Volume 4, Issue 11 (November 2017)

 
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More Tales For Your Monkey’s Mind
by Steve Michael Reedy

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Many issues of today are fast reflecting the old idiom of an elephant in the room, or as we see in this story, purple hippos. You know, those obviously large problems or risks no one wants to discuss, yet swallows up the room. In his clever and rhythmic flow, Reedy sends out an insightful alarm, and helps us see the hidden dangers that often lurk behind the masks of progress. A real eye-popper for the unaware. A great book for adults as well as children. It definitely gave thought to this monkey’s mind!


My Brigadista Year
by Katherine Paterson

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Inspired by the tumultuous and violent real-life events of 1961, this international bestselling author brings us a gripping historical tale of a young Cuban girl’s coming-of-age adventure. Many things come easy and natural to us, and it’s hard to imagine there are others who never have the same privileges and rights. Things we take for granted, like reading such a wonderful story, or the ability to write our own name, are mere dreams for many others. Even when we do realize the lack of others, it is easy to wish for better ways, and hope for change. This story is of the personal determination that risked comfort and safety to bring those desired changes for others. It’s an inspiring, eye-opening, and courageous story that will impact its readers and bring an awakening to each person’s place in society.

 


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One Bad Fry Spoils the Bunch
by Angela Joelle

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This lighthearted and brightly illustrated story brings a strong message of the importance of those we accompany. This otherwise sweet and happy Fun Food Land has been brought to an unsavory situation. It seems a new guy, a real rotten potato, has come to town. Joining a pack of fries, he slowly spoils the whole bunch. This first story of the series, A Fun Food Friends Adventure is a cute presentation of a major life lesson.


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Adriana’s Angels
by Ruth Goring

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Adriana and her family are forced to flee their home in Colombia and start a new life in Chicago. Throughout difficult times, big transitions, and the ordinary moments of childhood, Adriana’s angels whisper messages of God’s love and presence. What a comforting story! Whoever you are and wherever you may find yourself, you are NOT alone. Today’s world has become quite a metropolis. A blending pot, bringing changes and new awareness on every level. Children are growing up in bilingual homes, attending multicultural schools, and it can often be overwhelming. This tender loving tale breathes comfort across it all.


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Cuddles’ First Adventure
by Julia Kay

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This delightful tale filled me with warmth and nostalgia. I’m pleased to see the softer hues of

childhood returning. Times when wonder filled the air and imagination was so alive, we were sure our most favorite of toys understood our every word and intent. When magical worlds ran quietly along ours, and brief spills allowed grand adventures. Cuddles is the most loved and cuddled toy bunny in the world. What a joy to carry such a title. The artwork captures and frames the story with pure enchantment. Great book for gift giving!


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Erasable
by Linda Yiannakis

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a powerful story all should read. A treasure key to unlock a true understanding of the bigger picture. We all live our smaller, more personal parts of a grander tale. Often, unaware of the thin thread that silently runs through connecting the whole. Who wouldn’t love to find a mysterious gift that could erase all your troubles? Can you think of something you know that would change all your troubles if it simply disappeared? Ellie could. She even made a list. But what happens if we slowly begin to pull at the threads of life’s beautiful tapestry? This is an interesting and very enjoyable read!


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Nickerbacher
by Terry John Barto

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

There are several healthy directions to take in the reading of this story. Friendship, differences and the courage to recognize them with acceptance, equal opportunities, and my favorite: breaking out of family expectations. It is so easy to fall into safe patterns in guiding our children. Squeezing them into ill-fitted boxes because it accommodated those before them. Nickerbacher had a dream contrary not only to his father, but to the whole stereotype of his species. Could he break out of that, and show the world who he really is? His crazy adventures and his wonderful friends show him he can! A great opening for discussion will surely erupt as a fun family night reading.


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Judah’s Promise
by Irene Maslowski

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Pets hold a vital part in our lives and families. Statistics have even measured the benefits of such enrichment. However, the loss of our favored pets can also cause great grief. This sweet fantasy offers a hand in dealing with the loss of our furry family members, bringing comfort to the children forced to say good-bye.


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Adele’s Adventures: Volume One
by Izzy Beisiegel

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

Adele is a daring teenage ladybug attending Dogwood Academy who learns about friendship and hope despite a broken childhood. A wounded heart is heavy to bear, and the younger it comes, it can create terrible confusion. Self doubt, shame, and fear often lead to feelings of anger and isolation, causing the wound to sink deeper still. This tender story follows the road to recovery for a little ladybug, and the friends she meets along the way.


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Magic Mommy Stories: Marvin and the Giant Bubble
by Karin McCay

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a fun backyard adventure kids will enjoy. I love it when we are reminded we can find fun right at home with the people we love. Also, leaving kids with the security of knowing, no matter how outrageous our escapades get, Mom seems to know and has everything under control. Illustrations by Vova Kirichenko are bright, colorful, and engaging.


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Shiver
by Melissa M. Williams

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The depth of this sweet story is perfectly matched to its setting. Today, the term “Family” has a much broader meaning and interpretation. I was delighted to learn its underwater definitions, such as shiver of sharks, fever of stingrays, bale of turtles, and a bloom of jellyfish, but as a great poet once said and author Melissa Williams proves in her story, a rose by any other name, smells as sweet. Family is where we find our forever place. A place of love, inclusion, and belonging. Bilingual (English/Spanish).


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I Want To Be A Monster When I Grow Up
by M.T. Weber

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

A story about a little boy with a big imagination. So often, parents find it hard to get on board with the directions calling our youth. Hudson’s mother, however, manages to find wisdom in its use. Encouraging his ghoulish desire, she manages to instill healthy goals, and lets him come to his not-so-final conclusion.


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The Bridge of the Golden Wood
by Karl Beckstrand

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The simplicity of this story shines in radiant beauty. From its soft illustrations by Yaniv Cahoua, to its text and intent by Beckstrand, it holds and captures a great force of life. A parable of reciprocity that can set a foundation for success that will enrich the soul, as well as the pocket. A beautiful way to teach our little ones how to build bridges of success in the matters of life.


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When The Moon Comes
by Paul Harbridge

Reviewer: Darleen Wohlfeil

The beaver flood has finally frozen—perfect ice, without a bump or a ripple. For the kids in town, it’s Christmas in November. They wait, impatiently, for the right moment. Finally, it arrives: the full moon. This is a wonderful story of anticipation, and the satisfaction found in its arrival. The description so vivid and clear you can feel the cold and the exhilaration of waiting for just the right moment. Oh, to love something so much. To eagerly await its arrival. To bear the elements and test your fortitude to meet and enjoy it, one more time! Childhood at its best.


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Peanut Butter & Aliens: A Zombie Culinary Tale
by Joe McGee, Charles Santoso

Reviewer: Julianne Black

Joe McGee and Charles Santoso are at it again! If you liked their 2015 story Peanut Butter & Brains: A Zombie Culinary Tale, you will love this! The town of Quirkville is up to its eyeballs in another widespread menace and this time, it’s on a planetary scale! Aliens have landed! And they want …well, I won’t spoil it, but I will say that Abigail Zink will have quite the sticky situation to solve! Fun, fast, and certainly giggle-worthy, this installment of the Zombie Culinary Tales will be a staple at story time.


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The Polar Pack, The Safari Set, and The Jungle Crew (Mibo®)
by Madeleine Rogers

Reviewer: Julianne Black

If you are looking for board books, I found a great set! The Mibo® series, written and illustrated by Madeleine Rogers, is exquisite! The bright colors, fun geometric prints, and educational rhyming are sure to be a hit. While the board format makes them sturdy and accessible to little hands, the vocabulary and fun animal facts will delight older children as well. The Jungle Crew takes us through the rainforest highlighting birds, chimpanzees, tigers, and frogs. The Polar Pack introduces penguins, walrus, polar bears, reindeer, and owls. The Safari Set focuses on lions, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and hippos. The books are individually gorgeous but together they make a great gift.


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Danza! Amalia Hernández and Mexico’s Folkloric Ballet
by Duncan Tonatiuh

Reviewer: Julianne Black

The multi-award-winning Danza! will take your breath away! Duncan Tonatiuh is truly inspiring, his passion for the real-life story of Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de Mexico comes through in the story’s build up of events and amazing visual detail. The life and accomplishments of Amalia Hernández, the dancer and choreographer, are captured in spirit and execution perfectly matched to the authenticity of the dance she had worked to express. A wonderful discovery for anyone interested in the amazing cultural contributions and traditions of Mexico or dance fanatics looking to dive deeper into history. The illustration style is mesmerizing, a layering of 3-D photographic textures and two-dimensional ancient—almost pictographic—representational shapes. Hard to explain, beautiful to behold. An absolute gem!


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The Bubble Who Would Not Pop!
by Shelly Roark, Simone Krüger

Reviewer: Julianne Black

This bubble wants to pop! He has waited and waited in that bottle with his friends and now he is just bursting with excitement to do his very best. But on this beautiful day, the green-eyed girl blowing the bubbles has other plans for him. She gave him a mission: to deliver her prayer up to God. A sweet tale of a little bubble putting his own desires aside to deliver a message for his friend speaks to the reader of friendship, perseverance, dedication, and faith. The illustrations by Simone Krüger have a textured, classic feel to them that gives the story a very friendly vibe.


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Today I Feel … An Alphabet of Feelings
by Madalena Moniz

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

This story is one of the most delightful, charming, and innovate representations of the alphabet I’ve ever read! The thoughtfulness Ms. Moniz clearly puts into each illustration is truly remarkable. Each stunning page is a single word describing an emotion. A little boy is on each page in a variety of circumstances and these circumstances, surroundings, and scenarios are so clever. I believe when these feelings are written down, in this case by the masterful Ms. Moniz, it affirms to readers that it is normal to have huge ranges in emotions and being honest and authentic about them is the best and healthiest response of all.


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If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed
by Denise Vega, Zachariah OHora

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

I always get nervous with monster books and reading them to my little ones before bed, but this adorable gem provoked so many giggles, questions, and second reading requests that it quickly joined the bedtime book rotation. If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed is a little girl’s narrative on do’s and don’ts of getting your monster to bed. Incredibly relatable and funny, this story takes us through silly bedtime rituals only a child/monster can relate to. The use of white background with bold thick lines brings our eye right to the heart of the story: the little girl and her bedtime buddy. Hoping this book will give me some tips for getting my little “monsters” to bed!


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Dinosaur Pirates!
by Penny Dale

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Dinosaurs? Pirate ships? Treasure and secret maps? Every possible element of a child’s dream story is included in this engaging and fast-paced story. Author and illustrator Penny Dale does a fantastic job bringing to life a pirate ship’s nooks and crannies, along with the joy of treasure-hunting on a tropical island, with dinosaur characters leading the way. Illustrations are top to bottom colorful with detailed treasure maps, sea life, dinosaurs, and telescopes. Bonus? The names of the dinosaurs on the inside front pages and sea adventure words on the back. A fabulous read-aloud.


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The Case of the Stinky Stench: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast
by Josh Funk, Brendan Kearney

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

This hilarious rhyming story by Josh Funk was one of the most delightful and unique literature escapades I have read in quite some time. The story starts off with Inspector Croissant asking Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast for assistance in discovering the source of a stinky stench in the refrigerator where they reside. Although this is not just an ordinary fridge, but rather a food land that has places like Salsa Ravine, Onion Ring Cave, and Casserole Cliff. Each page has just the right amount of text and rhyming to keep us thoroughly engaged (and laughing). I love the rich vocabulary that perfectly pairs with the bold pencil and digital media illustrations. This story offers readers a fresh, hilarious depiction of food friends antics once the fridge door closes.


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Caring for Your Lion
by Tammi Sauer, Troy Cummings

Reviewer: Larissa Juliano

Lions. The most majestic animal of all. Kings of the Jungle. But not for a pet, of course! Kittens and cats will have to do. Nope … those domesticated felines are old news. Lions are the new pet in town! But is there a how-to guide, a step-by-step manual for taking care of this majestic beast? Tammi Sauer has written a witty, intelligent, and surprising story that answers all of our lion questions. Crazy wet mane? Don’t forget the blow-dryer. Potty training? Thank goodness for the Deluxe Lion Potty Pack. Lions love pizzas, so just watch out for the tasty delivery man! With multiple illustrations on each page, hysterical sneaky details, and words that pop, this story will become an instant favorite at story time.


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The Handbook
by Jim Benton

Reviewer: Diana Perry

There’s nothing Jake likes more than some good trash-picking, so when his elderly neighbors move out and leave an especially promising-looking pile of household refuse on the curb, he goes right for it. He only has the chance to grab one box before his mom catches him and orders him in for dinner, though. When Jake and his friends investigate the box, they find the Secret Parent’s Handbook and with it all the means to subvert the irrational rules and petty tyranny of their home lives. No more clean rooms! No more vegetables! No more brushed hair or washed hands! It’s all videogames and junk food all the time! But the authorities have taken notice ... and they are closing in. This book was a delight to read and it gives a realistic view into the minds of children.


The Unicorn in the Barn
by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, Rebecca Green

Reviewer: Diana Perry

For years people have claimed to see a mysterious white deer in the woods around Chinaberry Creek. It always gets away. One evening, Eric Harper thinks he spots it. But a deer doesn’t have a coat that shimmers like a pearl. And a deer certainly isn’t born with an ivory horn curling from its forehead. When Eric discovers the unicorn is hurt and being taken care of by the vet next door and her daughter, Allegra, his life is transformed. A tender tale of love, loss, and the connections we make, The Unicorn in the Barn shows us that sometimes ordinary life takes extraordinary turns. This is a magical, mystical story with threads of the difficulties of life weaved within. A pleasure to read.


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The Whizbang Machine: Tunney’s Curse
by Danielle A. Vann

Reviewer: Diana Perry

Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Yale and her Grandpa are trying to solve a mystery, but not just any mystery … if they’re not successful and soon, it could mean the end of the world, literally. This is the perfect book for teens: a fantasy world with amazing characters, a grand adventure with plenty of surprising twists and turns, and wonderful inventions such as the whizbang machine, which is now missing and is feared to be in enemy hands. This story is non-stop action with chases, underground tunnels, and even a family curse. I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait for the next book in the series.


StarPassage, Book Two: Heroes and Martyrs
by Clark Rich Burbidge

Reviewer: Diana Perry

The award-winning StarPassage saga continues with the relic guiding the Carsons to a new and desperate family. Two brothers, Bobby and Mike, are struggling after a tragic accident turns their world upside down. The perfect tale of family, love, faith in God, courage, and strength with a healthy dose of science fiction and fantasy. I really enjoyed reading this and was most happy that it ended with a peek into the next story. I look forward to reading that one, too.