illustrations in a picture storybook than looking attractive. They should extend and enhance the text. The pictures should help to keep the reader's attention but also stimulate their imagination.
I love it when my grandkids listen to the story and then tell me so much more about the story and the feelings of the characters by looking at the illustrations. So I'm looking forward to hearing more about this story through their eyes.
4. Fiona's fun antics will connect with and delight the kids.
She certainly has lots to learn and children will love her tangles with pool noodles and other troubles as she develops the skills a young hippo needs. But, with each challenge she repeats, "I've got this." Maybe your own kids will face their own challenges with this same focus after learning about Fiona.
5. The ending to this story is a happy, positive one.
Fiona realises that there is something that she still needs.. to meet and make friends with others at the zoo. And this, for many kids, can be really daunting so they will enjoy seeing Fiona handle this, too.
Share the endearing story of Fiona the hippo with your kids. I'm sure that they will enjoy it,, and so will you. :) .
Then, download the additional learning resources provided by Zonderkids. You'll find an activity pack for the young ones: make a mask, discover their own Fiona membership card, find a way through the maze and more. For older kids, there is also a curriculum guide with more activities to develop their skills and understand, Find both below.
Just a quick note in closing... there is also a board book version for your toddlers.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself.
If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
Friends with God Story Bible: Why God loves people like me.
Well, yes.... another Bible Story book and I guess you're thinking... 'Hey, I have a Bible Storybook for my kids or grandkids. Why would I need another one?'
So....do your kids need it? This review will help you decide.
5 Simple reasons you need the Friends with God Story Bible- why God loves people like me
When information about another Bible Storybook slid into my Inbox, I wondered whether I needed it, too. After all, three children and eight grandchildren translates into an already bulging bookshelf. Some we've read and enjoyed. Others have well-worn covers, ragged corners and loose pages.
Those are the ones that we've read and re-read over and over. Their vibrant illustrations have grabbed my kids' (and grandkids') attention and excited their imagination. The pages have held stories of a loving God who knows and deeply cares about each one of those young, captured readers. And the words have continued to live in their young hearts and minds. Yes, some of these Bible storybooks have been special.
So, do I (or you) need this new one? I can certainly understand the question.
But then, what if your kids.........
1. ...could actually feel a part of the story?
Friends with God Story Bible is written in the first person. So your kids will hear the story from the protagonist's point of view, with all the emotions that go with that. It's not just a story. It's a recount and it will resonate with your kids in a meaningful way. They will feel connected, involved.
2. ...could hear personal stories of 54+ friends of God?
This isn't just a handful of stories. It's enough for a whole year of exciting reading if you read and learn about one friend of God each week. And extra devotional material is included to help you extend each story beyond the pages of a book.
3. ...could also play Bible games and discover Bible facts
You'll find that this story Bible has an interactive element built in that works in conjunction with an app- IOS or Android. Throughout the Story Bible are special icons- a smiling face. Your kids will have fun finding them, too. Simply download the free app. Then scan the page with the icon. You'll come face to face with friends of God plus unlock interactive games.
4. ...could collect and share digital cards of the Friends of God
Not only does this connected app share more information and games, it enables your kids to win virtual collectible character cards. They'll learn even more entertaining facts about these Bible characters. They'll feel they really know them. And they can even add their own image to create their very own card.
5. ...could grow in their own friendship with God?
They'll hear and share in the amazing stories when God stepped into the picture and everything changed. As they read this book they 'face lions, cross rivers, slay giants and stare into a glittering desert sky, awed by God making impossible promises come true.' And they'll realise that this same God wants to be friends with them, too.
This Friends with God Story Bible is just so much more than just a book of Bible stories. The vibrant illustrations add their own unique quality to the personal stories of these Bible friends. And, you'll discover fun, devotional ideas with real-life activity ideas to connect with family and friends.
You can choose either a hardcover version of the story Bible or download it as a Kindle version.
You can find it here...
The comforting words of Psalm 23, the care and protection of our shepherd that we read of in this psalm, have made it one of the most loved chapters of the Bible. And although we often hear it read during times of darkness, sadness and even loss, it's a wonderful psalm for the present- a psalm for living in joy.
And now, you can share this life-changing passage of the Bible with your children in a way that they can understand and enjoy. They, too, can learn about a personal shepherd who loves them, cares for them and is with them always.
I love picture storybooks. C.S.Lewis once wrote that 'a children's book that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's book in the slightest.' But Catherine DeVries has written this picture storybook well. I enjoyed it.
To begin with, there are only a few words/ sentences on each page. Even your most easily distracted child will settle and listen as you read this book.
The setting is a farm... with animals, an instant attraction for kids who love the activities of farm life and hearing about the animals. The story involves readers, too, almost immediately. The grandfather in the story asks the reader's name and includes them in the chores: collecting the eggs, feeding the lambs, counting the sheep.
And then, a storm approaches.
Grandma introduces Psalm 23 and paints God's care in personal terms for young ones.
The illustrations of a picture storybook are an integral part of any book and Ryan Jackson's art is great. It is bright, clear and colourful and presents the message well. I'm really looking forward to sharing this picture storybook with my grandkids. I know my 3, 4 and 5-year-olds will equally love it. ( It would be a wonderful conclusion to a farm visit, too.)
As part of the HeartSmart series, designed to help parents build a strong foundation of faith, there is a link to a custom online song. Share the song with your kids as you read Psalm 23 together.
I'm sure you'll enjoy it... and your kids certainly will.
I would like to thank David C. Cook for providing me with the opportunity to read and review,
and learn and grow, through this book.
Let's Learn About Psalm 23 -by Catherine DeVries
Illustrated by: Ryan Jackson
Publisher: David C. Cook
If you'd like to extend the enjoyment and learning of this story, you might like to consider some of the activities in the following links:
10 fun farm activities - Farm to table fun kids activities - Pinterest board of farm learning
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