Honest Toddler: Free Book Giveaway (last day)

HT book cover

Today you can still leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of the new Honest Toddler book.

To enter, simply comment on this blog post with the best (brief) parenting tip you can come up with. Or just say hi. For a second entry, share the link to this post on FB, Twitter, via mind meld, etc., and let me know in the comments section that you did.

I’ll announce the winner tonight. In the meantime, my review of this wonderful, creative, hilarious, and therapeutic book is here.

The Honest Toddler: A Book Review

Being a parent is very simple. There is no reason for you to constantly go to other adults who do not know your toddler for advice or conspiring. What happens at home stays at home. …When it comes to being a good parent, the most important resources are the words that come out of your child’s amazing mouth. If your child is too young to speak, guess accurately on the first try.

–Honest Toddler

Honest Toddler, under the supervision of mom Bunmi Laditan, has now added a full-length book to a popular and cathartic Twitter feed, Facebook page, and blog/Website. I’ve posted quite a bit about HT at Words on the Word already.

Real-life Honest Toddler is a girl, but HT is “asexual,” which makes the whole thing more universal.

And now, s/he has written a parenting guide. The chapter titles alone produce enough laughs to make the book worth the price:

  • Chapter 1: “Why Did You Do That?”: The Ins and Outs of Toddler Behavior and How to Leave It Alone
  • Chapter 5: Sleep: Weaning Yourself Off It
  • Chapter 18: Potty Training Simplified/Eliminated

Bunmi has tapped into the psyches of Every Parent because HT, in all the quirky specifics of his/her behavior, is Every Toddler. (“Give a toddler a rag and a spray bottle, and your house will be sparkling before you know it. First it will be soaking, and your mobile phone may have water damage, but after a thorough wipe-down, the results will please you.”)

This Child’s Guide to Parenting is thorough–HT includes everything from media recommendations (music, books, TV) to hygiene (“leave well enough alone”), from restaurant behavior to grandmas and grandpas (“you should learn as much as possible from your child’s grandparents”). Interspersed between chapters are letters from parents to HT and homework assignments (sample: “Visit the toy store and get all the things. Next, go to a field. Run until nightfall”).

The Honest Toddler is hilarious, brilliantly written, and often pointed in its humor (see: HT’s disdain for Pinterest). I was impressed by how much this little toddler had to say. Although, now that I think about it, my toddlers have always had a lot to say.

The open parent who reads this book will be perhaps re-conditioned: temper tantrums are just “loud responses,” toddler ignoring is simply “selective acknowledgement,” and whining is “a legitimate form of speech.”

Honest Toddler, for all his/her impossible demands (duh), has some great advice. Facebook, for example: “Toddlers are tired of hearing Facebook notifications during story time. We’re sick of having to sit in parked cars, fully strapped in, while you make sure you get the last word on a virtual dispute with an acquaintance. This website is a distraction. Log off. Permanently.” 

Communication: “Did you know that there are more than four hundred different meanings for ‘no’ in Toddler English?” (with a sample chart). Packing for vacation: “There’s no such thing as minimalism when it comes to packing for a trip with small children.”

Readers of HT’s blog, FB, and Twitter feed will recognize some material here (the “toddler-approved recipes” and physics breakdown of car napping), but not much. This is 256 pages of sheer, highly original, creative genius.

There are occasional moments of dark-ish humor (“There’s nothing special about a child [i.e., infant] who can’t go anywhere without a blanket over her legs”), but, then again, this was written by a toddler.

And, HT, if you’re reading: make sure your mom lets you watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. You’ll like it way better than Caillou.

If you’re a parent of a toddler or know one, The Honest Toddler is essential reading, if only to relax and laugh enough to keep one’s head in the game of toddler parenting. (If you’re interested in the possibility of a free copy, I’m giving one away here.)

I have to stop now; my own two-year-old just woke up to join us in watching the late-night basketball game and blogging, and now is requesting–you guessed it–Daniel Tiger and some water.

Many thanks to Scribner (imprint of Simon & Schuster) for the review copy, given to me for the purposes of an honest review. Find the book’s product page here. It’s on Amazon here.

And thanks especially to Bunmi/HT for making me a better parent. Or at least a parent who is able to laugh a little bit more and cry a little bit less as I raise my little ones.

Honest Toddler: Free Book Giveaway

HT book cover

Honest Toddler, under the supervision of mom Bunmi Laditan, has now added a full-length book to a popular and cathartic Twitter feed, Facebook page, and blog/Website. HT’s mom blogs here.

Thanks to Scribner (imprint of Simon & Schuster), Words on the Word has a copy of Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting to give away.

To enter, simply comment on this blog post with the best (brief) parenting tip you can come up with. Or just say hi. For a second entry, share the link to this post on FB, Twitter, via mind meld, etc., and let me know in the comments section that you did.

I’ll announce the winner right here some time next Monday.

And tomorrow I’ll post my review of the book on the book’s official release date. UPDATE: Review is here.

Books for Sale (Word Biblical Commentary, 9 vols., others)

wbcI’m looking to sell 9 volumes of the Word Biblical Commentary set. I’ve listed them (with full condition details) here. If you want to contact me directly about a possible purchase (i.e., not through ebay), feel free to use this form, and we’ll talk. (UPDATE: Books are now sold.)


A few more books for sale:

IVP Bible Background

IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
Like New
ISBN: 978-0830814053
Used just a few times. No markings. In great shape.
$22 (SOLD)


Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG)
for BibleWorks Software
Compatible with BibleWorks 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. I’ve been in touch with BibleWorks to confirm that on completion of sale, one user license transfers to the buyer with no fee, so that you can use BDAG in your BibleWorks. (Must have purchased and own BibleWorks to be able to use this.)
Significant discount from buying new (where it’s $150).
$99 (SOLD)

Ezra Nehemiah BHQ

Ezra and Nehemiah: Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ)
Like New
Taken out of shrink wrap and used just once or twice.
Excellent condition.

$40 (SOLD)

Greek Grammar Wallace

Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
Very Good/Like New
Just some edge and cover wear. Light blue cover as pictured, but same contents as dark blue cover.

Free shipping on all orders. If you’re interested in buying–or just have questions–you can reach me using this form, and we’ll go from there. (I use PayPal; shipping is free only domestically.)

The Handy Guide to New Testament Greek, reviewed

Handy Guide to GNT

Recently my Greek reading has improved due to spending regular time refreshing my memory on verb paradigms, rules of syntax, and so on. The tool I’ve been using is Douglas S. Huffman’s Handy Guide to New Testament Greek (Kregel, 2012). Huffman’s Handy Guide consists of three parts:

  1. Grammar (“Greek Grammar Reminder: With Enough English to Be Manageable”)
  2. Syntax (“Greek Syntax Summaries: With a Few Helps to Be Memorable”)
  3. Diagramming (“Phrase Diagramming: With Enough Results to Be Motivating”)

“A Select Bibliography” concludes the guide and points beginning, intermediate, and advanced Greek readers to grammar texts, reading resources, diagramming helps, and more.

Handy Guide to New Testament Greek joins a number of similar little books already on the market for reviewing and retaining Koine Greek. There is Biblical Greek: A Compact Guide, a helpful and portable distillation of Mounce’s popular grammar. One might also consider Dale Russell Bowne’s Paradigms and Principal Parts for the Greek New Testament, Paul Fullmer and Robert H. Smith’s Greek at a Glance, and even the back of Kubo’s Reader’s Lexicon for its solid summary of Greek grammar with paradigm charts.

How does Huffman’s offering differ? Unlike Paradigms and Principal Parts or Greek at a Glance, the Handy Guide consists of more than simply verb paradigms or noun declension charts. It includes those, but with accompanying explanation along the way. In this regard it is similar to Mounce’s Compact Guide.

Different from Mounce, however, is the lack of any vocabulary-related helps in Huffman. It’s hard to imagine someone wanting a “handy guide” to “New Testament Greek” who doesn’t also want some treatment of vocabulary, which Mounce’s guide accomplishes nicely with its included brief lexicon. Huffman does include information about how words are formed, in his chart on comparative and superlative adjectives, for example:

Huffman Guide sample

But vocabulary is otherwise absent from the guide.

Part 1, “Greek Grammar Reminder,” covers everything from accents and breathing marks to nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verb declensions. (Verb paradigm charts take up the majority of part 1.)

Huffman’s “Verb Usage Guide” (from part 2) contains a refreshing amount of detail on Greek verbs for such a short guide. For example, he lists 20 categories of participles followed by a “Participle Usage Identification Guide” to help readers of Greek texts determine what kind of participle is at hand. Part 2 also explains noun case usage. His explanations of nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative cases are short, clear, and include plenty of examples with Scripture references.

Where Huffman is really unique (and what makes this guide desirable especially for a second-year Greek student or pastor) is in his part 3 on diagramming. He briefly treats “technical diagramming” (the kind some of us had to do for English in 5th grade–showing syntactical relationships at the word level) and arcing, then moves into a rich, 22-page description of “phrase diagramming,” which looks like this:

Huffman, p. 103 (1 Peter 1:3-4)
Huffman, p. 103 (1 Peter 1:3-4)

The goal of this kind of diagramming is “to grasp the writer’s general flow of thought and argument, which he has expressed in particular words and sentences” (85). Huffman’s eight steps to phrase diagramming explain the process so that even a beginner can understand it well. His “Special & Problem Issues” section is the icing on the cake of part 3.

The guide is truly “handy”; it fits nicely together with a Greek New Testament, so one can keep it close at hand. The color-coding in the paradigms is done well, so that verb endings stand out for an easy refresher course.

An unfortunate and fairly noticeable drawback to this guide, in my view, is in the layout and color scheme. The orange theme, as attractive as it looks on the cover (pictured above), gets to be an eyesore after looking at more than a page or two. It’s too bright to read comfortably, and there are charts with at least four different shades of orange.

When there is Greek in black font (in grammatical category explanations), it looks great. But the Greek in the charts in orange has a fuzzy or slightly blurry, pixelated appearance. There are also quite a few charts that are in landscape orientation (rather than the default portrait orientation), so that the reader has to flip the book sideways. That alone would not be a huge deal, but the orange was distracting to me.

Hopefully there will be demand for future printings, and hopefully future printings will make the layout and fonts more useable. And despite the omission of vocabulary, this guide has great content. Resources on sentence and phrase diagramming for Greek are few and far between, but Huffman’s guide covers that territory well, and having that coupled with quick-reference charts will help just about anyone seeking to retain and improve their biblical Greek.

Kregel sent me a copy of the book for review. Its product page is here, and it’s on Amazon here. The Table of Contents are here (pdf); read an excerpt here (pdf).

Five Kids’ Magazines We Enjoy

Here are five children’s magazines we particularly enjoy reading to our two-year-old and five-year-old:

High Five

5. High Five

“My First Hidden Pictures” and “That’s Silly!” are two favorite features of the magazine. It says it’s for ages 2 to 6, but it’s hard to imagine any two-year-old tracking with it. Better for slightly older kids.

Ranger Rick Jr

4. Ranger Rick, Jr.

It comes from the National Wildlife Federation. Given our five-year-old’s penchant for all things animal kingdom, this one is a hit. Today we learned from the April 2013 issue that giant tortoises can live to be 150 years old. Whoa.


3. Ladybug

From the Cricket Magazine Group, Ladybug is the next age level up from Babybug (see below). Max and Kate are a fun ongoing storyline each month. Our five-year-old transitioned to this a year or more ago when he was getting too old for Babybug.

click magazine

2. Click

The awesomeness of this magazine caught us all unaware–I’d never heard of it before a grandparent-sponsored subscription began arriving in the mail. The March 2013 issue theme is “The deep blue sea.” Our five-year-old did the “make a fish” project on his own right away, with some scissors and glue. The magazine’s “Ocean Zones” section this month introduced us to the sunlight zone, the twilight zone, and the midnight zone, each of which support interesting and diverse kinds of life.

I just found out that Click is part of the same family as Ladybug and as…


1. Babybug

Babybug is really sweet. It is “for babies who love to be read to and for the adults who love to read to them.” (It’s good for toddlers, too.) Kim and Carrots is a favorite each month, and always seems to be appropriately themed for the time of year. Simple yet engaging illustrations go with memorable and fun-to-read poetry. No part of the magazine is more than three pages, so not a long attention span is required. It’s not uncommon for us to ask our two-year-old to pick some books to read, and for him to come to us with three Babybugs.

(It’s also not uncommon for me to walk in to the living room from the back of the house and see my five-year-old curled up on the couch with a New Yorker.)

How about any of you who regularly read to children? What magazines do you recommend?

Who is the author of Honest Toddler? Identity revealed…

HT book cover

Her name is Bunmi Laditan. As recently as a week ago, the author of the forthcoming Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting was “anonymous.” But now the book cover (above, from Amazon) shows that HT is “written under the supervision of Bunmi Laditan.” Awesome. I’ve been curious about this since reading HT, as have hundreds of thousands of others. Here is her bio from the HT Google Books page:

BUNMI LADITAN started her first media company at age eighteen. Soon after, she launched and sold a social networking site geared toward moms and began a social media agency, working with Fortune 500 companies. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering and iVillage.com, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics have often gone viral. In May 2012, she created The Honest Toddler, a character based on her youngest child. She lives with her family near Montreal.

Love it. It looks like she’s just started her own blog, too, which I plan to read regularly. See, too, if you notice another difference in the cover above compared to what was on Amazon when I posted here.

I’ll be reviewing the book as soon as it comes out. Read much more about it (including the table of contents) here at HT’s blog.

Bunmi, thank you. Thank you for HT and for the laughter that little toddler has brought. You live far away, but if you ever want to bring HT over for a play-date, our 2-year-old will be happy to lead an expedition to the beach… or to the fridge.

UPDATE 5/6/13: Go here for a chance to win a free copy of Honest Toddler.

UPDATE 2: I review Honest Toddler here.

The Honest Toddler, available for pre-order

The Honest Toddler book

Yes, that image is the book cover of the upcoming Honest Toddler book, which you can now pre-order on Amazon. So excited to read it.

By the way, if you click on the image or link above, Amazon gives Words on the Word a small commission, so feel free to use that link if you’re going to get it anyway. Speaking of WotW, this blog’s url has dropped the wordpress.com ending and is now just abramkj.com. (Old posts automatically re-direct.)

Who is Honest Toddler? In the bio on the book’s Amazon page, we finally learn a few things about the writer behind HT:

The author was raised in the Bay Area. She started her first media company at age eighteen while attending Long Beach State University. Soon after, she launched and sold a social networking site geared toward moms and began a social media agency, working with Fortune 500 companies. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering, and iVillage.com, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics have often gone viral. In May 2012, she created Honest Toddler, a character based on her youngest child. She lives with her family outside of Montreal.

But it’s still by “Anonymous.”

Looking forward to more sage counsel from the most stress-relieving writer on parenting I’ve read.

Psalms of Lament (for “Scalding Tears”)

Psalms of Lament

Psalms of Lament is a heartbreakingly beautiful collection of poetry. Weems alarmingly yet assuringly gets right down to business in her Preface:

This book is not for everyone. It is for those who weep and for those who weep with those who weep. It is for those whose souls struggle with the dailiness of faithkeeping in the midst of life’s assaults and obscenities. This book is for those who are living with scalding tears running down their cheeks.

Her Psalms are for those whose experiences are “painful, too painful for any of us to try fitting our souls into ten correct steps of grieving.” They come from experience: Weems unexpectedly lost her son (“the stars fell from my sky”) just after his 21st birthday.

Drawing on the great biblical lament tradition, Weems writes lament psalms of her own. David’s familiar structure of

“How can you leave me like this, God?”–>”Yet I will trust you”

is on display throughout the collection. As personal as Weems’s psalms are, like David’s and Jeremiah’s laments, they are universal and could be prayed by anyone who is lamenting.

If you read with an open heart, Weems’s laments can evoke tears at nearly every line. And it’s a profound Godward lament in which she engages: “Anger and alleluias careen around within me, sometimes colliding.” There’s no bitterness here, but neither is there a naïve attempt to placate reality (as if we could!) with boring pseudo-truths like, “Everything happens for a reason,” or, “God took her away because he needed her for his heavenly choir.” Here is Lament Psalm Twelve, one of the starker and more personal psalms, in its entirety:

O God, what am I going to do?
He’s gone–and I’m left
with an empty pit in my life.
I can’t think.
I can’t work.
I can’t eat.
I can’t talk.
I can’t see anyone.
I can’t leave my house.
Nothing makes any sense.
Nothing seems worth doing.

How could you have allowed this to happen?
I thought you protected your own!
You are the power:
Why didn’t you use it?
You are the glory,
but there was no glory in his death.
You are justice and mercy,
yet there was no justice, no mercy for him.
In his death there is no justice for me.

O God, what am I going to do?
I’m begging you to help me.
At least you could be merciful.
O God, I don’t remember a time
when you were not my God.
Turn back to me;
you promised.
Be merciful to me;
you promised.
Heal me;
you promised.
My heart is broken.
My mind is broken.
My body is broken.
Nothing works anymore.
Unless you help me
nothing will ever work again.

O Holy One, I am confident
that you will save me.
You are the one
who heals the brokenhearted
and binds their wounds.
You are the power
and the glory;
you are the justice
and mercy.
You are my God forever.

The six “I can’t” statements (“I can’t think. I can’t work. I can’t eat. I can’t talk. I can’t see anyone. I can’t leave my house.) evoke the monotony and hopelessness that the grieving one feels. Yet three times: you promised… you promised… you promised. Given the way the poem begins, the last stanza seems almost out of place. But it’s a move David made (forced himself to make) in his Psalms.

I only wonder if those who grieve will be ready to pray along to the end of each psalm with Weems, as her laments so often end with an affirmation of God’s promises. For those whose grief is acute, fresh, and numbing, such prayers may at the moment be impossible.

Yet Weems gives us language for when we need it most, for when words of any kind are impossible. A person in the throes of grief not yet be able to say, “Alleluias spin in my heart!” But she or he may want to be able to make such affirmations, if not now, then eventually. Weems offers wording for the griever to attempt that journey. In so doing she provides a pattern for lament that is true to the biblical tradition, true to life.

Psalms of Lament 2Psalms of Lament is a gift to the Church and to those who grieve. Pastors, campus ministers, youth ministers, and worship leaders would all do well to have copies on hand. While Weems seems to have composed her laments with the individual in view, I’m intrigued by the possibility of reading and praying these psalms in corporate worship settings. A funeral or a Sunday after a tragedy would be particularly appropriate times. Yet if we consider, as Weems notes, the possibility of weeping with those who weep, those who pray would do well not to wait until a tragedy to employ these psalms.

Weems’s prayers floored me. I had turned to her before. As I read her again I never made it very far without choking back tears. (In my better moments, I gave up on trying to choke them back.) The tears Weems evokes, though, are not just tears of sadness, but tears of hope in the God who “will put the stars back in the sky.”

Thanks to Westminster John Knox Press for the review copy. I am confident I’ll want to pick up additional copies of Psalms of Lament for others. You can preview a good deal of the book at Google Books here.