BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Izzy & Oscar by Allison Estes & Dan Stark

TITLE: Izzy & Oscar

AUTHOR: Allison Estes & Dan Stark

ILLUSTRATOR: Tracy Dockray

PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Inc, 2015

SYNOPSIS: 

Pretend pirate captain Izzy is looking for a pet when an adventurous little octopus squiggles into town.

Have you ever taught an octopus to roll over? It’s harder than it looks. Discover why octopuses make the best pets in this charming picture book about friendship and embracing individuality!

Izzy has always wanted a pet. So when an adventurous octopus squiggles into town, Izzy decides to keep him. After all, a real pirate captain has to have a mascot. Oscar is not very good at going for walks or playing fetch. (Although he is amazing at hide and seek). And he’s definitely not like other pets…

But he is just right for Izzy.

Readers will be tickled by Izzy’s attempts to teach Oscar to behave like a dog, a parrot, a pony―and gratified by Izzy’s realization that in the end we love others for who they are…eight arms and all!

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I’ve always been fascinated with pirates and ocean creatures, so when I saw this adorable picture book, I just had to read it! Izzy is a spunk little girl determined to have a pet. No matter how unusual. No matter how troublesome to train. Oscar was just minding his own business when one little girl shows him there is more to life than sea water and seaweed. A strange friendship begins and soon the two are off on grand adventures all young readers will enjoy reading about. A great addition to any library!

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

***Ebook Pre-orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 2nd!***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Memory Trap by Linda Joy Singleton

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Linda Joy Singleton, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Memory Trap”. Take it away, Linda…

Memory Trap by Linda Joy Singleton

The idea for my middle-grade futuristic mystery MEMORY TRAP stems from my fascination with memories. As a child, I realized that memories faded away. So my best friend and I created “Memory Boxes,” saving letters, postcards, photos, report cards, and other personal things. One unusual item in my box was a wax frog I’d won at a party. To preserve memories, I also kept diaries. I still have my first diary which was a gift when I was eleven.

 The first entry from my very first diary:

 June 19: Got up. Played, ate, and smashed Eddie’s finger. Went to coast. Had fun. Swam at beach. Eddie got into my diary—so he’s in for it now! Went to bed.

Disclaimer: I didn’t smash my brother Eddie’s finger on purpose—we got along really well and still do.

Keeping diaries and journals has taught me two surprising things.

  1. When I read about events I don’t remember, often the memory comes back as if my brain is a computer. The written memory connects me to forgotten data—like a Google link to the past.
  2.  My memories of past events are often wrong.

Thinking about memories led to questions that intrigued me: What would it be like to have someone else’s memories? How would it happen? Would you still have your own memories? Would you stay yourself or become someone else?  

The plot for MEMORY TRAP took shape. I imagined an island in the future created by scientists who cured all illnesses and controlled aging so no one appeared over 25. Death only happened by accident—or murder. And “Lost Ones” were replaced in “Families” by transferring their memories into youths. Jennza is one of these youths. Unlike her birth-mates, though, she doesn’t follow rules and yearns to explore beyond the fence. She fears gaining new memories that will tie her to a family in a role of sister/mother/daughter to strangers. “If I have someone else’s memories,” she worries, “will I still be me?” Jennza’s determination to stay herself leads her far from the life she expected—and into danger.

One morning an opening line popped in my head:

“Get down, Jennza—or you’ll die!” 

“Don’t be dramatical,” I call out to Lorelei, my fingers curling around steel mesh as I dangle midway up the Fence.  “No one dies anymore.”

I wrote two pages quickly but it had a long journey of rewrites and publishing challenges when its first publisher closed. Now I’m excited that for its release by Clear Fork Publishing. I especially love the gorgeous cover by talented artist, Dea Lenihan. I hope you’ll enjoy MEMORY TRAP!

*********************

Linda Joy Singleton is the author of over 55 books for young readers, including the CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB series, and picture books SUN & SON, CRANE & CRANE, and CASH KAT. She’s a longtime member of SCBWI and Sisters in Crime, and a frequent speaker at conferences, libraries, and school. She lives in Northern California in the foothills where she and her husband enjoy a menagerie of animals including horses, cats, dogs, peacocks, ducks, pigs, and a family of Dexter mini-cows. For fun activities, free stories, writing advice, and the latest news check out her website: www.LindaJoySingleton.com.

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Sleep Tight Farm by Eugene Doyle

TITLE: Sleep Tight Farm

AUTHOR: Eugene Doyle

ILLUSTRATOR: Becca Stradtlander

PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 2016

SYNOPSIS: A captivating exploration of how a family gets a farm ready for the snow of winter, Sleep Tight Farm lyrically connects each growing season to the preparations at the very end of the farm year. This beautiful and informative book paints a fascinating picture of what winter means to the farm year and to the family that shares its seasons, from spring’s new growth, summer’s heat, and fall’s bounty to winter’s well-earned rest. All year long the farm has worked to shelter us, feed us, keep us warm, and now it’s time to sleep.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I grew up in a small town in southern Louisiana, surrounded by small rice farms. I live in a larger city nowadays but wouldn’t mind a small farm existence. I think that is why Eugene Doyle’s book caught my attention. Beneath the sleepy tale of a farm getting ready for a long winter’s nap, there is a tribute to the hard working men and women who run those very farms not only for their won families, but to keep the entire country going strong! Illustrator, Becca Stradtlander, provides richly detailed drawings to give the reader a sense of the complexity of farm life. Readers of all ages will enjoy SLEEP TIGHT FARM. A great addition to any library!

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

***Ebook Pre-orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 2nd!***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: 10 Little Pirates by Justine Ablett

TITLE: 10 Little Pirates

AUTHOR: Justine Ablett

ILLUSTRATOR: Dean Gray

PUBLISHER: Igloo Books Ltd, 2019

SYNOPSIS: Ahoy! Join the pirates on their journey for treasure and count them as they go. But watch out, this adventure is tough and some might get lost along the way!

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I love interactive board books. I love the creativity the author, illustrator, and publisher put into each story. I love the reaction of each child when they discover the magic waiting for them inside. Author Justine Ablett writes a lovely, lyrical pirate’s tale in verse that every child will love. Illustrator Dean Gray takes a strong story and brings it to life with his whimsical drawings. 10 LITTLE PIRATES is a good addition to any library!

RATING: **** 4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

***Ebook Pre-orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 2nd!***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Georgia’s Far-Away Family by Marie Robert

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Marie Robert, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Georgia’s Far-Away Family”. Take it away, Marie…

Georgia’s Far-Away Family by Marie Robert

When I was a little girl, I moved around a lot thanks to my father’s job. I loved being in exotic places, switching schools never bothered me and I still feel it was a wonderful way to grow up. I learnt about the world and its different cultures and people. The only problem was that I didn’t see my extended family that much when we were posted outside of Ireland. As I grew up, I continued to move around and I married a man from a different country. After moving around together we finally settled in France.

All that might not seem like it’s about writing but I assure you…it is.

I have always written; poetry, essays, the starts of novels I knew I would never finish. So when I had children, I started writing for them. I wrote stories, read them to my three little girls and then put them away. Until I wrote a story about a girl called Georgia and read it to my two elder children. Their eyes widened and my eldest said, “Hey, that girl is just like us!”. She was right. Georgia’s Far-Away Family is about a little girl who doesn’t live in the same place as her extended family, like me when I was young, and like my own children now. It struck me that in our increasingly global world, what was unusual when I was a child is now very common. Third culture children, multilingual families and people that move from place to place are EVERYWHERE. So, I decided to work on getting Georgia’s Far-Away Family out into the world. I also decided that since we are a bilingual family and we live in France, I should do it in two languages. The French title is Georgia et sa Famille Autour du Monde.

Over the next few months, I was in overdrive. During the day I treated my pediatric patients (I am a speech pathologist by trade), looked after my girls, and then after bedtime I edited and reedited, translated, met online with my illustrator, the fabulous Maryam FeyziChakab (she lives in a far-away place and has a far-away family too), and generally talked the ear off my very patient husband.

It was all so exciting but I was a novice to self-publishing and that meant it was not always smooth sailing. France is very strict about children’s literature in particular so as well as the normal tasks there were laws and rules to check as well. The translation was such an interesting process. We speak both languages at home and as I worked on it, I rediscovered how poetic French can be and got to appreciate how they do not ‘dumb down’ language for children. The turn of phrase was so beautiful that I even went back and fixed a few things in the English version.

Finally, it was all ready. I had the beautiful hard back copies in my living room and the paper backs for sale online.

Georgia had become a reality and I am so proud of all that represents to me, my children, and to the millions of children living in different places. Many parents who have read the book tell me their children really identify with Georgia and her family and that is worth its weight in gold!

*********************

Marie Robert is an Irish Speech and Language Pathologist and children’s author. Marie loves to travel and has moved around a lot! After living in Singapore for many years she finally settled in Paris where she currently lives with her husband and three daughters. In her day job Marie is passionate about improving the lives of children with language disorders and she is a firm advocate for bilingualism. Her children’s book “Georgia’s Far-Away Family” can be purchased in either French or English and is for ages 3-7.

English: https://www.amazon.com/Georgias-Far-Away-Family-Marie-Robert/dp/295821740X/

French: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/2958217426/

Want to contact Marie about books for your children or a school? Write to her at marierobertbooks@gmail.com

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: When The Sky Roars by Katie Weaver

TITLE: When The Sky Roars

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Katie Weaver

PUBLISHER: A Little Offbeat Publishing, 2021

SYNOPSIS: Little Liam is tired of being afraid when the sky roars – thunderstorms are NOT his favorite. So, he’s off on the ultimate quest to find out what’s roaring and get it to quit!

This silly, light-hearted (completely fictional) story will certainly bring smiles on any rainy day! When The Sky Roars is also a great reminder that there are often sweet things awaiting for you on the other side of a fear faced.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I can so relate to the young man in this story. Thunderstorms and lightning were not my friends when I was growing up. As a young adult I lived through a tornado passing directly over my mobile home. I’ve even survived the wrath of numerous hurricanes. The difference between myself and this young man is that he had the courage to face his fears, discovering the magical reason for what really happens WHEN THE SKY ROARS. With a strong rhyming story and lovely illustrations, author/illustrator Katie Weaver creates a fun explanation to help calm children’s fears over Mother Nature’s grand symphony! A great addition to any library!

RATING: *****5 Stars *****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

***Ebook Pre-orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 2nd!***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: One Cat, Two Cat, New Cat! by David & Michele Keyes

TITLE: One Cat, Two Cat, New Cat!

AUTHOR: David & Michele Keyes

ILLUSTRATOR: Ammar Degas

PUBLISHER: Willie Winkie Books, 2013

SYNOPSIS: Kids and adults alike love this charming story of a cat that just won’t give up in his search for a new family! Ocho and Ono are not excited about the idea of letting another kitty friend into their perfect lives, but Tiger refuses to take no for an answer.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : Yes, I bought this book because it’s about cats, but it was the strong story line, written in a very strong rhyme that kept me turning the pages . I like Tiger’s gumption at finding himself a new home and changing one family’s cats twosome into a threesome! A good addition to any library!

RATING: **** 4 Stars ****

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

***Ebook Pre-orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 2nd!***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Callabee’s Colossal Feelings by Courtney Williams

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Courtney Williams, shares the WHY behind her book, “Callabee’s Colossal Feelings”. Take it away, Courtney…

Callabee’s Colossal Feelings by Courtney Williams

I grew up feeling that I could never express how I was truly feeling, and I knew I wanted something different for my daughter. We openly discuss our feelings and how different events make us feel, and it’s so rewarding. So I wrote Callabee’s Colossal Feelings. It is full of sayings I often say to my daughter and illustrates our interactions when discussing these feelings. I always want to make sure she is heard and feels comfortable and safe expressing herself. 

Here’s the book’s blurb:

Meet Callabee! Many things make her unique! Her super incredible dog Gumbo, the art she creates, but the most special part of Callabee is her feelings! Take a trip into Callabee’s world and see that feelings big or small should be acknowledged and celebrated!
Callabee’s Co

lossal Feelings is a beautifully illustrated book created to acknowledge and encourage children to express how they are feeling.

*********************

Courtney Williams is a young mom who loves creating in various mediums. Whether it’s writing children’s stories, creating a new recipe in the kitchen, or hand-making accessories, Courtney is always creating. She is a first-time author and plans to continue on her journey to deliver stories to kids around the world. She is an avid reader and pet lover! You will often see characters inspired by her dogs or lizards in her stories.  

Purchase links:

Amazon..https://www.amazon.com/Callabees-Colossal-Feelings-Courtney-Danielle/dp/B09W799F3N/ref=sr_1_1?crid=17AJ7PK18XTZ6&keywords=callabee%27s+colossal+feelings&qid=1649041526&sprefix=callabee+colos%2Caps%2C414&sr=8-1.

Barnes & Noble…https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/callabees-colossal-feelings-courtney-d-williams/1141296875;jsessionid=EF1D90E3EF314FF9FC1A31519A9B627C.prodny_store01-atgap15?ean=9781088027424

Want to connect?

Instagram…https://www.instagram.com/courtneywilliamsbooks/

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Stella: The Shark Who Loves Treasure by Sarah Cullen & Carmen Ellis

TITLE: Stella: The Shark Who Loves Treasure

AUTHOR: Sarah Cullen & Carmen Ellis

ILLUSTRATOR: Zuzana Svobodova

PUBLISHER: KDP Publishing, 2022

SYNOPSIS: Stella the shark loves to collect trinkets and treasures. One day she enlists the help of an orca and an octopus to help her find the ‘Rose of the Sea’. When they find the jewels in an old shipwreck, will she keep them all for herself or will she discover the joy in sharing?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I have a lifelong fascination with the ocean and every creature that lives in it. At first I was excited when I came across this book. The cover was captivating and the illustrator, Zuzana Svobodova, has created a stunning backdrop to the authors’ story. Unfortunately, that story would have been stronger if it had been written in prose. While I understand why authors Cullen and Ellis chose to write their book in rhyme, there are too many forced poetic lines and broken meter to keep me fully engaged. I truly believe there is an audience for every book ever written and surely this one will find it’s own audience niche with the proper marketing.

RATING: *** 3 Stars ***

RATING SYSTEM:

1 star…probably not worth your time.

2 stars…there are some things to like, but could elements have been stronger.

3 stars…this story will appeal to some readers but others might find it lacking something.

4 stars…strong story, nice illustrations, and should grab the attention of many readers.

5 stars…superbly written story, stellar illustrations, a must addition to any book lovers’ collection!



*************************

Jack is afraid of the THING in the closet. Monty is afraid of the LUMP in the bed. One day boy and monster both decide they no longer want to fear what hides in the dark. Both have a plan, but will be surprised by what they discover after A BUMP IN THE NIGHT.

***Coming in August from STORY CATCHER PUBLISHING in both ebook and paperback editions!***

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is donna-photo-2.jpg

Hybrid published author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of flash fiction, children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna offers occasional BOOK NOOK REVIEWS of great children’s books and offers WRITERLY WISDOM to new and established writers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Alliance of Independent Authors, and Children’s Book Insider. Donna loves dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection.

Want to connect?

Email: www.donasdays@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donasdays

Twitter: www.twitter.com/donasdays

LinkedIn: Donna L Martin/Story Catcher Publishing

Goodreads: Donna L Martin

Mail: Donna L Martin

c/o Story Catcher Publishing

P O Box 27788

Knoxville, Tn 37927

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists: by Patrick O’Donnell

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week my friend and children’s book author, Patrick O’Donnell, is sharing the WHY he wrote his book, “Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists?”. Take it away, Patrick…

Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists? by Patrick O’Donnell

When I finally scratched up the courage to pursue my dream of becoming an author, there was a tiny voice inside of my head saying, “Really? Is right now the best time for this? Shouldn’t you wait until things calm down?”

It was 2015, and most days it felt like I was stuck in the grey fog of nightmares. After about 6 years as a stay-at-home Dad and freelance writer, my world was turning upside down.

Among other things, I was 1) in the middle of a divorce and custody battle 2) trying to reinvent my career with a full-time job in advertising 3) struggling to maintain a civil relationship with my adoptive parents, who were upset I’d discovered my birth family. Raised as an only child, it turned out I was actually the youngest of nine! It was quite a revelation after nearly 50 years — and Mom and Dad felt threatened.

My days went something like this: Wake, feed the boys, race them to daycare, race to work, juggle deadlines, snarkiness and stress for a shift, then race back to daycare before late fees kicked in. I’d get home, make dinner, and spend a little time with my guys before getting them to bed. Then I’d finish leftover work from my day job or catch up on freelance projects before stumbling off to bed myself.

Somewhere in all this, my younger son needed to have a cavity filled — and that’s what sparked the idea for Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists?

We were driving to the dentist, and he was scared, dreading the drill, and trying to convince me the cavity would fix itself if we just “let it go.”

Not wanting to delve into Disney tune territory, and unwilling to run all his food through a blender for the foreseeable future, I played around with alliteration to occupy his mind. He loved dinosaurs, and the image of a tyrannosaurus and a squashed tube of toothpaste popped into my head. Soon, we were laughing over questions like, “Did a brachiosaurus ever need braces?”

The distraction worked wonders for both of us, and I found myself jotting notes on a cell phone in the waiting room.

Over the next year, working on the book helped me to focus and stay positive despite the chaos around me. And when it was time to find an illustrator, my new-found brother said, “Do you know you have a nephew who’s an amazing artist?”

A few phone calls and emails later, and I was working with the incredibly talented Erik Mehlen — the adult son of one my sisters. By 2017, we were ready for the next step, and I sent our samples to Schiffer Publishing. In 2018, Did Dinosaurs Have Dentists? rolled off the printing press. Sadly, Dad passed away before he saw it — but Mom loved it, and it helped melt away some of her resentment.

Here’s the book’s blurb:

“What if a brachiosaurus needed braces? If a tyrannosaurus used toothpaste, would it squash the tube? A young child on the way to a dental checkup wonders if dinosaurs ever had cavities and if they had to brush their teeth, floss, get braces, and use fluoride or mouthwash. This whimsical picture book includes eleven common terms related to dental and oral health, along with a glossary of name pronunciations and fun, scientific facts about each of the eleven dinosaurs mentioned in the story. It takes an imaginative, humorous look at dinosaurs’ dental health and eases children’s fears about going to the dentist, while cleverly encouraging them to take care of their own teeth.”

After the success of Dinosaurs, Erik and I teamed up for our second Schiffer book, Do Penguins Have Pediatricians? which came out in 2019 — and was also inspired by my sons.

These days I’m working on two other projects close to my heart: A going-to-bed book for children on the autism spectrum, and the story of a young lady who rescues wild animals. Both were inspired by people in my life — and someday soon, I hope to tell the story behind their stories, too.

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Patrick O’Donnell is a writer, editor and children’s book author who lives outside Boyertown, Pennsylvania with his two sons and their furred and feathered menagerie.

He has been writing stories since he was eight years old, and he’s only ever had two cavities. Patrick’s held many jobs, including copy editor, cook, landscaper, photographer, and even small-engine mechanic, but his favorite jobs are writer and father.

His boys used to be afraid of the dentist, but they love to visit now. They also love dinosaurs, spaghetti, story time … and leaving Legos on the floor.

Want to connect?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Patrickfodonnellauthor