Isabella: Girl on the Go – Book Review

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While looking for a book to compliment the Early Explorer’s landmarks unit from Little Passports, I stumbled upon this gem.  Isabella is a little girl with a big imagination.  While her father solicits her help for things from gardening to painting to fixing her fort, Isabella imagines away her duties as she digs in tombs of kings (Pyramids of Giza), builds a wall (the Great wall of China) to protect her people, and so much more.  After her eclectic world travels, at the end of the day, Isabella discovers that the most wonderful place is her home.

Isabella: Girl on the Go is a book of imagination. I can see my son so much in Isabella – both in her response to chores and in her incredible imagination. I am a fan of realistic illustrations in children’s books.  The artwork in this book isn’t particularly realistic, but it fits the flavor of this book quite well. I find some of the wording a bit awkward.  For example, Isabella is referred to as “the girl” and, her father as “the father”, so phrases read like this: “‘Then who will help me tend the garden?’ asked the father.” There are also several puns in the book.  This makes reading a lot more enjoyable for parents and older children, but again, some of them are a bit awkward.

As a stand alone book, I would say this one is . . . meh.  I would give it three out of five stars.  It’s not bad, but I wouldn’t have any reason to get excited about it.  However, it is a perfect companion for the first unit in the Early Explorer’s curriculum!  It introduces children to four of the five landmark souvenirs that come with the unit and all but one of the landmarks in the book are on the Little Passports wall map! It is a great way to open conversation. Samuel asked questions like, “Why does she paint at the Eiffel tower?”, “What is a mummy?”, or “Why was she a warrior?”  It also opened the door for creative play as Samuel promptly stood his post as Lady Liberty. I also really appreciate the section in the back that gives a brief description of all the places mentioned in the book as well as explanations of the characters Isabella pretended to be.

My only true disappointment about this book is that I didn’t have it when Samuel first received his package from Max and Mia at Little Passports.

Bottom line: For the average 3-7 year-old, this is a fun read, but you could take it or leave it.  However, for an Early Explorer with Little Passports, this is a MUST HAVE for your library. 

If you haven’t heard about the Early Explorer’s program by Little Passports, or if you want more supplemental ideas, check out my review here.

*All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated in any way for this review, nor was I asked to write it. This post contains no affiliate links*

 

Daily Preschool Worship: Evening Edition

People often ask me what to do for family worship with little ones. My first response is that it totally depends on the child, and on family dynamics. I am always happy, however, to share what we are doing at home.

Currently, we have worship in the morning at the breakfast table (more on that later) and in the evening before bed. For our evening worship, we pray, read and sing together. We had been using the My Bible Friends set for our evening worship time, but they have become so familiar to Samuel that he has a hard time staying focused. We decided to put them on the shelf for a time to let the redundancy wear off.

In the meantime, we have been using the Read and Share Bible by Tommy Nelson, and it has been great! I have to admit, the illustrations are a little funny (although Samuel likes them), and like most children’s Bibles there are some things that are left out, but all-in-all this is one of the most comprehensive little Bibles I’ve seen – a great introduction to so many stories.

 

Every two-page spread is one section. It has a title, scriptural references, pictures, the story, and a question you can ask and discuss. If your child has a really short attention span, you can read one section a day. Samuel likes longer stories, so we generally read a whole story ( like Noah’s ark) at once. The flexibility here is great though. So far there has only been one thing we have had to explain as the children’s rendering was a little funny.

All-in-all, if you’re looking for a great family worship tool for a preschooler or even a toddler, I highly recommend the Read and Share Bible.

Giveaway closed. Congratulations to Leahrasingbushs

Book Review: The Inside Tract: Your Good Guide to Great Gut Health

by Gerard E Mullin and Kathie Madonna Swift

This won’t be an extensive review, but can I just say now that I LOVE this book?  After going through multiple medical procedures and tests with Samuel to try to get to the root of his tummy and allergy woes, I have finally come to the conclusion that we have reached the end of what conventional medicane can do for us.  I have always been interested in diet and health.  I strongly believe that the foods we eat can sometimes be used as a tool to heal and can often cause damage to our bodies as well.  As a result, I felt it was time look at less conventional ways (like diet) to work towards healing for our little boy.

All of this was kickstarted when a friend shared about the GAPS diet.  This led me on a search for various gut friendly diet/lifestyle programs, and I ended up parking at this book. Boy am I glad.

The author’s writing style is so easy to follow. It seems odd, but I actually couldn’t put this book down.  In fact, his chapter explaining the whole digestive system and how it works left me giddy and excited and inspired great ideas for a digestive theme park (I even drew out a map ;). I want to read it again for a refresher, but I feel like I understand more how the digestive system works, and what fules it.  I was able to easily pick up on some things to start with Samuel (and our whole family) right away to help heal our guts.  It’s even possible that this kind of diet can heal Samuel’s leaky gut and reduce the amount of food allergies he has – Wooo Hooo!

I was disappointed that we won’t be able to use the diet recommended in the back straight out due to the fact that we are vegetarian (not at all discouraged in the book), and due to Samuel’s huge amount of food sensitivities.  I was however able to glean a lot..  Here are some of the biggest things I am excited to put into practice or learn more about (look for book reviews on some of these topics).

  • A lot of things are symptoms of gut problems – even my fertility issues could be related.
  • The gut flora of the mother when giving birth and nursing greatly affects the gut flora of the baby.  This means I will be taking probiotics regularly here soon (I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy), as well as during the time I’m nursing little Timothy to give him a head start.
  • The importance of chewing well.  I understand the biology of chewing and the digestive importance of the salivary enzymes gained with proper chewing. I’m working on this, but I’m so used to scarfing my food, it will take time.  I’m still trying to figure out how to encourage a toddler to chew better.  Any suggestions?
  • Probiotics are crucial to good gut health. I will be increasing these in our diets.  One of the main way to add them is through lacto-fermented food.  This was a foreign concept, and one that was challenging for me to grasp, but I hope to learn more about how to do this and to begin adding some of these fermented foods (like sauerkraut)  to our diet.
  • Drink more water.  This should be a no-brainer, but is a good reminder for me.
  • Plenty of exercise. Just like most things, you can have too much of a good thing, but regular exercise is super important to gut health.
  • Soaking grains. The book doesn’t talk much about this, but through it, I have been lead to a lot of information about grain soaking. By soaking grains, you begin the germination process, which releases TONS of nutrients and break down the enzymes that prohibit digestion.
  • There are tons of other charts and nuggets in the book that will give us a spring board for foods to add to our diet or to try to avoid.

Overall, I’m super excited about this book.  I ordered it for my Kindle, but I hope to get a bound copy as it will be a GREAT reference on our bookshelf for years to come.