Friday, January 31, 2020

Book Review: 'Twas the Night by Marin

Title: 'Twas the Night
Author: Marin
Publisher: The Virtue Agency
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
‘TWAS THE NIGHT is a wordless book that “tells” a heartwarming and inspirational Christmas story. The illustrations gift each reader, young and young at heart, the opportunity to reimagine the Season’s wonder, and the freedom “to script” (if they choose to) their own lines to go with the images. Keep dreaming big!
 
Book Review:

This was the funnest children's picture book I have ever 'read' and I say 'read' superfluously because this is a wordless picture book. Yes! Believe me, I've never heard of a children's picture book but for my first one, this was great and that's not even coming close to describe it. I'm not kidding you either. Okay what we have here for example...the book opens with a child in a wheelchair in the dark in what looks to me to be a city in the background. It is Christmas time so there's a tree lit up in the background. Without going further, I would wonder what a kid in a wheelchair was doing at night alone in the city. So here you go - no words so you are to make up a story out of your imagination. Is he homeless? Nah I doubt it. Does he look starved? Not really, has nice clothes and everything so then you're still wondering what he's doing out at night but before I go further into the story I've got to make up a story while reading to my grandkids. So what I did was mention to the kids that the kid wasn't alone so don't think that's okay to do. So anyway as more pages are turned I realized the kid was older, but in the first scenes it looked like he wasn't. And I lied. No way could I tell the kids that the kid wasn't alone. He was. So skipping over the why you don't go out at night in the big city alone speech, I kept on with my story. He finds a bird who is injured and takes it back home. Feeds and nurses it back to health, then lets it out the window to be free again. But before you know it, the kid is flying out the window himself and you see Santa Claus in the background. You don't know if it's a dream or what but it's totally up to you to make up a story to go along with the illustrations. It was rather fun. After the first go around, I came up with another storyline and the kids thought it was rather funny because it was nothing like the first storyline. If this author get a notion to write a sequel to this, I hope he would because it's really a very unique idea.

I give it 5 rainbows!


Monday, January 6, 2020

Interview with Children's Picture Book Author Marin




My name is Marin and I was a child a very long time ago. My father passed away when I was one year old. My mother remarried and I was raised by my loving (but strict!) grandparents. After losing their son, they were terrified by the thought of losing their grandson. For this reason, they didn’t let me play on the street, swim in the nearby pond or explore the forest with the rest of the kids. This was also the reason I learned to read and write long before I went to school. My grandparents surrounded me with books. Books became my imaginary parents and my fictional friends. Apart from my genetic building blocks, books also came to be the main component in my development as a creative, compassionate and competitive individual.

I studied nuclear physics, art, and literature, but I enjoyed art the most. As a young artist, I was eager to succeed, winning prizes from various countries. I later became a partner in an advertising agency and switched my attention to serving clients. My last award was somewhere in the early nineties – The Best in the West by Corel Draw Corporation.

Oh, a few more boring things about me: I do not drive, I do not drink carbonated beverages, I have never consumed food from McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC or any other fast food restaurant, I do not have a mobile phone, I have never used legal or illegal drugs (except Gravol when I fly), and I have never visited my GP (much to the disapproval of my wife).

I read. I read every day. I am what I am today because of books. This publishing house is my little “thank you” to all of them.

website & Social links

Website  → http://www.fontreal.com

Twitter  → http://www.twitter.com/fontralbooks

Facebook  → http://www.facebook.com/fontreal/

 

About the Book

‘TWAS THE NIGHT is a wordless book that “tells” a heartwarming and inspirational Christmas story. The illustrations gift each reader, young and young at heart, the opportunity to reimagine the Season’s wonder, and the freedom “to script” (if they choose to) their own lines to go with the images. Keep dreaming big!

cLICK BELOw TO ORDER YOUR COPY!

https://fontreal.com/landing-2/ 

Thanks for this interview, Marin.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

When I finished writing, illustrating, and designing my first book “The Adventure of Alex and Er,” I was suddenly flooded with ideas. The final series titled 2GETHER contained five titles, but I was nowhere near finished. Over the course of two years I created a dozen books. I got totally hooked! I fell in love with the creative process so much that I craft every inch of my books, even down to the fonts to make my publications one-of-a-kind. 

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, ‘TWAS THE NIGHT?

Believe it or not our crooked world of consumerism lies at the foundation of the story. I wanted to show a world of compassion, a world of kindness, a world of Christmas wonder. I also wanted to find a unique way of manifesting my dream-like story. This is why I made ‘TWAS THE NIGHT a wordless book. I love knowing that the “reader” will become my creative partner and they will each develop a unique version using their imagination guided by my illustrations. I hope the book will become one of the most inspirational children’s stories ever published.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

One thing that immediately connects me with kids is that we share wild imaginations. I fondly remember making up stories at bedtime for my kids and they just rolled off my tongue. Currently I am not around kids, as all my children are grown, but am I a kid at heart? Maybe a little…

What was your favorite book as a child?

I loved too many to name a favourite. I grew up with my grandparents who always gave me books; some of them were far too complicated for my little mind. Nonetheless, I read them, though many of the words were strange and meant nothing to me at the time. I thank them for exposing me to a variety of genres and instilling me with a desire to learn more about the world I was surrounded with.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

Do not be in a hurry to publish - perfect the story as much as you can.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I would like to create as many as I can, although volume is something I do not really pay attention to. If a good idea comes to mind, I go with it… so far the creative fountain is bubbling with ideas.
 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Book Review: Grasshopper Eye and the Lost Vial by Michelle Jester

  • File Size: 2594 KB
  • Print Length: 22 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Duckie Press (November 21, 2019)
  • Publication Date: November 21, 2019

When the villagers first noticed that each of them had one item missing from their homes, they set out on a journey that ends with them finding something far more valuable than things. Go with Grasshopper Eye on a journey through friendships, feeling, and fitting in.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3657KIr

Grasshopper Eye and the Lost Vial was one of the best picture books I have read in a long time because of its wonderful message. Such fun and colorful characters, too! Grasshopper Eye is top dog as he made special vials for all the villagers to put their tears in when it was time to cry but the villagers played equally important parts because it is they who found out all the vials were missing but finally found them, all except for one - Grasshopper Eye's. Rallying around Grasshopper Eye, they offered their vials to him but the story takes a twist and teaches children an important lesson about crying and feelings. This would be the perfect book to give to a child who is always angry. I loved the book and give it...5 rainbows!

My Rating: 5 Rainbows

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Children's Picture Book New Releases

Picture Book New Releases
i'm a gnomeI’m a Gnome! by Jessica Peill-Meininghaus (Author), Poly Bernatene (Illustrator)
Join Gnome (that’s spelled G-N-O-M-E–don’t ask why the G is silent!) as he travels through the magical forest to attend the annual Gnome Festival.
Along the way he encounters elves, dwarves, trolls, and fairies. But don’t be mistaken. He is NOTHING like those magical creatures. Well, maybe he is . . . but only a little bit!
When Gnome finally arrives at the festival, he realizes that all the traits he thought made gnomes different from the others actually made them alike–and that’s just fine.
common threadsCommon Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market by Huda Essa (Author), Mercè Tous (Illustrator)
Adam and his family spend an exciting day at the colorful and bustling Eastern Market. But when Adam gets briefly separated from Mom and Dad, he mistakes a friendly, diverse cast of characters for his parents in their traditional Muslim clothing–and shows that we all have more in common than you might think. This nearly-wordless picture book celebrates diversity and community in vibrant, dynamic art.
as warm as the sunAs Warm As the Sun by Kate McMullan (Author), Jim McMullan (Illustrator)
French bulldogs Toby and Pinkie learn to live together and form a heartwarming friendship.
Toby loves basking in the morning sun, snuggling in a lap in the afternoon, and toasting his tummy by the fireside at night, but somehow his warm spots never last. What Toby wants more than anything is to find something as warm as the sun that never fades or fizzles.
Then one day, Pinkie comes along, and she starts hogging all of Toby’s favorite places. Toby feels alone and forgotten, and slinks away. . . but Pinkie follows him, determined to prove that she is the something as warm as the sun Toby has been looking for all along.
if I built a schoolIf I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen (Author, Illustrator)
If Jack built a school, there would be hover desks and pop-up textbooks, skydiving wind tunnels and a trampoline basketball court in the gym, a robo-chef to serve lunch in the cafeteria, field trips to Mars, and a whole lot more. The inventive boy who described his ideal car and house in previous books is dreaming even bigger this time.
riding a donkey backwardsRiding a Donkey Backwards: Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin by Sean Taylor (Author), Khayaal Theatre Company (Author), Shirin Adl (Illustrator)
Would you like to know how a thief can turn into a donkey? Whether a cow can climb a pole? Or why you should spoon yogurt into a lake? Mulla Nasruddin knows all the answers, and he might also tell you why he rides his donkey backwards. Whether in the guise of an imam in a mosque or a beggar in the street, this trickster is never at a loss for a rejoinder, though it may leave you scratching your head, rolling your eyes, or laughing out loud. Enjoy twenty-one classic tales about a much-loved character from Muslim cultures in a book packed with jokes, riddles, and wisdom and paired with vibrant, theatrical illustrations.
why by seegerWhy? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Author, Illustrator)
Bear just wants to water his flowers, but Rabbit needs to know: why? Bear is looking forward to a peaceful night of stargazing, but all Rabbit cares about is: why?
As the two friends spend time together through spring, summer, and into fall, Rabbit persistently and simply asks Bear why, encouraging the reader to figure out for themselves the reason for each question that Bear patiently answers, over and over again. . . until there’s a question that he has no answer for.
duck!DUCK! by Meg McKinlay (Author), Nathaniel Eckstrom (Illustrator)
In this funny nod to Chicken Little, a quiet afternoon on the farm might be the scene of a barnyard disaster waiting to happen.
When Duck runs around the farm shouting “DUCK!” to the other animals, they grow exasperated as they haughtily explain to Duck which animal is which. Unfortunately, something is falling from the sky. But perhaps “DUCK!” isn’t the best warning. Perhaps what Duck should have said is . . . “RUN!”
arnica the duck princessArnica, the Duck Princess by Ervin Lazar (Author), Jacqueline Molnar (Illustrator), Anna Bentley (Translator)
Princess Arnica is so sweet and gentle that when she smiles even wolves and bears forget their fierceness. Everyone loves her, but she loves only Poor Johnny. Luckily, he loves her too, and even more luckily she has a very sensible king for a father, who is happy for her to marry whomever her heart desires. So, no problems then?
Well, maybe just one – The Witch with a Hundred Faces has cast a spell on Arnica and Johnny which means that one of them, at any one time, must always be a duck, and the other human! Who can help them? Only the Seven-headed Fairy. Will they be able to find her? You’ll just have to read the book and find out!
spot & dotSpot & Dot by Henry Cole (Author, Illustrator)
In Henry Cole’s vivid wordless picture book Spot, the Cat, readers joined Spot on a journey through a city that began with him following a bird outside his window.
This time, a dog named Dot draws Spot from his window. As we follow Spot and Dot on their wordless journey, we quickly realize that it’s Dot the dog who is missing this time, and Spot is trying to get her back home. We follow these two on a different journey through the city as they weave in and out of a bakery, a library, a busy park, and more. And with a surprise twist at the end, we realize that “home” for both cat and dog was never very far away.
Info from BookRiot.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Interview with Children's Book Author Anne Kaufmann


Anne Kaufmann is both the illustrator and author of the Pippin and Nigel adventure series for young children. She is the also the author of “Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude.” Anne is a former teacher librarian. She studied English Literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. Her passions include music, books, animals and creating nature journals. She has shared her life with dogs, horses, cats and birds.A nature lover, she spends many hours exploring the forests north of her home and walking her dogs, Indy, Maya and Pippin. She loves spending time with her horse, Aria. Some of her favourite childhood memories include summers at her cottage on Lake Simcoe, settling back on the family couch reading while listening to her dad’s weekly String Quartet group, playing with her dogs and wishing for a horse. She is currently working on the third book of the Pippin and Nigel Adventure series and  a historical fiction novel on the great Canadian horse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Thanks for this interview, Anne.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

I was an elementary teacher and then a teacher librarian for many years. I loved reading to the children. I was as excited about the delightful stories as they were. There always seemed to be something I could relate to as well. Children loved asking questions about the stories, characters and illustrations. There were lively discussions and many times their answers were insightful, at times, funny and always honest. Many of these books captured the children's imagination and encouraged them to work through their own thoughts and feelings.  

The children's books caught my youthful fancy too. They frequently ushered me back to my childhood and the precious story hours with my grandmother. I was struck by the reading 'bug' that continued all my life. So when I decided to write, I was drawn to children's literature.


What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, That'll Do Pippin?

Dogs have constantly been in my life and by my side. They were my playmates and my confidants. There were many dogs in my neighbourhood. Every close childhood friend included a dog. Whether it was a baseball game, a soccer game, an imaginary made up story to act, a bike ride or a skating party our dogs were with us.

I have had many wonderful dog breeds sharing my life, but have always been consistently drawn to the Border Collie's charisma. They are smart, playful, wise and a "take charge" kind of dog.

Pippin is my dog. He came from a working farm. When he was a pup, he was a most comical, gentle boy and he looked like a little cartoon character. His brother Nigel was the leader of the litter, who took command of any playtime. He now happily lives in the United States, excelling in the dog sport, Agility. Pippin and Nigel are delightful but distinctive and unique personalities. I thought they might be two appealing characters for a children's book. 

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

 Many children went through my school library. I would have story times and book studies with at least four to five classes a day (about 200 students). The children loved discussing the books and asking questions. They seemed to believe in the characters and their stories and feelings. Reading and working on book projects were for me a rewarding time and enabled me experience the books through the eyes of the children.
I suppose I am a kid at heart. I still love children's stories, picture books and novels.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I didn't have one favourite book. When I was four years, a book called The Penny Puppy was a daily request. I heard it so many times that I knew the whole story word for word. Naturally, the next new dog/animal story was often my favourite.
In later years, I loved the Anne of Green Gables series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Wind in the Willows and Black Beauty. I enjoyed mysteries (even adult ones, particularly Agatha Christie). Farley Mowat's books, especially The Dog Who Wouldn't Be touched my heart.  

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

 Have fun! Stretch your imagination! Familiarity with your subject taps into your own experiences and emotions. Even if the story sounds impractical, just go for it. Children are clever. They love reading about the impossible becoming possible. They embrace unlikely heroes. They want to believe in the characters and their journeys.

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I wrote a Junior level children's non-fiction book, Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude before the Pippin books.

 A second book for the That'll Do Pup series, Pippin and Nigel's Christmas Adventure, was published around the same time as That'll Do Pippin. I am working on a third That'll Do Pup book.

I am on final revisions of a historical fiction book, Northern Dancer: A Stable Girl's Journey for YA on the great Canadian racehorse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer.

About the Book:



Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his brother Nigel. Nigel is brave. Nigel is strong. Nigel is smart. One day, the puppies escape from their yard into the woods where they experience many adventures. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous problem all by himself and learns that it is okay just to be Pippin.
This story teaches young children the importance of believing in themselves and that they each have their own wonderful gifts and abilities.

ORDER YOUR COPY:




Friday, April 26, 2019

Book Review: Drewsilla The Shelter Puppy by Karen Carew Oakes

Title: DREWSILLA THE SHELTER PUPPY
Author: Karen Carew Oakes
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Pages: 22
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
When Drewsilla and her siblings are tiny puppies, an accident steals their mother away. A kind stranger rescues them and takes them to a shelter, where the staff works around the clock to care for the pack of newborns. Soon, her brothers and sisters begin to thrive. Drewsilla has a beautiful black coat, intelligent eyes, and ears that stand straight up.

Drewsilla, though, is scared. She seems afraid of everyone and everything and hides in the back of her cage when families come to visit. As her friendly siblings each get adopted, lonely Drewsilla remains. The staff even worries that she might never find a home. Then, one day, something amazing happens.

The Johnsons come to the shelter to look at another dog and see Drewsilla, who miraculously finds the courage to stop hiding and say hello. All shelter dogs deserve the chance to find a loving family, and this is the true story of Drewsilla — how she overcomes her fears, finds her family, and gets a second chance at a happy life.

Book Review:

I absolutely loved this book. This is the story of Drewsilla, a poor little pup who, along with her sibling pups, ended up at a shelter. When people would come up to the pups, Drewsilla shrank away into a corner, scared and confused. When she finally worked up the nerve to come out, a family saw her and fell in love with her. Then, they left. Drewsilla didn't know what to do. She finally worked up the courage to get over her fear of humans and it didn't work. Or so she thought. 

I won't give away any of the story, but what a delightful book. Children not only would enjoy the story, but learn important lessons and that, in my book, makes this book a winner.

I would gladly recommend this book and give it 5 rainbows.




Drewsilla, The Shelter Puppy is available at Amazon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Interview with Children's Book Author Karen Carew Oakes


Karen Carew Oakes, has been writing for many years and her articles have been included in the Lutheran Advent, as well as an article in several magazines. She is a mother and grandmother. She lives in Helotes, Texas with her two schnauzers Ella and Mackenzie. Her stories are based on true experiences her children encountered growing up.

Visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/karencarewoakes.  



About the Book:

Title: DREWSILLA THE SHELTER PUPPY
Author: Karen Carew Oakes
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Pages: 22
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

BOOK BLURB:
When Drewsilla and her siblings are tiny puppies, an accident steals their mother away. A kind stranger rescues them and takes them to a shelter, where the staff works around the clock to care for the pack of newborns. Soon, her brothers and sisters begin to thrive. Drewsilla has a beautiful black coat, intelligent eyes, and ears that stand straight up.

Drewsilla, though, is scared. She seems afraid of everyone and everything and hides in the back of her cage when families come to visit. As her friendly siblings each get adopted, lonely Drewsilla remains. The staff even worries that she might never find a home. Then, one day, something amazing happens.
The Johnsons come to the shelter to look at another dog and see Drewsilla, who miraculously finds the courage to stop hiding and say hello. All shelter dogs deserve the chance to find a loving family, and this is the true story of Drewsilla -- how she overcomes her fears, finds her family, and gets a second chance at a happy life.

ORDER YOUR COPY:


Thanks for this interview, Karen.  I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.  When did you determine that writing for children was for you?

Actually, I have been writing all of my life. As a kid I would write alternate story lines for books and comics I read.

What was the inspiration behind your children’s book, Drewsilla the Shelter Puppy?

Drewsilla the Shelter Puppy, was inspired by Drewsillas adoption by my daughter and son inlaw.

How do you get into the mind of a child to create a fun reading experience?  Are you around kids?  Are you a kid at heart?

Everyone likes a story with a happy ending. Drewsilla was a very shy withdrawn puppy because of the way she was found. She was very tramatized and the shelter was not sure if she would find a home. She chose my daughter and son inlaw.

Children love stories about animals and Drewsillas story also teaches the importance of adopting. There are so many animals in need of home

What was your favorite book as a child?

As a kid I loved a good mystery. Robin Kane mysteries and Nancy Drew were two of my favorites series.

What kind of advice would you give writers who would like to write children’s books?

I would say make sure you know your audience. I actually read my stories at local schools in the library and to friends childrens. 

What are your goals for the future?  More children’s books?

I am in the process of putting illustrations together for my series of books The Misadventures of Kelly and Radar. These are fun and informative books children can relate to.