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?


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.


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

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

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.