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The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot’s Encounters

Harlot is mostly driven by curiosity and a desire to find interesting things. Like those blue flowers she loves so much. Harlot’s Encounters in the Land of Ick and Eck is a dark children’s story. Harlot walks through this mythical world and often finds ‘friends’ to walk the distance with her. Typical of all children, she makes friends quickly. Often voices her thoughts. She does not seem to understand the concept of fear even when she is encased in a dome with rising temperatures. It is interesting to look at life from such a perspective.

This is definitely a dark fantasy children’s story, but not too dark though. It would make for an interesting and wonderful Halloween pick. Micah Genest does a great job of painting vivid pictures. Even with actual painted pictures within the book. The book provides more than enough material for the reader with an active imagination to set the mental scenes. Very colorful and delightfully sinewy characters. Each with a quirk of their own. Perhaps the biggest take for an adult in all this is the way all the characters just move together despite being vastly different.

Harlot is typical of any kid, really. She’s innocent and looks at the world into which she is cast with pure interest and curiosity. Never judging anything and anyone. She is very trusting with almost blind optimism. Most children who read this book will understand her desire to follow voices and strange creatures. This book reads a lot like a dream. With vivid pictures and whimsical occurrences.

Oh my, the songs and chants. Imagine how fun it would be to try this out at a Halloween sleep over. They are so interesting and fun to follow. They almost take the gloom out of this decidedly morbid tale. This could very well be my most liked parts of the book.

For a children’s book, the vocabulary is quite advanced and may prove challenging for children. However, this could be a good thing as it could be an exercise in building vocabulary. It could help develop an interest in learning and seeking out new words. It is doubtful that most children will read into the illustrations by John Bauer. See them as more than just pictures. You never know though, this could be another fun exercise for these malleable young minds.

This book may be aimed at children but adults will enjoy it too. It reads like a children’s book but the plot and writing itself are excellent. This book reminds me of the children’s book, In A Dark, Dark Room: and Other Scary Stories. Fascinating, morbid, curious, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Pages: 208 | ASIN: B07MXPYLJ7

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That Loving Gesture

Gloria D. Gonsalves Author Interview

Gloria D. Gonsalves Author Interview

Jai the Albino Cow is a lovely children’s book that teaches kids how special it is to be different. What was your inspiration for this book?

During a holiday in Austria while hiking going uphill, I felt exhausted and lay down on a grazing pasture. A brown calf approached and licked my face. That loving gesture was indelibly printed in my mind.

Once back home in Germany, I had an idea to write a story about cows. I vividly remember that the story lead was going to be a female and her name is Gundula. The idea landed on a list I keep for children’s story topics. I wrote, “Once upon a time, there were three cows Gold Bell, Spotty and their sister Gundula. They lived with their mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Moo, in the alpine meadows of Nocky mountains. Gold Bell always wore…”

On another occasion visiting my home country Tanzania, I observed more cows in the pastures of Usambara Mountains. Soon after, the story idea developed further with themes from my motherland. I desired to create a main character who is female, different and also have her story address the topic of human diversity.

In some African countries, people with albinism have suffered and are still suffering from discrimination and other horrendous acts including being hunted for their body parts for magic potions by witch doctors. We can help solve this problem through stories which teach love and respect from an early age, such as in this book which uses a cow as the protagonist.

The book is told in both English and Swahili. Why did you want to tell this story in both languages?

My mother tongue Swahili is spoken not only in Tanzania but also in the neighbour countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique. The intention to have a bilingual story was with a hope that the message will have a great impact and reach many more, particularly in areas where albinos are maligned.

I loved the art in this book. It was both artful and bright. What was the art collaboration like with Nikki Ng’ombe?

Nikki is a daughter of a friend. Besides being acquainted with each other, she is very professional and delivers concrete results. We have worked together in another book project and already knew each other’s pace of work. She grasped quickly the vision I had for this book. I will certainly work with her again if not occupied by studies.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently proofreading a manuscript for a children’s Swahili book co-authored by Tanzanian writers. We intend to publish this year.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Website

Jai the Albino Cow: Jai Ng’Ombe Zeruzeru by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]

Can an albino cow possess abilities to be admired by other cows?

Anjait (Jai) is Ankole cow who lived with her family in Kole Hills. Jai suffers from albinism. Other cows thought she was cursed. One day, Jai shocked other cows for doing something that no other cow did before. She also surprised them with a magical skill.

What is it that Jai did as the first ever cow? Will her actions and skill help bring love and respect to albino cows?

Get your copy now to find out the answers and reveal to your children the importance of showing kindness and respect to everyone, even if they look different.

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Stay Faithful to the Stories in Your Head

Gloria D. Gonsalves Author Interview

Gloria D. Gonsalves Author Interview

Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms follows the king and queen of Lamellia as the kingdom is dealing with the appearance of a human child. What was the direction that you wanted to take this book that was different from The Wicked Queen?

Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms is the prequel to Lamellia: The Wicked Queen. There was no direction for the plot except that I honoured the file downloaded to me by nature. The story line seemed absolutely piffle but it nudged to be told and I had to respect the idea as it came to mind. Perhaps I was paying tribute to Paula Hawkins words “Stay faithful to the stories in your head.”

In this book we get to explore more of the king’s backstory. What were some themes you wanted to capture in his character?

I recall seeing this big, ugly and brown mushroom during a forest walk. As I sat down to write the story based on that particular mushroom, it seemed natural that regardless of its appearance it’s going to be the story lead because I saw it first and the idea of the book followed.

Why did you choose mushrooms to be a large part of your world?

This book was not planned at all. I got the idea while out in the nature. One could say that the inspiration was fuelled by my husband, who likes to point out names of wild plants in the forest.

Being authentic with this story was important even though to some people it seemed ridiculous or not one to pay most money.

Some parts of the books might appear harsh to a child. I am not keen to block truth and reality from a child such as there are poisoning mushrooms out there or some human behaviours have negative impacts to nature.

I also remember one marketing person who saw the draft and told me that their child did not like the story and went further to suggest I write a different book based on trending topics at that time which made more money. It did not put me off because humans are different and our motivations are diverse. A child who is not raised to explore nature and its residents will probably not be excited by this book. It was essential to tell this story without money being the motivator.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on two projects simultaneously. One is a children’s Swahili book co-authored by Tanzanian writers. The other is of course the continuation of Lamellia story. For the latter, I am open minded to receive ideas for where Lamellia story should go but I trust to know when the end has come.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]

Can a lost baby girl find a new home in a world of enchanted, talking mushrooms? King Polipoli is kind to all who enter his magical kingdom. When he learns that a human baby girl needs his help, he sends out all his mushroom troops to rescue her. But the journey wont be easy. After all, how can the little fungi carry a baby? Or feed her? Mushrooms of all shapes, sizes, and species must use teamwork and creativity to bring the girl safely to the kings castle. Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms is a delightful educational picture book for children. During the fun-filled adventure, your children will discover the importance of kindness, tolerance, and acceptance. If your child likes seeing beautiful illustrations, learning about nature, and using their imagination, then theyll love this charming fantasy tale. Journey to Lamellia today to have a fun time with fungi!

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Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms

Lamellia: The Kingdom of Mushrooms is part of a series by Gloria D. Gonsalves. In this series, Gonsalves weaves together a whimsical kingdom of royalty, guards, and an army made up entirely of personified mushrooms. Gonsalves follows the mushrooms as they discover a human baby in the forest of their kingdom. In true foster-parent fashion, the mushrooms make sacrifices to care for the lost child. The community of mushrooms rallies to take care of young Tiara. Gonsalves does a good job of introducing each type of mushroom and their specific jobs much like she did in Lamellia: The Wicked Queen.

When so many characters or character types are introduced at once, I think it is important to give a thorough explanation of who they are. Gonsalves does that in the first few pages. Having this as an introduction lets readers know they can always flip back to that section for reference if needed. This book focuses more on the king than the queen of the kingdom of Lamellia. It gives a little more backstory and insight into the king’s young life growing up. He is described as a sort of monster-like figure when he was young, but grew into a king and adopted a new name to go with his new role. I like that he didn’t look the part, but grew to be a wise and kind king. This emphasizes how unimportant outward appearances can be.

The book is generally an easy read with a few challenging words throughout the pages. I think the book would be good for young readers, but I would suggest some slight parental guidance for especially young readers. There is mention of a mushroom’s inclination to poison the baby. Also, there is talk of humans being mean to mushrooms, picking them and throwing them away, and cooking them to death. This might be a little scary for young readers.

Young readers will enjoy the brightly colored illustrations that seem to be hand drawn and painted. They will enjoy the imaginary world of Lamellia with mushrooms walking about and talking. They will also appreciate the fairy tale-like happy ending of the book. Having read The Wicked Queen, I did spot quite a few discrepancies between the stories. It seems more of a retelling of the same story than a new part of the story. I’m not sure which came first in the series, but the story-line of the baby in the story is quite a bit different than in The Wicked Queen. I’d think this might be a prequel and the queen’s sinister influence might come after except for  the “happily ever after” part of the story at the end. It was a much less happy fate for the baby in the other book. This book had a much lighter mood than the other part of the series.

I think this is a book that kids will enjoy reading. I like the characters and the story-line. I’d like to see a different scenario with these characters in the future, or the progression of baby Tiara’s life.

Pages: 38 | ISBN: 1524634972

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Really Real

Ellie G. Collins Author Interview

Ellie G. Collins Author Interview

Mylee in the Mirror explores young romance and school drama with an infusion of Greek Mythology. What were some themes you wanted to continue from your first book and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?

Well, in Daisy, Bold & Beautiful I wanted to create a situation for my main character that would demonstrate the same moral of the story that I find within Persephone’s story – it is important to stand up for yourself. The story in Mylee In The Mirror is very different, but I arrived at it in the same manner – I wanted a story that would demonstrate the moral of the story I find in Aphrodite’s story – you can’t force someone to love someone else. I hope to do that with all the books in this series – decide on a moral of the story for each god/goddess featured in the book and create a story that demonstrates that moral.

I enjoyed Ty and My’s characters and interactions. What was the inspiration for their relationship?

Hmmm… well, I didn’t really have a specific relationship in mind when I was writing it. I developed each character (for instance, Ty is loose combination of my [real life] Trampoline & Tumbling teammate, Ty, my dad, and my brother, Will), then had them interact the way I imagined those characters would interact with each other. I have a friend, Peter, who I joke around with, kinda like Mylee and Ty joked around together, but My & Ty were friends longer than Pete and I have been and they’re closer than Pete and I are.

How has your writing developed and changed from book one in your Greek Mythology Fantasy Series?

I don’t know exactly how my writing developed and changed from Daisy to Mylee, but this book was really different to write because Daisy was all about 6th graders and I was a 6th grader when I was writing it, so I could really relate to what they were doing and how they were acting. Mylee is about ninth graders AND Ty was my first male main character. Obviously, I don’t know anything about being a boy, and certainly not a 9th grade boy, so I had to talk with my brother quite a bit to decide what Ty would do and how he would act. I also talked quite a bit with my mom about the two moms in the story and Grammy Jean. Grammy Jean was based on my real-life great grandmother, who passed away last winter. The character wasn’t exactly like my Grammy Jean, but pretty close. So, I guess I can say I worked more and worked harder this time trying to understand motivations to make the characters feel really real, know what I mean?

What are you currently writing and when will it be published?

I’m just starting work on book 3. This will feature my first god (instead of a goddess), and the main character will be a boy this time. I hope to be done with it sometime this spring, so hopefully it’ll be published sometime in the summer. I’ve been busy, though, because this is competition season for both my gymnastics team and my tramp & tumble team. Last weekend we traveled down to Oregon for a meet and this weekend we fly to Reno, Nevada for another one. Between all that and school there isn’t a ton of time for writing, but I’m really anxious to share this next story, so I’ll find the time! 😊

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Mylee in the Mirror (Greek Mythology Fantasy Series Book 2) by [Collins, Ellie]

Freshman year is just starting, and already Mylee fears her family is falling apart. She’s not interested in dating or any of the high-school drama it brings, but that’s just what she gets when Sam, the most popular guy at school, invites her to the Homecoming dance. Mylee needs advice, so she summons Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, her secret confidant.

Tyler is worried about Mylee, his best friend and teammate. Already sad about her family woes, he’s livid that Slimeball Sam is trying to ooze his way into her life. And she seems to be falling for Sam’s act! Worse, Ty is worried all this attention from such a popular guy will place Mylee officially out of his league.

What does an ancient Greek goddess know about modern teenage romance? Can My and Ty save their friendship and discover what matters most?

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Lamellia: The Wicked Queen

Lamellia: The Wicked Queen is part of a children’s book series by author, Gloria D. Gonsalves. The story is set in the whimsical mushroom kingdom of Lamellia. King Polipoli and Queen Nobilia rule over the land and employ several other types of mushrooms that make up their army. The queen seems to have everything that she could ever want, but there is one thing she longs for; a baby. When she’s sad, the queen sings a song that would puts a damper on the mood of the entire kingdom. Black clouds hang over the colorful kingdom washing it out with dark shadows. All of the mushrooms’ moods seemed to mimic the queen’s. They become depressed and withdrawn when their queen is suffering.

The author does a good job of introducing the kingdom and the types of mushrooms in the first pages of the story. I found myself flipping back to reference things there. It seems that everyone had a job to do. Most of those jobs consisted of combating enemies or keeping them at bay. In this way, the story feels very much like the fairy tales we grew up with. The king, the queen, their court, and their protectors are all present like in the classics.

Magically, a human baby appears in the kingdom. Everyone, including the king, falls in love with this precious baby and care for and dote on her from the instant she is found. She is showered by adoration with everyone except one mushroom. The queen tries to keep decorum in front of the others, but something sinister is afoot. With that, another classic element of an evil queen is introduced.

What’s a book without conflict? Not all is sunshine and roses in the kingdom of Lamellia. The author introduces conflict through Nobilia’s demons. However, the book seems to leave an open path toward redemption. If Nobilia accepts the baby, everything could change. Readers will find these elements reminiscent of Disney movies they’ve seen.

I think the book is well-written and easy to read. With parental guidance, I think young readers will be able to handle this book. It does have some dark parts, so I don’t know if I’d suggest it for independent reading for very small children. Some guards die, and the queen poisons the baby. These elements can be a bit scary for little ones. I do think children will enjoy the beautiful, painted illustrations. It is also short enough for a young reader to tackle without getting overwhelmed.

Overall, it is well-written and has a nice flow. Gonsalves has woven together a beautiful kingdom of characters while leaving room for flaws. I’d like to see how the story of the wicked queen progresses.

Pages: 36 | ASIN: B079K7NCQQ

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The Queen’s Adventurer

As you flip through the pages of this book, you’ll notice all the gorgeous detail, the incredible sketches, and the perfectly fitting font. I absolutely adored that aspect of the book. It made me feel as if I was in the time of the queen. That was just the beginning. Once I started reading the poem, I fell in love with the story being told. It was gorgeous, the story was majestic and fun to read. Plus, the sketches mixed in really went well with the story and allowed it to come alive.

Although each page is a continuation of the story, it also feels as if each poem is individual. I felt like I was being whisked off into a far away land while reading this book.

When you delve into the story, you’ll see that it’s not just about a queen, but different realms of possibility, different worlds and adventures to behold. I appreciate the time and effort that was put into this book. The writing is clearly professional, and the flow of the poetry is perfect.

I definitely had a great time reading this book, it’s one of those books that you can pick up and put down without having to worry about losing your spot.

If you are looking for a book that blends genres, then definitely keep this one in mind. It’s historical, it’s a little science fiction, it’s a children’s book, it’s a poetry book, but most of all, it’s a lot of fun. I read this as an ebook, but I can see how this would be great as a print book. You must go check this one out!

Pages: 66 | ISBN: 1524560693

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The Missing Reindeer

The Missing Reindeer by [Smith, Zeke]

The Missing Reindeer is a short, illustrated children’s Christmas storybook about a little boy named Sammy. The story follows Sammy who lives with his tribe in Northern Scandinavia where they herd reindeer. When the Reindeer go missing, things seem dire for Sammy and his tribe, and so he decides to make a winter’s wish to Santa Claus. This is a cute little Christmas story about being thankful for what you have and those around you.

The book is a little less than twenty pages long, and each page has only a few sentences of text one it, making it a quick read. It is a perfect story to read to small children around Christmas time as it explores a little of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, while also being a sweet Christmas story that has hope and thankfulness. The illustrations of the book are pretty and vibrant. I liked the art style of the book which was a little water-color inspired cartoon drawings. I thought that the backgrounds and animals were particularly beautiful. There were a few of the pages where the people in the illustrations seemed a little out of place with the scene or what the text was describing, but overall it worked together nicely.

Christmas stories are always a fun addition to have to read to your children during the winter, and I appreciated that the setting and plot worked together to give this story some originality. Overall The Missing Reindeer by author Zeke Smith is a sweet children’s Christmas tale that shows endearing heart, and lovely illustrations, a perfect combo for a wonderful children’s book.

Pages: 20 | ASIN: B0794V1ZP8

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Merle the Traveling Girl – Trailer

What would you do if you found a magic wand?

Thats what Merle asks herself when she finds a magic wand after falling from her bike. But while some kids might ask for gifts, Merle decides to use it to help others. This is a story of a little girl who turns into a superhero, zooming around the world to help children stay clean and healthy.

In an entertaining way, Merle teaches kids how important it is to wash your hands. Kids dont always listen when parents tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or when they come inside from playing.

Its a message worth repeatinghand washing is the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick.

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The Adventures of Fawn: ‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls

The Adventures of Fawn: 'Til the Last Snowflake Falls by [Boy, Al E.]

Do you still believe in magic? Do you still believe in Santa and his elves up at the North Pole? Comet and Vixen have a new little fawn that unfortunately is very bored and lonely at the North Pole. There are no other children to play with or keep her company. Fawn secretly discovers how to leave Santa’s village and escape to the outside world. There she meets a Snowboy, and a bunny. They decide to become best friends ‘Til the last snowflake falls. What happens though is that they discover that animals are going missing out of nowhere. Baby animals are left parentless and afraid. There is a new human, Dr. Mary Weather, a veterinarian that has come to the artic to study and help animals. With the help of Dr. Weather the inhabitants of Santa’s village look to solve the mystery of the missing animals and reunite all the families.

The Adventures of Fawn ‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls by Al E. Boy is listed as a children’s book, however it is novel. The writing is easy to understand, not a lot of challenging words. The scenery descriptions are colorful and entertaining but kept short to appeal to childrens shorter attention spans. There is a lot of funny interaction between the animals that will have you laughing and rooting them on. The personalities are well written and appealing, they have a mischievous streak, not a “bad kid” one but just kids being kids exploring and playing pranks. One funny scene involves two elves, known as the Forgetful Twins, and a bunny scatters who straw behind the elves as they’re sweeping, and the elves can’t figure out what is going on. The book than goes into deeper plots and themes. The bad guys that are kidnapping animals are mean to both people and animals. While there isn’t a lot of violence, the hostilities are implied.

The constant theme of friendship and sticking together is weaved deeply into the plot. At every turn characters are bonding and helping each other. The concern for their fellow companions is heartwarming. It shows that despite all the differences, human, snowman, reindeer, elf, bunny, it doesn’t matter, they all bond together. This is a great lesson for children, and adults. It doesn’t matter how different we all are, we can come together to solve a problem and help each other in times of need.

While the story takes place in the North Pole, it is not a Christmas story. It is a compelling story about friendship and overcoming adversity. Fawn is a loving character that is easy to relate to, and the magic of Santa’s Village and talking animals is sure to draw in readers of all ages. I loved being able to escape back to a childlike innocence and for the course of this book just believe in the magic of Santa and the North Pole again. It makes me happy and reminds me to appreciate the little things in life and share these moments with my own kids. This would make a great family reading novel with lots of topics for discussion.

Pages: 349 | ASIN: B00NRZO920

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