Monday, January 12, 2015

Review of 'Eclair Meets a Gypsy' by M. Weidenbenner


Cover Front - Gypsies 04Éclair Meets a Gypsy

M. Weidenbenner, Author
Melody Duval, Illustrator


Kay Kline, retired first-grade teacher, “A fun chapter book with just enough magic and reality. Adults will enjoy it too!”

Vie Herlocker, author and editor, “Funny...entertaining... Éclair resembles a modern-day Junie B. Jones.”

“Kid-friendly… page-turning fun… adventure with real-life challenges,” said Crystal Bowman, best-selling children’s book author and speaker.

Early Reader for girls first – third grade. (6-8 years old)

Eccentric Grandma Stella is taking in boarders. Not the kind that talk, but the kind that neigh. Horses. When seven-year-old Éclair meets the first boarder and its owner, a girl Éclair’s age who’s dressed like a gypsy, the girl says her horse can read minds and will cast a spell on Éclair. Does the horse really have magic? If so, maybe the horse could make Éclair’s secret wish come true.

**My thoughts**

Eclair is starting to slowly adjust to living with her eccentric grandmother, but still doesn't understand a lot of the world around her. You can tell that she didn't spend a lot of time out in the country with her grandmother, prior to having to move in with her. 

I love that she is young enough that she still has complete faith in the possibility of magic and making wishes. With everything going on in her little world, she needs that innocent trust and magic. She also needs some friends, and not just of the horse kind. Lina seems to need the same in her life. I feel like these two little girls are going to become the best of friends and have all kinds of adventures. I would love to see how Eclair later handles the balance between her best friend back home and her newfound best friend in Indiana.

These stories are very sweet. They go by quickly, throwing in little life lessons while also bringing a smile to your face as you read about Eclair's world. I agree that she will be as appealing to little girls as Junie B. Jones, but definitely prefer this child over Junie. (I have never been a fan of Junie B. Jones.)

Buy on Amazon | B&N

Put Eclair Meets A Gypsy on your TBR list

Eclair Goes to Stella's

Chapter Book for first-third grade girls. Early Reader.

"Humor...action...and emotion. A great read!" Crystal Bowman, bestselling children's author. 

"Funny, sad, heart-warming and genuine--all at once." Renee Gray-Wilburn, Co-author of "Grandparenting Through Obstacles."

When Eclair's mother leaves home, Eclair and her little sister must go live on a farm with Stella, their eccentric grandma.

"More and more, grandparents today are assuming the role of part-time or even full-time caregivers for their grandkids. In Eclair Goes to Stella's, we see how one grandmother bravely and creatively steps into this role to help her family through a difficult situation. I'm certain that children everywhere will be able to relate to the range of emotions that little Éclair faces as she struggles to adjust to her new living arrangements then begins to welcome the love and care her grandmother offers." ~ Renee Gray-Wilburn, co-author of Grandparenting Through Obstacles: Overcoming Family Challenges to Reach Your Grandchildren for Christ (Pix-N-Pens, 2012).

There is a growing trend in America--grandparents raising grandchildren. According to the AARP's Grandfacts, "Across the United States, almost 7.8 million children are living in homes where grandparents or other relatives are the householders, with more than 5.8 million children living in grandparents' homes and nearly 2 million children living in other relatives' homes. These families are often called grandfamilies."

**My thoughts**

Unfortunately, Eclair's situation is starting to become more and more prevalent. Parents are suffering from mental illness or other disorders and must go get themselves some help. All that Eclair knows is that Mommy has gone somewhere so that she won't be sad anymore. Her father needs to find a different job, so that he can support the family. So, Grandma, who prefers to simply be called Stella, is going to take care of the kids while their parents try to rebuild their family.

As an adult, my heart was aching for Eclair and her sister. I have fond memories of hanging out in Indiana and on family farms in the summers, but that was for fun, not necessity like in this book. The girls have been completely uprooted, are living with someone who is essentially a stranger, and are trying to make sense of this crazy new world.

I was almost reminded of Ramona Quimby when reading this first book. Eclair has some silly notions about her little world, which are completely believable and understandable at her age and in her situation. Ramona is one of my all-time favorite characters in chapter books for kids. I feel like Eclair will quickly join her ranks.


michelle wAbout the author:

Michelle grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital she cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls. But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting, without drama, she discovered having brothers wasn’t so bad. They even taught her how to take direct criticism without flinching, which comes in handy with book reviews.

When she’s not writing she’s winning ugly on the tennis court. She’s known as “Queen of the Rim Shots.” No joke. It’s ugly.

Where to find Michelle:

Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Literary Addicts | Goodreads | Website | Pinterest | LinkedIn

Blog link: Random Writing Rants Teaching adults and teens how to get published

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Friday, January 9, 2015

'The Easy to Make Paper Airplane Book: Created by a Kid' by Lane Simpson


Your children's fun will take off while they learn the basics of flight from this easy to use book. All designs have step by step instructions and are tested by children all over the world. All your child needs is notebook paper and off they go.

Check out other great books in Dr. Simpson's store.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

'The Amazing and Unbelievable Family History of Wanda Wollow' by J.Y. Klermaine


Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wished she had been born a mouse. And why not? Her life was meaningless and the people around her were tiresome. But everything changes when she discovers a red leather-bound book in the attic. Follow along as she learns how extraordinary her family truly is in this fun tale about dragons, secret agents, and a shattered ice boat.

Buy links

About the author:

J.Y. Klermaine writes fantasy fiction stories for people of all ages. Let's laugh, cry, smile, and gasp as we read along!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

'Tommy Meets Dr. Zeus: A Tommy Tussle Adventure #2' by Larry Dean Jackson


Tommy and his friends would rather do anything than study Greek Mythology in their 5th grade class. And while their minds don't exactly change, they suddenly find an interest in the subject. But the interest is not what you would expect. It was certainly not what they expected. As a result they find themselves in a situation where the only thing that can save them is Greek mythology.

About the author:

Larry Dean Jackson has written over 100 books. While he got his start writing basketball coaching instructional books, he's written middle readers, psychological thrillers, books on survivalism and prepping, and even cookbooks. He's a versatile author with a definitive style. Larry has been a basketball coach and high school social studies teacher for 35 years.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

'A Month of Bedtime Stories' by Neil Roy McFarlane


A cow that eats bananas and lives in the trees! Bees that pilot submarines through uncharted puddles! An elevator that descends to the centre of the Earth! Cowardly dinosaurs! Alien Dogs! Vertiginous squirrels! Time-traveling slugs! Disco-dancing horses!

They’re all here in this collection of weird and wonderful bedtime stories, a month’s worth of fantastic tales to guarantee any child thirty-one dream-filled nights.

Read an excerpt:
From “Ethel the Soap Fairy” 
You still didn’t know where to find soap, so you decided to go and ask an owl because you’d heard that owls were quite wise, so you thought that they would probably know where to get soap from. So you began walking around looking for an owl. 
You looked for an owl for a long time but you couldn’t find one anywhere, so you decided to ask a mouse where you could find an owl, so then you started looking for a mouse. 
You looked for a mouse for a long time but you couldn’t find a mouse either, so you decided to ask an owl where you could find a mouse, so you started looking for an owl again. 
After looking for a long time, you finally ended up back where you started. 
And there, sitting on the grassy knoll, was an owl. 
“Excuse me, Mr Owl,” you said, “do you know where I can find a mouse please thank you very much?” 
“There’s one over there,” said the owl, “sitting on that old tree stump.” 
So you turned around and saw a mouse sitting on an old tree stump, and you went over to it. 
“Excuse me, Mr Mouse,” you said, “do you know where I can find an owl please thank you very much?” 
“There’s one behind you, sitting on that grassy knoll,” said the mouse. “I saw you talking to him just a moment ago.” 
“Oh yes. Thank you,” you said, feeling a bit silly.
Read rave reviews!
"Written with a great love of vocabulary, with a musical style [...] this book is not a month of bedtime stories, but a lifetime of them." - Carole P. Roman, Kirkus Best of 2012 Award-winning Author 
"Neil Roy McFarlane likely has as fine a sense of humor as anyone writing today… Looney, wacky, imaginative and borderline crazy tales that McFarlane pens with absolute abandon." - Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Amazon Top 100 Reviewer / Vine Voice 
"I keep trying to get Mama to read more than one at night time - there are enough for a whole month but I don't want to take that long to read them all!" - Raif (Age 5) San Francisco Book Review
Buy links

About the author:

Neil Roy McFarlane lives and works in Devon, UK. He knew he wanted to be a writer at the age of eight and after being many other things in the intervening years (an EFL teacher, a care assistant, an assistant editor, a film subtitler, a garbage collector, a postman…) he has now returned to his original dream. He writes in a variety of genres, including radio drama, screenplays, children's and adult fiction. He recently returned to university as a mature student to gain an MA in English.

Friday, October 31, 2014

'Ennara and the Book of Shadows' by Angela Myron

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Angela will be awarding a the winners choice of one of the following prizes (international giveaway -- All photos used from Etsy shops that she plans to purchase the gifts from. Actual gift will be sourced from winner's country and will likely look different for international winners):

1.  Dragon earcuff. A tiny dragon that wraps around your ear just like Ennara's wraps around her wrist! Ennara would not approve.

2. Potions master decal kit: Trick out your Kitchenaid with this decal kit! Ennara approved.

3. Emergency Potion Necklace: Potion/necklace dependent on winner's location. Ennara approved.

Or the winner may choose something from Ennara Swag (if they live in the US).

Ennara and the Book of Shadows
by Angela Myron

When strange accidents start happening around thirteen year-old necromancer Ennara and her friends, she must search for the mysterious stolen artifacts causing the attacks while learning the highest form of magic--the spells that could prevent the fruition of a terrible prophecy.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

Ennara dashed through the statue’s legs to the center of the room. This would be her one chance to get it right.

First, the Source. She focused on the clear light that was the source of all—the central possibility that made her world and her magic.

Then, the enlightened ones. The familiar tinkling filled the air once more. The dim room brightened slightly.

Finally, the creature before her. Kelach the Knight, a symbol of the gift of protection, twisted by dark magic into a force of violent abandon. Ennara visualized the hero of legend, standing firm at the tunnels of the Royal Way to ensure the people of Ililsa escaped the troll, goblin and wraith army of the Fallen Druid Ardewynn.

A sense of peace, strength and determination settled on her. The giant statue turned and raised his ax once more. He hesitated mid-swing. Was her meditation working? Ennara refocused, calling on the Great Protector’s spirit.

A column of orange-red light burst into the room above her, momentarily enshrouding the statue and herself. When it vanished, the room had shifted. She was no longer conjuring the great protector, she was the great protector.

A deep, hearty voice filled her mind. Fear not, Ennara. Touch this damned image of my former self. It will be freed from its dark curse.

Warm courage flooded her. Her stomach relaxed, her shoulders fell. The massive stone figure roared as it plunged its huge angular blade down. Ennara breathed deeply into her belly. She took a small step back and raised her hand. She lightly toughed the stone ax as it swung inches from her face.

An orange-red shimmer crossed the stone, rippling through the statue. The monster’s fierce expression softened, transforming once more into the courageous legendary soldier. He seemed to regard her briefly, an intelligence crossing behind those blank eyes, and returned to inanimate rock.

Ennara looked to her friends. She’d found the key to unlocking the spell on the statues. Now she just had to use it on the others before it was too late.

Buy links

Angela Myron was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1973. She grew up in the piney forests of southern British Columbia, studying tiny blue bells, dodging hidden cacti, and creating fantasy worlds in her back yard. She loved to imagine lands of fairies and goblins, then invite friends over to introduce them.

Angela studied biology and professional writing at university, starting her degree at the University of Victoria in Canada and finishing it at San Francisco State University. She wrote grant proposals for nonprofits, technical manuals for software, and freelance journalism before writing fiction.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

'The Babysitter's Backpack' by Melissa Higgins

Book Description

Do you want to get started as a babysitter and be successful with kids and their parents? Everything you need to know is right here! You'll learn about basic childcare skills, staying safe while babysitting, and starting your own babysitting business. Also find out how to communicate with and be professional around parents, plan fun and safe activities for children of all ages, find where to go for first aid and CPR training, and market yourself as a great babysitter. Get the facts and skills you need to become a confident and responsible babysitter!

See more on Examiner