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Disney WINNER & Review! Cindercast: A Tale of Tides by Michael Blackbourn

12 May

Well, today is the day! The day that I announce the winner of the Disney Descendents: Isle of the Lost Prize Pack Giveaway!

See my review of Isle of the Lost HERE!

The prize pack, courtesy of Disney Publishing, includes:

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

 

a copy of The Isle of the Lost;

branded tank top, water bottle and temporary tattoos;

and a GadgetGrip smartphone home button sticker.

And the lucky winner is…

Jazmyn Franklin!!!!

[ Ms. Franklin, you forgot to leave your email! If I don’t hear from you in three days, I will pick another winner. ]

Now, onto the review!

cinderCindercast: A Tale of Tides

By Michael Blackbourn

162 pages – ages 8+

Published by CreateSpace  on February 6, 2015

Synopsis- Ollie is a Seelie. They are like humans (AKA UnSeelies), but really really small. They could fit on your pinkie fingernail. When Ollie got sucked in by a sea storm, she gets tossed, turned, and lost. She finds herself on an unknown beach, with only her best friend Snarz (a small crab) to help her. With spiders, seagulls, and angry crabs, including mysterious cubes called Cindercubes, will she ever make it home?

What I Thought- This was a nice book. Although the publisher says it’s Middle Grade, it could fit into Early Middle Grade/Late Early Chapter Book. A lot of obstacles pop up in the book, but there wasn’t as much plot development that I would have liked in a middle-grade book. The book doesn’t resolve the main problem – Ollie knows of a place to go, but doesn’t go there, but the story feels complete and leaves room for the second book. The book was well-written and Mr. Blackbourn has a fun writing style that is enjoyable to read. You really immerse yourself into the world of a traveling Seelie. I would be happy to read book 2.

I give this 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

Disney’s The Isle of The Lost PRIZE PACK GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!

5 May

Disney Publishing is offering a terrific prize pack to celebrate the release of their awesome new book – The Isle of The Lost (see my review HERE). The book was released today!

Isle of the lost is a prequel to the Disney original movie DESCENDANTS. Check out the Descendants website at movies.disney.com/descendants.

 

 

The prize pack courtesy of Disney Publishing includes:

DescendantsPrizePack

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

 

a copy of The Isle of the Lost;

branded tank top, water bottle and temporary tattoos;

and a GadgetGrip smartphone home button sticker.

How cool is that?!?

The giveaway is open to US residents only.

About the Book [From the Publisher]:

Evil tree. Bad Apple?

“Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon to the Isle of the Lost–a dark and dreary place protected by a force field that makes it impossible for them to leave. Stripped of their magical powers, the villains now live in total isolation, forgotten by the world.

Mal learns from her mother, Maleficent, that the key to true darkness, the Dragon’s Eye, is located inside her scepter in the forbidden fortress on the far side of the island. The eye is cursed, and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She’ll just need a little help from her “friends.” In their quest for the Dragon’s Eye, these four kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain’t so bad.

Isle of the Lost is the spell-binding prequel to Disney Descendants, A Disney Channel Original Movie Event this summer!”

About the Author [From the Publisher]:

MelissadelaCruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of many best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.

TO ENTER JUST COMMENT BELOW!

I will pick a winner from all the comments by random drawing on 5/11/2015. I will announce the winner on 5/12. Good luck!

You can read an excerpt of the book HERE!

Learn more at the DisneyDescendants.com HERE!

Visit Melissa de La Cruz at her Official Site THERE!


#DisneyDescendants

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

30 Apr

Hey! Do you guys remember when I reviewed the very fun your reader mystery – “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” by Robin Newman (click the title for my review)?

carrotcake

Find it on Amazon HERE!

Summary from Goodreads: “When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?

Well, guess what! Today is the day it is released!

You can purchase the book on Amazon HERE!

Ms. Newman, the author, has thankfully agreed to let me give away a copy of her book.

The only qualifications that are needed are that you help spread the word about Ms. Newman’s book via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. or reblog!).

The contest is open to everyone in the US.

Just let me know you shared in the comments below and you are in for the drawing!

I will randomly choose one winner from all the entries on May 6th and the winner will be announced May 7th.

Good Luck!

You can visit Ms. Newman’s website HERE.

April 2015 UBFP Column – AND GIVEAWAY!!!

2 Apr

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the April 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 8 ) or you can read the whole story – plus some extra things I’ve thrown in – below! :D

I hope you like the article!

Meet Bucks County Author Donna Galanti

By Erik Weibel

Author Donna Galanti was raised in England but she now finds her home in Bucks County! She has just written an exciting, middle grade action-adventure story called “Joshua and The Lightning Road”. The book will be released on May 15th of this year. The story follows twelve year-old Joshua’s quest into another word to find his friend that had been kidnapped by a mystical being during a lightning storm. Joshua realizes that all the crazy stories his grandpa told him about lightning storms are terrifyingly real and he soon finds himself up against terrible creatures determined to stop him.

DGalanti_JATLR_eCover_900x1350 (1)

I was fortunate to read an advanced copy of this book and Ms. Galanti has graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions!

Erik: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Ms. Galanti! The first line on your book is awesome: “I never knew lightning could zap you without burning you to a crisp.” I love it when a book hooks you from the beginning. How important to you was this first line?

Ms. Galanti: I’m so glad I hooked you! For me, the first line or paragraph in a book must grab me in order to keep reading. I often buy the book based on that emotional connection from the first page and hope the author follows through on their promise (and hope I can too!).

Erik: Having read the whole book, I can say that yes, you did! When I was reading the story I was wondering if you were afraid of lightning storms when you were younger or maybe a huge mythology fan, or both?

Ms. Galanti: I always loved summer lightning storms as a kid and would sleep on the screened-in porch to watch the big show. On the other hand, my dad has been struck by lightning three times on the golf course (and lived to tell the tales)! I’ve always loved the stories of the Greek Olympians. They are big and scary and full of power – and that drives my imagination.

Erik: Hit three times by lightning? I think I’d give up golf! Scents and smells play a big part in your descriptions, more than I usually find in stories. I think it made your settings even more realistic. When you say “He smelled like a wet dog that had been swimming in sour milk,” I know exactly how revolting that is! Did you use scents on purpose, or is that typical of your writing style?

Ms. Galanti: Smells can hold powerful memory triggers. I wanted readers to see Joshua’s world as he experiences it. When you first smell a new scent, you link it to a person or event. Like the scent of fresh cut grass can remind you of a summer day, even if it’s the end of autumn. And when you happen upon that smell again, the link is there, ready to pop that memory open.

Erik: That is a very interesting point! Your story has just the right amount of scariness and tension for an MG book. Did you intend to write this an MG book and have to keep that in mind as you were writing?

Ms. Galanti: Thank you! This book was always intended for middle grade readers. My son (the perfect audience for this book) helped me with plot issues along the way, and that was super fun! As far as scariness and tension, I love it when an author takes my beloved characters to the edge of no return and gives me that spine-tingling rush of “oh, nooo!” This is what I aim for in my own stories.

Erik: You sure do a good job of it! Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Ms. Galanti: Joshua and the Arrow Realm, book 2 releases December, 2015. In the book Joshua is called to free his friend, who’s been enslaved as a power pawn in a queen’s quest to rule all. But when Joshua becomes bait in her hunting game, loses his powerful lightning orb, and his friends turn on him, he wonders if he can survive on wits and instincts alone and not only save his friend—but himself.

I’m plotting out book 3, Joshua and the Fire Realm, right now! It’s more adventure set in a volcanic landscape, filled with lots of friendships, battles, and bad guys.

Erik: I am looking forward to the rest of this series!

For more information on Donna Galanti, please visit her website at DonnaGalanti.com

For more on books and reading, visit my blog, ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

NOW FOR SOME BONUS MATERIAL!!!

About Ms. Galanti:

Galanti, Donna 2 small (1)Donna Galanti attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship. She’s lived in other exotic locations, including Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse, and dreams of returning one day to a castle. Donna is the author of the Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Book 1, May 2015, Month9Books) and blogs at Project Mayhem. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com or on Amazon.

Praise for Joshua and The Lightning Road:
“Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page.” ~Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series

Website: http://www.donnagalanti.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20983429-joshua-and-the-lightning-road

 WAIT!!! THERE’S MORE!!!!

Ms. Galanti has provided the chance for one lucky commenter to win a galley print copy of “Joshua and the Lightning Road”! (US only please)

The winner will be announced in one week’s time, on Thursday, April 9th, 2015. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entries.

And, in case if you don’t happen to win, you can pre-order the book!

Here are links to go pre-order your copy now!!!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Iu6ETw

Barnes & Noble : http://bit.ly/1DBVtc9

WAIT THERE’S EVEN MORE!!!

Here’s my review!

DGalanti_JATLR_eCover_900x1350 (1)Joshua and the Lightning Road

By Donna Galanti

Series: Lightning Road
278 pages – ages 9+
Will Be Published by Month9Books, LLC on May 19, 2015 – you can PRE-ORDER NOW!

Summary (from GoodReads) – “Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and whatever you do, do not touch the orb.

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning. But Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever.
To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him.
In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life. ”

What I thought – The descriptions in this book were so vivid I could feel, smell and envision the setting. The characters were solid. Joshua was totally believable. He had all the right characteristics of a great main character – brave, smart and kind, but he also acted like the kid he is. The world Ms. Galanti created can be totally frightening at times, but it is done in a way that is kid-friendly. I personally found the whole idea of a “child collector” terrifying, but also intriguing. Ms. Galanti’s writing style pulls the reader along, answering questions about the story but then revealing new questions. It really keeps you reading. The story has a lot of action but also a great plot line that strings everything together. The ending is satisfying but leaves the reader wanting to get into the next book in the series.

Five out of five bookworms! fivebooks

I am feeling a bit purple today.

26 Mar

I am feeling a bit purple today. If you haven’t noticed, my blog is a bit purple – I am wearing purple heading off to school. Why all the purple?!?

Today is PURPLE DAY!

A day to bring awareness about epilepsy.

purpleday

According to the Purple Day website “Cassidy Megan created the idea of Purple Day in 2008, motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal is to get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone.” Click HERE to learn more.

I first became aware of epilepsy through Bethany Telles and reading about her son (Master Jedi) Renn. Renn has gone through some scary things with the condition and I’ve learned a lot about epilepsy through reading about him. I am happy to say that Mrs. Telles reports Renn is doing well and (after a very scary brain surgery), has been seizure free for one year! To read more about Renn CLICK HERE. After learning about Renn and epilepsy, I learned some of the kids at school have it some of my blogger friends (their loved ones) have it – I think it is a subject that kids need to know about it even if you don’t have epilepsy. It will help you understand what is happening to people in your lives who may have it.

In my effort to spread awareness about epilepsy, I have two book recommendations for you.

mommyIfeelfunny

Mommy, I Feel Funny!

By Danielle M. Rocheford

Illustrated by Chris Herrick 

40 pages – ages 8+
Published by Green Swing, A Wyatt-MacKenzie Imprint on March 1, 2009

GoodReads SummaryBased on a true story, Mommy, I Feel Funny! introduces the reader to Nel, a little girl who is diagnosed with epilepsy. The story takes you through the days following Nels first seizure. Suddenly, Nel and her family are faced with thoughts, fears and emotions that come with the discovery, understanding and acceptance of epilepsy. 

katethegreatThe Great Katie Kate Explains Epilepsy

by M. Maitland DeLand

Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Greenleaf Book Group Press on January 7, 2014

GoodReads Summary – Jimmy and the other young patients in the neurologist’s office get a visit from the Great Katie Kate, a spunky redheaded superhero who appears when kids get worried. Katie Kate takes the children on a medical adventure to learn about the various forms of epileptic seizures and treatments. Along the way, they meet the Worry Wombat, a creature that appears when worries loom large. As Jimmy and his new friends to ask questions about their condition and its triggers, they make the Worry Wombat disappear!

This superhero saga provides an entertaining and indispensable tool for parents and medical professionals who are seeking a positive way to help young epilepsy patients understand their condition and deal with their fears. As a well-respected physician who specializes in the treatment of women and children, the author presents challenging medical concepts in clear, accurate, and understandable prose.

Do you have any book recommendations that teach about epilepsy?

Now go wear some purple!

IMG_0063

 

March 2015 UBFP Column – My Day as a Traveling Librarian

4 Mar

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the March 2015 issue! The street and online version were just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE or on the column picture (see page 8) or you can read the whole story – plus some extra things I’ve thrown in – below! :D

UBFP

I hope you like the article!

 

My Day as a Traveling Librarian

By Erik Weibel

Recently, I was able to take part in a great learning experience. I was an apprentice traveling librarian with the Columbia County Traveling Library (CCTL). The American Library Association reports that there are less than 1000 bookmobiles in America today. It is estimated that only 37 bookmobiles exist in Pennsylvania. What is unique about the CCTL is that it is the ONLY library in Pennsylvania whose primary function is that of a bookmobile.

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The CCTL is committed to bringing library services to the citizens of rural Columbia County PA. The bookmobile makes stops at specific locations every 2 weeks. It serves people who would otherwise not have access to a free public library, or the means to get to one. The Director and Head Librarian of the CCTL, Dr. Lydia Kegler, agreed to let me hang out for a day’s route aboard the bookmobile and learn what a CCTL librarian does.

The CCTL has a small brick and mortar location in Scott Township, PA where they house a large part of their collection. That’s where my day began. “Most of the work in libraries is done before the book hits the shelf,” Dr. Kegler states, as she hands me a book to shelve. Librarians must find the books of interest to their patrons, buy the books, protect the books with an outer wrap, code the book, catalog the book, and shelve it. On top of all that, because this library is a bookmobile, they’ve got to gas up and make sure the brakes work! Dr. Kegler explains to me that, because the CCTL is a small organization, everyone does a bit of everything. Some bigger libraries have more specialized librarians who focus on a certain job, but at smaller libraries like the CCTL, Librarians find themselves doing all sorts of jobs. Dr. Kegler is the manager, head librarian and occasional bookmobile operator.

From here, we loaded up the bookmobile with the books it needed for today’s journey. Dr. Kegler gave me a crate of books that will go to a retirement home. She explained that the bookmobile leaves a collection of books at the home for the residents and every so often they go and refresh the collection and change some books out. Next, we found some books that patrons had requested through the online reservation system. “This person wanted this book on China,” Dr. Kegler says pointing out a book. “I know this family is a homeschooling family. They may be doing a lesson. Look, here are two more useful books on China. We’ll bring those along too just in case they may want them.”

I add the books on China to another crate that is over-flowing with books. “This here is a handtruck.” Mrs. Kegler smiles at me. “We use this as a means to carry the crates of books that are needed for this trip to the bookmobile.” She helps me load two plastic crates onto the handtruck, and I push it through the hallway, out to the bookmobile. I hand up the crates to her and she sets them down inside.

We make one last trip into the building to grab a quick lunch and make a run to the restroom. One of the hazards of working on a bookmobile in a rural area; no bathroom breaks. Once on the bookmobile, Dr. Kegler checks it out to make sure it is safe to drive. As we buckle into our seats, Dr. Kegler smiles and dons a pair of sunglasses. “Cool shades are a necessary part of being a bookmobile librarian too, you know.” I quickly put on a pair of aviator glasses. Cool indeed.

photo-3

 

               Our first stop is a preschool. The young kids climbed onto the bookmobile with books in their hands, and excited looks on their faces. I was put in charge of using the stamper, for the due dates, and the scanner, for checking in/out. The scanner wasn’t working 100% of the time (that may have been a function of my inexperience). Let me tell you, a line of frustrated, impatient preschoolers in front of you isn’t a pretty sight. Luckily, I got the job done in time, thanks to Dr. Kegler’s expertise in running the scanner (and soothing angry preschoolers). The bookmobile is surprisingly large inside. At that one stop, there were 10-12 kids and 3 adult helpers comfortably fitting inside. That’s also with Dr. Kegler and me behind the circulation desk at the front of the bookmobile.

photo-2

 After the preschool, we go to three more stops in the area. As we are rolling along the windy, snow covered roads, Dr. Kegler points out one of the marvels that you don’t normally find at a regular library – the weather change! While we were driving, the weather conditions went from snow squalls to a brilliantly sunny day.

When asked the oddest request that she’s received as the librarian, Dr. Kegler responded that once a man came on asking for the instruction manual for a certain model of a blowtorch. Regrettably, they did not have what he was asking for.

photo-4

At each of the next stops, I would make the rounds and pick up any books that may have slid off the shelves while driving (surprisingly, there are very few). I’d also reshelve books that were checked in from the previous stop.

Dr. Kegler explained to me that the CCTL is currently trying to raise money to replace their aging bookmobile. Their current bookmobile is 17 years old and has over 100,000 miles on it. Dr. Kegler hopes to get some technological devices inside of the new bookmobile to make it easy for residents to find what they are looking for and a computer station so that patrons who don’t have access to a computer or the internet can use it on the bookmobile.

Sadly, Dr. Kegler wouldn’t let me drive the bookmobile (something about lawsuits and her losing her job) but, even with that disappointment, I had a great day and learned a lot.

If you are interested in learning more about the CCTL, please visit their website – http://www.cctlibrary.org

For more on books and reading, visit my website – http://www.ThisKidReviewsBooks.com

 

 

Creative Kid Thursday! Meet Daniel Johnston Author and Magazine Publisher!

26 Feb

Welcome to Creative Kid Thursday!

17-year-old Daniel Johnston is the mastermind behind the blog READERS AND WRITERS PARADISE. He is an excellent writer – I’ve featured some of his stories on my blog before. Now he has ventured into new territory. He has designed and published a kid’s magazine. No – it isn’t a magazine just meant for kids, it is a publication written, laid-out and published by kids! All the written content in the magazine is by kids – but anyone will enjoy reading it!

kidswritersmafg

Daniel has also recently written a children’s book, called “The Wrecking Ball Employee”. Daniel’s description of his novella follows: “It’s a hilarious tale called The Wrecking Ball Employee where a kid attempts to get a job but is more successful in things like getting eaten by a girl who thinks he’s a hot dog and being accused of poisoning by a government agent.”

Here is a BONUS! A preview of the novella!

Chapter 1: The Dare

“I bet you can’t get a job there.”

“I can too!” I protested.

Carol stopped and looked straight at me. “Look, there’s a jobs wanted sign. If you can get a job there I’ll…”

“Let me play with your dog for a day,” I interjected.

“Yes,” she nodded, and then grew an evil grin, “but if you fail to do so within the next three days, you have to go to that scary movie with me. And no putting your hands over your face!”

“No way!” I protested, but she simply shrugged.

“Then do it.”

.

It was a really rotten deal, and in bed that night falling asleep was a hard task amongst all the kicking I was

doing to myself. How could I have been so stupid! I repeated to myself again and again.

Sure, I could’ve still tried to call it off, but then I would’ve been a coward. We’d even done the secret handshake, after she’d called me a wimp if I didn’t take the challenge. That kind of insult from a girl isn’t something you can just take. Worst of all, if I’d have backed off it would’ve been accurate

Oh, you may think that the downside to losing the bet wasn’t really that bad; after all, what kid wouldn’t want to watch a scary movie.

But this wasn’t just any scary movie.

This was the scary movie.

No, I told myself to finally get to sleep, there was no way out, but also nothing to worry about.

I’d just have to get that job.

~

“What’re you guys doing this week?” Mrs. Mecre, our fifth grade teacher, asked us in class the next morning. I don’t know if she always actually wanted an answer to customary questions like that, but she usually got plenty.

“Eddie here’s going to get a job!” Carol announced loudly, prompting everyone to turn and stare at her. Even Mrs. Mecre changed from an exhausted expression to an amused one. I, on the other hand, was not happy. I’d been stupid enough to get suckered into for Carol’s dumb bet, so the least she could do was not blab it to everybody.

But of course that’s exactly what she was doing.

“Uh-huh,” Mrs. Mecre said wryly. “And what job is that?”

“A job at Bordeaux’s,” Carol explained. “They’re hiring.”

There were scattered snickers across the room. Bordeaux’s was the local food market, so most of us had been their plenty of times. But that was a lot different than trying to get gainful employment there.

“Hey,” I defended myself, rising from my seat, “what’s wrong with trying to do a little work? That’s more than I

can say for you losers.” I sat back down, but not before I stared pointedly at Henry, the biggest of those losers. He

predictably returned the favor, sticking his tongue out at me.

“You realize, of course,” our teacher commented, “that Bordeaux’s only hires people eighteen and older,

and only with a high school or even college degree.”

My face flushed, but before I had a chance to respond Carol jumped in. “There are ways around that,” she promised smoothly.

Mrs. Mecre merely chuckled and got on with the lesson, but I took that to heart. For the remainder of the

morning I found it hard to concentrate on The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or the 2nd Continental

Congress. Already the clock was ticking on the bet, and my brain was stumped.

“What did you mean there are ways of getting around it?” I asked Carol eagerly when lunchtime finally came.

She shrugged. “That’s for you to figure out.”

Watching her walk past me to the food aisle I could only think one thing: Oh, no!

Chapter 2: Hot-Dogging

“Look, Mommy, it’s a hot dog!”

“Where, sweetie?” The mom asked her little girl.

“Right there,” the girl told her, pointing directly at me.

“Oh, my,” the woman said, as a person is apt to do on spotting a walking hot dog.

Seeing through the eyeholes was a little tough, but I managed to maneuver my way over to the meat section, where food in my likeness lined the aisle. I took a deep breath, and began to dance, in full view of all the customers around, which was a couple dozen.

“Get your hot dogs here!” I called, trying to deepen my voice. “Hot dogs!”

Trying to see wasn’t easy given my rapid movements, but I miraculously managed not to hit anything. Anyways, if I fell over maybe people would come over and then I could convince them to purchase a few dogs.

“Come on, get some hot-diggities over here!” I called, starting to get a little hot and tired inside the full body suit.

“Mommy, I want to eat that hot dog!” remarked the little girl.

“Olivia, that’s not a real hot dog,” her mother tried to explain. “It’s just a person dressed up as one.”

Wham! All of a sudden the world turned upside down and I fell to the floor in a heap. Everything went totally out, my vision just a collection of lights. Darn, I knew the hot dog costume would turn out to be a bad idea.

“Thanks, mister,” I said when I felt someone’s hands on me, assuming they were trying to help me up. But a second later I felt myself being attacked!

“Olivia!” the woman cried, and I could feel her footsteps pattering quickly against the hard floor. “Get off that hot dog right now!”

I couldn’t believe it! I was trapped in a hot dog costume, being attacked by a tiny girl. Quickly, I tried to roll over on top of her, but before I had a chance she took a big bite…right on my left arm.

“Ow!” I howled, grabbing my arm in horror. When that girl said she wanted to eat me, she really meant it! Not only that, but she picked a bite!

I stumbled, trying to get away before the girl could try it again, but only succeeded in landing flat on my face. I braced myself, but luckily the unholy terror was already accompanied by her mom once again. “That doesn’t taste like a hot dog,” the girl complained.

“Honey, it’s not!” her mother explained. “Like I said, that’s just a person wearing a costume.”

Painfully, I managed to stand up and get to my feet. I pulled down the top part of my costume and waved to the little girl. “Hi,” I said warily.

“Are you ok?” The mom asked, her voice flooded with concern. “I’m so sorry.”

If being thrown to the floor and bitten like a piece of meat is ok, then I guess so. But out loud I simply said, “Yeah, I’m alright.” Then I looked around and noticed how many people were standing around who had witnessed the incident.

“Maybe y’all should buy some real hot dogs now,” I suggested hopefully.

The attempted cannibal shook her head decisively. “I’m never eating a hot dog again as long as I live.”

There was nothing I could do but breath a long, weary sigh.

Want to read more?

HERE is the awesome news!

Daniel has generously agreed to give 30 copies of the full book away to the first ten people who order a copy of the new Kid Writers Magazine (Go HERE to learn about it and buy a copy!), and to the first 20 people to subscribe to the Magazine!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Red: A Crayon’s Story

13 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it really shows how we need to look inside of a person, and not judge by appearance or expect them to be a certain way.

redRed:A Crayon’s Story

Written and Illustrated by Michael Hall

Hardcover: 40 pages ages 4+
Published by Greenwillow Books on February 3, 2015

Theme/Topic- Being yourself

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening – “He was red.

Synopsis (from publisher) – “Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!”

Why I liked this book- This seems the ultimate “be yourself” book. It shows that if you just judge by appearance, you can get an entirely different outlook than on what’s inside the “wrapper”. The illustrations are quirky and fun to look at. I like how the white page is really “paper” for the crayons to draw on. That was pretty cool. This is a wonderful book, and I was happy to review it. “Red” is a nice crayon who you care for. There is some humor in the story, because the reader instantly knows that Red is blue. This is a nice book for diversity teaching.

Activities and Resources-

There is a printable activity and teacher’s guise to go along with the books at the publisher’s website. Click HERE to get them.

Get some crayons and make an adventure for them! Or, have the crayons DRAW the adventure for them!

Or how about getting coloring pages and have kids color the pages colors that aren’t the “normal” colors for the picture – like this one – I think the woolly mammoth wants to be pink with a little brown. ;)

color

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

February 2015 UBFP Column – Meet Bucks County Author Kit Grindstaff

5 Feb

I write for the UBFP Newspaper!

I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the February 2015 issue! The street and online version was published a couple of days ago. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 9).

I hope you like the article!

Meet Bucks County Author Kit Grindstaff!

By Erik Weibel

Kit Grindstaff’s bio says she was born near London, and grew up surrounded by rolling hills, old English villages. After a brush with pop stardom, she moved to New York and became a successful song writer. She now lives with her husband in Bucks County Pennsylvania. Her award-winning debut novel, The Flame In The Mist, is a spooky, magical mystery-adventure for fantasy lovers, ages 9 to 90. It takes place in a fantasy world of Anglavia. Anglavia is ruled by the tyrannical Agromond family. The main character Jemma Agromond, realizes how evil they really are, she runs away only to be confronted with her true destiny. Only she can bring peace to Anglavia, but at what price?

 

feb2015

 

Erik: What steps do you take when writing a book?

Ms. Grindstaff: As soon as I conceive of a story, I have a rough idea of beginning, middle and end. The details fill in as I write. Before I begin writing, though, I explore the main characters, making lists of traits, and creating back stories to dig for conflicts, motivations, and possible plot and character arcs.

Then, I always outline; but I like to write freely within that structure. That way, the characters can take on a life of their own, and often move the story in ways that surprise me – and hopefully the reader as well! I always keep the end in mind, though, and if those characters get too unruly I’ll take back the reins and steer the story where it needs to go. Ultimately you have to remember who’s the author!

Erik: Where did the idea for the Rattusses (Jemma’s telepathc pet rats) come from?

Ms. Grindstaff: Jemma’s life at Agromond Castle being pretty bleak, I wanted to give her some light relief, and more constant companionship than her limited time with Marsh and Digby. So who – or what – could offer her that in a moldering old castle? Rats! (Magical ones, of course.)

As for being telepathic, they just happened that way. From word go, Noodle and Pie knew when Jemma needed help or comfort, and Jemma understood each twitch of whisker and tail. The specifics of their communication, though, developed over several drafts.

Incidentally, they were common-or-castle brown rats until a very late draft. Their golden fur was a “Eureka!” moment—obvious, right? After all, they are emissaries of Light!

Erik: Anagrams play a big part in the story. What was the inspiration behind them? Are you really good at them, like Jemma?

Ms. Grindstaff: At the outset, I wrote down a list of Jemma’s traits: some like me, some not. For example her flame-red hair and sea-green eyes (not like me), and her love of food (like me, though I’m not a fan of entrails). I’ve always loved word play and anagrams, and that popped onto the list too, though I had no idea at first how important they’d become to the plot! I don’t think I’m as good at them as Jemma is. I can only decipher them because I made them up.

Erik: The twists in the book not only kept me on the edge of my seat, but also really surprised me. Your writing style really fits with the plot and setting of The Erik: When did you start writing, and how have your surroundings influenced you?

Ms. Grindstaff: I’ve always loved writing. As a kid: short stories. In my teens: anguished poems, then pop songs – the writing of which is still my long-time profession.

I had a growing hankering, though, to write fiction. Eventually I took a couple of writing courses, and The Flame in the Mist was born. Growing up English, in the land of spooky old churches, graveyards and castles, and misty winters, was hugely influential! I’d include literature as ‘Surroundings’ too: I loved adventures, mysteries, classics like Dickens and The Woman in White (lots of fog and ghosts), and mystery paranormals like The Turn of the Screw. Anything steeped in atmosphere.

Erik: The Agromonds are a treacherous family. What helped in “shaping” them?

Ms. Grindstaff: The Agromonds’ personalities are exaggerated versions of people I’ve known, combined with British archetypes: The snob for Nocturna; the conflicted Lord of the Manor for Nox; the typical spiteful girl for Shade, and Feo…poor Feo! Sprinkle in a dark lust for power (look no further than any empire as a model), et voila! the Agromonds.

I’m also fascinated by the “shadow” side of personality: things people don’t want others to know about them, or even hide from themselves; their secrets and lies (a big theme in the book, as you know). Those hidden things (kept in the dark) are often what twists people and manifest as evil. So I played with that idea in creating the Agromonds. It also influenced the dark-light theme: by becoming aware of those secrets (bringing them to the light) and uncovering the truth, Jemma is able to escape the darkness and find the life she’s always longed for.

Erik: Thank you Ms. Grindstaff!

Ms. Grindstaff: Thanks so much, Erik, for your awesome questions! They were fun to answer.

For more about Kit Grindstaff, please visit Kitgrindstaff.com!

For more on books visit ThisKidReviewsBooks.com!

 

BONUS MATERIAL!

I was fortunate to meet Ms. Grindstaff at the Lititz Teen and Kids Literature Festival last year. That’s how I found out about her great book (and was able to bug get her to agree to an interview). I’d like to tell you a bit more about her debut novel The Flame in the Mist!

 

flame-in-the-mist-shadow-225

The Flame in the Mist

By Kit Grindstaff

464 pages – ages 9+

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on April 9, 2013

Summary (from GoodReads) – “Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma’s past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia. “

 What I Thought: I loved the setting in this book – a world with no sun ruled by magical tyrants. That is my kind of book. The characters in the story are good. Jemma is a good – approaching great – main character. She is smart and spunky. Her character develops through the story and I found myself being drawn into her story. Her telepathic rat side-kicks (Noodle and Pie) are characters that readers will immediately love.  The evil Agromond Family is VERY evil and they are the perfect bad guys. The book is written so that is totally appropriate for MG readers, but the length and reading level is something an older reader will like also.  I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy!

I give this 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Punxsutawney Phyllis’ 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!! WOOOO!!!!

2 Feb

WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE GROUNGHOG’S DAY THAN WITH A CONTEST?!?

(Well – other than having a snow day off of school) ;)

Today is Punxsutawney Phyllis’ tenth Birthday! WOO! Punxsutawney Phyllis is the wonderful character created by the awesome author and hare-brained scheme thinker upper – Susanna Leonard Hill!

phyllis

 

Well, Phyllis is an over-eager a nice young groundhog with a funky spirit, so I decided that she needed something with a nice funky tune.

 

The rules for this contest are (copied from Ms. Hill’s blog):

“Phyllis and I are looking forward with GREAT anticipation to reading YOUR poems for Phyllis [about Phyllis], and hopefully seeing some videos too…!

If you wrote a poem for Phyllis, and/or have photographs, drawings, videos, or other fun feature accompaniments, please add your post-specific blog link to the list below, or post your poem etc in the comments, or Email it to me and I’ll post it for you so that we can all enjoy everyone’s creativity!”

Because I’ve been nagging asking Ms. Hill consistently politely and patiently for a video contest for (at least) a year now, I can’t really not do a video.

So, here it is! The lyrics (written by me) are below the video.

Viva Las Phyllis!

~

Oh Phyllis you are the finest

They should give you a crown and call you her royal highness

As many times as I’ve read your books

People stare and they give me looks

Well – it just isn’t enough – no – it just isn’t enough

Phyllis It’s your special day

And we just want to say

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

 

Oh Phylllis, you are the best

Weather predictions better than the rest.

I watch the six o’clock news

and they get me all confused

I just need to ask you

You tell it to me straight

Forget that news at eight

Al Roker says it’s gonna snow

And you say “I don’t think so”

 

HA! YOU’RE RIGHT!

 

Happy Birthday Phyllis

Happy tenth birthday!

~

(and yes, my voice is that deep. :) )

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY EVERYONE!!!!

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