Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Fun with Tea" by Babette Donaldson

This cute little book is great for readers of all ages.  It is aimed at children, but--come on!--who wouldn't want to play with tea puzzles, relax with coloring tea kettles, and learn some new tea songs?  For the musically inclined, there is even sheet music to play.  I particularly enjoyed this because I play several instruments.  Just having catchy lyrics is not enough; I want to hear the rhythm.  There are inspirational quotes, places for journaling, drawing prompts, arts and crafts projects, and more.  What's also really fun is that there are cut-outs ready for use.  There's even instructions for making a traditional paper tea lantern, which was nice.  The games included can be a bit silly, but they are fun and would make great ice-breakers for older people.  The recipes included in this book are easy yet delectable, too.  Overall, this book is a must-have.  It's both extremely fun and extremely practical.   

"The Everything Healthy Tea Book" by Babette Donaldson

Part of the EVERYTHING series, this book gives ready a quick go-to reference for all things tea.  From tips to facts to medical warnings to questions / answers to myths, this book covers it all.  Historical background on tea is provided, along with some accompanying fun stories.  Chemical compounds and medical jargon are there for the advanced, along with simpler terms for the lay reader.  Hot tea, cold tea, bagged tea, loose-leaf tea, types of tea leaves, and so much more are explained.  There is even a section on tools needed for tea, as well as storage to keep you tea lasting long.  Something I have not seen in other tea books, which really caught my attention, was the section on how to grow and cultivate your own tea leaves from flowers.  This was really fascinating and--to my surprise--not all that difficult.  Maybe I will make my own garden and harvest my own tea some day!  I also greatly enjoyed the unique section on baking with tea and making beauty treatments with tea.  I had no idea that moist tea bags could be held for ten minutes over a blemish to reduce swelling and promote healing.  I want to start using tea as toner, too, since it's way cheaper than product.  If you want info on how to drink tea and which to buy, you can find that almost anywhere.  But if you want the real scoop on EVERYTHING about tea, you'll find it all here.  The things I read were so surprising and caught me so off guard, I am glad I got this book!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Emma Lea's First Tea Ceremony" by Babette Donaldson

Culturally enticing and unique, this book will teach readers of all ages about Japanese tea ceremonies.  Emma Lea has a tea party with her friend Sam.  His family teaches Emma Lea and her mother about the intricacies of Japanese tea.  Emma Lea gets a beautiful traditional garment and is involved in the tea ceremony--which is explained so readers may learn about it.  Sam, Emma Lea's friend, points out that tea is for men and warriors and boys...not just women and girls.  New vocabulary is introduced to youngsters as they experience the meaning of words like tranquility and peace.  The illustrations are also beautifully painted, from the Japanese tea room to the authentic gardens.  Also included at the end of the book is a wonderful tea cook recipe based off of Japanese tradition.  This is a great book for learning, and it would easily make a great book report project on the culture of Japan.

"Emma Lea's Tea With Daddy" by Babette Donaldson

Emma Lea wants to have some one-on-one time with her father.  Trouble is, Dad is busy with chores.  Emma Lea doesn't fuss or cry or complain.  Rather, she sets a good example for other children by spending time preparing the tea party while her father completes his chores.  Emma Lea uses a blunt knife to cut fruit and make simple sandwiches.  She prepares the kettle but waits for her father to ignite the stove fire.  This is another great example for children to follow in terms of safety.  When all is said and done, Emma Lea and her father enjoy a special time of togetherness that was well worth the wait.  They don't dawdle but rather talk about what's been going on in their life.  Focusing on patience and family time, this book is great for life lessons.  Also included at the end of this wonderfully illustrated book is an easy recipe for tea cookies.

"Emma Lea's Magic Teapot" by Babette Donaldson

Adorably written and illustrated, this book is a great bedtime story.  Emma Lea has a magic teapot.  When she rubs it, her grandmother comes out to grant wishes.  Emma Lea thinks it's just a dream and silliness until her wishes begin to come true.  First she wishes for her mother to cook crepes.  Then she wishes to make amends with her friend.  Then she wishes to sing at school.  All these wishes come true, but her father reminds her that Emma Lea is the special one, not the teapot.  More happiness ensues as Emma Lea gets a visit from her grandparents and receives a brand new puppy.  Family time is emphasized in this book, as well as resolving conflict with friends and embracing inner confidence.  The teddy bear's input is also cutely included from time to time.  Overall, this is a very nice book that will remind us all that we can all make the choice to add the magic of friendship and kindness and togetherness to others.

"Emma Lea's First Tea Party" by Babette Donaldson

Readers are introduced to young, polite Emma Lea.  She likes teddy bears, her family, and tea.  Invited to her very first tea party--also a birthday party for her grandmother--has her all excited.  However, matters become sullen when Emma Lea realizes she is secluded to the kiddie table.  Forlorn and upset, she runs away.  Her grandfather finds her, and they have their own private tea party.  Eventually, the grandmother finds out what happened and invites both Emma Lea and her husband to the tea party.  This book has a theme of inclusion.  At the end of the story, both the young, as well as the male are a part of the tea festivities.  Children will learn a good lesson about not making others feel left other.  They will also learn about conflict and family resolution.  The hardcover book is beautifully illustrated with great watercolors.  This is an excellent book to read over and over with friends.  

"Start Your Own Family Tea Time" by Babette Donaldson

This short booklet is a must-have for anyone who is uncertain what the fuss is about with tea.  Don't understand why tea is important?  Not sure where to start?  Not sure how to get friends and family involved?  This book covers it all.  Additionally, this book is not just the author's perspective.  Sprinkled throughout the pages are opinions from famous tea experts, as well as ordinary people.  Men and women, parents and children all have their say.  Photos are included, too.  This book is geared towards all types of people, and I enjoyed how there were writings and photos of all types of ethnicity represented.  Budgeting is also considered as tips for saving money are included.  Ideas for crafts and cooking are inside too.  Overall, this is a nice quick reference guide for all things tea. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"Keepers of the Covenant" by Lynn Austin

This sequel to Lynn's "Return to Me" is a great book but not as phenomenal as the first.  Still, even for readers who have not read "Return to Me," no details will be missed, and there will be no confusion.  This book starts with the story of Esther and goes through a generation of lives.  There is Ezra the priest who is called to move Jews to Jerusalem and eventually govern a rebellious people in ways he could never imagine.  There is Reuben, a young boy who loses his father in an apartheid against Hebrews.  His life spirals out of control as he strays from the God who took everything away from him.  There is Amina, a crippled Gentile who hates her life and is beaten by her father and uncles.  There is Devorah, a woman who is married to the love of her life but must choose what to do when circumstances turn her world upside down.  Warriors, potters, priests, thieves, weavers and more come together as we see how individuals view the curses and blessings God bestows upon His people.  The fine line between discipline and grace is discussed as real-life characters struggle to obey the Torah.  Politics play a part too as God's chosen people must bend to the edicts of the Persian king.  True love and false love are played out too as hearts dance the dance of destiny.  Great book.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Life on the Family Farm" by Tom Heck

A compilation of short stories a few pages each, this book is nice for someone who is short on time.  You can pick this book up to read a quick tale and then put it away for months.  When you pick it up, you won't have to worry about remembering characters or events since each story is unique.  Many of the stories revolve around farm animals, tractors, the dairy business, family lessons, and such.  My personal favorites are the animal stores, especially the one where cows play with fish in their water bins in a cute fashion.  There are also stories of hunting and trapping animals.  They are not written in graphic detail, but there is a photo of a skinned fox included.  There is also a story of the author overcoming pornography.  For these reasons, I would not suggest this as a book suitable for very young readers.  Additionally, it should be noted that this book has Christian undertones.

The blog tour page for Life on the Family Farm is at: