Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: The Big Pig Stampede

One of my favorite places is the bargain book table. I love going through the stacks of books that seem to just not be popular enough, or perhaps too popular at some point, and just need to clear the shelf space they are taking up. I've found some real gems at deep discounts. One of my most recent finds was "The Big Pig Stampede" by Bob Hartman.

This book follows the misadventures of 'Goat Boy' the son of a travelling merchant in Judea. Goat Boy, along with Bug and Bug's cousin Lump, travel with their fathers setting up shop to sell their various wares from village to village. Life is pretty routine for them until one day a friend of Bug's who is serving at a big wedding tells them the party has run out of wine. The boys gather up all the wine their father's have to sell and run off to the banquet. Once they get there however, they are told there is plenty of wine because a rabbi named Jesus turned a whole bunch of water into the best wine anyone had ever had.

This is but one adventure their little group has as their fathers decide to follow Jesus where ever he goes because where Jesus go, the crowds go and crowds mean customers.

The book is entertaining to say the least but also gives a very interesting perspective on the ministry of Jesus through the eyes of a young boy who is just going about life. In my opinion, Hartman has done a very good job at weaving a story kids can relate to with the events found in the Gospel clearly seen in the background. One could easily launch from each chapter of this book into the appropriate Gospel account. The book is also easy to read and would be accessible to any child starting to read basic chapter books.

All that to say, this is a book that certainly rises above the bargain table.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: Tech-wise Family

As a parent, I'm concerned about what my kids are exposed to and how they learn to interact with the world around them. As someone who is quite tech-savvy and worked in the tech sector, I am also very familiar with what is out there and what my kids could get into. How technology is shaping our culture needs to shape our parenting. 

This book is very easy to read and filled with wonderful wisdom. Crouch does a good job at laying out the issues technology creates in our lives and provides easy to remember (though at times hard to implement) guidelines for keeping technology in its place. I very much appreciated the intro and way Crouch differentiates between tools and technology. He also makes a great distinction between leisure and rest. I think the book is worth reading, just for understanding those distinctions.

After the introduction, the book is broken up into short chapters, each unpacking one of their family's tech-wise commitments. Now each family will be different and some of these will be harder than others. What I really appreciated about these was the reality check at the end of each chapter where Crouch admits where their family falls short of this. This admission of not quite being there but wanting to be, adds a dimension of genuineness and encouragement. 

This is a book that I will most definately be recommending widely and will be a part of our family's toolkit as we walk through life.

(I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing for review purposes)