December 20, 2012

Sneed B. Collard III, Book Wisdom Review, December 20


     CARTWHEEL, award wining author, Sneed B Collard’s YA novel is his latest book and sequel to DOUBLE EAGLE.  In typical Sneed fashion, this book sparkles in several areas.  The characters are not only likeable and believable, they are “spot on” developmentally and fit the time period that the book is set in, 1975. The adolescent struggle for independence from parents and risk taking while weighing values is fresh and fits well for the two male characters.  The plot moves quickly and keeps the reader guessing what is next.  Sneed’s research and ability to blend history in his books while holding the readers interest from start to finish is a gift he carries over from his strength as a nonfiction writer.  Readers get the best of his fiction and nonfiction skills blended into a front seat ride in CARTWHEEL

This book is a four apple book, a great read.  Fun, likable characters in a fast paced book that keeps you guessing is  what CARTWHEEL is all about. Although it it billed as a sequel.  It stands by itself and you do not need to read Double Eagle to enjoy it.

      This is a YA novel and appropriate for upper middle school through high school age youth.  It is a high appeal for boys, but I also can see some girls enjoying it.  

     The themes in this book are mystery, friendship, making choices, and solving problems.

    You can learn more about Sneed and his award winning books and where to buy them at: Sneed's Website.

     You can find this book through the publisher, Bucking Horse Books.  Your local book store can order this book for you.  On the West Slope of Colorado, our local independent seller is Grand Valley BooksIn addition it can be found online at Mountain Press and Amazon.

December 2, 2012

Book of the Month, Book Wisdom, December 3, 2012

Are you looking for some great holiday or winter reads in the category of picture books?  This month I have two new books from outstanding authors including a local West Slope author.  Holiday and seasonal books can be extra difficult to successfully write and get published.  Both of these award winning authors have many books published.   They continually strive to write high quality children's literature and have the skill to look at things from children's perspectives from both having previous careers in education. It  served them well knowing children at a developmental level as well as knowing what children love to read.
TURKEY CLAUS by Wendi Silvano
     Award winning, Grand Junction author, Wendi Silvano continues the saga of turkey and his troubles in a very clever and entertaining way in her newly released picture book, TURKEY CLAUS. Although this book is considered a sequel to TURKEY TROUBLE, Wendi has created a unique story that stands completely on its' own. Relieved after escaping being the main course at Thanksgiving, Turkey learns that he is soon to be the back on the menu for Christmas dinner. With little time left, Turkey steps off on a trip to the North Pole to enlist the help of Santa. What is endearing about Turkey is his positive attitude and his thinking "outside the box". He never gives up. Lee Harper's bold and colorful illustration bring the story to life adding to the fun. Wendi's surprise ending is just that, a surprise that is satisfying down to the very last bite of TURKEY CLAUS.

     I rate this book as a  solid four apple book,  a great read.  Loveable, fun character in Turkey and a clever story are well matched with bold illustration will make this a holiday favorite for years to come.

     TURKEY CLAUS is a good match for children of both genders ages four through early elementary as well as enjoyable for adults, and a good classroom or library read aloud, especially for children who are at the developmental stage where they still believe in Santa.

     The themes in the story are humor and positive problem solving creating a win-win situation for all.

     You can learn more about Wendi,  her books and where to buy them at : Wendi's Website

     TURKEY CLAUS is published by Amazon Children's Publishing.  You can find it through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  Your local book store can also order this book for you. 



Award winning author, Judy Cox continues her wonderful adventure of a tiny mouse with a big heart with the new arrival of SNOW DAY FOR MOUSE, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler.  Mouse wakes to the wonder of his first snow day.  With his housemate Cat not far behind Mouse is swept out into a snowy adventure where he makes some fine feathered friends.  Ebbeler's style and perspective with his illustration continues to engage the reader/viewer expanding the mouse/child sized perspective of the world.  This is a perfect match of Judy's words and the illustration, great crafting a picture book.


 I rate this book as a solid four apple book, a great read. Seeing and experiencing the world from a mouse perspective through a child's heart hooks while the illustrators skill in creating perspective lifts the adventure up and off the page.

SNOW DAY FOR MOUSE is a high interest story for both genders and appropriate for school age children making friends and experiencing their world around them.  It is sure to become another favorite book about Mouse whether read in the classroom or home.

     The themes in the story are friendship and adventure.

All the Mouse books by Judy are published by Holiday House.  You can learn more about Judy and her books at her website: Judy's Website.  SNOW DAY FOR MOUSE is available through all major book stores.  Your local book store can also order this book for you.  

 Thanks for tuning in this morning or visiting this blog.  Leave a comment on this blog and/or like the Book Wisdom page on Facebook and this month I will be donating books to the local Toys for Tots for the holidays.  I will donate one book per each comment and like.    If you sign up for the once or twice monthly post, you will automatically be entered monthly!  Just me know by email as your privacy is always respected.  I do not know who subscribes. 

November 16, 2012

Author, Mirka M.G. Breen, November 16th Reviews

     Thanksgiving is next week.  I am very grateful to be blogging about two wonderful books from an author who is part of my writing family.   These books are by Mirka M.G. Breen.  One book is a middle grade novel and the other a Thanksgiving holiday, picture story book.  Both books have the qualities that I look for and reflect the personality, skill and creative style of Mirka, who lives by and speaks her mind with authority, in a way that I truly admire.  Her creativity, skill, and style make for strong, clear, consistent voice.  It's the reason I chose to put them together. 

      Author, Mirka M. G. Breen's debut middle grade novel, THE VOICE OF THUNDER is nothing short of outstanding. THE VOICE OF THUNDER is set in 1967 Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, a lesser known, very important, historical event.  The reader is taken on a journey through the heart and soul of ten-year-old Mira Levi.  Mirka's voice breathes life into the innocence, fear, and struggle of Mira juxtaposed with her best friend, Gili Moser.  Using her own personal experience as a fifth grader living in Jerusalem during this war, Mirka has created authentic and memorable characters that leave the reader yearning to know what will happen next. I found this book insightful and entertaining.   

I rate this book, a 5 apple book, outstanding, cream of the crop.  Mirka's uses her writing skills, ability to create real and accurate characters, and her first hand knowledge of Jewish history to create a book that is award winning caliber.

    THE VOICE OF THUNDER is a 114 page, middle grade novel for both genders, ages 9 through 14. It masterfully captures the innocence and struggle of moving from childhood into adolescence. 

    The themes in this book are growing up, family, friendship, war and Judaism. 
     THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR by author Mirka M.G. Breen is another debut book, in story book format.  Published in 2011 and illustrated by Sonya Hallett, this holiday book takes place at Thanksgiving with a family that is vegetarian.  Tired of writing about Thanksgiving without turkey, third grade Niles gets a surprise visit from Henrietta. This charming book approaches Thanksgiving from a unique angle.  Full of humor, it will delight young and old, vegetarians and carnivores too.  

 I rate this book, a 4 apple book, a very good book. Mirka does a wonderful creating the characters of Niles and Henrietta and developing their relationship.

     THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR is a 24 page picture story book for both genders, ages 4 -9.    The age portrayal of Niles is carried out well while Henrietta remains an bird without any anthropomorphism.  This is a picture story book which means it has more text than a typical picture book.

     The themes in the book are Thanksgiving, vegetarianism, acceptance, and friendship.

    If you would like to learn more about Mirka and her books, you can check out:  Mirka's Website.  THE VOICE OF THUNDER is available through your local independent book seller, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and the publihser: WiDo.  THERE IS A TURKEY AT THE DOOR can be purchased through Amazon or by contacting Mirka through her website.  The publisher of this book is unfortunately out of business.  There are a limited amount of these wonderful books available.

     There is not a book giveaway with this post.

November 4, 2012

Book Wisdom, 5 Apple Review, November 5, 2012


     Choosing books for children is like walking down the cereal isle in a grocery store.  There are lots of options, some boring, some sugary, some colorful, some healthy.  Knowing what to look for can save you time and money and perhaps an unpleasant scene.  It can also help you to make conscious choices about what you feed your child.  The same is true for choosing what you read to your child.  

     This month is Picture Book Month.   I am honored to share three outstanding picture books, one shared by an author, one an author/illustrator, and one by a Canadian illustrator. This trifecta is an exciting group of books because they are all exceptional examples of writing and illustration.  In addition, they are developmentally appropriate, and fun.  Each book is reviewed below and information on how to buy the book and my giveaway are located below the reviews.

     When I look at writing, I look for strong hooks, a line that pulls me into the book, clear voice, strong and unique characters, a solid story arc, humor, word use, and a climax and conclusion that is quick and ties the story together in the perfect little bundle.  This sounds easy, but in a picture book, it takes a great deal of skill to pull it off.  Picture books are also written for several readers, child and the adult who is purchasing and/or reading to the child.

      Strong illustration also takes clear voice and vision. It must carry through a story in images depicting unique characters and view points that add to the story, and execution of humor and emotion that evoke a similar response in the reader/viewer.  On top of that major task, an illustrator needs to have a strong command of art elements and design principles.  When used well, they create flow, evoke emotion, and draw the viewer further into the story.  This needs to look effortless. Most readers and children do not know that most of the time authors have no say in how the illustration will look unless they are the illustrator themselves.

     A story that is developmentally appropriate fits closely with the readers developmental stage.  Picture books can be written for a variety of developmental stages and may cross over several.  The most common picture book age range starts around age 3 and goes through age 8.  The cognitive, social, emotional, and physical changes that children go through during this time span are significant and should determine what is written and illustrated.   I will talk more about this a bit later.

    Children learn through play.  Play is children's work.  Healthy play is engaging and fun.  Reading picture books can be playful or full of play and fun.  It engages the child and is often their first introduction to reading.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
     Perfect timing allowed me to share TODD PARR'S 24 page picture book, THE THANKFUL BOOK with anchor Meaghan Wallace on Grand Junction's CBS affiliate, KREX, NewsChannel 5, This Morning.
     I chose Todd's book because the days until Thanksgiving are ticking down and thankfulness or gratitude is something that we can never have enough of.  I am very grateful for Todd writing and illustrating this book.  Thankfuls are an evening ritual in my home before we eat modeled by our nephew some years ago.  It stuck.  It allows us to stop amidst the chaos and reflect on what is important. 
     A new release, THE THANKFUL BOOK simply shares this point of view from the perspective of a small child.  It hooks the reader.  You want to know what is next,  Todd pulls it together with the simple truth there are lots of things to be thankful for.  His illustrations are friendly and full of bold colors, perfect for a young child learning about who they are.  
     It's fun and engaging.  I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.  This is a priceless line.

    THE THANKFUL BOOK  is for children of both genders, ages three and up. 

    The themes in this book are cultivating gratitude and sharing gratitude.

    You can learn more about Todd,this children's book and his other award winning books at: Todd's Website or through his publisher Little, Brown & Company. 

I'M BORED by Michael Ina Black, Illustrated by Debbie Ohi
     I'M BORED is funny new picture book that takes a simple, common line, children love to repeat to adults and each other, and fully engages the reader. Michael Ian Black 's words are elevated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi's illustrations.  Try convincing a potato that there is nothing boring about a child.  Black and Ohi do exactly that with the spot on match of words and illustration.  I'M BORED is clever and fun.  Debbie's energetic illustration style captivates the reader through how it paces the book. Scale and dynamic use of line set the story in constant motion and emotion.  I read the story with only looking at the pictures and knew exactly what happening.  I'M BORED fits the pure definition of picture book.  

    I'M BORED  is for children of both genders, early school age and up. It's developmentally appropriate by the use of the challenge of looking at the world from a matter of fact viewpoint and having to deal with a potato. 

    The themes in this book are boredom, humor, and self assurance.

    Thank you Debbie for sending the book to me! You can learn more about Debbie,and this children's book at: Debbie's Website or through her publisher Simon & Schuster  Books For Young Readers.  
     Award winning author, Tammi Sauer takes the training a princess to a new, royal level, in her hot off-the-press, picture book, PRINCESS IN TRAINING illustrated by Joe Berger.  Everyone knows a princess or two, a want-to-be princess, a princess in hiding. You might even live with one.  The glittery dynamic cover with Princess Viola Louise Hassenfeffer skate boarding across the front fuels the "must read this list" even for non-princess adults.  Tammi captures what it is like to not be an ordinary princess in a world of that wants ordinary princesses. Tammi's clear writing voice and strong, unique character in Viola sets the lively pace captured in the fun, intense, action packed illustrations. It's picture book perfect. This book is sure to help redefine and redirect the stereotype of princess in a positive way.

PRINCESS IN TRAINING will be high interest for girls and boys will also relate.  It is appropriate for early school age and up. Viola's strong desire to fit in and do right by what her parents and royal society wants while becoming more independent make it a very relatable theme for children. 

    The themes in this book are being ones self, fitting in, family obligations and stereotypes.

    You can learn more about Tammi,and this children's book at: Tammi's Website or through her publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group. 

You can find these five apple picture books from all the major book sellers.  Also, they can be ordered from your local independent book store.  In Grand Junction that bookstore is Grand Valley Books.

     Thanks for tuning in this morning or visiting this blog.  Leave a comment on this blog and/or like the Book Wisdom page on Facebook and be entered to win one of these great books.  If you sign up for the once or twice monthly post, you will automatically be entered monthly!  Just me know by email as your privacy is always respected.  I do not know who subscribes. 

September 12, 2012

September 12th, Book Talk

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

A.A. Miline,  Christopher Robin speaking to his friend Pooh.

I was interviewed last month on KKCO as a former school counselor. One of the questions asked was  what do kids talk to school counselors about.  Over my fifteen years as a school counselor, friendship was one of the top topics for kids.  The sense of belonging or connectedness is part of who we are as human beings.  

My September's selection of books is a wide variety of books,  and friendship is the common denominator.  It takes two individuals to make a friendship.  To name a few, friends can be neighbors, classmates, sisters, brothers, siblings of the opposite gender, or cousins.  These individuals may be similar or different.  They may be helpful, self-centered, quiet and sensible, adventurous, or even mischievous.

Award winning author, Dori Chaconas delights her readers with the endearing friendship of CORK & FUZZ.  Dori has been telling stories her whole life and the ability to entertain others through her creation of memorable characters left me snickering and laughing as I read her book, CORK & FUZZ, THE BABYSITTERS.  Fully developed characters and fun, strong dialogue drives the reader page after page. Dori's words are matched perfectly with the lovable, and lively illustration of Lisa McCue. This book won The Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award 2011 for The Best Children's Book of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association. 

I rate this book a five apple book, cream of the crop, crisp and delicious. I smiled and giggled and laughed and longed for more.

CORK & FUZZ, THE BABYSITTERS is a chapter book for children of both genders, gages 6-9 who can read alone.
    The themes in this book are friendship, babysitting, and helping others.

    You can learn more about Dori,this children's book and her many other books at: Dori's Website.

     You can find CORK & FUZZ through the publisher, Viking Children's Books or your local book store can order this book for you.  On the West Slope of Colorado, our local independent seller is Grand Valley BooksIn addition it can be found online. 


Award winning author, Shirley Raye Redmond's book FAIRIES! A TRUE STORY is a non-fiction reader that brings to life the loyalty of friendship through the story of English cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright.  These friends stood by their fairy prank for sixty-four years when they finally shared the truth.  Shirley has taken the high appeal subject of fairies and transformed it into a early reader non-fiction book.  In 1981, Frances said, "It was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun."  Isn't that what all friends say?  

I rate this book a four apple book, a good non-fiction book.  Shirley takes high appeal subject matter and keeps it engaging as non-fiction. 

    FAIRIES! A TRUE STORY is for children of both genders, grades first through third who can read on their own and who no longer believe in fairies.

    The themes in this book are history of fairies, friendship and pranks.

    You can learn more about Shirley,this children's book and her other award winning materials at:Shirley's Website.

     You can find FAIRIES! A TRUE STORY through the publisher, Step Into Reading, Random House or your local book store can order this book for you.  On the West Slope of Colorado, our local independent seller is Grand Valley BooksIn addition it can be found online. 


    Colorado author, Marty Mokler Banks engages her readers with sisterly friendship in THE ADVENTURES OF TEMPEST AND SERENA.  The two sisters battle bullies, disasters, and loneliness when when one chooses to avoid returning to school by having one last summer adventure.  Marty accomplishes showing how different personalities whether in the realm of sibling or friend can be true to one's self and the other.  

I rate this book a three plus apple book, an enjoyable read. Marty has created a win-win with Tempest & Serena.

THE ADVENTURES OF TEMPEST AND SERENA is a chapter book for ages 7 and up of high girl appeal. It would make a good classroom read aloud combined with discussion.

The themes in this book are siblings, friends, adventures, and differences.
You can learn more about Marty and her book at: Marty's Website.

     You can find THE ADVENTURES OF TEMPEST AND SERENA  through the author or your local book store can order this book for you.  It is available in paperback and ebook. On the West Slope of Colorado, our local independent seller is Grand Valley BooksIn addition it can be found online. 


Award winning author, Nicole Weaver's love of language, culture, and sisterhood inspired her book MY SISTER IS MY BEST FRIEND,  a trilingual story in English, French, and Spanish.  Keeping the story structure simple and clear, Nichole creates a story that translates well into multiple languages.  Illustrator, Clara Batton Smith uses mirror images in her illustration to add a fourth level of understanding for the reader.

 I rate this book a three plus apple book, an enjoyable read,un agradabe leido,un agreable lu.  

            MY SISTER IS MY BEST FRIEND is a story book for ages 4-8 with high girl appeal. The multilingual writing in the book will require fluent readers of the three languages.
The themes in this book are sisters and best friends.

You can learn more about Nicole and her book at: Nicole's Website.

You can find MY SISTER IS MY BEST FRIEND through the author, Guardian Angel Publishing.  It is available in paperback, PDF Ebook, Flip book on CD.