A World of Wonder by Brent A. Ford and Lucy McCullough Hazlehurst is an educational combination of photographs and poetry, designed to be enjoyed by parents and children together. Giving the latter an interest in the world and to act as a starting point for appreciating its wonders. It consists of 41 high-quality, color images of nature and natural phenomena across the globe, each paired with a relevant, short poem – some newly written for the book, and some classics. The interactive copy has links to further information related to each photo.
The first thing that struck me was the quality of the photos, which are expertly-framed, beautiful shots of a range of animals, scenery, and weather across the globe, as well as views from beyond the upper atmosphere. As an adult, I still wonder at many of them, so it must be magical for a child. They evoke multiple emotions – some are dramatic, some cute, some calm – but all are of a suitable nature for young children, as should be expected.
The accompanying poems are apt for the stated age range of 3-8, and grade level K-2; they’re short, accessible and fun to read aloud. Some are humorous, while many are more instructive about the habits of animals or natural processes. They match well with the photos, and explore different aspects of life on Earth.
The combined variety of photos and poems are ideal for promoting conversation of all kinds between parents and children; it’s easy to tell that the authors have experience in education. Not just parents, but teachers could certainly get a lot of use out of this book, too.
It’s not particularly long, and because it’s designed to be picked up and put down, it seems perfect for different attention spans and available periods of time. It could be used at bedtime, or for car journeys.
The amazing choice of photographs enables you to revisit this book many times, so parents can ask different questions to highlight different points and to introduce more complex ideas as their child grows. This flexibility of use would is a huge draw for parents. It would be ideal for guessing games – trying to remember the photo from the poem, or even the poem from the photo. Budding artists could get some great inspiration from it, and it could be a very useful starting point for crafting projects or for guided research about animal habits and habitat.
I appreciate the authors’ aims and the work that they have put into the book in order to achieve them. A World of Wonder truly delivers on the wonder that it promises.
Pages: 88 | ASIN: B072LJWBSZ
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Into The Liquor Store follows Bink, a graffiti artist and connoisseur of cannabis, through a series of life events set against a dystopian future. What was your inspiration for this creative novel?
When I started writing the novel, it was supposed to be an autobiographical movie. Then I decided to have the events take place in the future; mostly so that I wouldn’t get in trouble with my family. With hesitation I let my mother read the first chapter, and she suggested I write it as a book instead. I even reached out to an Iranian graffiti artist who goes by A1one (Alone) and he gave me some encouraging words. Bink makes a reference about him in the novel as well.
Bink’s character slowly builds throughout the novel and ends up being a fairly deep person. What were the themes you used when creating his character?
I focused on Bink’s trajectory and growth. The last thing I wanted was a one dimensional character. He relies heavily on his connections, he has flaws, and towards the end he’s redeemed to an extent. I didn’t want Bink to be Mr. Perfect, and I wanted the people who interact with him to hold him accountable.
The novel is set in a dystopian future earth where graffiti is a regulated art form and taggers are well respected. Where did this idea start for you and how did it develop as you wrote?
In the prologue we start to see Bink’s love for the 21st century, 2010 through 2019 to be exact, embraced in his nature. He refers to it as a classic era. So I imagine there must be galleries that depict street art in the same light as the Renaissance. Art and specifically painting, I feel will be around forever.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
The next book is still being developed. I can’t say much about it, but it will take place in the same universe as Into The Liquor Store. It will focus on the behind the scenes work of the government. The movie adaptation, of the same name, is being completed and soon my collaborator and I will send it to contests.
The worst has yet to happen to Le’roy, of Egyptian and Russian decent, when his girlfriend of three years breaks up with him; dealing with the conflicting societies of a 23rd century Iran, he often feels nostalgia for a century to which he was not born.
Le’roy, an artist who abstains from tobacco and alcohol, bombards his mind with vices such as: lust, marijuana, and psychedelics. He must come to terms with his heightened status of celebrity and the fact that a lottery can enhance his lifestyle, but a vision transcends a lifetime.
Posted in Interviews
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Bean in the Garden is the first book of the children’s series, Bean in the Garden, by Ann Bevans and Matthew Ethan Gray. The books are designed with preschool children in mind, so Bean in the Garden is short, colorful, and easy for young children to understand.
Bean sets out to take a walk around the garden, and packs his favorite toys in his backpack. On the way, he meets Mrs. Berg, who has a new teapot but is out of tea. Bean offers to get her some tea as part of his adventure. Along the way, he meets three little peas who are about his own age, and they all have toys just like his. When he discovers a hole in his backpack and all of his toys are gone, he realizes the three peas were trying to return what they had found. The story is all about sharing, making friends, and being kind; a great message for preschool kids.
The first thing that struck me about the book was the illustrations. Mr. Gray’s artistry fills the page with bright colors and engaging images. This is a world of vegetable people. Bean is, of course, a bean and his mother is a lovely red beet. His neighbors include a friendly lettuce, Mrs. Berg, and a potato, Miss Tots. The clues to Bean’s toy dilemma are right there in the pictures so adults can encourage their children to search for the “lost” toys as they read along. Kids may also want to look at the pictures and imagine their own Bean adventures.
Another message I got from the story is that some things that seem bad, like a hole in your backpack, don’t have to be a big crisis. Bean reacts with shock when he realizes his toys are lost, but instead of being angry, he realizes that the three peas were trying to help him all along. It’s a good way to teach children about kindness and understanding, especially since kids who will be reading this are learning how to control their expectations and emotions.
There are three books in the series thus far, each available in both print and eBook formats. For toddlers and preschoolers, you can’t go wrong adding this book to their reading list. You can get more information about the authors, the series, and links to purchase the print and eBooks at http://beaninthegarden.com/
Pages: 36 | ASIN: B01LNRBK7K
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