Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

Authors Fitzpatrick and Thompson use a Christian approach to discussing difficult topics with our children in their new book Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions. I didn’t quite know what to expect from this book but I was pleased with the thoughtful, organized discussion the authors presented about the following topics: sin, death, Satan, hell, divorce, difficult Bible stories, sexual sin, natural disasters, and murder.

I really liked the introductory chapter that explains why it is so important parents take time to talk with children about difficult issues and help them understand those issues through age-appropriate explanations. While Fitzpatrick and Thompson’s Christian theology differs in some respects from mine or other religious traditions, they provide a useful framework to approach these difficult issues from a religious, God centered perspective. They invite us to use their suggested approaches with the explanations that complement our own individual religious persuasions.

The organization Fitzpatrick and Thompson used was excellent for reading from cover to cover or using as a quick reference guide. Each chapter begins with a general discussion of that chapter’s topic and is followed by a “Talking to Your Kids” section that gives suggested explanations for different ages which the authors suggest you adapt to the needs of your children. I thought the chapter “Why Does God Let Natural Disasters Happen” was insightful, and it gave me a fresh perspective on that topic.

Overall, I was impressed by the thoughtful, concise way that Fitzpatrick and Thompson presented their ideas. Bethany House sent me a complimentary book of Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson to review.

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A Match of Wits by Jen Turano

I don’t know what I was expecting after reading the cover of A Match of Wits by Jen Turano, but I didn’t anticipate a pet pig as part of the plot, which seemed over the top. Turano presents a variety of characters in her new book which are entertaining and strong in their own ways, but I found Agatha and Zayne, the main characters a bit exaggerated.

The storyline of A Match of Wits held my attention well enough and I really thought some of backup characters like Mr. Blackheart and Drusilla were well-developed and believable. Piper was entertaining and helpful in her own way, but her conversation was too mature and formal for an eight year old.

While Turano’s story had some delightful moments, most of the book’s humor was derived from the ridiculous antics of Agatha coupled with Zayne’s egotistical responses to her behavior rather than witty, adult conversation among the main characters. Turano is an excellent writer but I finished her novel wishing there had been a bit more depth to her main characters.

Overall, A Match of Wits was not bad, but it was not my favorite. Bethany House sent me a complimentary book of A Match of Wits by Jen Turano to review.