Graphic Novel Review: The Adventures of Junior & Rubble-The Oil Monster Part 2

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Junior_and_Rubble_CoverWith the interest in superheroes these days, I’ve stumbled upon a unique twist on the genre. The Adventures of Junior and Rubble: The Oil Monster Part Two  has a superhero that is tied to the Earth and fights environmental themed villains. This is right up my alley. I just couldn’t resist.

Junior discovers he has unique powers that he is refueled to use when touching a golden raintree. His friends Seth and Jack join in the hunt to find the start of an oil slick. Working together to solve the mystery, Junior reveals his powers to his friends and they begin to work together to help the environment.

I do like this interesting take on a modern day superhero. With the Earth and nature as his energy source, it’s a nice twist in a hero character. I like the fact they are solving environmental problems and educating the reader. I also think that the fairies in my children’s books would approve. This would make a great addition to a classroom library or for a child that has trouble reading middle grade novels.

**The Adventures of Junior and Rubble-The Oil Monster Part 2 is available at Amazon.com and Kobo.com. 

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Picture Book Review: Billy, go to bed!

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Billy_Go_Bed_CoverI’m always on the look out for a good nighttime picture book. I think I found one that is realistic and captures the imagination. Billy, go to bed! by Pamela Malcolm is a fun repeating bedtime adventure.

Billy is having trouble falling asleep. He follows his parents’ instructions to go to bed, but each time, something disturbs him. First, there’s a ghost. Then, he can’t sleep because of a skeleton in the closet. Lastly, a vampire stalks him under the bed. Each time, his parents patiently explain away his fears. Finally, aliens land in his room and take him on an adventure. In the end, he finds out he was dreaming about his new alien friends realizing he could visit them the next evening in his dreams.

If you have trouble getting your child to sleep, here’s a fun picture book that will make them laugh and try to make friends in their sleep like Billy. This will make a great read-aloud every night and maybe convince your toddler they’ll make friends while they sleep. Plus, there are a slew of other Billy books that your child will enjoy. This will make a great addition to your nighttime read-alouds.

***Billy, got to bed! is available on Amazon.com.

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Raspberry Sassafras Series

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Allison Holland is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series.

I have found a cute picture book series that stresses the unique factors in each of us. It’s called the Raspberry Sassafras series. With books titled Raspberry Sassafras, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am a Cow and Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow, it’s a series that brings back memories of other animal books like Curious George.

The author of the series, Allison Holland, has created a world where animals have secret abilities that humans never see. The main character, Jane, finds Raspberry Sassafras at a nearby farm on a family trip. Her family adopts the little cow, and that is where the fun begins.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasRaspberry Sassafras, the first picture book in the series, starts off with Jane and her family adopting Raspberry Sassafras from a local farm. They bring the little cow back to the city, and introduce her to her new apartment home and the big city. Jane teaches Raspberry Sassafras about how to adapt to her new surroundings and discovers a secret; Raspberry Sassafras can fly and even talk. Apparently, it’s what most cows do when humans aren’t around. The secret is kept by the family setting up the possible reveal in future books.

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The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The second picture book, Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow, deals with Raspberry Sassafras learning to explore her neighborhood and to be accepted by the dogs at the dog park. After a visit to the park, Raspberry Sassafras finds hostility towards her, and soon a sign goes up banning all cows from the dog park. Jane convinces Raspberry Sassafras to face the dogs and their owners, and speak her truth about how she may be different, but still unique, and be allowed to play at the park. Her bravery to face her feelings and the people that were prejudice against her as a cow helps bring change to the park. Cows are officially allowed.

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The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

The third picture book in the series is called Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow. Raspberry Sassafras uses her ability to fly to save people from a burning building exposing her secret. Jane and Raspberry return home to find the media is trying to find her. The press is everywhere, and Raspberry Sassafras becomes famous. But fame doesn’t stop here, in fact, she embraces that she can teach others about herself and help people understand more about her differences. She finds herself on TV shows doing interviews and on magazine covers. This all helps her to realize she can finally be herself and not have to hide her real abilities anymore. In the end, Raspberry Sassafras can finally be the real cow she wants to be.

The Raspberry Sassafras series reminds me a lot of the old children’s stories involving Curious George. Raspberry Sassafras is a loveable character that children can relate to. All of the stories make great read-alouds for the classroom since they deal with different themes that can be discussed with a class. The stories all deal with several important themes such being unique, accepting your self, standing up for your feelings, and not hiding and being your true self. I can see this series being a valuable addition to any family’s bedtime collection, and I’m looking forward to seeing what new books will be added to the series.

For more information on Allison Holland, visit her website at: raspberrysassafras.com.

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow


Amazon.com: 
https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

 

Author Interview and Book Review: Curse of Sap River by Brooklyn West

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curseofsapriverRecently, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Brooklyn West. She is the author of  the new release, Curse of Sap River, a strange journey into the micro world of bugs and nature with a unique perspective. I got to speak to Ms. West about reading as a child, author’s that influenced her, and upcoming writing projects.

1) What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

Brooklyn West: The most vivid memory from childhood that I have is reading on the porch.
2) Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

Brooklyn West: I liked books that were portholes to another world or time. It could be another planet or century, or the world of a fish or bug. Worlds that you couldn’t visit or experience in real life.
3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

Brooklyn West: Whenever I get the chance. Even if you don’t feel like writing something – set a small goal, sit down, and try. The next thing you know ideas are flowing.
4) What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

Brooklyn West: I have more adventures planned for Libby and her friends in the apple orchard.
5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

Brooklyn West: Writing to me is taking the reader on a journey.

For more information on Brooklyn West, visit her website at: LibbyLacewing.blogspot.com.

 

Book Review of Curse of Sap River:

Curse of Sap River by Brooklyn West is a delightful adventure into the micro-world of bugs from a new perspective. Libby is a lacewing bug, an aphid wrangler, and helps control the aphid population on the Owens Farm. But an especially bad aphid infestation leads to the wrangling adventure of her life. With helpful ladybug sidekick, Libby faces dangers all while trying to round up the invading aphids all while learning that you can’t face the world alone.

This beginning chapter book is a delight into the mind of what it would be like if you were a bug cowboy. Brooklyn West creates a world of home and family fighting against the world in miniature. Children will love the spirit of these characters as they face obstacles that are small to us, but dangerous to them. It’s an enjoyable book to share as a gift or as a class library addition for a beginning reader.

This book is available at Amazon.com and at Createspace.

 

Picture Book Review: The House That Daisy Built Coloring Book

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housedaisybuiltI have come across a great birthday or Valentine’s Day present for your child. This Is The Dollhouse That Daisy Built Coloring Book by Emma A Karoline is a take on the old rhyme of The House that Jack Built. It’s loaded with Girl Power. From bunnies, a princess, a doll, butterflies and fairies, it will be a wonderful read-aloud that can be colored for extra fun. Each page takes on the rhyme repeating the sentence from a girl and her dollhouse, to bunnies, to before you know it; you’re trying to remember all the cool and cute fun stuff like in the old nursery rhyme.

I think this is the cutest, present ever. Each child can design their own version of the book with coloring crayons, pens or whatever medium they choose. The pictures are deliciously adorable. Each new addition to the old nursery rhyme pattern made me smile. You’ll definitely want to keep this around for repeated readings at nighttime after the art project aspect is complete. I think this book makes an awesome gift for birthdays, Valentine’s Day and even for the spring.

Recommended ages: 3-8 years old

**Available at Amazon.com.

February Author Spotlight: Interview with Allison Holland

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bio_picFebruary Featured Author

I’m proud to introduce a fabulous writer. Allison Holland is a children’s picture book author that has left the 9-to-5 corporate world to write children’s books. Of course, her new bosses are brutally honest and a joy to work for. She is the author of the Raspberry Sassafras picture book series. In my exclusive interview with her, she reveals some inspirational authors from her childhood, memories of being an avid reader, and what it’s like in the new job she loves, writing for children.

What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?

HeadAllisonBabyThat’s a tough one because I read voraciously as a child. I was like a little swarm of locusts devouring everything I could get my hands on. But the one thing that really stands out for me is when I was given Kay Thompson’s Eloise. Growing up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, feminism and the equal rights movement were undoubtedly in full-swing, but it didn’t seem to trickle down to little girls. We were expected to like dolls and tea sets and patent leather Mary Janes, and Girl Power was a concept on par with having phones you could carry around in your pocket. That is to say, it wasn’t even a consideration. But then Eloise came along, and unlike all the sweet, dainty little girls in my other books, she was a hot mess. Just like me. She was the first book character I could relate to, and I loved it. I loved her. That’s probably why I still have that book on my shelf today.

Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?

I think I was more drawn to a book’s characters than to its author. I loved Beverly Cleary’s Ramona for much the same reason I loved Eloise, but I don’t recall ever thinking, “I want to be a writer just like Beverly Cleary.” I liked Roald Dahl because he could be a bit dark and sometimes scary. I remember being a bit shaken up that James’ parents were killed in James and the Giant Peach. But, at the same time, it made the story much more interesting than all the typical fluff aimed at readers my age. But the first one that made me want to write like him was Shel Silverstein. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout was my absolute favorite, and I remember writing long, terrible poems trying to emulate Silverstein. I don’t write poetry anymore (you’re welcome, world) but I feel that I still carry his influence. From him, I learned that every word matters and using the wrong one is like playing the wrong note in a musical piece. It’s noticeable, it stands out, it disrupts the flow.

Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.

I don’t, actually. I’ll make notes and write down ideas, but I don’t sit down and write for a certain number of hours every day. I write in waves and gushes. When an idea hits me, it hits me all at once. I was driving to meet a friend when the inspiration for Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow struck, and by the time I arrived at my destination, I had the whole story figured out in my head. All I had to do was get it into my laptop when I got home. When I do write, when an idea blossoms in my brain, I can bang away at my computer for hours on end, editing, re-editing and tweaking it, first writing, and then endlessly tweaking it until I’ve taken care of all the sour notes.

What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?

I’ll definitely be writing more Raspberry Sassafras books … in fact, I’m pretty much done with the story for the fourth book, and I just need to crank out the illustrations. Which can take a while because I’m a terrible artist and I have to tweak my drawing far more than my writing. I want to cover essential things with Raspberry and Jane, things that matter to kids … bullying, being different, peer pressure, loneliness … but I never want to be heavy-handed. I hope that any message or lesson I’m trying to convey wafts gently into the child’s mind and easily sinks in. I never want my books to shout, “This is wrong!” or “This is scary!” Kids are smart, they can absorb a subtle message. I also want to break up the message-parade with some stories that are just for fun … Raspberry In Space, Raspberry Visits The Farm, Raspberry Confronts Her Irrational Fear Of Clowns … hahaha!

What is writing to you in one sentence?

Writing is the key to my identity, my self-confidence and, quite often, my sanity.

RS01_Raspberry_SassafrasAllison Holland’s Raspberry Sassafras picture books series has three darling picture books for children ages 4-9. The first in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, introduces the beloved cow Raspberry Sassafras as she moves from her farm to an apartment in the city. She learns to adapt teaching her friend to except her for who she is. The second book has Raspberry Sassafras exploring the city park, and her encounters with dogs. They learn that being different than others is okay. And in the third book in the series, Raspberry Sassafras, the Flying Cow, embraces her talent and shows it off to the world. All of these picture books can be purchased from Amazon.com and  Barnes and Noble.

For more information on Allison Holland and her other books, visit her website:

https://raspberrysassafras.com/

Buy Links for all three books:

Raspberry Sassafras

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Allison-Holland/dp/B01GLC0RAS

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126574449

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The second book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: I Am A Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-I-Am-Cow/dp/1365956229

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575024

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The third book in the Raspberry Sassafras series.

Raspberry Sassafras: The Famous Flying Cow

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Sassafras-Famous-Flying-Cow/dp/1365989879

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raspberry-sassafras-allison-holland/1126575037

***Stay tuned for a book review of the Raspberry Sassafras series in the next couple of days! Hit the button on the left, and follow my blog to be updated on all of the new and exciting Indie Authors in Children’s Books!

 

Dark Fantasy Book Review: In Bt.

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In BtcoverSometimes I find unique books to read. That’s what I found in the book, In Bt., by James Kidac. It’s an adult fantasy book that I wanted to share with my followers. It’s a different kind of fantasy book that builds a world of angels and demons in between our own. It is written in the unique perspective of one of the angels, sort of like X-Files meets Touched by An Angel, but edgier.

Akira is an angel that lives in the between of the real world. Yet, he functions in the real world, looking and searching for the hope of humanity. He battles other creatures, demons and wizards, almost in the D& D fights I imagined when younger. But he’s lost trying to find himself, and has settled in a puzzling niche for himself, keeping the balance for humanity. That’s when he meets her, and the sparks fly.

This unique dark fantasy has a literary voice that gives Akira an interesting perspective. It takes a while to get drawn into the world, but once you do, it starts to latch onto your perceptions of reality, dark versus evil, light versus good, and how it all hangs in the balance. It will be a great addition to your dark fantasy bookshelf.

**Includes Adult language and situations.

*** In Bt. is available at Amazon.com and Kobo.com.

 

Children’s YA/Middle Grade Book Review: The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM

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BlueUnicornCoversmallI am a sucker for a good unicorn story. Ever since I read The Last Unicorn in high school, I’m drawn to them. So, when The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM by Sybrina Durant crossed my virtual desk, I couldn’t help but take a peek. I’m glad I did. In a land that resembles many video game worlds, map is included in the book; I began my adventure with Blue the Unicorn.

Set in a beautiful land of fairies and unicorns, The Blue Unicorn is a misfit, a unicorn with no magical gift. A prophecy said he would save the unicorns from the evil sorcerer trying to destroy them all. But so far, he was just an ordinary unicorn, until the day the Moon-Star was to appear. Now, Blue must meet his destiny to save the unicorns and defeat the evil sorcerer.

This plucky fantasy story is in a unique format of short chapters. It has beautiful, colorful illustrations for each small chapter, and moves the story along with the imagination. It is a complicated world with unicorns given unique personalities and powers. This fantasy adventure will be great for any child that loves to get lost in a fantasy world. And oh yeah, it’s got unicorns! Always a plus!

***The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM is available on Amazon.com and is a Kindle Unlimited title.

Children’s Picture Book Review: I am a Rockstar

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RockstarBookCoverFor day three of my read-aloud collection recommendations for 2018, I present to you a unique take on a new type of pictures book. I am a Rockstar by Amy Hackler Thibeault is a unique positive affirmation picture book. Each set of pages deals with different issues in building self-image. This makes the book a unique read for bedtime and discussion time with parents, or can be used as a great start for the day.

Each set of pages has questions to think about and affirmations to confirm different issues children might struggle with in their self-confidence. From subjects such as setting goals, getting excited to learn new things, following the rules, taking care of your health to honoring those that support you, this is a well organized book to cover many topics children need to consider and learn while growing up.

I found that this would be a great read-aloud for especially the beginning of the year, to help bolster and bring a class together. Each set of pages had questions to be asked and discussed followed by positive affirmations that can be said individually or as a class. It can also be used mid-year to help reaffirm some of these skills that a class might still struggle with.

As a read-aloud at home, it would be great to start the day using the discussion questions and affirmations. It will also be a great way to create discussions at home.

I am a Rockstar is a great book to help get kids out of bed in the morning and excited about their day. I highly recommend it as a read-aloud for any classroom or home.

I am a Rockstar is available at: Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com. 

 

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Tortoise and the Hare

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Tortoise_Hare_book_coverpage001On day two of my 2018 read-aloud picks for the new year, I’d like to introduce you to a new kind of take on an old tale. It’s a retelling of the old Aesop’s Fable with a new twist. The Tortoise and the Hare by Ransley Cuckmere is a cute take on how acceptance of self is a hard lesson to learn.

Tortoise is upset that he is always so slow. He decides that a race with his friend, Hare, is the best way to finally prove he is fast like his friend. He’ll find a way to make sure he wins. Giving Hare something that puts him to sleep before the race, Tortoise runs the race at his slow speed confident he’ll finally win.

When he sees Hare at the finish line, he can’t believe he’s lost again. But his friend convinces him that all he needed to do was be happy with who he was. He didn’t need to be fast like Hare, but happy with his own speed. All Tortoise needed was to be just happy with himself.

This is a great book to help emphasize confidence and believing in yourself and your own abilities. The illustrations are cute and charming, and go along with the rhyming verses of the text. It’s a great read-aloud text to compare different versions of the same folk tale that may apply to several teaching standards. I recommend this picture book as a read-aloud for your bedtime collection.

***The Tortoise and the Hare by Ransley Cuckmere is available on Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title.