Written and Illustrated by David Tiefenthaler

Cover Design Robin Ludwig, Design, Inc.

O.K., jpg

What a great story for children in middle grades covering so many of the issues facing pre teens and teens in today’s world. Issues covered are fitting in, cyberbullying, sibling rivalry, peer relationships, and moving. Otis Kashwonkee, (yes, that’s his name) goes by the nickname, O.K. That would be fine if it were not for the fact that Otis doesn’t seem to excel at anything and the O.K. initials indicate to Otis that he is just ordinary. When his parents tell him that they are moving to the suburbs, Otis must add a new problem, adjusting to new friends and a new school.

For the reader, many of these situations are funny simply because the things that happen are so bad they might be considered outrageous. Otis has to endure his older brother’s success on the high school football team and his younger sister’s talent with music, but he finally has made friends with Leo and Horace. They devise a plan to prove themselves important and successful by breaking seventh grade records physical fitness records and getting their names on “The Board of Beasts.” The story continues with a series of mishaps with fellow students, including Stephanie, “The Queen of Amazons,” who seems intent on making their lives miserable.

Will these three friends be able to overcome all obstacles and achieve their record-setting goals? Does life in seventh grade ever get better? The black and white drawings interspersed throughout the story enhance the text with humor. Boys and girls age eight and older will love this story; adults will laugh and cry as they remember similar experiences. Makes a great classroom read aloud for group discussion. Highly recommended.

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Captain No Beard Blog Tour Twitter copy

Interview with Award-Winning Author Carole P. Roman

Captain No beard is a labor of love. I wrote the first story, Captain No Beard The Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life, on a whim, never expecting the crew to become as dear and as close to me as family. I am speaking about the inanimate crewmembers, not my grandchildren from which many of the characters are based, of course

Each character was created from the folks that people my life—my playmates, partners, and cohorts. The journeys and adventures are events that affected us—from my nephew being bullied (The Crew Goes Coconuts), to my grandson’s desire to steal the aurora borealis (Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis).

While Captain No Beard is loosely based on my grandson Alexander and the adventures we share, when he became bossy and difficult in Stuck in the Doldrums, his personality more resembled his grandfather, the captain of our own ship. Fortunately for me, my husband never read the book. He told me he’d wait for the movie to come out.

Polly’s inability to tell her right from left in Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience is a birds-eye view of my own issues. I cannot tell my right from left. She is a peacemaker who loves to read (The Treasure of Snake Island) and until I wrote this article, I didn’t realize that she has, in fact, a startling resemblance to me. 

Linus the Lion could only be my youngest brother, who is a big, sleepy, rough-tough kind of guy with a gentle side he likes to hide. Sometimes, he is seen as a scaredy cat in the books. In true life, he is not afraid of anything, except perhaps me.  Don’t tell him he is Linus! Do you think he’ll guess it when the movie to comes out?

Mongo the Monkey is an instigator, a combination of troublemakers that I work with. Lovable, cranky, co-workers that peek in my office wanting to know where the next installment is taking our ship. I’m making them wait for the movie to come out.

Fribbet the Frog is a nervous wreck. He hops around full of doom and gloom worrying about what will happen, even when nothing special is going on. He is my middle brother and can sometimes predict the direst things. He deals with a surplus of siblings (Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles) much as my brother has had to do. I have the pleasure of working with him daily. He is the CFO of our company and is the doomiest and gloomiest of anybody on our ship, err…I mean staff. As far as he’s concerned, the movie will never come out.

Bonnie Lemaire created my beautiful crew, giving Linus his devilish pirate braid, and Fribbet his excited expressions. Mongo is delightfully spastic, and Polly wears an attractive bandana. 

She had no idea the crewmembers were my own and while Alexander was two when we started, Hallie was a mere three months old. Together we captured my grandson’s bravery, his charm, and winning personality without even realizing it. Our perception of Hallie’s calm voice of reason and quiet dignity soon became reality as well. Cayla arrived three days after Hurricane Sandy, sweeping into our series with the same force as her effervescent nature, and lastly, my baby boy Zachary is ready for anything, anywhere, anytime—just as we predicted. The great set of pipes is not imaginary either.

This is my crew and I adore them. Like playing a great game of imagination, I made it up as I went along, stealing and plundering tidbits of life like the pirate I am. I smile at their antics and laugh as they figure out what to do with whatever life throws their way. I don’t need to wait for the movie to come out—I’m living it everyday.

About Carole P. Roman

carole p roman headshot hd

Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2012 for her first book, award-winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. Using an imaginary game she played with her grandson as a base, Captain No Beard was born. She lives on Long Island with her husband and very near her children and grandchildren—the inspiration for her books. | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

About the Captain No Beard Series

Captain No Beard Social Twitter

Captain No Beard sets sail on 9 separate voyages of the imagination with his fearless crew aboard his pirate ship The Flying Dragon

When a young boy named Alexander, his cousin Hallie, and some stuffed animals, board his bed their world is transformed into a magical vessel, sailing the seven seas on a dangerous and exciting adventure! Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life was named to Kirkus Review’ BEST OF 2012 for children’s Indie Books, and garnered the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit, as was Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis. In addition to many other merits awarded the series, The Foreword review gave “Five Star” reviews to Pepper Parrot’s Problem with Patience: A Captain No Beard Story and A Flag for the Flying Dragon: A Captain No Beard Story.


Captain No Beard Series Giveaway

Captain No Beard Series Giveaway Facebook

Enter to win a complete autographed set of the Captain No Beard series, by award-winning author Carole P. Roman; plus the PLAYMOBIL Red Serpent Pirate Ship. Enter to win here »

Giveaway begins September 1, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends September 30, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

This is the last day of the blog tour.  PLEASE ENTER NOW!

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Drawing for Beginners: From Dot to Drawing Shapes and Forms

Written by Renee B. Williams


This author has a passion for explaining how to do things, and she displays a definite talent in this area. Adults who have always wanted to learn how to draw or those interested in helping children learn will find value in this book. The step by step approach laid out in the Table of Contents sets the tone for this book of approximately fifty pages.

Williams tells her readers that drawing begins with a dot, then connecting the dots and proceeding to lines. She encourages us to surprise ourselves by allowing ourselves to scribble. Later we can train our eyes to see shapes in the objects around us. I found the section on artist tools helpful. Williams explains the need for an artistic pencil, erasers, sharpeners and the importance of using drawing paper with the proper weight. She cautions the budding artist not to draw from memory, train your eyes and always keep a drawing pad near you. The section on mistakes to avoid includes not throwing away your drawings and not to be afraid of darker values or outlines. As you become more proficient you can learn more about three dimensional forms as well as light and shadows. Drawing can be a fun activity; you do not need to possess great talent. It is a wonderful way to connect to the world and release your frustrations.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in learning to draw or to understand the basic elements of drawing Children ages ten and up should be able to handle the text independently or the book can be used as a joint adult and child teaching tool.

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Four Fantastic Surprise Endings for Children 3-6

Written and illustrated by Scott Gordon


Four stories centering on familiar themes and characters with surprise endings. Each story features one protagonist speaking to the reader in first person. The first story showcases a frog who was once a king now trying to woo his sweetheart. In the second book, a little chickadee discovers there is a certain someone that he cannot get off his mind. How can he tell her that he loves her? The third book features a rather self-centered Easter bunny who is attempting to train the “new guy.” He gives a lot of history about the Easter bunny and what it takes to fill the job. Finally in the fourth book, a robot from the planet Infinim, which is a replica of earth, is interviewing candidates who want to be robots for his planet. Readers will be surprised at the current candidate who is interviewing for the position. Who is he and will he make the cut?

The photos and illustrations are delightful. While the stories feature somewhat familiar characters, the clever surprise endings will delight both the child and adult reader. Each story is about the average length of a picture book. These tales are targeted for the three to six age audience, but older children will appreciate the subtleties and clever twists. The collection is a nice set of bedtime stories or family read aloud. Highly recommended.

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The Math Inspectors: Story One-The Case of the Claymore Diamond

Written by Daniel Kenny and Emily Boever


Clever, humorous and well-written detective mystery targeted for late elementary and middle school readers. I must admit the plot kept me guessing and entertained. Chapters are short and easy to read. Pencil sketches are an added bonus. I particularly enjoyed the way that the authors found a way to integrate those dreaded hard to solve math word problems right into the story line. As a bonus, the reader is presented with a few more problems to solve at the conclusion of the mystery. They can check their answers on the authors’ website.

Felix, Gertie, Stanley and Charlotte are a bright group of sixth graders who become interested in forming a detective agency. Using Felix’s tree house as a base of operations, Felix attempts to find out who is stealing his food from the kitchen by using his binoculars. When Charlotte brings a police scanner up to the house, they hear about an armed robbery at the local jewelry store. The budding detectives rush to the scene. They discover the owner Mr. Franklin has been hit on the head and his most valuable possession, the Claymore diamond, has been stolen. Police apprehend a suspect quickly, and the case appears closed. Our four young detectives believe otherwise; they refuse to quit until what had appeared obvious is revealed as erroneous.

Lots of twists and turns in the plot. The characters are believable and authentic middle grade students. Readers will find themselves enjoying the math challenges that come along with the case. Great way to get students involved with math while reading. Look forward to reading new books in the series as they are released.

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Sing the Planets: I’ll Remember That (Volume 1)

Written and Illustrated by Bonnie Ferrante


A different and innovative approach to introduce the planets of our solar system to children. Wish I had this book when I was teaching the solar system to third grade students. This author combines beautiful photos of the planets with multicultural drawings of children. Instead of simply presenting information, readers are provided with a story about the mythological background behind the name of each planet. The author distinguishes between the inner and outer planets and explains the features which make them different. Each planet is assigned different notes and a musical song that can be sung to the tune of “Alouette.” Drawings indicate a unique movement associated with each planet like hugging yourself, flapping arms like wings or spinning around. Children can feel themselves moving in space as the planets do. The information is up to date; Pluto is no longer classified a planet. Some children remember better with a word rhyme so Ms. Ferrante suggests the sentence, My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Noodles as a mnemonic to remember the planetary names. At the end of the book, a glossary redefines and elaborates on all scientific terminology mentioned in the text.

Such a wealth of knowledge packed into 35 pages. Younger children will enjoy looking at the photos and performing the gestures. Older students will expand their knowledge base of the solar system.

A child will be able to use this book over and over again for a number of years. Recommended for children ages five and up. Also a great family or classroom group activity!

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Written by G. Papa

Illustrated by Gary McCluskey


An unusual and well-written chapter book featuring six year old Ulrich Von Strudel as the protagonist. Ulrich has a major disability; he was born without knees. When the story opens, Ulrich is about to be picked up from boarding school for Christmas vacation. He learns that his parents have been captured by a pygmy tribe in Africa and are presumed dead. To make matters worse, his mean great aunt, Mrs. Lipstick is taking charge of him.

Poor Ulrich learns he will have to sleep in the attic and eat one meal a day. After a difficult struggle to get upstairs, he discovers a furry one-eyed monster named Fing in the closet. Fing will turn out to be an ally, when Mrs. Lipstick conspires with the family lawyer to eliminate Ulrich.

This modern fairy tale has a definite dark side, but the author intersperses humor throughout. Ulrich faces his disability with strength of character. How will he survive his parents’ death and the machinations of his nefarious guardian? There are a few surprise twists in this one hundred page chapter book.

I enjoyed this story immensely. The book is an interesting book for early readers who are not disturbed by a bit of the dark side and are not overly sensitive. In general I would recommend the book for readers age eight and older. The short chapters lend themselves to a class read aloud for discussion. Black and white pencil drawings really bring the characters to life. As a bedtime story, parents need to use their own discretion, though I think adults may enjoy the book as much as a child. Very entertaining read.

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