Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

What can I say?  Loved, Loved, Loved this book!  Go read it NOW.

You Did It For Me - Book Review

This children's book by Robert Hug was a cute illustration of how and why we help others. I must admit I had to turn back the pages and check that it was the same character helping each time, as at first I assumed each help vignette was different in a "pay it forward" type illustration. Children may or may not pick up on this before the last two pages. As a Sunday School teacher, I would have found specific biblical verse references helpful for each situation. I know they exist, and the young children I teach take great pride in learning verses and their meanings. All that aside, the book is a good starting point for teaching children about helping others and the joy we can find in it.

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review through LibraryThing Member Giveaways.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Software Reviews

Well, I'm all for getting things at little or no cost, so when the chance to review some software came up, I jumped at it. Let's just say my first experience with free software was that you pretty much get what you pay for. Here are the reviews I turned in.

Berlitz Spanish Premier
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this software in order to review it. I found that this software was most effective for basic learning, such as individual word recognition and pronunciation. The flashcard feature is a great way to self-test. I can see my children using it to practice their school Spanish. However, this is not the software to use if you plan on becoming fluent. The more “advanced” features advertised by the company – conversation practice and feedback – were not as useful. The audio was somewhat difficult to understand, the print often appeared fuzzy on my screen, the actors lacked any emotion in the video stories, and it was not particularly interesting. I speak English and French, and do not feel that this software would be useful beyond getting a basic knowledge of vocabulary and perhaps review for those wishing to refresh their Spanish.

HGTV Home and Landscape
Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this software in order to review it. I can’t even begin to give a comprehensive review of this product, as it is so complicated that it is not worth the time to learn. I am fairly computer savvy, but it took forever just to get my basic room design down. Once that was done, rearranging was a bear. My husband and I reverted to a graph paper template and moved things around by hand and got more out of that method. I can’t recommend this software. ©2010