Butterball’s Christmas Surprise follows the life of an adorable poodle as she prepares for Christmas. Butterball goes shopping, decorates a tree, and goes to the groomer to get ready for the big day. Butterball gets into mischief along the way, but does her best to show her mummy that she’s a good dog and is rewarded with a special visit from Rudolph and Santa.
This is an adorable holiday picture book that is perfect for young readers who are advancing to stories with full sentences and paragraphs. There are no difficult words, but word repetition will help develop reading comprehension and confidence.
Each character is doe eyed and very cute. The illustrations cover each page with a soft color palette and simple yet emotive graphic art. Readers are given a challenge at the beginning of the story to find 12 Christmas Candy Canes throughout the story ensuring that readers will be fully engaged with this entertaining book. The bonus ‘Fun Questions’ section at the back of the book makes this book a full reading comprehension lesson in itself.
Author Julia Seaborn provides elementary readers, parents, and teachers with another beautifully illustrated children’s book that is a prefect fit for the holidays, as a learning tool, or as a delightful bedtime story.
Pages: 32 | ASIN: B08XQ6F32Z
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Baku is a young dragon who had his first day of school and is nervous to go back. He’s so nervous that he has butterflies in his tummy and all his huffing and puffing is burning up the house. His mother provides Baku with a coping mechanism for his anger and sends him off to school where he uses his new coping skills to get through a second day of school.
Baku: The Not So Angry Dragon is a delightful children’s picture book that provides readers with some very good ways to handle stress and anger in their lives. This wonderful book is filled with charming grainy comic art that has surprising depth in each image and a soft color palate that makes each illustration very appealing. This story takes the standard dragon traits; flying, fire breathing, etc., and maximizes the cute factor. I really enjoyed the detail in each image, which will certainly bring children back to this book again and again.
Author Lisa Alfrey gives parents and teachers a brilliant kids book that teaches mindfulness through a fun and interactive story that any child will be able to relate to. I would recommend this picture book to any family with a child that is going through a lot of change and would like to introduce simple mindfulness techniques that can really improve their lives.
Pages: 18 | ASIN: B08P5Q4HGL
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A Dog Named Zero and The Apple With No Name is a wonderful children’s book that teaches counting in an fun and imaginative way. What inspired you to write this book?
My older brother is a mathematics professor, and he said to me one day that he has spent a lifetime with numbers because of the number zero. And when I did my research and checked on what kind of counting picture books used the number zero, I didn’t find any. I am sure there are some, but I couldn’t find any, and the number zero is the most important number of all numbers.
How do you see this book being used by teachers and parent to educate their children?
That’s difficult to say. I hope teachers and parents will enjoy the humor in the book and use the boohooing and sniffing words in a way that will make children laugh. There is no better way to learn than through laughter.
Did the art in the book follow what you had already written, or did the writing follow the art?
That’s an excellent question. It happens both ways for all of my children’s picture books. I might draw a quirky character, and then the story comes from the drawing. There are times when the story comes first, and then I decide the art style I’ll use that fits the story.
Do you have plans to write more educational picture books?
I feel all children’s picture books are educational. Some are more specific with one point to be made, as in A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name, than others. I have a new picture book that was published March 1st titled Letting Go. It’s about a leaf that doesn’t want to let go, a cycle of life story. And I have another picture book coming out titled Birds Fly, A Cat Tries on June 1st. It’s a wordless picture book about a cat who wants to fly. Each time the brave tabby tries, he fails. But in the end, with some help, the cat finally takes flight.
Both stories have a message, and although they are not as educational as a counting book, my point is, there is always a lesson to learn from every one of my picture books. Or at least, that is my hope.
My plan, though, is to publish at least one picture a year. This year is different, as I will have published the two I mentioned above, Letting Go and Birds Fly, A Cat Tries.
Posted in Interviews
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All People Are Beautiful celebrates diversity and highlights the beauty of our differences. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I truly believe diversity is reality and that children need to know that our differences are what unite us, not divide us. I think this message is so important for kids to be exposed to until it becomes unconsciously integrated — until it becomes a truth they know deep down! I truly feel the conversation of diversity never gets old and can never be talked about too early. I feel our differences help this world be a really cool place to both live and love.
The art in this book is delightful and beautiful. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Cha Consul?
My partnership with Cha was kismet. Cha is an absolutely phenomenal illustrator. By the time we connected, I already had in my mind what I thought the illustrations would look like. Cha took my vision, added her creative flare and gave my words a face.
It was important to me that readers got to see bright colors, different skin tones, features, and faces of children from all over the world in this book. Cha helped me achieve that goal and I’m grateful. It was great to work with her because she loves diversity just as much as I do.
Interestingly enough, All People Are Beautiful was the first children’s book she ever illustrated, so I feel very special.
Because of COVID, locations, and our time difference, we did all the collaboration for All People Are Beautiful virtually from opposite sides of the world. Cha is based in the Philippines and I am based just outside Nashville, Tennessee, so there were lots of virtual video calls to make sure we aligned on the presentation.
I am forever grateful for her artistry and I am looking forward to working together again in the near future!
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I want readers to take away that everyone is beautiful regardless of what you look like, where you’re from, your culture, your hobbies, or anything else that makes you different. I want readers to know we like different things and that’s OK. Our differences are what unite us, not divide us. I want kids to know that it’s cool to talk about our differences in fun and interactive ways.
Do you plan to write more children’s book on this or other topics?
So I’m a true ENFP and a Creative, so I’m always on the go! I’ve actually recently finished writing a few new stories.
I’ve written a really cool story about a group of animal friends that decide to switch places for a day and realize it’s no fun being someone else. This is definitely another diversity themed book. I’ve also written another book about beautiful rainbows and the things the colors remind us of.
Both are books for early readers so I’m looking forward to sharing these with children everywhere.
Posted in Interviews
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Who doesn’t need a little fun with their facts? When dry nonfiction material can be made more palatable, everyone wins. Limerick Comics, written by Robert Hoyman and illustrated by Steve Feldman, presents a mountain of facts while simultaneously handing readers entertaining limericks. The limericks do a wonderful job of drawing readers in and piquing interest while Feldman’s illustrations give readers much to ponder. They are colorful, detailed, and provide a perfect visual for both the limerick and the corresponding fact.
Hoyman and Feldman seem to have struck upon a fantastic vein in the nonfiction genre. I can see their limericks as a wonderful addition to middle school libraries and classrooms. They provide quick bites of science and history in easily digestible comic frames and short bursts of facts. I can say even as an adult reader, I learned quite a bit from Hoyman and Feldman’s comic in a short amount of time. From rollercoasters to food fights, this pair has created a comic that will most certainly appeal to young adult readers.
I would have given anything to have a book like this on hand for my own children. Encouraging them to read nonfiction material was always important to me, but it was difficult to find options that kept their interest. Hoyman and Feldman more than meet this challenge. Readers who appreciate and seek humor will love the limerick presentation, and educators will be instant fans of the accompanying facts.
Limerick Comics is a fun children’s picture book that educates as wells as it entertains.
Pages: 34 | ASIN: B07MFC7KQ5
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There may be no better time for a children’s book that celebrates and honors diversity than the present. Young readers are bound to have questions about the world around them and the feelings they perceive in the adults they encounter each day. All People are Beautiful, written by Vincent Kelly and illustrated by Cha Consul, is the visually stunning children’s picture book that drives home the fact that we are all beautiful through the differences in our talents, cultures, age, appearance, and race.
I am going to throw this out there in hopes the right person in each school system hears it–every school needs this book. Kelly and Consul’s children’s book is a must-have for every school library and would make a fantastic addition to a classroom collection on diversity. I can see this book fitting easily into several different social studies units for grades K-3. With truly beautifully-fashioned illustrations, All People are Beautiful quickly captures readers’ attention and makes for a fantastic read aloud. It’s not often that I tout a book as one suitable for repeated read-alouds, but this one is short enough and the message is a powerful one. Students would both benefit from and enjoy hearing it over and over again.
I am giving All People are Beautiful, written by Vincent Kelly and illustrated by Cha Consul, a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This is the children’s book we all need. The message throughout Kelly and Consul’s work is one of unity, mutual respect, and harmony. There is no better theme, and there is no better addition to a child’s bookshelf.
Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1735950416
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Zero just wants to get his paws on that apple. The apple, who has no name, knows not what awaits him. Zero is in no way tall enough to reach the apple with no name and needs a little help from his friends. Counting their way from 0 to 10, the ever-growing group of friends cooperate to help Zero in his efforts. His friends vary in size and shape, but they all have one thing in common, they want nothing more than to give their friend a hand. Will they make it? Will Zero ever get his apple?
A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name, by T.C. Bartlett, is the beautifully illustrated children’s book focused on counting. There are many counting books out there, but Bartlett has a whole new take on the concept. With a more advanced vocabulary that challenges readers, A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name contains bits of humor that parents and teachers will also appreciate–those are the best kinds of children’s books!
I have used my share of counting books over the years as a parent and elementary teacher, and Bartlett’s work is one of the best I have seen. There is much more to this little gem than meets the eye. Each of the different animals in the series of numbers offers readers the opportunity for discussion. Parents and teachers will easily find ways to have conversations about why and how each type of animal might want to help Zero. There are plenty of teaching opportunities to be had within the pages of Bartlett’s work.
I highly recommend this adorable counting story to anyone looking for an alternative to the traditional counting books. A Dog Named Zero and the Apple With No Name makes a great addition to anyone building a library for infants and toddlers.
Pages: 48 | ISBN: 1733908617
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Grotto of Chaos follows a group of friends who disappear into a world like none could have dreamed and set out on a wild adventure. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I remember visiting Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Located there is the Marvel Cave which is said to be the 3rd largest cave system in North America. How it was discovered was a young Osage tribe member was running through the woods when he fell through a sinkhole into the earth several hundred feet. I could only imagine what was going through his mind. He must have thought that he was being swallowed up into some unknown world. It made me think of what would happen to my characters if they did the same but slide even further. And then I thought, what if nature evened the odds by providing a bioluminescent light for them? Could five young teens and a dog escape from such a deep pocket in the Earth while being hunted by unworldly creatures trying to catch them?
Clarence and his friends were all interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
The kids in the book are like my offspring. They have many of my own traits as well as characteristics of people that are close to me. For example, we can take my character, Rasheed. One of his skills is that he is a sword fencer who dreams of one day being in the Olympics. I myself have been a fencer and did actually try out for the Olympics. Olivia is a dancer and martial artist. I too, have spent many years studying various martial arts, and my mother and daughters were dancers. Even the main protagonist, Clarence, was named after my fraternal grandfather, who passed away from brain cancer when I was very young. My grandfather Clarence was said to have been full of so much ingenuity, which you can see in Clarence in the book. Even the ethnic diversity of the circle of friends is based on people who have been very close to me throughout my life. So much of my own essence and the attributes of my loved ones are embedded into my characters. So for me, my characters are very personal, as if I have put part of my soul into this story.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
From start to finish, there is a lot of action in this story. But that does not mean that there is little dialog either. While the kids are being thrown into constant danger, they are constantly communicating to combine their efforts and skills to work their way out of trouble. Sometimes Clarence may rely on memories of the past to help the situation at hand. Aside from the characters, world-building was very important. Many mythological creatures are encountered, but also, a lot of science is embedded into this universe for believability. Creatures such as krakens and ghost might show up in only fiction, but the fact that you really don’t know what you would find miles into the earth, also make it feasible. According to many theories related to quantum physics, since there is an infinite number of universes, these creatures actually exist. Since the gang finds themselves in a system with somewhat of a Mandela Effect, that is where worlds collide, then all things are possible.
This is book one in The Exploits of Clarence Griffin series. What can readers expect in book two?
Without any spoilers, for those who have finished book one, we know that Clarence and his companions do not get out of this story unscathed and without debts. In book two, he will be asked to pay back that debt, thereby facing many more perils. The gang will need to stick together more than ever, and increasingly sharpen their skills for what lies ahead. Book two will also introduce new characters and foes, many of which are like none other ever featured in literature before.
Posted in Interviews
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