Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace

by Adam C. Veile

When I first started reading The Dreamcatcher Adventures I thought it was yet another middle grade novel about a wimpy 7th grader in a very common middle school with bullies, mean girls and a miserable life. In other words: nothing new. But I was very wrong. By the end of the first chapter I could see that I liked the direction this story was going. Blake is, like I said, a seventh grader, living in New Buck Hills. His school life is not exciting, the girl he likes doesn’t like him and (of course) is dating the most popular and rich kid in town. To top all that, Blake learns that his family is about to lose their home to foreclosure. And that's when he meets Gray Monroe, his ancestor, who has come back from the other side (yes, THAT other side) with the mission to catch the Moore Gang, his enemies in the 1800’s. Blake and Gray will take us in a gripping and exciting pursuit through the Wild West, looking for a ransom, clues and evil ghostly cowboys.
The Dreamcatcher Adventures: Greedy Jack Wallace is an action-packed new western adventure, equally engaging for kids and grown-ups. From ghost towns to buffalo stampedes, pacing and rhythm is just fantastic. There’s action in each and every one of its chapters and it never gets boring. Adam C. Veile is a heck of a writer as he manages to engage people with a language that is easily readable and intelligent at the same time.  I read it with my 9 year old son. He just loved the book. I think Mr. Veil has won a new fan as he’s told me he can’t wait to read the next book in the series (yes, he’ll be getting a paperback copy of this book for his birthday next month).
I highly recommend this book for anyone but especially middle graders; it will be a smart and captivating reading.
Mariana Llanos
ADAM C. VEILE lives in Jefferson City Missouri. He discovered his
passion for writing in a creative writing class in High School. Adam graduated in English and Communications from Missouri  State University. He currently teaches online writing courses for Columbia College and works for his family business Comunique, Inc. In his free time he likes to write and wander.
*I received a free PDF copy from the author in an exchange for a honest opinion.

*This blog is affiliated to the Amazon Affiliate Program

Monday, June 17, 2013

REVIEW: "hi, My nAMe is MiLLY"

by Heather Zeissler

In “Hi, my name is Milly”, author Heather Zeissler tells us about the difficulties and challenges of living with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Through the eyes of Milly, a typical curious and funny 5 years old we learn about Malcolm, her little brother who lives with this disorder. Milly tells us of their close relationship and the ways she plays with him and helps him communicate.
In the United States alone there are thousands of children affected by CAS and its diagnosis is known to be on the rise. It’s my understanding that there's not enough literature or works of fiction that reflect the reality of so many families. Heather Zeissler knows that well, since she is the mom of a child diagnosed with Apraxia. In my opinion, “hi, my name is Milly” is her attempt to give families like hers a tool to identify and discuss the disorder. I’m sure that families that deal with this situation will find a useful resource in this book.
Mariana Llanos

Author Heather Zeissler studied Sociology at the University of Minnesota and has served on several non profit advisory and executive boards. She is currently working on a second story to follow Milly and brother Malcolm adventures.

This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

REVIEW: The Most Important Critter In The Whole Wide World

by Gusty McCabe

"The Most Important Critter in the Whole Wide World" is a Native American folk tale retold by Gusty McCabe in a charming and charismatic way. It’s a funny story too, perfect for reading out loud to the little ones in your life. My 9 and 6 years old boys enjoyed it as we read it together and were drawn to it not only by the witty rhyme but also by the humorous cartoonish illustrations.

Written in verse, the tale takes us to the beginning of the world, when the animals were first created. As they discover their skills, they are astounded by the powerful crow of the Rooster and his ability to wake up the sun. But it happens that Coyote gets hungry and decides that Rooster would make a fine dinner and that’s when trouble starts.
“The Most Important Critter in the Whole Wide World: Why the Coyote Howls at Night” is McCabe’s first published book, and although the title is way too long , it is a really amusing and well written story that will not disappoint. A great read for those cuddly nights, perfect for building memories.
Available in Kindle and Paperback
Mariana Llanos

Gusty McCabe is the pen name of Paul Larson, an Arizona storyteller who has presented his art in many venues in that state. He says that his tales are "true but unverifiable"

When you purchase from our link, this blog makes a small profit through Amazon Affiliate Program

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

REVIEW: BUD THE SPUD by Adam Byrn Tritt

Awards: P&E Award for best children's book of 2012

You have to have a sense of humor when reading Bud the Spud.
I mean it as a compliment. This is a book with a very important message for kids: do not let the T.V take over your life. It is straight-forward and easy to read.  It is controversial too. This kid (Bud) turns into a couch potato in real life and many creepy things happen to him in the 3 different alternative and mostly macabre endings. A bit disturbing for the sensitive parent (like me), I would not let my 6 year old read it. Not yet. But I think that older children( 10+) would appreciate more the black humor and message of the story. Also the comic-like illustrations will appeal a more mature audience. So I think this book will be a “love it” or “hate it” kind of book that will depend on the personality of the reader as some might get offended and some others might laugh their socks off. But here’s the thing that I was thinking while reading it…maybe we need this kind of strong message to truly impact the way our kids are living. Maybe we need controversial and creative ways to tell a story to open up our eyes and realize that childhood obesity is a reality that can be prevented. So go ahead, give Bud a try (not literally a bite!) and decide for yourself.

Mariana Llanos

Author Adam Byrn Tritt is an international award winner writer with several titles in his long career. Bud the Spud is the newest addition to his work and also, his first children's book.
Adam lives in Florida, where he writes, gives lectures and brings Bud to schools and bookstores for the delight of -most of- his audience. He is also the creator of TurningPoint, a non-profit that provides alternative medicine to low -income individuals through his clinic The Wellness Center.
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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Children's Book Review: OZETTE'S DESTINY

by Judy Pierce

Ozette is a white squirrel that lives in Farlandia. Her friends love
her because she is just, caring, adventurous and plain nice. She rescued Duchess Zorina, the Royal Dog of the Queen of Farland, when she got lost in the vastness of Farlandia. What would be Ozzette’s  surprise when Queen Beatrix of Farland appointed her as the Queen of Farlandia! As humble as Ozzete is she had some trouble accepting that she will become one of the Royals, but her love for her land is stronger than her doubts.

Judy Pierce has created a magical world where animals and nature live in harmony. In it, many values are shown: love for nature, friendship, courage and responsibility just to name a few. It can be a great opportunity for parents, teachers or grandparent to talk about those values with their children. I can easily see it as a t.v show, as each chapter feels like an episode. Ozette will surely steal your young kids heart as the sweet and fair Queen of Farlandia. It also has a terrific recipe section, definitely an added bonus.

Mariana Llanos

Originally from Washington State, Judy Pierce lives in the Mountains of North Carolina with her husband Jim and three rescued Bichons. She has a Master's degree from the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University. She developed a deep love and appreciation for squirrels when she worked with a wildlife rehabilitator in Georgia. When she's not working on the second book of the series, she enjoys hiking, gardening and photographing squirrels.
Available on Paperback and Kindle.
If you would like to buy the book, just click on the link below. This blog makes a small profit from sales.

The Importance of Being a Reader

Reading is an important part of many families around the world, some being “natural-born readers”  and others having taught themselves the habit. But why is it important? Why should we encourage young children to be readers? We’ll try to find some answers.

“Reading is the opening door to other worlds” was the very cliché phrase that was in the back cover of The Wishing Tree by William Faulkner (his only children’s book). I read that book several times when I was a young girl and every time I stopped to look at that phrase I realized how accurate it was. By the time I was 13 I had already been in Denmark in the middle of a kingdom crisis, I had traveled to other planets and met a proud rose, I had fallen in a hole and had tea with a Mad Hatter,  I had cried with a miserable little match girl, I had lived the adventures of 4 little women. I had visited innumerable countries, met a lot of people and learned a lot about the world without even leaving home. Reading gives you knowledge, empathy, communication skills and imagination.

As if that wasn’t enough, kids that read tend to do much better at school. It’s simply easier for them, since they are used to focus for long periods of time, have an improved vocabulary and developed thinking skills. Overall, they have a better aptitude for learning.

And also, don’t forget: Reading is fun! It relaxes our body and calms our mind while giving us new feelings and emotions. If you are a parent that reads with your child (you really should), you are creating a strong bond, a better and nurturing relationship as well as fond memories. And even if your kids are not so young (and not so cuddly anymore), enjoying the same books as your children can open lines of communication that will only strengthen  your relationship.

I like this link by the University of Michigan Health System. In it, you'll find some more hows and whys along with links to resources on literacy. There are also links and help on what to do if someone you know (adult or child) has trouble reading. Yes, sometimes all those I don't want/like to read hide a real problem behind. It's worth checking it out.
So, go on, cozy up with your family and your favorite book. It will never be a waste of time.

Mariana Llanos

Next post we’ll talk about how to encourage children to read.