Archive for November, 2013

RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE

Riki, Tikki-Tavi

Written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Riki Tiki Tavipic

This is a story taken from The Jungle Book with which many adults are familiar. It involves a young boy named Teddy and his family who rescue a mongoose named Riki Tiki-Tavi. This poor creature has nearly drowned near their bungalow in Segowlee. The mongoose is an animal known for its tenacity, and Riki will prove his worth to the family who has adopted him.

The reader first learns of Riki’s rescue and the reluctance of Teddy’s mother to keep him. Riki proves a friend to the Tailorbird named Darzee who screams that the cobra snake Nag has stolen an egg from their nest. The snake’s wife Nagaina tries to ambush Riki and nearly kills him. More danger befalls him as a smaller snake named Karait attacks him. The family is impressed with Riki’s bravery. The young boy named Teddy brings Riki everywhere. At night Riki goes exploring and Chuchundra, the muskrat, tells Riki that the snakes plan to kill the humans so that they will have the garden to themselves again. It will be up to the fearless mongoose to protect the family and marshal all the animals of the garden together to defeat these nefarious snakes. Will Riki be successful in rallying this disparate group to protect the family and their habitat?

The digital edition was produced by Gere Donovan Press in 2012. It is also available in hardcover and print, which I would recommend to the fact that it includes the award winning illustrations of Pinkney. The Jungle Book is now in the public domain. In this edition the original language has been simplified, and I believe that children aged eight and up will not find it too difficult. Of course this does mean that some of the beauty of the Kipling’s writing is sacrificed. The lessons of fearlessness, loyalty and devotion to family as well as the local culture that the story imparts remain treasures to be shared by future generations. Adults should note that Kipling does display some violence in his descriptions.

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BOOK BONANZA

Two 2013 e book releases by Bobby Fisher and illustrated by Doktor WhoBerry

 

Row, Row, Row Your Cat

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The author introduces us to a little boy named Ivan Joe who has gone for a row. On the way he meets several animals who need a ride, a cat, monkey, panda, and turtle. As each of them hops in, Ivan urges them to sing the tune, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” When he arrives home, his mother is surprised to see that he has made so many new friends. Ivan reminds her that it was easy because all you need to do is help people in need.

The illustrations here are bold, distinct and colorful allowing for the youngest child to read the book through the pictures. The rhyme works well for the most part, though near the end of the story it appears forced at times. Children will learn the value of helping those in need.

Sammy The Shark:Finds Four Friends

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This tale is based on a familiar theme; appearances can be deceiving. Poor Sammy the Shark is a really friendly fellow who swims all around the protected sea sanctuary trying to make friends with the other sea creatures. He speaks to Patty the Puffer Fish, Otto the Octopus, Chris the Crab, and Tubbs the Turtle, but all of them are put off by Sammy’s mean looks. Then one night some fisherman, who are criminals trying to fish in the protected waters, drop a huge net trapping all the sea creatures except Sammy. The shark uses his talents to free the other sea animals. Will the fishermen be apprehended? How will the sea creatures react when they learn that it is Sammy who has freed them?

Children six and under will love the beautiful colors of the illustrations and simple text of the story line. They will also learn not to judge a book by its cover.

Both of these books include a variety of bonus features. The reader is given a link to download a free story video, online puzzles, a free puzzle kit and a free coloring book. Certainly another incentive to enjoy Bobby Bishop’s children’s books and reinforce their lessons.

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THIS CAT IS NO RAT

The Amazing, Super Secret, Undercover Life of Roscoe the Cat

Written by Richard Kelley

Photographs by Sherrill Kelley

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This short adventure is the story of a cat who leads a double life as a secret agent. At the beginning of the tale the reader meets Roscoe and his sibling, Olive who have been rescued from a shelter. They have some difficulty adjusting to life with the resident house cat, Cayenne, but soon all become friends. Roscoe finds the life of a house cat very comfortable. Still, Roscoe is a very strange cat in one respect; at night he becomes a secret agent prowling the area to solve whatever mischief is afoot.

One night Roscoe notices a small tear in the cat food bag in the laundry room. He leaves his fellow cats to guard his warm bed spot and investigates. He thinks he knows the culprit but does not confront him. The mystery continues for a few nights until Roscoe discovers that a rat has been stealing the food. At first he is determined to kill him, but after looking the rat in the eye, he changes his mind. Roscoe discovers that the rat was cold and hungry so he broke in to find shelter and survival. Remembering his earlier fate, Roscoe persuades all the cats in the household to befriend him.

Okay, this does sound a bit ridiculous that a cat who is the natural enemy of the rat would suddenly let him off the hook. However, the book does teach children that we can have empathy for those we have been taught are our enemy and all of us have the same basic needs and wants for survival. This book is filled with adorable photographs that children and adults will enjoy. Young children will delight in the book as a read aloud. It also makes a good beginning reader for children in the early elementary grades.

The author is a medical doctor who is also a fitness expert. He has written books on health and the Christian faith. Kelley now has expanded his writing interests to include children’s books. If you and your family love cats, this book might be a good choice.

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DELVE INTO DISNEY

Planet Explorers Walt Disney World 2013: A Travel Guide for Kids

Written by Laura Schaefer

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This book is billed as a travel guide for kids, but is just as useful for adults planning a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. The author has really done a thorough job. She provides everything from the origination of the idea with Walt Disney and the history of the site to updates of most current information. There are maps and photos of street scenes, rides, restaurants, hotels and venues. The author advises the best way to negotiate the theme park as well as Epcot Center and how to find the fastest lines. Information on regulations, safety, and transportation is provided.

Readers will learn about things like where to find the characters throughout the parks, lots of plans that were never carried out, and where to go to find the best entertainment, restaurants and hotels. Advantages and disadvantages of the resorts are laid out to compare and contrast. There is even an informal tour of the Disneyland Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom. Schaefer teases us with lots of fun facts of which I was completely unaware. For example, did you know that the whole park is built over structures called utilidores? The actors and personnel can walk around freely underneath the park! The science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, helped design and write the script for Spaceship Earth. No one visits the park without jumping on some of the famous rides so the author even provides a key to classifying them with the following code letters: S D T W or A. These letters stand for Scary, Dark Thrilling, Wet, and Awesome.

The book is organized by the sections such as Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Movie Studio, Animal Kingdom. Entertainment, Special Tours, and Resorts. I can’t think of anything that has been left out. Near the end of the approximately one hundred twenty seven page guide is a list of Disney isms which explain its unique characteristics. Maps of the monorail and railroad are also included. Finally, the author writes a quiz to see how well you have been paying attention. She ends with last minute planning tips to remember before you embark on your trip.

I have visited the Disney Park many times and still found so much I did not know about it in this guide. Some critics complain they would like to see it in book form, but I am very happy with this kindle version, which I will definitely review before my next trip to Disney World. Happy Travels!

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A FRIEND IN NEED

The Christmas Owl

Written by Angela Muse

Illustrated by Helen M. Wu

The Christmas Owl, pic

This short thirty- two page book perfectly illustrates the reason for the season! The story presents an owl protagonist who has fallen out of its nest and is now unable to fly. This poor creature hops from place to place seeking refuge from the cold and snow. He meets four animals on his journey, a rabbit, a bat, a mouse and a duck. Each of them is reluctant to share its shelter and questions the owl as to what food will he eat. But the owl does not mean to intrude and makes due with whatever that animal has readily available in their shelter. The next morning the owl departs without notice. On Christmas Eve, he is able to fly again and soars to his nest. However, the first thing he does is fly back to each of his benefactors and drop a gift with a thank you note to each of the Good Samaritans!

This story is written in rhyme which is very well written and in smoothly flowing verse. Accompanying the text are gorgeous illustrations done in soft, warm colors which project the warm and cozy feeling of the plot. The faces of the animals appear almost human; personification plays a large role in the story line. For example, the bat is an avid reader of books; the mouse has a very cozy house complete with rugs, furniture and a warm, glowing lantern. Even very young children will understand the message of kindness and the gratification that comes from helping someone in need. The owl’s generosity and extension of friendship and thanks sets up a powerful model lesson for children and adults to follow.

I highly recommend this book for children aged three to adults and as an excellent addition to a home library, classroom reading shelf, or the public library. The author and illustrator have done a wonderful job of merging images and story line. This book is sure to become a favorite Christmas story to be reread every year. Personally, I can’t wait to read this one to my grandchildren!

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About the Book

The Christmas Owl by Angela MuseTitle: The Christmas Owl

Author: Angela Muse

Illustrator: Helen H. Wu

Publication Date: November, 2013

Publisher: Independent – 4eyesbooks

Number of pages: 36

Recommended age: 3+

Summary

A Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word. Also check out Lil Glimmer, The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure, The Pig Princess, The Bee Bully, Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play, Cactus Charlie, Suzy Snowflake and Monsters Have Mommies by this author.

Book Trailer

Purchase

** You can download a copy of “The Christmas Owl” for only 99 cents from NOW through to November 14, 2013 on Amazon!! **

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About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela Muse, Author

Angela Muse

I was born in California to a military family. This meant that I was the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard always trying to make new friends, but I discovered I had a knack for writing. I began writing poetry in high school and really enjoyed expressing myself by using pen and paper. After becoming a Mom in 2003, I continued my storytelling to my own children. In 2009 I wrote and published my first children’s book aimed at toddlers. In 2012 I am set to release several more children’s books. Check out what I’m working on by visiting my children’s book blog.

Writing is such a wonderful creative process and I look forward to sharing more of my stories with lots of new little readers!

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* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: November 12 to December 11, 11:59 pm, 2013

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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SEARCHING FOR MOMMA

Terry Treetop and the Lost Egg

Written by Tali Cami

Illustrated by Cindy Liang

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This is another book in a series from the Happy Inspired Children’s Books Collection featuring an endearing young boy named Terry Treetop because he loves climbing trees. In this one, Terry has found an egg lying on the ground. He vows to protect it at all costs until he can locate the mother. Terry meets several animals on his journey including a turtle, alligator, frog , hen and parrot. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the way each of these animals nourishes and takes care of its young. When Terry finally solves the puzzle and finds the true mother, he insists on remaining with the egg until it is hatched and the mother is present to take full charge.

The entire story is written in verse which works most of the time, but seems forced in a few instances. The illustrations by Mindy Liang are simple but drawn in bold deep colors to attract even the youngest reader. Children will learn a lot about how animals take care of their young as well as lessons of loyalty, empathy and kindness for our fellow creatures. This book is marketed for ages two through six; older children will have the patience to listen to the entire text which is a bit on the long side for a picture book. I read the kindle edition which was nicely formatted. As a bonus, the author offers a link to obtain a fun creative kit that can be downloaded as well as a preview of another book in the series titled, Terry Treetop Finds New Friends.

These books are a worthwhile addition to your bedtime story collection or useful as beginning readers for a child who has begun to read independently.

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SEBELLA’S SOJURN

The Magical World Of Sebella (The Magic Castle)

Written by Thea Berg

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This book is the author’s first short novel. The plot moves along quickly with well developed characters and lots of twists and turns. Vocabulary in the book is not too difficult allowing most beginning chapter readers to access it without too much difficulty. The author provides a comprehensive list of questions which may be used as a guide to developing a discussion and comprehension of the tale. Sebella is a nine year old witch who is part of a “unique” family living in Skullvilla. On this particular rainy day, she is bored so she begs her mother to allow her to see who has just moved across the street. Her mother does not want to go out and get her hair wet, but Sebella manages to use her powers to suddenly end the rain and clear things up quickly. The neighbor turns out to be the witch Eloise, a former friend of her mother.

Sebella, the new neighbor’s daughter, Kendall, Sebella’s cousin, Prudence, and Sebella’s, brother, Drac are now playing a board game in the living room. Suddenly, Prudence drops a gargoyle statue and its red laser eyes bore a deep crack in the fireplace wall. So the adventure begins! The children crawl into the tunnel which opens to a castle. Dimitrius, the Lord of the Castle, informs them they must get rid of the Shadows, slay the dragons and eliminate the Villainous Mentalist (who used to own Sebella’s house). Certainly a tall order! Though it seems an insurmountable task, the children are ready and willing to attempt it. Their journey forces them to explore many rooms of the castle. Turns out they receive some unexpected help along the way. Will they succeed in all three tasks and find a way to escape and find their way home? If they are successful, will their lives be changed forever?

A delightful and exciting read for tweens and teens and/or adults. Looking forward to reading more adventures from this new and talented author.

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