Home by Alex T. Smith

Come discover the house that was a home and the four friends who learn a valuable lesson in, Home, by Alex T. Smith.

There were four best friends–One, Two, Three and Four–who all lived happily together in a house that was a home. Until One wants to become a pirate; Two wants to move to the mountains; Three would prefer to explore caves, and Four wants to go to the big city and boogie-woogie all night long.

Unable to agree on what to do, each friend takes off with a different part of the house and goes a separate way. All too soon, however, they discover that a house isn’t really a home without each other.

In this delightful book geared toward 3- to 7-year-olds, children learn the importance of friendship, forgiveness, and working together.  Alex T. Smith has created a wonderful story that shares these concepts in a meaningful, yet, fun way.  His charming, and sometimes zany, illustrations make this an excellent book to read out loud to a group.

The best part of Home for me was how the friends not only came back and apologized, but also how they cooperated and discovered a way to make sure they could all go exactly where they wanted in the future.

I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from Alex T. Smith!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589250885
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589250888
  • SRP:  $15.95

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    The Bear with Sticky Paws Won’t Go to Bed by Clara Vulliamy

    The adorable duo from The Bear with Sticky Paws and The Bear with Sticky Paws Goes to School are back with a whole new adventure in The Bear with the Sticky Paws Won’t Go to Bed.

    Lily is wide awake and doesn’t want her mother to tuck her in for the night. When the doorbell rings, Lily finds her friend, the bear with the sticky paws has arrived. He isn’t ready for bed either. So, they hop on Lily’s bed and take off out the window on an adventure that includes: 10 colorful drinks, 6 pebble faces, 3 grass skirts, and so much more!

    This is the first book by Clara Vulliamy I’ve read, and it is absolutely adorable. I couldn’t help but think of my own daughter, who at the age of 8, still fights bedtime.  With lyrical prose, high flying adventure, and a healthy dose of imagination, Vulliamy has created a story young readers are bound to enjoy.

    Vulliamy’s artwork is beautiful. The extra details like the face on the moon, the pinwheels sticking out of the sand, and bright pink flowers on the side of the cabana, will capture your child’s attention and have them oohing and aahing at every page.

    It’s large size (9 3/4″ x 10 3/4″) will make sure your child can find it on the shelf, but it won’t spend much time there because she’ll be asking to read it time and again.

    I look forward to reading more adventures with Lily and the bear with the sticky paws.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589250877
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589250871
  • SRP:  $15.95

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    The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut & Biscuit Bill, Case #1: The Great Pie Catastrophe by Renee Hand

    Renee Hand, the creative mastermind behind The Crypto-Capers, has just released the first book in her new children’s detective series, The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut & Biscuit Bill. This series, which is aimed at children in early elementary grades, is about animal detectives Joe-Joe Nut (squirrel) and Biscuit Bill (duck), who solve crimes in Acorn Valley. 

    In Case #1: The Great Pie Catastrophe, Miss Cluck’s Blueberry Pie that she planned to enter into a contest at the 42nd Annual Pie Festival has been stolen. Joe-Joe and Nut and Biscuit Bill are called in to investigate and the hunt soon begins as they follow different sets of animal tracks to uncover clues. Will Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill find the culprit before the judging begins?

    I was so excited to receive this book in the mail. I’m a big fan of The Crypto-Capers, so I had high hopes for Hand’s new series. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Young readers are encouraged to use their deduction and reasoning skills to solve the crime alongside the two detectives. They are immediately drawn in by the storyline and the book’s quirky characters.

    As with human detectives who work alongside each other, Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill talk about things other than the case, like Joe-Joe Nut’s inability to cook. Moments like these bring humor to the story and make these characters fun to follow around.

    While I love the front cover on this book, I think the back cover is even better, with the potential suspects lined up against a wall as if they were in a police line-up. Also included are some animal facts and a quick quiz that asks readers to identify which animal the tracks on page 41 belong to.

    If the rest of the books in this series are as fun and educational as The Great Pie Catastrophe, the author will have another winning series on her hands. I can’t wait for Book 2!

    Readers can visit the Joe-Joe Nut Series portion of the author’s website for some free coloring pages.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Publisher:  North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
    • ISBN-10:  0-87839-351-X
    • ISBN-13:  978-0-87839-351-0
    • SRP:  $9.95*

    * Also available in a Kindle edition.

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    Straight Talk for Teenage Girls by Annette Fuson

     If you are a teenage girl trying to muddle through the teen years or if you know a girl who is, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of Straight Talk for Teenage Girls by Annette Fuson.

    This is a small book packed with loads of advice on everything from liking yourself to dealing with problems, getting out of bad situations, and more. With her straightfoward, no nonsense approach, Fuson helps teenage girls tackle the tough issues they deal with today.

    Each chapter starts off with a story about an issue that a ficticious girl is dealing with–well, I’m assuming she’s made up because it doesn’t state either way. The scenario at the beginning of the chapter flows in nicely to each chapter’s content. Also included in the book are several quizes, a sample of a teen budget, and a Q&A session with real teenage girls.

    What I like best about Straight Talk for Teenage Girls is that Fuson really shows teenage girls that they are in control; they are responsible for their actions, they can correct the mistakes they make, and  they can set the goals that will guide them to fulfulling their dreams. The important thing is that Fuson also encourages talking to parents about things, but also provides some advice on what to do when parents aren’t available to help you–which can, and probably will, happen.

    By the time I was 14, my mother had passed away and I didn’t have a great relationship with my father. A book like this would have gone a long way in helping me deal with the situations I was facing. Even though times have changed, some issues that teens deal with have remained the same, which is why so much of the advice found in this book is timeless.

    Straight Talk for Teenage Girls by Annette Fuson will make a great gift for the teenage girl in your life!

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: AuthorHouse; Revised edition
  • ISBN-10: 1434373363
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434373366
  • SRP:  $15.00

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    Interview with Children’s Author and Artist Naomi C. Rose

    In February we reviewed Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World by Naomi C. Rose. Today, we sit down to chat with Naomi about her work as an author and artist, including an exciting new program that she’ll tell us more about.

    Welcome to The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection, Naomi.  It’s wonderful to have you here.

    Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much for your generous review of Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World. I really appreciate your kind words! Thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers.

    Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?  

    I have always drawn a lot of inspiration from nature, and have been fortunate to live in many beautiful places in my life.  I now live in Sedona, Arizona with my husband. Living and hiking among the red rocks is a real highlight of my life. 

    I also draw a lot of inspiration from my intention to be of benefit to others. This intention guides my life and my work, and keeps me focused on what really matters. 

    When did you decide to pursue writing as a career? 

    I don’t think I ever reached a decision point. It sort of slipped up on me. I have always enjoyed writing. I wrote poems and stories as a child and throughout my early adult life as a way to express myself. In my thirties, I worked as a technical writer for a software company.  Then I had nighttime dreams showing me going to art school so I could illustrate children’s books. I had never considered this profession before, but the dreams intrigued me. I finally enrolled in an art school and found I loved it.  At the same time, I met a Tibetan teacher who asked me to turn adult Tibetan tales into children’s stories. Thus began my career writing and illustrating children’s books. This beginning did not immediately produce results, I might add. It was ten long years before my first book TIBETAN TALES FOR LITTLE BUDDHAS was published. 

    Your books for children retell stories that were once told in Tibet. Why do you focus on this culture? What do you hope readers will learn from your books? 

    The Tibetan culture has many ways to practice peace, and I found those ways to be very helpful in my life. The more I learned about Tibetan wisdom and their ways of peace and kindness, the more I thought it could be useful for our own culture. I’ve heard from many adults and children how the stories in my books have helped them experience life in a more peaceful way.  And when I visit schools and present my Taste of Tibet program, the children become very happy learning about this peaceful culture. I can see it gives them hope. It also gives them new ways to meet their own challenges. That is my hope for readers; that in some way, they find the wisdom in the stories inspiring and useful.
    Can you please tell us about the illustrations used in Tibetan Tales from the Top of the World?

    While I painted these illustrations, my studio was full of Tibetan images, and the sounds of Tibetan music. I painted the illustrations with acrylic paint on canvas board. With each stroke of the brush, I tried to keep my mind and heart focused on my intention for the work to be of benefit to others.  

    You have several upcoming books. Would you like to tell our readers about those?
    I’m currently working on the illustrations for CHUKI AND THE TIBETAN FLOWER CURE (Lee and Low Books, 2011). The story is based on real-life events of a Tibetan-American family and how the kindness of a community brought healing. I worked on the story for five years, so it’s exciting to finally be at the illustration phase. 

    ESCAPE TO FREEDOM; THE DANGEROUS TREK OF TIBETAN YOUTH (Paljor Publications, 2010) is a nonfiction book.  The book tells the story of the thousands of Tibetan youth who risk their lives to escape Tibet in search of freedom and a good education. 

    I’m also completing WHERE SNOW LEOPARD PROWLS; WILD ANIMALS OF TIBET, a wonderful picture book about animals of the Tibetan plateau. 
    Is there anything you would like to add? 

    I have developed a program called Taste of Tibet for schools, libraries, and other venues. I arrive in Tibetan costume with a basketful of Tibetan treasures. The program includes storytelling, chanting, and optional art projects. We all have a lot of fun learning about Tibet’s enchanting culture and wise ways of peace. 

    I invite your readers to visit my Youtube site www.youtube.com/user/naomicrose where they can watch a short trailer of my book as well as a video of me storytelling a Tibetan wisdom tale. 

    My website www.naomicrose.com also has a lot more information about me and my work.

    Thank you for joining us today, Naomi.  We wish you much success.                                                                      

    Thank you, Cheryl, for taking the time to learn about my work!

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    The Best Pet Ever by Victoria Roberts

     If you want to find a book for your child that encourages imagination, you don’t need to look further than The Best Pet Ever by Victoria Roberts.

    A little girl walks by a pet shop with her mom. She really wants a pet, but all her mom says is, “We’ll see”. So the girl does exactly that. She sees a rock, a glove, a candy wrapper, and a balloon–all of which make great substitute pets for a day or two. Then one day, the little girl opens a cardboard box to find a real kitten inside, and she’s sure he is the best pet in the world.

    There is so much to love about The Best Pet Ever by Victoria Roberts. From the unique storyline to the adorable illustrations; from the repetitive phrases that will stick in your child’s head to the way this book fosters imagination; all of this comes together to create a wonderful story that you’ll be reading time and again.

    Honestly, as I read through this book I thought of how often I say, “We’ll see”, to my children and had to chuckle.  Other things made me chuckle too: the girl tying a string to a pet rock that she named Fluffy, her feeding  a glove she named Nibbles, and how she made a candy wrapper swim.

    The illustrations for The Best Pet Ever are very different from the last two tiger tales books we reviewed. The color tones used by Deborah Allwright are soft and warm. The sky blue cover with the heart-shaped cloud is soothing. While the mother is wearing a lime green ponco as they walk by the pet shop, the lines are soft and the color not so vibrant. The extra little details on the page–the leaves fluttering in the wind, the flowers surrounding the glove in her basket, the hearts around the girl and the kitten–all add the perfect touch to these characters on the pages.

    For a touching, yet humorous story, pick up a copy of The Best Pet Ever by Victoria Roberts.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589250893
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589250895
  • SRP:  $15.95

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    Now, that I am over halfway through the books I received from tiger tales, I can definitely say I will be on the lookout for more books they publish. They put together quality products at affordable prices. The stories are imaginative and unique and the artwork superb.

    The Very Greedy Bee by Steve Smallman

    What happens when a very greedy bee spends his entire day gobbling pollen and guzzling nectar instead of working alongside everyone else? Well, for one thing, he gets so roly and poly that he can’t fly home.

    In The Very Greedy Bee by Steve Smallman, one greedy little bee won’t share anything, even the workload. While the others are busy working, the very greedy bee stumbles upon a meadow full of flowers. Rather than tell anyone about it, he flies down and guzzles nectar and gobbles pollen all day long. When he wakes from his nap, he finds that it is nighttime, but he is so full he can’t fly home. Now he’s scared and all alone. What will he do?

    The first thing that catches your eye about this book is the vibrant and adorable cover. Jack Tickle provided the artwork for The Very Greedy Bee. While I haven’t seen his artwork in the past, I’m going to look up other books by Tickle because I love his work on this book.  The illustrations practically jump off the pages, which is helped along by the active verbs that Smallman uses in his book.

    This is a paperback reprint of the hardcover edition of The Very Greedy Bee. With this story, Smallman imparts an excellent lesson to young readers in a fun and engaging way. Animals taking on human characteristics is nothing new in children’s literature, but Smallman does a nice job here of taking a less than attractive trait and showing how with the right influence, people (or in this case, bees), can change.

    The text in this book is even bold and big, which adds a great deal to the story. The book designer deserves a huge pat on the back for putting together a product where the artwork, the text, and the dimensions of the book are blended together to create an outstanding piece of work.

    The Very Greedy Bee by Steve Smallman is engaging, it’s slightly silly, and it’s a great read on any day of the week ending in “y”.

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Tiger Tales
  • ISBN-10: 1589254228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589254220
  • SRP:  $7.95