Ruth Ann Adams

5 X Mama: Travel Tales, Faith Stories and Children's Literature

Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

5 X Mama, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Head Shot   I looked at my young daughter, her stomach artistically decorated with bright markers. There was no doubt in my mind as to what had inspired her. The night before, we had read Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert Munsch, a children’s story  in which the heroine, Brigid, “…colored her belly-button blue. And that was so pretty, she colored herself all sorts of colors almost entirely all over.” The artwork faded from my daughter’s skin, but  her passion for books continued.  Now, as an adult in her twenties, Andrea  devours books, even if she refrains from plastering her belly-button with markers!

As a 5 X Mama, with four daughters and one son, I am convinced that one of the most important things you can do for your children is to read to them. Books have always played a huge role in my own life. My mother said, that as a child, I carried a book with me on outings, instead of a doll. Libraries were like treasures mines, complete with enticing covers, intriguing titles and dramatic tales. By the time I was eleven, I managed to talk the children’s librarian of our local library into hiring me as a page, to put books away and do other small duties. Finally, I entered the classroom as an   English teacher, sharing novels, poems and drama with teenagers, before embarking on another exciting career, as a 5 X Mama. Naturally, books were right, left and centre in our home.

My husband shared  my passion. When our babies were born, he read and re-read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, while he rocked fussy infants to sleep, and generously gave me some rest. Then when they were older – but not much older – he read the trilogy to them. When our youngest daughter turned 18 last November, her older sister, who once coloured her tummy-button, did much of the work planning a surprise Lord of the Rings theme party for her, complete with costumes, decorations and special food such as “orc pudding.”  My husband, dressed up as Gandalph, read to his now adult children, from one of Tolkien’s books.

All of our lives we tell ourselves stories, and we share those stories with others. Words have the unique ability to create, to empower, and ultimately to determine the course of our days. When children hear a wide variety of stories, the possibilities for creative and imaginative excursions are endless. Through stories, children learn how to respond intelligently and sensitively to the many influences and circumstances of their lives. They learn to look beyond themselves to the needs of others and to relate compassionately to people different from themselves.

In  5 X Mama, one of my goals is to share some of the wonderful stories I enjoyed with my own children, as well as to explore newer books. The possibilities are endless and in this age of digital distractions, it is perhaps more important than ever, that books make an immediate and emphatic presence in children’s lives. Besides all of this, reading books with children is just plain fun and gives parents, grandparents and educators opportunities to connect and converse, that would perhaps otherwise be lost.

the mothers day mice

An enchanting Mother’s Day book to share with your little ones is The Mother’s Day Mice by Eve Bunting. Three mice, Biggest, Middle and Little, go on a private adventure to find just the right gift for their mother. In spite of courting near disaster with a cat, each finds something special. Little discovers the best gift within himself  and in a spirit of generosity says that his present is from them all! Jan Brett’s detailed and colourful illustrations perfectly complement the text.

Do you have books you treasured as a child or enjoy reading to your children? I would love to hear about them! Have a memorable and blessed Mother’s Day!

Disclaimer: Copies of books discussed are my own or from the library, unlessotherwise stated.


Written by Ruth Ann Adams

May 9, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Tadeo Turtle by Janis Cox

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51nYhveE+AL._SL500_AA300_Tadeo is a happy and contented turtle, pleased with how God has created him, until he observes the activities of Sammy Squirrel. Suddenly, Tadeo views his most unique feature, his shell or carapace, as a burden. He wants to be like Sammy and his shell is definitely in the way!

Canadian author and illustrator, Janis Cox, in her breathtaking  picture book, Tadeo Turtle, weaves a classic tale of adventure and self discovery. The simple plot line is high paced and the water colour illustrations enchantingly beautiful. The names of the major characters are  in  bold type, making it easy for young children to identify them.

Tadeo Turtle is designed for home schooling, Sunday School, Christian schools and individual use. Janis Cox is a retired elementary school teacher and teaches, as well as entertains. In addition to the story, she provides an activity section which contains craft ideas and research facts and links. A detailed curriculum is also available on Janis’s website:

Tadeo’s name is acquired from the name, Thaddeus, which means “heart” or “praise.”  After a close encounter with a cat, Tadeo undergoes a heart and attitude adjustment, and is thankful to God for creating him exactly as he is. Both children and adults can relate to the timeless messages of gratitude and self acceptance.

Order a copy of Tadeo Turtle  at Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Chapters.

Written by Ruth Ann Adams

March 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Trees of the Book by Kimberley Payne

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540960_492598240776469_642487069_nDid you know that trees are traditionally “symbols of success,” that the prophet, Elijah, hid under a broom tree, or that a mustard tree is fully grown in approximately 40 days?

Canadian author, Kimberley Payne, in her outstanding 14 page activity book, Trees of the Book, allows seven trees of the Bible to tell their personal  stories.

“Hi, I’m a oak tree,” the first tree explains. The oak, cedar, broom, mustard, fig, sycamore and palm  trees describe their settings and significance in well known Biblical narratives. Included in each short chapter are also “Fast Facts,” “Think About” questions,  references to additional Bible verses and fun and informative activities.

After the trees have their say, Kimberley Payne helpfully provides project ideas and activity solutions,  plus a glossary and “People of the Bible” section to define bold type,  highlighted words.

The text is well supported by the beautiful art work of illustrator, Esther Haug. She uses bright  colours and extremely clear details to educate and entertain.

Trees of the Book, written for 7 to 9 year olds, is an excellent resource for home, school or church use. A Sunday School or Vacation Bible School could successfully plan a unit around the trees, their stories and the suggested activities. Trees are universal in their appeal and this is a book to be enjoyed  by children, parents and educators.

Kimberley Payne is a well known author of family, devotional and fitness books, including the award winning devotional, Where Fitness Meets Faith.

Trees of the  Book is available at Amazon/Chapters/Barnes and Noble.

Written by Ruth Ann Adams

March 5, 2013 at 3:04 am