Category Archives: Children & Teens

Fiction that is written for a younger reader (K to 12th grade) and / or includes content appropriate for all ages. Can include the same themes as Young Adult but without the added adult themes that may not be suited for some in the same age group depending on maturity or parental guidance.

The Imagination Station: Voyage with the Vikings by McCusker & Hering

The Imagination Station: Voyage with the Vikings. If you or your kids are a fan of Adventures in Odyssey you can enjoy it that much more.

The Imagination Station: Voyage with the Vikings
by Paul McCusker & Marianne Hering
Tyndale House
March 2011

Beth and Patrick are about ready to embark on an adventure of a life time. They are going to get a dose of history face to face when they met Erik the Red, and his son Leif Ericson. This adventure won’t be easy. They have a mission to accomplish after a mysterious letter from Albert is found in Mr. Whittaker’s time machine. They need to bring back a Sunstone, but what does one look like? How are they going to find one when they have to deal with such a hostile group of people who have no respect for the ONE Christian God. Beth and Patrick have to rely on God to help them through some difficult situations.

Filled with just enough of history, and action to get your child wanting to know more about that the Vikings. A few sporadic pictures for those kids who still like them. The print is large and the chapters are short. There are 108 pages in this book. The ending of the book gives you an idea where the next adventure will take Beth and Patrick.

Next year we will be learning about the Vikings in our curriculum. This is a read-out-loud I am adding into the mix. This was a well-written children novel that I don’t have to worry about what kind of stuff my kids are learning. Focus on the Family has kept God the focus in this book.


ReneeK is a sweet tea addicted mamma who loves to cuddle up to a good book. She blogs at Little Homeschool on the Praire and writes about family, homeschooling, having a special needs child, and about whatever else tickles her fancy.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Paws and Tales: God Cares for You DVD (+ Giveaway!!!)

From the Publisher: Using colorful animation, fun characters, and great lessons, Paws & Tales is an exciting tool for helping build godly character into kids. Based on the “Paws & Tales” nationally broadcast radio program presented by Chuck Swindoll’s Insight for Living, the Paws & Tales videos communicate biblical truth and show kids how they can apply it to real life. Kids will be captivated by the adventure, caught up in the laughter, and carried away in the fun . . . and the whole time they’ll be on their way to understanding solid Bible theology. This first DVD in the series, based on Psalm 23:1 and Proverbs 10:25, teaches kids that God cares for them. The DVD features two full-length animated episodes, music videos, an e-book, activities, and parent resources.
Chuck Swindoll comments to parents: “Laying a good spiritual foundation in your children is essential . . . and even better when it’s reinforced early and often. Paws & Tales is a great tool for helping you build godly character into your kids.”

When this DVD arrived at my door, my four-year-old excitedly awaited the opening of the package (as he does with every package we get). Once he realized it was going to be for him, he turned into a gumball machine bouncing ball and wanted to watch the DVD right away.

Colorful packaging catches the eye of children right away; however, without stimulating content, my child’s attention span will wain and that is the true testament of how something will rate for him.

The first time we watched the two episodes included with this DVD, my son was enthralled. He paid very close attention to what was occurring and really seemed to enjoy it. When we watched the music videos included, he danced around the living room.

The true test of anything is if my son will watch it again. After we finished the first viewing, he asked to see “the sheep” again. The first episode on the DVD finds our central characters going to help on a sheep farm, caring for the sheep as God cares for us. This is the lesson being instilled in children through the story. My son has asked to watch this episode again and again since the first time. His favorite character? The sheep (he’s four and an animal lover, what can I say?). As to if he has really learned anything, I am on the fence. I have talked to him about the meaning, and he can repeat what we’ve discussed. Parrotting doesn’t equate to understanding in one as young as him, in my opinion. I think with time and continued discussion, he will come to understand the true meaning of the story. However, I think if you expect complete understanding from a very young child, you may be disappointed.

We would certainly watch other DVD’s of this series, as they kept my child entertained and teach him the principles I would like for him to learn. As with anything, I will still work to gear that understanding in a way that I find fitting for our family. However, the DVD’s provide a good starting point for having children understand.

I would recommend this to parents of small and elementary school children, bearing in mind that it will simply be an entertaining video for younger ones. It is important to note that it is basic animation, so please don’t watch it expecting to see Disney/Pixar quality. It is still quite good and shouldn’t be discredited simpy due to formatting.

**Bonus Giveaway** I will be drawing one winner to receive a coupon good for a copy of a Paws and Tales DVD for your very own! You can enter by leaving a comment, RT on Twitter, or by clicking Like on the review at Facebook. The drawing will occur on Tuesday, March 1st.

For more information about Paws and Tales, visit here.

You can also view a clip of the video here:
"Paws and Tales: God Cares for You on YouTube"

The Action Bible

A comic book version of the Bible? Yes, please! When I saw that this book was coming out I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I’ve been a lover of comic books and graphic novels since I was a child and this book would have been very well read if I were to have had access to it as a child.

The Action Bible
Illustrated by Sergio Cariello
David C. Cook
September 2010

Nearly 750 pages of fully illustrated, full color Bible stories come to life in the Action Bible published by David C. Cook. As the subtitle suggests, dozens of stories from the Bible come to beautiful life, through the excellent illustrations of Sergio Cariello, in biblical-chronological order to tell God’s Redemptive Story.

It is important to note that this is not actually a “Bible” in the sense that it does not contain the complete text of the Scriptures nor does it illustrate all of the sections of the Bible. (Which makes sense as many sections are not good fits for being made into a visual story medium like graphic novels. The epistles are examples of this and are, for the most part, skipped over.) Instead this is a collection of short illustrated stories of key historical figures and events from the historical portions of the Bible.

If I had one complaint about this book it would be that there isn’t a clear distinction between the historical and metaphorical / apocalyptical portions of the Bible which led to many stories being portrayed literally when they should have been portrayed figuratively, if possible. For instance, Jonah is swallowed by a giant “fish” depicted as having massive teeth and a nasty glare, and the dragon in Revelation is shown visually fighting against a floating-in-space Jesus instead of interpreting the symbols as apocalyptic literature. At times, this book becomes too wooden interpretively for my tastes. Fortunately, this book is for a different target audience altogether… and with them it is a smashing success!

This book exists for one reason: to get young people, most likely young boys, to read and become familiar with the stories of the Bible. Something that they would be highly unlikely to do if they only have access to print versions of the Word. And on that point it is singularly successful. I read this book to my young son while flipping through the pages and he was enthralled. He wouldn’t let me stop! When he learns to read I have no doubt that he himself will not stop.

The Action Bible fills a need that has been too long neglected. It is a very well made and illustrated book that every young boy and many young girls should have on their shelf. I highly recommended it to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and especially those who are or have children who are reluctant readers.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on current events and Christianity.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Originally Published at BuddyHollywood.com

Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor by Chuck Black

12/27/10

Chuck Black’s series for young adults is a beautiful allegory of the Lord and making choices. Are you willing to give your all to the Prince or would you rather live a comfortable life serving the Prince?

Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor
by Chuck Black
Multnomah
October 2010

In this, the fifth book of the Knights of Arrethtrae Series. Two knights of the Prince have been raised together since a fire killed Quinlan’s family. Quinlan know as, “Twitch” by family and friends in the city of Burkfield. Twitch named due to the nervous twitch in his face when he is stressed or nervous. Twitch is the one who no ones see’s a lot from the outside. He his not built very well and nothing stands out of him in appearance, personality or physique. He doesn’t even handle a sword as well as most in the training haven or probably the Kingdom. While Gustav nicknamed “Tav” is by all appearance the handsome, outgoing, and handles a sword with some of the best.

The young Knights are both looking forward to following the Prince and maybe even going out into the kingdom to spread the message of the Prince. They want to defend the Kingdom against the evil.

Then they come across a strange, cuddle, smart and loving creature and this strange pet becomes the center of the boy’s attention. The pet multiple and all the young knights of the Prince at the haven have one. Then almost everyone in Burkfield has one. Everything is going so well for the city. It is prospering and the violence seems to not have effected this part of the kingdom.

Then, Twitch has a life changing experience with the Prince and chooses the narrow road and faces many hardships. Tav chooses a different path to follow the Prince and both choices are pivotal point in their lives.

I have read all the previous titles in both series and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. These action packed allegory’s have such a beautiful message of our walk with our Savior. The ending in this book has by far surprised me the most and has been my favorite.

This series will be a mainstay on my bookshelf. My 5 and 8 year old are loving all of Chuck’s Black series. I love the great discussions with my kids. Did I mention that mom is just as crazy about the series that I had to read ahead!


ReneeK is a sweet tea addicted mamma who loves to cuddle up to a good book. She blogs at Little Homeschool on the Praire and writes about family, homeschooling, having a special needs child, and about whatever else tickles her fancy.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Pierce (Give Away!)

BookGateway is dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to get into reading – including children. They offer perspectives that adult readers just won’t get. This review is by an 8 year old who we call Sunshine. Note: We did not edit her answers because they were amazingly funny. We did fix spelling and punctuation errors.

From the publisher: Big Nate will surpass all others! But it won’t be easy. He’s stuck with Gina, his all time enemy, who just might ruin everything! Will Nate win or lose? Pass or fail? Or end up in detention . . . again?

BG: Was this book easy to read for you? Were you able to get into it quickly?
Sunshine: Big Nate is about how he is trying to get back at Gina and Randy for being mean to him. Yes, the book was really easy to read. Yes, I really got into it fast.

Was it fun to read? If so, what was fun about it?
It was fun to read. Well it was really funny in a lot of different ways so I really liked it. The boring thing about it is that he is always talking about Gina and Randy it get’s annoying.

Would you recommend it to your friends to read? What age group is this book for?
I recommend it. Well I would say six and up at the most but really ten and up is my real answer. I mean really the book is talking about middleschoolers but I think everyone should read it.

Do the characters show good moral values? Is it religious in any way? Do people pray or read the Bible?
I don’t think so. It’s mostly talking about mean middleschoolers and lot’s of things Christian’s don’t say. Okay the whole story says nothing about God, Jesus or the Bible.

Is there any language or actions that parents should worry about?
Noooooooooo never! Nope, not a single word only hitting and kicking each other.


The contest has now ended. If you are the winner you will receieve an email with information on when to expect your book.

Thank you for entering!


Sunshine is an 8 year old avid book reader at school and home, with a reading level several classes ahead of her current grade level. She loves to read and we love to ask her what she thought of the books she reads.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Big Nate Strikes Again

The Red Tractor & Halfway Herbert by Francis Chan

Francis Chan, bestselling author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God, gives fans another reason to celebrate: a line of children’s books. Fully illustrated beautifully by Matt Daniels, these colorful and large children’s books are great looking and excellent resources for Christian families looking for a children’s book that doesn’t star vegetables.

In Halfway Herbert, we meet a child who does everything halfway. He brushes only half his teeth, ties only one of his shoes, eats only half his food. Importantly, he only pays attention half the time as well and soon finds himself in a bit of pain. When he only tells half the truth he find that being halfway isn’t good for him.

The story quickly moves from entertainment to instruction when his father calls him on his half-truths mixing in Herbert’s actions with how God wants him to act and love. Herbert’s father tells a parable and soon Herbert is convicted (full-way) of his errors, praying and vowing to do things all the way going forward.

While the ending is a little heavy handed compared to what we normally get from children’s books it is hard to say that Chan is wrong to move the story in that direction. It is rare to get a Christian book that directly challenges readers – or children – to make good decisions because God wants us to. Furthermore, as adults we may grimace a little at the abruptness, children won’t. I read this book to my four year old and he took the change from story to teaching in stride and loved the book. A very good children’s book for those in the market for Christian alternatives.

In a little village, the farmers had an old red tractor that they used each year to plow the ground. They would start up the tractor, then using a rope pull or get behind it and push the tractor around the field one row at a time. They would take so long plowing this way that they finished just in time to plant and then harvest.

One day, the farmer Dave found the owners manual, which read “How the tractor was made and all the great things it can do.” Dave read the whole manual one night and was excited to tell the others that the tractor could actually move on its own. Unfortunately, no one believed him. Undeterred Dave started working on the tractor, fixing it up. Once it was finished being renovated, he started it up and plowed the field in one night. The people of the village were astounded, calling it a miracle. The people of the village were now able to grow so much produce that they were able to share their veggies with surrounding villages in need.

Chan uses the story to illustrate the use of the Bible in our daily lives. We can do things we have never even considered or things we wouldn’t now believe if only we went to the owners manual.

More obvious (for adults) but less preachy than Halfway Herbert the main draw of this book is the tractor. Little boys, like my son whom I read this book to, love the tractor and the action in this story. The moral is obvious and easy to digest. Chan does a great job breaking down the need and the desire for more in life and how it is easily obtainable if we go to the right sources.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on current events and Christianity.

These books were provided by the publisher as review copies.

Originally Published at BuddyHollywood.com

Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka and Fransesco Sedita

BookGateway is dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to get into reading – including children. They offer perspectives that adult readers just won’t get. This review is the first by an 8 year old who we will call Sunshine. Note: We did not edit her answers because they were amazingly funny. We did fix spelling and punctuation errors.

From the publisher: Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn’t hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren’t kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster. They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ. But with a hamster as their leader, “kids” who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?

BG: Was this book easy to read for you? Were you able to get into it quickly?
Sunshine: The book was easy to read (even for me and I’m eight). I got into it quickly.

Was it fun to read? If so, what was fun about it?
Well it is hard say there wasn’t much fun in the story so I say well duh nothing. Well I can’t say it was kind of both, well maybe yes. Or no. I don’t know. I didn’t like it much. It was a good book. As I said there was no fun in the story. Not really. I mean totally.

Would you recommend it to your friends to read? What age group is this book for?
Well let me think NOOOOOOOOOO! I already told you it was boring not fun and the worst book I have ever read in the whole earth people! There is the reason why I don’t like it: it was meant to be for middleschoolers not me. I am eight years old. Well I am not OLD.

Is this a good book for girls?
No way never! The girl is an alien. She stinks.

Do the characters show good moral values? Is it religious in any way? Do people pray or read the Bible?
Ok, for the tenth time NO.

Is there any language or actions that parents should worry about?
Maybe. I think so ya. There arent, well, that is to me, there is everything that is in my brain is wrong I think so.


Sunshine is an 8 year old avid book reader at school and home, with a reading level several classes ahead of her current grade level. She loves to read and we love to ask her what she thought of the books she reads.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Spaceheadz

Help Support a Child Affected by HIV/AIDS

  • Some 854 million people worldwide lack enough to eat; 820 million of them are in developing countries1.
  • Hunger and poverty claim 25,000 lives every day — most of those are children1.
  • Every five seconds, a child dies because of hunger1.
  • An estimated 11.4 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa2.

Those are just a few of the terrible reasons why at BookGateway.com 100% of our profits go to charity. I have children and I suspect that many of the visitors here also have children. They most likely go to bed full every night – a happinstance due in large part because of where we were born. But if I were a father in many places in the world, these statistics could very well wear the names of my children.

Every five seconds my daughter dies.

When I think about these problems and try to put myself into the situations I find that I just don’t have the ability to comprehend the poverty that exists just an airplane trip away. That’s why we at BookGateway.com have decided to raise support for a child affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa through World Vision.

Won’t you consider joining with us? Visit BookGateway.com/About for infomation on how. But if you’d like to get right to it, visit World Vision today and sponsor a child yourself.

Together we can make a difference!

Scott Asher
Founder & Father

1 FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2005
2 UNAIDS AIDS Epidemic Update, 2007

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest by Chuck Black

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest is the sixth book in this series, “The Knights of Arrethtrae” Rowan of Laos was born in utter poverty an orphaned at a young age. Yet, he was born to be a swordsman. Every fiber in him knew it. After meeting a knight of the Prince while working as a stable boy. He was trained at the local haven and was a superior swordsmen like no one has seen. He was passionate about the Prince and Code.

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest
by Chuck Black
Multnomah
October 2010

Four years of training and when his first commissioning was presented to him. Rowan turned his back to compete in the tournaments knights. He was good and became wealthy, had fame and even became one to the most decorated tournament knights in Cameria. On the way to a tournament his group is attacked and Rowan is captured and left for dead. During this time he sees visions of the Prince. After several weeks of being left for dead Rowan has a vision of the Prince and shortly afterwards he is rescued by a woman who serves the Prince. Rowan finds new purpose and rededicates himself to the Prince.

He finds out that all his material possessions are gone and that his beloved Cameria has been held in tyranny. Rowan meets a mysterious knight who want Rowan to join him in another battle elsewhere for the Prince. Rowan must determine where he will fight. He loves his countryman in Cameria but this mysterious knight insist that his purpose lies in an ancient city and is the greater cause for him to fight for the Prince. Rowan must choose which battle he will serve the Prince, but will it be the one the Prince has chosen him to serve in. The wrong choice could have a great impact on the battle of the Cameria region.

I have enjoyed every book in this series. The book is for teens. I have been reading these books to my five and eight year old as a read-out-loud and they love the books and are excited for me to read more to them. Mom is also a big fan and can’t wait to read more in this series.


ReneeK is a sweet tea addicted mamma who loves to cuddle up to a good book. She blogs at Little Homeschool on the Praire and writes about family, homeschooling, having a special needs child, and about whatever else tickles her fancy.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

B is for Bufflehead by Steve Hutchcraft

I read through B is for Bufflehead with my four year old son and was surprised to find that it kept his attention throughout. I expected him to get antsy with only pictures of birds and too many words for him to follow along with me. That is the beauty of this book: the photos are amazing. The birds in this book are so exotic that you can’t help but to stare in wonder and then turn the page in anticipation.

However, it seems to me that the publisher let this author down. The pages look like they were put together with graphics from the early 2000’s; it looks cheap. I know that this is independent, but the package disappoints.

Also, once we’d seen the cool bird pictures, there just wasn’t much incentive to go read the book again. Like curiosities in a circus: one time was enough.

I liked the book and I want to encourage it’s purchase if only to support work like this, but the package was amateur, and the re-read value was low.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on anything he finds funny and Christianity, which sometimes overlap.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: B is for Bufflehead