Posts tagged ‘nature’

WORLD-WIDE TOUR

50 Places To See Before You Die:A List of the Earth’s Most Beautiful, Captivating, & Eye-Capturing Wonders of the World

Written by Matt Morris

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This book is by no means a tour guide, but rather a compilation of the author’s suggestions as to some of the most interesting places the Earth has to offer. Children and adults who are interested in geography, culture, history, archeology or nature will all find something of interest in this book. Morris organizes the book by continents. He then chooses some very well known sites as well as some that are obscure. Unfortunately, there are no pictures, but the author offers a link to investigate pictures of those sites that most interest the reader. This work is a great reference book and a good place to look for interesting ideas and places to explore.

I will give a few examples to whet your appetite. On the continent of Asia, one of the largest wonders is The Great Wall of China. The two thousand year old wall served as military protection as well as a means of transportation of trade known as the Silk Wall. I had never heard of Panjin Red Beach which is covered with thousands of red sea weeds and is a home to hundreds of species of animals and birds. In Europe, you can visit the popular tourist sites like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the ruins in Athens. Then there is the little known Sedlec Ossuary or Bone Chapel in the Czech Republic which is made of forty to seventy thousand sets of human bones or the Ice Hotel in Sweden which is built from ice harvested from the Torne River and reconstructed every year between December and April. In North America millions of tourists have visited the Grand Canyon and Disney World, but fewer have traveled to Antelope Canyon opened in 1997. South America s noted for the ruins of Machu Picchu and Angel Falls, but not many have visited the Enchanted Well or The Swing at the End of the World. In Oceania tourists visit the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef, but fewer numbers venture to the Glow Worm Beach. The continent of Africa offers the Pyramids of Giza, Victoria Falls and Table Mountain.

For those not satisfied with keeping their feet firmly planted on the ground, The Virgin Galactic is a space craft offering suborbital travel for the price of $250,000. Whatever your time or budget, this guide will allow you to be an armchair traveler to some of the most interesting sites on the planet!

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BOOK BLAST FOR THE TREES AND HEARTS AND THE CITY KITTENS AND THE OLD HOUSE CAT

About Book 1

The Trees Have HeartsTitle: The Trees Have Hearts | Author: Mrs. D | Publication Date: March 31, 2014 | Publisher: Mrs.D. Books Publisher | Number of pages: 41 | Recommended age: 6 to 10

Summary: A Mom’s Choice Award Winner

The story of a young girl, left friendless because she could not speak a new language, will touch your heart. It will take your child into the imaginary world of a little girl who moved to America from a different country. Unable to speak English, the lonely girl could not find friends. She lived in an old house with a small garden, where three blooming trees and the mysterious wind became her first imaginary friends. The garden friends developed a wonderful friendship with the lonely girl, and helped her overcome her fears and worries. Through the story, they taught her how to make real friends and helped her cope with difficult moments while adapting to new surroundings. Unforgettable characters will open a beautiful imaginary world to young readers, inviting them to share the fears, tears and joys of a little girl. The story will teach the true meaning of friendship while showing readers the beauty of nature. This book will open an unknown imaginary world through the eyes of a child…

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MY REVIEW OF THE TREES HAVE HEARTS

The Trees Have Hearts

by Mrs. D.

Illustrated by Julie Hasegawa

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This book is beautifully written and illustrated. The delicate colors and fine lines will prove satisfying to the eye just as the lyrical language is soothing to the ear. I urge the reader to pay particular attention to the Preface in which the author reminds us that we should look at things through the eyes of a child and enjoy this period of wonder and imagination because it is a fleeting moment in time which soon disappears.

 

As the story begins a sad little girl is gazing out her window at the spring garden. She sees the trees just beginning to bloom. The little girl does not go out to play because she has just moved from another country and does not know the language. She feels lost and alone. One day she goes out into the garden and the trees speak to her. Sassy is the wise magnolia tree, Shadow, the weeping cherry tree and Chance, the beautiful plum tree. They become the little girl’s friends who introduce her to the wonders of nature and the creatures in her garden. She rushes home after school to play with them. But when summer comes, her mother sends her to camp. She is afraid to tell her tree friends and disappears. The tree friends are distraught. They send the Wind to look for her. The Old Wind finally finds her by the ocean building sandcastles on the beach. But she is not alone, the little girl is laughing with her friends. The tree friends are afraid that she has forgotten them. When the little girl arrives home, she surprises them with a gift that she has specially chosen for each of them. Chance welcomes her friends and shares her plums with them. The seasons change and the trees evolve just as the little girl has blossomed and matured,

 

We all know that things never stay the same. One day the little girl arrives home and her mother has a surprise for her. Will the bond between the little girl and her tree friends be able to survive this new crisis?

 

Read this charming story suitable for children of ages to find out.

About Book 2

The City Kittens and the Old House CatTitle: The City Kittens and the Old House Cat | Author: Mrs. D | Publication Date: July 11, 2013 | Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing | Number of pages: 37 | Recommended age: 6 to 10

Summary: This story revolves around Christmastime and a family who once adopted a lost kitten, naming it Nyda. Nyda has now grown old and has settled into a calm, uneventful life with her new family-until the day before Christmas, when the family’s older daughter brings two playful kittens, Mickey and Jack, home for the holidays. The two kittens from the big city are a change for the family, and for Nyda. The old cat likes her settled life and is not happy about the new arrivals. She’s also very protective of her belongings. The city kittens annoy her, and the old cat grumbles about the new additions to the family- until she hears a story one night that makes her feel bad. The kittens aren’t the soft or spoiled brats she had thought they were . .

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The Buzz

The Trees Have Hearts: “This is a lovely book for young girls, and especially young girls who face loneliness because of being in a new place. They are sure to find peace and encouragement in the special values taught in The Trees Have Hearts. Mrs. D does a wonderful job of reaching out to kids in a unique way in this book. The beautiful trees give warmth and peace as they spread their blooms throughout the garden and into the hearts of those who read this book.” ~ Joy Hannabass, Readers’ Favorite

The Trees Have Hearts: “In The Trees Have Hearts, Mrs. D. demonstrates love, compassion and a touch of mystical ability as she manifests what the trees might say, if they spoke to a lonely little girl. Then again, maybe she writes to alert us all to listen with our hearts. I highly recommend this book.” ~ 5 Star Review, sunnyrock, Amazon

The Trees Have Hearts: “The author writes a lovely story about a lonely little girl with a great big imagination. She turns her beautiful garden into her sanctuary of imaginary friends that remain in her heart and follow her into adulthood. The lessons to be learned in this story is love of nature, respect for nature and changes of nature from one season to the next. Just as children go through many changes from season to season. This would be a good bedtime story. reading a few pages each night nurturing your child’s imagination and leaving them with sweet dreams.” ~ 5 Star Review, It’s Time to Read Mamaw, Amazon

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: “The City Kittens and the Old House Cat is an inspiring story written from a cat’s point of view. The story can be understood by all pet lovers. The book has some beautiful and colorful illustrations. That makes the book very attractive and visually appealing, something which all the kids love. Children’s books should be colorful and bright. The message of tolerance is very important in the current living situation. The book has a nice moral which can be explained to children and they can be asked to practice it too.” ~ 5 Star Review, Mamta Madhavan, Readers’ Favorite

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: “Snuggle up in front of the fire and share this sweet kitty tale with your little ones. Bright, richly detailed illustrations bring the story to life as the old cat learns to accept two little intrusions. Fun book to put on your wish list, especially around the holiday season. A delight for any cat or animal lover!” ~ 5 Star Review, CLMurphy, Amazon

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat: “Mrs. D. weaves wonderful lessons of acceptance, adoption and not judging other people without getting to know them into this sweet children’s picture book. I highly recommend it for young children.” ~ 5 Star Review, P.J. LaRue, Amazon

 MY REVIEW OF THE CITY KITTENS AND THE OLD HOUSE CAT

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat

by: Mrs.D.

Illustrated by Mike Motz

 

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat

Okay, so it’s only July….why are we talking about Christmas? Well, this charming children’s book was just released about a somewhat cantankerous old cat who is forced to celebrate Christmas with a relative’s city kittens.

This is a new book written by Mrs.D. She has previously released, Carlo the Mouse on Vacation and The Trees Have Hearts. In this charming book, the old house cat named Nyda feels out of her comfort zone because this year some new intruders have appeared to celebrate Christmas with the family.

Nyda is accustomed to the hustle and bustle that the Christmas season brings along with the sometimes annoying visitors who come to disrupt her peaceful lifestyle. Normally she can retreat to her secret lookout spots and watch from afar. She eagerly gazes at the sparkling tree and nostalgically remembers the ornament given her the first Christmas that Nyda spent with Mrs. D. Nyda loves the holiday goodies that she bribes Grandma to feed her. Unfortunately, this year when the oldest daughter came home to visit, she brought with her a box with two kittens. These two rambunctious kittens are annoying Nyda. When the kitten named Jack goes after her food, she reaches her wit’s end! Then we are introduced to the story of how these two little kittens came to be adopted . Now Nyda feels ashamed and contrite. What was it that changed her mind about them and why?

The tale is one of a close and loving family sharing holiday traditions and memories as well as a first person narration by a beautiful cat who thinks and acts like she is human. The reader is given a glimpse into the life of a beautiful family with a big heart. This story is written with compassion and warmth. The illustrations are dramatic and vivid. Some of them look more like portraits. These complement the book’s story line well even though my personal preference is for softer images. This book is a nice addition to a family holiday reading library for both adults and children. It is available in hardcover, paperback and e book additions.

 

 

 

About the Author: Mrs. D

Mrs D ~ Olga D'AgostinoMrs. D. (Olga D’Agostino), an award-winning children’s author, was born in western Ukraine. She lived in the historical city of Lviv, where she studied business in Lviv Business College and worked in the food industry. In 1992, she immigrated to the USA with her two small daughters and for years worked in her own business. In 2011, she began her career as a writer, focusing on writing children’s books that have meaning and provide valuable lessons. Two of her children’s books, The Trees Have Hearts and Good Morning, World!, won Mom’s Choice Awards in 2013. She is a member of SCBWI and speaks a few languages fluently. She lives in the famous town of Smithville, NJ, with her husband Patrick and a meticulous old cat named Nyda.

Published books by Mrs. D. include Carlo the Mouse on Vacation, The Trees Have Hearts, The City Kittens and the Old House Cat, Good Morning, World!, and Carlo the Mouse, Book 1: Too Many Rules for One Little Mouse and The Little Girl Praying on the Hill(a short story for an older audience).

Coming in 2014: The Royal Palmand Carlo the Mouse, Book 2: Now We’re Talking!

The full series of Carlo the Mouse and her new books, The Mysterious Life Inside a Closet, That Is How Things Are (two connected stories): The Autumn Wind, and The Kitten and the Sparrow, and three rhyming stories in Who Is Most Important in the Fridge? will be published in the near future. Her books are available in print on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and as e-books for most popular electronic devices. For updates on Mrs. D.’s books, please visit her website: www.mrsdbooks.net.

Website | Author Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

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Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: June 10, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Mrs. D and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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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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A MAGICAL JOURNEY

Peter, Enchantment and Stardust:The Poems

Written by William O’Brien

William O’ Brien is not only a talented storyteller but a gifted poet as well. This collection of poems is meant to accompany his children’s book, Peter, The Darkened Fairytale. In that story, Peter is the protagonist who must fight and overcome the forces of evil.

In this wonderful poetry collection, the author presents us with a mix of
lighthearted poems that inspire us with hope and love. On the other hand, we meet dragons, demons and witches waiting to snare the unwary child. O’Brien
sets the tone in his first poem, “Drawers and Doors.”

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The thoughts one thinks may not be real
And sometimes they will make you squeal
Biting, scratching, tastes hang true
Inside this book, you’ll meet things new
Must be careful, for if you fall
These evildoers will seize all.

These words present a challenge that most children will be glad to take up! There are silly poems like “Wandering Twondle” and “Cuthbert,” scary poems like “Devil’s Wish” and “Zombie Queen,” and fantasy creature poems titled, “Elves and Goblins,” and “The Vaandorg Dragon.” Some of the nature poems remind me of William Wordsworth.

Spells that dust the sleeping flowers
May just drip with April showers
In summer lands frolic and sing
Still protected by nature’s wing

One thing children always seem oblivious of is the element of time. O’Brien addresses the concept in his poem titled, “Eternal”

Fairy love
Starlight blessed
In your heart
Feel the test

Touch and wander
Your spirit through
Flowers speak
Holding new

Bash of rain
Sleet and snow
Leaves do fall
Please don’t go

Apples, chestnuts
Tease my eyes
Always there
Never dies

The author employs alliteration, personification and metaphors to make the reader feel that she is on a magical journey to a very special place. So close your eyes and lose yourself in the recesses of your mind. Tweens, teens and adults will enjoy the ride.

BREAKOUT

The Dolltender’s Adventure (The Dolltender Series)

Written and illustrated by Nancy Hill

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This is latest book in the Dolltender series of books that are written and photographed by Nancy Hill. I read the kindle version which features beautiful photographs of Victorian dolls from antique shops in Oregon and Washington. They are beautifully done; my only regret is that the photographs are not larger.

The story includes many elements that appeal to children. Our protagonist is an adorable young girl named Natalie who has been living in an antique shop with an old man and woman since her parents disappeared into a mirror. Right, here comes the element of fantasy. Natalie does all the chores in the shop and takes care of the dolls. She seldom has the opportunity to go outside and never plays with children her own age. Her world consists of her interaction with the dolls. Natalie pleads with her caretakers to take the dolls outside the shop. They have been cooped up there for years. The dolls tell her they wish to see the butterflies, sunbathe or hear the birds sing. Natalie almost gives up hope of ever bringing them outside when, one day, the old couple are invited to a lavish party at a nearby town. Natalie convinces them that she should stay home and watch the shop. Then she hatches a plot to take the dolls outside. She comes up with a plan for the dolls to draw cards to see who will go first and then take turns riding in her doll carriage.

The wise Sage doll makes a request. He asks that Natalie bring him the most beautiful leaves. If she is successful, she will be granted whatever wish she desires. Natalie promises that she will do so and embarks on her adventure of making three trips outside. As she completes them, she worries that she will not be able to return on time and keep her promise. She has many adventures with her doll friends, but as nightfall arrives, she becomes lost and disoriented. How will she ever keep her promise and return the dolls safely without her owners discovering her secret? Will she satisfy the request made by the Sage?

The author combines personification, fantasy and realism into a fairly coherent tale. As a reader, you want to see Natalie succeed; solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, grow into a happy child, and become a heroine to her unusual collection of antique doll companions. This short story that is just under one hundred pages moves along quickly encouraging the reader to finish it in one sitting. Just the kind of book for readers age eight and up to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.

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FLASHBACKS

Horse and Dog Adventures in Early California: Short Stories and Poems by Ransom A. Wilcox

Edited by Karl Beckstrand

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This kindle book was promoted as a free e book. For some reason, I was drawn to it, and I am very glad that I picked it up. The book is largely autobiographical. It tells the story of Ransom A. Wilcox who was born a Canadian, the sixth of seventh children. Because he was a sickly child, the family relocated to northern California where they farmed, fished, hunted and struggled to make a living.

Wilcox is a gifted writer. He has the ability to draw you into his story with a combination of simple language and homespun charm. The stories have a bit of everything, adventure, melancholy, joy and a sense of pride. The book consists of short stories and poems. They cover such scenes as Ransom’s hard work being rewarded with his very own horse, and his dramatic escape from a wild boar by climbing a pole that he cleverly stuck in the ground. There is a touching scene with the family dog named Old Blue.

Many of his poems are included. The subjects range from those dealing with family like “To A Granddaughter” and “My Little Girl”, a group that talks about nature like “To The Redwoods!” and “Quiet Waters,” and some that talk about personal issues like “Character,” “Friendship,” and “Immortality.” These are not complicated verses; they are written with both common sense and pathos.

The editor says that the work is for all ages. I think that children age ten and up would be able to handle independent reading. Local dialect make it an authentic read. The few black and white photographs included of family and surroundings fit perfectly with the mood of the story. It is classified as a multicultural book by the publisher, Premio Books. Teachers might want to consider using the book as part of a study unit on American life in the early twentieth century. The kindle as well as a paperback version is available on Amazon. I find it difficult to explain why I like this book so much, but I recommend that you give it a try.

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HOW DO YOU SEE IT?

Good Morning World!

Written by Mrs. D

Illustrated by Eladziem

GoodMorningWorld

 

This new book by Mrs. D is a study in contrasts. The young generation versus the old, the optimist versus the pessimist and realism versus make believe. This story is dedicated to Baby Thomas and his grandfather Patrick, who are the models for the two main characters. At the end of this story, Mrs. D provides summaries and links to both her current books and those projects that are in the planning stage so that we readers know what is in store for us.

The setting is a comfortable family living room. Baby Thomas is playing on the floor while Grandma is watching from her chair as Grandpa is snoozing on the couch. When the baby gestures toward his stroller, Grandma places him in in and urges Grandpa to get up and go out for a walk to the park on this beautiful day. Grandpa reluctantly begins pushing the stroller, but the look on his face tells you he is none too happy.  On the other hand, Thomas is glowing with smiles and happiness as he engages with the world around him.

The author personifies all the forces of nature. The sun, the clouds, the trees and the wind have exquisite faces exemplifying their emotions. In addition, the author sprinkles her sentences with alliteration examples like “silly stroller” and sounds like “croak, craake. As they journey on, Grandpa complains with analogies comparing the sun to a boiling pot and  the sun baking us up like cupcakes.The park is too noisy, the path is too crowded, the skies too buggy, his shoes got too dirty and so on. Baby Thomas sees nothing but the positives as he greets the frogs, the birds, the wind, the lady bugs and the passers-by. Thomas enthusiastically greets the little girl and her mom that they meet on the path. The little girl feels as Thomas does; her mother is too busy talking on the phone all the time. When Thomas and his grandfather arrive home, Grandma is surprised to see that Thomas is still not sleepy, while Grandpa heads straight to the couch to resume his nap.

The illustrations by Eladziem are masterfully done and provide a study in contrast as well. The personifications look like human faces expressing emotions. Grandpa’s facial expressions are priceless. You want to hug and squeeze Thomas because he is so cheerful. The pot belly on Grandpa and the I love my Grandpa shirt worn by Thomas are great personal touches. Throughout the story, Eladziem alternates between pages drawn realistically in vivid, bold color, and soft nature scenes done in muted pastel colors.

It is wonderful to see the beauty of the world expressed through the eyes of a young child. How often we adults forget! Take a look at this exquisite book with your young child or grandchild and give yourself the opportunity to remember!

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