Book Review: Your New Job Title Is "Accomplice" by Scott Adams

Your New Job Title Is "Accomplice": A Dilbert Book

Your New Job Title Is “Accomplice” by Scott Adams is the 40th book compiling the adventures of Dilbert in cubicle-land. Ever since Scott Adams started drawing Dilbert in the late 80’s, it’s resonated with office workers everywhere. We can see a lot of our lives in the day to day challenges Dilbert faces. We see workers finding every excuse to leave early and escape meetings, relate to the adventures many of us seem to have with outsourcing, and people in charge who just don’t understand what their employees do.

If you haven’t read Dilbert before and work in an office with cubicles, you’re missing out. Go to www.dilbert.com right now and catch up a little bit. If you have read the comic strips before, you know that this book will be more strips poking fun at life in corporate America. That doesn’t mean that the material becomes old or re-used. There’s always something new to laugh at in our corporate lives (and sadly, relate to as well).

My take: If you’re a Dilbert fan, you’ll enjoy this. There’s a chance you’ve already read the strips, even, but that doesn’t make them less funny reading them again. It’s a fun read and helps us realize that we’re not alone in our work life.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on anyone’s part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: Camp ABC: A Place for Outdoor Fun by Zora and David Aiken

Camp ABC: A Place for Outdoor Fun

Camp ABC: A Place for Outdoor Fun is a short picture book aimed at children younger than 6 that gives 26 ideas about what can be done outside. This follows the letters of the alphabet and includes animal-spotting, canoeing, and so on. It’s definitely designed for early readers to correlate letters of the alphabet with different outdoor activities. This book is designed to be read together with a parent as some of the words are definitely beyond an early reader. The illustrations are reasonable for this style of book and I think they’d be appealing to younger readers following along.

My Thoughts: I think that there could have been better activities to correspond to some of the letters. There seemed to be a lot of examples involving boating. While that can be fun, I think that a little more variety instead of canoeing, kayaking, and rowing (for example) could have been used, especially with the book being so short. I don’t have a child at home that fits the target age range, but if I did I could see this being something we could read together. Our family likes camping so this would be a good fit for us. If your family doesn’t do much outdoors, you might use this to get some ideas of things to try, but it likely wouldn’t be a good fit otherwise.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy with no expectations on the part of the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young

I Hate Picture Books by Timothy Young is a relatively short illustrated book aimed at the young reader just growing out of the “picture book” phase. We are introduced to our protagonist who exclaims at great length about how much he hates picture books and how ridiculous they are. Mr. Young throws out some great reminders of our childhood favorites, including Green Eggs and Ham, Are You My Mother, and others. Many books show up throughout the story in the background, which will bring a smile to parents. Some of the situations given are silly enough to get a laugh out of younger readers. The ending is very appropriate for the story and will get a smile from parents reading this with their children.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this. It’s short, but well illustrated. I could pick out several favorite picture books throughout this book, which made it more enjoyable. I shared it with my kid, who is older than the target audience, and she enjoyed it. It won’t be her favorite book, but she caught the references and laughed at the silly parts. I’d say this is definitely worth a read for kids who are on the verge of outgrowing picture books. It reminds us of the silliness of those books, but also the things that make us love them.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on behalf of the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced in any way by someone else.

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Book Review: The Action Bible Handbook by David C. Cook

The Action Bible Handbook: A Dictionary of People, Places, and Things

The Action Bible Handbook by David C. Cook is the companion to The Action Bible. It’s a dictionary for those reading the Action Bible to help them understand the people, places, events, and beings discussed in the Bible. It’s arranged alphabetically by topic. The details are sufficient to help children understand a little more about what’s going on, giving details about the people, history, or events as appropriate. There are links provided to both The Action Bible and to the verses in other Bibles.

There are a handful of illustrations throughout the book. Because this book is designed as a dictionary more than something to sit down and read, the pictures are all well done, but limited to one every page or two. The definitions sometimes give several examples, such as the definition for Diseases. Other times, they just provide the basics, such as with Donkeys. The references sometimes are a bit broad, such as entire books of the Bible, but more often point to specific chapters or verses.

My Take: I like this as a Bible Dictionary resource for children. The amount of detail is just right for them to better understand the terms they’ll come across in the Bible. I do see a couple of things that felt missing to me. Maps just don’t seem to show up at all. For those of us in America, it’s hard to relate to the places as easily. Showing some of those locations and why that location is important would have been a nice to have in some cases. I was also a little disappointed that for as many Biblical names as the dictionary includes, there was no pronunciation guide for those names. That would be really helpful for times when we hit a really unfamiliar name. Overall, though, I liked the resource. Those issues are minor compared to the value the book does provide.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on anyone’s part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: The Action Bible Devotional by Jeremy Jones

The Action Bible Devotional: 52 Weeks of God-Inspired Adventure

The Action Bible Devotional by Jeremy Jones contains 52 devotions based on The Action Bible. Each devotional section contains a selection from The Action Bible in graphic novel format, a key verse, a look at how this applies to our lives today, some activities to bring it all together, some questions, and a place to write what you’ve learned. Finally there’s an application to share what you’ve learned with others or to focus on the bigger picture.

The verses come from the New Living Translation of the Bible. The book is well illustrated with a great graphic novel format to highlight the passages in the Bible. They tell enough of the story to capture the important points without becoming inappropriate for kids. This doesn’t replace actual Bible reading, but can be a great resource to do some weekly devotions as a family or even individually. The order of the devotional readings seems to be based on the traditional ordering of the books in the Bible, not the actual historical order.

My Take: I really like this format for devotional readings for kids. Even for adults, I think there’s enough to think about in the questions that it’s worth reading with your family. The stories tie in well with the devotional reading and I really like the way they are tied to our modern lives. I wouldn’t get into the habit of using The Action Bible or this devotional in place of regular Bible reading, but I can see this being a useful supplement to help with regular reading.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on anyone’s part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: The Missing Cuckoo Clock by Lynda Beauregard

The Missing Cuckoo Clock: A Mystery about Gravity

The Missing Cuckoo Clock by Lynda Beauregard is the 5th in the Summer Camp Science Mystieries series of books. Here we join the kids at Camp Dakota and meet our newest camper, Megan. We learn more about gravity throughout the book, starting with how gravity powers a cuckoo clock.

Throughout the book, we see the kids being kids – doing the sort of things that kids would do at summer camp. They swim, and we learn about center of gravity. We learn a bit about how gravity can compress our spines throughout the day as Megan learns she isn’t tall enough to ride a horse. The kids make a gravity-powered clock using water and some cups. We even learn a bit about how gravity affects everything the same, though other properties such as surface area can work to counteract those effects.

The book is well illustrated – definitely a graphic novel as opposed to just a comic book. The key points are called out in a separate panel to draw attention to them, but never in a long, drawn-out way. The explanations work well for the elementary-aged target group and the book is filled with small bits of humor to keep the kids entertained. It’s not a long read, but introduces some basic concepts of gravity and physics to kids. There are some experiments and questions at the end of the book to help the readers solidify their understanding or to try out some of the concepts.

My Take: I think this is a pretty good resource for younger kids to start learning some basics of gravity. It’s not a text book, but if this is something that the kids need to understand, it can be an aid to get them interested to learn more about it in a fun manner. I actually look forward to reading through some more of this series. They’re short reads, entertaining, and I think well-produced for this age group.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on anyone’s part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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Book Review: The Legend of Zelda–Hyrule Historia by Shigeru Miyamoto

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Shigeru Miyamoto is a very thorough history of Zelda, Link, and all of the villains and characters they meet throughout the ages. The team put together all sorts of stories to work all of the various Legend of Zelda games into a larger history of Hyrule and the surrounding lands. There’s a timeline to help the readers get a better handle on when each game takes place, including an alternate timeline depending on whether Link wins or loses key battles.

If you’re a fan of the Legend of Zelda games, this is worth at least perusing. You’ll get some behind the scenes looks at the games as they were developed, but the majority of the material focuses on Hyrule’s history and population. Who are the main villains of each age? Why are they acting the way they do? Who rises up to stop them and how? How does this fit in the bigger picture? The book includes the earliest game, The Legend of Zelda, and includes the most recent release at the time of this writing, Skyward Sword.

The book is filled with graphics and illustrations – characters in different portraits, maps, screenshots of the games, and some backstory on the major events/characters. This is not in any way a game guide so if you want help in your games, you’ll need to look elsewhere. If you want to know more about why different decisions were made, see the evolution of the games, or just learn how everything fits together, this is a good resource.

My Take: I enjoy the Zelda series, but will admit that I have in no way played every game, let alone beat all of them. I managed to win the first game, but the second game in the series was frustrating even before I met Shadow Link, and I just haven’t had time to play enough since then to make any serious headway. I did enjoy the behind the scenes looks at the various games and how all of them fit together. I was even reminded about some of the games I’d forgotten or missed along the way. It’s a fun read. I don’t know that I’d buy a copy for myself, but I can see this being good for fans of the game. I’d highly recommend reading the actual book over the eBook, just because of the number of illustrations. You won’t have the best experience on a smaller screen.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a preview copy of this book with no expectations on anyone’s part. The opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by anyone else.

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