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The Tree House Night

Emma and Oliver are best friends that live next door to each other. They decide they are going to build a treehouse in the backyard between their homes. Oliver is apprehensive, but Emma encourages him to help her make it. At one point, Oliver decides he is uncomfortable with the treehouse and refuses to climb up and leaves Emma to finish the job herself. Once it is finished, she proudly shows her work off to her parents and tells them she wants to spend the night up in the tree. They tell her no, it is not safe. Later, Oliver climbs up the tree to talk to her and tells her he heard what she said and wants to support her plan. That night when Emma sneaks out to stay in the treehouse, Oliver watches over her from his bedroom window.

The Tree House Night, written by Tuula Pere, is another fantastic work by this author. This excellent picture book focuses on friendship. Two friends who do not always agree still find a way to remain friends and focus on what matters, supporting each other in their dreams and goals. Even though Oliver disagrees with Emma’s plan, he supports her in the only way he can, shining light and watching over her as she sleeps in the treehouse. Knowing her best friend is watching over her gives Emma the strength to overcome her fears of the dark and the noises she hears.

So many children’s books on friendship focus on the good times children have. I like that this book showed that friends do not have to always agree on the same things or have the same goals. Even with these differences, they can still support one another and help each other make their dreams come true. This is the beauty of people. They don’t all have to be the same or have the same ideas and goals to be kind and be friends. This excellent picture book shows children they can be friends with people different from themselves and support one another.

The artwork done by Catty Flores is genuinely superb. The characters have so much personality children who can’t read will still be able to feel Oliver’s mood as he is concerned about things happening. But, equally, Emma’s excitement and confidence radiate off the pages as she builds her dream treehouse. The bond they share shines through the pages, and children will relate to the images presented in this captivating story.

The Tree House Night is a beautifully written picture book with an inspirational message about friendship and supporting those you care for. Children, teachers, and parents will all enjoy reading this remarkable story and will be able to relate to the message that the author has presented.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09K6MNF52

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Where’s My Monster?

There is a family of monsters, the Archon Family, and they are very hungry. There are five of them, Mamma, Papa, Calvin, Aurora, and Bryce. This family does not eat food, instead, they eat fear. To find their food they hide in children’s rooms and scare them as they come yelling “BOO.” They do this to a little boy and he runs away. But the monsters are still hungry so they wait for another child to come in.

Lucy is curious and decided to investigate these monsters, but she brings a candle with her to light the way. When she enters she is not afraid of the monsters, they are afraid of her! Then something amazing happens, the monsters are no longer hungry. The warmth and light fill them up and no one is afraid anymore.

Where’s My Monster written by Wendy Monica Winter and illustrated by Yulia Popova is a delightful picture book with an important message for children. The message that love is stronger than fear is present and illustrated in a creative manner that will engage young children.

Yulia Popova’s watercolor illustrations are vibrant and memorable. The image of Aurora is my favorite with the little bows tied below each of her five eyes. Aurora is the first one to go to the light and exclaim how it is comforting to her. The joy and innocence that radiates from this illustration are magical and children will pick up on it right away.

The quote from Martin Luther King Jr at the end sums up the story perfectly. Love will drive out darkness, you can not find light from more darkness and hate. Winter has taken this concept and created a children’s book that they can relate to and understand the message. Facing hate and darkness to show others how fulfilling it can be to live in the light, to show kindness and acceptance, is an extraordinary message. This beautifully written story is presented on a level that even preschoolers and kindergarteners can grasp the concept.

Where’s My Monster is a well-crafted picture book combining a meaningful message and remarkable illustrations. The combination makes this a perfect book for teachers, schools, and caregivers. With a secular approach, it is sure to be a welcome addition to help teach kindness and compassion.

Pages: 56 | ASIN : B09MSX18JW

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The Fox’s City

Francis is a real piece of work and has been since he was a young fox. Known for his greedy ways and the bullying he inflicted on others, he grew into an even more selfish adult. When he finagles his way into becoming the acting mayor, his plans to run the city are no less conniving and self-serving. Erasmus, the mayor’s good friend and trusted assistant smells a rat and sets out to put a stop to Francis’s scheme. The days of Francis getting what he wants may just be coming to an abrupt end.

The Fox’s City, written by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Andrea Alemanno, is the delightful tale of one fox’s plan to outwit a city and have his way. Francis is your typical literary fox–sly, selfish, and always scheming. He is a fantastic main character and has every possible flaw needed to make him memorable and make his story worthy of rereading time and time again. Erasmus, who seems so unassuming, is the ideal sidekick to the mayor and gives readers someone to root for against the calculating fox.

Pere’s tale is well-written and engaging, and I was enchanted by Alemanno’s beautiful illustrations. Between the little element of mystery in Francis’s tale and the softly-lit illustrations, this story is a true delight to read.

The Fox’s City would make a wonderful addition to elementary teacher’s collection. I can see Francis’s story as part of a classroom unit on trickster tales. Cover to cover, Pere and Alemanno deliver a wonderful story with an important lesson in cooperation and teamwork. Suitable for both read alouds and independent reading in mid to upper elementary grades, I highly recommend Pere and Alemanno’s work to teachers and parents alike.

Pages: 22 | ASIN: B07HYYX99R

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Scared to Swim (Little Fears)

Lillian is taking a bath one day and decides that it would be fun to learn how to swim. Her father agrees and quickly signs her up for swimming lessons. But that night Lillian feels that she may have been too hasty in her decision and starts to worry. Sure enough, when she is in class she is frightened by the noise and wild activity in the class. How will Lillian ever learn to swim?

Scared to Swim is an educational children’s book that shows young readers how to conquer their fear, specifically their fear of swimming. Many parents, myself included, think that sending their child off to swim lessons solves their swimming problem. But for some kids all the activity of a swim class can make them nervous. Author Tuula Pere illustrates this point perfectly in her children’s book.

I loved the art in the book as it made Lillian’s emotions throughout the story very plain. The dramatic enhancement of emotion on the characters make for some funny scenes, like when Lillian says she wants to learn how to swim. I literally laughed out loud when I saw her waving her arms around as if she was swimming.

This bright kids book sends a powerful message to young readers that if they trust in their parents, and give it a good try, together they can accomplish anything. I thought this book was going to show the parent encouraging their child to take the class. I was delighted to see that the parent is the one that helps their child learn a new skill and gain confidence in themselves. This shows young readers that relying on family can be powerful.

Scared to Swim is about so much more than swimming, and all of these ideas are shared in an easy to understand and beautifully illustrated picture book. This is a fantastic book to read multiple times as I’m sure that every time a child reads it they will pick up a new subtle but important lesson.

Pages: 34 | ISBN: 9523254510

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I Really Enjoy Writing For Children

Brian Frederick Author Interview

Siggy the Soccer Dog follows a dachshund that dreams of winning the FA Cup Finals through teamwork and kindness. What was the inspiration for your story?

I have been a Manchester United fan since 1975. Where I’m from lots of people support the team because of several local players who made their name there – most notably the world-class player George Best who made headlines and was known in the British press as “the 5th beatle” in the late 60s. He has a good claim on being the first soccer superstar but when he went through the wringer of fame there was no support like there is for Messi or Ronaldo today, and his story has quite a tragic element to it as well, which all adds to the aura and romance and adds a “what if” element, even though he actually achieved so much before his downfall. As a 5 year old I became a supporter because of my Dad and George. I wanted to do a story for the Utd fans and for their kids and this is what happened.

What was your inspiration for becoming a children’s book writer?

I have always enjoyed writing and won English prizes and things like that when I was younger. As I have grown older I have kept writing. I became a lawyer, which I’d say is being a “wordsmith” using legal language for money. But it never gave me the same satisfaction as writing stories. I wrote thrillers that almost made publication in my late 20s and then I was inspired by some local children during lockdown to write something for them. The books that exist now came out of that, and I have found to my surprise that I really enjoy writing for children and it gladdens my heart to see and hear their enthusiastic reactions to my stories.

Are there any memories from your own life that you put into your books?

Definitely. The series of “Siggy the Sausage Dog” stories – and the upcoming “Wee Moos” and “Phlower Phaeries” series are all based around kindness and seeking happiness. When I was a youngster my dad always told me: “Be a happy man!” and I’ve appreciated that simple advice more and more as I have become older myself. It took me a while, but now writing for children has made me a happy man. I want to share that philosophy and to help children hold on to their natural happiness if I can.

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

I think the next book after (Siggy the Soccer Dog) will either be “Hello Moo!” the first of the Wee Moos series or “Siggy and the Balloon Festival” the next Siggy story. I am continuing to write the first Phlower Phaeries children’s novel but this is taking longer than the shorter stories are!

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Siggy looks so cute as he twitches and turns in his sleep.
But as they watch him, little do the family know that in his dream he is “Siggy Sosidj” the star player for Manchester United. It’s up to Siggy to rescue his team in the biggest game of his life. But can he do it?
Join Siggy and a multi-national cast of doggie players to find out – in a fast-paced, beautifully illustrated tale about overcoming the odds, staying true to your purpose and being kind…

Its “Cool” To Be Kind

Arlene Freeman Author Interview

Cool Kids follows a young boy who becomes a bully to earn a spot on the football team, but when terrible things happen to him he wonders if it’s worth it. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My father was my inspiration. He was a great storyteller. It was a time when television was first becoming popular; however, not everyone could afford one. Storytelling still attracted the children on the block and they could not wait to hear the stories about a character he created, Ruffy Butchbang. Ruffy Butchbang was a bully who always got in to trouble. It was the only way he could feel important. In every story my dad told, there was a lesson learned. Each story was so exciting because my dad added his special sound effects. This character, Ruffy Butchbang was embedded in my memory. I too told stories about Ruffy to my children and grandchildren. My sons Ted and Eric knew my father but my grandchildren never did. However, they knew who created Ruffy Butchbang, Grandpa Harry. Now that bullying is a subject in today’s society, it seems perfect to bring Ruffy Buthbang back into the spotlight, and so I created Cool Kids.

How can your book help children, parents and teachers with bullying?

I think Cool Kids offers families and educators a great teaching opportunity. It offers them the perfect opportunity to help a children understand their emotions and social dynamics involved in bullying. It open the door for many conversations, whether your child is bullied or bullying. It allows for different discussions and outcomes and steps to take in various situations. Cool Kids shows kids that changing your behavior to become a bully in order to fit in isn’t being cool. Be true to yourself. It shows that there is a power in kindness and its “cool” to be kind. Discussions about this subject is a great way for families to have an open dialogue with their children.

The art in this book was fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Amelina Jones?

After I wrote my story, I needed an illustrator. Mascot Books sent me the sample works of various illustrators. I chose the one who best fit my story. The drawings of Amelina Jones were perfect. She sent me drawings for each character for approval, even my beagle and matched the characters to the script. We made changes because I did not realize things could be inferred and not need to be seen. We communicated with each other through Mascot Books. When all was said and done, I almost did not see a drastic error. Amelina Jones was from the United Kingdom. My story involved football and she drew a soccer ball. Well, that had to be changed to an American football and it was just in time! She also added her personal touches and I loved it. I must say, I was lucky to work with such a talented illustrator.

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

I have thought about a second book about RUFFY BUTCHBANG and his adventures, still involving the same characters. In each story, there needs to be a lesson learned. I am thinking about the twists and turns that will take place so teachers and families can have continued dialogue and children will love it. I am a former school teacher so I know that communication between adults and children is so important. The paper and pencil is right by my bedside ready for creative ideas. It will ,come not sure of exact dates.

Author Links: Website | Instagram | Facebook

Winner of the 2021 Family Choice Award
Like most kids, Michael and his friends are so excited for their first day at a new school. They have a lot of questions about what to expect, but most of all, they wonder if theyll get to join the football team. That would be the perfect way to start the year! However, Michael soon finds out that its not as easy as he thinks. The team is filled with bullies, and to join, he has to become one of them. In order to be cool enough to get a spot on the football team, Michael has to start changing his behaviorfor the worse! Suddenly, terrible things start happening to him. Finally, he begins to wonder: Was it all worth it?

Dance Stance: Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers with Ballerina Konora

Ballet begins with learning how to stand. That sounds much easier than it actually is. From knowing the proper foot placement to being fully aware of one’s own spine, finding the right stance is not only essential but promotes good health. A proper stance, as the author points out, isn’t only for dancers. People of all ages can benefit from learning how to stand correctly. Broken down into simple steps with beautiful illustrations, the author and illustrator have handed readers everything they need to know to literally take the first step into ballet.

Dance Stance, Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers, by Once Upon a Dance and illustrated by Stella Maris Mongodi, is an incredibly informative book that will be useful to every reader whether they dance or not. The illustrations lend themselves perfectly to the narrative and provide comical moments throughout the book. It is worth noting that this book appears to be for younger readers, but the vocabulary and sentence structure is more appropriate for upper elementary and beyond.

I was especially impressed with the snippets of advice from a ballerina placed strategically throughout the book. These notes are right on target with the narrative and give readers an insight into the discipline a ballerina must maintain. I am not a dancer, but I appreciated these sections of the book; they served to add to the authors’ message.

Dance Stance, Beginning Ballet for Young Dancers, by Once Upon a Dance (Ballerina Konora and Teacher Terrel) and illustrated by Stella Maris Mongodi, is a short read that I enjoyed and recommend it to anyone curious about becoming a ballerina or improving their own posture. This book would make the perfect gift for anyone who is thinking of studying ballet. It is full of fantastic advice for readers of all ages.

Pages: 63 | ASIN: B09ZGHW76H

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SOS Champion Captain

There isn’t much Nora can’t do–and do well. She’s her school’s captain, and if there is a prize offered or medal to be won, she has claimed it for her own. So when she and her classmates find out about the newest competition to build a model pirate ship, she just knows this will be another easy win for her. However, Nora soon learns this is to be a group project, something she is not comfortable with, as she is not the one in control of everything. So will this be the one competition Nora actually can’t win? Or will she be able to pull it together for the sake of her group members?

SOS Champion Captain, by children’s author Cameron Stelzer, is one in a series of the School of Scallywags books. Nora, champion of virtually everything, is the main character and is in for a difficult lesson on how to treat others. She is used to being recognized as the best in all she does, and when things don’t go her way, and she loses her temper, the group project suffers. Nora must learn about acceptance, tolerance, and unity in order for her group to be able to finish building the pirate ship. This is a common issue for many children, they feel their worth is tied to their achievements. Learning teamwork is hard and this entertaining book teaches kids the value of working together.

My third graders are going to love this book–our class theme is pirates, and Nora and her crew fit right in! I love that Nora and the other characters struggle with some of the same issues as my students–the strong love of hot chips and the stress of group projects. Stelzer’s characters are undoubtedly relatable for young readers, and the fantasy setting of the School of Scallywags is sure to draw readers in from the first pages.

SOS Champion Captain is a captivating children’s book for those kids in the second to fifth-grade reading levels. Nora and the other members of the School of Scallywags will delight readers with their relatable feelings and life lessons. This book will make a great addition to both school and classroom libraries.

Pages: 98 | ISBN : 0645133132

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