Alicia Van Hecke

Famous Figures of Ancient Times

Author(s): 
Cathy Diez-Luckie

This is a fun and colorful book of cut-out paper dolls that you assemble with small brads or brass fasteners (available from an office supply store), allowing the arms and legs to be moved and posed.
The book is printed on heavy cardstock (with perforated pages for easy removal) and there are two copies of each paper doll – one in full color and one ready to be colored.

The Story of Saint Perpetua

Author(s): 
Mike Aquilina (script consultant)

This short animated film (32 minutes) tells the story of Saint Perpetua and her companions, who were martyred in Carthage, in North Africa, in the year 203. The animation is good, the best of any Catholic animated films I've seen, though not reaching the quality of The Prince of Egypt. The storyline, however, is quite rich and historically detailed and skillfully brings to life the sorrows and fears, hopes and joys, present in the life and struggles of these martyrs, and the early Church in general.

Herodotus and the Road to History

Author(s): 
Jeanne Bendick

This is a brief, engaging and heavily illustrated biography of the world's first historian. Herodotus lived in the Greek city of Halicarnassus in the Persian empire during the 5th century BC. His situation and personality put him an ideal place to tell the fascinating stories of the Persian Wars (think Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis) and to travel extensively and collect stories from all over. His original writings are a fascinating read for upper high school or college.

The Saving Name of God the Son

Author(s): 
Jean Ann Sharpe

Bethlehem Books has just released the first in a set of three new board books on the Blessed Trinity. This first one is about God the Son and it's gorgeous! Each page has a lovely painting by early Renaissance artist Fra Angelico, illustrating a scene from the Life of Christ. The paintings are accompanied by short, rich text that speaks of who Jesus is. It's a very quick read, just a few lines per page, but thoughtfully put together and one that can be reflected on over and over again.

Nurture Shock

Author(s): 
Po Bronson
Ashley Merryman

NurtureShock is a parenting book with a strong scientific foundation that's designed to have a big impact on breaking some of society's misguided conventions regarding parenting and education; which looks to be an exceptionally good thing. It focuses on a number of issues relating to parenting and education in which good science shows us a different view from current cultural assumptions.

Here's a small sampling from the Introduction which will give you a little sense of what the authors' intentions and attitudes are:

Around the Year Once Upon a Time Saints

Author(s): 
Ethel Pochocki
Illustrator(s): 
Ben Hatke

This is a lovely gem of a book, covering about thirty saints, organized according to the calendar year, by their feast day. Like her previous publications from Bethlehem Books (Once Upon a Time Saints and More Once Upon a Time Saints), these stories are intended to capture the essence of holy men and women through the sometimes fantastical stories that are likely to capture the imagination of young children. Here is what the author wrote about her own stories:

Beginnings

Author(s): 
Lori Ann Watson
Illustrator(s): 
Shennen Bersani

This is a lovely picture book about, naturally, beginnings. The simple but descriptive storyline, along with vibrant illustrations, take you through signs of new things - like a tomato plant, a tree and a thunderstorm. These capture the beauty of different aspects of God's creation, but only show the simple ways that we see what's coming next.

There's a Frog in My Throat

Author(s): 
Loreen Leedy
Pat Street

This is a clever, very colorful picture book with a simple purpose. It illustrates, with funny little cartoon illustrations, hundreds (440 to be exact) of common expressions in the English language that involve animals, such as:

"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
"Mad as a hornet."
"I have butterflies in my stomach."
"You're putting the cart before the horse."

A short definition of the phrase's meaning is also included.

How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear?

Author(s): 
Brian P. Cleary
Illustrator(s): 
Brian Gable

Do you know what homonyms and homophones are? If not, this book will certainly help you understand them. With clever writing and silly cartoon illustrations (and a somewhat obnoxious typeface), they give many clever and memorable examples of each.

Here's a small sampling of text from each of the two segments:

Homonyms are words that sound and also look alike.

But they have different meanings, as in "Can you pass that can, Mike?"

Or "May I sail with you in May and coast along the coast?

My Mass Kit

This is a sweet Mass Kit designed for little fingers (ideal for toddlers and preschoolers). It's made of fabric with cleverly weighted bases and includes a chalice, paten (with a hidden pouch that holds little foam "hosts"), cruets, "candles", a censer, crucifix and two cloths (corporal and purificator) all packaged rather nicely in a zip-up case (with a long carrying strap) that doubles as an altar.

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