Friday, January 30, 2015

Strawberry slope

I'd like to welcome to Strawberry Slope
All of the rogers of Sagamon Floats. 
A large group of rogers that come every year 
To float down the streams of our slope in high gear. 
All of these rogers are specially trained
To float with precision and avoid the stream drain,
A drain that will vacuum you into a pipe
Where you're trapped forever with Weathersby Stipe. 
All he allows you to do is to skype,
Each family member and tell them goodbye,
That you were sucked down in the blink of an eye,
Into a drain where you will reside,With a large possum named

Weathersby Stipe. 
But that isn't the lot of this roger band
Who are determined to never land 
Deep in the crink of a pipe
Where you'll stand. 
For all of your days on the back of your hand. 
That's not the goal of this brotherhood,
Who've won left and right an award where they've stood
On top their floats in a stream that was good,
In a stream that was wet,
And one that was dry,
In one that dialates pupils of eyes
One that was stinky
And one that was tweed
One of the streams had menacing greed
When you weren't watching it splashedup its waves. 
And emptied your pockets of monies and pay. 
So now every roger stands up when he floats
So he won't have his pockets picked or or get poked
In the back of the ankles by Bickersby Croake. 
The largest of frogs that travels into each stream
That the rogers float group sail down as a team.

(Artwork by R.R.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Great-Grandma's Gifts:
written by Marianne Jones    Illustrated by Karen Reinekka
Available on Amazon (see link at right)
And Split Tree Publishing (www.splittreepublishing.com)

Marianne Jones is a retired teacher from Ontario, Canada.  What I really enjoyed about this book is the way it helps children to realize that their grandparents and other people who are older than them, were young once too.  A fact that may escape their knowledge, as perhaps they are thinking that older ones have always been old.  But its important that we remember that this isn't the case.  And that everyone still has part of their young selves inside of them, no matter how old they are or how many granndchildren they have. This is the message I got from this story, which is based on someone in the author's life.  It follows a little girl named Arlene, who goes through life from girl to grandma with a passion for making gifts out of fabric and cloth.  This interest takes her all of the way into grandmotherhood, as she finds herself quite exhausted from a life of making things.  Please read this book today to someone who loves their grandma or great-grandma.


If you would like a book reviewed, or are a children's illustrator, please contact me in the email link provided.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Veggies Have Feelings Too
By Spanish Missy
Available on Amazon (see link at the right)


Do your children hate vegetables as much as mine do? Do they prefer sugar cookies and lucky charms? Of course they do! Here's another question: Do your children know two languages, or even parts of two languages? This book is an excellent and most superb avenue of helping children with both. The author, Melissa Herrera, is a native Californian who now resides and Central America. She has been on a life-long journey too learn Spanish and is using her joy in achieving this goal to help others in this fun way. I particularly found the glossary at the end comparing the Spanish to English words very well placed and showing the positive purpose of this great publication. If you are a vegan, vegetarian, or aspiring vegetarian like I am, or just someone who wants their kids to eat their veggies, this will also send a healthy message to your household!

This book is available for free for a limited time. 
Bugs Bugs Bugs- Everywhere there are Bugs       
Written & Illustrated by Peter Richards
Available in Paperback & E-book on Amazon (see link)

This is a fine reminder for children that there are indeed bugs everywhere.  Being from Australia, which is highly populated by insects, Mr. Richards would know. Whether you call the down under your home or not, you will probably agree with the sentiments in this hilarious and to the point book about bugs interfering with our daily lives.  If you've ever listened to the Pearl Jam song "Bugs" then this to me is like the children's, book version of that. The illustrations are very whimsical to go along with the theme of a world dominated by Bugdom. My favorite part of the book is the disgusted remarks that the people make when they encounter their winged neighbors!  Please read this book now, as a reminder that, even though it is winter, the bugs are still out there. They're just hiding, and waiting...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Henbit & the Roly Poly- A Frendibles Story    
Written & Illustrated by Marty Donnellan (www.frendiblesplace.com)
Available on Amazon & Smashwords
Frendibles is part of a series of books (see link)

As much as I enjoy folklore and southern history, this children's book was right up my alley.   Marty Donnellan, a multi-talented author from Atlanta, tells us in the opening that Frendibles are small creatures who live in woodland areas of the south.  This story follows three Frendible sisters, Henbit, Sweetflag, and Cloudberry, as they engage in several adventures and mishaps and play a few tricks on each other.  Apparently, Frendibles include a variety of fare in their diets, as foreshadowed by the title.  I love how the story speaks about these creatures as thought they really are real and not some fantasy dreamed up.  The story kind of reminded me of a cartoon I enjoyed many years ago called David the Gnome.  Not just because the Frendibles are gnome-sized, but because of the friendly nature of that show and this book.  You feel radiated by friendliness when you read this story and view the illustrations, which perfectly bring the heart of this tale to life by also enveloping you with warmth and humor, and really giving you a sense of who these forest wanderers are.



If you would like a review of your YA or children's book, message me in the email link provided!  I am also looking to do illustrator's features in my blogposts.  This would include a bio, examples of and links to your art, along with using your art for a brief period in the background art of  this blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This poem is inspired by a book I've been reading about 1914 and World War 1.



Newberry Falls...

Newberry Falls in West Silver Mount is probably the finest

place ever fount.
It's toadstools are funny
It's maids are malign
It's penciltop, buttercup, cavities shine.
The roads all go forwards, the lakes all look green, 
the bakery chefs are all slender and lean.
The ice cream is purple, and begs for belief.
It's sugar is made from a swift maple leaf.
The mayor ain't a mayor, 
   He's a soldier of fun.
his mustache it points like a ray of the sun.
his boots are laced tight like moonbeam noodles in twilight ravines.
When he laughs every bird catches wind from the trees
they gather and peck at the ground of his knees
they whisper "Oh Mayor, you are our favorite King,
your rosy red cheeks are like fruit when you sing
A glistening Apple tossed in the stream
  the stream by our nest where the mushmellons speak
   where the townspeople dream of a place they can sleep
  a village enclosed by the shaft of the wing
   in the cloudytop village of West Silver Mount
     where the hi-top cliff dwellers drink each day from a fount
a fountain of waterfall zest tells their mouth
  that this newberry fall is the last one allowed
   the last place permitted to peace in this round,
     this round earthen land where the rest left without

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Art of Early Learning Series: Welcome Smart Artt       
written by D.A. Batrowny (www.smartartt.com)     Published by Tate Out Loud
Available on Amazon.com  (see link)

This wonderful story is more than a story, it is an instructional guide for parents.  Both within the story itself and in the introduction and concluding note, this helps parents to understand ways that they can benefit their babies in their early developmental stages.  Something I've long believed as a parent is that many of us truly underestimate our infant's ability to learn and comprehend and to have a staggering intellectual potential.  This is why it is so important to read, sing, and talk to our children in grown-up language from infancy.  This truth is emphasized by the author in this book as well as on her website.  She is definitely qualified to write on this subject, having spent many professional years helping parents and children to grow in their developmental processes.  This book is about a youngster named Artt and his adventures around a nursery, in which he designs a book for his father about how to help him develop.  Even though this book is rich in meaning for parents, it is still very much a children's book. Your child(ren) will love reading it with you and will surely grasp its message of how smart they really are and how much potential for growth they really have if they are aided in the right way. The illustrations are perfect and are no doubt instrumental in helping children with this story as well.  This book is part of a series.


If you would like a review of your children's or young adults book, please contact me with the email form.  I am also looking for children's illustrators who would like to showcase their work on my blog or use it temporarily as a background.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Boudicca, Britian's Queen of the Iceni -  By Laurel A. Rockefeller
Available for purchase on Amazon, I-tunes, Barnes & Noble, & SmashWords, Also in Audiobook

Laurel Rockelfeller is a historian from Lincoln Nebraska who could wake the dead with her ability to bring history to life and make it feel relevant and exciting again.  This biography contains a recounting of Celtic and Roman battle occurances that took place in 61 c.e.  This is probably unlike any biography you have read, as it is told in more of a storybook fashion, and it includes an imaginative touch at the very end.  It is not just history of wars that took place, but it also contains elements of romance, parental love, and religion.
When I was growing up, one of my favorite cartoons was Duck Tales.  In one of the episodes, Scrooge McDuck and his nephews travel to Europe and visit a castle still inhabited by an ancient druid order.  Every since then I have had a fascination with druids, and I bring this up because this account relates some details about why they were important to the people at that time, both in the biography and it's auxillary notes.
This book really illustrated the dominance of the Roman Empire as a ruthless world power at that time, but also showed a stunning example of an unexpected upset that they faced when attacked by the Iceni people and their comrades.  Queen Boudicca's life and final outcome were sad, but her stunning, perhaps little known courageous stand, act as a heartening example for all who face formidable odds in this life.


If you would like me to review your book (Children's to young adults books preferred) Please contact me with the links provided.  I'll give you a positive review and link the reveiw to 10 Facebook reader's groups!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

This is a new story I am working on. When I was a teenager a friend of mine kept talking about a "Yaksmith" all the time. Every joke would involve Yaksmiths and their doings. I never really knew what they were so I decided to attribute some meaning to the term through this story. There are 3 others ahead of it for publishing so it may not see light for awhile other than in this blessed place.

The Harrowless Yaksmith

In a sideways dimension
past a field by a lake,
By a hole of confetti,
Near the gatekeeper's rake,
With a silence so awkward,
And a sky very weird,
Sits a house that's abandoned,
And its well full of tears.

If you swim to the floor of the well you can read,
the words that are written and what they do mean.
There is only one evening,
Just once in each year,
 They glow with the moonbeams
Upon them so clear.
The sorrowful words of the Yaksmith
Who feared, that being too cheery was not what was dear,
To all of his tribesman who loved to cause fear.

"My name is Steve Stevenson Stevecroft Stravine.
And it is my duty to now take my leave.
For I am not scary enough for my folk,
the Harrowing Yaksmiths of Solomin Slope.
A land dark and gloomy thats'
filled with ravines.
A land soaked in mist that comes from beast' sneeze.
This is the Solomin Slope that I flee.

I was a tribesman the first of my kind,
The mightiest Yaksmith to work on the line.
A line that would go single file through the land.
Riding our Yaks like a brotherhood band.
Scaring all seekers of light in our way,
Frightening everyone who wished to play.
Filling all someones we saw with dismay.
This was our job as we rode far and near,
Training our Yaks to also stir up fear.
Our faces were furrowed, our eyebrows were grim.
Our shadows had shadows whose shadows scared them!
With suits of dark yak-fur and hoods hiding eyes,
That pierced through the souls of all onlooker spies.

Each Evening we met by the field with the lake
We boosted our energy with a thick shake
Of blackworster feathers and salsberry splew
Of gray, moldy turnips and berchberry dew
We sang out a song, a wickedly tune...
About how much pleasure our harrowing gives 
And how we endeavor to scary every kid. 
There was one lone girl who we could not scare 
The gatekeeper who let us ride everywhere
For she was a terror herself to behold
Foul was her glare and eerie her clothes. 
At twilight she lit her pale lantern for us.  
And opened the gate where we left our fortress. 
Allowing us into a world of darkness. 

One night riding deep in a valley alone,
Looking for food to bring back to my fold.
I came accross something that frosted my bones,
A group of young Yaklings were there with no home.
Their bed was a woodpile, their blankets were stones.
They looked at me sadly expecting a Scare,
But I couldn't do it, my heart wasn't there.
My Harrowing gland was a functionless fair.
My need to cause fright vanished into the air.
For why should I frighten such sorrowful souls.
When all that they wanted was bread and warm clothes!

I reached out to help them and gave them a smile,
There faces were dirty, their eyeballs were wild.
Their sandy rag hairdos were not quite in style.
"Where are your parents?"  I asked right away.
      "They've been scared so silly that they could not stay.
   For yesterday noonish, heat of the day,
several dark Yaksmith came riding their way.
They growled in their faces, they stared in their eyes,
they dirtied their clothes with mud up to their thighs
Their Yaks shoved them backwards with stink from their fur,
Our parents felt terror so much their eyes blurred.
They couldn't see straight,
They ran and they ran,
The fear of the Yaksmiths chased them from the land!
And here we are hiding, for we have no home,
our House ran away from fear of it's own."

When I heard these things, I knew what to do.
I took off my coat and made them all shoes.
I gave them my bread, my hat and my purse.
With 85 cents, whatever it's worth.
I told them I'd hide them and help them to search,
for their dear mom & dad in the Perch.
The Perch was a place that no one had seen,
'cause no one in Solimin Slope had enough self-esteem.
Well, no one who went there came back once they'd been.
-A paradise land, where no one felt fear,
And no one had bruises or ever cried tears.
Your clothes are all white there, your teeth are all clean
Your Salsberry Stew is not made by machines!
The ocean is golden, The sky always blue,
the Houses are made with high-quality tools.

I knew of just one way to safely get there,
it wouldn't be easy,
but I did not care.
I was so tired of causing such fear.
I wanted just once to feel nothing but cheer!
My brothers would hate me, those Yaksmith would scorn
and curse the dread day when their leader was born.
And Just as I thought this, I heard a loud horn.
The horn used by Yaksmiths that they used to warn
all of their brothers that someone had torn
himself from the group in which he had been sworn.
From up on the top of the Valley the riders could see
That I was not scaring these folk before me.
My cloak I had shed, my eyes had turned kind,
All of the scare thoughts had slipped from my mind.

My Yak that I'd trained
Had also gone soft
The one I had raised from a Yak seedling crop.
I raised him to bite,to gripe and to grunt
To perculate hair on the back of your thumb
To stench up the air with his Bathless blue mane
A lock of his fur could stink you insane.
To say he was friendly would be quite a stretch
His only friend was the back of your neck
And the hairs that stood up there
when he Caused your wreck!
But he wasn't like that,
No not anymore
Since seeing those children
His foes felt no horror.
But now we had new foes who knocked at our door.
The Harrowing Yaksmiths to settle their score!
They knew I'd rejected the honor so high
Of causing all someone's to fill up with fright.
They saw we weren't scaring these friends we had found
So they fast pursued us
They hunted us down.

We jumped on our Yak, the children and I.
On the back of our Yak we sped through the night.
It seemed we'd elluded our enemy chase.
It looked like we'd ended our frightfulish race.
Yet somehow events left us feeling disgraced.
By a hole of confetti, past a field by a lake,
We thought we had given those Yaksmiths a shake,
But instead of being back miles to our rear,
this shadowy clan was in fact very near.
They circled us back all the way to my house,
And now they surrounded us from North to South.
Deciding to not let us stand there and perish,
Our Yak then did something extremely darish.
Charging us forward, flipping us high,
Far through the air where we landed outside.
Clear out of that circle of doom where we tried,
To see if our friend was coming for us...
Our friend had assumed the role of a Huss.
A Huss was a hero who spared his friend's lives,
By fighting for them with all of his might.
Seeing him one by one throw Yaksmiths aside,
The children and I, it caused us to cry.
We knew we might never see him again,
But that was the role of this Huss as our friend.

Crying our tears, flowing them out.
Creating puddles and streams all about.
I wanted to fight with my Yak but I knew,
I had to get these children back to their folks,
And leave this dread country of Solimin Slope.
There was only one way that I knew we could leave.
It was right by my house, or my name isn't Steve.

As we approached my house with its well
I lowered a rope ladder into its swell.
We had to put on special helmets to breath
Because our sad tears filled this well where we grieved.
We climbed to the bottom and swam through a room,
Where I wrote this story on its wall just for you.
Beyond the room we could see a dark tunnel,
The one that was rumored to lead to a funnel.
Where we could slide down and land in the Perch,
And leave for forever all feelings of hurt.
As we swam further onward thru our aching tears,
I thought that I heard from behind me blue fur.
How do you hear blue fur? How can it be?
When running it makes the swift sound of a breeze
Or of one thousand lady bugs shaking their knees.
Some say its noise is like berchberry fleas.
My senses were keen, my hearing was right.
The blue-est of yak sights then gave us delight.
Our yak had somehowish found victory that night!
Needing  to ride him and hug his blue mane,
We wallopped on thru the darkness in vain.
For there was no funnel or hole in the ground.
All we could see was an endless surround
Of black molten bricks and cobblestone floors,
No sign for days, of holes, slides, or doors.
Just as we thought about giving it up,
Just as we felt that our that our legs would erupt,
Sunlight shot up from the floor and we knew
The place we were searching was actually True!
Into the funnel and out of the night,
Into a place where there lacked no sunlight.
Out of our scaries, our fears and our tears,
Out of the sadness that squeezed us for years..
We fell smack dab right into the Perch!
Greeted by parents for whom we searched,
Greeted by unlces and aunties and mothers,
Hellos and hugs from 100 stepbrothers.
Welcomed by people I'd known as a child
Some of them Yaksmiths who'd been very wild.
"How did you get here, how did you leave?
How did you escape that fowl world of disease,
To this golden paradise land with its seas"?

The answer they gave me, they all gave together,
They lifted their voices so high without measure..
Just how high it was that their voices they raised,
But in unity unison they then  expalined
How it came that they stood there that day-
" two parts of courage, one part of trust,
one part belief it was something we must.
Three parts spaghetti, one teaspoon of dreams,
500 calories of of guarantees...
That Solimin Slope was a place we could leave.
Yes we were scared and frightened each day
Yes we were told that there was no way
But we heard a voice that, said, that wasnt true...
That voice was in me and that voice is in you.
It tells us to walk when we think we will drop.
It tells us to get up and to put on our socks.
It tells us that there is no endless bad ending,
But only a bump in a road that is bending.
We listened to that voice and now we are here.
Where no one has bruises or ever cries tears.
So please join us now for a fabulous feast,
Beneath a glad sunshine that will never cease...
Beneath a blue sky that sees nothing but peace.








Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yarashell Abbily and Her Very Messy Room   Written by Sybrina Durant    
 Illustrated by Sara Wilson
Available on Amazon and "most online bookstores"

This lovely children's book is great for teaching kids that there is a reward for cleaning up your room.  The rhymes are strewn along in a sing-song fashion and the book even contains a song at the end about how Yarashell likes to mess up her room.  Dealing with a child's messy room is not a new challenge for parents, but as this book shows, sometimes all that is needed is a little incentive to get the mess picked up.  The writer also accurately conveyed how one parent's frustration over a child's actions can be balanced with a solution from the other parent.  So in this way, not only is this book good for kids, it is also good for parents in seeing how they can work together to address a solution.  
I firmly believe that any good children's book also has something in it for parents and adults as well. Even if they just help us to recall our own memories or missteps made in youth.
Not to be forgotten are the exquisite illustrations of Sara Wilson.  As with any good illustrator, their primary role is to bring the author's imagination to life.  This is done very well by the glowing and mesmerising use of color. I especially enjoyed the page that depicted Yarashell's room as she saw it, not as a messy ruin, but as fantasy-like paradise of fun.
I hope you and your child enjoy this book as much as I did along with the subtle lessons therein.


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Please remember to contact me for a review of your children's to young adult book!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hi, my name is Bobo (A weekend in the life of a 5th Grader) Written by James Gordon. Available for purchase on Amazon.com & iblowyourmind.net

Hi, my name is Bobo. (A weekend in the life of a 5th Grader)
Written by James Gordon 
Available for purchase on Amazon.com and: iblowyourmind.net

This is my first in a series of book reviews for children, mid-grade, or young adults.  What I enjoyed most about this account is that it not only recalls mundane and important events from the author's childhood in a way that makes you feel like you are there experiencing them yourself, but it is presented in such a way that you feel like you are reading the words of someone who has actually traveled back in time as his 5th grader self. As James recounts activities from a weekend of his youth, he includes things that were a concern involving memories of his father, his outlook on differences in race, a girl he wants as a girlfriend, and a TV show that scared him.   Speaking of which, people that claim TV has no lasting impression on us are clueless. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of my favorite cartoons, the emotions I felt watching them, the things I pretended to do after watching, and time spent watching my parents favorite shows. This appears to be the case with James as he mentioned several shows and cartoons by name and the impression left on him as a child, which thankfully were mostly good.  Sometimes the most simplest moments and activities as a child are what are dearest to us. This book makes me wish I could've gone back in time and hang with James for a weekend.  He seems like he would've been a great friend and his story is one worth telling. The random observation on chocolate milk is worth getting this book by itself.

If you have a childrens, mid-grade, or young adult book you would like me to review, you can email me at soalis114@gmail.com.  I am accepting anything 40 pages or less at this time.  Unless it's a larger book with mostly pictures. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Hello Everyone!  Thank you for visiting! I want to let you know what I will be doing on my blog at this time.
For awhile going forward this blog will have an air of anticipation for the children's book I have written: The Legend of Wally Gonkers. This book was finished last winter and has been beautifully illustrated by talented artist Tiffany England, whom I feel very privileged to have worked with.  You can go to her blog link on the right.  The background image on this blog is artwork she did for my book.
 I plan on self publishing my book on Amazon's Kindle Direct sometime in February.  It has been a long road deciding how to publish it, and after months of research and consideration this is the avenue I have chosen.  I will reveal the exact date of publishing within 10 days or so before it's release.
As a promotion the book will be free for the first 5 days after its release on Amazon.  As a special way of thanking my readers, I will be giving out a free e-copy of another illustrated story I have finished.  This story contains the reasoning and background behind my pseudonym "R.R. Howroar".  This free book will only be for those who download my other book from Amazon and subscribe to my email list! There is an email contact spot at the right column and on the bottom of this page for your choosing pleasure.

In addition to information about, or snippets of, my future or current Children's Books, my blog will continue to include poetry and verse. Hopefully it will get sillier by the post:)  I tire of writing such soul-searching, grim drivel, as I have up to this point.  

A new feature that I am look forward to, that I hope you will also, will be regular book reviews of past and present authors.  If you would like me to do a review of your Children's Book on this blog, you can contact me by email(soalis114@gmail.com), or leave a note at the bottom of a post with your contact info.  I enjoy reviewing things, and I hope that this will bring greater publicity to some of my fellow writers, as well as drive more interest into what I am doing here.  Guidelines for what books I will and will not review are posted below as well as at the bottom of the homepage.

Thanks so extremely much,

Matt

"Today was good, Today was fun, Tomorrow is another one."


I only review Children's, Middle grade, or Young Adult books of 70 pages or less. And most books reviewed over 50 pages would only be because they are heavy in illustrations, with less wording. I reserve the right to rufuse review if I am opposed to the overall content of the book (books with violent, occult, sexual, or overly religious themes). I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to review your book and if you have any questions about my guidelines, please contact me at the email link provided.




Warmth-

Gwendolyn Flanner fashioned a quilt
out of the hide of a flexible Zilf
Zilf have the most flexive hides in the sea
They stretch for hours in Burfberry trees
Using the branches of those fabled weeds,
they loosen each fiber and goosen each tweed
They do all the things that a Deeseldorf needs
to protract their thorax and botox their knees
These are the ways that a Deeseldorf Zilf 
prepares all its vibrating threads for a quilt

When Gwendolyn sews a new quilt from a Zilf
She makes for certain that everyone knows
that she is not doing this job just for fun
She's doing it because she is the One
The one who was chosen by Ziloman Zunn
To fashion Zilf Quilts for his Father's Kingdom

This kingdom lies deep within Struesselman Sea
Where Blankets are needed a quarter to three
Of every quaint day by a Measurable creed
Established by those who wish to sleep
from twilight to seadusk with Pastries that scream
for a special warmth that fits all their needs,
the needs so fulfilled by the quilted Zilf Sleaves.