Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review: Guardian Angel Publishing

Guardian Angel Publishing is provider of children's literature targeting the 0-12 age range. Each title is available in a variety of format options.

Welcome to Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.- where our publishing goals are to lovingly create fun, affordable and educational eBook computer & print book experiences for preschoolers and primary age children. And to embed positive, loving and worthwhile meaning into these books.
I was sent five titles for review in the e-book format: Stubby's Destiny, Gifts from God, Hamster Holidays, No Bones About It, and Earthquakes!

Stubby's Destiny by Dixie Phillips

This 22-page story is about an orphaned donkey who desires to be in the royal service of the king but is discouraged that he doesn't look as regal as the stallions.
“I was born wrong. I'm just an orphan colt, who lived with chickens. Sly is a thoroughbred. He lived with peacocks. I could never be chosen for the king's royal service.”
In the end, Stubby finds himself in service of the King of Kings!

While this title has won a Best of 2008 award for literary excellence, Stubby's Destiny wasn't exactly my favorite title of the bunch. It reminded me of another familiar story but just didn't compare. I didn't care for the character development of the two main characters, Stubby and Sly. I found Stubby a bit too Eyeoreish and Sly a bit arrogant. Regardless, young children will likely still enjoy this story and appreiciate the soft watercolor artwork. In the end, this hopeless donkey found his devine destiny, which may be inspirational to young children. The publisher recommends this title for ages 9-12, but I would recommend a younger set of ages 5-8.

Gifts from God by Cynthia Reeg

Each 2-page photo art spread of Gifts from God has a scripture verse on the left side and an easy reader sentence about a gift from God on the right. For example, the first scripture is Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light and there was light.” The accompanying sentence is “God smiles at me.” The picture is of a little girl hula hooping in a field of flowers. Most of the photos include young children and babies and are enhanced artistically.

This title would be best for very young children. The words are few on the pictures vibrant. The recommended age is 4-8. I know when my kids were toddlers, they would have enjoyed looking at the pictures of the children in this title.

Hamster Holidays: Noun and Adjective Adventures by Cynthia Reeg

At the start of this 26-page book, nouns and adjectives are well-defined and explains that nouns appear in blue and adjectives appear in red throughout the story. Each page is devoted to a silly holiday for a month of the year with artwork showing how each hamster enjoys the holiday. My favorite, being a book lover, is Book Pal Day:

May 18th
In Page Town, how do hamsters enjoy
Book Pal Day?
Smiling Jennie reads happy books.
Frowning Carlos reads sad books.
Silly Billy reads foolish books with
corny jokes all around.

Each page has similar verse and rhythm.

Pages 15 – 22 are devoted to more noun and adjective examples, a story puzzle, a noun match-up, a crossword, answer key and suggested activities/games to play with your child.

The recommend age for this title is ages 5-12. Personally, I think the upper level of this range is set way too high and would suggest an age of 5-8. Older children will find this title too childish, though it certainly can give them a better understanding of nouns and adjectives if they are weak in this area. For the younger set, they are likely to find this a fun way to study grammar.

The Sum of Our Parts: No Bones About It! by Bill Kirk

This title is a rather humorous 30-page presentation about the bones of our body, from the bottom up. Each page has a Did you know? factoid section about bones and a catchy verse about the bone being studied on the page.

The rhyme is intended as a humourous learning and memorization tool. The following verse is for the pelvis bone:

Your legs keep you standing
On top of your feet,
While pelvis joins sacrum,
To help make your seat.

The illustrations give characterization to the bones with eyes and mouths. Most of these are just plain silly, but there were a couple that my kids called “freaky” and one that may scare small or sensitive children.

The book concludes with two pages of a full male and female skeleton, one page labeled and another blank. This title is recommended for ages 8-13.

Earthquake! by Susan Berger

This book isn't just about the why and how of earthquakes, but how to be prepared and the appropriate response should you find yourself experiencing one. This title also has a factoid section on each page. There are graphics on each page, but much more of the page is devoted to the text than some of the other titles I received.

Some of the questions and topics addressed in this title include:
  • what causes earthquakes
  • earthquake terms
  • prediction of earthquakes
  • how are they measured
  • what an earthquake feels like
  • locations earthquakes are likely to occur
  • how to prepare for an earthquake
  • what to do during an earthquake
  • how to help after an earthquake
The last of the 30 total pages in this title includes some charts and graphs, as well as preparedness lists. This title is recommended for ages 6-9.

I found this title to give kids a realistic view of earthquakes and preparing for them without scaring them. Being in MI, I can't say earthquakes are a big concern. The preparedness focus of the book was interesting, though perhaps not something we'd put into action here.

This title has enough general information on earthquakes to keep a science-oriented child interested. However, if you have a child that is concerned about earthquakes, this would be an excellent title because it explains to kids things they can do to be prepared.

At first I wasn't sure about the e-book versions I was sent. I am simply not an e-book fan and didn't see a practical application for colorful picture books. My kids actually slept with their books rather than stuffed animals as babies and toddlers. They were and are in love with printed pages! However, after I handed my son a laptop to read the books, it dawned on me we are heading into a new age. I can see how this might be a good way to travel with books to keep little ones occupied on road trips or in doctor offices with a laptop or book reader that you already carry around. E-books are cheaper and take up less space as well.

Each title is available in three formats. E-books cost $5 each as a download. E-books can also be purchased on a CD for $9.95 + $5.95 S & H. Print books of the above titles are available for $10.95 - 11.95 + $6.95 S & H. Soon many of the titles will also be available for iPhones and iPods as well. Guardian Angel Publishing also has a number of free musical e-books and downloads. To see a full listing of titles available, visit the Guardian Angel Publishing website.

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew's blog to read more reviews on this product and others.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew, a team of 100+ homeschooling parents. While the product was provided at no expense to me in order to provide this review, I have not received any other compensation. Furthermore, receipt of the product does not guarantee a positive review. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.

1 comment:

Dixieland57 said...

Thank you for taking the time to review my children's book "Stubby's Destiny."