Posts from the ‘Poems’ Category

KITCHEN CHIT-CHAT

Stories Around the Kitchen Table: A Collection of Women’s Memoirs

Edited by Anne Randolph

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The editor based this collection on her creation of the kitchen table writers’ concept, which encourages women to find their creative author’s voice. A small group of women gather around a kitchen table and begin writing their thoughts with pen in hand. No need to worry about grammar, spelling or second guessing. Weekly sessions begin and end with the inspiration of a poem. Each author writes about her thoughts and dreams. Following the time allotted for writing, each of the participants listens and shares taking turns to read aloud. At the end of this nearly one hundred page collection of stories, Randolph includes short biographies of each participating author.

Topics are diverse; emotions and writing reflect the natural setting and willingness of each participant to immerse herself in the writing process, and more importantly to lend a willing ear to each other’s work. In “Belly Flops” the reader is treated to a young girl’s first experience diving into a swimming pool. “When I was Ten” propels its readers back in time to a child’s visit to Manhattan during World War II. “Learning to Fly” transports us to an airfield for a first flying lesson. “A Slow Leaving” reflects the emotional roller coaster the writer experiences as her husband is about to leave the house because their divorce has become final.

This book is a good tool to preview many styles of writing and a good conversation starter for a woman’s group on many topics up for discussion on women’s issues in the modern world. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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HALLOWEEN HAUNTINGS

halloweenmysticalpeterpicHalloween: Mystical Peter: (Peter, A Darkened Fairy tale)

Written by William O’Brien

The author has written many tales based on the character of Peter. In this book O’Brien has focused on Halloween with its spells, witches, goblins, vampires, zombies and the like. He has provided the reader with a series of dark poems that evoke images of the best and worst Halloween has to offer. O’Brien employs his creative talents with a skill in using descriptive language including rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia to evoke fear and dread in the souls of readers. At the end of the book, O’Brien adds a prose story about Charlie Featherwick. He lives in a strange town called Temptus Vale whose inhabitants include a witch named Mrs. Cruelmonger. When a group of children play a prank on her on Halloween night, the stage is set for an adventure that none of them will ever forget.

This collection is a perfect choice for a Halloween party read. Imagery is clear, crisp and really frightening. Fair warning for children who are easily spooked. Targeted for readers who are eight to eighteen, but not for the fainthearted.

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HALLOWEEN HAUNTINGS

Halloween: Mystical Peter: (Peter, A Darkened Fairy tale)

Written by William O’Brien
halloweenmysticalpeterpic

The author has written many tales based on the character of Peter. In this book O’Brien has focused on Halloween with its spells, witches, goblins, vampires, zombies and the like. He has provided the reader with a series of dark poems that evoke images of the best and worst Halloween has to offer. O’Brien employs his creative talents with a skill in using descriptive language including rhyme, alliteration, and onomatopoeia to evoke fear and dread in the souls of readers. At the end of the book, O’Brien adds a prose story about Charlie Featherwick who lives in a strange town called Temptus Vale whose inhabitants include a witch named Mrs. Cruelmonger. When a group of children play a prank on her on Halloween night, the stage is set for an adventure that none of them will ever forget.

This collection is a perfect choice for a Halloween party read. Imagery is clear, crisp and really frightening. Fair warning for children who are easily spooked. Targeted for readers who are eight to eighteen, but for the fainthearted it is more suited for teens and young adult audiences.

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SO SAD

Runaway Smile: An unshared smile is a waste of time (Niditales Book 1)

Written by Nicholas C. Rossis

Illustrated by Dimitris Fousekis

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Readers who take the time to read the Prologue will discover the secret of this book. Plot is simple: a little boy wakes up one morning and finds that he has lost his smile. Shortly after, the reader is introduced to a set of quirky characters that will definitely make him smile. The boy’s dog, wears glasses, reads Proust and drives a car. A clothes-eating monster lives in the bedroom closet and ants windsurf across the boy’s breakfast cereal, but the boy is steadfast in his search to find the missing smile.

The boy meets several adult characters on his way to school. A workman, a man walking his goldfish, a king being photographed, the greatest salesman in the world, and a clown, each display smiles that they are unwilling to share with the boy. At school, the boy asks his teacher , but she replies that a classroom is no place for a smile and proceeds to pass out a test! By this time the poor boy is completely disheartened. When he gets home, he asks his mother how to find his smile. She reveals the secret.

The sepia toned illustrations in this book are done beautifully; they capture the spirit and humor of the tale. A poem, “Ode to a runaway smile,” included at the end portrays the cleverness and wit of the author. Adults will understand all the nuances of this story. The simple illustration on the cover is a bit misleading as to the underlying story. Young children will enjoy the pictures but probably won’t grasp some of the concepts without adult guidance. I feel the book is best suited for independent readers who enjoy different kinds of books with an unusual plot so I would especially recommend it for ages ten and older.

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The Knights Before Christmas – Book Review Blitz

My Book Review…….

The Knights Before Christmas

Written by Joan Holub

Illustrated by Scott Magoon

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A very clever version of a Christmas tale base on the poem, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. I was immediately drawn to it by the cover and clever play on words in the title. Who can resist a bright and vividly illustrated picture book read aloud? The book’s large size makes it perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to hold, while the clever conversation among the knights provides a humorous and modern version of the Christmas classic for older siblings.

Brave Knight, Silent Knight and Polite Knight are entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the king’s castle. On Christmas Eve, a stranger in a red suit appears accompanied by eight dragons seeking a chimney to enter. Of course a castle does not have a chimney. Santa remains undaunted and determined to enter and leave his Christmas gifts, while the three knights redouble their efforts to repel the invasion. Who will win the battle?

I believe this book is destined to become a new Christmas favorite among teachers and parents of preschoolers and primary grade readers. Available in kindle and hardcover editions.

 

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon 9780805099324 image copy 2

About the Book

Title: The Knights Before Christmas | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Scott Magoon | Publication Date: September 8, 2015 | Publisher: Macmillan / Henry Holt | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8

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Book Description:

‘Twas December 24th, and three brave knights were just settling in for the night when out on the drawbridge, there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of this unknown invader (Santa Claus!), a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons . . .

But nothing would stop
their white-whiskered foe.
No matter their efforts,
he just would not go!

This parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s well-known poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is kid-friendly, clever, and just plain silly. Sure to become a holiday classic of a different kind!

 

Sneak Peek

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon pages 12

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon page 26 image

 

The Buzz About the Book

“There’s an excellent interplay between the amusing illustrations and the polished text, with lots of clever jokes for readers to discover in the art. These knights know how to keep the castle safe and the readers entertained”~ Kirkus Reviews

“A royal romp of holiday pratfalls and punnery. Yule love it!” ~ Tom Lichtenheld, bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

“A royal delight of a book! Sure to become a favorite holiday read-aloud in every household throughout the land!” ~ Judy Schachner, creator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones

“A great premise…Magoon’s illustrations are vibrant and fun…!” ~ Publishers Weekly

“This rousing, ridiculous medieval “Night Before Christmas” parody jingles with castle- and holiday wordplay. Cheeky digital illustrations brim with good cheer.” ~ Horn Book

 

About the Author: Joan Holub

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub SIBA 2015 imageJoan Holub is the author of 140+ books for children including the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training (ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books). Watch for her upcoming chapter book, What Was Woodstock?, and her board book, This Little President, both available in early 2016!

 

Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Facebook | Facebook (Goddess Girls) | Facebook (Grimmtastic Girls)

Copyright © 2015 Mother Daughter Book Reviews, All rights reserved.

A CONUNDRUM

NONSENSE AND NO SENSE AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
Written by Cindi Walton

Nonsenseandsense,picI was not disappointed with this poetry collection. Children will delight in the variety of subjects and clever rhyme. Some of these poems address ordinary objects like lunch and rocks. Others address fears like being sick and cowering in a thunderstorm. One of the funniest poems is the very first, “Confusion.” It addresses the many complexities and anomalies of the English language.

I gave up the fight and called it a night
It really didn’t matter if write wasn’t right
All those words are still in my head
I’ve got an idea! I’ll learn German instead!

A few of the poems deal with growing up issues like personal appearance, wanting straight hair instead of curly or “The Joy of Boys.” Some poems illustrate our deepest feelings like the loss of a loved one in “The Legacy, ” or exploring magical memories left to us by a loved one in “Grandma’s Magical Pot.” Children who have never even tried to write down their thoughts in a poem might be encouraged to do so following the simple format of the poem titled simply, “I Like.” I don’t ordinarily read the poetry genre but have to admit I really enjoyed reading these poems. Adults will have just as much reading them as a child being introduced to them for the first time. Recommended for children ages eight and up and for readers of any age who enjoy reflecting on the simple things in life.

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SOMEONE LIKE ME

A Book of Poetry for Teenagers: Vol. 1

Written by RyAnn Adams Hall

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This collection of poems of approximately one hundred pages hits on many of the issues so important to the teens of past and present generations. The author organizes her poetry collection by age rather than theme; the poems become more sophisticated and complex as the chapters and maturity levels progress through time.

Poems are listed by title only, the reader must peruse through to the end to find the theme. But the underlying themes match the trials and tribulations that coming of age brings upon all of us. Several of the poems relate sorrow at not having a mother present while growing up. At age twelve the author writes about her “best friend forever” Renee. There are poems expressing fear and frustration, relationships with boys, and feeling left out of things. Many poems express hope and optimism like “The Stars,” “My Shadow,” and “What You Do.” In the very last section of poetry written in the period from ages twenty-two through twenty-seven, the author finds her true love, David, and then becomes the mother of Kayleigh in whom she places her hopes and dreams.

I think many that teens will enjoy having these poems to read as they pass through the many moods, phases, ups and downs of adolescence. Nice book to have when you feel the need to take a moment or two to reflect on the joys and sorrows of growing up and life in general.

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JOURNEYING THROUGH ALASKA’S HISTORY

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Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume One

Written by Laurel Downing Bill

Vol 1 Cover Aunt Phil

This first book in this series like all the others are based on the writings and research of the author’s aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson. In the first volume, the reader is treated to thousands of years of Alaska’s history from the time the first humans crossed the Bering Sea land bridge to the Klondike Gold Rush in the nineteenth century. The photograph of a mastodon graveyard is most impressive. Readers learn how the native Eskimos coped with the unknown with the magic of their shamans and the legends of the gods. An influx of Russian fur traders changed Native life forever. They brought illness and destruction to their hunting grounds and forests. Eventually Natives adapted by becoming guides for the newcomers exploration of the seas and the mining operations that later followed.

One of the short stories relates how the last gun shot of the American Civil War was fired from the Confederate ship Shenandoah off the coast of Alaska in June, 1865, two months after the war actually ended. These ships fired on whalers near St. Lawrence Island. The Shenandoah had previously captured thirty-eight Yankee warships. Not willing to surrender to Union authorities in the States, the Shenandoah sailed to England to surrender that November.

Bill traces the history of opposition to William Seward’s purchase of Alaska for the United States and the change of opinion once gold was discovered. Several stories detail singular individuals in Alaska’ s history. Readers learn about Captain James Cook, the explorer, Bishop William Carpenter Bompas, the missionary, Ivan Petroff, the census taker, and Old John Bonner’s murder mystery. One of Alaska’s most educated early citizens was George Washington Carmack who wrote beautiful poetry. Not only do the short stories cover all these areas, but the photographs, maps and drawings provide a feast for the eyes!

Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume Two

Written by Laurel Downing Bill

Vol 2 Cover Aunt Phil

Volume Two portrays the history of Alaska for a much shorter period, the end of the nineteenth century through the year 1912. Nevertheless, it packs quite a punch with more than 350 photographs and a saga of interesting characters and developments.

The Klondike Gold Rush brought the ongoing boundary dispute with Canada to a head. Stampeders from Canada walked freely across the border in an attempt to make their fortunes. Crime and robberies became rampart. Miners sometimes took justice into their own hands. One criminal was named “The Blue Parker Bandit.” A small group sailed from Seattle to steal one of the native totem poles for its city. Reportedly, Wyatt Earp and John Clum fled from Arizona to Alaska after the demise of Tombstone.

But as more settlers flooded the area and stayed, order needed to be restored. Leroy Napoleon McQuesten set up supply stations in the wilderness. Clum often traveled by mule and set up Post Offices. Frank Canton set up a court and became the first law officer. As towns sprung up and the area became more stable, the people demanded entertainment and culture. The Black Prince Boxer was listed as a popular attraction. The Monte Carlo Theater came to the town of Dawson. Poet Robert Service wrote his poem “The Call of the Wild.” Estace Ziegler painted scenes of Alaska’s rugged landscapes. The Iditarod trail was blazed;soon railroads and schools followed. Prosperity reigned until suddenly the Katmai Crater Volcano eruption created such a wasteland in 1912 that President Woodrow Wilson called it the largest national monument in the United States. As with volume one, these people and events are richly documented with photographs and drawings. Lots of changes were on the horizon which will be explored in volume three.

These books are highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Alaskan history, geography, and culture. Children age nine and above should be able to handle reading the text independently. All the volumes are a wonderful addition to the bookshelves of teachers, librarians, historians and the the general reader. Well-written comprehensive portrait of America’s forty-ninth state,

Laurel Bill headshot

Contact: Laurel Downing Bill

Email: auntphilstrunk@gmail.com

Website: http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/LaurelBillAuthor

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/LaurelBill

Google +: http://www.plus.Google.com/LaurelBill

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmh0wCifvbXYsVg5IkawkyQ

 

Aunt Phil’s Trunk volumes 1 through 4 are available through http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com and Amazon.com.

Volume 1: http://j.mp/SSiIKX

Volume 2: http://j.mp/SSiOT1

POETRY MONTH, EARTH DAY, AND EVERYTHING GREEN

Green, An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press)

Edited by Melanie Villines; contributing editor Joan Jobe Smith.

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The editors have brought together authors from all over world to display their talents in poetry, short stories, novel snippets and interviews. Their subject is anything green: word meanings, nature, environment, seasons, food, money, emotions, and much more. Some of the material comes from well known authors like L. Frank Baum, Kurt Vonnegut, James Joyce and William Blake. Other selections are chosen from contemporary or lesser known writers. In keeping with the theme, the editors chose to dedicate the anthology to Graham Greene. I found the cover art appropriate; it features a four leaf clover which is a plant that not only is a symbol of good luck but one that enriches the soil.

It is difficult to know where to start in this anthology. The reader need not read the book in chronological order. One might want to select a passage depending on one’s mood or the genre one feels like reading at the time. Editors provide a Table of Contents listing the works by author as well as by Section. The contents by Section are organized by themes. For example, selections are devoted to money, family, environment, envy, and new life. These readings might relate to everyday objects like avocados, lifesavers or green corn tamales. Some touch on places like beaches, subways, and Chicago. There are tales of past and present. Emotions run the gamut from hope to despair. The length of entries range from one to several pages. This book can be picked up for a five minute or a fifty minute read. One of my favorites is “What Can I Do” by Ivon Prefontaine. Here are a few lines:

                                                       Change begins in me.

                                                            I am a catalyst

                                                              I look inside:

                                                      Call forth a gentle spirit-

                                                             Give it voice.

The reading level of the passages vary in difficulty. Again, the reader might want to devote extra thought to some of the more esoteric passages. In general, I would say that the book could be enjoyed by anyone age twelve and older. It certainly would be an asset to the libraries of upper middle grade and high school classrooms. The reader might also use this edition as an introduction to further exploration of other works by authors she enjoyed in this anthology.

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LESSONS FROM OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS

Tales of the Friendly Forest

Written by Alexi Lushkin
Translated from Russian by Galina Krylova

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This kindle book is a collection of ten fairy tales told from the point of view of several animals living in the forest. At the outset the reader is introduced to a poem that tells of the song of the forest. The animals in the tales introduce themselves one verse at a time. In the beginning, the forest was in chaos. Each of the animals went about doing whatever he wanted. One day a clubfooted bear shouted out to the other animals of the forest from the top of a tree that from now on there would be a truce; all animals would be friends to one another and there would be no territorial boundaries. From that point on, all the animals of the forest had their own names, but they were all friends and helpers to each other.

The rest of the stories focus on one or two animals who are able to teach the reader about compassion for others, the need to share knowledge, not to be afraid of the unknown, and to be true to oneself. In the story about fashion, the animals decide to be fashion mongers. Even though the boars delight in rolling around in the mud, they then rub against the trees ridding themselves of all dirt. The animals decide that boars are the neatest and cleanest animals in the forest. Appearances can be deceiving! In the story about the forest beasts watching children play hockey, children learn that TV and cinema did not always exist, there should be time for other pursuits.

These short stories are intended for children and adults. The format is a bit unusual in that the book begins with a poem and then switches to verse. In a few places the flow is a bit choppy due to the translation. Still, I found the stories refreshing with good lessons for children and reminders for adults. The book can be broken up into sections for younger children and read independently by children eight and older. Makes a nice bedtime story book for children who love animals.

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