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Oliver the Oyster and the Cheerless Clam

Oliver the Oyster and the Cheerless Clam is an enchanting children’s book in the coastal town of Wellfleet, MA. The story introduces readers to Clara the Clam, a newcomer to the harbor who has faced difficult times and feels down. But, with the help of her new friends, including Oliver the Oyster, Cathy the Crab, and Miriah the Mermaid, Clara discovers the key to a happy life.

J.B. Auchter provides readers with a heartwarming story of friendship, kindness, listening to others, and not letting the fear of the unknown stop you from being happy. The vivid illustrations and descriptions of the harbor, the living creatures, and the surrounding environment transport young readers to the seaside world and spark their imagination.

Each page is filled with exciting information about the sea, enticing young readers and leaving them yearning for more. Through the characters in the story, Clara learns that everyone sometimes feels sad, but they don’t let that stop them from being happy. I appreciated that Clara’s friends supported her and worked together to cheer her up. This is a great message for readers: the right friends will nurture and value your opinions and emotions. The message in this book is solidified with every chapter with relatable content and allows the reader to come to the basic conclusion that life is hard and we all go through tough times, but friends who listen and give their time can make a sad time a fun time.

The book’s beautiful illustrations, charming characters, and engaging storyline make it an excellent addition to any children’s library. Oliver the Oyster and the Cheerless Clam is a must-read childrens book for young readers who love adventure, friendship and learning about the wonders of the natural world.

Pages: 127 | ASIN : B0BHKZFS34

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Oliver the Oyster and the Pearl Gifts

The ocean is filled with so many beautiful and mysterious things and is still over 80% unexplored, unknown, and unmapped. In Oliver the Oyster and the Pearl Gifts, written by J.B Auchter, we are taken on an incredible journey through different parts of the ocean, meeting new friends and learning some of the known mysteries of the ocean.

We begin at Mayo Beach, a popular and majestic beach where we meet Oliver the Oyster, who has lived in the mudflats his entire life. He hears people speak about how special oysters are in this area, but he doesn’t understand what they mean. Finally, Oliver’s curiosity is piqued and leads him on an adventure to answer the egging question, what could make oysters special?

This is such a charming story of what can be gained when we work together and be kind to one another. It’s an important message to display to children making this book a fantastic vessel to navigate the conversation of kindness, friendship, and selflessness. I feel this early reader chapter book would be perfect for children just starting out with chapter books and lovers of the ocean as it is loaded with information and facts about this and its creatures.

Oliver the Oyster and the Pearl Gifts is an entertaining and educational children’s story that even adults may learn a few things from as they go on this adventure. The lessons of kindness and friendship are mixed in with facts about the ocean and the wildlife that lives in it. Families and classes will enjoy reading this heartwarming story together and using it to open up discussions on spreading kindness to all.

Pages: 61 | ASIN : B0B61VY6ZM

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Girls Need Sailing Representation Too

Author Interview Susea Spray

A Big Blue Boat follows a young girl as she sets out for a day of sailing and teaches readers different parts of a boat. What was the inspiration for your story?

My husband and I are ocean sailors and sailed from Australia to Europe between 2013 and 2015 – the story can be found on The idea for the book originally grew from the desire to share our experiences on the sea with our own big blue boat in a fun way with our Grandchildren. I wanted them to experience that feel of being in a boat out on the sea.

As we sailed and met other people in the sailing community, I also learned that although slowly changing, it is still very much a man’s world. We need stories that are going to help promote this change.

From a simple book written for the grandchildren and their parents, A Big Blue Boat rapidly grew into a story that could be enjoyed by all and used as an educational text.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Lesley Cybulka?

Everything to do with A Big Blue Boat has just fallen into place.

I originally asked a friend, whose artwork I loved, whether he would like to join us on the journey by creating the images. Having completed the first image of the sea, Andrew felt he couldn’t do the imagery of the boat and captain full justice and wondered whether I would be happy for his friend, Lesley, to do the illustrations instead.

The partnership with Lesley was something beyond my imagination and a true collaboration.

Initially, I sent a copy of the text with some basic illustration notes and multiple photographs of the boat to Lesley. We had a long conversation via Zoom, where we discussed the manuscript, illustration notes, and mediums to be used, then I left the rest to her.

Neither of us work well when under pressure, so the time factor was left open…

The arrival of what would become the front cover image had me hyper excited. Lesley’s first illustration had taken the artwork beyond my imaginings, and it was so different to what is found in picture books of today. Having never seen her work, I discovered how exceptionally talented Lesley is and she had brought my story to life!

As each set of images were created, Lesley and I would connect to discuss whether readjustments were required. In some cases, illustrations were totally redone.

That moment when Lesley agreed to join me in illustrating A Big Blue Boat, will be one for which I will be forever grateful.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As I searched to find sailing stories for young children – particularly girls – in the 4 – 8 year age range, I discovered the majority of picture books in the boating genre are about motor boats and the protagonists male. For girls especially, sailing stories are set within the character’s imagination, as a dream, or used as a way of introducing the reader to other cultures. Realistic sailing stories with a female protagonist that are fun for young children, are difficult to find and the female sailing community is crying out for them. Many women have told me of how they change characters from male to female when they read boat books to their young girl/s. A strong female protagonist was of utmost importance. The captain of A Big Blue Boat is based upon the ‘sailing me’ I am learning to be.

As a sport, sailing is perfect for children on many levels. It promotes and develops critical thinking, problem solving, communication and cooperation skills; builds team spirit, fitness, and strength; and shows that clean wind power can be just as much fun as motor boats. It seemed right that the first book should be one that introduced important parts of a sailing boat and the captain.

The sea is also a magical place. There is nothing like the feeling of freedom one experiences out on the water in a sailing boat. Here you are immersed within the elements and can encounter the inconceivable wonders of nature: wind, storms, a dolphin’s birth, albatross soaring, dolphins leaping and whales breaching. It has been an environment that has long called to me personally, as it does for many children, Australians as a whole and people worldwide, and I want to share it with the world.

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

Two sequels about A Big Blue Boat are completed and currently with Lesley awaiting illustrations. I am not sure which of the two will be first, for I have left that up to Lesley. A Big Blue Boat and the Mighty Storm tells of a storm that blows up in the Australian Bight, whilst A Big Blue Boat is Out on the Brine introduces more of our wondrous ocean creatures and the web of life. Anyone who loves Bill Martin Jr’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear is going to love The Brine.

We are hoping the second will be available for purchase sometime in 2023.

In the meantime, several more sequels and a couple of prequels are well underway.

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

The seas are calm and the winds gently blowing, when a Big Blue Boat and her Captain head out for a day’s sail. As the winds strengthen, and the sea starts to rollick and frolic, will our Big Blue Boat and her Captain make it safely back to shore?
Parents looking for picture books about boats or picture books about sailing will fall in love with A Big Blue Boat. It’s one of the best sailing stories of 2021. Especially, if you’re looking for picture books about sailing for girls. Written for early readers and pre-schoolers, it’ll have them learning to sail in no time.
Children will love joining in with the rhythm and rhyme in this cumulative story about a boat, a girl and the rollicking frolicking sea.
A boat.
A big blue boat.
A big blue boat with billowing sails.
A big blue boat with billowing sails and …
In the tradition of There Once Was A Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus TreeThe Big Blue Boat takes readers on an ever-growing rhyming song in this beautiful yarn about boats for early readers.
The Big Blue Boat also features a female captain, making it a great option for those looking for books about sailing for girls as well as picture books about boats. All families interested in sailing and boats will love Susea Spray’s fun-filled adventure. After all, who better to write boat stories for girls, than an author living on a boat?
Beloved by educators, The Big Blue Boat reinforces key early learning skills. “From a teacher’s perspective, and thinking about literacy skills, the repetition is really great, as it helps children access reading of some key words along with the adult reader.” Dr Kathryn Macfarlane (teacher and children’s author)
Buy The Big Blue Boat to set sail on a magical journey today!

A Big Blue Boat

A Big Blue Boat is a whimsical picture book for preschoolers and early readers about a girl captain setting sail. It starts by describing parts of the beautiful blue boat. Next, children learn about the sails, mast, wheel, rudder, and anchor as the story flows from one page to another, adding a new line and fact with each page. Each page gives kids a new vocabulary word that is highlighted in bold letters and color.

The story is told in a repeating rhyme style that will have children singing along with the story as the adventure grows. I love this approach to children’s books as it helps them retain information by repeating things. The end of the book includes a glossary of terms the author has used in this engaging story. After the glossary is a quiz to name the different parts of the boat. The continued repetition of terms is a great educational resource.

Author Susea Spray has created a fun and educational story that will have children learning all about boats and sailing as they move through the pages. Illustrator Lesley Cybulka has captured the exhilarating experience of sailing in her art with bold colors and captivating images. From the captain to the dolphins, each image in this children’s book is clearly drawn with a love for the sea and a desire to capture the magic of dreaming.

A Big Blue Boat is an adventurous picture book for preschool, kindergarten, and early readers about a young girl sailing her boat. It portrays a strong girl as the captain, which shows that girls can captain boats and go on adventures by themselves. This is a great children’s book for teachers and parents to use to teach about sailing, the parts of a boat, and that it is okay to dream big.

Pages: 39 | ASIN : B09SB8K695

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Teachable Tales

Linda Harkey Author Interview

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family (A Hickory Doc’s Tale) follows a crow that has a secret he’s keeping from his dog pack family and is worried about what will happen when they find out. What was the inspiration for your story?

A friend told his true story to my husband and myself of a crow that befriend his family.

What was your inspiration for the characters and their relationship?

Many days were spent on our twenty acres in Oklahoma watching Patch and our other hunting dogs find birds including crows. The trainer said Patch had “a lot of energy” and would “never stop hunting”. She was a very determined hunting dog.

What are some of your inspirations as a writer?

To present teachable tales to elementary school children on the lives of hunting dogs, other animals in nature, their habitats, and life lessons involving—family, friendships, bravery, diversity, and problem solving.

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

Desert Friends: Travels with the Pack (Archway Publishing)
It will be available in the Spring of 2022.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family is the continuing humorous saga of five hunting dogs and their encounters with many different types of animals.

Doc and the pack discover that Willie, the crow with bad eyesight, has a big secret. Can Willie convince the pack he is part of their family? Will the pack discover what Willie’s big secret is? How does Zeke accept Willie’s gift? The adventure continues at the Lazy Dog Hacienda with Doc, Willie, and the pack.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow

When a young hunting dog and a crow decide to be friends, the dog pack does not know what to think. They hunt birds, yet a crow wants to hang out and be friends with them. Willie, the crow, is undeterred by the gruff hunting dogs and enjoys playing with the puppy Patch. While playing, Willie flies over the pool, and Patch, not paying attention, falls in. Turns out Patch does not know how to swim. None of the dogs know how to swim. They run to find the Labrador Newt thinking he can swim, but he is terrified of the water. Finally, through some encouragement from family and friends, he jumps in to save Patch.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow: A Hickory Doc’s Tale, written by Linda Harkey, is a creative picture book about the friendship between two unlikely animals. The pack of dogs is concerned that a puppy hanging out with a crow is wrong, and they try to convince their senior dog Doc to put an end to the friendship. Doc, however, is a thinker; he looks at the situation and, rather than jump to conclusions, evaluates the benefits. He backs up his decision by pointing out that Willie the crow has worked with them to save Patch rather than just flying off and leaving her to drown. The message of inclusion and acceptance makes this children’s book a great addition to any book collection.

Illustrator Mike Minick has done an excellent job capturing the emotions of the dogs and Willie. Each page is vibrant and engaging. Even without the text, the story is clear from the marvelous drawings. Children will laugh as they learn a valuable lesson about friendship and family.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow: A Hickory Doc’s Tale is a captivating tale about friends, family, acceptance, working together, and believing in yourself. Parents and educators will love having this picture book to read to children in and out of the classroom.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B07LCKSXSW

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Secrets, Gifts, Family

Willie the crow wants to eat the pack’s dog chow. The problem is he promised to not eat it from the kennel, and the other bowls are in the house with the Food Giver. To get to the bowels he must enter through the dog door, and this turns out to be harder than expected. Willie nearly drowns and gets stuck in a plant. After being rescued by Patch twice he makes it inside. There he taps on the refrigerator door and the Food Givers arrives and give him a small packet of walnuts and he flies out the window before the pack gets in and sees him. Willie keeps his special treats a secret from the pack

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family written by Linda Harkey returns readers to the Lazy Dog Hacienda. Willie the crow is part of the family that lives here. Willie however has a secret, he gets special treats from the Food Giver and is afraid to tell the pack about them. Instead, he brings the empty wrappers to Zeke as gifts making up stories about where he found them. Eventually, the truth comes out thanks to a newspaper article that was done on Willie that the pack saw.  

This entertaining picture book talks about family, keeping secrets, and friendships. Young elementary-age children will love the colorful illustrations of Mike Minick and the expression all the dogs have. This light-hearted story has a great message about friendship and family that they will be able to relate to. The adventures of Willie trying to get into the house will have children and adults laughing and asking, can crows get glasses, because clearly, poor Willie needs them.

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family: (A Hickory Doc’s Tale) is an engaging read for classrooms, libraries, and parents to read to children. It will make a great early reader for children learning to read with the vibrant artwork to help tell the story.

Pages: 52 | ASIN: B07XLHR2SZ

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The Hole Story

What is a hole? Is it just an empty space, or is it something more? The Hole Story takes children on an adventure exploring all the different holes there are in the world around them. Everything from holes in nature, to their home, to even their clothes and body. This picture book gives kids a lot to think about and teaches them to look beyond the surface of the things they do see.

Children are inquisitive and finding a hole outside to explore is a great adventure. Author Lori Croy has written this picture book with the curious nature of children in mind. She takes children on a tour of the obvious holes like in a tree or in the ground and then goes further like a puddle, even a hole in your sock. The simple language and fun examples that go beyond the ordinary will keep children engaged in the story.

The colorful illustrations by Katelynn Hoefelman bring this highly original storybook to life. The artwork does not just tell the story but encourages children to explore the world on the pages and find examples in their own world. The combination of artwork and narrative will give teachers and parents a lot of openings to discuss ideas.

The Hole Story is a fun play on words, as it is meant to be the whole story on holes. Teachers will love having this creative picture book in the classroom and parents will love having it to read at home where they can use it to point out different holes in their own home. This engaging story will take children on an adventure to see that holes are more than just an empty space in life. Reading this clever picture book will delight children in early elementary grades as they discover the amazing world of holes.

Pages: 26 | ISBN : 1098359623

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