Book review: How the movies were invented by Gerald Ewing

  • Title and author:  How the Movies Were Invented by Gerald Ewing
  • Publisher:  Rapaco Kids Publishing
  • Date of publication:  May 20th, 2018
  • Pages:  20 pages
  • Genre:  Children’s books / inventions

DESCRIPTION:

Did you know that motion pictures began thanks to a bet about horse racing that a billionaire named Leland Stanford and his friend made? Does the horse take off the ground all four legs when galloping? But how could people from the end of the 19th century actually find out the truth if the horse ran so fast? The answer was simple – photography!

That’s what we would say today. But back then, in 1872, photography was very primitive and quite slow. With a few years of experiments, the bet finally was solved! And as a side effect, we have moving pictures that are called movies today.

Written for children 7-12 years old, the book is also great for young and old who are curious about inventions, and in this case, “a clever invention without any doubt.”

Buy the book:    Amazon 

REVIEW:

I loved this informative yet entertaining children’s book. The author relates how movies were inadvertently invented because of a bet between two gentlemen at a horse race. The book is written solely in rhyme and is beautifully illustrated. The pictures were interesting and even made me smile! This book would be ideal for ages 6+.

There is a silhouette of a running horse on the bottom corner of the pages which would appear to move when the book is flipped.

I didn’t see an illustrator’s name so the author must have both written and illustrated the book.

 

Book review: Charley Poon’s Pomes by Robin Hawdon

  • Title and author:  Charley Poon’s Pomes by Robin Hawdon and illustrated by Wendy Halle
  • Publisher:  Clink Street Publishing
  • Date published:  November 7, 2017
  • Pages:  70
  • Genre:  childrens fiction / poetry

Description:

Unable to find good funny poems to read aloud to his grandchildren – other than the seventy year old A.A. Milne classics – British playwright Robin Hawdon sat down to write some himself. The result is this collection of thirty hilarious and touching poems, beautifully illustrated by Wendy Hoile, which recount the exploits of young Charley Poon – every parent’s nightmare – and his eccentric menagerie of nursery animals.

The poems cover everything from youthful games and exploits, to the problems of growing up, to the ups and downs of school and family life, and the joys of country and seaside holidays. Parents and grandparents will be delighted to have something new and entertaining with which to occupy those tricky lights-out bedtime moments.

Buy the book:   Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Meet the author:  Dividing his time between Bath, Australia and the South of France, actor, playwright and grandfather Robin Hawdon has enjoyed a successful forty year career in the entertainment industry. During the early years he was a regular face on British TV — appearing in many series and co-starring with Michael Crawford in ITV’s ‘Chalk and Cheese’ and starring in a number of films. He has trod the boards as Hamlet, Henry V and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion
and in leading roles in London’s West End. Later his love of writing dominated his career and he is now recognised as one of the UK’s most prolific comedy playwrights —with productions including The Mating Game which has played in over thirty countries and Don’t Dress For Dinner which ran in the West End for six years before playing on Broadway and around the English speaking world. Many of his plays are published by Samuel French and Josef Weinberger.  Robin has also directed a number of stage productions, and in the 1980’s founded the Bath Fringe festival, and subsequently became Director of the Theatre Royal Bath, England’s premier touring theatre. He has written several novels including A Rustle in the Grass, published by Hutchinsons in 1984 and republished recently by Thistle. A second novel, The Journey was published in 2002 by Hawthorns and a third, Survival of the Fittest, by SBPR in 2013. His first foray into children’s literature,

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   goodreads

REVIEW:

Charley Poon’s Pomes turned out to be much more than I expected.  The writer uses a variety of poetic cadences for the different pieces.  The book begins with one of my favourites, limericks!  As entertaining as the poems are, they highlight the simple joys,  mysteries and challenges of childhood.  There were several poems that dealt with more serious subjects such as grownups and “If I was God”.

The illustrations are charming and there are plenty of wonky words and tongue twisters to wrap your brain around.  I really enjoyed the section entitled “SPELLING”.  My favourite animals were Sammy the Snouse and Squawker the Cockatoo.

Some of the poems in the book remind of  ee cummings’ poetry, who happens to be one of my favourite poets.

A lovely poetry book that can be enjoyed by children (and adults) of all ages.

 

 

Book review: The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle

  • The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle
  • Publisher:  Your Stories Matter
  • Genre:  children (ages 6-8 years)
  • Published: January 31, 2017
  • Author:   Beth Montgomery
  • Pages:  36 (softcover)

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Azzie doesn’t really like school. If she could spend every day drawing, painting and making stuff, things would be great. But she can’t. The teachers make her do other stuff. This nearly always means she has to read from the board, a worksheet or a text book. The trouble is, she really really struggles to read letters, words and numbers. This makes her feel stupid. But she knows she isn’t. If only she could tell someone …

This book has been written from the point of view of a child who feels misunderstood. She finds it very difficult to read, which makes school life a struggle. She feels stupid, even though she is clever and creative. She gets told off for messing around, when the truth is she can’t do what is asked of her because she has a specific learning difficulty.

This illustrated book helps parents, teachers, and other adults who support children, have a non-threatening discussion about dyslexia with children of primary school age. Children find it easier to relate to, and discuss, the character in the story rather than have all the attention focused on them.

Using the book as a catalyst for discussion, adults can use the illustrated story at home or in school with children who have dyslexia, or exhibit dyslexic tendencies. Teachers can use the book to help classmates better understand their peers who may struggle reading. Similarly, parents can use the book to help children better understand family members.

This book was written and illustrated by someone who is herself dyslexic, and is based on her own life. She wanted to do something to help children who, years later, are still facing the same lack of understanding in school.

Buy the book:  Amazon   

MEET THE AUTHOR:  Elizabeth Montgomery lives in Nottinghamshire, England. She studied a BA in Design at Leicester’s De Montfort University, going on to complete an MA in writing at Nottingham University. Montgomery pursued various careers, including teaching, working for the Prince’s Trust and designing bespoke shoes for celebrities, before finally becoming a registered nurse. She wrote the Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle to help children and adults accept the unique abilities of being dyslexic, instead of being made to feel bad and stupid.

Website  

Book Objectives

This book has been written from the point of view of a child who feels misunderstood. She finds it very difficult to read, which makes school life a struggle. She feels stupid, even though she is clever and creative. She gets told off for messing around, when the truth is she can’t do what is asked of her because she has a specific learning difficulty.

This illustrated book helps parents, teachers, and other adults who support children, have a non-threatening discussion about dyslexia with children of primary school age. Children find it easier to relate to, and discuss, the character in the story rather than have all the attention focused on them.

Using the book as a catalyst for discussion, adults can use the illustrated story at home or in school with children who have dyslexia, or exhibit dyslexic tendencies. Teachers can use the book to help classmates better understand their peers who may struggle reading. Similarly, parents can use the book to help children better understand family members.

Book Background

This book was written and illustrated by someone who is herself dyslexic, and is based on her own life. She wanted to do something to help children who, years later, are still facing the same lack of understanding in school.

As with all of its books, the publisher – Your Stories Matter – aims to help people know they are not alone with what makes them different. If a young person or adult can relate to a story, it gives them hope and encourages them to share their concerns. The publisher aims to provide free teaching resources for all of its books that can be used in schools, to help improve understanding and celebrate differences.

REVIEW:

What a delightful book!  The Back to Front World of Azzie Artbuckle is about a little girl who is smart, creative and who tries very hard to read.  But she can’t read.  No matter how hard she tries, she can’t remember how to pronounce a word she has already read on the same page.  She says:  “I can see the letters just fine, but I see them differently to everyone else”.

Azzie has Dyslexia.  But it’s ok.  With a little extra help she can learn to read at her own pace.

Beth Montgomery provides an informative introduction about neurodiverse children and their neurological conditions.  These children are often misunderstood, which exacerbates the stress they already feel when they cannot learn as quickly as other children.  The author explains that there are many “positives” to being “wired differently” and that we should champion and celebrate these differences with the children in our care.

I have a degree in speech therapy and work one-on-one with children four days a week.  This book has helped me to identify those children who are experiencing the same struggle and frustration as Azzie.  This book would be an excellent addition to any pre-school library or paediatrician’s office.

ABOUT YOUR STORIES MATTER:

About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.

For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books

Book review: Look out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding

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  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Price: $16.99 US/$18.00 CAN
  • Pages: 256
  • Physical Dimensions: 5-1/4″ x 7-5/8″
  • ISBN-13: 9780316298582
  • On Sale Date: 05/10/2016

Book Description: Kim Fitzgerald-Trout took to driving with ease–as most children would if their parents would ever let them try. She had to. After all, she and her siblings live in a car.

Meet the Fitzgerald-Trouts, a band of four loosely related children living together in a lush tropical island. They take care of themselves. They sleep in their car, bathe in the ocean, eat fish they catch and fruit they pick, and can drive anywhere they need to go–to the school, the laundromat, or the drive-in. If they put their minds to it, the Fitzgerald-Trouts can do anything. Even, they hope, find a real home.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Chapters/Indigo 

a77b9ac53833054b21144ca95cec1584Meet the author:  Esta Spalding is an a celebrated writer, poet and screenwriter who has garnered awards for her film and television work, as well as for her prose and poetry. Among these, she adapted Kate Atkinson’s novel Life After Life for Lionsgate Films and Jennifer Egan’s novel A Visit from the Goon Squad for Sundance Television.

This novel marks her debut on the children’s literature scene.

Connect with the author:   goodreads

 

REVIEW:

This book brought back so many memories of a story I read as a child.  It was part of a Reader’s Digest Condensed book and was about a family who lived in their car close to a beach.  I never forgot that story.

The Fitzgerald-Trout children are not your typical family set of siblings.  They are all related, in a manner of speaking.  Abandoned by their (many sets of) parents, the four children live together on the beach in a car.  They get up in the morning, brush their teeth, go to school and even go to the laundromat to do their laundry.  Realistic huh?  Not really. But that doesn’t matter because you’re not a grown-up reading this book.  You’re a 10 year old.  And to a 10 year old – this rocks!

A sweet and fun story with a few plot twists to keep you interested right until the very end. I would recommend this sweet story as a bedtime storybook.

 

 

 

 

Book review: Inspector Dewey by Kristen Heimerl, illustrated by Irene Bofill

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Book Details:
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Book Title:  Inspector Dewey written by Kristen Heimerl and illustrated by Irene Bofill

Category:  Children’s Fiction,  32 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Orange Frazer Press
Release date:  September 2015
Available for review in:  Print
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  August 31 to October 2, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

My name is Dewey–Inspector Dewey.

I live in the big green house on Hampshire Avenue with my family: Thumper, Lily, and Anna. I am the Big Cat—responsible for keeping everyone safe and in order. I do this quite well, in spite of the fact that managing my family is like, well, herding cats!

Mostly our life is peaceful. But one night it wasn’t. That was the night the bad guy showed up on our block. Of course, I knew exactly how to outsmart the outlaw, but—miserable mullet!—would Anna and the police understand my instructions?

To find out how the adventure ended, you’ll have to read my book. But I’ll give you a hint: there’s a reason I’m called Inspector Dewey.

Fifty percent of the profits from the sale of this book will fund veterinary care for pets whose families are in financial need, so that the animals can remain in their homes and out of the shelter system.

BECAUSE PETS BELONG WITH THEIR PEOPLE™

To learn more, visit threenorwegians.com

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble

Kristen Heimerl author pic

Meet the author:  Kristen HeimerlMarketing Officer, Strategy Expert, Innovator and Brand Builder, Kristen’s business career spans 20+ years serving the biggest brands in industry and the biggest hearts of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Kristen revels in bringing compelling products and services to life and helping leaders and individuals with big dreams realize their big goals.Kristen’s life joys include her 2+ year obsession creating the most beautiful self-published picture book possible, the breathtaking forests and lakes of her Minnesota birthplace, the family that really does love her no matter what, and her three magnificent Norwegian Forest Cats who together, with Kristen, helped catch the bad guy on their block that inspired her upcoming book (stake out and high speed chase included!)She holds a master of science in eCommerce from Carnegie Mellon University, an MBA from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and a BA from the University of St. Thomas. As the great transformer in her life, Kristen supports others’ education and literacy as an adjunct professor of business and strategy and, more recently, through her children’s book, Inspector Dewey (Available September 2015).Kristen’s site for her work “Inspector Dewey” will be premiering on May 31st, 2015. In addition, you can read more about Kristen’s work at threenorwegians.com, also live on May 31st.

Connect with Kristen:  

Website  ~   Facebook Author  ~   Facebook Inspector Dewey  

REVIEW:
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I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve read a cat detective story and I wasn’t disappointed! Inspector Dewey lives with his other cool cat friends Thumper, Lily and their friend Anna.  One night, when they were all snuggled in bed they were shocked from their sleep!  I won’t tell you anything else about the story but it gets really exciting!
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Kristen and Irene’s book is beautifully illustrated with large, colourful pictures that would easily appeal to a child.  I love the softness in the images that the illustrator used.  The font was large enough for a child who is learning to read.
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The back section of the book explains that 50% of the profits from the sale of the book will fund veterinary care for pets whose families are in financial need “because pets belong with their people”.
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A lovely story and book!
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Book review: Donkey’s Kite by Liana-Melissa Allen

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Book Description:

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it’s a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey’s kite doesn’t work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

Buy the book:     Website  –   Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author:  

Liana-Melissa Allen is a young author and illustrator of children’s books and books for youth. She has written, illustrated and published six books. Her most recent one is the colorfully illustrated children’s book “Donkey’s Kite”, the second book of “A Horse Valley Adventure” series. The first was “The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey”. The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of “A Horse Valley Adventure”.The magical world of fantasy has inspired Liana’s imagination since as long as she can remember. Part of this was fueled by her dad reading aloud to her every day when she was younger. As a result, reading is her primary passion along with music. These two passions feed her imagination into stories and drawings, which she joyously sketches out into storyboards for a potential book.

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist, and mostly enjoys older music, especially from the big band era and the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. While playing the piano, her imagination often leads to a great amount of improvising. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music became a priority, which ultimately resulted in theme music for “A Horse Valley Adventure”. The “Horse Valley” theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers.

Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers. Please visit her website at www.lmabooks.com for more information, and to contact her by email. Visit her on Facebook too.

Review:

Donkey’s Kite is an engaging account of four friends who want to enjoy a day of kite-flying.  They all seem lost in their own little worlds, however, and fail to notice that donkey can’t build a kite very well.  In the end, after help from a friendly goose, Donkey has rebuilt his kite successfully and all is well.

The book is written in a friendly tone, especially to be read aloud.  There are different lessons in this book, namely, cooperation, taking an interest in others and the small-mindedness of bullying.  The illustrations are simple, the expressions of their faces delightful and I love the little bird in almost every picture, especially reading the newspaper.  So cute!

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Book review: EXILE – Book 3 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia

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Book Description:

3-year-old Teodor has found a way to escape from kidnap, how long before he is safely home?  13-year-old Guy Erma has run away from everything he has even known and no longer knows what the future holds.They escaped through dark tunnels and back alleys but they also discovered a hidden terror that now threatens their entire planet.Two boys as different as two boys might be.  Their adventure has forged an unexpected friendship, but do they really trust each other?  Dare they share their darkest, deepest secrets?

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Meet the Author:  The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.
 

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barns & Noble

Review:

In part 3 of Guy Erma and Son of Empire we learn a bit more about the structure and size of the Dome itself. Guy and Teodor are together when Karl Valvanchi finally manages to reach him using telepathy. Teodor still doesn’t understand that Karl is trying to help him, all he knows is that he was told, that he is “Killer Valvanchi”. Guy has doubts about which side he is fighting for but knows that both of them are in trouble and need to stay together in order to survive.

Emperor Frederon seems unable to help Sayginn, Teodor’s mother to rescue her son. Sayginn is distraught and finally sees the Emperor for what he really is.

Princess Nell Valvanchi of the Zaracan Democratic Union has a keep interest in not only intergalactic politics but in Teodor himself. She finally reveals her true image to him as all along she has maintained her camouflage skills. The plot continues as another dangerous plot is revealed that could threaten all of Freyne and everyone in it. Can these three young people work together to prevent it?  An exciting conclusion to the third book in the Guy Erma Series. The plot was left open for a sequel (I hope!) 

 

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Book Review: Aoleon the Martian Girl: Science Fiction Saga – Part 1 – First Contact by Brent LeVasseur

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Book Description:

Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

Never…until now!

This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.

If only he can survive.

About​ the Author:
Brent LeVasseur

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:

website    twitter      facebook    themartiangirl.com

My review:

After quickly flicking through the pages of this book the thought that came to mind was “oooo!  this is going to be fun!”   The story was charming with quite a bit of dry humour that a young person would enjoy.  Brent used vivid descriptions to describe Gilbert’s home in the Nebraskan countryside.  I especially enjoyed reading them as they transported me back to my childhood living on a farm in the prairies.  The artwork just popped and I felt myself wanting to see this as a film.

What is so special about this book is the fact that Brent uses a fun method to teach young people about astronomy, geography, physics and science. (don’t tell your kids!) The vocabulary is pretty impressive – this book makes learning fun!   The end of the first book is really action-packed and I hadn’t expected a cliff-hanger.  I really want to know what happens next…when is the next book coming out?  😀

I received a copy of this book from the author free of charge.

You can buy  Aoléon The Martian Girl here:   Amazon

 

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