Gorgeous Board Book to Teach Your Kids “Bible Basics” ~ A Review and Giveaway (ends 1/26/17)

We recently received a fantastic resource for parents and their little ones; Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer to use and review from the BlogAbout Blogger Network.  This precious, meaningful little board book uses Biblical principles and truths to teach children their numbers from 1-10.  Its artwork is incredible and its narrative, both beautiful and faithful to Scripture.  Let me tell you more…and at the end of this post, you’ll have an opportunity to win a giveaway for a copy of your own!



About Bible Basics

Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer is a sturdy, beautifully bound 7 1/3″ x 7 1/3″ board book.  Authored by Danielle Hitchen and illustrated by Jessica Blanchard, it’s designed to introduce children to principles and foundations of the Christian faith as well as to their first numbers, 1 through 10.  It uses Bible verses, hymns, prayers, history, and simple teaching to bring these tenets to life in ways that even the youngest listener can understand.  Gorgeous artwork accompanies each of the ten principles and makes them vivid and memorable.  Although the size is larger than most board books, it’s still well-proportioned for little hands to hold.  And, the size gives plenty of room for the text and illustrations, printed in readable font.



This is truly a unique and unusual idea for a board book.  It was birthed out of Danielle Hitchen’s question:  how could she teach her babies to know God and to love Him?  What an incredible answer Bible Basics is to that question!  I don’t want to spoil the joy you’d find when you read this book for the first time, so I’m not going to tell you everything that’s in it.  But here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find in this beautiful book:


  • The 9 fruits of the Spirit
  • The 10 Commandments
  • The Trinity
  • The 5 books of the Pentateuch
  • and 6 more!



Ways you could use Bible Basics in your own home

So…I have a confession to make.  We do not currently have a baby or a toddler in our home!  (Our regular readers know that our boy is a 9th grader.)  However, I absolutely adored the idea of this gorgeous little board book and I loved that I could share a copy with one of you!  What I discovered, when I received Bible Basics, is that it’s not only an incredible resource and learning tool for little ones.  It also reinforces the beautiful tenets of Christianity for any believer, be he or she young and fresh, or more seasoned in the faith.

Here are some other ways that I know Bible Basics could bless you!

  • Read it aloud during family worship
  • Use it as a jumping-off point for a study of the Scriptural principles in it (for example, you could study one concept per week and look up related verses that go with each principle)
  • Allow it to inspire your homeschool art times
  • Prop it up on an easel in your home, and display different pages on different days
  • Purchase it for a shower or new baby gift
  • And of course, its primary purpose:  read it to your little ones 🙂



What our family thought

We LOVED Bible Basics!  During our family worship time one week, I read it aloud to my husband and son.  It was so encouraging.  It really made us all think about many of the different truths that make up our relationships with God through Christ Jesus.  And, it blessed us.  I really do think that I could use this to do a deeper study on each item that the author presents, by simply doing a word or topical study in the Bible and using that with my son.

We’re also a family who loves art.  So we weren’t just blessed by the biblical truths of Bible Basics.  We were also really moved to think more deeply about each of the 10 tenets, because of the way that the art helped to unfold those truths.  Plus, they were just beautiful pictures.

My guys knew that this was a book that I’d received for both review and for a giveaway.  But my husband said, “You can’t give away this book!”  (He was relieved to hear that I received a separate copy to give away to one of our readers.)

We’ll definitely continue to use Bible Basics.  And, I’m going to follow my own recommendation and display the various pages via propping the book up on a small easel, open to one pair of pages at a time.  What better way to enjoy God’s Word and art at the same time?  🙂



My recommendations for you?

Get a copy of this book.  Read it to your little ones…again and again.  Use it for a basis for a deeper study.  And revel in the beauty, grace, and abundance that God offers to us in relationship and salvation through Christ Jesus.  You can find a copy and more (including art prints and a coloring book) at Catechesis Books.

Also, keep an eye out for more books in the Baby Believer Primers series.  This is the first of more to come.



And, enter my giveaway!  The BlogAbout Blogger Network has provided a copy of this wonderful book for one reader.  Just enter below in the Giveaway Tools “Enter Here” link.  Best wishes!

Enter here!


Find Catechesis Books at these social media sites:


Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclaimer:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.



Cool Reading Challenge that I’m Joining! 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge

If you’ve kept up with the finchnwren blog in any way over the last few years, you KNOW that both Finch and I are booklovers.  We love, love, love books.  Yep, you could probably call us #booknerds.

Which is why I am so happy to have discovered the 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge, hosted  by Claudia at My Soul Called Life.  Claudia has developed a fascinating list of keywords and assigned a group of them to each month of 2017.  Anyone who signs up for this challenge then selects a book title with one of those keywords in it, reads it, and posts a review of it during that month.

I love this!  I think Claudia’s keywords list is incredible, and I know it’s going to keep me on the lookout for amazing reads that I can then share with you all.  As a matter of fact, I already have my book for January 2017 (although I have two books in front of it that I need to finish first!).  In keeping with Claudia’s list, its title contains the word “way.”  (Stay tuned for more on that in a couple of weeks!)


My Soul Called Life

Here’s a list of the keywords for each month of 2017:

JAN- Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand

FEB- And, Rose, Promise, Every, Deception, Blazing

MAR- Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga

APR- From, Trigger, Tale, His, CrownMist

MAY- Four, Wind, All, Fury, Days, Shade

JUN- Without, Know, Good, Watch, One, Have

JUL- Before, Final, All, Freedom, Life, Dream

AUG- Sun, Infinite, Big, My, Wherever, Most

SEP- Sand, From, Between, Ever, Reasons, Clash

OCT- Darker, You, Ashes, Out, House, Sea

NOV- Place, War, Heart, Why, Give, Meet

DEC- Forget, Twilight, Only, Crystal, On, Will

Here’s how you can participate, too!

Just head over to My Soul Called Life by clicking on the pink link, and you can join it as well!  You don’t have to have a blog to be able to review your books, either.  You can post a review on Goodreads or Booklikes.  There will even be a drawing for a prize, for everyone who posts reviews, at the end of the year!

So looking forward to this challenge!

If you’re a book lover, I encourage you to join in and read along with us this year.  I think it’s going to be amazing.  And just think of all the other cool books you will discover with everyone else’s reads!

Enjoy!  –Wren

“31 Verses To Write On Your Heart” by Liz Curtis Higgs ~ A Review

I’ve been working through a lovely book in my Bible devotional time over the last few weeks: Liz Curtis Higgs’ 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart.  What a rich and beautiful way to engage with the Word!


Many of you are probably familiar with Liz Curtis Higgs.  She’s written many fascinating books, both fiction and nonfiction.  She’s also a faithful Bible student, and it’s from her deep study of God’s Word that 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart comes.

Over one thousand women weighed in on this list, sharing with Liz Curtis Higgs their favorite and most important verses in the Bible.  From these favorites, the author has selected 31 and written a little about the verses (in a format that’s ideal to read during devotional times) and even included a prayer at the end of each chapter for the reader to pray.  She has also included tips for memorization of the verses, and left a space where the reader can write the verse down in her most-preferred translation.




This book contains both the very familiar and less-known verses that will engage the heart of a woman.  Some of these you’ll know well, and others, perhaps not at all.  But each one can deeply impact the gal who reads and memorizes them.  Here’s a sampling of the 31 Liz Curtis Higgs focuses on:

  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Isaiah 41:10
  • Proverbs 15:1
  • Philippians 4:8
  • and more!




How I used this book

I am between Bible studies at the moment, but still wanted something meaningful to add to my Bible reading times each morning.  I was thrilled to find 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart.  I admit, it has been awhile (since a previous year, when my son and I memorized verses together) since I’ve worked on Scripture memorization.  And I have found the verses so rich, and so appreciated the author’s words on each verse.  Even though the chapters themselves on each verse aren’t that long, I lingered over them, reading them over a series of days.  Next, I visited biblegateway.com or biblehub.com, where I could enter a verse address and be able to look at many translations at one time.  Then, I picked the one that was most impactful to me, and wrote it in my book.  (Booklovers, breathe a sigh of relief…you’re actually SUPPOSED to do that!)

31-verses-pic-4How I’d describe 31 Verses To Write On Your Heart

Meaningful.  Encouraging.  Beautiful.  A way to really slow down and engage with the Word.  Something that really benefited me as not only a wife and a mother, but as a daughter of the living God.  A way to spend time with Scripture that will strengthen, encourage, and bless women.

I happily recommend this book to any woman who desires to interact with Scripture deeply and beautifully.  Liz Curtis Higgs brings Scripture to life in a manner that will help women to pause and breathe in God’s goodness and care for them.  It’s sweet and wonderful, and will bless the reader!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.




Enter to win Becky Thompson’s great “Love Unending” ~ ends 1/6/17

I have another fabulous giveaway for you awesome readers today!


Recently, I had the privilege of reviewing Becky Thompson’s new book Love Unending.  (You can see my review of Love Unending here, and Becky’s other excellent book Hope Unfolding by clicking on the highlighted links.)  Its subtitle is “Rediscovering Your Marriage In The Midst of Motherhood.”  Does that sound intriguing to you?

When we fall in love, get engaged, and marry the man we have waited for all our lives…life is good!  Marriage is fun!  We love spending time together, going on well-planned dates, cooking special meals for our beloved.  It’s awesome!

Life can get full though.  Especially when the kid, or kiddos, start to arrive.  Our days become very full.  Our energy, taxed.  Our nights?  Sometimes sleepless.  And even though we absolutely adore our spouses, we may lose our focus on our marriages.  So how can we remedy that–and make our marriages and love for our spouses rich and full again?

Becky Thompson’s Love Unending is designed to help us do just that.  In just 3 weeks, she leads the reader through daily readings, questions, and ideas for moms to focus attention and love on their husbands and reawaken that first love.  The book is a beautiful, worthwhile exercise which will strengthen and bless moms and deepen their marital love.

I reviewed an uncorrected proof of Love Unending for Blogging for Books.  But the publisher was kind enough to send me the final copy, which you’ll also find on Amazon and your local bookstore shelves.  B4B told me that I could share my final copy with a reader via a giveaway, since my uncorrected proof is already everything I need.  So, here you go!  One reader will be selected on January 6, 2017.  So just enter via the Giveaway Tools link for your chance to win!



Enter here!

Just follow the pink link below to enter via the Giveaway Tools entry form, and best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy!  –Wren


Max Davis’ Unusually Titled Cool New Book ~ My Thoughts & Review & Your Chance To Win

Recently, I had the opportunity to receive a most unusually-titled book:  Max Davis’ When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette.  Now, isn’t that an intriguing title?  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions not only was kind enough to send me a copy to read and review, they’re providing one for one of my readers!  Stay tuned to the end for your chance to enter.


I am a sucker for a good book.  And if it’s funny…heartwarming…meaningful…and inspirational?  Even better.  There are several things that draw me toward a particular book.  Is it written by a favorite author?  Does it have amazing cover art?  Or, could it be the subject matter?  It may even be the title.  I have to admit, this time, it was a combination of those!

When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette definitely sounded most unusual.  And it was!

Gifted storyteller Max Davis tells his own story of redemption and the way he came to Christ, after seeing Jesus so vividly in the life of a green-eyed brunette at his high school.  He begins the book with a Bible verse you’re probably familiar with, which defines the stories and experiences he is about to share:

Now thanks be to God who always leads us
in triumph in Christ,
and through us diffuses the fragrance
of His knowledge in every place.”
–I Corinthians 2:14

Max’s life was impacted for eternity when he met a young lady in high school, the green-eyed brunette of the title.  He was living the high life as a popular football player.  But actually, he was garnering Fs in his classes, accumulating speeding tickets, partying.  His grandmother even said he was “going up Fool’s Hill.”  He looked carefree on the outside; but on the inside, he was terrified of what God thought of him, and of hell.

Into his life walked the green-eyed brunette.  She loved God and clearly, He lived in her.  Max was so drawn to her yet flabbergasted by her at the same time (she’d never heard of the group Boston???).  And she lived a beautiful life of holiness without legalism.  Seeing this in her, and experiencing the love and life in her church and family, Max came to Christ.

And this is just a few of the chapters!  Throughout the rest of When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette, Max tells the stories of men and women who are hugely impacted, and transformed, by the way Jesus is living through others.  Here are a few of them, just to whet your appetite:

  • Max’s call from “The Voice” to become a writer
  • The “Iron Butt” guy–and the cool ways God has moved in others through him
  • How God carried an abused child through terrible danger and to Himself
  • Moments of believers passing from life to death that illustrated that there really is something…and Someone…on the other side
  • A man rescued from a real-life fiery furnace; and another man who was not, yet God was tangibly with them both
  • A Christian imprisoned in the Far East for his faith in the worst of conditions, who saw that he was not left alone by God
  • And more!

This book isn’t just about telling stories–amazing and wonderful though they are (and even documented, so that Max is telling things that really happened, not that somebody just made up).  No, it’s about addressing the questions so many of us have about life and about God.  Will following God steal freedom and joy from me, and make me follow a never-ending list of dos and don’ts?  Do I have to be “religious” to follow God?  Where IS God, anyway, in the midst of suffering?  Why do tragedies happen?  Does God have a plan for me that is good?  And does He really love me?

Many of us (I would venture to say ALL of us, at some time or another during our lives) struggle with those questions.  And clearly, these are questions to which there are no easy answers…or sometimes, no answers at all for us in this life (though I believe from God’s perspective, there ARE answers).  And while Max doesn’t share all the answers in this book (although he does share some), the stories he tells will minister to the hearts that are aching with these questions; the hearts which have suffered loss of some sort; or those even undergoing challenge or trial.

I was so encouraged by this book.  I decided to use it during my morning devotional times and read parts of or entire chapters along with my Bible reading.  That was so encouraging and just perfect for me (although really, you could certainly enjoy this book at any time of the day)!  Max Davis is a fantastic storyteller with a journalist’s eye to accuracy and fact-checking.  He tells these astonishing stories of ways God impacted people’s lives, then shares truths that will bless and encourage the reader.  You must pick up a copy of this book.  It will remind you of the goodness of God, His desire to care for His people, and His great love for us all–and for you–Individually!

And now, you can enter to win your own copy!  (U.S. entries only, please.)  Giveaway closes 12/26.  Best wishes!

Now, you can enter here to win your own copy!

Just click on the pink “Enter here” below!

Enter here!


And, if you’re not the winner of this book, you can find it for purchase via this link at Worthy Publishing, at When Jesus Was A Green-Eyed Brunette,  for $15.99.

More on Max Davis:

Max Davis is the author of over 20 published books and has been featured in USA Today and Publishers Weekly and has appeared on The Today Show and The 700 Club. He holds degrees in Journalism and Biblical Studies and is a much sought-after speaker for churches and organizations worldwide. He and his wife, Alanna, live on 50 beautiful acres in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.

Enjoy!  –Wren


“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.”

Becky Thompson’s “Love Unending” ~ My Review

Who wouldn’t want an unending love?  (Wait…wasn’t there an 80’s song about that?  Maybe that was “everlasting love….”)  It’s a deep desire, a hope, and a dream for many of us.



But love, as we know, isn’t dependent only on one person.  It has to be reciprocal.  And, it’s not a one-time feeling that stretches out into eternity without any effort on our part.  Life can get challenging.  And love can face its own challenges; with illnesses, parenthood, job issues…all these and other problems can take their tolls.

Becky Thompson has authored a book just for moms to help us to maintain our love relationships and our marriages in her new book, Love Unending: Rediscovering Your Marriage in the Midst of Motherhood.  I didn’t have to think twice about reading this one, because I had so dearly loved her other book, Hope Unfolding.  (You can read my review on that book if you click here on the book title! Hope Unfolding)  The author, who understands how the love of a marriage relationship can get buried under life’s and parenting’s responsibilities, has created this wonderful book which leads moms through a 21-day challenge which is designed to reawaken–and rekindle–that first love of marriage.

In Love Unending, Thompson shares how she observed her dad’s incredible, faithful, and fresh love for her mom.  One day, she asked him how she could tell women how to keep their marriage relationships vibrant.  He answered, “Becky, just tell them to do what I do.”

What did he do?

Each day when he woke up, he told himself that this was the first day he was married to Becky’s mom.

This enabled him to remember the girl he fell in love with; to start each day without bitterness or yesterday’s offenses on his mind; to return to new love each morning.  Pretty amazing advice!

Thompson starts with this, and then lays out 21 chapters (plus an introduction and a conclusion) with a devotional, a challenge, a prayer prompt, and reflection (how the challenge went, the husband’s reaction, and the mom’s heart at the end of the day).  Here’s a short list of some of the 21 chapters, and the topics they cover:

  • Speak kindly
  • Thank him frequently
  • Reach out intentionally
  • Expect gracefully
  • Serve joyfully
  • Discover daily
  • and 15 others, all designed to help us draw closer in our marriages and really see, and appreciate, our spouses

I love Becky Thompson’s writing.  Her first book encouraged me greatly, and this one is both an encouragement and a challenge.  But, it’s a challenge which is designed to bring forth great fruit and awesome results.

Pick up a copy.  Read this book…and commit to its challenges!  Even if you are the only one who changes as a result, you will be a happier and more satisfied woman.  (And I think your hubs will be, as well!)

Check out Becky’s blog.  And her other amazing book,  Hope Unfolding.  I think you’ll definitely become a new fan!

Enjoy!  –Wren


DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Charming Children’s Book from the Hobans: “Charlie the Tramp” Review & Giveaway! Ends 12/6

**Congratulations to Laurie N., the winner of this giveaway!  She’ll be receiving a copy of Charlie the Tramp from FlyBy/Propeller Promotions!**


I have the most charming children’s book to share with you today, and a giveaway of your very own copy for you to enter!  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions kindly sent me a hardback copy of Russell and Lillian Hoban’s book, Charlie the Tramp, republished by Plough Publishing House for its 50th anniversary!



I’m sure you are familiar with the Hobans’ other wonderful books for children:  Bread and Jam for Frances or A Bargain for Frances, about a little badger girl and her crazy adventures.  In Charlie the Tramp, we meet a different animal; little Charlie, a beaver, who is certain that he wants to be a tramp, not a beaver.  His adventures are no less interesting than Frances’ are, however.

Charlie’s loving family (his grandfather, his dad, and his mom) are surprised one day when Charlie informs them that when he grows up, he wants to be a tramp.  “A tramp!” the adults say.  His father and grandfather talk about the good work they’ve always done as beavers…but Charlie is drawn to the life he imagines tramps have.  And, he’s particularly keen on the fact that tramps don’t have to learn how to do beaver work, like chopping down trees, making dams, keeping sharp teeth.  No, tramps get to carry sticks with their belongings tied up at the end of them.  They get to sleep outside in beautiful weather.  They just get to tromp around and have a good time.

charlie-pic-2This is the life, Charlie thinks.  Dad and Grandfather tell him that they’ve got lots of little jobs for him to do.  But those little jobs just sound like work to him!

Charlie is ready for an adventure.  So he asks permission to sleep in a field.  His parents agree, so he ties up some Fig Newtons and Good-and-Plenties in his kerchief on his stick, and heads off.  Belatedly, the men remember wanting to be tramps when they were beaver children.  Mother says that all men “…want to be tramps.”

Charlie’s adventure…and the discoveries he makes while he is camping out about what he is really meant and designed to do…are gently and beautifully shared.  And of course, there’s a lovely reunion at the end of the book!


Charlie the Tramp is a departure from many books available for children today.  Charlie’s parents trust him to come to a good conclusion, without hammering home the truths he’s actually going to discover.  It’s a sweet story (even if parents will want to remind their children that outside of the Hobans’ characters’ worlds, kids won’t safely trudge off to be tramps and sleep outside wherever!).  And it’s a story that parents can use to remind kids that they are designed by God for important work that is just perfect for them, as well as deeply satisfying, to do.  Lovingly illustrated by Lillian Hoban and penned by her husband Russell, this is a book that would be a lovely addition to family libraries.

And you can win one for your own family!  Just enter via the Giveaway Tools link below, by clicking where it says “Entry Form.”  That will take you to the entry page.  Giveaway ends at 11:59 on December 6.  Blessings!

Enjoy!  –Wren


Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with children we know – bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Emmit Otter’s Jug-band Christmas.


Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America’s favorite children’s book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. She also illustrated six of Russell Hoban’s books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children’s literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences.

Plough editor Sam Hine says, “As a parent of young children I’ve rarely found new books of this quality. So, like many other parents, I find myself returning to the books of my own childhood. Among these Charlie the Tramp was a hands-down favorite. We’re thrilled to acquire the rights to this timeless classic and make it available to a third generation.”

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:  http://www.plough.com/en/topics/culture/short-stories/charlie-the-tramp

AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Tramp-Russell-Hoban/dp/0874867800/  

“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.