“Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis” – A JustRead Blog & Giveaway (CLOSED)

Finding Uncle Newton JustRead Blog Tour Welcome to the Blog Tour for Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis by Douglas P. Cornelius, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Finding Uncle NewtonTitle: Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis Author: Douglas P. Cornelius Publisher: Gatekeeper Press Release Date: March 15, 2021 Genre: Middle Grade/Teen Historical Fiction (age 13-17)

She is outgoing, but orphaned. He is introverted, but a world-renowned scientist. Would moving in with Uncle Isaac Newton work? When his head was always in a book or the Bible? Teen-aged Catherine Barton tries desperately to connect, so seeks a match for her energy in the London coffeehouses. That women were not welcome there in the late 1690’s would not stop her, and she does find promising boyfriend John. Meanwhile, Uncle Isaac, as new Warden of the Mint, has his own challenges—nabbing counterfeiters, including the notorious, William Chaloner. He enlists Catherine to spy at the coffeehouse, and she welcomes the bond—all until boyfriend John gets implicated in a counterfeiting scheme. Then a case of smallpox, a pandemic scourge that had killed millions just decades earlier, sends her off to dreaded isolation in the countryside. And Uncle Isaac’s battle to nab the devious Chaloner turns into a challenging chess match. Will famous scientist Newton be embarrassed by a scofflaw from the street? Will Catherine ever find her true connection? Based on actual historical events and people. Author is a prior recipient of Moonbeam and Illumination Awards for books for faith-driven teens.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound


Douglas Cornelius

Illumination and Moonbeam award-winning author Douglas P. Cornelius hails from the Twin Cities, MN. He began writing after careers at Target, Ameriprise, and 3M. A Cornell University graduate, his hope is to reveal the lives of impactful Christian figures through story, rather than biography. Doug has been married for 45 years and has two children, three grandchildren, cat Selah, and new puppy Scout.



(1) winner will receive a print copy of Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis, winner’s choice of another book by the author, and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Finding Uncle Newton JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 4, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 11, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

My review

Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis provides middle-grade and teen readers with a glimpse into the life of scientist Sir Isaac Newton. Set in England in the late 1600s and peopled with actual historical figures, this book tells the story of what might have happened when his orphaned niece, Catherine Barton, came to live with him after “aging” out of the orphanage she lived in (at age 16!). Imagine a vibrant, extroverted teen moving into her uncle’s home; her uncle who had a brilliant scientific mind, a vigorous Christian faith, and…a temper.

While her Uncle Isaac had already published his masterwork Principia Mathematica when Catherine came to live with him, both his scientific and faith explorations were far from over. The monarchy had faced immense difficulties with England’s economy, and these difficulties were exacerbated by large counterfeiting operations, when bogus coins were struck and used as legal tender. To help solve this crisis, Newton was appointed Warden of the Mint and tasked with finding and arresting the counterfeiters.

In Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis, young readers will meet a number of actual people who lived in Newton’s time and interacted with the scientist and, perhaps, his niece, such as:

  • Edmund (sometimes spelled Edmond) Halley
  • Captain William Phips
  • Counterfeiter William Chalmoner
  • Newgate prisoner Cecilia Labree
  • Colonial poet Anne Bradstreet
  • and more

In addition, author Douglas Cornelius also includes excerpts from actual letters in this book (although their 17th-century language has been updated for today’s readers).

Sir Isaac Newton is one of my favorite scientists of all time. His exceptional scientific discoveries still affect us and inform our understanding of astronomy and science today. Many people might be surprised to learn that he investigated the Bible and the realm of faith just as intensely. Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis is an engaging story about Newton and his niece Catherine, who deeply desires to be loved and valued. Newton’s pursuit of England’s counterfeiters while serving as Warden of the Mint provides a wonderful, and true, spy story. I so enjoyed the way Cornelius wove the actual letters and statements of counterfeiter Chalmoner into this tale (proving yet again that people really haven’t changed much over the years). Readers will gain a wonderful insight not only into Newton’s faith, and into his ideas and discoveries as well.

Finding Uncle Newton and his Nemesis is a fantastic read for teens, and also, I’d believe, for late elementary-aged students. This book could be enjoyed either as a reader or a family read-aloud.

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

National Geographic Kids Book Giveaway (ends 4/8/21)

Who doesn’t love the amazing books that National Geographic Kids provides?

They have a stellar line of books that will make perfect basket fillers this Easter.

Enter here for the chance to win a beautiful set of Easter themed books from National Geographic Kids.

NG Kids Baby Animal Sticker Activity Book (ages 4-8) With 1,000 stickers and fantastic graphics and text, these high quality, superfun sticker books are a great way for kids to learn about animals and the natural world. The Baby Animals sticker book is chock-full of the cutest creatures on the planet: pandas, piglets, wolf cubs, ponies, polar bears, elephants, bunnies, kittens, puppies, and many more. With a fun, brightly colored design and loaded with animal facts and games–such as mazes, counting, matching and more–this book is sure to provide endless entertainment.
National Geographic Pre-Reader: Ducks (ages 2-5) – From fuzzy ducklings to graceful birds, waddle your way into this adorable early reader, all about ducks! Perfect for beginning and young readers, National Geographic Pre-readers include simple, expert-vetted text and large, engaging photos on every page. A vocabulary tree at the beginning of the book introduces kids to key words in concept groups, helping kids make connections between words. Plus, a wrap-up activity gives kids a chance to use what they’ve learned, while expanding their understanding of the world.
Cutest Animals on the Planet(ages 8-12) – NEW SERIES ALERT! Meet the world’s most adorable animals and learn fun stuff about them in this aww-some first book in a brand-new series from National Geographic Kids.Whether you like mammals, aquatic creatures, insects, birds, amphibians, or reptiles, this browsable book contains kids’ favorite animals that would ALL be contenders for the grand prize in a cute competition. Big photos pair with upbeat descriptions that highlight each critter’s crazy cool skills and unique behaviors. This adorable book showcases popular animals such as hedgehogs and pandas as well as unusual species such as tapirs, kakapos, and pangolins. Special features include a head-to-head cute-off, sure to keep readers amused and informed. Perfect for curious tweens, animal lovers, and future veterinarians alike.
Treasury of Bible Stories by Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit (ages 8-12)
A worthy cultural treasury with appeal to both the faithful and irreligious.” — Kirkus
Noah’s Ark, Moses, David and Goliath, the ten plagues, Daniel and the lions’ den, Jonah and the giant fish, and many more of the Bible’s most powerful stories — 27 in all — are compellingly retold in this beautifully illustrated treasury. Readers will be fascinated by the ancient people and events they encounter, surprised by some of the lesser known accounts revealed, and inspired by the lessons these tales impart. Stories cover important ground beyond religion, such as culture, history, and geography, and they touch on issues that remain relevant today–faith, loyalty, kindness, violence, generosity, greed, jealousy, and more. These accessible, readible stories give kids a rich picture of biblical times, which encourages them to think about our role in the world and to learn more.
Napoli’s magical storytelling is sure to ignite children’s imaginations. Along with Balit’s stunning art, this is a book kids will want to explore again and again–a classic that families can read aloud together.
5,000 Awesome Facts About Everything(ages 8-12) This book is literally busting its covers with fascinating, fun-tastic facts on super, sensational topics that kids love. Who knew that there were so many sweet things to learn about chocolate or that a dozen delicious details about peanut butter would show up on a page with a few splotches of jelly to whet our appetites? Keep turning and a terrifyingly toothy shark tells you all about himself, while other spreads lay out tons of tips on toys and games, mysteries of history, robots and reptiles, sports and spies and wacky words. A visual feast of colorful photographs surrounded by swirling, tipping, expanding, and climbing bits of information in a high-energy design, this book will satisfy both the casual browser and the truly fact obsessed.
Celebrate Easter(ages 6-9) – The joyous celebration of Easter is seen through a global perspective in this National Geographic volume featuring over 25 vibrant photographs. Witness the holiest day on the Christian calendar as it is celebrated throughout the world: from the famous Easter Egg Roll at the White House to the traditional bonfires throughout Europe, to colorful customs, to the universally popular dying of eggshells worldwide. The first-person narrative leads young readers through the origins and traditions of this springtime festival of rebirth and hope. Reverend George Handzo gives parents and teachers a historical and cultural background in his informative note.
Napoli’s magical storytelling is sure to ignite children’s imaginations. Along with Balit’s stunning art, this is a book kids will want to explore again and again–a classic that families can read aloud together.

Giveaway sponsored by: National Geographic

Hosted by: MamatheFox.com

Co-Hosted by: Deliciously Savvy & Versatileer,

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for spsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

From Mike Nawrocki: “Dead Sea Squirrels” Book Set, Giveaway, and Kickstarter Opportunity (giveaway closed)

#partner #sponsor

**Congratulations to Laura R!**

Hi there!

I have the coolest and the most unique opportunity and giveaway to share with you today! If your family is at all like ours, you spent years watching and loving the animated kids’ series, “Veggie Tales.” Well, one of the creators of “Veggie Tales” and the voice of Larry the Cucumber himself, Mike Nawrocki, has penned a fantastic series of children’s books about some brand-new heroes of his own creation: “The Dead Sea Squirrels!” And not only is there a book series…but a Kickstarter campaign which will enable the book series to be turned into a video series, starting today!



Mike Nawrocki, producer Steve Taylor, and Disney animator Tom Bancroft (who all teach in the film/arts department at Lipscomb College) are banding together to bring this fun and family-friendly book series to life in video.

THE DEAD SEA SQUIRRELS tells the story of Merle and Pearl, 2,000-year-old squirrels from Israel who were petrified in sea salt in the caves of the Dead Sea, where 12-year-old Michael discovers them 2000 years later and sneaks them into his backpack to bring them home. The zany adventures of this salty couple and their new friend are full of adventure, humor and character-building lessons. And just as with VeggieTales, Nawrocki once again uses high quality animation to teach biblical principles that families can trust.


About the books

Authored by Mike Nawrocki (you remember, the creator of Silly Songs, the voice of Larry the Cucumber and Veggie Tales co-creator), The Dead Sea Squirrels Book Set is a chapter book series for kids in grades 1-5 (ages 6-10). Each book is approximately 128 pages long, making the book series perfect either for family read-alouds or for children reading on their own. Merle and Pearl are a pair of Dead Sea Squirrels (yes, THAT Dead Sea) from Israel, that Michael found on a trip there. They were petrified, so he thought they’d make a fantastic souvenir. Turns out when they were exposed to rain back in the U.S., they un-petrified and came to life!

The pair of squirrels lived during the life of Christ, and had the privilege of seeing many of His miracles and teachings, which they are able to relate to Michael. Because of course, all those lessons from the Bible really do help us today with our own struggles, issues, and relationships. Here’s a short list of the book titles:

  • Book One:  Squirreled Away 
  • Book Two:  Boy Meets Squirrels
  • Book Three:  Nutty Study Buddies
  • Book Four:  Squirrelnapped! 
  • Book Five: Tree-mendous Trouble
  • Book Six:  Whirly Squirrelies

Each book is written by Mike Nawrocki and accompanied by Luke Séguin-Magee’s marvelous and colorful illustrations. Mike’s quirky and hilarious humor is evident, as he take issues kids face, turns them into fiction, and adds words of wisdom from the Bible (and Dead Sea Squirrels!). These would be a fantastic addition to any family library, and you can easily see why they’d make such an exceptional video series!

The Dead Sea Squirrels Book Series on Amazon will show you more!




About the Kickstarter & how you can be involved

The team has already completed the pilot video episode of The Dead Sea Squirrels. Now, they’re using crowdfunding to raise money to create and produce the rest of the season! If you’ve seen Veggie Tales (ever or at all), you know Mike Nawrocki’s history. Together with Tom Bancroft from Disney, and producer Steve Taylor (who worked on Blue Like Jazz and with band Sixpence None the Richer), the team is creating Christ-focused, hilarious, God-honoring great animated stories featuring Merle and Pearl the Dead Sea Squirrels as they look on the life of Jesus and His ministry. (That’s all after they’re encased in Dead Sea salt, discovered by Michael and tucked into his backpack on a trip to Israel, and flown back to the U.S. Where, they get caught in a rainstorm and come back to life to share adventures with Michael and his family and friends!)

Starting February 16, 2021, the Dead Sea Squirrels Kickstarter campaign begins! Just click on the Kickstarter link below for more information. There is a ton of very cool and fun swag for donors! You can make history as a Founding Backer, helping to bring The Dead Sea Squirrels to life. If 8,000 people each give $25, that would pay for an entire episode of the new video series. (Although you could certainly donate more, or less.) Their goal is to raise just over $1 million, which will enable them to create an entire first season. What would that cover? Animation, production, audio, direction, staff creators…and so much more. All the way to the finished product!

Visit the The Dead Sea Squirrels Kickstarter campaign here


You can also follow The Dead Sea Squirrels on social media! Mike Nawrocki will have huge announcements to make about The Dead Sea Squirrels there. And, please share the links! If you loved Veggie Tales, I know you can certainly see the potential in this video series.


And, watch this entertaining video with Mike Nawrocki, Disney producer Tom Bancroft, and producer Steve Taylor all about the DS Squirrels and the Kickstarter campaign!

The Dead Sea Squirrels Promo Video on Vimeo

This all sounds amazing! But, a caveat: like all Kickstarter campaigns, The Dead Sea Squirrels campaign is open for a limited time only. Here’s the note from Kickstarter: All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, April 1 2021 10:59 PM MDT. So, if you’d love to see an amazing new video series with the quality, joy, and Christ-honoring stories, consider joining the campaign and helping bring The Dead Sea Squirrels to life!



And, how to enter the book set giveaway!

To enter the giveaway to win the book set of The Dead Sea Squirrels, simply click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways. Giveaway ends 2/23/21. One winner will win the book set. Best wishes!

Enter here!


Enjoy…and don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter campaign! –Wren


DISCLOSURE: Disclosure: Many thanks to Momentum Influencers for providing this product/product information for review.  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.

Whis-Kid by Erin Chase– a review of her awesome new cooking curriculum/video series

*affiliate *sponsored

Y’all know how much I love Erin Chase and MyFreezEasy ($5 Dinners). We have used her freezer cooking meal plans and recipes for years, to the delight and good health of my family.

Well, now Erin has come out with a cooking curriculum (what a perfect thing for 2020!) designed for you and your child to use in the kitchen. Jackson and I were able to use this curriculum, and its instruction and recipes, over the summer. He learned some fantastic cooking skills and prepared some delicious meals, all thanks to Erin. Let me tell you more about this excellent currriculum, called Whis-Kid. We received a free copy of Whis-Kid and we put it to good use!



About Whis-Kid

Whis-Kid is a fantastic cooking course that parents teach alongside their kids, with the goal of the children eventually learning to cook on their own (age permitting, of course). The curriculum comes in two versions; either a softcover, comb-bound print book or a digital version, with cooking videos of Erin Chase herself and her sons preparing the meals contained in the book. The course is designed for families to complete ideally over a 4-week period, with meals prepared and then repeated so that kids gain mastery. (However, you can also space the meals and lessons out over a longer period of time, especially if you’re starting it during the school year.) There are 20 recipes (for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) plus an extra Freezer Cooking Prep section.


The book introduces the course with Erin’s words on how the course is laid out, rules and disclaimers (with separate notes for the parents and the kids), and directions on how to use the book and the cooking videos. The cooking videos can be accessed directly from the digital curriculum, and if you’re using the print copy, Erin has included the videos’ web address in the book. The recipes are divided into these categories:

  • Dinner Cooking Lessons (Part 1) with 5 recipes
  • Breakfast Cooking Lessons with 5 recipes
  • Lunch Cooking Lessons with 5 recipes
  • Dinner Cooking Lessons (Part 2) with 5 recipes
  • Freezer Meal Prep Cooking Lesson with 3 recipes

There are recipes for meatless meals, fish, beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. (And bacon!) Each recipe contains the ingredients list, directions, a list of necessary kitchen tools and cookware, and objectives to be learned in the recipe and lesson. Kid cooks will learn: knife skills; how  to cook with shredded chicken; how to assemble a quiche; how to make homemade cheese sauce; broiling; and much more. Videos even include Erin’s fun and humor, her own kids prepping the meals, and extra tips that even seasoned cooks might not have known!


How we used Whis-Kid

My son is an older teen and has had some cooking experience, but he really enjoyed creating unusual and different (read: not our regular) meals, and trying out different recipes. We tweaked the lesson plan just a bit, since Jackson has had experience reading and producing a recipe. (Parents of younger kids will want to follow the book’s directions and repetition more closely, especially for inexperienced kid cooks.) So, as we worked together on the recipes, I served more as Jackson’s assistant, helping him to prep and assemble ingredients and tools. For the most part, he did the cooking and I simply directed him from time to time.



One of Jackson’s favorite recipes was Erin’s Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas. Our family loves Tex-Mex food, but Jackson had never prepared enchiladas before. And while this really is a simple procedure, there is a knack to it that a person learns when they cook enchiladas for the first time.



Jackson learned, in this recipe, how to: prepare enchilada filling; assemble enchiladas; place them correctly in a pan for baking; why and how to add sauce and extra cheese on the top of the enchiladas. He also got practice in: preparing the pan; dealing with a hot oven; using various kitchen tools. It was fun and it was delicious!

Another fave was the Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Pasta Bake.

With this recipe, Jackson learned about: cooking pasta al dente; prepping rotisserie chicken for use in a recipe; using pre-prepped ingredients for cooking; why mozzarella is great for baking with pasta; how to mix ingredients gently for baking.



Now, while I’ve only shown you our experiences with recipes baked in the oven, there are tons of recipes that don’t use the oven; rather, they may be prepared in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. And, you’ll really enjoy the variety of recipes like BBQ Meatball Sliders, Potato Chip Chicken Tenders, Sausage & Hash Brown Quiche, Homemade Mac n Cheese, and much more. We especially loved the tangy Homemade Sloppy Joes!



Our impressions of Whis-Kid

We have adored Erin and her MyFreezEasy meals for years. We love the meals’ simplicity, ease of preparation, variety, and healthfulness. So we really were prepared for great things when we started Whis-Kid. And we were not disappointed!

Jackson truly enjoys the creativity of cooking and he loved not only the recipes but the experiences of making delicious food that our entire family loved. He found the recipes easy to understand and easy to follow. And, he was able to prepare dinner for not only himself but two adults as well!

Here is what I believe kids (and parents!) will gain from using the Whis-Kid curriculum:

  • Self-reliance
  • Self-confidence
  • The knowledge that they can create wonderful meals
  • The ability to use a variety of cooking tools and appliances safely
  • Skills that they will not only use as children in their own homes, but that they’ll be able to carry with themselves anywhere that life takes them
  • Wonderful family times spent cooking together
  • Encouragement that “they can do this!”

We all, so, recommend Whis-Kid to you. I believe you’ll find it truly valuable, and you’ll delight in cooking with your kiddos (and eating the meals they prepare!). We especially valued it during this time of coronavirus. We were eating so many more meals at home, and not only did this give us a huge list of new recipes, it gave Jackson skills, learning, and enjoyment as he cooked for himself and his family.



Where you can purchase Whis-Kid for your own family!

You can access and purchase Whis-Kid (digital or print copy; both come with video lessons) at Erin Chase’s site $5Dinners. The print copy/video price is $27 and the digital cookbook/video price is $17. Both are amazing.


Enjoy! –Wren



In accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service. We may share our honest opinions 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.

Summer Art Camp Fun for Your Kids (and it’s even online!)

I’m sure that many of us are wondering what kinds of fun we can devise for our kids and families in the year of the coronavirus. In our area, there are still some outbreaks happening although for all intents and purposes, the state government is slowly opening up access to businesses. (With caveats, of course, regarding size of groups and social distancing. And masks.) So many of the things we’d normally do during the summertime may be off-limits to us now. But Heather Wombacher has a wonderful idea for you: online art camps for your kids!

About Heather Wombacher and The Apprentice Art Studios

Heather teaches both art and art history online and in person. She focuses on helping students to really see (art, technique, style, and beauty) and to create art in her classes. Her workshops work well alongside the Classical education method and are suited for children in grades K-12. We’ve been fortunate to take Heather’s class on Van Gogh and learned and put in to practice the master artist’s techniques through mark-making, brush strokes, color, and whimsy. She is a kind and loving instructor who will enable your students to learn and create art while enjoying the process.   Wonderful Watercolor Whimsy 101   At The Apprentice Art Studios website, you can find more information about Heather’s classes. She has A La Carte Classes (Collage, Mark Making, Watercolor Whimsy 101) and an Apprentice Masters Atelier. You can even check out her Free Kids Art Video Lesson! All of Heather’s classes are gently, beautifully, and kindly taught. She instructs on artistic technique and materials and helps students celebrate the creativity that God has placed in each of us. I love her teaching style and her classes!    

2020 Art Camps at The Apprentice Art Studio

This summer, your child (or even your entire family!) can take advantage of Heather’s wonderful teaching style and classes packed with creativity in the 2020 Art Camps series. Each class is priced at $75 (or $100 for the entire family) and the classes will be held online via Zoom. There are two classes:

  • Drawing the Golden Ratio is for older students, grade 5 and up. Students will learn about: positive/negative space; sketching vs. drawing; value; face mapping; and more, using a variety of drawing media. This art camp runs from June 22-26, 2020.

  • The Nature of ART camp is geared for students in grades 2 and up. Students will use recycled materials and nature artifacts to create both a nature journal and art pieces. Mandalas, prints, painting with plants, and a clay project are some of the cool art that attendees will create. This art camp will run from July 6-10, 2020.

How to find out more

Just follow this link to Summer 2020 {Camp HeARTful} Camps and scroll to the bottom of the page, to find out more and to register. (You’ll also be able to see a gallery from last year’s camps.) If you are looking for a beautiful, creative art experience for your child or family, you will love Heather’s art camps! You can also visit Heather Wombacher at her website, The Apprentice Art Studio to learn more about her and her art classes. And to see beautiful art! Heather is also on Facebook on The Apprentice Art Studio page.


I hope all of you are hanging in there as we navigate this weird world of pandemic. Stay well and take care!

Enjoy! –Wren