Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a deacon dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Book Review: Max at Night

max-at-nightMax at Night, Ed Vere, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016.

Max at Night will remind you of Good Night, Moon. No doubt, it will become apart of the nighttime ritual for little ones.  In Ed Vere’s latest children’s book, Max, the brave little kitten, is ready for bed. The little kitten, however, cannot go to sleep until he says goodnight to the moon.

When he looks out the window, the moon is not there. His nighttime ritual is incomplete, and Max is unable to go to sleep.

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Book Review: The Storybook Knight

story_book_knightThe Storybook Knight, Helen & Thomas Doherty, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016.

There are not enough words to express how excellent this children’s book is. The writing/illustrating duo of Helen and Thomas Doherty, who were behind The Snatchabook, bring this gentle tale about a knight and his books.

Leo is a knight-in-training who prefers his books to the sword. His parents urge and urge him to set the books aside and become a “real” knight.

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Book Review: Max the Brave

Max the BraveMax the Brave, Ed Vere, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2015. 

Max is a little, black kitten who decides he no longer wants to wear bows and look sweet. He wants to be Max the Brave!

To show his bravery, he sets out to chase a mouse. There’s only one problem. Max doesn’t know what a mouse looks like.

What unfolds is a hilarious picture book featuring the incredible art of Ed Vere.  In the style of Are You My Mother?, Max goes from animal to animal asking them if they are Mouse. Each animal points Max in the direction they last saw Mouse go.

Eventually, Max comes across Mouse, but not knowing what a mouse looks like, Mouse is able to trick Max. Mouse the trickster convinces Max that he is a monster and the monster is a mouse.

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Book Review: Maxwell the Monkey Barber

Maxwell the MonkeyMaxwell the Monkey Barber, Cale Atkinson, Owlkids Press, 2016.

Maxwell the monkey is the jungle’s barber. All the animals with out of control hair come to Maxwell. He is the best at what he does. He is able to tame Baboon’s curls, style Lion’s mane, and trim Bear’s beard.

Each time he declares to his customer: “Your hair’s the best I’ve seen today!”

Maxwell’s only challenge arrives with Elephant. He has no hair. Can Maxwell help him?  After some careful pondering, Maxwell comes up with a plan to help the hairless Elephant.

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Giveaway: Baby, Baby!

babybaby-300x300Baby, Baby! is a sweet, colorful board book filled with babies. Babies are increasing interested in looking at other babies. This book arrived at our house just as Toddler J began saying “baby” when talking about her baby doll or when she sees a baby.

This book was perfect for her.

The short rhyming poem illustrates different things that a baby can do. Wiggle, giggle, wave, etc. A couple of times when we read the book, I’ll ask Toddler J if she can do the same things. We have fun with it.

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Book Review: Life Without Nico


Life Without Nico, Andrea Maturana, Kids Can Press, 2016.

Life Without Nico is another fantastic book from Kids Can Press.

Maia and Nico are best friends. They can spend hours playing together and never get bored. Then, unexpectedly, Nico and his family leave behind their South American home for the land of koalas and kangaroos.

Maia is devasted.

“Now time passes slowly, and the emptiness is with Maia everywhere she goes.”

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Giveaway: The Biggest Story DVD & CD

54244xLast year I reviewed The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, with illustrations by Don Clark. This year, an animated short film and an audio book on CD are available.

The Animated Short Film

The short film features the same beautiful illustrations from the book. The Biggest Story: The Animated Short Film grabs the attention of children and parents alike. The classic stories in the Bible are retold by the author Kevin DeYoung, connecting to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s plan to redeem God’s people.

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Book Review: Dear Pope Francis

Dear Pope Francis Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World, Pope Francis, Loyola Press, 2016.

I’m a Pope Franics fan. No doubt about it.

There has always been something different about this Pope. In a time when our culture is hyper self-focused, it is refreshing to have a religious leader who not only advocates, but lives, an other-centered life.

Dear Pope Francis is a children’s book that shows just how far the Pope’s influence reaches. The Pope answers received letters from children all around the world. This is the simple basis for the book. The letters are kept in their original condition, complete with art work. A typed translation is provided. On the next page is Pope Francis’ response to the question.  Continue reading

Prayer: Foggy Days

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)

Lord, today is a foggy day.  We aren’t fans of foggy days. We have places to go, and the fog only slows us down.

Lord, you know that foggy days are a lot of things.

Depression and anxiety.  Continue reading

Book Review: Every Season Prayers

_225_350_Book_1662_coverEvery Season Prayers: Gospel-Centered Prayers for the Whole of Life, Scotty Smith, Baker Books, 2016.

When it comes to prayer, one of the comments I hear often from people of faith often is, “Sometimes I just don’t have the words.” You know what that’s like. You sit down to pray and you are so overwhelmed by life that you just cannot find the words. There are feelings that our words are not elegant enough. Even though we know that God knows what is on our hearts, we are overwhelmed with wanting to give God the best.

In those times we search for a guide to prayer.

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