Archive for April, 2019

A WOMAN AHEAD OF HER TIME

Catherine The Great: A Life from Beginning to End

Hourly History Series

This short summary of Catherine The Great’s life provides good insight into a woman who was able to turn ambition into fulfillment. Catherine was born in modern-day Poland. Her mother’s wealthy relatives played a prominent part in her rise to power. She was betrothed to Peter, the prospective Tsar of Russia. Catherine despised Peter, but she did everything in her power to gain the love and support of the Russian people. She learned the Russian language, converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and acquired the support of the Russian military guard.

Catherine was an early feminist. She supported educational reforms for men and women, reformed the farming system by introducing European reforms, and introduced the principles of European Enlightenment, counting the philosopher, Voltaire, as one of her friends. Catherine extended the territorial boundaries of Russia and succeeded in many of her military goals. She devoted her life to power and did not shirk from using violence to achieve it. The principles she set forth laid the foundation for modern Russia.

Recommended as an introduction to Russian history or as a reference for student research into the subject. The essay is easy to read and is recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers as well as adults interested in biographies and history.

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A NECESSARY INGREDIENT

Nobody Loves Mustard

Written and Illustrated by Jeremy Ross

Poor mustard is depressed. As he observes people choosing condiments for their food, no one seems interested in using mustard. Victor and Gilly put ketchup on all their favorites like French fries. Mustard asks all the animals he encounters if they would like to put some mustard on their food, but none of them is interested. He becomes so depressed that he wanders off alone into the forest.

But one day, Mr. Fiddle decides to cook hot dogs. He cannot imagine eating one without embellishing it with mustard, so Mr. Fiddle enlists the aid of his to find mustard. At last, mustard realizes that he is needed. The author wants children to understand we are all loved even if we feel underappreciated at times.

This picture book with adorable illustrations and humor is appropriate for preschoolers and early elementary school age readers.

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FOUR FRIENDS SIT FOR A SPELL #HappyEaster #EarthDay

Cassie’s Coven: The Case of the six-legged frog (The Cassie Coven Series Book 1)

Written by Helen Allan

The first book in this middle-grade mystery series features four Australian girls. Cassie and Lolly share a love of horses and attend school together. One day Cassie buys an old book and discovers it is a magic book of spells. Shortly after Cassie finds a sickly fox kit and Lolly discovers a six-legged frog in a nearby creek. The book talks about a coven of four witches, yellow, black, white and green. Lolly and Cassie invite Charlotte and a new girl at school, Pia to join their group. Pia’s great-grandmother offers an old cottage on her property as a clubhouse. Soon the girls are using it to solve the mystery of why nearby animals and cattle are becoming sick and dying. Lolly and Cassie fall ill, and they show symptoms of poisoning.

The four girls decide that Mr. Larkin, a neighbor, seems too eager to scare them off his property and they vow to investigate why. They use the clubhouse to get close and are shocked to discover that the book of spells can help them to solve the mystery. This is the first book of the series that combines fun adventures of four ten-year-old friends, some magic, and issues related to the environment set in Australia. Recommended for readers ages ten and older.

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I’M SPECIAL

Born to Be Different!: For all the special kids in the world!

Written by John Rigoli

Illustrated by Holly Withers

This is a cute story about a boy named Ollie who experiences ridicule because he is different. Ollie thinks his eyes, clothes, skin, and clothes are different from everybody else. He decides he wants to be normal. But when he speaks with his grandfather, Ollie learns that it is our unique features that make us special. If everyone looked the same, no one would be able to distinguish one person from another. Ollie learns to appreciate himself and celebrate his differences.

The subtitle of this book might confuse some readers at first. One might be led to believe that the book is about children with disabilities or special talents. This book has simple illustrations which make it especially appropriate for younger children. Recommended for preschool and elementary school children as a discussion book about self-esteem and acceptance.

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CLEVER KATZ

THE KATZ PAJAMAS: THE MISS KITTY MYSTERY

Written by Jack Lugar

Katz is the name of a clever, Maine Coon cat who is a private investigator. Katz is sitting in his office when Kitty Cat, a famous nightclub performer strolls into his office. Kitty wants to hire him to find out who has been stealing personal possessions from her dressing room. Katz jumps at the chance and he is invited to her club to investigate the mystery.

Katz meets Bogey, Kitty’s dog, Rufus, the bouncer, Cali the state manager, Thom, the stagehand, and Mr. Bigly, Kitty’s guard. He carefully observes and looks for clues as the night progresses. Before long, Katz has the solution to the mystery. He calls together the cast of characters and explains how he solved the case. Of course, he is saddened that there is no longer a reason for Kitty to pay attention to him because Katz has developed quite a crush on Kitty.

This is a cute chapter book of fewer than one hundred pages. The characters are charming and the dialogue clever and humorous. There are no illustrations. While the book is targeted for ages five through ten, I believe it better suited for ages seven through twelve. It is a fast-paced fun read and I would read other books in the series.

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY, Volume I: Adventure Books for All Ages by Barbara Ann Mojica

via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY, Volume I: Adventure Books for All Ages by Barbara Ann Mojica

IN SEARCH OF SOMETHING BETTER

The Magic Forest: The Secret of the Golden Egg

Written by Maya Sanders

Shu is a mythical creature with a horn in the middle of her head. She lives at the top of a tall tree and acts as the protector of the Urman forest. Together with her horse, Tu, Shu wanders the forest assuring that the weak are protected. One day, Shu awakes in a bad mood because she is no longer satisfied with her small, cramped home.

Shu has heard rumors of a golden egg that can turn into a castle, so she and her winged-horse friend seek out Yukka, a 1000-year-old viper who knows all. Yukka assigns Shu three tasks to complete before revealing where to find the golden egg.

On the journey, Shu helps Su find her lost comb, restores the confidence of the Firebird, Rukh, and learns that appearances can be deceptive. Children come to understand the importance of helping others and the necessity of keeping our own needs in check. The tale is an old Tatar folktale that combines magic and fantasy with lessons to learn for humans. There are a few color illustrations that make this book choice more appealing for beginning readers. Recommended for ages seven through ten.

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