One Noble Journey by Dixie Phillips

One NOble JourneyDixie Phillips returns with her latest book from Guardian Angel Publishing, One Noble Journey.  Part of the Wings of Faith collection from GAP, this book tells the story of two best friends, one the daughter of a Count and the other an orphan girl from the lowlands.  When the Count’s gold pocket watch is stolen, he’s certain the lowlander is responsible.  With the help of a baby raccoon and a special landmark, everyone learns an important lesson.

I was so thrilled when I received One Noble Journey in the mail.  Phillips has the ability to get right to the heart of the matter and always turns out a delightful story with a special message for young readers. In this book, two cultures collide when Bella, a rich girl from the highlands, and her best friend, an orphan girl named Journey, discover a baby raccoon in the forest.  Phillips captures the natural ability of children to accept others in such a wonderful way by pairing up these two girls from different worlds.  The raccoon that they name Bandit, provides the perfect vehicle for the conflict and his actions bring about an enjoyable conclusion to Bella and Journey’s story.  And the work of Kim Sponaugle truly shines with these beautiful illustrations.

A powerful story of acceptance and forgiveness, One Noble Journey would make excellent Sunday school reading or the perfect bedtime story.  I can’t wait to see what Phillips and Sponaugle come up with next!


Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc (August 15, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1935137867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935137863
  • SRP:  $9.95

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    Santa's Hat by Mollie Wilson

    Santa's HatIn the third book of Mollie Wilson’s Rhyme Time series, readers find Santa is helping to take care of our planet and is encouraging everyone to do the same.  Santa fills his sleigh with gifts like frankincense and myrrh and elves load regifts on the sleigh in their efforts to protect mountains and streams, fish and wildlife, and forests and coastlines because the greening of our planet is “high on Santa’s list”.

    I purchased Santa’s Hat at The Big E this year while visiting with one of my author friends.  My five-year-old daughter picked it off the shelf, immediately drawn to the adorable illustrations provided by Toby Mikle.  That is, however, where our love affair with the book ended.  While our family believes in recycling and doing our part to help save the planet, we were disappointed to find the magic of Christmas and even the Three Wise Men used for political propaganda.   Both my girls (the older one is eight) were looking for a more traditional Christmas story, perhaps something on the funny side, based upon the jovial and lighthearted cover art. 

    I’m fairly certain that the Three Wise Men weren’t carrying frankincense and myrrh because of their love of the earth–if my Bible is to be believed at all–and while I’m thrilled that the elves didn’t end up on the unemployment line after they stopped making toys, where exactly are they picking up all these regifts they are loading onto the sleigh?  As a parent I better have a pretty good answer for it to seem believable.

    There is no back cover blurb to indicate what the story is about, and in my rush to get the kids out of there I didn’t do my good job as a parent and consumer and skim the pages well enough or pay attention to the recycling symbol on the front cover.

    While I applaud the author for her passion, and the book is well-written and the prose lyrical, I honestly feel that certain aspects of childhood shouldn’t be toyed with.  The magic of Christmas and the religious symbols of a sacred holiday are two of those things.  My children showed no interest in a book that skewed their idea of Christmas in such a way that they couldn’t even appreciate the message.


    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • ISBN-10: 1438925611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438925615
  • SRP:  $13.99

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    Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin

    Aurora of the Northern LightsCome enjoy a rhyming Christmas tale filled with magic and adventure in Aurora of the Northern Lights.

    On a snowy night, a baby girl is born to a man and woman who name her after the Northern Lights. Years later, young Aurora finds herself alone after losing her parents.  Follow Aurora on her journey through lands of mystical creatures and magic in her search for home.

    This is a beautiful, touching story set to rhyme that follows the young protagonist, Aurora as she travels from place to place in hopes of discovering where she truly belongs.  At first I was concerned that Aurora’s loss might be too difficult for young readers to handle, but Hardin’s eloquent and lyrical prose, coupled with Donald Vanderbeek’s stunning and delightful illustrations will touch your child’s heart and fill her with the magic of Christmas.  Your young reader will delight when Aurora discovers a famous bearded, jolly old fellow, and be inspired by the feeling of belonging once Aurora finds home.

    I highly recommend Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin and eagerly await her next release.


    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Outskirts Press
  • ISBN-10: 1432724398
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432724399
  • SRP:  $18.95

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    The Horrible Huckleberry Hex by Alani M'echel Weathers

    The Horrible Huckleberry HexAre you ready for a spooky story?  Cross Goosebumps from R.L. Stine and a bit of Scooby Doo, and you’ll come close to what you find in The Horrible Huckleberry Hex by Alani M’echel Weathers.

    Eleven-year-old Jordan Davis, jumps in Aunt Desiree’s van to go on his first camping trip with his younger brother and twin sisters:  Danny, Tiffany and Celeste.  Little does he know that this camping trip will soon take a dangerous turn.

    After setting up camp, the family hikes down a trail where they discover an ancient oak tree decorated with huge, juicy berries.  Jordan soon discovers, however, that there might be more to those berries than them being huge and juicy.  When he bumps into his friends, Kevin and Lei, they warn Jordan that those berries shouldn’t be consumed, especially by adults. 

    Jordan and his friends must race against time as they try to save Jordan’s siblings, and themselves, from an ancient curse that might doom them all!

    Some of you might be too young to remember, but in the 90’s, Nickeloden aired a show titled, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.  A group of friends belonging to “The Midnight Society” would meet at a secret location in the woods and one member would share a scary story with the rest of the group.  The Horrible Huckleberry Hex is similiar, except for young Jordan Davis and his family, it’s not a story, it’s really happening and it’s frightening. 

    The entire story is told from Jordan’s point of view and he is the only narrator, sharing the story and sometimes addressing the reader, which instantly connects that reader to the story.  I would also compare it to Goosebumps by R.L. Stine because of its hair-raising action, and Scooby Doo deserves some mention because of the hilarious antics that this adventure creates.  Weathers did an amazing job of combining all these elements, an ancient curse, and a diverse cast of characters to come up with a huge winner.

    This book should be on every middle grade reader’s wish list.  With a captivating and engaging storyline, a touch of humor, and several yummy-looking recipes The Horrible Huckleberry Hex by Alani M’echel Weathers is sure to thrill everyone who reads it!


    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Infinity Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0741453282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0741453280
  • SRP:  $9.95

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    The Puzzle King by Nina Cordelia Craft

    9781608601493_Cover_Thompson.inddJourney to the Kingdom of Muse where the Puzzle King and his subjects enjoy putting together puzzles.  But King Falmore has been so busy working on puzzles, he hasn’t made time to find a queen.  Calling for the help of his sorcerer, Sorbo, the king instructs Sorbo to find him a queen–a queen who loves puzzles as much as he does.

    Stumbling upon a book in his massive library, Sorbo soon discovers it’s not a book at all, but a golden box filled with millions of puzzle pieces; and Sorbo is certain he has the answer King Falmore is looking for.  As everyone helps the king to put together the largest puzzle they have ever worked on, it soon becomes clear that Princess Daisy, the future queen of the Kingdom of Muse, has been trapped within the puzzle and only a person who truly loves her can put her back together again and break the curse.

    What a fabulous first book from debut author Nina Cordelia Craft!  In this unique and fun adventure, an entire kingdom is caught up in the search for a queen to rule alongside their beloved king.  Based upon a story that the author created for her grandchildren, Craft has written an engaging and captivating story that all young lovers of fantasy, kings and queens, and puzzle solving will enjoy.

    Hillie Dijk provides the charming cover art and inside illustrations for The Puzzle King.  The cover art is stunning and the thumbnail can’t hope to do it justice.

    This is a must read for young people and at only $9.95 it is an excellent value.  I highly recommend The Puzzle King and look forward to Craft’s next book, The Puzzle Princess


    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Publisher: Eloquent Books
    • ISBN: 978-1-60860-149-3
    • SRP:  $9.95

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    Carol Zelaya on Writing for Children–The Challenges and the Accomplishments

    Carol Zelaya photo.Today’s guest blogger is children’s author Carol Zelaya. She will be on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion during the entire month of October to discuss her three-book Emily the Chickadee series. Carol talk to us today about her writing career–how it chose her, some of the challenges she’s overcome and her accomplishments.

    You can find Carol online at

    Writing my three children’s books was a natural progression that came from my love of writing poetry. I was especially bewildered that more children’s books weren’t being written in rhyme anymore, as they had been in the nursery rhyme days of my own childhood. Younger children especially love the rhyme, as well as anticipating the next rhyming word, which I am told by Emily coverteachers also helps them learn to read. The rhythm and beat are like a song to them without the music. I experienced this firsthand when I was doing a signing and reading at a book store, and a few children stayed on to hear the story read a second and third time. To my amazement, they could finish the line I was reading before I did because they already anticipated the rhyming word at the end of each line.

    I always say that I did not choose a writing career but rather it chose me. The nesting of a tiny little mother chickadee near my window was so inspiring for me to watch that I wanted to share the same feelings of wonder and awe that I experienced with children everywhere. I knew that if, as an adult, I learned so much from watching this little bird, children would too. Nature is an extraordinary teacher!

    Caring for Emily's familyThere have been many challenges along the way, but all in all, this has been a tremendous learning experience for me. I knew nothing about the book publishing business, but with the help and advice of knowledgable people in the field, I gradually saw the transformation of words on my computer materialize on to the pages of a beautifully illustrated three book children’s series. The biggest challenge now, of course, is promoting Emily's new homemy books and getting them on to bookstore shelves. My greatest accomplishment aside from awards that my books have won, has been a mother who recently contacted me from my website to tell me how her young daughter, who struggles with reading, wants to read my books over and over again. That is the best reward I can ever receive as an author, knowing that I have helped a child to read and connect with the story. It makes all the challenges along the way totally worth the effort.

    Look for our review of the Emily the Chickadee series coming on October 9th!

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    A Horse of Course by Shari Lyle-Soffe

    A Horse of CourseJoin Aaron, Mom and Dad on a charming and funny adventure in A Horse of Course by Shari Lyle-Soffe.

    Grandpa Roy gives Aaron what he always wanted for his birthday–a horse!  Little do Aaron, Mom and Dad know what they are in for.  Horace the horse eats all the cake and ice cream, he hogs the television remote, uses Mom’s toothbrush, and even takes over Aaron’s bed.  What will Aaron do?

    In this hilarious adventure, poor Aaron learns the meaning of the phrase, “be careful what you ask for”.  Here he is all excited to finally have a horse, and he soon discovers that maybe a horse won’t be so easy to take care of at his house.  Faced with a decision, he chooses a way that everyone can be happy.

    I haven’t laughed so hard over a children’s book in a long time.   Between the storyline and the comical illustrations provided by Eugene Ruble, I laughed until my sides ached.  I’ve had the opportunity to read a few books that Ruble has illustrated, and his imagination and ability to bring a story to life through his pictures never ceases to amaze me.

    A Horse of Course is another excellent addition to the list of titles from Shari Lyle-Soffe.  She is also the author of the popular Rooter and Snuffle series and Nothing Stops Noah.  Her love of nature and the fuzzy creatures that often stop by her yard, inspire her stories. 

    Learning about right choices and how to make difficult decisions has never been so much fun.  Get your hands on a copy of A Horse of Course today!

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1935137824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935137825
  • SRP:  $10.95

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