Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Martian Mustache Mischief: Written by Brian Rock...Illustrated by Joshua Dawson





We always joked about how our uncle loved ketchup so much, it wouldn't have surprised us if he put it on his ice cream. This book brings that memory back with its description of willy-worm like aliens that drive humans around them to become entranced with that fanciest of red sauces. What makes this yarn such a success is its ability to take your typical cute alien story and make it something interesting and amusing for all ages. The very notion that ketchup can help a planet to regain its original color is indeed unparalleled in what I've formerly read or seen. The illustrations have Loony-Tunes character and truly help make this effort one of a kind in the visitors from space genre for kids.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Larry Potty's Animal Rhymes- by David J. Mackay






















This book is a wonderful collection of rhymes from a homeless man who encounters a variety of animals and eloquently describes each. Most of these are creatures you and your child will be familiar with, while a couple, the Meerkat and Echidna, raised the book to a primal level of authenticity in my viewpoint- because these animals are largely unheard of in kid's books.
Another thing that made this a pleasant read is that the rhymes are not forced; the introduction and conclusion aren't total rhymes in themselves. This shows the reader that Mr. MacKay only used poetry when necessary and did it with correct precision.
The illustrations fit perfectly with the text and serve as a compliment rather than a distraction.
This publication is available on Amazon in kindle format. Enjoy it today!

Back to Blogging!

Dear Readers,

I want to start by apologizing for my extended absence. It probably doesn't do good to start a blog that does well in its first few months, and then totally abandon it for several months thereafter. There are good reasons for this that I will leave for whimsical hints and hyperbole in future writings😂

I am back and hope to be more consistent now. I plan to do at least three reviews per week with a poem or story mixed in. My reviews will be limited to anything I can read in a half hour or less and prefer children's instead of middle grade writings.  Of course I will consider shorter middle grade submissions. I do have an abundance of review submissions waiting for me, so, though I will not turn anyone away, I will tell you that your review will be on quite a waiting list.
Thank you to everyone who contacts me for any reason and I also want to say that I welcome all feed back and thoughts on my own writings and stories which are featured as part of this blog, and are referenced in the link to the right.

Without further ado, thank you, and I look forward to reading and reviewing again!


R.R.

Friday, May 8, 2015

MathFreax Guide to Magic Squares- Making Math Fun! Written by Joshua Klur, M. Ed.


Joshua Klur has  been a teacher and a student of math for over 20 years. He is involved in several projects that help students to gain an appreciation for math and to view it as fun.  He views math as a means to help prepare youth to successfully solve problems later in life.  This book is so detailed in it's explanations and examples of magic squares that you'll wonder why you hadn't considered them before. (Or maybe you had but the thought didn't excite you, which is the purpose of this book ;)
I was especially fond of the vast history provided behind some of these squares complete with illustrations of their original form and references to their origins. I also enjoy the little wild haired, winking face symbol that shows you you are about to encounter a fun activity.  This would make a great addition for a parent who uses a kindle or e-reader to assist in teaching their homeschooled child. My wife and I will be employing it with ours. Perhaps after your kids put the books up for the day or go to the backyard for recess break, you will sneak some time  for yourself to have some fun with Mr. Klur's recreational Math!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Fish Named Bart (The Artt of Early Learning Series Book 2) By D.A. Batrowny





Have you ever owned a tool that was also fun to use? Or a toy that could be doubled as a tool?  Such things are hard to come by, aren't they? Usually something that's fun is exclusively fun, or something that is used for mechanical or work purposes is strictly that. This book and its predecessor is one of those rare items that is both fun to read but also serves as an important tool in helping parents to realize the need to train their children from a very young age.  It is also a tool in developing children through reading.   As the book emphasizes, doing this has great benefits.  Developing a routine with your child can serve as a protection when he or she decides to venture out on their own.  I appreciate the relationship hat Smart Artt has with not only wit his mother but also his grandfather in this book.  As most folks can attest to, grandparents serve an important teaching role with children also. As one of my friends once mentioned upon the passing of my own grandmother, "they're always pulling for you."  Well said, I thought. I am pulling for this book and it's continuing series to be a huge hit with parents, grandparents, and children.  Because not only is it a fun, enjoyable, and original story, it does a job as well. Anything that can help us to accomplish the challenging job of successfully rearing our children is worth our attention. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hector Goes to the Circus. Written by Geraldine MacLean. Illustrated by N. Donovan



Dear Reader,

After reading the following review, please take time to read the comments below the review.  Thank You for Visiting!


Hector Goes to the Circus:

This book takes inspiration from every other book where one of the family farm animals was about to be sold or done away with, and someone comes along to save the day.  This New Mexico Author uses the inspiration in a fine, comical way.  For instance, even though this story is familiar, whoever heard of a pig ending up in a circus, which makes this a unique read amongst it's peers.
The most humerous part is the decision-making process that the farmer goes through when trying to decide what to do with his wife's prized animal.  Being from a rural, farming area, I can identify with the backwards ways of a pipe-stem farmer.  The illustrations are very appropriate and fun, and correctly register the comic factor contained herein.  One of the things that I love about children's books is that it doesn't take much writing or time to reinforce a positive idea in your youngling. In this one, the subliminal idea is this: many potential negative outcomes can also have potential positive or happy outcomes.  If you are looking for a book that will both do this and illicit a laugh and a smile from your child, please purchase this paperback. Available at the link to the right. It also contains a happy coloring book at the end!


Dear Reader,

I want to take a moment to thank you again for reading this review and for visiting my blog! If you are a first time visitor or have been here many times, please follow my blog in the upper left hand column!  Each week I review a new children's, Young Adult, or Middle Grade book(s) of modest length, feature a new illustrator or artist and their work, and post samples of my own poetry or stories.  If you have found me by mistake or by referral, please know that I am delighted by your presence here, as it is my own dream to be eventually recognized as a modern day Seuss, and to entertain and uplift the masses with pure nonsense.  And this blog will help accomplish that aim. lIf you would like to read my current, 1st published ebook, The Legend of Wally Gonkers, there is a link at the right for that.  Therein you will find out what I mean when I say that I am following in the footsteps of Seuss.  Wouldn't you agree that his footsteps are good ones to follow?

Sincerely,

R.R. Howroar

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Artist Feature- Alia Ollikainen Joslin



Vashi Valooner-
Have you been to the forest of Salient Snuff? 
A wonderful woodland not far from from Patruff?
Each summer I visit, with family and friends,
A spectacle found somewhere deep in this Glen.
We dont know quite where, no directions to give,
For birds from Patruff fly us blindfolded in. 
They say that this forest has secrets so rare, 
That no one with brains would go alone on a dare. 
And if you went in, your eyes would go blind,
From sparkles of lightning exploding your mind. 
So that's why you fly in with tape on your eyes
On backs of Patruffian seagulls at night. 
They land you right into a Balyhoof grove,
With Balyhoof trees that shimmer of Gold
And deep in the middle of this grove of trees 
Is something that will bring you right down to your knees
With roots like a tree,  top like a balooner,
Stands what remains of fair Vashi Valooner.
And this is the story those birds could have not told us sooner
"In the first War of Sevens,
On the eighth day of Groob,
A pilot was was blown,
Flushed right out of her Choon.
She was the only girl pilot for miles.
She did it with spunk 
She did it with style.
She flew with a reverence silent and wild. 
But on that sad day she had only one hope, 
She reached in her pack and she loosened a rope,
And out came a giant baloon with explose!
Into this forest she fell softly down
But hands reached out for her and twisted her round,
They planted her here down softly into the ground.
She grew up into a most marvelous tree
With billowing rainbows for all eyes to see
Hoping one day that she'll be set free
And fly through the air
And skip on the breeze 
The greatest girl pilot who now is a tree,
Vashi Valooner for you and for me. 


The above poem was inspired by the art featured above, by Alia Ollikainen Joslin.  She is eager to work with you on your writing or project!
Contact her at the link below.

http://all4alia.blogspot.com/

Eliza Bluebell. Written by A.J. York. Illustrated by Gavin Childs

This middle grade story is quite enchanting in it's ability to keep certain details a secret while not causing the reader to feel left out of what is really going on.  This is because, even though Eliza and her Shadow are the main characters here, other characters are put on display with interest fetching effect, that help the story to run along in a smooth, still transparent way.  Eliza moves into a new town, and, as is the case with most ficticous small towns, everyone is immediately all up in her business. While it doesn't take long for her "business" to be everyone else's, there is still an air of mystery surrounding her and what her shadow is all about.  While I was still left with several questions about the separate personality of her shadow, only out of sheer inquisitiveness.  I came to the general conclusion that her shadow is for the most part a do-gooding force that helps Eliza add enchantment and life wherever they may stop and hang their hat.  This book carries the charm of some of my favorite TV shows that also feature small town life, such as The Walton's, The Andy Griffith Show, and Northrrn Exposure, to be specific.  These are the kinds of towns and places where ordinary people become heroic, the uninteresting is made interesting, and life does not pass by without notice any longer after a new stranger comes visiting.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Isecas the Dream Cat and the New School. Written by Preston Squire. Illustrated by Dixie Albanez


This story takes place in a young girl's life, who is struggling with her self worth, with making friends at school, and with the appearance of a new figure in her life.  This figure is actually an otherworldly cat, who can communicate through thoughts. The story does not have the mystical, occult flavor that I was afraid that it might, but presents the appearance of this strange and helpful cat being as though it were a natural occurance.  I love how this story makes reference to other cultures as well as different races getting along together.  The author, being Canadian himself, makes this the place where his story takes place.   And as with all of the other writers I have reviewed that call this great land their home, this one echo's the sense of pride that Canadians feel in their homeland. This is something sensed, not clearly spoken in the book, as Canada is only mentioned in passing. The illustrations are the best I've ever seen when it comes to those that have been digitally enhanced, which as any good illustrator will tell you, digital enhancement is just another form of media like watercolor, markers, or colored pencil. And it is used with stunning effect here. This book is "far out" in a good way, and, as the author says in his closing comments, if you like the book, share it!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hildagrad Grunch. Inspired by the artwork of Lotte Teussink



Hildagrad Grunch :

Hildagrad Grunch will now eat your lunch
She siphons it slowly right out of the air,
 into a channellike braid of her hair.
It does not make a difference how far that you are,
Inside your house,  or dining in cars.
She knows where you are for her friends tell her so.
The Festival Friendlies who help her to know,
Where you are with your lunch, or you're chewing on dough.
They hide in her pouch until they go out,
To find every Luncher who's walking about.
And when they far find them, wherever they be,
They send back the message through Dimension C.
The pinkingest, windingest tunnel there be.
And Hildagrad Grunch in her Lollipop sea,
With fishes about and a beast named Dupree,
Points her braid upward, 5 hours before supper,
And vacuums your lunch through her hair now to eat,
Right out of your spot through Dimension C,
This is just how she gets lunches for free!


The above poem was inspired by the art of Lotte Teussink, a talented artist from the Netherlands. She is eager to work for Children's book writers, and you can view her work and contact her at the links below:

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Before I Sleep, I Say Thank You. by Carol Gordon Ekster. Illustrated by Mary Rojas



Gratitude is in short order in this harrowing time. If parents spent more time teaching gracious and thankful behavior and outlooks, they would certainly thank themselves for the outcome.  This book can serve as assistant to parents in that way.
I appreciated the emphasis on humility, with both parent and child considering things that they would have done differently throughout the day, as well as things they are thankful for.  It takes humility to recognize the need to be thankful, and then to pursue an attitude of thankfullness, even if the one we are thanking is someone so obviously higher and mightier than we are.  But this book, by it's attention to the heart of thankfulness, which is a loving, gracious, and humble spirit, hits a home run when it comes to helping youths to review their day with thanks.  This is necessary to do while children are very young, before such bad traits as pride and selfishness make inroads in their heart.  I really enjoyed how the illustrator displayed the child's reasons for thankfulness like a bit of film from a movie scrolling across the screen, or page in this case.
If teaching your child this wonderful quality is something you desire, don't be afraid to acknowledge the need for the help that a great book like this can provide.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Glicerinth Gleer. inspired by the artwork of Jillian van Piggelen








GLICERINTH GLEER-
In a prairie I know of, not so far from here,
There is a fair flower, named Glicerinth Gleer.
She grows every winter when rosebuds are dull,
When Tulips are frozen, and daisies are small.
So small that you will never see them, in fact, till Spring shines upon us,
It's light through our grass.
No other flower grows this time of year, but Glicerinth does,
To give us some cheer.
To tell us that things will not always be this same way.
With not too much difference between night and day.
With gloomy, slow sombers, and sad mucky gray.
Glicerinth Gleer, was once a young girl.
She wandered into a Fall field with her pearls.
Her pearls she would plant like seeds where she went,
And grass would turn greener, and dirt would repent.
One day all the flowers of the field came to her,
They told her they wanted a giant favor.
They needed a flower to grow in the cold,
When snow buried all of the plants young and old.
They needed a flower that would represent-
All other plant life till spring came and went.
Till summer was over, and then in late fall,
This flower would be the lone flower of all.
Shining so brilliant past December days,
Proudly accepting the role it would play.
As the one flower who grew in the cold, the dreariest days of winter
So bold!
The flowers they asked her to lay down and sleep.
They took off her pearls and they planted them deep,
 one on each side and two by her feet,
One by her head and two by each ear.
And this is the story of Glicerinth Gleer,
Who on that Fall day was enveloped
 by plant growing pearls,
That twisted and mixed with her smile and her curls,
To make a small flower brand new to the world.
That grows from each autumn till April the 5th,
And sparkles a radiance none shall forget.
That this was once a young girl who would give,
Her life as a flower that grew so to live.
To brighten our winter and silence our tears.
With violet beauty so soft for our years.

---This poem was inspired by the artwork of Jillian van Piggelen, as seen above. Her biography and links can be seen below.  She is eager to work with children's book authors, or anyone looking for freelance work.



"I'm Jillian van Piggelen, an illustrator inspired by the natural environment. I love composingbackgrounds organic vegetable and scenarios in which the characters of stories and fairy talescan feel welcomed and where the reader feels involved. 


Laicletav was founded in 1998 by two little girls hungry for adventure. It's a land where the purple moors dress diamond rocks, where the sea suddenly plunges in waterfalls sheer into the unknown.
So when your child jumps over the carpet as if it were a river, probably he is in the Land of Laicletav yet. When a stack of pillows looks like a castle, when the sofa becomes a boat, and in the middle of the living room  children shouts "Hey see! An island!", is obvious that they are in Laicletav's ocean. Laicletav is the place where imagination takes shape. Laicletav is the rock of solitude and the city of new friendships, a place of comfort and the battlefield of childhood.
In Laicletav you dream, you learn and have fun. In Laicletav you grow."

Laicletav Illustrations By Jillian van Piggelen
Copyright © 2015 LAICLETAV ILLUSTRATIONS
laicletavillustrations@outlook.com
http://http://laicletavland.wix.com/laicletav
https://www.facebook.com/laicletavillustrations

Sir Princess Petra's Talent. Written by Diane Mae Robinson Illustrated by Samantha Kickingbird. Available in Paperback & Ebook

Great sequels do not come around as often as you might like. I can think of a few off hand that this book falls in line with: The Empire Strikes Back, How to Train your Dragon 2, The Two Towers, Cocoon: The Return (well maybe not that last one, I only hoped that movie would reach the greatness of it's predecessor :). Yes, Sir Princess Petra's Talent has all of the qualities of a good sequel.  It builds on an already excellent, humorous, and intelligent story.  It gives an expanded view and appreciation for the characters under discussion.  It makes reference to the 1st book in the series without relying solely on that book for repeated intrigue.  In other words, it stands on its own while still tying into the original book.  Two characters who started off as enemies of the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu are now heroes.  One even enters into knighthood unexpectedly. Like any good sequel the things that were good and funny about the first book are piled on in even fuller dosage here.  The onions that are shown to be a staple of the kingdom are referenced with delightful cheerfulness again and again.  We are introduced to partners in new neighboring realms that have remarkably funny qualities like crablips and pink colors everywhere.  And my favorite part from the first book, the fact that visitors from a nearby swampy kingdom have to enter Petra's homeland to dry off on occasion, is brought up again.  This is no different than people from Alaska traveling to Hawaii every winter to get a break from all the snow and cold temps, but its much more funny of a concept.  Also, I would be remiss not to mention the map at the beginning of the book.  One of the things I have always enjoyed about the Terry Brook's books I read growing up, is constantly referring to the detailed maps before, after, and during the reading of the book. Maps are an absolute when writing about fantastical lands, and Ms. Robinson does not deny us of one here.  This is a triumphant return to a land that I am growing more fond of with each read.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Adam's Animals. Written by Kimberly Payne. Illustrated by Janis Cox


Did you know that an owl has 3 different eyelids for three different purposes?
How about the fact that a worm can have up to 5 hearts or that a spiders legs fill up with blood?  These are just some of the insanely interesting things you and your child can learn from this extraordinary work by Kimberly Payne.  Here Payne continues her scripturally based writing, which teaches science and animal facts, while also pointing the reader to the scriptural accounts that the particular animal under discussion can be found.  Each animal or species group has an activity that goes with it, with the answers to the activity or games found in the back of the book.  As much thought as was put into this book, and the research that it must have demanded, surely warrants an investigation by your family. Especially this is the case if you believe we can learn more about the Creator from his creation, which really to me appears to be the main purpose and thrust of this book.  As the Bible says, to the "making of many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12) but this does not mean that many of these books are not worth the time and effort needed to involve ourselves with them. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Penelope the Grumpy Pony. Written by Angela DeVere Taylor. Illustrated by Polly Rabbits


This is a wonderful lesson about a circus animal who was about to give up and was very down and feelng quite misunderstood when something extraordinary happened to breath new excitement and love into the life of this alienated "pony".  I can't say enough about how well executed this is in teaching a child not to give up on theirself or give in to despair because often needed help or a change for the better is just around the corner.  Those who others often view as pitiful and worthless many times rise above the crowd and their former self to attain some sort of greatness and better life.  The illustrations also bring out the silly aspects of this story as well which are included with subtle effect.

If I Could Reach the Sky. Written by Abbe Reichman. Illustrated by Charles Berton


While it is true that reaching the literal sky may not be physically possible without the help of transportation or technology, that does not mean that we should never allow our imagination to take us there.  This beautifully worded and illustrated print and eBook, serves as an assistant to the imagination. In it we can join the narrator riding on stars, performing feats of nature with clouds, and bringing the moon back home to enjoy as a toy.  This story gives new meaning to the song "twinkle twinkle little star." Because, unlike the song, we no longer have to wonder "what you are." This is so no matter our inability to reach the heavens with our actual hands.  There was a Berenstain Bears book awhile back that described the bear family giving up T.V. for a night and sitting in the lawn for some engaging star watching. This book is in that league as it encourages children and adults alike to take a closer look, or "reach" in this case, at something that we may tend to overlook. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Legend of Wally Gonkers is now on Amazon.com & will be free on Friday and Saturday, February 20th & 21st.

Hello all,  I would like to encourage you to take a look at my children's book "The Legend of Wally Gonkers", now available on Amazon. I am running a free promo on Friday and Saturday this week.  Any reviews are welcomed. Thank you for the opportunity to bring my writing now to you and please consider the book description below to learn more:

One of the hardest things about life is the discouragement we feel when we fail. This can be especially true when we fail to reach our goals or dreams. This fantastical account follows one fellow's life-long journey of achieving his dream of winning a sport that he invented. It shows that we should never give up, even when we face the challenges of advancing years. Above all else, we must never lose sight of the importance of pursuits that others or we ourselves might consider silly. A zany lesson for children and adults alike. (Book link on the right :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sam the Slug. Written and illustrated by Lstarte`





The author Was raised on a small farm in Eastern Pa. Riding her pony Silver at age four on day long adventures. She, her sister and neighborhood friends would pack saddle bag lunches not to return home util after dark. No rules or supervision, allowed her childhood freedom unheard of today. Not a sit in your chair do your work kind of student Lstatrté explored visual arts programs in high school. The following year after graduation her father died, 1989. She felt a tremendous obligation to her mother. Lstatrté spent a short time in college studying Biological sciences. In 1995 uncomfortable with mounting debt and waitressing jobs. Lstatrté turned to the open road. Driving an 18 wheeler afforded this 25 year old adventure seeker steady income and constant challenges. In 1999 she bought her first apartment building. Later that same year she was given the title Mom for the first time. In 2007 the Lstatrté had a son. Than the following year a lovely daughter. With a vivid memory of childhood adventures, Lstatrté began the search how to share the fun and freedom she knew as a child. Sam The Slug is her first children's picture book. With, Where Did All Of This Dirt Come From? Expected this spring.

This book makes great use of it's limited words by the use of captivating graphics and a pointed explanation of the difference between slugs and bugs.
I love the picture of Sam the slug getting his mugshot. And having a garden and slugs around during the warmer months, my children can identify with this.  This book will help you and your child to not look at Slugs with the disgust you once may have, but to view them as creatures having their own identity.

Trees of the Book (Science and Faith Matters; Vol. 1) Written by Kimberly Payne, Illustrated by Esther Haug


What can I say about this biblically themed book?  A lot, actually. First, whoever thought of teaching in this way, that is directing youngsters to the Bible to learn about science, is a genius.  I'm guessing it was the writer herself.  Whether you look to the good book for direction in your life, or not, you will surely appreciate this detailed study of trees that were either commented on, or had a more notable role in events or illustrations found in scripture.  I especially enjoy the illustrations of the trees under discussion or of specific Bible accounts.  These are presented with a sort of glowing effect that suggests use of colored pencil or something similar that your child will readily identify with.  There is a separate reference section at the end, as well as an activity corner for kids.  Kimberly Payne is an author as well as a motivational speaker and that shows here, as this isn't just factual material, but it really has a heart that can inspire the reader to take a closer look at their surroundings and think deeply beyond what they see on the surface.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tiffany England - Artist of the week

This week's featured illustrator is Los Angeles artist, Tiffany England.
I have a special fondness for Tiffany's work as she is the illustrator of my book , "The Legend of Wally Gonkers." What struck me about her art when I was trying to choose an illustrator is her ability to present imaginary worlds and characters in such a vivid and unique way, that you almost think you are viewing something real and not imaginary. Not to mention her vivd use of watercolor and colored pencil.   I personally want to recommend her to anyone who is looking for an illustrator for their book or project, because of her reliability and kind nature, making her very easy to communicate and work on your project with. There have been a few changes I've needed to make to my book with the layout, that she has immediately and graciously addressed and helped me with.
Right now Tiffany is doing a special offer of $250 for an eBook cover with exclusive , unlimited rights included.  You can see her work in the background image and samples below, as well as on her website:tiffanyengland.com. 



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Galloping Gus: written by Glynis M. Belec. Illustrated by John D.G. Latham & Sarah Nickel

available on amazon.com.     Angel Hope Publishing         www.glynisbelec.com


Glynis Belec loves writing stories that warm the hearts of Children and has been writing for so long that she claims that she "knows a lot about puddles."
This is clearly seen by her fabulous story, which answers a question I have long had about school busses: what do they do when they are tucked away for the night? Not content to keep his love of puddle jumping to himself, and harbor it as a secret desire in his heart, Gus the Bus decides to release his wild longing for pothole plunging after hours.  This leads to a discovery of his secret passion by his driver, Simon McGiver.  Without giving too much else away, I feel like this proves to be a fine lesson in parental love and forbearance, as Simon's mild response to Gus' late night exploits really resemble the response that any good parent will have for their child's occasional lapse in judgment.  Instead of firmly scolding Gus for his puddle trouncing at night, he provides an alternative for Gus that brings his private love of mud right out int open enjoyment.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blueberry Bickford

Blueberry Bickford and all of his friends,
Are coming on Sunday, to girate their fins.
Just once each year, when sunlight is new,
When rosebuds are cherry, and spaces are few
The fishes come down from Gluffbergle Glen,
To bathe in our shallows, and frustrate our chins
 By shooting us square in the jaw with their fins,
A specialized goo that they shoot when they swim.
This goo means they're joyful and want to pretend
 That they are brand new for a day when they grin.
They love it down here, where they can be free,
Of soggy muck Wasters and Berlinger fleas.
And Blueberry Bickford, he loves it here too.
 He washes the saddle that carries his tools.
The ones that he uses to fix all our pipes,
Our underground system that connects our town,
With all other fishes the whole world around.
He fixes them in and he fixes them out.
The rust he dissolves with a fuel from his snout.
And when he comes up from his work he will see,
That we have just planned a grand grateful party.
For all of the fish friends from Gluffbergle Glen.
Who come down each year for a swim in our pen.

The above artwork that inspired this poem was by Michigan Artist Shawn Dubois. Dubois uses mosaic art and handmade mixed media to create works that give a primative, tribal impression. You can see more of his work and contact him at:www.shawndubois.etsy.com

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tales of the Dog and the Frog: Dan the Dog Meets Freddie the Frog Written by Jennifer Cragg. Illustrated by Emily Hercock

Available on Amazon (see link at right) Does your child feel the need for the need for a new friend? Do the believe that this friendship has to come from a specific source or age group? This story provides a unique lesson that can help kids on both of the above fronts. While many would not view a dog and a frog as a compatible team, this account makes such a pairing quite believable. The friendship presented here is evidently a strong one, for it even withstands the pressures of the local frog bully group. Yet another bully named Biff comes into action (the last one I recall gave someone named Marty Mcfly quite a rough time). But this friendship cannot be thwarted by the efforts of others to end it, thus showing that unlikely companionships can prevail. Also, barriers and prejeduices are often broken down as result of someone's courage in breaking out of his normal boundaries of expected friendship. This book is brought to life remarkably by the vivid illustrations of artist Emily Hercock, who is now featured in my blog's background art. Please look for a new original poem tomorrow which will feature art from another talented illustrator as inspiration.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Tadeo Turtle Written & Illustrated by Janis Cox

Available on Amazon and published by WordAlivePress

This beautifully illustrated story is a lesson of how contentment is a truly valuable quality.  That is, being happy with who you are and your current situation. Tadeo is a Turtle that sees what everyone else can do in their shell-less state and dreams of having their maneuverability for himself.  That is, until he finds out that his protective covering was there for a reason.  I feel that the best children's books have at least a hint of a lesson or moral, and this one has more than a hint. It's message is loud and clear: be happy with who and what you are.
Not only did the author give us such a well presented story, but she had the thoughtfulness to include several craft ideas at the end.  All of these surround the main theme of the story's main character.  There is also a page of extra information on the species with facts.  Do you find your children always pretending to be someone else? Well this is good and healthy to a degree, but show them this book and they may see the benefits of coming back to their true self once in awhile.  The author interweaves her faith into her biography and story in a balanced way as well.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

kimothy krunkle

Kimothy Krunkle is your favorite uncle.
He is the one who invented Pre-dunkle.
Pre-dunkle is a game that you play before you tumble,
Right down the hill of Soluable Stumble.
When you get up, that's when you dunkle,
Yourself in the River of Swisegoodish Jungle.
So that's why you have to pre-dunkle
You do this before you make your fun fumble.
And sit on your pillow until you get humble.
Cause dunkling makes you quite haughty, you know..
The Swisegoodish river makes pretty from head to toe.
Its waters are filled with sparkly splurfs, that come out the back
Of a fish named Palerff.
So if you see your nice uncle Krunkle sitting,
On top of his pillow on Wednesday evening.
Know that the reason he's sitting there is-
To keep all his proudness in check when he swims. -


The above splendid art that this poem is based on is by Jessica Olip Booth.
You can contact her and see more of her work at www.jolipbooth.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sir Princess Petra-The Pen Pieyu Adventures

Written by Diane May Robinson
Illustrated by Samantha Kickingbird
published by Tate Publishing
Available on Amazon (see link at right)

How I do love fantasy.  And children's books. Fortunately for me, this Edmonton, Alberta writer cooks up both here. The recipe for her book not only includes those two favored genres, but also lots of onions, some mushrooms, and a good dose of humor that makes this an even more appealing story that it already is. Have you ever noticed how a girl will show courage in many situations that a boy will not? This isn't always the case, but it is here. Petra the young princess decides to pursue knighthood, and when given the three obstacles to choose from that would qualify her as such, (one involving the aforementioned onions) she chooses the scariest of all, an encounter with the local dragon. This results in an unlikely friendship and teammate.  My favorite part is when the princess and dragon encounter a particularly mildewy prince from another kingdom that is always wet. Petra's reason for inviting him to come travel her lands is hilarious.  I also loved the illustrations of the knight armor Petra was fitted with.  She is like a comical Joan of Arc of the young reader's world. This book is part of a series and I am eager to read and bring you a review of the sequel in the days to come.