Posts from the ‘fiction’ Category

AUTUMN ANXIETY

The Forest Painter: A Short Story

Written by Diane Mae Robinson

Deep within The Majestic Forest, a bugle call from the top of Peak Mountain has summoned the fairy sprites, the elves, and the wind weavers to perform their autumn responsibilities. But Aura, the Forest Painter, who has been designated to paint the leaves in autumn colors, feels she cannot accomplish the task. Her grandmother was the master painter. Both Aura’s grandmother and parents have already left to paint the heavens. Aura complains that she has not been prepared properly for the task. If she cannot complete her work before the frost arrives, the frost queen will claim the forest forever. Kepa urges her to ask Boreal to help, but Aura believes that Boreal once stole her grandmother’s paintbrush. Will Aura succeed in her race against time to save the trees of the forest? All the plants and animals of the forest are dependent upon her.

This twelve-page story is written with tenderness and empathy. Robinson has deftly woven personification and alliteration with a cadence of language that is charming. Written for a middle-grade audience, it is a sweet and sensitive read that will appeal to a wide range of audiences from beginning reader to adult. Perfect afternoon read to get into the spirit of the changing season.

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ARMED AND READY

Prince Martin Wins His Sword

Written by Brandon Hale

Illustrated by Jason Zimdars

Hale has written an original, charming chapter book that began as a way to keep in touch with his son while Hale was away from home. The book is divided into eight short chapters that are completely written in verse. Hale does not shy away from challenging vocabulary in a book that is written for the six to ten age group.

Martin is a young prince who lives in a faraway kingdom. At the beginning of the tale, Martin experiences a dream in which he fights a dragon with a loyal dog at his side. One of Martin’s favorite pastimes is visiting the castle armory, where all types of swords and weapons are stored. Unfortunately, the king permits his son to possess only a wooden staff and a slingshot, until the prince is able to prove that he is loyal, brave and true. Martin is unsure of how to do so, but he is determined to set forth out of the castle to the forest beyond.

Chapters two through eight covers the adventures that await Martin. He will meet a farmer who warns him of wild hogs, a deer whose fawn is trapped, and a brave dog who is willing to defend the helpless with his life. Martin must face his own fears as well as bullies. Will Martin find the courage and strength to survive and prove himself worthy?

The rhymes are perfect for a read aloud. Younger children might need the help of an adult to decipher some of the vocabularies. Color illustrations in each chapter enhance the adventure. This first book in a series should appeal especially to boys who love adventures, dragons, swords, and dogs. Highly recommended for elementary and middle school age children.

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TROUBLE OR TREASURE?

The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living

Written by Karl Beckstrand

Illustrated by Yaniv Cahoua

This short picture book is an interesting tale about a young boy who is given a choice by an old woman. The reader is introduced to a young Asian boy who likes to make things and always carries tools with him. One day he is walking along a stream near his home when he comes across an old woman sitting on its banks. She appears to be staring at a pile of branches piled against the rocks in the stream. She informs the boy that these objects are both “trouble and treasure.” They are trouble for the fish that cannot swim past them, but she will offer him a treasure if the boy will help her. Immediately the clever boy comes up with an ingenious solution to solve the problem. Then the old woman disappears, but her promise is delivered in an unexpected way.

Beautiful watercolor illustrations enhance the uplifting message and serene mood of the book. Beckstrand includes interesting ideas and activities to enhance the book’s value. My main criticism of the book lies in the layout of the text, which is so small that it is difficult to read. I would recommend the story, especially as a read-aloud for elementary grade children, though the message is certainly pertinent to any age group.

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A DRAGON’S BEST FRIEND

James and the Dragon: The Farloft Chronicles, Vol. 1

Written by Theresa Snyder

 

This is a well-written chapter book or novella with an intriguing set of characters, flights of fancy, and wonderful lessons to learn. The three main characters are a dragon named Farloft, a dastardly wizard named Laval, and a ten-year-old human named James. A plague has recently struck the kingdom. About two-thirds of the population have succumbed. Farloft avoids humans because relations have soured over time. Laval is bitter because the plague has made his daughter ill. James has been orphaned. One day as he struggles to dig peat in the bogs to keep warm, the blacksmith and his son steal it from him. James becomes trapped in the bog; Farloft takes pity and rescues him. As James recovers in the dragon’s lair, they become close. Farloft regales him with legends of past exploits and reveals his treasure chamber. When James returns home, villagers nearly kill him. Farloft rescues him once more. In the meantime, Laval has hatched a devastating plot to exact revenge for his daughter’s death. A surprise ending brings book one to a conclusion and sets the stage for more adventures.

Middle grade, young adult readers, and adults will enjoy this fast-moving story with its pleasing blend of magic, myth, and charm. Characters are well developed and easy to like. By the end of the first book, readers have already become engaged and are eager to learn more about the characters and what will happen to them in their future engagements.

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ENTERPRISING ENTOMOLOGISTS

Bug Zoo Adventure: An Aspen and Eva Adventure Chapter Book for Kids

Written by Kari Sue Benjamin

An engaging chapter book that teaches children about insects, flowers, 4-H clubs, and good sportsmanship. Seven-year-old Aspen and her five-year-old sister, Eva are getting bored near the end of the summer. They decide that they will capture insects, set up a bug zoo, and charge admission. The chapter book follows their successes and failures. Readers learn about some common insects, the flowers that attract them, and how to collect them.

Aspen is old enough to participate in 4-H. She needs to find a project for the fair so she decides to incorporate her bug zoo project. Readers learn a bit about what 4-H is about and what happens at a county fair. Aspen and Eva expect to earn a lot of money with their museum. Aspen also anticipates winning first prize for her 4-H insect collection. When their plans don’t exactly come to fruition, the girls learn lessons about winning and losing. In the end, there are a few unexpected surprises.

This short chapter book is targeted for ages six through ten but is generally best for the younger part of that age range. Short chapters and lots of dialogue keep the plot interesting and easy to follow. Reluctant readers also will enjoy this fast-paced read of fewer than fifty pages.

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SCOUT’S HONOR

The Hairy Fairy: The Hairy Fairy Tales, Book 1

Written by Mark Watson

On Saturday morning, Jack wakes up to discover a hairy fairy sitting on his head. Jack is incredulous. The fairy informs Jack that his boss is angry with him for messing with her cat, so she banished him to spend a day sitting on someone’s head. He tells Jack that no one else can see him, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause mischief and have some fun. Poor Jack is determined to carry out his previous plan to spend the day at the Scout Jamboree. When he goes to the market, the fairy causes the vegetables to grow. They soon take over the town and cause all manner of havoc. Now Jack and his nemesis are trapped. Will they be able to escape? What will happen to the town now involved with the military in a battle against the vegetables, likened to World War III?

This book of fewer than fifty pages might best be described as a beginning chapter book. The clever rhymes are filled with humor and challenging vocabulary. Illustrations are done in graphic novel style. Aimed at a six to twelve age audience, I think that advanced beginning readers and middle school students will love the quirky plot and offbeat humorous rhymes. Fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and humor probably will enjoy it.

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Baby Chomper’s Bath Time Blog Tour and Giveaway

DOWN AND DIRTY!

Baby Chomper’s BATH TIME

Written by Jeff Minich

Illustrated by Renam Garcia

I am delighted to read and review another charming book in the nuggies book series. Chomper is an adorable pup, who has a penchant for getting dirty just like his young readers. After all when you spend your days playing in garbage cans, rolling in the mud, and chasing skunks, a price will have to be paid. That price is being a candidate for a good scrubbing in the bathtub. Chomper does all he can to resist his fate, but his owner tracks him down.

Once in the tub, Chomper discovers a world of imagination. He can imagine adventures like swimming with the fishes, surfing, and sailing across the seas in a pirate ship. Chomper discovers feeling fresh as a daisy after a bath might not be so bad after all.

The text consists of simple sentences and the illustrations are simple, bold and creative. I love the image of Chomper’s owner giving him a bath dressed in a suit. Parents of reluctant toddlers and preschoolers who hate bath time will grab this book as an effective way to change young reader’s behavior. Recommended especially for children ages two through five. The short tale is perfect for bedtime story or nursery classroom read aloud

I received an advance review copy from the publisher and decided to voluntarily read and read with my honest opinions for no compensation.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Baby Chomper’s Bath Time

Written by Jeff Minich

Publisher’s Synopsis: Baby Chomper’s Bath Time is a lovable tale about a little puppy who learns to have fun doing his least favorite thing— taking a bath! One day, baby Chomper escapes from home and gets muddy and stinky beyond belief. He rolls in the mud, takes a dive in the trash, and even gets sprayed by a very stinky skunk. After returning home, he finds that it’s his least favorite time of all: BATH TIME! With nowhere else to go, Chomper realizes that bath time can be one of the most fun times of all! He imagines himself diving into the deep blue sea, being the captain of his own ship, and surfing to a faraway shore. Baby Chomper’s Bath Time is a playful story that encourages children to see the bright side of every situation.

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Nuggies Inc | November 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0999298404

Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xpzBlx

Available on Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/baby-chompers-bath-time-minich-jeff/1127135121

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Minich is the author of the Nuggies illustrated children’s book series. Created in collaboration with illustrator Renan Garcia, the series includes Daddy Forgot My Dinner (Vol. 1); All the Other Nuggies (Vol. 2); A Very Scary Pumpkin (Vol. 3); Oui Oui, Gigi! (Vol. 4); and If I Could Climb Trees (Vol. 5). You can learn more about the Nuggies book series by visiting: GetNuggies.com

 OFFICIAL LINKS

GIVEAWAY
 Enter to win an autographed copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time, by Jeff Minich—plus a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A Dyson Supersonic hairdryer

  • A complete autographed set of the Nuggies series
    • A copy of If I Could Climb Trees: Nuggies: Vol. 5, signed by Jeff Minich
    • A copy of Oui Oui Gigi: Nuggies: Vol. 4, signed by Jeff Minich
    • A copy of  A Very Scary Pumpkin: Nuggies: Vol. 3, signed by Jeff Minich
    • A copy of  All the Other Nuggies: Nuggies: Vol. 2, signed by Jeff Minich
    • A copy of  Daddy Forgot My Dinner: Nuggies: Vol. 1, signed by Jeff Minich
    • A copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time, signed by Jeff Minich

Value: $518+

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A copy of Baby Chomper’s Bath Time, signed by Jeff Minich

Value: $19.95

Giveaway begins September 26, 2017, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends October 26, 2017, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.

Prizes provided by Jeff Minich

 

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