Archive for December, 2015

LOOKING BACK AND GLANCING FORWARD……

I would like to wish all my friends and followers a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

newyear

Feliz Año Nuevo

Frohes neues Jahr

Bonne année

un felice anno nuovo

I could go on and on, but my wish is sincere in any language.

During this past year, I have shared and reviewed more than 100 books with you, and I hope that you have enjoyed exploring them with me. My Little Miss HISTORY Travels to….series  added two new adventures one to Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and a trip back in time to Ellis Island, the pathway to a new world and life of opportunity. To find out more about these books and where to purchase, please visit http://Littlemisshistory.com

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Looking ahead to next year, Little Miss will guide us through the home of George Washington at Mount Vernon, revealing a different side of America’s first president.

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She is carefully laying out plans to travel way back in time and land in a place where few humans have set foot. That’s about all I can say right now, but I do want to make sure that parents, teachers and students are aware of some tremendous opportunities available through 2016……..

2016 is the Centennial of the National Park Service. National Park System comprises 401 areas called “units” covering more than 84 million acres. These units include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

Find Your Park is about more than just national parks! It’s about the National Park Service working in your community through education programs, community assistance projects, and more. It’s about state parks, local parks, trails, museums, historic sites, and the many ways that the American public can connect with history and culture, enjoy nature, and make new discoveries.

Join in the action. Visit FindYourPark.com to sample upcoming centennial events near you, share your stories, and find your park! Participate in Find Your Park Experiences to learn, discover, be inspired, or simply have fun in national parks.

To help engage and create our next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates, the White House, in partnership with the Federal Land Management agencies, launched the Every Kid in a Park initiative. The immediate goal is to provide an opportunity for each and every 4th grade student across the country to experience their federal public lands and waters in person throughout the 2015-2016 school year.

Beginning September 1st all kids in the fourth grade have access to their own Every Kid in a Park pass at www.everykidinapark.gov. This pass provides free access to national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and more!

The Every Kid in a Park pass is good for the 2015-2016 school year, until August 31, 2016. Information on obtaining the pass is available by visiting www.everykidinapark.gov.

PLEASE JOIN WITH ME BY READING AND EXPLORING in 2016!

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A FAIRY MERRY CHRISTMAS

Have a Fairy Christmas (The Magic Library Book Series2)

Written by Kymberlee Miller

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This is my first time reading a book in this series of early chapter books targeted for seven to ten year old readers but a delightful read for any age. The Book of Wishes of Wishes only reveals its contents to those to wish to leave their normal world. Magic is unlocked by reading the wish aloud three times and then opening up the book This book travels from library to library seeking a child who needs it.

Holly is a nine year old fourth grader who has recently moved from Texas to Montana. On Christmas Eve, she is thinking about how much she misses her friends and former life. Her only comfort is her fairy doll named Cora. In an attempt to cheer her up, Holly’s mom takes her to visit Santa. Holly confides that she wants a baby sister, a horse, and her friends back. Knowing that this is a tall order, Santa tells her about a magic book in the library. He warns her that not everyone gets what they wish for and that there is a price to pay. Holly races to the library, and to her surprise, the Book of Wishes finds her.

Holly will take an unforgettable journey to Fairy Land, but she learns that once she goes back home she can never return. Will Holly leave her family to live in a Fairy wonderland? What will happen if she decides to return to her unhappy life in Montana. Tomorrow is Christmas Day……perhaps magic will happen.

I did not expect to love this book as fantasy is not my favorite genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to lovers of fantasy, Christmas stories, and those who like to see the glass half-full.

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WISHAPICK BLOG TOUR

Wishapick Blog Tour Header Image

Book and Soundtrack Review: Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk

HOPE FOR TOMORROW

Wishapick Tickety Boo And The Black Trunk

Written by M.M. Allen
Wishapick Music and Lyrics by Deborah Wynne

I agreed to review this book as part of a blog tour, and was really delighted once I opened it. Targeted for a middle grade audience of 9-12 year old children, this well-written book contains elements of adventure, fantasy, magic and humor in just the right combination.

Jack and his younger sister Lilly are the main protagonists. Since his father’s death two years before, Jack has remained angry and sullen. In the opening scene, readers feel this tension between them when Lilly accidentally breaks the spy drone Jack has built for a science project. But Lilly has a surprise for Jack; she has overheard their mother talking on the phone and now knows the location of the key that will open the mysterious black trunk his father left behind. Their mother has expressly forbidden them to open it. Jack cannot contain his curiosity. When he opens the trunk he falls inside, and down into a black hole surrounded by snakes. Unknown to Jack, Lilly follows him inside. So the adventure begins….

The siblings will meet a fascinating cast of animal characters including snakes, possums, skunks, and wolves. They will learn the meaning of their mother’s mantra, “Breath of all good things.” The mystery of their father’s death will be revealed, and they will discover the value of embracing hope versus despair, while displaying courage and teamwork.

This book reminds me a bit of Charlotte’s Web and Alice through the Looking Glass, but this plot is unique and the language colorful. Length of the book is under 150 pages, one that I feel is just right for a middle grade audience. As a bonus, readers may purchase a companion CD with music that matches the various moods and scenarios presented in the book. Listening to the music and closing one’s eyes, the reader can easily feel transported inside a Disney movie.

I highly recommend this Five Star Readers’ Favorite book to middle grade readers interested in a humorous, imaginative adventure fusing realistic and magical elements with characters with whom they can easily empathize. Librarians and teachers could use this book as a read aloud to open up discussion on many topics relevant to this audience.

About Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk

Wishapick Tickety Boo and the Black TrunkDarkness. Utter blackness. Was this why his mother had refused to let Jack unlock his father’s old trunk? It had been two years since his dad had died, and all Jack could think about was examining whatever treasures were stored inside the beloved trunk. But when he finally lifted the lid, he didn’t just fall in—he fell through it into a pit of rattlesnakes!

Trying to recall his mother’s stories about “the Breath of All Good Things”—anything to shed light on his current situation—Jack wishes he’d paid better attention rather than mock the tales as childish myths…and that he’d waited to enter the trunk with his sister, Lilly, so they could at least face this together.

Like L. Frank Baum’s Oz and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, M. M. Allen brings to life the fantastical world of Wishapick—a land of courageous animals ruled by a cruel rattlesnake king who has condemned the villagers to live without light. Chosen as the reluctant hero to save the villagers, Jack must face terrifying creatures and overwhelming odds if he wants to help his new friends—and return home himself.

“… a breathy and fantastical storytelling style, imaginations will flourish and the tale will be enjoyed by kids ages 8-12 who enjoy the genre of fantasy.”—The Children’s Book Review

Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk is available on Amazon.

Fun Stuff

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Wishapick Soundtrack

Be sure to check out the companion music CD, Wishapick, for purchase or download from DeborahWynne.com

Book Club Questions

Get to the heart of Wishapick by downloading this set of book club questions: Wishapick by M. M. Allen: Book Club Questions

About M. M. Allen

M. M. Allen, author of the acclaimed children’s picture book Let’s Play Ball, is the mother of two adult children and aunt to twenty-three nieces and nephews, including ten great-nieces and great-nephews. MM is a former teacher and university lecturer. She has also worked extensively in marketing and communications with varied businesses and non-profits. MM lives in a picturesque northern California town where she enjoys writing, tending to her rose garden, and caring for her West Highland terrier, Pip.

www.Wishapick.com | Facebook

About Deborah Wynne

Composer and lyricist Deborah Wynne created a companion CD of songs to accompany Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk. Wynne’s primary talents lie in choral singing, stage musicals, and composing. Her musical projects include the 2013 album Strands of Gold and 2007 musical Moment of Truth. She is an active singer and composer in Santa Barbara, California, where she lives with her husband and their two shelties, Sparkle and Gracie.

DeborahWynne.com

Wishapick and iPod Nano Giveaway

Win Wishapick_ Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk and an iPod Nano

Enter to win an autographed copy of Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk written by acclaimed author M. M. Allen; plus an Apple iPod Nano to listen to your downloaded copy of the Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk soundtrack composed by the talented Deborah Wynne!

Giveaway begins November 5, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 31, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2015/11/win-an-ipod-nano-and-wishapick-tickety-boo-and-the-black-trunk-m-m-allen-giveaway.html/
 

Wishapick Tour Dates

Thursday November 5 2015
The Children’s Book Review

Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway

Friday November 6 2015
The Review Wire

Book Excerpt & Soundtrack Clip

Tuesday November 17 2015
Suz Reviews

Creating Mood in a Story with Music

Monday November 23 2015
On Starships & Dragonwings

5 Things About the World of Wishapick

Tuesday November 24 2015
Valerie’s Reviews

Book Excerpt & Soundtrack Clip

Tuesday November 27 2015
Batch of Books

Author Interview with M. M. Allen

Saturday December 5 2015
The Fairview Review

Wishapick Book Review

Thursday December 10 2015
Inspired by Savannah

Wishapick Book Review

Wednesday December 23 2015
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Author Interview with M. M. Allen

Sunday December 27 2015
Little Miss History

Author Interview with M. M. Allen

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ELF HELP

Santa’s Helper (Children Christmas Books and Bedtime Stories)

Written by Arnie Lightning

Santa's Helper

A series of very short stories featuring Santa’s two executive elves named Sammy and Tammy. They are entrusted with granting the wishes of children who ask for the tough gifts that Santa cannot handle. For example, Victoria’s wish is to give enough food to feed all the homeless people in her neighborhood. Edgar would like to build a snowman larger than his house. The problem is that he lives in San Diego where it hasn’t snowed in 130 years. Luke from New York City wishes to find homes for all the puppies and kittens that don’t have humans to love them.. Six year old Timothy aspires to wrestle with a bear. Little Alexis desires to see into the hearts and minds of all the great men and women who have ever lived. Tammy really needed to think hard about that one! Can you guess how these two dedicated workers from Santa’s workshop managed to grant these wishes? Read the book to find out.

Great beginning reader for students in the early elementary grades one through five. A few detailed illustrations would have made the read more appealing to younger children. Recommended for children who like to solve problems; this is a fun holiday read as an independent reader or read aloud.

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CHRISTMAS COLLAGE

Children’s Book: Saving Christmas (Kids Action Adventure)

Author: Morris Fenris

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The book description, cover and reviews suggest that this book is appropriate for children of all ages. Some parents might argue that it is not at all appropriate for children, but rather suited to young adults and adults.

There are four parts. In the first, readers meet a girl named Mary who generally spends Christmas alone. On Christmas Eve, she is out for a ride on her horse when she hears a strange noise and meets with an accident resulting in her being thrown from her horse. When she wakes up, Mary finds herself in a strange cabin with a white haired man. She is surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds. The second story features Mrs. Claus at the North Pole many years later supervising the elves on Christmas Eve. She experiences a strange sense of foreboding and a dramatic change in Santa’s personality. Part Three leads Mary to a sleigh ride in order to find Santa’s mother. The reindeer Vixen knows that she will be able to save Christmas. Finally in the fourth part, Mary realizes her true role and the reader learns what happened to Mary’s horse on the night of her accident.

The stories contain many run on sentences and grammar that needs some editing. It is difficult to classify the genre of these stories. Elements of romance, mystery, and adventure, but definitely not a kids book. This book contains some familiar characters and symbols, but adults should be aware of multiple layers of meaning and some inappropriate language.

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A LITTLE OF THIS AND A LITTLE OF THAT….

Title: Oregon Clippings

Written by: Karen Ballentine

OregonClippings,pic

Interesting collage of state, local and international news posted in the Lincoln County Leader weekly newspaper posted in Toledo, Oregon. At that time the population consisted of 300 inhabitants. The 1899 eight page newspaper covered a plethora of subjects which paint a portrait of life in 1899. The postings range from what you would expect in a local newspapers, births, deaths, weather and local gossip to a larger view of the state, country and world. For example, readers learn that Venice is sinking and that the Yellow River in China has overflowed. On the local side, a reporter tells of a local woman who is able to locate her missing husband in a dream, and a murderer who has hung himself in his cell. We learn that the US government has more gold coin than it knows what to do with, and that paper money cannot be used for exchange in the Philippines because the bugs eat it. The paper reports that a rosary in the British museum is made of the vertebrae of a snake, and another one is made of rat’s teeth.

Sundry and varied for sure, but the tiny paper presents a remarkable picture of life in 1899 both here and abroad. An interesting, if random, arrangement of facts that makes for a pleasant afternoon of nostalgic fun.

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A WALK THROUGH THE PAST

Egyptian Diary: Journal of a Young Scribe

Written by Richard Platt

Illustrated by David Parkins

eGYPTIAN DIARY2

An unusual picture book in size and scope. I read the paperback version, written in large print and generous in its approximately 10 X 13 inch size. This book is written in first person diary format. Nakht is a nine year old boy living in the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut in ancient Egypt. His father has just been given a promotion in the city of Memphis. Nakht writes in his diary about his adventure, including lots of details about daily life in Egypt, cultural mores, religion, farming, hunting, and craftsmen. The plot takes a dramatic turn when Nakht and his sister, Tamyt discover a tomb robber conspiracy which will take them to the city of Thebes and land them in the court of the palace of Hatshepsut. They are astonished to discover that the Pharaoh is a woman.

Illustrated with beautiful color drawings by Parkins, the reader is transported back 3,500 years. These drawings are beautifully done; the expressions of the faces are somewhat exaggerated to display characters’ emotions. The author provides an extensive appendix which includes notes about geography, society, religion, the pyramids and archaeology.

Targeted for children in grades four through seven, the large pictures might even draw the attention of children slightly younger. Generally recommended for children in the eight to twelve year old range. Anyone interested in ancient Egyptian history will delight in this book. Great choice for homeschooling parents as a fine introduction to the study of this topic.

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