A SYMBOL OF PRIDE

African Wild Dogs: Amazing Facts and Fun Photos About African Wild Dogs

Written by Rita Terry

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An interesting picture book for elementary school children and all those who are interested in unusual animals. African wild dogs are related to canines and wolves. Unlike domesticated dogs they have four claws instead of five. Like wolves they live in packs. They are carnivores and their hunting habits require a rather large habitat area of 1,500 square kilometers. African wild dogs are sometimes called painted dogs because they are covered with patches of red, black, white, yellow, and brown patches. Today their habitat has been largely reduced to South Africa due to rabies, vehicle accidents and the rapid encroachment of farmers upon their territory.

Terry discusses how these creatures communicate and the rituals they perform before the hunt. She explains how the pack is dominated by an alpha male and female, but stresses the fact that all members of the pack understand their roles and are protected and maintained by the rest of the family. The inside photographs are excellent; they capture the spirit and character of the animal. The print is large and easy to read for the younger reader, and the text well-written for the most part. Nice book to put on a classroom reference shelf for those interested in animals or dogs in particular. The author has written other nonfiction books about many other animals living in the past and present. Available in kindle and print format.

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HOUSE POOR? LESS CAN BE MORE

Tiny Houses: A Beginner’s Guide….

Written by Alex Freeman

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Thinking of downsizing? Freeman’s guide will provide food for thought to anyone who is contemplating jumping on the bandwagon of now popular tiny house living.

What is considered a tiny house? The author is talking about 100 to 250 square feet of living space. Students, seniors and business owners might be some types of people considering the more economic option. Freeman covers how to plan for building, the construction and blueprints, floor plans and materials that might be used for the exterior. He outlines the possibilities for operating systems and compact appliances for the interior. Freeman presents a few ideas for the most efficient use of space in kitchens and baths as well  interior decorating ideas for home owners.

Whether you are just curious or seriously considering building or making the move to a tiny house community, this book will give you the basics that you need to know. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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THE CITY BY THE BAY

Kid’s Travel Guide: San Francisco- The Fun Way to Discover San Francisco, Especially for Kids

Written by Kelsey Fox and Shiela H. Leon

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Fun way to introduce school age children to the city of San Francisco. The book is a guide book and travel diary of sorts. Children will have lots of fun learning how to prepare for their trip and what to pack. Authors include a short history, what to see, and how to get around. Points of interest covered of special interest to kids are spots like Chinatown, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Telegraph Hill.

All of the information is presented by using fun activities, puzzles, games, coloring, and lots of interesting illustrations. Near the end of the book, children are encouraged to summarize their trip and are presented with the challenge of a fun to do quiz to test their vacations smarts. When all is said and done, the completed book becomes a souvenir for the child and all those who participated in the experience with her. Recommended for children ages six through twelve; a worthwhile investment for parents, grandparents and teachers.

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KITCHEN CHIT-CHAT

Stories Around the Kitchen Table: A Collection of Women’s Memoirs

Edited by Anne Randolph

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The editor based this collection on her creation of the kitchen table writers’ concept, which encourages women to find their creative author’s voice. A small group of women gather around a kitchen table and begin writing their thoughts with pen in hand. No need to worry about grammar, spelling or second guessing. Weekly sessions begin and end with the inspiration of a poem. Each author writes about her thoughts and dreams. Following the time allotted for writing, each of the participants listens and shares taking turns to read aloud. At the end of this nearly one hundred page collection of stories, Randolph includes short biographies of each participating author.

Topics are diverse; emotions and writing reflect the natural setting and willingness of each participant to immerse herself in the writing process, and more importantly to lend a willing ear to each other’s work. In “Belly Flops” the reader is treated to a young girl’s first experience diving into a swimming pool. “When I was Ten” propels its readers back in time to a child’s visit to Manhattan during World War II. “Learning to Fly” transports us to an airfield for a first flying lesson. “A Slow Leaving” reflects the emotional roller coaster the writer experiences as her husband is about to leave the house because their divorce has become final.

This book is a good tool to preview many styles of writing and a good conversation starter for a woman’s group on many topics up for discussion on women’s issues in the modern world. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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ALONE NO MORE…

Gumbo Goes Downtown

Written by Carol Talley

gumbopicA tale that is charming and sweet, yet focuses on some important issues. The obvious story line is about a guard dog named Gumbo, who lives in a shotgun house on St. Charles Street in New Orleans. He spends most of his time barking at any one who comes near the chain link fence, such as the girl in a polka dot dress and the postman. When the postman fails to close the gate one day, Gumbo seizes the opportunity to see the world. He follows the trolley tracks downtown to New Orleans. Here he meets up with a poodle named Pompon and a champion pure breed named Stella. Gumbo has the time of his life in Jackson Square with clowns, dancers, jugglers, musicians and the like. Soon his friends leave to go home and be pampered by their owners. Gumbo begins to miss his house and owner Gus, whom he never appreciated. Will Gumbo decide to remain free in the big city on his own and fend for himself or return to his former life?

The book description suggests an audience of K-2. While the simple story of Gumbo’s adventure is appropriate for that age group, the larger issues of homelessness and running away from home are better addressed to a middle grade audience. Talley provides a nice guide for parents and teachers to set up a discussion on these issues. Maeno’s illustrations are soft, colorful and appealing, but the text is small and difficult to read on some of the pages. I recommend the book especially for parents and teachers who would like to open up a discussion on homelessness, running away, and poverty. Talley also includes an interesting background section on New Orleans and the points of interest mentioned in the story.

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TORN BETWEEN TWO SIDES

Fields of the Fatherless

Written by Elaine Marie Cooper

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Short novel of Christian historical fiction based on a true historical account of the 1775 conflict in the village of Mentonomy, Massachusetts. Betsy Russell is an eighteen year old girl living in a Patriot family near colonial Boston. Her village is busy preparing a militia for the inevitable battle looming on the horizon with the British. Betsy feels slighted that her younger brother Noah is taught how to fire a musket, while she is expected to stay home and play a support role. When Betsy confides her feelings to the blacksmith, he gives her a small knife to defend herself and protect her family. Betsy could never imagine what role that knife would play in her future.

The battle brings both joy and tragedy to the Russell family. Betsy will grapple with grief, struggle with her Christian faith, assume heavy family responsibilities, become a nurse, and find out about love in many unexpected ways. This novel is based on actual historical events; the fictional characterizations and quotes from the Bible add a humanistic element to the narrative. Some of the battle details are a bit graphic, which is the reason I would suggest the target audience to be age thirteen and older.

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REFLECTING BACK AND LOOKING FORWARD…..

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

Wishing my family, friends, and followers health, happiness and prosperity in the year to come.

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Looking back to 2016, I count my blessings. I released the seventh book in the award winning Little Miss HISTORY Travels to….children’s nonfiction book series, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON.

Little Miss HISTORY and I traveled near and far to visit old friends and acquire new ones. I’d like to share a few memories with you….

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In January, we assisted a local girl scout troupe working on earning their community badge by reading about Little Miss HISTORY’S trip to The Statue of Liberty.

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We participated in READ ACROSS AMERICA in March with our friends at Temple Hill Academy in Newburgh and had a pajama reading party at Ralph R. Smith Elementary School in New Hyde Park.

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One of the highlights each May is Children’s Reading Week. Little Miss HISTORY Travels to Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum was my feature book in 2016 at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, the largest children’s book festival in New York state.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              babswithhost

 

Our summer travels included a trip to eastern Long Island, where I discussed the Little Miss HISTORY book series with Linda Marie Frank on her TV show, The Writer’s Dream.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNXOKQBolik

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We journeyed to the Museum of Science and Innovation in Schenectady to read about SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK at the four day Science and Technology Festival.

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For Thanksgiving I traveled south to the Carolinas to visit with family and read to first grade children at Harrisburg Elementary School in South Carolina.

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I welcomed the opportunity to share in the holiday spirit with authors Iza Trapani and Michael Garland at FDR’s home and presidential library in New Hyde Park for the Children’s Holiday Reading Festival in December.

As 2016 comes to a close, Little Miss HISTORY has plans to travel to new and exciting destinations by some unconventional means of transportation. I hope that children and adults will enjoy a new opportunity to put their creative stamp on the adventures of Little Miss HISTORY. In just a few weeks, her very first coloring book will be available online and in your favorite bookstore. You can add your personal touch to images from her adventures and read words of wisdom from historical figures. Take a sneak peak at the cover!

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Please continue to follow my family friendly book reviews  for ages preschool through adult on Wednesdays and Sundays. To subscribe click on the word Follow or hit the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Look out 2017, here we come!

 

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