Posts tagged ‘life lessons’

CLOSET CHAOS

Runaway Clothes

Written by MRS.D

Illustrated by Chanoa

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Do you have a young lady in your home who is a less than perfect housekeeper? This book might be just what the doctor ordered.

Nika is a wide-eyed pretty little lass who awakes one morning to find that all her clothes are missing from her closet. Both the metal and wooden hangers are bare. She looks outside her cold window and sees only the mist. Where can her clothes be hiding? Nika is freezing because she is dressed only in her pajamas. She does not know what to do. Then she gazes around her room and observes that all her toys are lying around in disorganized heaps. What if they decide to abandon her as well? Nika panics. So she purposefully sets out to clean and organize her toys and stuffed animals.

That does not resolve her dilemma. It is cold outside; how will she ever be able to leave the house without her clothing? Nika talks to the trees and the sun rays who are both sympathetic. The wind blows her salty tears and they land on her clothing, which it turns out, are closer than Nika is aware. Does Nika ever find her wayward clothing? At the end of the story, Nika’s mom is really impressed with her daughter because she has learned a few valuable lessons.

The illustrations by Chanoa are beautifully done in large computer images with detailed facial expressions in soft pastels. As in another of MRS. D’s previous, books, Good Morning, World!, personification plays a large role in the story. The hangers, clothing, wind, sun rays and fog come to life. There are some guardian spirits looking on as well. The illustrations face the text on the opposite page. While a few vocabulary words like enraged are a stretch for younger children, the illustrations provide context clues. I would recommend the book for little ones in the elementary grades and for parents who might want to impress upon their child the importance of taking good care of their belongings.

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TEA-TIME TRAVELS

Mrs. Trimble’s Magic Tea-Pot!

Written and illustrated by Steven-Watson-Morris

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This book is really an early chapter book which could also be used as a classroom read aloud or bedtime story. All the stories center around Mrs. Trimble, her assistant Rose and her twin nephews, John and Jack. Mrs. Trimble owns a tea shop where she serves tea and delicious home baked cakes. While working one day in her shop, suddenly a giant cloud of smoke arose and a giant tea-pot appeared in the center of the shop. A wizard wearing a pointed cap adorned with stars popped out. Walter the Wizard needs her help because the king’s cook is ill, and he is in need of someone to bake cakes for his party. They all climb into his tea-pot and are whisked away to the kingdom where Mrs. Trimble saves the day by baking the cakes. Walter is so grateful that he gives her a magic tea-pot as a gift that will take her anywhere in the world she wants to visit. The magic words are magic teapot backwards—“Top eat Cigam!” So begins the magical adventures of our characters.

In the first book of adventures, they decide to visit a spooky house and some ghosts where they meet Arthur Halloween, they take a trip to the moon and visit four purple men who are in need of polishing dust to keep the moon shiny and then visit another moon to gather supplies, convince a greedy dragon that he is eating too much and needs to go on a diet, and visit a land of dwarfs where Jack and John receive some surprise birthday presents. Mrs. Trimble even manages to confront an ogre and rescue the key to the city for the mayor. Perhaps my favorite adventure involves her ingenious solution to save the day when Santa Claus is unable to deliver presents on Christmas Day because his reindeer are sick.

There are just enough black and white pencil drawings to hold the interest of young readers just getting accustomed to longer story books. I like the mixture of conversation and prose. Neither one overpowers the other so that the story flows

The Further Adventures of Mrs. Trimble’s Magic Teapot!

Written and illustrated by Steven-Watson Morris

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So delighted that the author is giving us a sequel. In Book Two the reader is treated to seven more magical adventures. This time the reader will meet a one-eyed giant, a silver snake, a naughty goblin, the Easter bunny, an alien planet, some bubbles, and a castle of dreams. The children will learn through Mrs. Trimble that we should be kind and understanding toward others even when others are angry with us, but she also teaches us that when we are naughty like the goblin, we need to undo the harm we have done to others, apologize, and make restitution for our mistakes. When Mrs. Trimble meets the Dream Maker, she learns how to drink hot chocolate as well as tea and sees how sweets can be turned into healthy fruits. What child would not like to have a bubble adventure! Mrs. Trimble and the twins are astonished when the Easter bunny oversleeps one year; they must rescue him and save the day! In their last adventure the stalwart group get to land on the Teapot planet where everything is shaped like a teapot, and where they are introduced to Earlgrey who will restore the magic to their teapot. To return his kindness, Mrs. Trimble will leave them with a special gift of her own. As in the first book, there are delightful pencil drawings. At the end of the book, readers will find a special bonus, coloring pages that feature all the characters in the book’s stories.

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CAN DO CREW

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL!

 

Miss Quince and The Can Do Crew

Written by Mark and Katie Whyte

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This book is a must have addition to the shelves of libraries and school classrooms. It provides an excellent springboard for discussion to explore differences among children that are frequently labeled disabilities but can in reality be strengths. Many children, especially those in the middle grades, seeking to belong to the most popular peer group seize being different as an opportunity to tease and bully. Mrs. Quince and her class sitting “behind the yellow door” are a class of superheroes.

The story begins with a boy named Nate who is speaking to his dad who happens to be physically disabled. Nate tells his dad that the children at school have been implying that his dad is feeble and weak in body and mind because he is in a wheelchair. Dad relates the story of a boy named Marcus who became disabled as a child riding his bicycle, his initial fears, and inability to cope. Then he introduces Mrs. Quince, his new teacher, and the class of superheroes. This teacher forces Marcus to focus on what he can do, rather than what he cannot accomplish. Over a period of time, Marcus realizes he has the power to succeed on his own. In fact, he proves to he a hero when the class takes an excursion one day. Then he slowly discovers the unique power each of his classmates possess. Every child whether blind, deaf, physically or genetically disabled contributes to the well being of the class and the community.

The authors and their family have various types of disabilities or professional skills and training to work with this population. As a former special educator, I can appreciate the feelings of those emotionally or physically disabled as well as the dedicated professionals who work with them. The lesson of this book is a message that needs to be shared with those in the community who must learn to understand not bully this valued sector of the community. This book is well written with large, colorful illustrations. Highly recommended for children and adults age eight and older.

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A PRINCESS FOR ALL

Sir Princess Petra’s TALENT: Book Two The Pen Pieyu Adventures

Written by Diane Mae Robinson

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This is the second book in The Pen Pieyu adventure series. The author provides a synopsis of Book One to get all readers up to speed though the book can stand on its own. Sir Princess Petra is no ordinary princess; she is spirited, stubborn, sensitive, and devoted to her friends and subjects. In the last book, the reader met a nine year old girl who was determined to become the first knight in her magical kingdom. Petra achieved knighthood by slaying the howling dragon named Snarls in a series of adventures; he later becomes her friend and master connoisseur in the palace kitchen.

At the beginning of Book Two, the king and queen summon Petra informing her that she must go away to the Land of Lost Donkeys to attend training in a Talent School in order to become a “proper princess.” This does not sit well with Petra, but she is an obedient daughter and loyal subject and so she acquiesces to her parents’ request. On her journey she meets Prince Duce Crablips who is secretly betrothed to her, but who would really like to go to school to learn how to crochet. The selection of talents available to Petra at the school are all unappealing, sewing, etiquette and knitting are not her cup of tea. Together with Snarls and Prince Duce, they eventually find a satisfactory course and complete certificates before being forced to make a quick exit. The three compatriots become embroiled in an adventure with the ganutes on their way home to the kingdom. Petra assists all her friends in employing their new found talents; Pen Pieyu attains subjects with new talents in the process. Petra enthralls her parents and her subjects with her new abilities, which I suspect might be the start of a new adventure.

This series is the perfect chapter book for new or reluctant readers. Because I write picture books, I have a definite preference for illustration in children’s books; the black and white pencil drawings in this book are a definite enhancement to the plot. The short length of the chapters are perfect for serial read alouds in the classroom or multiple bedtime stories. Petra is a strong role model for encouraging a young girl’s potential. Her strength of character along with the other rich and humorous characters extend the book’s appeal to boys as well. There is humor, adventure, magic, fantasy and just enough silliness to appeal to children and parents of children from early elementary through middle grades. I anticipate a lot more exciting adventures and lessons in store for Petra’s fans as she matures. Another good chapter book by award-winning author, Diane Mae Robinson.

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BULLY FOR YOU!

The Hare And The Tortoise (Beat The Bullies!)

Written by Mike Nach

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This book is certainly not a rehash of the familiar tale, but rather a unique guide on the problem of bullying written to inform, entertain and enlighten children and adults. In the introduction, the author presents an overview on what bullying is, the effects of bullying, and the problems it causes. He promises that the story will help out victims of bullying.

His story is set in the peaceful forest where an alligator, bear, owl and python maintain law and order. Harry Hare is a natural athlete. His wife, Cathy scolds him for his vanity and tells him, “Your attitude sucks.” On the other hand, Tom Tortoise and his family are the slowest creatures in the forest, but they are kind and peaceful. One day while on his way to collect mushrooms for his family, Tom is accosted by Harry who taps on his shell and belittles him for his slowness. Poor Tom tries to avoid Harry and becomes troubled and anxious. But one day, Mr. Fox notices his worry and assures Tom he has a plan. Tom follows his suggestion, even though he is not confident that the plan will work. Harry will learn his lesson and Tom will have a peaceful life once more.

That is not the end of the lesson for the reader. In the second half of the book Nach provides a summary of the seven types of bullies: verbal bullies, emotional bullies, physical bullies, cyber bullies, sexual bullies, racist/status bullies, and adult bullies. More importantly, he sets up an action plan for the victims of bullies to pursue. The strategy includes remaining calm and confident, avoiding the bully whenever possible, controlling your emotions, reporting all instances to an authority figure, blocking gossip from the bully, and learning self defense. Nach’s final advice to a victim of bullying is never give up on yourself or give in to bullying others.

I recommend this book to parents, librarians, and teachers as an much needed and effective guide to introducing and discussing the problem of bullying to all school age children. The author does not preach, rather he talks to children in language they understand using phrases like, “whatever” and “don’t mess with me.” Makes the reader feel as if he is speaking with a good friend discussing a problem. In my opinion, that is what makes this book so enjoyable, informative and effective.

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HUNGRY MOUSE

Carlo The Mouse: Book 1 Too Many Rules for One Little Mouse

Written by Mrs.D.

Illustrated by Chanoa

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This is the first of a series of adventures involving Carlo. In the first book, Carlo has just been born in Hospitalia, Florida. He lives with his parents behind the walls of the hospital. Carlo is always hungry. He dreams of exploring the kitchen where the chef concocts international dishes, but his parents are eager to protect their curious child. Carlo asks them if they could move to Italy, France, Germany or any foreign country so that he could sample its cuisine.

Carlo continues to pester his parents. Finally, the day comes when they agree to let him explore the halls of the hospital. However, they give him five rules that he must always follow. He must always be neat, avoid the manager’s office, only visit patients who are watching cooking shows, stay away from the infectious disease ward, and never visit the kitchen! Of course, you can guess Carlo will experience enormous difficulty following these rules, especially the last one. With tears in their eyes, the protective parents watch as Carlo ventures forth to explore wearing the sweater that his mother has just knitted for him.

The series is previewed at the end of the book and promises to be a set of exciting adventures matched with lots of lessons for young children to learn. Chanoa has done a wonderful job with the illustrations which are, at the same time, soft and bold. The personalities of the characters shine through the page. Carlo reminds me a bit of Despereaux minus the big ears. This book makes a great read aloud for parent or teacher and invites discussion among adults and children. Recommended for ages three and above. Looking forward to meeting Carlo again in Book Two as he begins his tour of the hospital.

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DANGERS AND DRAGONS PRINCESS MADELINE BLOG TOUR

Princess Madeline and the Dragon: Book Three

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

Illustrated by Sara Twitty and edited by Jeremy Sandler

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This is the third book in a trilogy based on the adventures of Princess Madeline. While I do heartily recommend that you read all three, a reader will find any of the three a satisfying fantasy adventure aimed at tweens and teens but no less enjoyable for adults.

Pulioff expertly guides the reader into this story by setting the stage in the Prologue in which we learn the kingdom of Soron is again under attack. Long ago, Lord Hawthorne followed out orders to attack the dragons in the surrounding forests ushering in a battle between dragons and humans. The wizard, Elias, tells Princess Madeline that all lived in peace until humans tried to steal the magic in the dragon’s eggs and the red dragon was captured. Now the kingdom is threatened by the wrath of the green dragon. When King Theodore is burned by the dragon and lies near death, the fate of the kingdom falls into the hands of Princess Madeline and her twin brother, Braden.

As they makes plans for the kingdom to survive, two major events will take place the next day: the coronation of Braden as king, and the marriage of Madeline to her knight, Daniel. The wizard Elias will accompany Madeline, Daniel and their friends as well as the villagers through the system of underground tunnels to safety in a land to the north near the Dragon’s Gate. At the same time the new king prepares for the battle with his knights in an attempt to rid the land of the dragon threat.

While treking through the dark tunnels, Elias reveals the prophecy of Queen Eleanor, who died while protecting Braden and Madeline. No one has yet deciphered the meaning of “He who recovers the orbs holds the line of the future.” When Madeline finds the missing dragon eggs and holds one up that illuminates the darkness, she realizes that she might have found the secret. She rushes to find Braden, who is already engaged in mortal combat; he is determined to destroy the eggs and the dragon.

Madeline and Braden both have strong personalities that have been developing throughout the series, but their philosophies and ensuing actions are at opposite ends. Whoever succeeds in persuading the other on how to proceed forward will determine the future of the Soron Kingdom and whether, or if, that kingdom will survive. The culmination of this inward struggle produces the most action of the series in this third volume. Pulioff has again succeeded in carefully delineating her characters. At the same time she produces more than enough adventure, action, fantasy and mystery for tweens and teens to enjoy. They may not even realize they are learning valuable life lessons and character development!

IMPORTANT NOTE; The second book in this series, The Battle for Princess Madeline is currently available FREE on AMAZON until Jan. 24, 2014. http://motherdaughterbookreviews.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=5bbf14b751f589ebf5ff0e6ba&id=ebd900fd06&e=f4533b3c18

You can read my review of the first book in this series, The Escape of Princess Madeline here https://bamauthor.me/2013/08/14/princess-in-peril

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