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Charlotte’s Snowman

Charlotte's Snowman by [Lainey Dee, Sarah-Leigh Willis]   

Charlotte’s Snowman, by Lainey Dee, is an exciting and touching children’s story of a little girl that builds a snowman for Winter. She expects her snowman to be normal when suddenly, he starts talking! He begins to complain of the cold and she does her best to keep him warm. But, the next morning, Charlotte finds a surprise that she never expected.

Charlotte’s Snowman has an adorable storyline that is easy for children to follow. Charlotte is an incredibly empathetic and generous young girl. She’s a perfect role model for anyone to follow, with a great fashion sense too. This is a great story for parents to read with their children, as it provides topics of conversation on helping others and being empathetic. The art is very detailed with a soft color palette that shows emotion and movement well. The illustrations allow the reader to better understand how Charlotte and the snowman feel throughout the whole book. It was an art style that was reminiscent of Charlie Brown and I truly enjoyed it.

Charlotte’s Snowman is a cute and imaginative story perfect for children and parents to read together during the holidays. It teaches a valuable lesson with an easy to follow storyline along with cute artwork.

Pages: 25 | ASIN: B08P1P97F1

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The Doing of Good Deeds

Norman Whaler Author Interview
Norman Whaler Author Interview

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge is the children’s edition to your previous award winning book. What motivated you to turn your story into a book for kids?

Hello! Thank you so much for inviting me here. To answer, the adult edition of the book had several themes and lessons and was too complicated for younger children, but I felt children could learn a valuable lesson from a children’s edition. I selected one of the major themes of the book that children understand and can relate with readily.

What were some parts of the story you absolutely had to keep when condensing this for kids?

1) Kindness to others. Something we ALL can do that can change the world, in my opinion. 2) The lesson that WE continue the goodness that is in this world that we inherit from those who came before us. Life goes on and so must also the doing of good deeds from generation to generation. Of course, all the main characters are there: Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Becky, and Jimmy!

The art in this book is stunning. What was the art collaboration process like with Voxillustrations?

Voxillustrations was such a great partner in capturing the essence of each page of story text in their art! I gave them detailed ideas of what I was looking for such as character actions, expressions, backgrounds, and the little details of Victorian life, and they worked hard to get each illustration just right for the story. This art style they call ‘Fantasy’. Love them!

What part of the classic Charles Dickens story speaks to you the most?

That we are all redeemable, no matter what the situation we are in, how hopeless things feel, or how far down we are. Thank you for letting me speak with our readers! It is such an honor!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

*** Children’s Edition – Narrated with Audio Christmas Carols ***
In the continuation to Charles Dickens’ beloved classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’, a troubled Tiny Tim, now grown-up, has ghosts of his own and is gently reminded what Christmas is all about.

Beautifully illustrated and told in verse, narration with audio Christmas Carols and print music editions add to the Christmas charm of this classic holiday sequel. (Christmas, Holiday, Children, Classics, Gift Book, Narrated, Christmas Carols, Picture Book)

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge *Children’s Edition*

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol (Children's Edition - Narrated with Audio Christmas Carols) by [Norman Whaler, Voxillustrations, Esther Randell, David  Deighton (UK)]


Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol (Children’s Edition) by Norman Whaler, with illustrations by Voxillustrations, is a picture book intended for children aged 4 through 10. Set in London, Tiny Tim is now grown up. He loves Becky, but her parents will not allow a marriage between the two of them. After many years pass, Tim has started to forget the lessons he learned from Ebenezer Scrooge. He forgets the hardships of his childhood–and appreciating the simple joys of life. After Mr. Scrooge passes away seven days before Christmas, Tim is visited by Scrooge’s ghost. Will Tim finally remember the true spirit of Christmas?

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a perfect story for parents to share with their children this holiday season. It has a good lesson about generosity and kindness, and a message of faith through trials and struggles. Quotes about kindness at the beginning of the book, including from scripture and literature, reinforce the message of the story. This book can be enjoyed even if a reader is not familiar with the classic Charles Dickens’ story, since there is a quick overview of A Christmas Carol in the first page of verses. The rhyming verses are fun and young children will enjoy looking at the pictures as the story is read to them. I liked the change in font to indicate strong emotion in the dialogue, and I enjoyed the happy ending. I wanted to know more about Becky and her son, Jimmy.

I loved all the vividly colored pictures with bright pinks and greens and beautiful scenery and landscapes. My two favorite pictures were the scenes of the bedroom at night and in the morning. The glow from the candle was very realistic. It actually appeared as though light was shining out of the book in this picture, and also the one where the sun was shining through the bedroom window the next day. The illustrator’s use of perspective was very good and many pictures had an impressive three dimensional look.

There are nine Christmas carols at the end of the story with lyrics and sheet music, which are a wonderful addition to this book.

Pages: 95 | ASIN: B08MKJT2YH

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Christmas Letters

MICHAEL SHAWN MCCALLEY
Michael Shawn McCalley Author Interview

30 Chicago Christmases is a collection of personal letters you’ve sent during the holidays over the last 30 years. Why was this an important book for you to publish?

I have asked myself what I would grab from my house in a hurry were it burning to the ground. The obvious answer was my collection of end-of-year Christmas letters that I have been keeping in a 3-ring binder. I did not want to reach the end of my life without leaving behind any indication of having been here. I did not want to reach the end of my life without sharing what I have learned or observed. In publishing this book filled with holiday-themed correspondence, my hope was that others might benefit from the insights that have come from my experiences.

Your 30th year-in-review letter will be in 2020. This is a difficult year for everyone, but was there anything specifically personal to this year for you?

During the earliest and most restrictive phases of the pandemic lock-down, I never identified with the oft-spoken adage that “we’re all in this together.” Despite technology which has allowed for telework and electronic forms of communication, I have felt greatly distanced from a sense of normal and from other people. Christmas 2020 looks to take place under a lock-down. My hope when writing this book is that it would be a way to connect with people, with activities, and with traditions at a time when get-togethers and travel might be inopportune.

Was there anything that surprised you when you went back to look at these letters for this book?

No, I cannot say that I was surprised by anything. What I had written was consistent with my memories of what I had described. My letters did include some details that I might have forgotten had they not been put to paper. What I did feel was a sense of affirmation with respect to the choices I have made and that my life feels like it is headed in the right direction going forward.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

I want readers to appreciate how beneficial and significant writing can be to a sense of well-being. I do not wonder where the years have gone because I have got a record of what I have done with them. Others who write can experience that same sense of satisfaction in being able to account for how they have spent their time on planet earth or at least avoid that sense of loss felt by non-writers who wonder how time got away from them.

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

My name is Michael McCalley, and 30 Chicago Christmases is the first book I have authored. Before now, my writing outside of work had been limited to personal correspondence and accounts of travels when I have taken a vacation. Many people have told me how much they enjoy my letters which I consider my favorite compliment. What I write also tends to be short, generally no more than a few thousand words. Never would I have considered myself an author or a writer of an entire book. But then the pandemic hit. I coped with lockdowns and restrictions by writing more than usual. During this time, I successfully recovered the most aged of some lost “year-in-review” Christmas letters which I had stored on some old floppy disks. They go back continuously to Christmas 1991. Beginning with the 2009 Advent season, additional mailings detailing the build-up toward Christmas in the Windy City supplemented the annual letters sent to my parents. The year-in-review letter sent for 2020 is my 30th. My pandemic project has been the compilation of all my holiday correspondence into what has become 30 Chicago Christmases. At times, it may read as a reflective memoir intended for those interested in personal growth and development. The book is also an account of how Christmas is observed in Chicago, which is part current history and part travelogue. I chronicle the happenings downtown, in my neighborhood, at work, and at home. Vivid descriptions of activities and events which make the Yuletide special in the Windy City put the reader at the center of the festivities. This book will delight readers who want the experience of a Chicago Christmas for themselves and to share with others.

30 CHICAGO CHRISTMASES

30 CHICAGO CHRISTMASES: A PERSONAL JOURNEY RECOUNTING THIRTY HOLIDAY SEASONS IN THE SECOND CITY by [MICHAEL MCCALLEY]

There is no better way to document life than through diaries or letters. Many families hold to the dedicated tradition of sending out a yearly Christmas letter summarizing the year’s events, challenges, and accomplishments. These letters serve to keep family and friends up-to-date and make them feel more connected to those who live too far away to visit regularly throughout the year. One of the most endearing aspects of holiday letters is the way in which they show the growth and change in families while at the same time documenting little bits of history.

Within 30 Chicago Christmases: A Personal Journey Recounting Thirty Holiday Seasons in the Second City, Michael Shawn McCalley has pieced together one such work–a collection of Christmas letters based on his years in Chicago. From beginning to end, McCalley reveals each and every aspect of his life from 1991 to the present. Readers are treated to a seat at the family dinner table as they read of McCalley’s accomplishments and frustrations for the year. He gives a thorough rundown of his year including wonderful descriptions of life in the Chicago area and its regular events throughout the seasons. Readers who frequent Chicago will find these mentions familiar and comforting, while those not from the area will learn something new with each letter about the cultures represented there and the rich display of arts found in the city.

The idea for this book is a quite unique one indeed. McCalley’s writing style is almost prophetic and reads smoothly and with a cadence not often seen in most autobiographical works. McCalley manages to make some of the most mundane activities read as though they are stanzas in an eloquent poem. It is certainly interesting to see the growth and the progress experienced by the author over the years. Some readers will be able to relate to his accomplishments and advancements. Others will find themselves sympathizing with the challenges he faced over the years with home improvements.

Readers looking for a short, engaging read will find Michael Shawn McCalley’s, 30 Chicago Christmases, just the ticket. Anyone seeking a holiday read that is easy on the emotions will enjoy relating to McCalley’s story.

Pages: 172 | ASIN: B08K3NR974

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Marley: The Other Christmas Carol – Trailer

Doomed to wander for generation after generation, under the curse of heavy chains, Jacob Marley’s soul was lost and without hope with nothing of this earth that belonged to him except the cold fingers of the grave – to which he refused to retreat.Marley saves the soul of a dear friend and finds himself trapped between the realm of untapped power and endless damnation. Waiting and waiting, hoping to prove himself…WORTHY!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol: (Retold by Norman Whaler and Illustrated by Bianca Milacic) by [Whaler, Norman]

Norman Whaler’s A Christmas Carol is an exceptional retelling of a classic Christmas story. The story of stingy and selfish old Scrooge who learns through a series of ghostly visits that he has the power to ease the suffering of others and bring joy to those around him.

Norman Whaler tells this story in short rhymes that were spot on every time. The rhythm’s were short and succinct but still summed up the expanded story perfectly. Each page is accompanied by high quality art that supports the narrative and fits the book’s tone. The art is so good that I wanted to see more of it. I felt like some of the paragraphs, because they summarized so much of the story, could have been on another page with it’s own art to give life to what was being told. But this is a critique that comes out of the desire to see more of the exceptional artwork already displayed.

This is a retelling of a classic Christmas story that highlights Christian themes throughout the book with a deft touch. At the end of the book readers are treated to bonus material in the way of Christmas sheet music. I can imagine that this book would be a nice way to start a Christmas night with the family, with a story followed by songs.

If you love Christmas stories, especially the classic one of Scrooge, you will want to pick this up for the young readers in your home.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B07QF4BPKG

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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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