Posts tagged ‘space travel’

LOST BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Hope Defined (Dinah Dynamo)

Written by Shannon Humphrey

HopeDefined,pic

This book is a tale of two heroines; Hope, a thirteen year old wannabe astrophysicist, struggling to make a difference in the “hood” on Earth, and Dinah, one of the scions who travel space creating planets and chasing the stars. Hope must overcome bullies and racism; Dinah must figure out how to control the forces struggling to tear her being apart.

Humphrey succeeds in writing a book that addresses problems many middle grade students face, bullying and racism, while at the same time facing how to “come of age.” The parallel science fiction story of Dinah, who is being tested in her world, lends an appealing element to the middle grade reader. Hope is truly a creative genius, but she is faced with opposition from her black friends who want her to give up her “nerdiness” and just fit in, while at the same time fighting to compete with the white kids who are jealous of her and scheme to get her in trouble. Her mother does not understand her devotion to her studies, but a neighbor named Mr. Lewis is willing to help. Hope has strange dreams about a girl who looks like her and gives her confidence; Dinah struggles with a strange feeling that she is needed to help someone, but does not understand how or where this impulse originates.

The plot details the kind of experiences middle school students face everyday and portrays situations with which they can empathize. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers as a starting point of discussions on bullying and racism. It raises many situations that should be raised before these issues arise. Children age nine and up will find this a compelling read and a useful resource for answering may of their questions in a nonjudgmental fashion. This story teaches and does not preach; a most effective way to reach the minds of tweens and young teens.

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ABSURD ADVENTURE

Jellybean the Dragon

Written by Elias Zapple

Illustrated by Jade Young and Ilaeira Misirlou

NewJellybeanthedragon, pic

In this eBook short story we meet Emma, a ten year old orphan who lives in a castle plunked down in a forest of make believe fruit trees. Her parents died when they ate too many carrots in an eating contest, which left her sole ruler of the land of trees and pet crocodiles. Emma is no ordinary little girl, she has already completed training as an astronaut and has her own spaceship.

One day a red and green flying dragon crashes down and burns a mango tree in the process. The townspeople are angry that he has destroyed this tree so Emma rescues the dragon by squeezing him into her rocket and flying him home to his planet named Hoppity, next to Dino, far into space beyond the planet Neptune. The reader is introduced to facts about the planets as each of them is passed along on the journey to Hoppity. Her dragon friend gives her the gift of a magical plant that will grow all kinds of treasure.

Once they arrive on the ground, Emma also finds a cool reception. The dragon townspeople led by Nixon sentence her to fifty years in prison. Jelly puts her in his mouth and rescues her once more and flies her on his back to another planet named Earth. Here Emma befriends Miss Tickler, the talking cat. Jelly’s twin Cyril is as Jelly puts it, “his stupid brother.” Soon, strange vibrations occur. The dragons know there will be an earthquake soon. Emma and her friends escape in the nick of time.

She is transported to Zanu where she meets the dragon king named King Buttercup. Here Emma is finally welcomed. The king desires to make her a princess and showers her with gifts. Emma wants no part of this; she tells him that she wants to be, Emma the Guitarist. The king will agree only if Emma participates in a competition with their best guitarist, Fillmore. Fillmore is known there as, “Les Paul of Dragons.” Emma spends lots of time practicing her riffs only to discover from Jelly that this competition has a catch. The loser must have his arms chopped off and stay away from the planet Zanu forever. What a dilemma! If Emma loses where will she find a home and how will she survive?

You will have to read the story to see who wins the competition and what happens to Emma, Fillmore and the rest of her dragon friends. As you may have guessed, there are lots of incongruities in the story and the humor is the type that appeals to the middle grade reader. For example, the author talks about, “other works by This Dude,” and mentions in the preview of soon to be released books, “coming soon to a bathroom near you.” I like the glossary which includes more difficult vocabulary words like malfunctioned, imprisoned, scythe, and made up terms like orangeness. Children are also introduced to some information about the planets and space travel. This eBook is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Please note that at the request of the author, I have updated the cover and illustrator information that have changed since I originally read and reviewed this post several months ago.

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STRANGE BUT EFFECTIVE

Mr. Planemaker’s Flying Machine

Written by Shelagh Watkins

Mr.Planemaker'spic

When I first started reading this book, I was unsure of what to expect. At the beginning of the story we meet what seems to be an ordinary family living in Pierton, England. Soon the reader learns that the father, Mr. Planemaker is seriously ill. The successful builder becomes depressed at his forced early retirement and seeks a hobby, which turns out to be making a model airplane. Some very strange things happen when he tries to teach himself how to research the internet to lay out his plans. He has mystifying dreams that involve colleagues seeking to entice him to enter a dark and grey house which then miraculously disappears. A kitten suddenly materializes in his car and strange talking characters like A. Leon Spaceman appear on the computer. Is he going crazy?

On the day his model airplane kit arrives, Mr. Planemaker passes away. Here I feared the story was going down hill. Part Two takes a whole new turn. Now the children assume center stage. Emmelisa and Dell Planemaker are now nine and twelve struggling to overcome difficulties with peers and adjusting to a life without their father. Emmelisa is being bullied at school because she refuses to join the gang led by Mayja Troublemaker. Her brother has moved to middle school and no longer can protect her. She keeps all this to herself and as a diversion decides to pass time by using her father’s old computer now hidden in the attic. To her surprise, she learns that her father has a whole set of plans and hidden secrets within it. Their mysterious family cat named Cosmos helps the children to unlock them. They discover its secrets by stepping into the computer itself and taking a real tour of the inside of a computer in nanosecond time. While inside the computer, the children discover their father has left them a mission to follow his “trail of light.”

Here is the third part of the story in which the reader is taken on a space flight on their father’s original model plane kit which the CPU staff has put together for them. They train there as astronauts, but their space flight will be controlled by Astrow Naught and Mission OnControl. The children learn a lot about the space station while they whiz pass all the planets and observe comet behavior. There are lots of surprises on the journey leaving in doubt their ability to find their father’s trail and make a successful return journey home before their mother notices that they are missing.

This book is a strange mixture of elements, coming of age, bullying, grief issues, computer knowledge, metaphysics and realism. I can’t explain why, but ultimately it works. The author successfully grips the reader into being a willing captive to the personalities of the characters and the strange twists and turns of the story line. Critics might say that it is rambling; yet valid issues are addressed and a great deal of information is relayed. Tweens and teens interested in any of these issues will find it to be a satisfying read. The quirkiness of the novel kept me glued to it because I could not figure out what would happen next. My bottom line is this book is really different; give it a look.

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CARAMEL’S CAPERS CONTINUED!

Return to Cardamom: Second Book in the Caramel Cardamom Trilogy

Written by Julie Grasso

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The second book of the Cardamom Trilogy is even more intricate than the first one Escape From the Forbidden Planet. A mixture of fantasy, science fiction, intergalactic travel, technology, politics and environmental issues woven together in a complex plot with many twists and turns combined with well-developed characters make this an appealing book for children and adults ages ten and up.

Gabriella “Caramel” Cardamom, is the elfin granddaughter of the King and Queen of Cardamom and the main protagonist. She is already a renowned “tree tender” and is also developing powerful skills as a “healer” like her mother, Arianna. What is a tree tender? The pods of Cardamom which grow on their planet provide the energy source for all the planets of the galaxy. The evil clones known as “Alexanders” have developed a new bio synthetic hybrid stone known as CARDOCRYST. At the beginning of the story, the elves find evidence of sabotage: all the pods of the cardamom crop are lying dead on the rainforest floor. They will not be able to fulfill their power source quota upon which all the planets of their galaxy are dependent. The Intergalactic Council allows King Basil and the elves only ten days to replenish their supplies. Otherwise, they will use the new energy crystal the Alexanders claim to possess. “Caramel” and the elves desperately use their robots to swing through the tree tops harvesting cardamom. The princess uses her beautiful voice to coax the pods with her “mind speak.” This heroine is brave, compassionate, intelligent, soft-hearted, and extremely loyal to her friends.

The battle of good versus evil is far from over. Catastrophe strikes the crop again. Arianna is called to the Elf Sick Bay to heal, while more mischief is afoot. There are kidnappings, mysteries, arrests by Black Ops, medical sabotage, and technological disasters. I warned you that this story has many sub-plots and twists and turns. Let’s just say that the protagonist must use all her mind and healing powers to solve the mysteries and save her friends as well as protect the planets of the galaxy.

Children younger than ten may have difficulty following the rather complex story line. The older child will find many levels of meaning and be equipped to handle the multitude of issues addressed here. Elfin “speak” will delight the young reader; Caramel says she is “gobsmacked” and uses cool expressions like “totally elvo.” The book is a delightful mix of so many elements that adults will not be disappointed.  I am already looking forward to Book Three of the Trilogy.

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour

About Return to Cardamom

Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne Grasso

Title: Return to Cardamom (Caramel Cardamom Trilogy, Book #2)

Author: Julie Anne Grasso

Publisher: Independent

Publication Date: July 17, 2013

Pages: 136 (Paperback)

Recommended Age: 9+

Summary: Life is sweet for Caramel and things are finally getting back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be for a telepathic elf who can train trees and control computers, but she soon finds life on Cardamom is not all cupcakes and apple cider. A saboteur is hiding in the rainforest canopy, and the elves’ precious cardamom export has been wiped out. Caramel is certain it’s another trick of Alexander222 and her Aunt Isabel, but no one will believe her, and the clock is ticking. She must expose the saboteur in time to save the crop or the Elves of Cardamom will lose their livelihood. Caramel won’t rest until her theory is proven. While she is on the hunt, she makes a shocking discovery, one that will change everything.

Purchase

Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (Canada)

The Buzz About Book 1: Escape From the Forbidden Planet

Escape from the Forbidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso“Julie Anne Grasso has created an action-packed story featuring a range of interesting and imaginative characters (i.e., elves, the Alexanders, and other creatures), intergalactic travel, advanced medical and scientific technology, and complex environmental and conservation issues. Escape From the Forbidden Planet contains an intricate plot which slowly unfolds until you’re hooked and you are left on the edge of your proverbial seat wondering what will happen next.” ~ Mother Daughter Book Reviews, 5 Stars

It’s part geeky, part science, and part fun, all brought together to become this awesome book called Escape From The Forbidden Planet. I would recommend this book to reading age kids and adults who like sci-fi kids books. Definitely something different. I really enjoyed reading it!” ~ Michael S., Amazon, 5 Stars

“I loved this book. Super great series for middle graders. I loved Caramel. She has a great attitude and determination. I really admired how she was focused on getting home, saving her family but also made the best of being stuck on an alien planet. Definitely a book with great role models for kids. I really hope there is more to come where this came from. Kids need books like this with catchy stories, solid characters who have good values that they can relate to.” ~ Unorthodox Mama, Goodreads, 5 Stars.

*** Get your FREE COPY of Escape From the Forbidden Planet by Julie Anne Grasso July 17 to 21, 2013. Available for 99 cents after July 21, 2013. ***

Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (Canada)

About the Author

Julie Grasso - Author Julie Anne Grasso is an Australian author with a background in paediatric nursing. She spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them. Add in some very funky technology, her love of science fiction and desire to impart great values through her little girl elf named Caramel and there you have it, the Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy was the result.

Julie lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle. Most days she can be found sipping chai lattes, chasing a toddler, and dreaming up wonderful worlds that often involve consumption of cupcakes.

Book Website: http://www.julieannegrassobooks.com/

Author Blog: WhenIgrowupIwannawriteakidsbook

Facebook page: Julie Anne Grasso Books

Twitter: @Jujuberry37

Goodreads Author: Julie Anne Grasso

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Schedule (2013)

July 17

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch & Review)

The Wise Owl Factory Book a Day (Review)

Jemima Pett (Review)

July 18

Amanda’s Books and More (Review)

Tales of a Bookworm (Review)

InkSpired: A Blog (Review)

July 19

Sher-A-Hart (Review)

This Kid Reviews Books (Review)

July 20

Fiona Ingram (Review)

swlothian | author (Review)

A Library Mama (Review)

July 21

Imagineer – ing (Book Spotlight)

Stanley and Kristina (Review)

July 22

Published Bestsellers (Author Interview)

The Jenny Evolution (Review)

July 23

Word Spelunking (Guest Post)

Stitch Says (Author Interview)

July 24

Nik’s Picks Book Reviews (Review)

R.K. Grow- reading.writing.blogging. (Author Interview)

Diane Estrella @That’s What I’m Here For… (Review)

July 25

Guiltless Reading (Review)

July 26

Kid Lit Reviews (Review)

BeachBoundBooks (Review)

July 27

Mel’s Shelves (Review)

Learning and Growing the Piwi Way (Review)

July 28

My Devotional Thoughts (Author Interview)

Daisha Korth Books (Review)

July 29

Fiona Ingram (Author Interview)

Published Bestsellers (Review)

Bookworm for Kids (Review)

July 30

Nayu’s Reading Corner (Guest Post)

Stitch Says (Review)

July 31

Cheryl Carpinello’s Writing Pages (Guest Post)

Nayu’s Reading Corner (Review)

Barbara Ann Mojica’s Blog (Review)

*** Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Giveaway ***

Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne GrassoAmazon $50 Gift Card

Prize: One winner will receive a copy (print in U.S./Canada & e-copy interntionally) + a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash

Contest runs: July 17th to August 7th, 11:59 pm, 2013

Open: WW

How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: 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. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!
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