Archive for April, 2015

LEARNING TO LIVE WITH A TODDLER

Zen Parents, Cooperative Toddlers: Your parenting tool set to staying calm, eliminating whining, and living a fun family life.

Written by Anna Anderson

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Sound like pie in the sky? This brief book is not meant to be the definitive how-to guide by an expert but a sympathetic parent who is sharing her experiences. The author offers some common sense approaches to maintaining sanity and family peace during this trying time. Andersen encourages parents to be nice to themselves, develop a positive attitude of love and cooperation, and to learn to let go and be more patient while letting go of stress. It is necessary to set home rules, but at the same time relax unrealistic expectations and give the young child choices within reason.

When communicating with a toddler, a parent needs to connect in a way that the child can understand and to listen as well as speak. Parents must learn the fine line between firmness and gentleness. Use the philosophy, “walk a mile in my shoes.” Toddlers are curious, but must also learn how to respect boundaries while exploring. Give them chores and realistic expectations to spark creativity.

Finally, the author sets forth scenarios in which toddlers do make unreasonable demands and recommends different approaches to handling them. By making the young child see that their behavior is inappropriate, ignoring it, and then astonishing them by doing something that is playful; you will allow your child to feel as if you are able to understand their thinking and not demand compliance with your way of doing things. If parents allow themselves to develop tools to handle stress and be grateful and proud of their children, life will become easier and more enjoyable

Andersen offers a free download of a morning and evening routine chart. I would recommend this book to parents, teachers, grandparents and daycare personnel as an easy to read helpful guide from which you will surely pick up at least one or two ideas you can use.

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OPPOSITES ATTRACT

What A Pair! Mattie and Mark Miller:Double Trouble Series

Written by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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This is the first in a series focused on the Amish way of life and nine year old twins, Mattie and Mark. Targeted for middle grade readers ages eight through twelve, the book is a fun and educational introduction to a way of life misunderstood by most observers.

Brunstetter begins by explaining that the Amish are group of people who live a plain life without using many modern things; a simple plausible way to explain to children why they are different but not strange. The author goes on to give examples as to how they live and work both in the past and present.

She provides a glossary of the Amish language words which are used liberally throughout the story. Readers will love these feisty twins with diametrically opposed personalities. What they do have in common is a love of life, family, and kind hearts. For example, Mattie is a dreamer, Mark a scholar, Mattie is cautious, Mark an adventurer, Mattie loves dogs, and Mark loves cats. Mattie is a great baseball player, while Mark cringes when he sees a bat and ball. As the reader follows one humorous adventure after another, what comes through is deep commitment to family, society and community, and a story about two children experiencing the same problems any tween faces. The book will appeal to both genders.

On their birthday, the twins receive an unexpected gift from their grandparents. This gift will require them to learn how to work together. When an unexpected emergency arises, the twins learn the real value of teamwork. The plot has lots of twists and turns and many different scenarios to appeal to a wide variety of reader interests. Text is interesting and challenging, yet not too overwhelming. Lots of humor, adventure, family fun, good values and the benefit of learning about a culture few have experienced first hand. Highly recommended for tweens and young adult readers or anyone interested in understanding Amish society.

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BOOK BLAST – CATERPILLAR SHOES

SO MANY CHOICES

CATERPILLAR SHOES

Written by Angela Muse

Illustrated by Ewa Podles

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Patches, a happy-go-lucky caterpillar, lives in the forest looking forward to new adventures each day. Because a caterpillar has six pairs of feet, one of her important choices is to make the proper shoe selection for her daily explorations. She might choose ballet shoes, sneakers, hiking boots, rain boots, or fluffy slippers at night. What does Patches do when she cannot decide on one adventure?

The illustrations in this book are adorable. They are colorful, bold, expressive and present well on a kindle HD fire. Tale is written in rhymes which are crisp and sharp. What a wonderful choice for a bedtime story or classroom read aloud! Recommended for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten readers.

About the Book

Title: Caterpillar Shoes | Author: Angela Muse | Illustrator: Ewa Podles | Publication Date: March 26, 2015 | Publisher: 4EYESBOOKS | Pages: 28 | Recommended Ages: 0 to 8

Summary: Patches is an energetic caterpillar who is trying to decide what activities to do. In the end, she doesn’t put any limits on herself and lives her life to the full.

Amazon  *  Goodreads

 

About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela MuseAngela was born in California to a military family. This meant that she got used to being the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard trying to make new friends, but Angela discovered she had a knack for writing. In high school Angela began writing poetry and song lyrics. Expressing herself through writing seemed very natural. After becoming a Mom in 2003, Angela continued her storytelling to her own children. In 2009 she wrote and published her first rhyming children’s book aimed at toddlers. Since then she has released several more children’s picture books and released her first young adult romance series, The Alpha Girls, in 2012.  Angela’s husband, Ben Muse writes suspense/thriller books that can also be found on Amazon.    Check out what else she’s working on by visiting www.4eyesbooks.com

Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |

Food for Thought on Earth Day…..

HEARTWOOD

Written by Polyanna Darling

Illustrated by Kirsty Chalmers

Heartwood,picHeartwood is a heartwarming story that takes places in The Linney, which is a magical forest filled with trees that are hundreds of years old. Four trees are featured characters: Seth, The Tully Tree, Kelsey, and Tuleah. Each of these trees is inhabited by a different type of creature. A family of thirteen squirrels live in the Seth tree. Magpies sip the nectar in the flowers of the Tully tree. Tiny fairies live in the Kelsey tree, while a single raven named Bella makes her home in Tuleah. All of these creatures had lived in their homes for many years, but sadly none of them spoke to each other.

One day the peace of the forest is broken by a horrible noise. The creatures recognize it as a machine that knocks down trees. They call the bulldozer a “Smashbuster.” Forest inhabitants are in a panic about what to do, until Bella calls them together and warns them to stop quarreling if they intend to save their home from destruction. Bella berates them for their indifference and selfishness. She develops an ingenious plan to save the forest, but they must all agree to cooperate and work side by side.

The author skillfully reveals the clever plan step by step. Both the forest creatures and the humans who operate the machines have a lot to learn. This book of approximately fifty-five pages is a perfect chapter book for readers in the seven to ten age group. That is not to say that older readers and even adults will enjoy it. The charming and delicate illustrations done by Chalmers add much to the character and mood of the book. They are really exquisite. I cannot find anything not to like in this offering. Story-line flows nicely, the characters are believable, the lessons carefully crafted , and the artistic touches so well executed.

Pick up a kindle or paperback copy and enjoy!

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A DIFFICULT CHOICE

Lightmasters – Number 13

Written by M.G. Wells

Lightmasters2,picJessica Wyrd is facing her thirteenth birthday. The last year has been extremely difficult for her. Her parents were both killed in an automobile accident down in Georgia. Jessica is now living with her eccentric maternal grandparents in upstate New York. She misses her best friends, Emma and Hank. In school she is the considered the nerdy newbie, the victim of bullying by students and teachers alike.

Shortly before her thirteenth birthday, Jessica encounters a spiral light and a green haze. A voice urges her to follow the others who are waiting. She meets Dragateen, Torc and Bo, along with other spirits who tell her to shift into another dimension and make the journey to Kiron. Jessica hesitantly walks through an oak tree and enters, but the dark forces of Sartan are waiting to do battle with this new recruit.

Jessica’s journey will lead her to Emerald Pond, Poseidon Pit and mysterious caverns below. She will meet snakes, a slimy octopus, and strange demonic creatures with orange eyes. Jessica has difficulty determining what is reality and what she is experiencing in the “other world.” She receives a special jewel and learns that she bears the mark of the mystic. Still, the decision to use her special powers and whether to become one of the Lightmasters must be her own.

Back here on earth, Jessica is homesick for her friends in Georgia. Wells shifts the story to Jessica’s coming of age conflicts and injects lots of humor in describing the trials and tribulations of a feisty thirteen year old who is intelligent far beyond her chronological age and who must deal with the realities of family, school and death. How does she resolve her conflicts and reconcile two very different lives?

This book of less than two hundred pages is a well written middle grade fantasy adventure that will appeal to readers age nine and up. Lots of twists and turns in plot, humor, and nicely developed characters combined with the kinds of problems kids this age face daily. As an adult, I enjoyed looking back on my early teens through Jessica’s eyes.

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AUTISM AWARENESS

Early Signs of Autism in Toddlers, Infants and Babies: Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Written by Leslie Burby

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The author is the mother of two children on the Autism spectrum and the Editor of Autism Parenting Magazine. She wrote this book to share her experiences and enlighten the public about identifying the signs of Autism in young children, a condition that is widely misunderstood. Burby endeavors to help parents understand what the signs are, how diagnosis criteria have changed, what sensory conditions may accompany Autism, how to get a diagnosis and who to contact as well as ancillary medical conditions and treatment possibilities.

I worked in this field for many years as a special educator and know first hand how Autism affects every child differently, how much conflicting information is out there, and how confusing the myriad symptoms and treatment options appear. The author systematically breaks down the old and new ways of identification and the five common types of Autism. She outlines the early signs and possible accompanying behaviors. Burby presents parents with a guideline of developmental milestones to look for in the areas of cognition, speech, social, adaptive, gross and fine motor skills. The section on sensory issues explains the differences between hypo and hyper sensitivity and indicates the behaviors that might accompany each. She also suggests ways to soothe children from her own personal experiences. Autism generally comes with a host of other medical conditions. Leslie outlines them: obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder and Fragile X Syndrome are just a few.

Most importantly, the author insists that parents not ignore the problem or allow pediatricians to suggest that they wait. She summarizes many of the popular early intervention strategies for cognitive, motor, speech and sensory issues. Even more valuable is the section which gives contact information country by country. Burby gives answers to frequently asked questions and offers a free copy of Autism magazine as well as sharing her personal contacts and reference sources.

This is a book that every parent, health clinician and educator should have in their library. Our children are counting on us.

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DON’S DESTINY

The Adventures of Don and the White Animals: Children Adventure & Education( Intermediate readers, Animal friends, Secret power)

Written by Meir Eshel

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First in a series of middle grade readers featuring Don White, a child born with the gift of communicating with animals, especially white ones. From the time Don comes home from the hospital, his family senses something special about him. As the car sped toward home, they were accompanied by several dogs and a flock of birds chirping around the house. A plague of insects and animals infest the house and drive several babysitters away. Finally an elderly man named Bruce has the courage to take on the job. As Dan grows, it becomes clear that he has the ability to communicate with animals like his mouse named Tiny and dog named Pup.

One day Don’s dad notices that his pets have the same reddish birthmarks as his son. Don is an exceptionally bright boy whose attachment to animals leads him into trouble. When he pleads to attend the Pendor Circus, the family reluctantly acquiesces. This first adventure leads to a kidnapping by monkey named Mog who is able to communicate animal cruelty toward the circus animals. Don will use the experience to draw attention to animal abuse. Then an insensitive teacher will bring down the wrath of Don when she ridicules him in front of the class. She will suffer an embarrassing experience from some of Don’s slimy animal friends. Don is led to the Delphiton racetrack to set the score straight, and a family vacation turns tragic when Don is kidnapped by a group of his enemies.

Don’s adventures are narrated by his father. Noteworthy are his family’s unwavering support and the way Don shows respect, loyalty and good humor despite his fanatic devotion to animal rights causes. At just over one hundred pages, the story has enough elements of fantasy, humor and adventure to delight the middle grade reader, especially boys and reluctant readers. Looking forward to Don’s next adventure.

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