Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur Book Review

Book Blurb: Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur.

However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Time is running out as the confluence of the planets draws closer. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them?

Our Thoughts: We had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in the Chronicles of the Stone middle grade series (The Secret of the Sacred Scarab) by Fiona Ingram and this second book in the series only makes it better. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur completely delivers as an equally riveting, action-packed, historical filled sequel. Some of the strengths from the first book are found and evident in this book. Such as providing the read with remarkably unconventional lessons in world history and myths. Fiona brings history alive for young readers by making history and learning exciting rather than a classwork assignment or a study in academia.

We also appreciated the added bonus at the end of the book with the extra notes on King Arther and Excalibur.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Touch-and-Feel Book Takes Young Fashionistas through a Chic, Madison Avenue-Style Boutique

Is It Taffeta? Is It Silk? A Touch and Feel Book for Young Fashionistas

Whitehouse Cover
Monique’s Boutique Author: Dorothy A. Whitehouse; Illustrator: Francesca & Rick Weber; Skippin’ Stones; Category: Juvenile Fiction; Hard Cover: 978-0615472461, $17.99 USA, $22.00 CAN; Availability: Amazon.com, Skippin-Stones.com, Shopsilaboutique.com and fine stores such as Sweet & Sassy, Wisteria, Cabana 19, Kidegories, The Woman’s Exchange, Learning Express Toys, Toy Box, River Road Books in New Jersey, Tutti Bambini & Funky Monkey Toys in Greenvale, NY, The Book Stall in Winnetka, IL and Once Upon a Time in Delray, FL

It’s not every day that a self-professed tomboy who cut her teeth at ESPN publishes a touch-and-feel book introducing young fashionistas to satin, silk, and other luscious fabrics.

Nonetheless, in her newly published children’s book “Monique’s Boutique,” Dorothy Whitehouse takes young readers on a tour through a sophisticated shop highlighting ritzy attire and showing kids that fabrics are fun!

Complete with stylish rhymes, artful illustrations, and touch-and-feel samples of taffeta, suede, and other fabrics, Monique and her elegant dog Fifi explain the different textures and how and when to wear them, satisfying curiosity and enhancing the fashion sense of boys and girls alike.
Appropriately enough, Whitehouse has been enjoying successful book signings at a variety of well-known department stores, including multiple signings at Bloomingdale’s along with Neiman Marcus and Pottery Barn Kids. Upcoming signings include an additional appearance at Bloomingdale’s as well as signings at Sweet & Sassy, Toy Box, and Learning Express Toys.

Whitehouse comments, “I’m a tomboy at heart, but as a child, my mom took me to fashion shows and gave me a love of fashion and style. That combined with my dad’s encouragement to publish one of my books resulted in ‘Monique’s Boutique.’”

Textured material swatches adorn the page and each one generated great excitement by my daughter. As the parent, I enjoyed the fact that the book introduces them to the proper terminology for various types of fabric and educates them on the proper times to wear them…The text is succinct and educational while at the same time expressively whimsical with flair. ~ Macaroni Book Review

“The book is sort of a primer for little girls’ entree into the world of fashion and the role it will play in their lives.” ~ Review by John Burton, The Two River Times

AUTHOR: Dorothy A. Whitehouse worked as a VP at ESPN ABC Sports in marketing and sales and was one of SportsBusiness journal’s Forty under 40 recipients, which honors the most promising young executives in the sports business. Having grown up with parents who were entrepreneurs, it is no wonder Dorothy pursued the same path. She chose opportunity over security and has since launched several of her own businesses while also acting as Mom-in-Chief to two young sons. A graduate of the University of Michigan (BA), Emerson College (MA), and Rutgers University School of Law in Newark (JD), Dorothy has finished thirteen marathons and qualified for Boston. She tied the knot to her prince, Ted, in a Vera Wang dress (go figure) and has two delicious boys, Joseph and Teddy.


Friday, December 4, 2015

New Christmas Book Brings the Warmth and Wonder of the Season to Life

Richly illustrated children’s book tells the inspiring story of how Little Beth meets new forest friends who take her on an adventure she will always treasure 
Turke Cover

The warmth and wonder of the Christmas season are newly revealed in the imaginative full-color children’s Christmas book called "Little Beth of the Forest" written and illustrated by Cheri Turk.
One evening while walking home through the forest, Little Beth confesses to her mom that she sometimes is afraid of the forest at night, of the big giant trees, of the dark shadows, and of scary noises.

In response, Little Beth’s mom tells her daughter that the noises she hears are just the animals of the forest and that they are their friends.

Soon, Little Beth meets a playful wolf cub named Orie who becomes her best friend and who introduces her to a big white bear who visits her bedroom one special night and invites her to join him on a beautiful adventure through the moonlit forest.

As their journey unfolds, Orie, Little Beth, and their new friend Blue Bear meet a mighty stag in a distant meadow. His golden antlers shimmering in the moonlight, he invites Little Beth to climb on his back. An excerpt from the story reads:
In one giant leap, the mighty stag soaredhigh into the night sky. With the wind gustingthrough his magnificent golden antlers, golddust sprayed onto Little Beth’s face.

With beautiful birds soaring alongside them, the travelers fly ever higher. When they reach the top of a mountain, they meet an unexpected new king whom Little Beth learns is the king of this world.

Turk comments, "This is a fun-filled and warm-hearted Christmas story with an added measure of rich Christmas symbolism to search for and find from the very beginning until the very end."
Turk is donating ten percent of the sales of "Little Beth of the Forest" to The Ebenezer House of Vision Orphanage in Tororo, Uganda, to help orphaned girls who otherwise would be at risk of being sold into trafficking. Both the book and related Little Beth merchandise are available at LittleBethoftheForest.com.

"Beautifully illustrated, your child will embrace the story. ["Little Beth of the Forest"] is a great addition to your treasured children’s book collection." ~ Reader review by Lisa O. Clinton
Author/illustrator: Cheri Turk lives in the beautiful state of Oregon, where it hardly ever snows, but she grew up on the East Coast, where the winters were brutally cold and snowy. Being able to write and illustrate a Christmas story filled with love and friendship and adventure, combined with rich symbolism and meaning, is a gift she knows she will always treasure.

See Little Beth of the Forest at Book Expo America in the Combined Book Exhibit New Title Showcase, booth #3105, May 27th - 29th

#   #   #

Little Beth of the Forest written and illustrated by Cheri Turk; Specialty Greetings; Category: Juvenile Fiction, Christmas; Hard Cover: 978-0986002427, $22.50; Soft Cover: 978-0986002410, $9.99; eBook: 978-0986002434, $5.75; Availability: Amazon.com, BN.com, Google, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Gardner, Kobo, SpecialityGreetings.com, LittleBethoftheForest.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Blurb: Ten zany birds have a tree party, until one by one they find other things to do. It’s a zany countdown – which bird will stick around?

Our Thoughts: This is a great book not only to teach counting and subtraction, but also sorting skills, colors, and many other cognitive skills that help young readers use their memory abilities as they interact with the environment of the birds and recall what has happened as the story unfolds.

Some of the most critical cognitive abilities for mathematics learning are memory, language skills, and the ability to make mental representations of number and space, all of which the author Sherry Ellis does wonderfully in this colorful picture book.

The author also adds repetition...repeating words/sentence and actions to help young readers learn the consequence of an action. This also helps them remember information and build their memory and their cognitive skills.

The colorful and vivid illustrations only add to this wonderful crafted book for young readers. We give this a 5 star and highly recommend this for all young readers bookshelves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oddsockosaurus: New Dinosaur Picture Book Helps Children to Reflect on Their Moods and Behaviours

Inspired by her young Sonosaurus, Zanib Mian’s ‘Oddsockosaurus’ could just be one of the most unique new books of the year. This whimsical, creative tale allows kids to see their everyday quirks as characteristics of a variety of silly and always-entertaining dinosaurs. Mum and Dad, prepare to be hunted down in the cutest, most adorable way possible.

While they are supposed to be deadly, fierce and sometimes over twelve-feet tall, dinosaurs have a unique knack for captivating children. In a wholly-unique new children’s book, author Zanib Mian provides children with all of the inspiration they need to turn themselves into their own kidosaurus, and have heaps of fun along the way.

‘Oddsockosaurus’ will have kids’ imaginations spinning….imaginationosaurus!

Packed with humour, which will amuse adults and children alike, this read-aloud picture book captures the imagination of a whimsical little boy who describes some of his very human characteristics as if he were a dinosaur. He refers to himself as a Fastosaurus Rex, Whyceratops, Readabookadocus, Tellafibasaurus, Mudiraptor, and many others. He explains why he can be all these different dinosaurs, and that if dinosaurs were still around, they would understand him quite well! A comic tale for dinosaur lovers everywhere!

“This book kind of wrote itself,” explains Mian. “My son once came down the stairs in his crisp school uniform, but with socks that didn’t match. Without even thinking – in that way mothers do – I said, “What are you doing you Oddsockiosaurus?”, and he thought it was great. On the school run, my mind span with all of his idiosyncrasies, and I couldn’t wait to get home to jot them down on my laptop with their own unique dinosaur spin!”

Continuing, “I’m a big advocate of active reading; books that transfer to the real world and provide fun that carries on long after the final page has been turned. I hope that my creation does exactly that – with as little destruction around the house as possible!”

Readers have praised the book highly.

Dustin Growick, The Dinosaur Whisperer, comments, “Whether you're fluent, or just starting to learn to speak dinosaur, this book is amazing!”

Reader’s Favorite adds, “Zanib Mian and Bill Bolton have written an absolutely adorable story in Oddsockosaurus. Most preschool and young elementary age children love dinosaurs. Mian and Bolton will draw in parents and young readers quickly and easily with the colorful, playful, and funny images within Oddsockosaurus. The creative dinosaur names they have offered will most likely be used by parents and children alike after they read this dinosaur fantasy.”

About the Author:
Zanib Mian is a Molecular Cell Biologist and Founding Director of Sweet Apple Publishers. She grew up in London, where she still lives with her family. Zanib began writing stories and poetry when she was just a little girl, and was well known by her teachers, friends, and family to rhyme about anything that meant something to her! She has held on to some of her notebooks for over twenty five years, and loves to share them with children when she is invited in at libraries and schools.

About the Illustrator:
Bill Bolton is a British illustrator who graduated in 1990 from Oxford Brookes University followed by several years working exclusively for two major greeting card publishers. He has since then worked across the board illustrating children’s book, in Advertising, Editorial, Publishing and Design – with over 20 years’ experience under his belt. Bill has a passion for the environment and lives in an earth sheltered house. At the weekends you might spot him under the wind turbine or mowing the roof!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Willamina Mermaid & the Quest for the Crystal of Light

Since Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ smashed the box office in 1989, millions of young children have become obsessed with the beauty and allure of mermaids. Taking her cues from this now-timeless appeal, author J.A. Kelly has penned a wholly-unique children’s book that puts one mermaid’s skills to the test.

In fact, the mermaid in ‘Willamina Mermaid & the Quest for the Crystal of Light’ is a princess mermaid, even though she spent the first twelve years of her life locked away in a bathroom. A spellbinding adventure awaits, however, when she finally gets back into the water.

Willamina didn't know she was a mermaid. Her aunts told her she was 'deformed' and kept her hidden in a tiny bathroom for twelve long years. Her only companion was Finley, her goldfish. She didn't know she was a princess either until Merlin, the merman, helped her escape back to the seas where she belonged and the help of her five royal cousins went on a quest to retrieve the crystal of light, stolen by the witch of darkness, and set her people free.

“The story takes children on a full-circle adventure with Willamina as she’s banished out of the ocean after her kingdom is overruled by an evil sorceress, lives twelve years as a prisoner but then finally returns to embrace her princess mermaid magic and save the kingdom once and for all,” explains Kelly, a former actress. “It’s a story that proves you can achieve great things, no matter where you started in life, and that each of us has amazing abilities that the world is waiting to put to use.”

Continuing, “I also felt it was vitally important to make a little girl the “star” of the book. While the story is geared at both girls and boys, I want girls to realise that they too can be heroes in any setting.”

Critics have supported the book overwhelmingly. For example, Kirkus Reviews comments, “In Kelly’s debut middle-grade adventure, a young mermaid princess returns to save her underwater kingdom years after it was taken over by an evil sorceress. A clever, fast-paced story that should delight young readers hungry for magical stories.”

‘Willamina Mermaid & the Quest for the Crystal of Light’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1RsrJ5S.

About the Author:
J. A. Kelly went to the full time stage school Aida Fosters from the age of eleven studying alongside such celebrities as Barbara Windsor, Shirley Eaton and Jean Simmonds.

She appeared as a juvenile in many shows and films, including The Belles of St. Trinians, The Happiest Days of your Life and the Gilbert & Sullivan Story.  She went on to study voice production at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

She decided that she preferred being on the other side of the footlights and began a career as a freelance director and teacher of theatre skills.

Her job as a drama teacher led her to writing scripts and short plays for children which in turn progressed to her writing a children’s book. This particular story about a mermaid was one she told to her granddaughters several years ago and as they enjoyed it so much she decided to write it down for other children to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Children’s Picture Book with Stunning Artwork Explores the World of a Hopi Indian Girl

 Newly released picture book about a Hopi (pronounced: hope-ee) Indian girl takes readers through many metaphorical doors to explore the different aspects that make each our lives: family, friendship, culture, education, creativity, and nature. 

TALASI... A Story of Tenderness and Love exposes children to new experiences as Talasi explores her native world and later the modern culture of the white man while holding to Native American beliefs and traditions. This charming and lovingly illustrated picture book teaches young readers how love and friendships get us over the rough spots in life and to never stop exploring the world around them.

Many American children are growing up in a multicultural world and are curious to understand all the cultures surrounding them. “Traveling through Arizona, I was terrible curious myself about what life on an Indian reservation was like when I visited a Hopi tribe,” said author Ellen S. Cromwell. “I wanted to understand the culture of these amazing people and visited with a kikmongwi, primarily a religious leader for the tribe. This experience truly touched me.”

TALASI…A Story of Tenderness and Love is about a young Hopi Indian girl named Talasi. Her name comes from corn tassel flowers that surround her pueblo home in Arizona. Tassels are tall, slender flowers clustered at the very top of corn. Corn, in its many forms, provides basic nourishment for Hopi People.

Wonderfully written, this children’s book clearly reflects the author’s fascination with the Hopi people and their history. Hopi means “peaceful person” or “civilized person” in the Hopi language and Ellen S. Cromwell evokes a compelling portrait of the Hopi Indians and how they truly are a peaceful people. “The richness of Talasi’s Indian culture will expand the horizons of any child who reads this book,” said illustrator Desiree Sterbini. “I researched to make sure every illustration was authentic to the Hopi culture. I wanted the themes of love, family, and friendship to be something each child could relate to. The images are personal as they are from actual pictures of my mother-in-law and daughter.”

With the author and illustrator using personal, real life experiences and pictures to draw from, the book exemplifies what it means to value all cultures that make up the world we live in and that no matter what children can solve problems with love and courage. “A lot of the imagery is from personal experiences. I grew up as an immigrant in the Bronx and remember the neighborhood coming together to build this treehouse for all the kids to play in. It was amazing and we felt like we were on top of the world as kids up there,” said author Ellen S. Cromwell. “Those childhood experiences and what I learned from the Hopi tribe and its culture helped me create Talasi and her world.”

Not only does this picture book have multicultural overtones, but parents and educators will find the author used sight words and repetition to make this the perfect book for classrooms and bookshelves.

“Reading a book together as a family or in the classroom is one simple yet very special tradition,” said Halo Publisher Lisa M. Umina. “Readers of all ages will find this picture book is heartwarming and helps keep you and your children connected through the upcoming holiday season.”

You can purchase “TALASI... A Story of Tenderness and Love” through Halo Publishing’s website (http://halopublishing.com), Amazon, and B&N.

Author Ellen Cromwell is the founder of the Georgetown Hill Early Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland and has been an educator of young children since the 1970’s and is the author of three early childhood professional texts including Nurturing Readiness in Early Childhood Education, Allyn & Bacon, 2000. Wiggle-Dee-Dee, Splash Puddle Splash, and Are You Listening, Potbelly? are three recent children’s books she has authored. You can learn more at her website http://www.cromwellsplash.com

Artist, Desiree Sterbini creates award-winning works with oil pastels and colored pencils on textured paper and board. Her sensitive compositions are detailed with vibrant colors and strokes, created by stumps of rolled paper and brush. Women of color, children, the simple lives of ordinary people and nature are her primary subjects. Desiree received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and continues to study through workshops and studio classes. Her oil pastel paintings have been exhibited and featured throughout the DC metro area and nationally including, Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire, Fox News Washington DC Myvoicedc.com, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at the Smith Farm Center, Edison Place Gallery, L'Eclat de Verr Gallery, Sandy Springs Museum, Art Expo Las Vegas and 7 Women from 7 Countries exhibition, Doral, Florida. Desiree's works have also been on loan in Port Louis, Mauritius Embassy through the United States Arts in Embassy Program. Along with works held in several private collections, Desiree's talents are commissioned, including illustrated children's books Splash Puddle Splash and Are You Listening Potbelly? written by Ellen S Cromwell.

TALASI…A Story of Tenderness and Love by Ellen S. Cromwell, publisher Halo Publishing, Int., ISBN: 978-1-61244-420-8; Price: $12.99 (paperback)
BlogTalkRadio's featured World of Ink Network 

Live Radio Show on Wed. November 18, 2015 at 3pm Eastern - 2pm Central - 1pm Mountain - 12 noon Pacific

Listeners will get to meet author Ellen Cromwell and illustrator/artist Desiree Sterbini as they chat about their newly released picture book about a Hopi (pronounced: hope-ee) Indian girl who takes readers through many metaphorical doors to explore the different aspects that make each our lives: family, friendship, culture, education, creativity, and nature.
Tune in at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Whimsical Book Details How Curly Hair Creates a Perilous Problem

Multi-award-winning book helps children of all ages embrace being different;a portion of the proceeds go to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation,which supports individuals dealing with the autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss

"This charming, engaging story offers a funny look at what happens when a child’s imagination unfurls."
- Kirkus Reviews

“Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!” received the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Award in two categories, Gold in Poetry and Silver in Cover Design. The book also received the Mom's Choice Gold Award for Children's Picture Book.
In response to the clamor, Rose-Vallee has now created a line of hair accessories, apparel, and a handmade Sabrina doll available at rosevalleecreations.com. She comments, “Our Facebook page is starting to have children send in their photos holding their dolls, reading their books, wearing their sweatshirts – all with CRAZY HAIR! It truly is a movement.”

Meanwhile, a portion of all profits from the sale of the book goes to support the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). Rose-Vallee explains that while the fictional Sabrina is blessed to have the problem of dinosaurs living in her curly thick hair, over sixty million people in the United States experience some form of hair loss, many of them children. Children suffering from this condition face tremendous challenges, and the NAAF offers support and tools to help them overcome emotional pain and build self-confidence; it also provides classroom education essential to advocating for them.

“Izzy LOOOOOOVES her book; it's one of her favorites to read! It has honestly helped her accept her hair more…She has an easier time with me brushing it. [It] makes Izzy's little heart happy to know she's not the only one out there with curly hair.” ~ Katie Veraldi, Michigan

“My kids had me read ‘Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!’ four times last night. It's such a cute story!” ~ Carly Cazzaza, Michigan

Author: Jayne Rose-Vallee is a writer and the founder of Rosevallee Creations. Growing up on a farm in Battle Creek, Michigan, taught her hard work and a little bit of dirt builds character, and her mother's love of poetry and quick-witted humor sparked an early appreciation for good rhymes. Having raised three children, she found time in this next chapter of her life to follow her passion and write. She started Rosevallee Creations in 2014, and her website offers accessories to the “Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!” (DLIMH) book, which has catapulted her into a new business venture. She has formed a relationship with Jane Tran from LA to create hair accessories designed specifically for the DLIMH brand. The sets include colorful barrettes and clips adorned with dinosaur charms and colored stones. A 12” handmade doll with curls and a face every child would adore is also available. Rounding out the accessory line are hooded sweatshirts, t-shirts, and dresses, with dinosaur tracks running up the sleeves and sides announcing, “Dinosaurs Live in My Hair!” In a world filled with chaos and turmoil, Jayne feels passionately that a good bedtime story should feel like a warm hug good night.

Dinosaurs Living in My Hair!; Author: Jayne Rose-Vallee; Illustrated by Anni Matsick; RoseVallee Creations, LLC; Category: Children’s Picture Book, Poetry; Hard Cover: 978-0986192203, $17.99; Availability: RoseValleeCreations.com; Amazon.com; Hooked on Books in Islamorada, FL; Ocean Gardens in Islamorada, FL; P.J. Boox Bookstore in Ft. Myers, FL; Books and Books in Coral Gables, FL

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mud on your Face: Thrilling New Adventure Book Helps Children Foster Rock-Solid Happiness & Contentment

If there’s one thing all young children love, it is getting engrossed in a fantasy/adventure story. Ironically, diving into a book is often an escape tactic from a family that can seem crazy, ungrateful and even unfair. In her enchanting and moralistic new book, Rachel McGrath uses the power of story to help children appreciate and embrace what they already have in life.

‘Mud on your Face’ introduces young readers to Gus, a boy so sick of his brothers and sisters that he wishes he was an only child……or so he thought.

Gus is a seven-year-old boy who comes from a very large family with eight brothers and sisters.

Sometimes Gus feels left out, picked on, or even forgotten by his family. He wonders what life might be like if he had no brothers or sisters, and if he was an only child.

On a family camping trip Gus finds himself lost in the woods, left behind by his family.

A different adventure takes place for Gus with a strange new friend.

Be careful what you wish for….

Mud on your Face is a fantasy, adventure story for children, taking the reader through an adventure of ‘what ifs’.  What if you got what you wished for?  Would you be happy?  There is a morale around being content with what you have, and finding happiness.

“This is a very home-centric story that aims to reinforce the importance of family, while teaching children to look beyond the squabbles and quirks to realize that their parents and siblings love them unconditionally,” explains McGrath. “The ultimate message is for them to embrace and love what they already have, even if they think they want something different.”

Continuing, “With such a vital message, my goal is to get a copy of the book into every home, school and community centre in the country. A lot of new fiction for kids these days seems to be based on epic battles and toilet humour – so it’s time we harked back to the days of traditional storytelling with an adventure that is positive, upbeat and carries a pertinent life lesson.”

Emily-Jane Hills Orford reviewed the book for Readers' Favourite and says "Author Rachel McGrath has written a charming story for young readers in Mud on Your Face. Life always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but this story is a great learning tool for young readers to appreciate that perhaps the 'other side' isn't that much better after all. A wonderful, colourfully illustrated story about appreciating what you have and to be careful what you wish for. Beautiful and poignant, a must-read for young and old alike."

‘Mud on your Face’, from McGrath House Limited, is available now: http://amzn.to/1jpMkwi.

About the Author:
Rachel McGrath grew up by the seaside in Redcliffe, Australia, where she studied business, before moving to the United Kingdom in her early thirties. She currently lives just north of London in Hertfordshire, where she met and married her husband.

Rachel has always had a passion for writing both fiction and non-fiction. Since her early teens, she has created many short stories as well as smaller pieces that have never been published.

Rachel published her first book in early 2015, Finding the Rainbow, a memoir capturing a difficult time in her life.

Mud on your Face is Rachel’s second published book, and a children’s fantasy fiction novel.  Rachel hopes to continue writing fiction stories.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Perseverance Pays Off, and Patience Does Too!

A young duckling named Quackers learns valuable life lessons about patience, friendship,
and never giving up when he 
embarks on his dream of learning to fly

It’s hard to be patient when your dreams take you places you fear you’ll never go!
In her delightful debut children’s picture book, veteran elementary school teacher Susan Wolff pens a classic tale of fortitude, friendship, and dreams that come true, if you just have the patience to wait.

Quackers is an engaging young duck who more than anything in the world wants to fly. His adoring parents tell him that one day he will, but Quackers can’t wait. Off he goes to visit his friends Ollie the Owl, Gertrude the Goose, and Dena the Dragonfly. To his surprise, Quackers learns that once upon a time, they couldn’t fly either!

After Quackers meets another little duckling with the same problem he has, they resolve to follow the advice of their older, wiser friends. When they do so, they discover that good things come to those who wait.

With bright and endearing illustrations by well-known Canadian illustrator Justin Currie, Quackers Wants to Fly is based on a stuffed duck named Quackers that Wolff used in her classroom.

She explains, “When I was an elementary school teacher, I took a toy duck to class. Quackers became legendary, and my students encouraged me to write his story. I waited until I retired and had seven grandchildren encouraging me before I wrote ‘Quackers Wants to Fly.’”

Author Sue Wolff introduces a delightfully impatient little duck named Quackers and his beautifully illustrated friends. Children will cheer for Quackers as he tries to achieve his dream.” - Brenda Brinkley, author of Albert’s Happy Thanksgiving and Cleveland Turns Green

AUTHOR: Susan Wolff is a retired elementary school teacher living in the Chicago area. She loved reading to her students and continues to read to her grandchildren. She hopes her debut story inspires young readers to spread their wings and try new things.

Quackers Wants to FlyAuthor: Susan Wolff; Illustrator: Justin Currie; Category: Juvenile Fiction; Soft Cover: 978-0692429327, $12.95; Availability: Amazon.com, FriendsatthePond.com, Independent bookstores, and susanwolff490@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

For crafty kids, a sweet, accessible guide to sewing modern dolls' clothes

For budding young designers, an accessible guide to sewing fashionable dolls’ clothes

I Can Make Dolls' Clothes is an easy-to-follow guide for young fashionistas ages 8+ that shows them how to create a wardrobe for their standard-sized (12 inch) dolls. The approach is easy, quick, and fun and the results are extremely stylish. Children ages 8 and up can follow clear instructions to make a range of garments and accessories for their dolls, using basic materials such as fabric scraps, sequins, and a needle and thread.

The beautifully-designed handbook includes actual-size patterns for creating a doll’s tunic top, a knee-length coat, an A-line skirt, a faux-fur jacket, a skater skirt, a day dress, a party dress, an evening bag, and a fringed bag. There are simple, step-by-step diagrams and instructions for creating each piece of the outfit, with photos of dolls modeling the finished designs. A section at the back of the book outlines the basics of sewing, including how to thread a needle, how do a running stitch, and how to sew on buttons. Beginners with no sewing experience will have no trouble picking up the techniques.

Throughout, young seamstresses and crafters are encouraged to be creative and adapt the patterns to make their own designs. As vintage fashion and crafting emerge as an antidote to our frenzied, tech-filled lifestyles, this charming sewing book will appeal to parents and children looking for wholesome, hands-on activities. 

Our Thoughts:
Knowing how to sew is a talent slowly going away so when we see craft ideas for kids that help to grow this talent or help plant the seed, we jump for joy. This book of fun, easy to follow instructions is the perfect crafters dream. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy this book of design. When we were little, our grandmother used to make doll clothes for us. Our mom also made a few here and there for our Barbies. Even though we learned to sew clothes for oursevles and children (once we had them), we never tried our talent at doll clothes. This just seemed something a bit beyond our sewing experience. That was until we sat down with one of our daughters and went to work on an outfit. We were excited how easy it was and well...our daughter is now hooked on sewing herself. 

About the Creators

Louise Scott-Smith is a children’s wear designer. She was formerly Head of Children’s Wear Design at Liberty of London and at Caramel Baby & Child.
Georgia Vaux is a graphic designer, book designer, and art director.

About the Book

I Can Make Dolls’ Clothes
Easy-to-follow patterns to make clothes and accessories
for your favorite doll
By Louise Scott-Smith and Georgia Vaux
Pub date: October 13, 2015 | ISBN: 9780500650516
$19.95 | Hardcover | 176 pp | Illustrated in color throughout | Ages 8 and up

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Henry Morrison takes a courageous journey driving his family’s Ford Model T

Boys and books. Sometimes it’s a natural pairing, and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth.
No one knows this better than veteran award-winning classroom teacher Arthur Brood, otherwise known as “Author Arthur,” who takes the bull by the horns and deliberately pens books for the underserved market of reluctant boy readers ages 8 to 12.

In his latest book, a sequel to his popular juvenile historical fiction book titled The Mud Hole, Brood tells the entertaining story of how eleven-year-old Henry finds himself in the surprising role of hero one winter’s day.

The Snow Car begins on a winter morning in 1912, with fifth grader Henry driving himself and his brother Robert to school in the family’s Ford Model T. The cow on their family farm has escaped, and if the boys had walked to school, they would have been late.

Alas, the winter weather causes all kinds of problems for the novice driver, who drops off a number of his classmates on the way home, since no one wants to walk in the wet snow falling from the sky.

As additional adventures occur, many centered around the family’s Ford Model T, Henry explores some unique ways to keep the car running both in and on the snow. In the process, he goes from a mischievous boy full of creative ideas to town hero when he takes a courageous journey to get medicine for his father and others who come down with the deadly disease called influenza.
“Author Arthur” explains that his story touches on automobile history and winter driving in the early days of automobile transportation. Each chapter ends with a short “Did You Know?” fact relating to the story, with interesting information about early cars and road conditions in the early 1900s. For one thing, the first automobiles weren’t made to drive in wet or cold weather, most didn’t come with wipers, and there was no such thing as snow tires.

Brood comments, “As a teacher, I saw many boys who were reluctant readers and had difficulty finding fiction books they enjoyed. They were often drawn to books that were inappropriate for their age or contained questionable content.  I felt I could write fiction books on car themes that would draw these reluctant readers into reading and provide wholesome content at the same time.”

The chapters in The Snow Car are deliberately short to help keep the attention span of readers, and the book can be used in classroom settings and out.

The Snow Car is a great story for kids. Not only do they get a story, but they learn facts about Model T cars and what life was like for boys back in 1912. The book held my interest and is a page turner towards the end.” ~ Roxie Arnott, fourth grade teacher, Ontonagon Area Schools

AUTHOR: “Author Arthur” is an author and educator with twenty-five years of experience as an elementary teacher. He is the winner of the 2015 McConnell History Educator Award. As an educator, he focuses his writing on reluctant boy readers by writing about cars, yet he appeals to a wider audience by blending historical fiction with supporting facts. The author of The Mud Hole and its sequel The Snow Car, he has been a frequent guest of the ASK (Authors, Specialist, Knowledge) program with Macomb Intermediate School District since 2009. This interactive TV format allows him to interact and respond to questions from hundreds of students each year. He also shares his passion and knowledge about early automobile history through school assemblies in which he uses a mini Model T and portrays Henry Ford to share about the assembly line. “Author Arthur” resides in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. To learn more, visit his website at www.arthurbrood.com.

The Snow Car by Arthur Brood; Class Act Productions; Category: Juvenile Fiction; Soft Cover: 978-0979485114, $7.50; eBook: 978-0979485138, $1.99; Availability: Amazon.com, TheSnowCar.com, Ingram Children’s Advance


*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.