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Even More Fun and Unique

Mark Dantzler
Mark Dantzler Author Interview

The Grate Adventure of Lester Zester follows a young kitchen tool that wants to understand his purpose and feel wanted. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Lester Zester was created in an instant of playful family holiday baking. My wife and son were making some delicious scones, and I was acting as their sous-chef. Someone called out for a zester to grate some lemon peel. I retrieved it from a kitchen drawer and pronounced it “Lester Zester”! The rhyme stayed with me, and I began to consider how a kitchen tool might feel, waiting in the drawer with anticipation until required by the chef.

The art in the book is cute and eye-catching. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Julia Pelikhovich?

Julia Pelikhovich is a talented professional. She worked on the book from her art studio in Russia. Her creative style and colors brought Lester and his kitchen pals to life! It was amazing to watch the development of each character. You may have noticed that each illustration is a hand-painted, watercolor drawing which is placed onto a real photographic background (kitchen, Christmas tree). This mixed media technique makes the story even more fun and unique!

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

I wanted to create a likable character that young readers could easily identify. Lester Zester is hopeful, anxious, friendly and naïve. He wants to know that he is loved. His personality helps the story to address important themes of self-esteem, diversity and inclusion, and friendship. These elements are evident in the illustrations, as well.

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

Lester Zester and his friends from Chef’s kitchen are excited to be on a new adventure together next summer! In the second Lester Zester book, there is unexpected trouble, lots of new characters, and some great fun! Of course, Julia Pelikhovich will add her artistic gifts to the story.

Author Website: lesterzester.com

The Grate Adventure of Lester Zester is the heart-warming story of a young kitchen tool that longs to understand his true purpose and know that he is wanted. Can Lester discover the secret to having a grate life and hope to live in the Everyday Drawer with the rest of Chef’s helpful things? This whimsical tale reminds children of all ages that they are loved and have a special place in this world. With a little help from some funny culinary friends, Lester shows us that life can be a grate adventure if we simply believe!

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Pippin’s Country Adventure

Pippin's Country Adventure (A Poodle Called Pippin) by [Julia Seaborn]

Pippin’s Country Adventure follows a spry poodle named Pippin that heads out on a fun filled adventure where he meets a variety of animals, learns something new from each of them, and gets to practice his counting skills along the way.

This lively children’s book deftly combines several educational aspects into a fun story that will delight young readers as it teaches them something useful. I enjoyed how counting was part of the story. It not only lets readers practice counting, but it allows them to also recognize the word for the number, rather than just showing the number on the page like many other children’s books. On top of learning to count, children will also get to learn a fun fact about each animal they encounter. All of this is told with simple language and vivid illustrations on each page that really captures the fun Pippin is having.

This is an educational picture book that will help readers with counting, teach them about animals, and will also help them with their reading comprehension as there are several questions in the back of the book that will prompt a good discussion about what happened in the book.

Pippin’s Country Adventure is an enjoyable kids book that I highly recommend for parents and teachers working on reading comprehension as there are a lot of fun things that happen in this book.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: B09DPXTDGK

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The Grate Adventure of Lester Zester

The Grate Adventure of Lester Zester by [Mark Dantzler, Julia Pelikhovich]

The Grate Adventure of Lester Zester by Mark Dantzler is the perfect parent and child read-a-long! Follow the story of the kitchen tool, Lester Zester, as he finds his place in his new home. While you are reading, there is a secret message to decode, but you have to pay close attention!

I fell in love with this storybook! At first glance, it looks like every other children’s book, except with a bit more of a unique premise. That is until you realize there is a hidden message to be found both literally and figuratively.

Dantzler engages the reader’s mind and emotions with this charming tale. Lester Zester trying to find his way in the kitchen is wholly reminiscent of what people go through in the real world. And the puzzle you have to solve makes it entertaining for both parent and child.

The Grate Adventure of Lester Zester is a fun and creative children’s picture book that will delight young readers and inspire the imagination.

Pages: 60 | ASIN: B09FMXGSF5

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Yara and the Yellow-Headed Parrots

Yara and the Yellow-Headed Parrots (Yara's Rainforest Book 3) by [Yossi Lapid, Joanna Pasek]

Yara and the Yellow-Headed Parrots is a wonderful picture book that educates young readers on the importance of protecting wild animals. Yara is a young girl who is admiring some parrots in a tree, but as she is watching them she sees a man that is trying to capture them. Yara confronts the man and convinces him to leave the birds alone and helps him look for an alternate solution to his problem.

This is a beautifully illustrated children’s book with full page color images in stunning water color-like illustrations. They are eye-catching images, especially the birds. My child squealed with delight when she saw the birds on the page. The parrots are very beautiful in nature and that beauty is captured on the page.

This is a bit of a sad story, as the man that is capturing the birds has a sick son that he is trying to help. But Yara finds a way to keep the birds safe while still helping the man and his son. This is a great way to teach children to think outside of the box when it comes to protecting wild animals.

Yara and the Yellow-Headed Parrots is a charming rhyming book that teaches a fantastic lesson within a gorgeously illustrated story.

Pages: 50 | ASIN: B093LVK1QV

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An Explosion of Ideas

Paul Bird
Paul Bird Author Interview

The Mistaken Monster is a fun adventure story following three kids who think they see a monster but discover something heartwarming instead. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

A family holiday, a conversation with my 10 year old daughter Sarah, an explosion of ideas, and the book was born.

What scene did you have the most fun writing in this book?

The scene where they all realise that stye have mistaken the old man for a monster. The interaction between him and the group reminds me of so many conversations with over people about how much they value company.

Was there anything from your own childhood that you placed into this story?

The snake going across the year din the opening is right out of my childhood. That was a really common occurrence where I grew up.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from the story?

Don’t judge, kindness is our best defense.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Sometimes things are not as they seem. Three friends break the rules and end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. And they are sure they’ve seen a monster in the forbidden place, there’s no doubt in their minds. But things are not always as they seem. Or are they? Courage and strength will be needed to escape in this epic adventure!

To Give Reader’s a Laugh

Paul Bird
Paul Bird Author Interview

My Aunt the Vampire is a fun collection of short stories following the humorous events in one boys life. What inspires you to write short stories?

I’m inspired by wanting to give reader’s a laugh – a simple story without a heavy handed message.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Learning from experience, forgiveness, righting wrongs and remembering to have fun in the process!

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

Trusting your friends, the importance of honesty, life is not always fair, we must play the cards we are given.

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

The Destiny Shoes – time travel shoes take a young girl on the most exciting adventures!

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

A riotous short story collection. The sequel to One Mad Rooster, this collection moves the action 5 years, with the main protagonist in high school, but in no less trouble. Whether he’s convinced his aunt is a secret vampire or battling haunted fireworks these stories are a fun-filled collection of humor for young teens.

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence by [Lynn McAllister]

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is an educational picture book warning kids, in hilarious fashion, about the dangers of spending too much time on their phone.

After spending too much time on her phone Pixie Van Dimple suffers from AI Infiltration. Someone must save her, and they better do it soon, or else Pixie will certainly be doomed.

This fun children’s book is told in rhyme and every other page has brightly colored comic art that serves as fantastic eye candy while reading the book. I think this book is more for higher grade elementary students, but in either case, the lesson taught here is a valuable one for todays youth. I loved the fun rhymes and the beautiful art and the story was very detailed. I would love to have seen this story as a kids chapter book for middle grade readers because I feel like there are some hints at a larger world that would be fun to explore.

Pixie Van Dimple and the Wrong Kind of Artificial Intelligence is wonderfully representative of todays kids and provides a good lesson in a fun story that will surely keep children laughing as they eagerly flip the pages of the this whimsical picture book.

Pages: 28 | ASIN: B087BPDK11

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Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari

Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is a fun children’s book following young twins Kate and Tate as they go on a Safari adventure powered by their imagination. This is a charming children’s book that shows kids the power of imagination.

When Kate and Tate are introduced the meaning of their names are explained to the reader. Which I thought was wonderful because this provides a great opportunity for young readers to think about what their names mean. The story then show Kate and Tate brushing their teeth before they head out because ‘no adventure starts until these tasks are complete’. This is another great example of the great lessons this book teaches kids. It seems like every page of this book has a great lesson to learn.

The art in the book is bright and captures the readers attention with a vivid cartoon style. I loved the image of Kate and Tate brushing their teeth as it was funny, but the wonderful images of the Safari were also magnificent. I would have liked to have seen a scene where it shows reality vs. imagination so kids could understand the difference, but this is still a story that is fun and entertaining.

Twin Adventures: Backyard Safari is an educational and enjoyable adventure that takes readers on a journey powered by creativity and imagination. This is a lively kids book that I highly recommend.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B09CHGKNQN

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