Riley Chester-field Mouse has acquired both a name and some friends in this 2nd book of a series chronicling the life of the little field mouse. Through the same easy-read poetry and captivating caricatures exhibited in The Tale of the Christmas Hero, the author and artist comically relate the imaginative adventures — and misadventures — of Riley and his friends.
The tale begins on a crisp, fall morning as Riley hastens to join his friends in their newly-discovered game called football. In a flashback to the previous week, Riley recalls his disastrous introduction to the sport when he tried to interject himself into a people-boys’ game and was found to be no match for a football 10 times his size! But his inventive friend, Gus, hatched a plan to scale the game down to their level, promising to bring a mouse-sized ball to their next Saturday play date.
When Gus arrives at the field lugging a HUGE pumpkin, his friends scoff in disbelief until he climbs inside the pumpkin and proudly produces the perfect game ball — a pumpkin seed! So, then, “with walnut shells for helmets and long toenails for cleats, both teams stood ready to perform amazing football feats!!”
The game and the story play out in clever detail as each mouse team scrambles to conquer the scoreboard before the hungry little Gus devours all the delicious-tasting balls! Through a delightful twist at the end of the tale, the little mice discover friendship to be the real victor in their competition.
The Tale of the Pumpkin Seed Squad is a delightful commentary on competition and sportsmanship that will surely charm even the least of its budding-athlete readers.
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The Rainbow Blots teaches children about the colors of the rainbow in a fun and entertaining way. What inspired the idea behind the Rainbow Blots?
The Rainbow Blots was inspired by my son and my niece who had independently drawn little characters with circular bodies, no separate heads but with arms, legs and smiling faces. I was inspired to create characters like these for a children’s book and put colours inside the circular bodies.
There are lots of colours books and I wanted my characters to be unique. It struck me that children are rarely taught the seven colours of the rainbow in order. We teach them ‘purple’ or ‘pink’ but not indigo and violet. This has always bothered me, ever since I realised that yellow was not the second colour of the rainbow, at the ripe old age of eleven! I wanted to teach my children properly and a rainbow storybook teaching the seven rainbow colours in order seemed a good proposition and it would help to fill an educational gap.
Children learn best through play, so it was a great opportunity to have my characters play with objects that were the same colours as themselves in order to teach the rainbow colours.
The art in this book is wonderfully creative. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Victoria Mikki?
I created the overall storyboard for the book and it was important to me that each character had its own personality and physical identifier (e.g. Red Blot’s glasses or Orange Blot’s baseball cap) but Victoria brought all the characters and scenes to life. Her illustrations are so beautiful and humorous! She surprises and delights with every page turn.
I like to have a balance between not being too prescriptive but giving enough information that the illustrations returned are in line with my overall vision. For example, I asked for a Mummy Rainbow character to lower down her Blots by a ladder. I also wanted Mummy Rainbow to appear when there had been sun and rain at the same time. The double spread Victoria returned was so fantastic and inspirational for the opening scene that I knew I had to use the image on the cover as well.
Similarly, I knew what objects I wanted the Blots to be playing with. Victoria was in her element with these playing scenes. They were such a joy to receive as an author and it has been wonderful to hear the feedback from parents enjoying the illustrations and to see and hear children giggling along in delight, too!
This book serves as a great educational tool. How do you see this fitting into a students curriculum?
The Rainbow Blots is brilliant for use in kindergartens (UK preschools/nurseries) and first grade (UK reception class). For early learners, the book teaches colour recognition and helps children associate objects with colours. Rainbow colours are introduced in order and children are invited to recap the colours together. I know one second grade (UK Year 1) teacher who has used my book and song in conjunction with teaching a weather module in class. Older children can also enjoy reading The Rainbow Blots as it is written as a storybook. My six-year-old daughter enjoys reading it to herself and out loud to her toys!
Children learn in a variety of ways. The first thing my children did upon reading my book was to try and sing the colours of the rainbow in order. They couldn’t do it with the rainbow song we all knew, which had ‘pink’ in it. So, as a musician, I composed my own rainbow song called, ‘Do You Know The Colours Of The Rainbow?’ My rhyming song teaches the seven colours in order. The tune is so catchy, and children learn their colours really quickly when my book and song are taught in combination.
I have two versions of the song, with the same tune. Both can be found on my YouTube channel. The original has more of a nursery rhyme style, and I have had it animated in a 2D video featuring the characters from The Rainbow Blots. For slightly older children, there is a dancier version that gives more time to sign the song in sign language. To date, I have only had the song signed in British Sign Language, but I hope it can be translated into other languages as well to aid inclusivity and diversity and help embed a little sign language into a child’s early learning journey.
Do you have future books planned for The Rainbow Blots?
The Rainbow Blots was written as part of a series. I hope to publish ‘The Rainbow Blots Learn Numbers’ later in 2021.
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BUTTERBALL’S Christmas Surprise follows a young poodle as she prepares for Christmas, gets into mischief, but does her best to ensure Santa’s visit. What inspired the Christmas theme in book three of your series?
My previous miniature poodle was notorious for wanting to play with my Christmas trees. She was fascinated with the decorations. Consequently I could never have a Christmas tree or could only have one high up where she couldn’t reach.
What was a lesson that was important for you to include in this book?
It is important to show genuine remorse when one does something wrong. It is also important for positive behaviour to be rewarded.
I appreciated the questions at the end that provided an opportunity for reading comprehension. How do you see this fitting into a teaching curriculum?
The questions are designed to test the ability of young readers to understand and retain details in the book. I think this is a good exercise in reading comprehension.
What plans do you have for Butterball the Poodle book 4?
Currently I have no plans for Butterball the Poodle Book 4 BUT I might change my mind at a later date. I have started a new series which will be on sale very soon – A Poodle called Pippin Book 1 “Pippin’s Country Adventure”.
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A Letter from a Gorilla explains the man-made dangers that gorillas face and tells readers, in a cute rhyming story, what can be done about it. Why was this an important story for you to tell?
Gorillas are the closest living relatives to humans after chimpanzees and bonobos and are among the most endangered apes in the world. Both the Eastern and Western Gorillas are critically endangered, despite having a population as high as 200,000 individuals. Human activities cause the main threats to their survival, such as poaching, habitat destruction, and disease. By educating future generations, we can help ensure the survival of these gentle creatures that are so similar to us.
What is one simple thing that people can do that will help gorillas?
Donating to conservation organizations that protect mountain gorillas is probably the most effective way to help the species. Even if we cannot help financially, we can all become more mindful of our impact on the environment and adjust our habits.
If someone wanted to take action and help gorillas in a big way, what should they do?
Some people, such as Dian Fossey, have dedicated their lives to the welfare of gorillas and paid the ultimate price. However, we can all make our voices heard to lawmakers and government officials to support conservation efforts.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
We can all make a difference in the survival of gorillas and other endangered species by educating ourselves and our children and by taking positive action to protect the environment.
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The Rainbow Blots follows a family of color blots that have a colorful day of play, educating readers along the way, until they get tired and head off to bed. Author Carlie Wright has provided readers with a wonderfully creative children’s picture book that teaches young readers about different colors and shows them how those colors exist around them.
The art in this imaginative children’s book is very cute, with vibrant illustrations filling each page. This gives kids plenty to look at as parents and teachers read the story to them. Each color of the rainbow is represented and each is given its own charming personality. Each color states what they love, and it just so happens to be related to their color, and this provides an opportunity for children to think of other things that are the same color. This makes The Rainbow Blots a fantastically engaging educational tool. My child kept giggling at all the cute things on the pages. My favorite was the orange pumpkin, so cute!
This is a perfect picture book for children in kindergarten and first grade as it teaches different colors, color identification, and helps build kids imagination. I can easily see these delightful Rainbow Blots going on many more color-oriented adventures. The Rainbow Blots is an adorable children’s book that educates as well as it entertains.
Pages: 19 | ASIN: B08TMVNP21
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Be Proud to Be Blue follows a baby bird that is rejected because of his color and finds his own self-confidence to make friends anyway. Why is this an important lesson for kids to learn early?
We should teach children from an early age to be proud of who they are. A positive sense of self is one of the greatest gifts we can give a child. Talking to children from an early age is important if we are to prepare them mentally for the future.
The illustrations of the frogs and goldfish in this book are my favorite. What is your favorite image or scene from the book?
I really like the scene where Baby bird makes friends with the frogs. They really seem to be having such fun together.
This book was written to be dyslexic inclusive. Why was this an important aspect of the book for you to include?
As an Early Years teacher, I think it is important to help children with dyslexia in every way possible to encourage a love of reading and build their confidence. By producing books with a font that makes the text easier to read, we are opening doors for many children.
Do you have future books planned with baby bird in them?
The first book, “Be Happy to Be You,” encourages children to be happy with their own strengths and individual rather than trying to be like everyone else. I have written a third story about the difficulties Baby bird has building a nest. His mother encourages but does not build the nest for him. The story teaches children about independence and perseverance.
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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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