Thursday, October 31, 2019

Picture Book Round-Up- Bea's Bees by Katherine Pryor

Welcome to Picture Book Round-Up. Today I am looking at a new release, Bea's Bees, written by Katherine Pryor and illustrated by Ellie Peterson.

The Story-
Beatrix finds a beehive in the tree at her local park and continues to visit it every day. She loves to watch the bees fly around, visit flowers, and bring back food for their hive. One day, the bees are gone! Bea decides to find out what she can do to bring them back to the park. She talks to her science teacher, reads tons of books, and even does a school project where she hands out flower seeds for friends to plant.

Her efforts pay off and soon the bees are buzzing.

My Thoughts-
This picture book is a really good example of how you can introduce science and nature to young readers. Bea's adventures allow readers to learn about solving problems. The last few pages of the book include facts about the importance of bees and how they are necessary for fruits and nuts that humans eat. There is also a colorful illustration of the types of flowers that bees like best so those young ones can do their part to help the low bee population.

Bea is very brave. I wouldn't be one to keep an eye on a beehive or even check out its honeycomb. Perhaps a word of caution about the danger of bees should be given, maybe even a look at honeybees versus bumble bees. However, the overall message of the book is needed and I love how Bea figures out a way to solve her own problem. Great illustrations and a good message. I'm giving this book 4 stars!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Picture Book Round-Up! Rowdy Randy by Casey Rislov

Welcome To Picture Book Round-Up! Today I am reviewing Rowdy Randy by Casey Rislov.

Rowdy Randy is a rough, tough cowgirl, oops! I'm mean horsefly. Randy is a horsefly who goes about getting in trouble and biting things. She spends her time in the desert riding lizards, talking to Buffalo and finally, causing a cattle stampede. It is during this stampede that Randy finally finds out if she has what it takes to be a true cowgirl. Though, the ending leaves a bit of a mystery for the reader.

The illustrations are excellent! I loved all the big, bold drawings, colors, and creatures. Any kid is going to love seeing Randy's adventures come to life. So much fun! I'm giving this book 5 stars!

Buy it now!- Amazon

Monday, October 28, 2019

Book Review- The Mystwick School of Musicraft By Jessica Khoury

Welcome To Middle-Grade Monday! Today I'm doing something different, I'm reviewing a book that I listened to on Audible. Sometimes I get headaches, and instead of laying in the dark, I've taken to listening to books on tape, so to speak. So, since I listened, I can't attest to any grammar errors. This review is on plot, story, and characters.

The Story-
Amelia Jones lives with her grandmother and there is nothing she wants more than to attend the Mystwick School of Musicraft just like her mom did. Amelia plays her flute all the time practicing for the upcoming auditions. When the day arrives, everything goes wrong, and Amelia feels sure she did not make it.

Imagine her surprise when the letter arrives letting her know she earned one of the four coveted spots for flute players. Then, everything falls apart again and Amelia is forced to show her gumption and skills to remain at the prestigious school. Only, that's not all she is dealing with. A mysterious ghost is haunting her, sabotaging all her projects, and her roommate hates her. There is also a mysterious storm raging and Amelia hears the teachers' worried whispers. It's up to Amelia to save the school and prove her worth.

My Thoughts-
This book rocked! And the audiobook was even better. They actually play the music in the background that Amelia is playing or hearing in the book. So cool. The story itself does not let the reader down.

Amelia's mom passed away when she was a baby and all she wants is to play the flute her mother left behind and go to the same music school. The thing is, Amelia is from a small farming area, and though she had a musicraft teacher, she soon discovers that it isn't even close to what other youth have had in their preparations. Amelia is forced to put everything she has into every assignment she is given. Her struggle is real, and whenever she seems to take a step forward, the ghost swats her back. The author does a great job with Amelia, her thoughts, reactions, and doubts are very believable.

There are several twists that keep popping up in the story, plot turns that add to the story in wonderful ways. When I finished listening to this book I immediately went to look for a sequel, but nothing is listed, as yet. I really hope something else comes out soon. I loved this story for its uniqueness, quirkiness, and depth. I'm giving it 5 stars!


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

When Dinosaurs Go to Bed by Josh Bluman

Picture Book Round-Up time! Today I am looking at When Dinosaurs Go to Bed by Josh Bluman, illustrated by Tetiama Kopytova.

The Story-
Even dinosaurs need to get ready for bed, and so the tale begins of how each dino does its own bedtime routine, just like children do.

My Thoughts-
Adorable. Kids love dinosaurs and most hate going to bed. This book shows them that their favorite creatures even have things they have to do before bed. My favorite, a Diplodocus who only gets to sleep after it gets its stinky socks off.

The illustrations are perfect for kids, big and bold, full of fun things to look at in a normal bedtime environment. I'm giving this book 4 stars!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Charles Suddeth - Stone Man Tour

Welcome to Middle-Grade Monday! Today I have an interview with Charles Suddeth, author of the MG book, Stone Man and the Trail of Tears.

The Book-
Stone Man and the Trail of Tears
After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live.

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

The Author-
Charles Suddeth has published poetry, picture books, middle
reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social. He lives in Louisville and teaches for the Jefferson County Schools.

The Interview-
1. Tell me about the book in your own words.
Losing family and home is a child’s worst nightmare. Fear of the unknown is another primal fear. While escaping from the Trail of Tears, Tsatsi and his sister get separated from their parents. A giant whisks Tsatsi’s sick sister away. Is this giant the Cherokee monster, Stone Man? Can Tsatsi save her and find their family?

2. What inspired you to write this story?
My great-great-grandfather, Bill Pennington was born in a Cherokee mountain village, possibly in Kentucky about 1830. The family moved north of the Ohio River during the Trail of Tears. Most of the village joined them in a rural area north of Charlestown, Indiana, 30 miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky. A mixture of whites and Meti (French/Shawnee mixed-bloods) lived there. Many of the Cherokee in eastern Kentucky were chased out.

3. What do you hope your reader will take away from the book?
Most of all, I would readers to have fun, to realize that historical fiction can be exciting. Secondly, I hope readers will learn about the horrors of ethnic cleansing (which is what the Trail of Tears was). And lastly, I hope readers will learn that we are all humans despite our differences in race, culture, religion, and so on.

4. Tell me about your road to publication? Don’t tell the editors, but it started as a NaNoWriMo project—National Novel Writing Month—50,000-word novel during November. I only wrote half and didn’t finish until January. In 2018, I made a Twitter pitch on Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s annual twitter pitch contest. An editor from Dancing Lemur Press liked my pitch and requested 3 chapters, and then the manuscript.

5. Any advice for aspiring writers? Be yourself. Tell stories no one else can tell. Write with emotion and share that emotion with your readers. Enjoy yourself.

Where to find Charles?

Buy it Links-
Find Stone Man: And the Trail of Tears at:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Picture Book Round-Up: Button and Bundle by Gretchen McLellan

Welcome to Picture Book Round-Up. Today I am reviewing Button and Bundle by Gretchen McLellan, illustrated by Gillian Flint.

The name of this book had me gushing and I had to read it. Button and Bundle are such cute names, and even cuter are the names of their dolls, Petal and Rose. This is a story about first friendships and growing up. It really struck a chord with me because it reminded me of when I was little and my best friend and I played Barbies and made houses for them to live in.

In this tale, Button and Bundle are first friends. They do everything together, play dolls, dance, and sing. One day Button has to move away and both friends are so sad. Button does her best, but she just can't figure out how to make her doll Petal happy again. (I'm assuming she is putting her own emotions onto her doll.) She comes up with a plan, one the reader knows will not work, but in Button's world, it solves her problems and gives her hope.

Then we have what always happens, Button meets a new friend. Leah likes to play with unicorns and soon these two strike up a friendship. The book shows us how it is okay to make new friends because your old friends are always in your heart. This book is so sweet and I'm giving it 4 stars!

Buy it Now- AMAZON

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Picture Book Round-Up : if i was the sunshine by Julie Fogliano, Loren Long

Today's picture book is if i was the sunshine by Julie Fogliano, Loren Long.

It is a beautiful story and I fell in love with the illustrations. They are so vivid and bold. The details had me staring at the pictures long after reading the text. The story itself is a loving tale of relationships and connections. Every layout has two opposing views, if I was ______, then I'd call you ______ or vice versa. The comments are thought-provoking and I took a moment to think about each one. My favorite, "if you were a mountain and i was the sky i'd call you almost." Such a wonderful tale that will hold onto you afterward. I'm giving this book 5 stars!

Buy it Now- Amazon