Read Across America Coming on March 2nd!

 Read Across America is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA). This annual event seeks to bring children, teenagers and books together. March 2nd is also the birthday of the famous children’s author, Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss).

We live in a town that used to be part of Springfield, Massachusetts, Gisel’s birthplace. At the Quadrangle in Springfield, there is a Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Bright Nights, an annual holiday display of lights, also has a series of displays dedicated Geisel, called Seuss Land.

Schools, libraries, and other organizations are planning events across the country to celebrate this year’s Read Across America Day campaign. You can learn more and find tips on how to create a great event at the NEA’s Read Across America site

You can become a fan of Read Across America by visiting their Facebook fan page.

What events are you planning to help celebrate this year’s Read Across America Day?



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Double Eagle by Sneed Collard III – Giveaway at Cafe of Dreams

My friend April at Cafe of Dreams is giving you the chance to win a copy of Double Eagle by Sneed Collard III.

April reviewed Double Eagle at her blog last week, saying:

“I truly feel that Double Eagle is a story that even the most hesitant and picky of reader will dive into and love. Though Double Eagle is the first work by this author that I have read, I am incredibly anxious to read more!”

She rated the book a 5 out of 5, which I can tell you is a rare thing; so the book must be superb.

The suggested age range for this one is 9 – 12. You can read April’s entire review here.

You’ll also find a link to the review in this interview that April performed with Sneed Collard. Your giveaway opportunity is listed in this interview.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only and will remain open until midnight on March 15th.

Don’t miss your chance to win a copy of Double Eagle by Sneed Collard III. Stop by Cafe of Dreams today!

Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World by Naomi C. Rose

 

Come experience the world of Tibet through the simple, yet charming tales told in Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World by Naomi C. Rose.  

This delightful collection includes three ancient tales that offer simple wisdom and show us how to live in peace and kindness. In “Prince Jampa’s Surprise”, children read of Prince Jampa, a brave young man who has been misled about the Varasi by years and years of stories telling of their bloodthirsty ways. Thinking the Varasi are out to destroy his people, Prince Jampa leads a war party into battle, only to discover that things might not be as they seem.

“Sonam and the Stolen Cow” shares the the story of Sonam, a young nun who is falsely accused of stealing a cow. Treated poorly by her accusers, when Sonam sees a chance to escape, she runs off. Very hungry, she meets up with a monkey in the woods, who reminds her of a time her cousin was falsely accused for something she did, which leads her on  a path to finally make things right.

The last story in this collection is “Tashi’s Gold”. Tashi is a lazy worker, who spends much of his time napping. When he overhears two men talking about the magical lake loaded with gold, Tashi decides to go to the lake. If he were rich, he wouldn’t need to work on the farm anymore. He meets with the guardian of the lake, who tells him that riches never come from gold, but the greedy Tashi takes some anyway. But Tashi and his family soon discover the meaning behind the guardian’s words.

Each of these tales is told in a lyrical, flowing prose that draws the reader in.  The author has studied Tibetan culture and wisdom since 1994, and her knowledge and passion to share this wisdom is evident right from the very beginning. Rose also provided the stunning illustrations for this book, making Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World a beautiful piece of work. The stories are told in English and Tibetan. There is a Preface from actor Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama provides the Foreword.  Rose’s previous book, Tibetan Tales for Little Buddhas, won a Nautilus Book Award. It will not surprise me if Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World garners her more accolades.

A truly inspirational reading experience awaits you and your child in Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World!

You can find a trailer for this book at the author’s website.

Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: Clear Light Publishing
  • Language: English, Tibetan
  • ISBN-10: 1574160893
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574160895
  • SRP: $19.95


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    Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle by Nicole Weaver

    Discover a wonderful story of friendship and compassion in Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle by Nicole Weaver.

    One day Marie is walking along the shore collecting seashells, when she spies what she thinks is the largest seashell she has ever seen. Rushing over, she discovers that it is not a seashell at all, but a sea turtle.

    The turtle explains that she came ashore to lay her eggs, but her sore flippers prevented her from making it back into the ocean. She asks for Marie’s help. Marie soon finds out that she can’t lift or push the heavy sea turtle back into the water. And that’s when the trouble really begins.

    This is a delightful book about the friendship that develops between a young girl and a sea turtle. One of the many great aspects of the book is that the sea turtle can talk and Marie can understand her. The quick friendship that develops and Marie’s desire to help her new friend is something that everyone will enjoy.

    Marie’s parents play an important role in this book, but I don’t want to share too much or I’ll give it away.  All I will say is that Marie teaches them a lesson about compassion they won’t soon forget.

    The illustrations provided by Ruben Chavez are absolutely wonderful. My favorite is the close-up of Marie’s face found on page 26.

    A veteran teacher of French and Spanish, Weaver has written this book in English, French, and Spanish. This will allow it to be used with a diverse group of children. Locally, we have a children’s hospital who will just love having a trilingual book in their library.

    If you’re looking for a sweet story, pick up a copy of Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle by Nicole Weaver.  You’ll be glad you did.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

    • Publisher: Outskirts Press
    • Language: English, French, Spanish
    • ISBN-10: 1432723774
    • ISBN-13: 978-1432723774
    • SRP:  $14.95



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    Celebrate Black History Month with a Good Book

    The Children’s and Teen’s Book Connection encourages you to celebrate Black History Month by selecting a few good books. Here are some of our picks!

    America’s Black Founders by Nancy I. Sanders

    Amazon.com description:  America’s Black Founders celebrates the lesser known but significant lives and contributions of our nation’s early African American leaders. Many know that the Revolutionary War’s first martyr, Crispus Attucks, a dockworker of African descent, was killed at the Boston Massacre. But far fewer know that the final conflict of the war, the Battle of Yorktown, was hastened to a conclusion by James Armistead Lafayette, a slave and spy who reported the battle plans of General Cornwallis to George Washington.

     
    Author Nancy Sanders weaves the histories of dozens of men and women—soldiers, sailors, ministers, poets, merchants, doctors, and other community leaders—who have earned proper recognition among the founders of the United States of America. To get a better sense of what these individuals accomplished and the times in which they lived, readers will celebrate Constitution Day, cook colonial foods, publish a newspaper, petition their government, and more. This valuable resource also includes a time line of significant events, a list of historic sites to visit or explore online, and Web resources for further study.
    Note: We will be reviewing this title at a later time.
     

    D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet by Nancy I. Sanders

    Scholastic description:  A rich, poetic, alphabetical presentation of African-American history, including the Great Migration, the March on Washington, Malcolm X, and more.

    Also available at Amazon.com!

    The Day Martin Luther King, Jr. Was Shot: A Photo History of the Civil Rights Movement by Jim Haskins

    Scholastic description: A stirring look at the history of the fight for civil rights and the gains made since the fateful day of King’s death. With powerful photographs, illustrations, and more.

    Also available at Amazon.com!

    Cornerstones of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement in America by Elaine Landau

    Scholastic description: Dramatic and defining moments in American history come vividly to life in this series designed to make children feel they are on the scene as history is being made. Through text, illustrations, photographs, and engravings, these titles support history, social studies and geography curricula. Index included.

    The history of slavery in the United States extends from 1619 to the Emancipation Proclamation, but the story of racial injustice is much longer. Relive the struggle against segregation and inequality from the Civil War through the Montgomery Bus Boycotts to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    Also available at Amazon.com!

    Not Afraid to Dare: The Stories of Ten African-American Women by Tonya Bolden

    Scholastic description:  Ellen Craft, Ida B. Wells, Toni Morrison – featured here are just a few of the African-American women who have enriched American life. Refusing to yield to discrimination and prejudice, these 10 women strove to be heard, to succeed, and to be free. Includes index and table of contents.

    Also available at Amazon.com!

    Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen 

    Scholastic description:  

    Sassy tries out for a summer dance festival in Washington, D.C., despite the other girls’ taunts that she is much too tall.

    Also available at Amazon.com!

    Note: This is by dancer and actor Debbie Allen known to people of my generation as the dance teacher from Fame (the movie and the series).  My oldest daughter borrowed this book from the school library numerous times. It has an excellent storyline and is very inspirational.



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    Summer League by Melissa Williams

    Iggy the Iguana and his friends are back in Summer League by Melissa Williams.

    Having survived the fourth grade, Iggy and friends are happy that summer is finally here. For many of them it means playing baseball on the All-Star team.  For Iggy, that means facing a very difficult situation that could change his entire future in sports. Oh, and things have changed a bit with Liz just to make the summer a bit more challenging. There’s this mysterious guy on the team too.  And Iggy’s younger sister Molly is having her own troubles with growing up. Good thing their parents are around to talk to.

    In this sequel to Iggy the Iguana, we discover life flowing along at a rapid pace for Iggy, Kit Kat, Snap Shell, Liz, Molly and many of the other characters we met in the first book. As impressed as I was with Iggy the Iguana, I like Summer League ten times more. Williams does an excellent job in developing these characters, tossing things up for them, as it often is at this age for children.

    Iggy has a secret that he’s trying desperately to hide. The mysterious Marc Mouse is on Iggy’s baseball team and there is just something odd about this shy little mouse and his many hats. It doesn’t help that Marc wins the position of shortstop that Kit Kat wanted. It’s good to see this mystery about Marc solved by the end, as Williams uses it to teach a valuable lesson. I also liked to see that Molly isn’t forgotten while Iggy is going through his own troubles.

    I especially enjoyed what Williams decided to do with Liz and Iggy in this one. I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt the changes and challenges these characters went through in Summer League worked well coming off the first book, and that readers will enjoy watching more of Iggy and Liz together.

    I’m excited about this series and can’t wait until the next Iggy book comes out.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: LongTale Publishing Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0981805426
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981805429
  • SRP:  $9.99


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    Iggy the Iguana Pays TC&TBC a Visit

    Today The Children’s and Teen’s Book Connection has a special visitor–Iggy the Iguana from the Iggy the Iguana series of books by Melissa Williams.

    We reviewed the first book in this series yesterday. You can check out that review here. We figured we would sit down with Iggy and get his point of view on a couple of things.

    Hi Iggy, it’s great to have you with us today. It sure seems like you have a lot going on, so we’re happy to get a chance to sit down and talk with you. 

    I’m happy to be here!  I love interviews!

    Looks like you’re starting off the year in a new school.  What’s that been like? Have you made some new friends?

    I have started a new school, and I have to say the experience has been a pleasant surprise.  I was so nervous to change schools because I moved from a private “All-Lizard” school to a public “All-Animal” school.  It’s a complete eye opening experience to be around the different animals … but it didn’t take long to make friends at all! 

    What about your new teacher?  Is she nice or is she a meanie?

    Mrs. Buff?  She is really nice and caring.  If you talk too much in class, she will still make you sit out at recess, but she never yells or gets angry.  It takes her a while to get around the classroom. My friend Snap thinks she has arthritis in her feet.  I just think that is the way older terrier dogs walk.

    What’s up with Kit Kat? He seems, I don’t know, a bit crazy at times?

    Kit Kat is in his own world that’s for sure!  He can be a trouble maker at times, but he has always been cool to hang out with.  Wait, actually, I had to go to the principal’s office because of Kit Kat once.  Sometimes you have to be careful when it comes to who you hang out with.

    Is it fun being best friends with a turtle?  I mean, it doesn’t sound like you and Snap would have a lot in common.

    Snap is the coolest friend in the world.  He is like a brother to me now!  We both love baseball and the beach, but you’re right we have a lot of differences too.  Our differences have actually made us become better friends.  We teach each other a lot about life and our backgrounds.  Snap’s an only child and his mom died a few years ago.  I have a little sister and both of my parents are still married.  Being around Snap has shown me that even if you go through difficult times, you can become a stronger animal because of it.

    How about that younger sister of yours? She has some interesting outfits.

    Ha!  Molly … so you noticed.  Yes, she basically won’t wear anything but pink and every outfit has to be some sort of a costume.  Tutus, fairy wings, princess crowns, and cheerleading skirts are the usual.  Oh, and Molly’s biggest nightmare is a pair of pants.

    From browsing through the pages of the book it sure seems like faith plays an important part in your life.  Is that true?  Does anybody tease you about it?

    It is a big part of my life.  My parents have always taught me to believe in something greater than myself.  My mom has always told me that God always has a plan and that is something I believe from the bottom of my heart.  I haven’t gotten teased for my faith, but if I ever do, it won’t matter.  I would actually be really disappointed in the animal that ever dared to make fun.

    Can we talk about Liz for a minute?  She sure seems nice.  Do you like her?

    Ummm … Well, yeah, you could say that.  It took awhile, but she finally accepted my Valentine! Liz is another best friend to me … and I kinda had a secret crush on her all year.  She was the first animal I met at Memorial Elementary.  She was so nice to me and showed me to my classroom on our first day of 4th grade.

    Hey Iggy, it seems like our time is up, man. It sure goes by quick when you’ve got a great friend to chat with. Where can our readers find you if they want to catch up with you again?

    I have a website!  www.IggytheIguana.com!  My first book just came out in audio book too.  My books are also on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.

    Take care, Iggy.  I hope you come back and visit us again real soon.

    Thanks!  I had so much fun too!

    Iggy the Iguana

    Iggy the Iguana is the first book in the Iggy Chapter Book Series for ages 7 to 11. The story focuses on the major themes of acceptance, friendship, and diversity while Iggy starts a brand new school. The transition from a private “all-lizard” school to a public “all-animal” school is eye opening, as Iggy soon accepts that just because other animals are different doesn’t mean they can’t be your friends. By the end of Iggy’s 4th grade year, he realizes that changing schools was the best move he could have ever made!

    Summer League (Sequel)


    Summer League is the second book in the Iggy the Iguana Chapter Book Series for ages 7 to 11. After an exciting school year, Iggy and his friends kick off their summer vacation with some fun in the sun and … baseball! While playing on his All-Star little league team, Iggy faces a very difficult situation that could change his future in sports forever. Iggy learns many valuable lessons during the summer, most importantly, it is not wise to keep secrets from adults and we can’t judge others on the outside.

    Melissa M. Williams is an advocate for literacy and creativity in children. Her children’s chapter books were inspired by real life experiences with childhood pets she owned while growing up in Houston, Texas. While finishing her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling, Melissa started substitute teaching for elementary schools in order to understand the daily life of her young audience. The students helped her create relatable and realistic stories while including lessons, values and acceptance within the story-line. In addition to writing, Melissa spends most of the school year speaking to students about her own journey as an author and the process of creative writing, while encouraging each student to think outside the box, follow their inner passion, and write their own stories.

    Win the Iggy the Iguana Give Away!

     Including the Newly Released Items in Iggy Collection, Snap Shell the Turtle (Plush Doll), Iggy Collector’s Baseball Cards, and The Read3Zero T-Shirt … supporting the fight against illiteracy 30 minutes at a time. Be our most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection — the tour schedule is posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2010/01/iggy-iguana-and-melissa-m-williams-tour.html to make it easy for you to visit and comment. To learn more about Iggy and Melissa Williams – visit www.iggytheiguana.com.



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    Iggy the Iguana by Melissa Williams

    Get ready for Iggy the Iguana by Melissa Williams. Iggy is nine years old and starting at a new school. It’s hard to move and make new friends. Iggy is one nervous iguana. He’s got an annoying younger sister too. And man does Molly have some outrageous outfits.

    But soon Iggy starts to make new friends. He’s got his best friend, Snap Shell, a turtle,  and an off-the-wall cat named Kit Kat. His new teacher is really nice too. There is one tiny problem though–his friend Liz is also an iguana, and Iggy is crushing on her. Oh, and there’s that bully, Buddy the Bullfrog. Seems he’s the principal’s grandson and takes full advantage of that. Not only that, Buddy might like Liz too!

    Will Iggy survive fourth grade?

    I found a lot to like about Iggy the Iguana. In a fun and engaging way, this book explores the challenges of being the new kid at school, moving into a new place, making new friends, and dealing with people that are different from you.

    The cast of characters is as fascinating as the storyline, and readers ages 7 to 11 will be totally captivated by Iggy and his friends. Though I adore Iggy and his circle of new friends, I found his younger sister Molly stole my heart.  One minute annoying and the next cute as a button, it looks like she will continue to be a thorn in Iggy’s side for several more years. I also like that Iggy’s parents play a significant role in this book. Iggy’s dad is a marathon runner. He has a big race coming up that the family turns out to support him in.

    My only sticking point is that a good portion of the book deals with Iggy’s crush on Liz. As a parent, I have a hard time trying to imagine a nine-year-old boy having a crush that is strong enough for him to be jealous of the attention another boy pays to a girl. Now, this is a very innocent crush and I’ll admit to being a bit old fashioned in this regard, but I also have an eight-year-old daughter.  Boys are pretty much the farthest thing from her mind, and that doesn’t bother me one bit.  :) I think Williams did an excellent job in how she handled this particular aspect of the book, I just didn’t care for it.

    The illustrations provided by Kelley Stengle are absolutely charming. I love the cover art on this one. And that picture of Molly in her wedding outfit made me crack up.

    Iggy the Iguana is going to be a huge hit with readers. It helps kids appreciate their differences and lets them know that they are not the only ones dealing with certain difficult situations.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :)

  • Publisher: LongTale Publishing Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 098180540X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981805405
  • SRP:  $9.99
  • Iggy the Iguana

    Iggy the Iguana is the first book in the Iggy Chapter Book Series for ages 7 to 11. The story focuses on the major themes of acceptance, friendship, and diversity while Iggy starts a brand new school. The transition from a private “all-lizard” school to a public “all-animal” school is eye opening, as Iggy soon accepts that just because other animals are different doesn’t mean they can’t be your friends. By the end of Iggy’s 4th grade year, he realizes that changing schools was the best move he could have ever made!

    Summer League (Sequel)


    Summer League is the second book in the Iggy the Iguana Chapter Book Series for ages 7 to 11. After an exciting school year, Iggy and his friends kick off their summer vacation with some fun in the sun and … baseball! While playing on his All-Star little league team, Iggy faces a very difficult situation that could change his future in sports forever. Iggy learns many valuable lessons during the summer, most importantly, it is not wise to keep secrets from adults and we can’t judge others on the outside.

    Melissa M. Williams is an advocate for literacy and creativity in children. Her children’s chapter books were inspired by real life experiences with childhood pets she owned while growing up in Houston, Texas. While finishing her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling, Melissa started substitute teaching for elementary schools in order to understand the daily life of her young audience. The students helped her create relatable and realistic stories while including lessons, values and acceptance within the story-line. In addition to writing, Melissa spends most of the school year speaking to students about her own journey as an author and the process of creative writing, while encouraging each student to think outside the box, follow their inner passion, and write their own stories.

    Win the Iggy the Iguana Give Away!

     Including the Newly Released Items in Iggy Collection, Snap Shell the Turtle (Plush Doll), Iggy Collector’s Baseball Cards, and The Read3Zero T-Shirt … supporting the fight against illiteracy 30 minutes at a time. Be our most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection — the tour schedule is posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2010/01/iggy-iguana-and-melissa-m-williams-tour.html to make it easy for you to visit and comment. To learn more about Iggy and Melissa Williams – visit www.iggytheiguana.com.



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    Mr. Choli’s River Trip by Chris Wardle

    The residents of Daphne Wood return in the second book of Chris Wardle’s Tinfish series, Mr. Choli’s River Trip.

    Now settled into their new location, the members of the colony living in Daphne Wood are happy with their new place. In their previous adventures, they discovered a tunnel that leads to a town long ago deserted by the people whose wars and diseases caused their demise. Traveling through the tunnel from time to time has allowed Mr. Choli and Mr. Ginger, the cats, to stock up on their supply of canned fish that they keep in an abandoned car they now call home. The detective shingle proudly in place, Mr. Choli has certainly gained a lofty reputation for his investigative work.

    When Mrs. Cat-biscuit, the goat, shares her concern that the vegetation in Daphne Wood is struggling to survive in the heat and wind, Mr. Choli and Mr. Ginger lead another expedition to find new plants that are better able to handle the increasingly hot conditions. While back at Daphne Wood, Mr. Denzel, the mole, and the remaining members of the gardening team start a new project that just might protect the existing plants in the colony from the harsh conditions.

    I enjoyed Mr. Choli’s River Trip even better than the first book in the series. New adventures, new characters, and the developing friendships among the residents of Daphne Wood, add to this already engaging and thought provoking series. Again, the reader gets the opportunity to witness how the climate changes have impacted the colony and the ingenuity of the residents working together to solve the problem. The cooperation amongst the characters is truly one of the best parts of these books; teaching readers that working together, they can make a difference. In addition, the prose flowed even more smoothly in this book than in the first, making Mr. Choli’s River Trip an even more exciting adventure in reading.

    The cover art on both of these books is downright hilarious. I absolutely love the picture of Mr. Choli with his pipe and magnifying glass. All he needs is a Sherlock Holmes hat. The back cover of both books has color versions of some of the illustrations found inside.

    I would definitely recommend Mr. Choli’s River Trip to any youngster interested in environmental issues, those who love animals and nature, and readers who like engaging stories filled with fun and quirky characters. I can’t wait to read the next two books in this series!

    Rating:  :) :) :) :) :)

    • Publisher:  Lulu
    • SRP:  $7.96



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    The Lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish by Chris Wardle

    Mr. Tinfish, the penguin, and the other animals of the colony are alarmed when the sudden climate changes cause a rapid rise in the sea level that threatens all their homes. Luckily, Mr. Vinegar, the walrus in charge of the colony, enlists the help of the cats Mr. Choli and Mr. Ginger to find a new location for the colony.

    In the first of this humorous and engaging series of quirky characters, young readers will discover: Mr. Tinfish, the penquin who lives in the barrel-lighthouse with his family; Mr. Vinegar, the walrus who owns the hardware store and the self-appointed leader of the colony; the cats Mr. Choli and Mr. Ginger who spend their time investigating mysteries as the resident detectives of the colony, when they aren’t snacking on mackrel sandwiches; Mr. Taverre, the parrot who is constantly on the lookout for pirates; Mrs. Chutney, the walaby, who states the obvious and then explains it, and many other interesting characters who make up the colony.

    The expedition to find a new location for the colony, the adventure of moving the entire colony to Daphne Wood, the mystery of the disappearing river, and rescuing the animals from Volcano Island, all combine together to make The Lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish an engaging and quick read.

    Wardle has an eloquent style that might be lost on some younger readers, but anyone ages 9 through 12 will enjoy the flow of his prose. The only hitch I found was that the author continued to repeat descriptive phrases of the animals throughout the book, referring to Mrs. Chutney on many occasions as the one who states the obvious and then explains it, and others in the same manner. I felt once the reader is engaged in the book, he will remember the quirks of each character and these descriptors did not need repeating.

    The charming and funny illustrations are black and white inside the book, but  many are featured in color on the back cover and on the author’s website. I can only assume these illustrations are the handiwork of the author, since there is no credit given to an illustrator within the first few pages of the book.

    The Lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish is an enjoyable first book of what I feel will be an amazing series. While dealing with a serious issue, the reader is pulled in by the quirky characters and their adventures, and will look forward to reading more books by Chris Wardle.

    Rating:  :) :) :) :)