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 & 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 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

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

available on     Angel Hope Publishing

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

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

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.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Space Gum   Illustrated and Written by Danette J. Hansen
Available on Amazon (see link at right)

I couldn't help but be encouraged by this book and the story of the author who wrote it.  There are a couple of reasons why I found these so uplifting.  First, Danette, from Utah, explains in her Amazon bio that she never grew up wanting to pursue writing, but now realizes that an attribute of a writer was always apart of her in her practice of naming the things that she liked.  I can definitely identify with both of those things. That is, not knowing what you want to be from an early age as many are blessed with, and also making up names for your favorite things.  But this is so great because her experience shows that we may evolve or emerge into our calling later on in life, perhaps even after we have children and have already started some other profession. And that is ok. Perhaps for some of us, it takes years of life and sorting through things to come to a realization of what we are about. Not that I'm saying this is purely the case for this author, but her biography comments remind me of these other things.  Now, what was that second encouraging nugget?  The book under discussion, of course! This book shows that you can be all grown up, have your own family, and have other things going on and still write a fantastic Children's book, and illustrate it yourself no less!  If any of you have ever wondered where that piece of gum that your kid just grabbed off of the ground and started chewing came from, this story gives a possibility you may not have considered.  Danette also impresses with her ability to include three sets of characters in a book of such modest length.

 I love the concept of this book and the way it is presented, in a comical and far out way. When I say far out, I mean literally.
This book is available on Amazon Kindle for .99 until Valentines Day.