BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Moose Tracks by Karma Wilson

TITLE: Moose Tracks

AUTHOR: Karma Wilson

ILLUSTRATOR: Jack E. Davis

PUBLISHER: Margaret K McElderry Books, 2006

SYNOPSIS:

There are moose tracks on the back porch . . .

in the kitchen . . .

in the den . . .

There are moose tracks EVERYWHERE!

Who left all these moose tracks?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :  My sister likes moose tracks ice cream, but I much prefer THIS type of moose tracks. Young readers will not only enjoy the lovely, lyrical rhythm of this delightful story, children will also love the whimsical illustrations created by illustrator, Jack E Davis. This first person account of mysterious moose tracks left all around a house challenges young minds to eliminate various animal visitors until the very last page. Even the hilarious ending will amuse and possibly surprise those in search of who belongs to all those MOOSE TRACKS! 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.

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: How Giraffes Found Their Hearts by Kathleen Macferran

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, Kathleen Macferran, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “How Giraffes Found Their Hearts”. Take it away, Kathleen…

How Giraffes Found Their Hearts by Kathleen Macferran

Under the lilac bushes in my back yard lived a whole fairy village among the lily of the valley
plants. At least that’s what I imagined as I played for hours making homes, gardens and play
fields for my fairy friends. When I was inside my childhood home, I made marble animals with
jiggly eyes, clothes for my stuffed animals, and obstacle courses for our dog. I loved to create
and build worlds where everyone was happy and got along.

I also played a lot of music growing up, eventually becoming a music teacher in public schools
and then a music conductor of a professional music ensemble called the Rainer Chamber Winds.
In addition to multiple concerts designed for adult listeners, Rainier Chamber Winds also
performed for younger listeners inviting them to sit on stage with us next to their favorite
instruments while drawing on large sheets of paper as the music played. I had grown up listening
to Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” and was longing for stories set to music that Rainer
Chamber Winds could play for our young audiences. Over the years we commissioned and
recorded 7 folk tales set to music (CD named “Tales Told in the Winds”).

As music director, I wanted to create more stories set to music around the same time I started
studying Nonviolent Communication. The founder of Nonviolent Communication, Marshall
Rosenberg, playfully used a giraffe puppet in his teaching to represent the key principles of his
work since giraffes are one of the land animals with the largest hearts, and inside our hearts are
the things we most care about. Giraffes also have long necks so they can see the consequences of
their actions. Their necks are a sign of vulnerability. They stick their necks out for what they
believe in. I knew I wanted giraffes and all their wisdom to be principal characters in the next set
of children’s stories that we set to music. That meant I had to write them myself.

In How Giraffes Found Their Hearts, I wanted the theme to be about the power and the beauty of
authenticity that makes you, you, and me, me. I wanted to covey the aliveness that comes from
knowing and honoring our common human needs. In How Giraffes Got Their Ears, I wanted to
convey the importance of deep listening for the feelings and needs inside all hearts, even when
it’s hard to hear. I wanted stories that helped us remember and learn how to build a world where
everyone thrives and gets along, like my fairy villages under the lilac bushes. Those two stories
were set to music by Adam Stern and recorded by Rainier Chamber Winds (CD named “Giraffe
Tales”). The project was going to end there, but I was so moved by the CD cover that Kenneth
Schrag designed that I asked him to consider illustrating the stories so we could publish the
books to go along with the music. I will always be grateful that he agreed. The stories come to
life through his illustrations. Much gratitude also to Artisan Bookworks for believing in these
books and bringing them into the world.

I’ve come to realize that finding one’s own heart and deeply hearing the heart of others is
essential, though not enough. We also need to be able to speak bravely about what is in our
hearts, what we care about, what matters. Currently, the third book in the series is being written
about giraffes learning to speak courageously. The times we live in call for brave speech and
brave action. Maybe our giraffe friends can encourage us to honor the dignity in all hearts, to
speak truth about our diverse experiences, and to deeply listen to one another.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathleen Macferran is a facilitator, author, teacher, Certified Trainer and Assessor for the
Center for Nonviolent Communication and the owner of Strength of Connection. She has
spent much of her life bringing harmony to communities through music, including two decades
as a classical music conductor and seven years as a public-school music teacher. Kathleen loves
children and believes music and giraffes (the main characters in her children’s books) have much
to teach us about interdependent social living. Central to Kathleen’s work is a vision for a
peaceful, just, and sustainable world. She is committed to co-creating a world where peace
replaces violence, love replaces hate, equity replaces inequity, and all people live meaningful
lives. She passionately believes safe and inclusive schools have a critical role to play in creating
that world. In addition to being a teacher for grades 5-12 and college level classes, Kathleen has
decades of experience in school visits including school assemblies, classroom visits and working
one on one with students. Kathleen travels and teaches internationally offering facilitation,
community building and conflict transformation, using practical skills that lead to reconciliation
with ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. She has worked with schools, community
groups, businesses, colleges, faith-based communities, hospitals, families, prison inmates, and
correctional and law enforcement employees. Kathleen’s website
is www.StrengthofConnection.com where her TEDx talks, books, workshops and music can be
found.

 Author of How Giraffe Found Their Hearts and How Giraffes Got Their Ears,
children’s story picture books, and
 Conductor for Giraffe Tales, a children’s CD setting these stories to music
 Co-author with Jared Finkelstein of Choice: A field guide for navigating the
polarization of our world and living interdependently

 Certified Trainer for the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC)
 TEDxTalks: Houses of Healing, TEDxMonroe Correctional Complex; The Art of
Listening, TEDxRainier; Fearless Women, TedxSeattle

 Conductor on multiple Rainier Chamber Winds classical music recordings

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

Book Blurb:

Long, long ago yet not so far away, Jordan Giraffe was searching for something to fill the hollow, empty space in her chest. Acting on the advice of her friends in nature, Jordan tries to fill her chest with carrots, stars, and pond water. After several unsatisfying attempts, Jordan hears the song of a young boy and follows the sound until she meets him. The boy helps Jordan hear the song inside herself, and in doing so, she discovers her own heart, the very thing she was searching for all along.

Purchase Link…https://www.amazon.com/How-Giraffes-Found-Their-Hearts/dp/1735789100/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1BC152130OBGS&keywords=how+giraffes+found+their+hearts+kathleen+macferran&qid=1662342284&sprefix=how+giraffes+found+their+heats+kathleen+macferran%2Caps%2C68&sr=8-1

Website: www.strengthofconnection.com

Mail:

Kathleen Macferran
PO Box 10009
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-0009

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Alone Like Me by Rebecca Evans

TITLE: Alone Like Me

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Rebecca Evans

PUBLISHER: Anne Schwartz Books, 2022

SYNOPSIS: Liling and her family have moved from their rural farm to an overwhelming urban city. Because of Chinese law, Liling can’t go to school and spends her days with Mama or Baba at work. At the playground, the other children throw sand at her and tease her old red coat and dirty shoes.
    
But after she shares a smile with a girl in a bright yellow jacket who lives in an apartment beneath hers, Liling has a big idea! She draws a picture and lowers it down to the girl–Qiqi–who returns it with a drawing of her own. When the new friends meet face to face, Liling takes Qiqi’s hand, and they walk bravely into the park–together.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK :  Change can be hard. Many changes all at once can be overwhelming. Rebecca Evans’ picture book, ALONE LIKE ME, follows the journey of one country girl’s move to the city. Liling has many new things to deal with…leaving her small rural farm, no longer being able to afford to attend school, and trying to make new friends. But it’s hard to meet new people when everyone makes fun of her old red coat and dirty shoes. That is, until one day a flash of yellow from another apartment balcony offers Liling a chance to start fresh and make a new friend in the big city. 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: The Blur by Minh Le

TITLE: The Blur

AUTHOR: Minh Le

ILLUSTRATOR: Dan Santat

PUBLISHER: Alfred A Knopf, 2022

SYNOPSIS:

From the very beginning, there was something different about this child…

An ultrasonic voice. Fantastically elastic limbs. Super-magnetic powers. But it wasn’t until the child took her first steps that she became: THE BLUR!

Nothing can stand in her way as she takes the world by storm: always on the move and darting into danger! All too soon, she is zipping through the days, and zooming over the years…

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : Any parent will be able to relate to this beautifully created story by author, Minh Le. Any child will be fascinated by the chance to glimpse not only into their own past, but to also take a peek into their future. Add to this stellar story stunning illustrations by Caldecott medalist, Dan Santat. From the moment a child is born, the stage is set for a whirlwind journey from infancy to adulthood, and all parents will feel the tug of heart strings as they remember their own “blur” moments of watching their own children blossom! 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 orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 23rd!***

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: Tommy Turtle by Mary & Michael Schmidt

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, Mary L Schmidt, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Tommy Turtle”. Take it away, Mary…

Tommy Turtle by Mary & Michael Schmidt

I always have a book or even three books that I read, in the same week. Books have always been my thing. It seemed like every time I turned around, I was obtaining a new library card due to the current one being stamped complete. Diving into a good book made any day perfect and you would be surprised at the number of books I read over and over.  I drew paper dolls and clothes for them, and using watercolor as my medium when painting scenes, especially flowers. I continued with art in high school exploring a wide variety of arts and I loved it! The creative side of me loves to be an amateur “shutter-bug” and we have an online art gallery. In college I went into the sciences of all things and received a bachelor’s degree in the Science of Nursing. My nursing career was highly successful, and I hung up my nursing hat in December 2012, due to disability.

Now that may not seem like a writer could be born with that background, but it happened. I have published 30 + books since 2015 – from memoirs to recipe, comical memes, and illustrated children’s literature.

Tommy Turtle is my new release. School will start soon, and this is the book I wished I’d read when school started when I was a child. Tommy Turtle is a shy land turtle who likes to hide inside his shell. Tommy represents children who are shy around other children and adults, and he is nervous to play or speak. Most children are shy from time to time and it’s important for children to understand shyness and how to act around others who are or aren’t shy. Children need to know that shyness is normal, and they need positive encouragement from peers, family, and teachers/adults in their lives. Tommy Turtle helps parents and teachers reinforce positive behaviors in an imaginative setting of a park and mud puddles as they learn about land turtles and shyness. Learning and sharing are essential for social development in all children. 

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

Mary L. Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson, and she is a retired registered nurse, who won the coveted Leora B. Stroup Bachelor of Science in Nursing Award for outstanding clinical performance, community involvement and academic achievement in Nursing Award, while at Fort Hays State University. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and has taught kindergarten Catechism; she has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school music children. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. Her husband, Michael Schmidt aka A. Raymond, rounds out this co-author duo
Together they have published thirty plus books and counting since retirement; the first a memoir, When Angels Fly, followed by an Art Picture book featuring her own works of art, one cookbook, and the rest for young children. Protecting children from molestation is important to her, and with that in mind she wrote Suzy Has A Secret. Seeing what bullies can do to a child inspired her to write the book, The Big Cheese Festival. Thus far, twelve books have been published in their “Shadow and Friends” series for children. Schmidt designs all of her book covers and illustrations. 

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

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-Turtle-Mary-Schmidt-ebook/dp/B09XNTKRDQ/

Website: https://www.whenangelsfly.net

Email: mary.mmschmidt@gmail.com

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Ah-Fur, Super Sleuth – The Case Of The Missing Moggies by Debra Clewer

TITLE: Ah-Fur, Super Sleuth: The Case of The Missing Moggies

AUTHOR: Debra Clewer

ILLUSTRATOR: Kym Langfield

PUBLISHER: Morris Publishing, 2022

SYNOPSIS: When expert Persian cat detective, Ah-Fur, answers an urgent call on his special orders phone in his Australian office, he knows trouble is afoot.

The Australian Prime Minister, Martin Bigcheese, is on the line. The English Prime Minister, Ivor Bighouse has lost two cats. His ginger cat Winston, and his tabby Ponzie, have disappeared in London. One from his office at 10 Downing Street and one from his country residence.

Put on a special flight to England, Ah-Fur and his cousin, Show-Fur, plan the investigation and go through their list of subjects. Ah-Fur thinks he knows who did this dastardly deed. But is he right?

Join their adventures as they track the kidnappers in a country strange to them.

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I have to begin this review with the acknowledgment that I don’t usually read or review this type of children’s book. Detective stories are not usually my thing, but I wanted to give this book a try. A few things, like the fact it’s written from an Australian language/dialect viewpoint caused me some reading confusion. There was also a bit too much “telling” over “showing” for my tastes, and occasionally a bit of overexplaining what the reader should be able to figure out on their own through a strong story. Those personal preferences aside, THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOGGIES does manage to provide young readers with a cute who-done-it adventure where Ah-Fur and his cousin Show-Fur travel to a foreign country in the hopes of recovering some important kidnapped kitties. Author, Debra Clewer, has written a nice story that would make a cute addition to many libraries!

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.

Ebook and paperback editions available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers where children’s books are sold.

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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: Sloth Sleeps Over by Blythe Russo

TITLE: Sloth Sleeps Over

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Blythe Russo

PUBLISHER: Viking, 2022

SYNOPSIS: Sloth is invited to her first sleepover at her best friend Paloma’s house and even though she doesn’t quite know what to expect, she’s very confident in her sleep skills. She’s an expert when it comes to napping, dozing, or catching some Zs, so she’s ready to excel at sleepovers too.

But when she arrives, she finds out that Paloma wants to stay up all night! Will Sloth be able to keep her eyes open or is their friendship in for a rude awakening?

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : Ever since the movie, Zootopia, I’ve fallen in love with sloths. They are such incredible animals and any book with sloths in them are sure to entertain! Debut author/illustrator Blythe Russo creates a cute point of view when Sloth gets invited for a sleep over, only to discover the very thing they WON’T be doing is SLEEP! Sloth is disappointed and afraid she will hurt her friend’s feelings by falling sleep during all the fun activities. Young readers will love following Sloth’s adventures as she discovers staying awake can actually be a lot of fun! A cute 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: Bianca The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess by Meg Welch Dendler

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, Meg Welch Dendler, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess”. Take it away, Meg…

Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess by Meg Welch Dendler

When I wrote the first version of Bianca’s story, I was in 5 th grade. It received recognition from a contest the University of Illinois, and I was hooked on being a writer. The story changed over the years. It was even a sy-fy farce at one point in college. When I began selling my writing in the 1990s, my hope was to have it be one of those beautifully illustrated picture books I grew up with. But that’s not what publishers are up to these days. As I fussed with the story itself over the years, I started to wonder what exciting things could happen to Bianca between escaping her castle tower and finding the dragon. The more I fussed, the more the tale grew. Eventually, this brave princess book developed into a specifically crafted “hero journey” tale.

I was already several years into self-publishing when I realized Bianca’s story was going to be a chapter book, and branching off into fairy-tale land was not on my radar. My Cats in the Mirror series—about my rescue cats and their lives as important aliens from a spaceship hovering not far from earth—was well underway. I even had a dog-themed companion book (Max’s Wild Night). When I showed up for in-person events, folks knew me as the “cat book lady.” How would that branding suffer if I switched to a
princess hunting a dragon? I wasn’t sure, but I knew I had to try. Bianca’s story just wouldn’t leave me alone.

So, over 2016, I polished the manuscript, ran through nearly all of it with my critique group, and enlisted my artist daughter to draw the dragon for the cover. The book was finally published in November of 2017.

In 2018, Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess was honored as Best Juvenile Book by the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, and the reviews were wonderful. I could breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, once the first Bianca story was out in the world, I’d already started making notes for a sequel. I was distracted for a bit by a Christmas book in the cat series and a syfy novel for adults, but Bianca: Journey to Ryuugito flew into the world in February of 2022.

It has been a weird time to publish new stories, but my view of books is that they are forever. It may take a while for Bianca to find her feet, but she’s not going anywhere. And yes, I have notes for Book 3 already.

One of the main things I share with kids who tell me they love to write is to save those stories. It doesn’t matter how silly they may seem. You never know what it might develop into.

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

Meg Welch Dendler is the author of nine middle grade books: her Cats in the Mirror series and the
Princess Bianca series. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her family and possibly alien rescue cats.

Book Blurb:

Princess Bianca had never set foot outside the castle walls. Not once in her over-protected, pink, fluffy life. But when a dragon was spotted in the land and fear spread that the monster had conquered the king and his brave knights, Bianca realized that it was her duty to protect her kingdom. She will have to prove that she can be braver and stronger than anyone believed because the threat outside the protection of her castle tower was more dangerous and magical than she ever imagined possible.Perfect book for fairy-tale fans and dragon-lovers alike!

Website: www.megdendler.com

Blog: www.megdendler.blogspot.com

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/megdendler

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MegDendlerAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MegWelchDendler

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Octopus Soup by Mercer Mayer

TITLE: Octopus Soup

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Mercer Mayer

PUBLISHER: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2011

SYNOPSIS: Early one morning an octopus leaves the safety of his parents’ home and sets out on the adventure of his life. He climbs into a boat, hides in a tackle box, gets thrown to shore, scuttles to a restaurant, plunges into a water pitcher, escapes from a greedy chef, hides among some melons, gets chased back to the ocean, narrowly avoids being made into Octopus Soup, and finally swims home to his mom’s loving tentacles. With graphic, digital artwork, Mercer Mayer takes you on a wordless journey you’ll never forget!

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : Anyone who knows my love for picture books, knows I grew up adoring Mercer Mayer and his Little Critters books! I even went so far as requesting to be his Facebook friend (which he graciously accepted!) and have one of his autographed books in my personal collection. He’s one of the reasons I became a children’s book author…to follow in his path of sharing my books with the world.

I am a huge fan of his artful talent and OCTOPUS SOUP does not disappoint! Young readers…or readers of any age…will love studying each illustration in this wordless story to discover what happens to one young octopus when he decides to go on a grand adventure! I tried really hard to select just one illustration as my favorite but it is impossible as Mr. Mayer’s drawings are so creatively whimsical. Children will love being able to create their own story simply by flipping the pages of this fun read. And I’m sure everyone will have a laugh at the surprise ending…everyone that is, except for the poor walrus chef who doesn’t get a chance to enjoy some octopus soup after all! A fun 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!



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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 orders happening now and paperback edition releasing August 23rd!***

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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: Scarecrow Magic by Ed Masessa

TITLE: Scarecrow Magic

AUTHOR: Ed Masessa

ILLUSTRATOR: Matt Myers

PUBLISHER: Orchard Books, 2015

SYNOPSIS: Scarecrow plays by the light of the moon. He jumps rope and dances and belts out a tune. Ghoulies and ghosties have fun through the night. Then as the sun rises, they scurry from sight. As night time falls and the moon appears, magic is building in the air. The time has finally come, and Scarecrow is ready to play. Slowly, all his friends start to arrive and they all have a good time. But soon, playtime is over and the sun starts to rise. Back at his post, Scarecrow bids his friends good night as he thinks of the next time the moon will rise and the magic will return. SCARECROW MAGIC is spooky fun that’s just perfect for Halloween!

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK : I can feel it in the air…Fall is on the way and anyone who knows me, KNOWS I love the Fall! Cooler temperatures, cloudy rainy days, and of course, Fall is the gateway to the holidays! Illustrator Matt Myers creates stunning illustrations to breathe life into cornfield scarecrow, turning him into a romping, stomping skeleton. Author Ed Masessa creates a whimsical Halloween story, full of fun rhyme and lyrical images that will engage young readers all around the world! 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