Monday, April 29, 2013

Tower of Babel by Bodie Hodge

Tower of Babel by Bodie Hodge is a collection of essays, each addressing a different question/topic related to the subject of the Tower of Babel. I was very interested to get this book to read, especially since this year in homeschooling my kids we have been learning about ancient history. These topics are on the forefront of our conversations these days, and having learned all about the ancient peoples (yes, I learn it too, not just the kids!), I was familiar with some good background information.

The book addresses a huge amount of questions. Interesting questions. Some that the average person would come up with and others more in-depth. Each is answered with a Biblical and historical basis. The content was good. A lot of information, but good information. It's not an easy read, pretty academic. It started out an interesting read, but it took me so looooooooooong to read it--I kind of felt like I was just slogging through when it got further into the second half of the book.

One thing that annoyed me as I was reading is the immense amount of footnotes on EACH PAGE!!! (rather than at the end of the essay). For some reason this distracted me and it was not until a few essays in that I was able to read through without being distracted by them. :) Maybe just my own quirk.

My constructive criticism is that I believe this book would be a LOT more effective as a reference if it had a detailed index. There was no index, just the chapter title listing in the beginning of the book. I think the book could be used in many more applications if it had a good index. I cannot imagine WHY they didn't include one!

So -- would I recommend this book? Unless you are really into ancient history and ancient geneologies and family group migration, etc. you may find it a bit long and dry. It would, however, serve nicely as a reference book. In the reference book niche I would be more apt to recommend it.

More info on this book can be found here as well as on the publisher's site here.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Noah Justice DVD's: Awesome Science episodes 4, 5, and 6

This is a review combining the 3 DVD's in the "Awesome Science with Noah Justice" series for episodes 4 (Explore Yosemite and Zion National Parks), episode 5 (Explore Mount St Helens), and episode 6 (Explore John Day Fossil Beds). I'm going to combine them all into one review because I have the same thoughts/feelings/reflections about all 3.

Let me say, I really enjoy science, geology, and I do believe Biblical creationism. My criticisms of this series are not with their content, but rather with the method of delivering the information. The geology of Mount St Helens and how that shows how rapidly forces can act and changes can be made is a topic which has always interested me. Perhaps for that reason I found that video to be my favorite of the 3. However -- I would not really recommend this series of videos.

Why? Well, for one thing, the delivery is so fast, the words are spoken at such a high level of intensity (??maybe someone told the child who is narrating to sound like he is excited? and then he goes a bit overboard with that suggestion??) that it feels kind of like someone is yelling at you, really fast. The words are spoken so fast that it's hard to take in/remember the information, and there's not much repetition of material--repetition is very helpful in any speech or presentation that you want people to remember what you're talking about! There is also that annoying little "awesome science" icon that pops up randomly at the lower right hand side of the screen, which definitely distracts attention.

My children also watched these with me. They are 8, 10, and 12 and are usually all interested in science-y movies, but all of them didn't care for these. They actually said, do we have to watch the others? (we watched them on different days)

So -- I do feel kind of bad giving a poor review to something that a child has done, but truthfully it's just not what I'd recommend.

I received a free copy of these dvd's and their accompanying study guides for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Language of Blessing by Joseph Cavanaugh III

The book The Language of Blessing by Joseph Cavanaugh is written for many people. Parents, people who are employed, people who interact with others, and people who were once children. :) Okay, so this book is for just about everyone :)

In this book the author speaks to many topics, primarily ones relating to the theme of finding, utilizing, and maximizing one's talents. The language of blessing spoken of in the title is a blessing which originates from God, one that if it is not received from ones parents can be received via other pathways, from God.

The book didn't have much Scripture in it, it was more a "self-help" - type book. Not that it wasn't good, just from Tyndale I kind of thought it would be more Bible-based.

The thought that most impressed/impacted me as I read through the book was that we each have talents and if we don't recognize them as such (through some sort of misplaced humility or just seeing ourselves as normal or average) then we see those talents as "average" or "what everyone ought to have" and then we are guilty of judging others because they don't have those "normal" things as a part of their lives. Wow. That one was a big point to ponder for me. I do see how that works. Thanks to the author for explaining and illustrating that so well.

There are also sections which give us advice on how to identify and encourage your children in their special talents and character traits. Sections about doing this with co-workers or employees or other people with whom you are in contact.

There was quite a bit said about different evaluative tools to identify talents, gifts, character, etc. Not sure how I felt about that, I kind of skimmed over all those references.

All in all, I found this book to be helpful, interesting, and informative. I'd recommend reading it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.