Review: VeggieTales Devotional (and a giveaway!)

Every Day with God covers VeggieTales Every Day with God: 365 Daily Devos

All three of my kids (7, 5, and 2) have loved VeggieTales, so when I found out they offered a devotional I jumped at the chance to look at it. I thought perhaps it’d be something we could do as a family during our morning Bible time – the suggested age range is 4 to 7.

While it could work for that, it’s actually written in such an accessible way that it also works for my oldest to read for himself, and that’s how I’m going to use it. He doesn’t know it but the devotional is going to go into his Christmas stocking.

Why I Like it

Each page has one days’s devotional on it, and it’s short enough to not be overwhelming to newer readers (my son is a good reader, but he still doesn’t like reading things when then text is too small or there’s not enough white space on a page). Each day has a scripture reference (from a variety of translations), devotional text, thought of the day, and prayer starter.

I like that the days are not dated, but numbered, and that the content is age-appropriate, without being babyish. I really liked how the thought of the day connected the scripture to things my kids may be experiencing. It felt like a great way to begin learning to apply scripture to their life.

My only real complaint with the book is that the designating the books either for boys or girls seems unnecessary. Flipping through the boy’s version, I didn’t notice anything that wouldn’t work for girls as well, although I admit that I didn’t read all 365 entries yet. I’m assuming it was more of a marketing decision than anything else, and realize that my older two would probably both love it being “for them” so specifically.

Want Your Own Copy?

Would you like a copy of the devotional? I have one copy to give away (boy’s or girl’s version – your pick). Enter below – the giveaway ends at 12 AM October 10th. I will contact the winner who will have 24 hours to respond, or I’ll select another winner. Good luck!

Find the book: Boy’s version | Girl’s version | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Every Day with God is the latest 365-day devotional (one for boys and another for girls) from VeggieTales. The updated content and art offer the perfect opportunity for parent and child to share time together each day. Each entry includes a Bible verse, short devotion, Thought of the Day, and prayer. The content will help children learn more about God and develop a daily practice to keep Him close in their lives. The book is perfect for bedtime reading, family devotion time, or as a fresh way to start each day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Recent Readalouds: The Princess in Black series

Princess in Black 1 and 2

The Princess in Black and The Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Books one and two of the series were birthday gifts to my daughter, and she loved them. I wasn’t sure how they’d be as readalouds – they’re suitable for somewhat newer readers, and sometimes those books can be painful to read aloud. I should have trusted Hale, as these were fun.

They are quite silly, but not in an obnoxious way, instead in a this-is-delightful-to-young-kids way. The illustrations are wonderful too, and there are lots of them, making this book a nice bridge between picture books and chapter books.

Princess Magnolia is appealing, and while I think the books were just about perfect for a 5 year old girl to listen to, my 7 year old son happily listened in as well. Admittedly, his favorite parts were when Magnolia is battling the monsters.

Book #3 releases in paperback just in time for Christmas (and I’ve already pre-ordered it), and the final book in the series releases in hardcover in November. I’m holding off on it only because the other books we’ll have will all be paperbacks, and it kind of bugs me to have the series be mismatched on our shelves. Fingers crossed that book #4 will be out in paperback before her next birthday in 2017.

They’re not books that I want to read aloud again and again and again, but it’s fun to read them a handful of times, and then have my daughter “read” them herself is fantastic. I’m sure once she starts reading for real she’ll tackle these on her own again too.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Two years ago: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson with Veronica Chambers
Three years ago: God’s Bestseller by Brian Moynahan

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Recent Sequel Readalouds

I’m getting backlogged on writing about our readalouds (we’re moving through them faster now) so here’s a post catching me up to date on some of the sequels and pseudo-sequels I’ve read to my son, with my daughter listening in as she wants.

More Milly Molly MandyMore Milly-Molly-MandyMore Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley by Joyce Lankester Brisley

We’re all fans of Milly-Molly-Mandy, and this book is a not-essential sequel to the Sonlight book we read last year, The Milly-Molly-Mandy StorybookThe Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley. If you liked the first set of stories, you’ll likely enjoy this as well. It’s more of the same, with no surprises. However, it’s not really necessary to have read the first book, as you’ll quickly catch up on the setting and characters. These are excellent first-chapter books, as each chapter stands on its own, and helps develop those listening skills.


Penny and PeterPenny and PeterPenny and Peter by Carolyn Haywood by Carolyn Haywood

This sequel picks up right where Here’s a Penny left off. This book has a lot less of his next door friend, and the focus is instead on Peter as well as Penny (no surprise with the title). Another one where if you liked the first, you’ll probably like this one too. I would recommend not reading this one before Here’s a Penny – you’ll spoil yourself as far as some particulars go.


Dolphin TreasureDolphin TreasureDolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover, illustrated by Jim Fowler by Wayne Grover, illustrated by Jim Fowler

My son was not into this one as much as the first book, Dolphin Adventure. I’m not sure why, as I felt they were pretty similar stories, although this one did take a bit longer to get to the point of any significant action. That’s probably enough of a reason for him to have been less interested in it. 🙂


Five True Dog StoriesFive True Dog StoriesFive True Dog Stories by Margaret Davidson by Margaret Davidson

A sentimental favorite for me, as I’d read this as a child, and recognized the stories and the illustrations. My son really liked 4 of the stories, but one of them did not keep his interest at all. I prefer this book to the Five True Horse Stories, so if you’re debating between them, go for this one. And yes, this isn’t a true sequel, but more of another book in a similar style.

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Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Two years ago: Book Review: Buried in the Sky by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
Three years ago: Reading Less / Reading More

Early Reader Success: Billy and Blaze

Billy and BlazeBilly And BlazeBilly And Blaze by C. W. Anderson by C. W. Anderson

A classic early reader, and for good reason – it’s a great choice for that stage (especially if your early reader likes animals). Every two-page spread has an illustration on one side, and limited text on the other, so it’s helpful for kids like mine who need lots of white space or else they’re discouraged.

The book is about 50 pages (it’s wandered off or I’d double-check it) but all the illustrations make it very readable in two sessions. A more motivated reader could easily tackle it all in one reading session, but my reader did it in two. He’s not as motivated as some of his friends and relatives. 🙂

He was able to sound out every word, and the only one he had trouble with was “bridle” – pronouncing it “briddle” If he were at all familiar with equine equipment I think he’d have recognized his mistake and corrected it himself, but I’m kind of glad he didn’t know it as it led to a discussion on homonyms with him when I told him the correct pronunciation. He was then confused, because wasn’t “bridal” something to do with weddings? We’d just been to his second cousin’s wedding the weekend before and apparently he’d heard the term, or that’s my guess anyway.

Which makes me wonder if initially he remembered the “pickle” syllable word rule, but intentionally didn’t follow it thinking “this is a story about horses, there is nothing about a wedding here!” No matter if he was thinking that or not, I liked the opening it gave for that extra discussion on the weirdness that is English at times.

On a plotting note, he enjoyed the story, and saw the pictures for additional Billy & Blaze titles that are available. He’s requested two of them – and I got him one of those requests (Blaze and ThunderboltBlaze and Thunderbolt by C. W. Anderson) so he clearly liked the story enough to want more of it. Yay!

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What the Kids are Reading (in July 2015)

What the Kids are Reading July 2015Lots of books because it was a two-library-visit month. It was also the end of the summer reading program but I spaced it and forgot before the deadline and the kids never got to turn in their cards and redeem their points for prizes. Nobody tell them what they missed out on, ok?

The Right WordThe Right Word: Roget and His ThesaurusThe Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

I absolutely adored this book. It’s so clever, and the illustrations and text layout work so well for the story. That said, this is a picture book that works better for older readers – it didn’t engage my daughter at all. My son liked it more, although it still wasn’t his favorite. Sniffle.

Duck RabbitDuck! Rabbit!Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Another one that is so clever. The illustration is fabulous – is it a duck? is it a rabbit? The text works through which it could be, with two unseen narrators each picking a different option. Lots of fun to read, and both kids enjoyed it. The little surprise at the end amused me as well.

You Nest Here with MeYou Nest Here With MeYou Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

A gentle read that would be ideal for bedtime. There’s lots of information packed into it as well, and my son really liked reading the extra details about the birds at the back of the book.

Clara and DavieClara and DavieClara and Davie by Patricia Polacco by Patricia Polacco

I love Polacco, and this is another typical one for her. Fun illustrations, and nice story. It’s another one where it worked better for my son than daughter, as it didn’t keep her interest that much.

Carmine a Little More RedCarmine: A Little More RedCarmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet by Melissa Sweet

A reimagination of the Red Riding Hood story, by an illustrator I love. Cute story, cute illustrations, and some great vocabulary. The familiar story pleased my kids, and they liked the way it wasn’t *exactly* the story they knew.

Elsie's BirdElsie’s BirdElsie's Bird by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Small by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Small

Yolen is such a reliable author that I’m willing to try anything of hers I find on the library shelf. This is an enjoyable book, but not one my kids asked to be repeated. The illustrations are lovely.

Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! by Mo Willems by Mo Willems

Willems is always a hit in our house, and this is no exception. Fun story with a nice twist at the end.

Waiting is EasyWaiting Is Not Easy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Waiting Is Not Easy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems by Mo Willems

Another Willems, this one is reading practice for my son. It’s as great as the Elephant and Piggie books usually are.

Earth-Shaking Facts about EarthquakesThe Earth-Shaking Facts about Earthquakes with Max Axiom, Super ScientistThe Earth-Shaking Facts about Earthquakes with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science) by Katherine Krohn, illustrated by Tod G Smith and Al Milgram by Katherine Krohn, illustrated by Tod G Smith and Al Milgram

One of my son’s birthday books, and he continues to love this series.

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Early Reader Success: Ling & Ting

Ling and Ting Not Exactly the SameLing & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! (Passport to Reading Level 3) by Grace Lin by Grace Lin

This was a great early reader chapter book. It had six chapters, and they could easily be read individually. Individually as in my son could read the chapter on his own, and as in each chapter could be read without needing to remember what had happened in previous chapters. There was a slight story line that carried through the entire book, but it wasn’t essential for appreciating individual chapters.

My best guess puts my son at an early 2nd grade reading level, and he was able to manage this book with little trouble. One chapter was just enough to provide practice for him, without overwhelming him with TOO MUCH READING. (Which is totally a thing with him). There’s also plenty of white space on the pages, and lots of illustrations, which helps him. He’s at kind of a delicate spot as far as reading goes – he can do it, but he needs the formatting of the book to help him out too. Not too much text on any one page and chapters that aren’t too long, or else he wants to give up before he starts. This book was perfect for him right now.

Plus it was gently humorous, and he liked that.

Highly recommended for early readers. It’s not one I’d recommend as a read-aloud, as it’s definitely one for kids to read for themselves.

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Early Reader Success: Watch Me Throw the Ball

Watch Me Throw the BallWatch Me Throw the Ball!Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems by Mo Willems

We’re huge Mo Willems fans in this house – especially his picture books featuring the PigeonDon't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems, Knuffle BunnyKnuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion (Knuffle Bunny Series) by Mo Willems, or EdwinaEdwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems the dinosaur- they’re all so much fun. I’ve read them over and over and over and still don’t get tired of them, they’re such great books.

It’s no surprise his early reader books are also big hits. My son thinks they’re funny, and they’re short enough that he doesn’t get discouraged and give up before he even starts.

(That’s really his biggest reading problem right now. He can read pretty well, but too much text on a page and he’s convinced he’ll never manage it. He does better with short sentences and paragraphs with a larger font size and plenty of white space around the text blocks.)

The Elephant and Piggie series books are perfect for him right now. Engaging stories, humorous illustrations, and plenty of space on each page so he’s not overwhelmed with text overload.

What he really liked doing with this book was tandem reading with me – he’d read Piggie’s lines, while I’d read Elephant’s. Then we’d immediately switch roles and re-read the book. Reading it that way completely delighted him!

We’re looking for additional titles in this series, as these are so wonderful for early readers. Happily, my library system has lots to choose from so we won’t run out of titles any time soon.

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Early Reader Success: Danny and the Dinosaur

Danny and the DinosaurDanny and the DinosaurDanny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff by Syd Hoff

Syd Hoff is a well-known children’s author, and I found many of his titles on various book lists, especially for early readers. Why did I pick this one to try first? Simple – the library had it on the shelf and immediately available, so into the bag it went.

And then I never saw it again, as my son grabbed it out of the library bag and read it to himself. He took it to bed at night, and asked to stay up a little bit longer to finish a couple more pages. He stretched it out over several days, but he loved it!

I never even heard him read it, but he’d tell me about it the next day, so I know he was reading it.

It was so exciting for me to have found a book that grabbed him enough to want to read it all on his own. I’ve already got Hoff’s Sammy the SealSammy the Seal (I Can Read Book 1) by Syd Hoff requested for our next trip, and there are two more Danny titles to get later, plus plenty more by the author.

Reading success! I love it!

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Superhero Fun with Early Readers

Superman Escape from the Phantom ZoneMy son is trucking right along learning how to read, but he still can’t just pick up any book and get through it.

This month, he’s gotten two superhero-themed readers to tackle. One from the library, and one was a stocking stuffer from Grandma. That made him *very* excited. They were an excellent balance between readability and high interest.

Grandma gave him Superman: Escape from the Phantom ZoneSuperman Classic: Escape from the Phantom Zone: I Can Read Level 2 (I Can Read Book 2), and it was a great gift for him. It’s right at his reading level (with a bit of help for a couple of words in the text, but most of it he could handle independently), and he loves Superman and Batman, so he was highly motivated to read it all.

Batman Dawn of the Dynamic DuoThe library book he’s read is Batman: Dawn of the Dynamic DuoBatman Classic: Dawn of the Dynamic Duo: I Can Read Level 2 (I Can Read Book 2), another level 2 book and another one that’s ideal for him. Not that challenging, but it gives him confidence as he reads, which I think is a good thing. Another one that was a big hit because, well, it’s Batman!

These aren’t the sorts of books I want him to spend all of his time reading, but he gets a lot of higher quality books as well and will continue to do so. These worked well as motivation and just fun reading time. I’m fortunate that my library has so many early readers that I’ll be able to get lots of variety, in addition to the ones we own through his school items.

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Favorite Kids’ Books of 2014

Favorite Kids' Books of 2014

Picture Books

AlmostAlmostAlmost by Richard Torrey by Richard Torrey

Probably my daughter’s favorite picture book for the year – I think she related to the younger sibling aspect, even though the main character is closer in age to my son instead of her. She liked to “read” it to me, by reciting the text since she knew it all by memory.

Randy Riley's Really Big HitRandy Riley’s Really Big HitRandy Riley's Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen by Chris Van Dusen

Perhaps my son’s favorite picture book of the year. The illustrations, the topic, and the inclusion of a telescope and giant robot all combined to be a BIG HIT. Pun very much intended.

The Great DivideThe Great Divide: A Mathematical MarathonThe Great Divide: A Mathematical Marathon by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Tracy Mitchell by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Tracy Mitchell

Who knew division could be so entertaining? Not that the kids realize what’s going on in the book; they just think it’s fun.

Full HouseFull House: An Invitation to FractionsFull House: An Invitation to Fractions by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Abby Carter by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Abby Carter

Another math picture book, another one beloved by my daughter. Both kids really enjoy Dodds work – no idea if it’s making any impact on them from a mathematical standpoint, but the books are fun regardless.

JourneyJourneyJourney by Aaron Becker by Aaron Becker

A wonderful wordless picture book, with a storyline that reminded me just a bit of Harold and the Purple CrayonHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, although the illustration style is completely different.

Tweak TweakTweak TweakTweak Tweak by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

My daughter adored this one, and asked for it again and again and again. She also tried to reenact it, which was awfully cute.

Have You Seen My New Blue SocksHave You Seen My New Blue Socks?Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
My daughter especially enjoyed this one. It’s a very quick, very cute read, with lots of simple rhymes that encouraged my kids to guess the sentence ending. It was an ideal library book – we read it endlessly for about 6 weeks, and then happily sent it back for fresh material.

Musk Ox CountsMusk Ox CountsMusk Ox Counts by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers

Funny story line, cute illustrations – my kids think it’s hilarious, even though they’re too young to get all the jokes. Maybe they just like the illustrations that much? I don’t like it as much as A Is for Musk OxA Is for Musk Ox by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers, but it’s still a cute counting book.

Nonfiction Picture Books

I Can Name 50 Trees TodayI Can Name 50 Trees Today!I Can Name 50 Trees Today!: All About Trees (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu by Bonnie Worth, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

The Cat in the Hat nonfiction titles were new to us this year, and we read several of them. This was the most popular, but they also really liked the Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?: All About Deserts (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library) one.

Berenstain Bear's Big Book of Science and NatureThe Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and NatureThe Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature by Stan & Jan Berenstain by Stan & Jan Berenstain

I’ve lost track of how many times we read this one, but it might have been the most frequently read title of the year.

Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? (Wells of Knowledge Science) by Robert E. Wells by Robert E. Wells

My son adores the Wells science series, and this is probably his favorite. Blue whales and outer space and so much fun!

What's Under the SeaWhat’s Under the SeaWhat's Under the Sea (Starting Point Science)

My son seems to love all the Usborne books we ever read, and this was no exception. We read it quickly, and then reread it and reread it.

Things People DoThings People DoThings People Do by Anne Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright by Anne Civardi, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright

This was initially a good-but-not-great book for my son, and then he hit the halfway point of it and became obsessed with it, looking at it by himself whenever he could.

Chapter Books

The Boxcar ChildrenThe Boxcar ChildrenThe Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, No. 1) (Boxcar Children Mysteries) by Gertrude Chandler Warner by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The book that turned my son into a chapter book reader – this is the first book we (successfully) read that wasn’t illustrated on every page, with a plot that continued on through successive chapters. We read it multiple times as well, with both kids asking repeatedly for the story about the “four hungry kids.”

Bink & GollieBink and GollieBink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile

An excellent bridge from picture books to chapter books – each chapter stands alone, it’s got illustrations on every page, and the plot is easy to follow.

Mercy Watson to the RescueMercy Watson to the RescueMercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Another excellent bridge from picture to chapter books. My 3 1/2 year old daughter especially loved this one – she found the story line to be really funny.

For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

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