Category Archives: Children

That’s Not Normal by Mar Pavon and Illustrator Laure du Fay

Reviewed by Teri Davis

That's Not NormalHave you ever been teased about something that you could not change? Do you have a big nose, red hair, large ears, or big feet? At some time in your life, you probably have been teased about some feature that distinguished you. It is a fine line between having a distinguished, unique gift or an embarrassment which you cannot easily or quickly change. Why can some people accept their physical differences as gifts while others see these attributes in humiliation?

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Elephant has an abnormally long trunk. Fortunately, he is friendly and helpful to all the animals. He uses it to help others and even himself. Whether using it to shower and blow dry his baby, helping Old Monkey to climb a tree, using it as a sling to rock Little Antelope to sleep, hanging Zebra’s stripes to drive, assisting ants in crossing the river, being a neck warmer for Giraffe, or drawing hearts in the sand, Elephant looks for ways to be a friend and using his natural ability to help others. “Only Hippopotamus made sure to remind everyone that elephant’s long nose…WASN’T NORMAL.”

If You Were Me and Lived in Poland…Brazil…Israel: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman and Illustrator Kelsea Wieranga

Reviewed by Teri Davis

How do you prepare yourself to travel abroad? Do you research your destinations to be certain to visit those places that interest you or do you just wander aimlessly to embrace the culture of the country?

It seems logical to know a little about a foreign country you plan to visit and to have a little introduction to the culture and to learn a little of the language.

Even those Carole Roman’s books appear to have an audience of children; these are an excellent introduction to the basic knowledge needed to enjoy traveling to any country.

Off the Hook: A Christmas Ornament Adventure by John Arvai III

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Off the Hook:  A Christmas Ornament AdventureWhy do we have ornaments on a Christmas tree?

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Is the reason decoration? Many trees combine ornaments given as remembrances of family members or memorable events.

Would you be surprised to discover that there is a purpose for the decorations, probably one that has been kept a secret from you?

On Christmas Eve, while most people are asleep and dreaming, each ornament diligently goes to work. It is the ornaments responsibility to fix the tree lights, tighten screws on the tree stand, and even guard the cookies and milk from pets. This annual event requires each decoration to be “off the hook.”

The star on the top of your tree is different and not an ornament. All the ornaments cooperatively work together to activate the star which is a location transmitter lighting each rooftop to be seen only by Santa.

This year the Thompson family has a problem. They just don’t know that it exists. During their annual Christmas Eve party, the family cat somehow toppled the star, falling into an empty gift bag which Aunt Connie brought to her home.

Once she discovers the star, she believes it is a gift to decorate one of her many trees. What will happen to the Thompson children when Santa is missing their home? Without a location transmitter, how will their home be found?

How can their Christmas be saved?

How can the family’s ornaments possibly save Christmas for the children?

Off the Hook is a wonderfully creative story with the illustrations perfectly matching the text into a logical and well-organized original Christmas story for children of all ages. Numerous themes surround this short book such as cooperation, friendship, prejudice, stereotypes, diligence and doing not what is easiest, but what is the right thing.

Surprisingly, each ornament is an independent character with an individual personality humanizing each and even revealing a little of every person’s hidden prejudices and biases.

The colorful illustrations perfectly match the text entrancing readers from as young as 2 to 102 focusing on the individual ornaments and the children.

When not being a US Army veteran, an IT professional, husband, and father of three children, the author enjoys hockey and using his imagination to create a beautifully original story.

This enchanting Christmas novel is available as an e-book or a paperback.
Off the Hook is a wonderful Christmas story that will endure the test of time becoming a new family traditional story to be shared with generations.

Lone Wolf (The Oldenglen Chronicles) (Volume 2) by Robin Mason

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Lone Wolf“Hunted. That was the sensation: the feeling of being hunted. Hunted down. Terror gripped his wolven side. But even the part of him that was human felt the loss of freedom. He felt suffocated.”

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For Jackson, being a new student entering the seventh-grade at Bear Creek Valley Middle School in Ashland, Oregon is challenging. Even though English is the common language between the U.S. and England, he feels like an alien in this different land in the foothills of the mountains.

His summer was an adjustment learning to live with the wildlife in their remote home away from the small town. The magic of nature and this particular place developed into a friendship with the granddaughter of his nearest neighbor and landlord.

Making friends is always a little awkward for Jax. He is comfortable with animals, but teenagers can be a challenge for anyone.

If You Were Me and Lived in China…Italy…Egypt: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World by Carole P. Roman, Author and Kelsea Wierenga, Illustrator

Reviewed by Teri Davis

If You Were Me and Lived in ItalyIf You Were Me and Lived in ChinaIf You Were Me and Lived in EgyptHow does anyone prepare to visit another country? Most travelers quickly have discovered that the experience is more enjoyable when you know what to expect. Immersing yourself in any place with another language and culture is the best way to understand others. How do you prepare for the multiple aspects that no one source can explain?

Leopold & the 5 Senseteers: Flour Power by Joshua Tabachnick (Author) and Dustin Dahlman (Illustrator)

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Leopold & the 5 Senseteers: Flour Power Leopold, who is six years old, is looking forward to helping his mother in preparing to celebrate his little sister’s birthday. Jesse will soon be five years old.

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Leopold’s mother wants to bake a cake for this special occasion. While planning, she realizes that the two of them need to go to the market for all the ingredients to make a chocolate cake, Jesse’s favorite.

While at the store, Leopold’s mother sends his to find a five-pound bag of flour. To achieve this goal, he needs the assistance of his five friends, one for each of his five senses.

The friends are Miss. See for the visual sense, Senor Hearwell for hearing, Mr. Touchovsky for touch, Mrs.Goodsmell for smell and Mr. Budtaste for taste. Each character’s head resembles their sense varying in shape, gender and color. This visual illustration is perfect for beginning readers in associating words.

The pictures perfectly the text as the story progresses logically while focusing on the senses of a preschool child. Each page unfolds with bright, engaging illustrations focusing on the senses with a muted background making it simple to understand the natural need of utilizing each sense into the everyday life.

Another focus of the story is the cooperative activity involving measurement in cooking wonderfully demonstrating for parents how to turn a daily chore into an involved learning experience for their child.

Additionally, the book contains a page for the child to find differences between two illustrations that are supposedly identical and online resources for the series with more games, puzzles, songs, videos, t-shirts, hats, and more activities with connections on Facebook and You Tube.

The author, Joshua Tabachnick is a Canadian who now resides in Los Angeles, California and works as a film/television composer and author. Dustin Dahlman, the illustrator is a native of Wisconsin who currently lives in Savannah, Georgia where he studies graphic design and illustration.

Flour Power is the perfect book for young children who are learning to use their senses to discover today’s world. Leopold and the 5 Senseteers: Flour Power is for children from the age four to six. Personally, this book is appropriate for all children in preschool or with special needs.

Flour Power is the first in this smart series featuring Leopold and his five friends. Through the utilization of illustrations, the senses become involved in assisting Leopold to achieve whatever goal he chooses.

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

James Clyde and the Diamonds of OrchestraAn exciting adventure in fantasy reading for tweens, Colm McElwain’s, James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra, brings readers along on a heroic young man’s journey into the enchanted land of Zara, a world imbued with sorcery, diamonds, evil beings, bravery and for James, self- discovery.

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11 year old James Clyde is an orphan, he has an affable nature, but is no stranger to odd or harsh circumstances. Adopted by the seemingly overly strict Anne Brown, James and his other adopted siblings Ben and Mary live together struggling for comfort. However, despite circumstances, there is one ray of solace for the kids, and that is their visits with Wilmore, Jame’s grandfather. Wilmore’s house is a palatial estate that holds comfort, affection, and for James holds much, much more. For James it holds the key to a legacy of magical diamonds, super powers, kingship and self-realization.

Oldenglen (Volume I) by Robin Mason and Michael Mason

Oldlenglen

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“In the center of a small glade in a deep wood, an animal crouched, hidden within the shadow of a pillar of blood-red stone. One paw rested on the cool, rough granite. The eyes of the animal closed. It breathed quietly, its flanks rising and falling; its black nose quivered. It seemed to be listening…sensing. All around, the forest was still…The glade echoed with the sound of its fury. And with its fear…Danger was coming-they could feel it, though none but the beast from the glade knew what it was.”

Most people don’t enjoy moving to a new home and that is true for Jax. In England, Jackson who goes by the name of Jax, plays ball, has his friends from school and was enjoying life.

I love Grass by Maria Boston

I Love Grass

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Once in a while you come across a form of art the makes you stop in your tracks and to really examine the picture. That is my reaction to I Love Grass by Maria Boston.

Imagine a picture of grass with dirt on the ground and a blue sky in the background. Each blade of grass is a separate piece of yarn illustrating the waving fields giving depth and movement to each picture matching the short verses on the opposite page with what appears to be watercolor grass in each corner beneath the writing.

If You Were Me and Lived in Greece…Peru…Hungry…Scotland: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World (Cultures of the World) by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in Greece

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Today’s media frequently reports about the ignorance of America’s children, especially in terms of geography. Carole P. Roman recognized this problem. As a former teacher with years of experience, she saw a solution. She has created a series of books with matching text and illustrations to assist everyone to become more aware of the world, literally giving her readers a global education. She has developed short picture books each focusing on a single country. Each book briefly highlights the geography, culture, food and language in an engaging format for the very young and for readers of all ages. Obviously through her books she is not complaining but taking a step towards solving the problem by both educating and entertaining simultaneously.