Posts tagged ‘family relatiionships’

PARENTAL WAR:STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

Cupcakes vs. Brownies: Zimmah Chronicles Book 1

Written by Scott King

In the prologue readers meet ten year old Karim, who is falling through pink candy cotton clouds trapped in a bubble of bubblegum. He is clutching a small glass bottle to his chest. At first glance, that does not sound like much of a predicament for a child, until you read on to the first chapter.

Karim’s parents, Malek and Christina, are arguing again. Karim overhears them discuss the possibility of divorce. The boy impulsively rushes out of the house into the streets of San Francisco with his dog in a thunderstorm. He bumps into an elderly woman named Madame Loope, who invites him into her pawn shop to escape the storm. Karim picks up a glass bottle. Steam begins hissing from the bottle as a man emerges from it once uncorked. This man is a Zimmah, a djinn. Karim asks that he be granted a wish. His first wish is to turn his Labrador into a Snow Lion. After the djinn grants that wish, Karim wishes the world was a happy place.

Karim is transported to a world filled with edible sweets. What astonished the boy is that he meets his father transformed into the king of the Cupcake World. Malek is preparing to do battle with his enemy, the Queen of the Brownies. Karim cannot believe his eyes when he discovers the Captain of the Brownie army is none other than his mother. When Karim pleads with Zimmah his wish is to fix things between his parents and return to the real world, the djinn informs him that this is the way things are and there is no magic to fix it. Will Karim ever find his way back home to San Francisco? Is Zimmah a friend or an enemy? What will happen to Malek and Christina?

This book is a creative way to approach the problem of divorce and how children may cope with it. It combines fantasy with an interesting plot that deals with an issue many children in families must face. Appropriate for children ages eight and older; this book could be useful for parents, teachers and social workers to open up many avenues of discussion.

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HOLD ON TO YOUR REINS

Keeping Secrets (Timber Ridge Riders Book 1)

Written by Maggie Dana

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First in a series of books featuring young teens and their love of horses. Kate is fourteen and spending her summer with her aunt because her father is a lepidopterist who is busy chasing butterflies in Brazil. Looking for something to keep her occupied, Kate applies for a summer job as a companion for a teen named Holly. Holly is now wheelchair bound as a result of a horseback riding accident.

Kate has a dark secret. She was blamed for the death of a horse in her care. Now she is petrified to go near a horse stall. Holly’s mom gives riding lessons and coaches an equestrian team. Kate hopes to steer clear of the barn, but she is gradually drawn to it. She must overcome the bullying of Angela, a spoiled brat whose wealthy mother accepts nothing less than first place. Quite a few shenanigans involved in the plot. Dana succeeds in making the reader identify with her characters. The love of horses and its power on the main characters are carefully woven into the plot. Just a hint of romance with the introduction of a young teen male character.

This story is just under two hundred pages with vocabulary and plot lines that are suitable for readers age nine and older. The book is well-written with a nice mix of descriptive language and dialogue. Teachers might break the book up into chapters for read aloud and class discussion.

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