Tag Archives: book review

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: Alex and the Lazy Monster

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LazyBookCoverImage_2There is nothing like a good book to start off the New Year for your child. So, this week I’m working on book reviews of books to add to your bedtime reading list for the start of the Year. Here’s a positive way to add new books and spend more time with your child. Reading aloud a book is so important to the development of your child and helps them before entering school. So, hang on, and enjoy my selections this week.

Today, I’m starting with a nice monster book that will help get 2018’s bedtime sessions rolling. Alex and the Lazy Monster by Vanessa A. Newman is a delightful nighttime story that can be read again and again. Told like a mother making up a story for bedtime, this tale of a boy and his adventure with the Lazy Monster might sound familiar to many of us. We’ve all felt like wanting to lie around and do nothing. Alex discovers he has the same problem, and the reason why. He has a new friend, the Lazy Monster.

But this big blue monster is also very friendly and cuddly. When he suddenly discovers rocks in his pockets and sand in his shoes, he knows why he’s been so lazy. His new friend is doing it. But taking them out makes the Lazy Monster tired too. He doesn’t want to hurt his new friend. How can he find a balance?

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Vanessa A. Newman is the author of the picture book, Alex and the Lazy Monster. Available at Amazon.com.

I really adored this cuddly blue monster tale. Instead of just destroying the monster, the author finds a solution where his hero works with the monster to solve the problem. I enjoyed that as a teaching element, and it’s something I look for in a read-aloud. Plus, the illustrations are adorable. You want to give the slothful monster a hug half the time through the book. Any child will like hearing this story read to them again and again. It will give them validation for those times that we need to find a balance between motivating ourselves and resting. This picture book is a bedtime book collection addition for any child.

Alex and the Lazy Monster is available at her website and on Amazon.com. It is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is the second book in the series of Alex and his monsters.

 

Children’s Picture Book Review: Ernest Hummingbird

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Earnest Hummingbird

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  and as an app in the IOS store.

I’ve got a real treat for your Holiday list. Ernest Hummingbird is an absolutely charming picture book written and illustrated by David Feiss. Mr. Feiss created “Cow and Chicken” on the Cartoon Network, and worked as an animator at Hanna Barbera for many years. Charming with its cartoon illustrations, this book will take you back to your Saturday mornings.

Ernest Hummingbird tries to follow his dream to be a singer. But everyone around him insists that he should just “hum”, like all the other hummingbirds. Undaunted, he enlists his friends to sing for an agent rumored to be coming to scout for singers. Of course, in a plot twist, Ernest gets his dream. I’ll leave it up to you to discover the ending.

I enjoyed this sweet little story of following your dreams and not letting anything stop you. The illustrations are humorous and inviting, pulling you into the story as any delightful Saturday morning cartoon. I would recommend this book to anyone that would need a gift for a child, grandchild, or niece and nephew. It would make a satisfying bedtime story. As a read-aloud in the lower grades, it would teach the importance of not giving up.

As an added bonus, the folks behind Ernest Hummingbird also have a parallel storybook app in the IOS store, with music written by Tommy Thayer from KISS. The narration is by country star Darius Rucker. Link to the app in the IOS store.

Find out more at: www.mechemmedia.com.

Earnest Hummingbird is available at: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

 

 

Picture Book Review: Best Friends

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Best Friends by Ronald and Juanita Destra is a great gift for the Holidays.

Here’s a picture book gift for the Holidays about how friendship can help overcome the most difficult struggle a child could face, a terminal illness.

Best Friends by Ronald Destra and Juanita Destra is a picture book about two friends that meet under difficult circumstances. They are both children ill in the hospital. By chance, they are placed into the same room, and develop a friendship to help them beat the odds their illnesses have set for them.

This book was bringing me near tears within the first few pages. I have gone through a life crisis of a heart attack a few years ago, and to see kids facing this kind of life trauma together was such a message of strength. I have to warn, have some tissues near by, you may need them by the end.

This would be a great book for children to read with parents if they had lost someone close to them in their lives. As a read-aloud, it’s diverse illustrations and acceptance of others, even with physical challenges, is a great message to convey to any class.

This book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

New Humorous Book For Parents: Driving Grandpa

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Driving Grandpa is available on Amazon and is a KU title.

Since I come across a lot of books in my work as a children’s author and teacher, I thought I’d expand into a new section to my blog: Books that are for parents. There are all kinds of books that can support that hardest job of all, especially with your own parents. That is where my first book fits in.

Driving Grandpa by John Redstand is an adult humorous book that tells the ups and downs of the other parenting, parenting your parents. It tells of the adventure of a grandson in helping out his grandfather after losing his wife. All the relatives have had a go in taking care of grandpa. Now it is his turn, and that is when the fun begins.

This was a great book that takes a look at the quality time spent with our elders. Through WWII stories, stories of life, and the journey to patent an outboard motor, we get to know the unique relationship of a boy grown a man and his grandfather. I bonded with both the author’s humorous take on his grumpy grandfather, and was touched by the way their relationship grows through the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone that would relish the story of giving homage to the Great Generation and how we need to care for loved ones before they leave us forever. It’s a great book for the kid in all of us.

***Driving Grandpa is available exclusively on Amazon and is a Kindle Unlimited title!

Children’s Picture Book Review: The Birthday Party

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Looking for a unique birthday present for your special someone? The Birthday Party by Ronald and Juanita Destra is a cute picture book with a fun birthday surprise.

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The Birthday Party by Ronald and Juanita Destra is available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

The Birthday Party is a book that wraps itself around the theme to never give up on your friends and family. That no matter what, even when it seems like there is no hope, they will come through for you in the end. The plot builds suspense to draw you through the story, making even the reader wonder what is going to happen by the end. You feel the heart ache of Johnny not having anyone acknowledge his birthday. It just makes the ending so much sweeter. The illustrations are also very charming, and the diverse characters make this a great read-aloud for any classroom.

I would recommend this picture book for parents and teachers looking for a book that teaches lessons of perseverance and the love of family and friends.

***The Birthday Party is available at Barnes and Nobles.com and Amazon.com.

 

Picture Book Review: Elijah and the Key of Knowledge & Elijah and the City in Danger

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Elijah and the Key of Knowledge starts this fresh take on exploring reading skills.

I had the pleasure of reading Elijah and The Key of Knowledge for this June’s featured children’s book to get your summer reading started. The author, Zachariah Rippee, does a masterful job of pulling readers into the idea that reading gives you knowledge. In fact, the whole Elijah series is full of themes to get kids reading.

The series begins with the picture book, Elijah and The Key of Knowledge. This book starts out with Elijah as an adventurer like in the Indiana Jones movies. He takes his animal friends, ie Calvin and Hobbes, on an adventure with many obstacles blocking the way. He has to enlist the help of his friends to best the things thrown into his path. It all ends when he finally discovers the secret to the key of knowledge. You guessed it, reading.

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Elijah and the City in Danger is the second in the Elijah series.

The second book in the series I liked better than the first. It has Elijah now using his imagination to become a superhero in Elijah and The City in Danger. In this picture book, Elijah is now a masked hero charged with the safety of THE CITY. He must fight giant dinosaurs, robots and aliens to keep the City safe all while using his imagination, the biggest super power of all.

I really enjoyed the spontaneous joy in these two picture books. Mr. Rippee presents a fun, playful world in which a child uses his reading powers to create big adventures and be the star of his own imagination. The series would make a great read-aloud for teachers wanting to emphasis reading skills, and parents wanting to motivate their little ones to read. The Elijah series would be a great way to start off your summer reading as well.

Elijah and the Key of Knowledge is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Elijah and the City in Danger is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

-Tiffany Turner

Head writer and editor of the Indie Children’s Authors Connection

*Tiffany Turner is the head writer and editor for the Indie Children’s Authors Connection and author of her own middle grade children’s fantasy adventure series, the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. She has taught elementary students the love of reading and writing for 18 years, and currently has moved to writing full time. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and cat. The cat, of course, is the center of attention.

 

 

Back to School Blog Tour: Day 4

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backtoschool2016We’re already up to Day 4 of the blog tour. I hope you have been enjoying the daily featured authors. There has been a wide range of books, from Middle Grade to Reading instruction readers, to a picture book. Today, I share with you the author of a fabulous Middle Grade reader, Sandra R. Anderson. She is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Painting. She is a mother of two boys who fortunately have yet to show any interest in art. They are too busy catching Pokémon.

After several years of translating other people’s books by day and reading tons of children’s books every night at bedtime, she decided that she had some stories of her own to tell. She first got started by taking a course in writing for children at the cultural center Näs, right next to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home.

She writes books for children and for grown-ups and anyone else who likes stories that are about something more than at first glance. She still works as a translator. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and Postcrossing, although not simultaneously. She is an accidental stamp collector and keeps forgetting to water her potted plants, particularly when she’s working on a new book.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Anderson about her thoughts on writing, her favorite school memories, and what she is up to right now.

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Sandra R. Anderson is the author of Konrad and the Birthday Party available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?
I was the type of kid that read everything I could get my hands on, so I couldn’t name just one. I loved the classics, wandering around on that deserted island with Robinson Crusoe and exploring the oceans with Captain Nemo, but I also solved mysteries alongside Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys, discovered smugglers and hidden treasure with the Famous Five and slept with my feet on the pillow and baked gingerbread cookies on the floor with Pippi Longstocking.
I honestly can’t imagine the person I would have grown up to be if I hadn’t had all of these characters in my life as a child and am eternally grateful to the authors who created them. They opened my eyes to other people’s lives and experiences and made me see things differently. They broadened my horizons and made me a far better person than I would have been otherwise.
2) What is your most memorable school moment?
The best time I ever had in school was when I lived in Norway for a few years and went to school in a tiny school building with the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other. One time the entire school (not that many kids, perhaps 60 or 70 in all) rode a bus to the next valley over and then went on skis back over the mountains. Eating my school lunch at the top of a mountain is a memory that I will treasure forever.
3) Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
My best writing gets done really early in the morning, before the rest of my family wakes up. I’m an early bird and often wake up at 4 or 5. When everything is quiet, and the whole family is tucked away in bed, that’s when I can give my undivided attention to the characters in my stories and go on adventures with them. That said, if that wasn’t an option, I would write with blunt crayons on wet napkins up in a tree in the middle of a hurricane. Sometimes a story just needs to be told.
4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?
Sure. I’m not very good at a lot of things. I’m pretty good at reading and writing, but that’s about it. When it came to the more practical subjects, I was all thumbs, and I am still capable of burning a salad or sewing a shirt to my trousers if I try to replace a lost
button. But the thing I found most difficult in school was the social aspect, the unwritten rules that govern the playground. We moved a lot, so I was always the new kid, always failing to fit in.
5) What is writing to you in one sentence?
The magic that allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes, explore places and situations that would otherwise be out of reach, and be anyone we want to be.
6) What projects are you working on right now?
I’m writing the next book in the Artworld series, of course, to find out what Konrad gets up to now that he has discovered an exciting new world inside of paintings. I’m also working on a science fiction story for ages 9 and up and have a coming of age saga for the same age group on the back burner. I  like to work on several different projects simultaneously, to avoid writer’s block, but there are only so many hours in a day, unfortunately. I also write for grown-ups under a different pen name, and have a few projects I’m working on there, as well. The most urgent is a ghost story that I hope to have done in time for Halloween.
To connect to Sandra R. Anderson, find her at:

Her website: www.sandrarandersson.com

Her Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorSandraR

 

BOOK REVIEW: KONRAD AND THE BIRTHDAY PAINTING

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Sandra R. Anderson writes a brilliant fantasy world in this Middle Grade Book available on Amazon.

***** Five Stars

Konrad and the Birthday Painting is a fast and fun fantasy adventure for middle graders. Konrad, a second grader, finds some mysterious glasses that allow him to look into a painting in the school office that, by chance, is like a map of the real school. He witnesses the taking of the Fifth Grade field trip funds, and has to stop his friend, Casper from being blamed for the theft.

Along the way, he discovers that the glasses work on other paintings at a nearby museum. This introduces him to the virtual world of “Artworld”. Will he want to come back to reality once he discovers this amazing new place?

This is a real creative fantasy that plays with the concept of the real world and a virtual world. I love stories that play with a fantasy world just on the edge of the real world. Anderson does a brilliant job of creating the world and the tension that Konrad has to struggle with. He has to think about his family still in the real world, and make a choice between the two. With wisps of Narnia, I recommend Konrad and the Birthday Painting to readers that love to play in fantasy worlds.

As part of this week’s special discounts and giveaways, you can download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

**Also available on Amazon.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s Blog, LINK HERE! 

Come back tomorrow for the final post to wrap up this week of Back to School celebration!

 

 

Back to School Blog Tour 2016: Day 3

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backtoschool2016The blog tour continues with today’s featured author, Erin Liles. Ms. Liles grew up in Northern California. In her twenties, she moved to Austin, Texas where it’s brutally hot in the summer, but life is a bit more relaxed. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in sociology, and after almost ten years working in family literacy and early childhood education, she took the plunge into writing and later, freelance editing.

Erin spends most of her time with her husband, kids, and pets. I had a chance to ask Erin about her opinions on writing, about some school memories, and what she will be working on next.

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Erin Liles is the author of Tinker Bee, a delightful picture book available on Amazon.

1) Who was your favorite children’s author and how did they influence you?

As a kid, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. I still have my original books on my shelf (thanks for saving them, Mom and Dad!). As an adult, I love Kevin Henkes picture books and Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA.

2) What is your most memorable school moment?

I most remember my teacher writing lovely comments in the margins of the stories I wrote at school. They said things like Great imagination! and Terrific story! I always felt encouraged to write more.

3) Do you have a writing routine?

Share what works for you. I find that writing first thing in the morning works best for me. That way, I’m fresh and clear-headed (especially after my morning coffee!), and I don’t have to worry all day about when I’m going to get it done because it already is!

I write my drafts on Scrivener. For me, there’s no better way to organize the chaos of ideas flowing through my head, and I only have to switch screen views to see my plot all laid out for me.

4) Was there anything in school that was difficult for you?

Math! I still cringe at the subject when I’m trying to help my kids with their homework.

 

5) What is writing to you in one sentence?

I’m taking a writing course with Professor James Hynes, and he tells a story of his high school English teacher who once told him, “Fiction imposes order on the chaos that is reality.” That sums it up pretty well for me because writing means taking a chaos of ideas, picking the most important of those ideas, and corralling them into a logical, meaningful story.

6) What projects are you working on right now?

Right now, I’m working on a YA ghost story and a middle grade adventure.

***Here’s a chance to win a pen and notebook set, bookmarks or a copy of her new picture book, Tinker Bee. LINK TO GIVEAWAY HERE!

For more information on Erin Liles, follow this link to her blog/website.

BOOK REVIEW of Tinker Bee by Erin Liles

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Tinker Bee is available on Amazon as a Kindle Unlimited picture book.

Tinker Bee is a dazzling picture book  about a bee that wants to be different. She wants to be a fairy. No matter where she turns, people are trying to get her to do things the way other bees do. She’ll have none of that. She does things the way she’d like, as a fairy. Then, one day, someone comes along and ruins their best pansy patch. Tinker Bee is off to solve the problem. Her unusual idea saves the day, and it took her fairy wand and imagination to do it.

Kids that love fairies are going to be enchanted with this book. It teaches some of the vocabulary with associated with bees like waggle dance. Plus, it does it all with a charming moral that being yourself is as important as others excepting you as such. The illustrations are beautiful, with cheerful and bright colors that would be part of a bees world. I recommend this picture book for kids 3-8 years old. It would make a great gift for any child learning to read or getting their first Kindle or ereader.

**** Four Stars

Tinker Bee is available on Amazon. It is a Kindle Unlimited title. It is listed for $0.99.

Link to purchase book: https://www.amazon.com/Tinker-Bee-Erin-Beth-Liles-ebook/dp/B01GLM3KQ6

Watch the book trailer on YouTube:

**The giveaways are still up and going. Here is a list of all the books on discount/free and the big $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway.

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is the current list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head on over to Sandra Anderson’s blog HERE!