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1. #663 – OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

 

OMG…Am I A Witch?!

Talia Aikens-Nuñez, author
Alicja Ignaczak, illustrator
Central Avenue Publishing/Pinwheel Books          8/06/2014
978-1-77168-025-7
148 pages      Age 7+
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“April Appleton is s annoyed at her older brother that she searches the Internet for a spell to turn him into a dog. When it works, April realizes she has more power than she ever dreamed of! Now she has to figure out how to turn him back to normal before her parents find out.”

About the Story

April turns her older brother Austin into a little soft, poofy dog when he harasses her on the school bus. Yep, she is wearing huge red glasses and braces, but that does not give Austin the right to tease her. Now realizing she cannot keep Austin cute and cuddly forever—lest mom and dad will be unhappy—April tries in vain to turn Austin back into an annoying brother.

Things do not go well for April, who is getting better at opening and closing doors at will, but could not get the reversing spell to work. With the help of help best friend Grace and new friend Eve (her grand-mere is a witch doctor), April must perform some nasty tasks before the undo-spell might work. The Old Magic Book’s paper-thin pages are so dusty, reading might be difficult—and it is in French!

Review

First, I am not a fan of texting “terms” used in a story, and most definitely not in the title. I also do not like the double sign (?!), and because of this, think the title needs polished. The back cover preview (above), contains a sentence ending in a proposition. A few more are in the story. The expertly drawn black and white line drawings, at the onset of each chapter, help mark each new beginning, but do not add anything to the story.

omg1a

With that out of the way, OMG . . . Am I a Witch is a cute story with energized dialogue. Read in one sitting, I found the story entertaining and it held my attention throughout. Most of April’s magic occurs as she thinks of what she would like, such as thinking her doggy-brother looks white and billowy as the clouds above, then he begins floating upward. April does a lot of thinking and worrying. The humor is light, which suits the urgency of the story.

“Austin is fluffy like those clouds. Ha ha. I could just imagine him floating off like a cloud . . . I just made him float. He floated like a cloud in my daydream. I am a witch. Wow. I am . . . a . . . witch.”

Girls will especially love the main character and her female sidekicks. OMG . . . Am I a Witch is a short 148 pages that can be read one chapter at a time or entirely in one sitting, making this a good story for younger middle grade kids. I believe this is Ms. Aikens-Nuñez’s first MG book. She has written a fine first foray into writing for the late elementary and middle grades. I would love to find out how April uses her newfound magic and how her friends will influence her choices. I loved all the characters.  I think OMG . . . Am I a Witch would make a fine series, especially if April ages along the way.

OMG . . . AM I A WITCH?! Text copyright © 2014 by Talia Aikens-Nuñez. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Alicja Ignaczak. Published by Central Avenue Publishing, British Columbia, CAN and Point Roberts, WA.
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Purchase OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! at Amazon B&NBook DepositoryiTunesPublisher’s Website.
Find out more about OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! HERE.
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Meet the author, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, at her website:  http://talia-aikens-nunez.vpweb.com/
Meet the illustrator, Alicja Ignaczak, at her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/alicja.ignaczak.102
Learn more about the publisher, Central Avenue Publishing, at their website: centralavenuepublishing.com
Learn more about Pinwheel Books: http://pinwheelbooks.com/

Interview with Talia Aikens-Nuñez: HERE
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Chapter Book, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Alicja Ignaczak, Central Avenue Publishing, chapter books, fantasy, magic, Pinwheel Books, Talia Aikens-Nuñez

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2. Christian Grey Costume Deemed Inappropriate For School Kid

Christian Grey, the main character in the salacious book 50 Shades of Grey, has been deemed an inappropriate favorite book character by school officials in the UK.

An 11 year-old boy was forced to change after wearing the costume to school yesterday for World Book Day, a day in which kids in the UK and Ireland are encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character. The Guardian has more:

His mother, Nicola Scholes, a primary school teacher, accused the school of double standards. Talking to the Manchester Evening News, she pointed out that a teacher was dressed as the blood-splattered forensics-expert-turned-serial-killer Dexter from the book and US TV show.

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3. Just B: Baby’s First Book of Objects | Dedicated Review

Just B: Baby’s First Book of Objects is an ideal board book to share with babies and toddlers who are learning to identify colors, sounds, and words.

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4. 83% of Kids Love Being Read Aloud To: Scholastic

Most parents of small children know the benefits of reading to kids, but older kids can also benefit from the activity.

In fact, 83 percent of kids ages 6 to 17  say they love being read aloud to, according to Scholastic’s \"Kids & Family Reading Report: 5th edition.\"

The report found that parents often stop reading to their kids as they get older and can read independently, yet 40 percent of kids ages 6 to 11, said they wish their parents kept reading aloud to them, mainly because of the special time together. Ninety-one percent of kids said they prefer books \"I picked out myself\" and 70 percent like books \"that make me laugh.\"

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5. Sarah Andreacchio

andreacchiofloralpattern

 

Sarah Andreacchio is an illustrator living in France. Her playful patterns are packed with florals and happy critters in cheerful colorways. In all of her pieces there is an energy and rhythm that keeps a captive audience while eliciting a happy mood. Her work has appeared on journals, cards, silk scarves and even dimensional object such as rings, little sculptures and pendants.bl

bl3

card1

foulard3

forestbluepatternandreacchio

fox

hello3

mir

rabbitring

summerpattern
underwaterblogBe sure to follow along with Sarah’s creative adventures on her blog, or add some of her cheery prints to your art collection by visiting her shop.

Written by Bryna Shields.

 

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6. Original Gallery Art Give Away!


Acquerello III Kickstarter up-date:

I can't thank all of you enough to help me reach my campaign goal.  This is the last original art give away.  I will randomly select two luck winners and announce the result on the last day of the campaign, on Friday, March 13, at 9am.  The cityscape painting is a special edition original painting created for Acquerello III.  It's painted in Hong Kong during my travel.  The abstract piece on the left, is a gallery painting, which is first exhibited at Asterisk Gallery, San Francisco at the "Party Mix Tape" show with Beehive Society.  
Please continue to support this campaign.  We are getting very close to the first stretch goal!!  

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/867120167/acquerello-iii-watercolor-and-beyond/posts/1157190

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7. New Puzzles

Here are my two new puzzles for Crocodile Creek, featured in their 2015 catalogue.




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8. Edinburgh - Pictures 3

More photos of our adventure! So when you walk to Queens Street - you look down and there is the Firth of Forth. It's sort of on the other side of the town from where we're looking at apartments. Lovely, but a little far to walk from the College of Art every day.

Random lion:

Bulbs are coming up everywhere - purple crocus' mostly. So lovely!

Here they are blooming in the Princes Street Garden:

Right next to the monument for Sir Walter Scott:

(And yes, there is a bag-pipe player in full regalia playing nearby.)
That's it for now. We're off to "Burger" for their first anniversary party this evening. We've totally hooked in with the foodie scene here and have already made friends. Fun!

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9. Join Me Saturday at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego

Inch and RolyI’ll be doing a Storytime event at 2pm tomorrow (Saturday, March 7). Hope to see you and your kids there!

 

 

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10. Original Gallery Art Give Away!


Acquerello III Kickstarter up-date:

I can't thank all of you enough to help me reach my campaign goal.  This is the last original art give away.  I will randomly select two luck winners and announce the result on the last day of the campaign, on Friday, March 13, at 9am.  The cityscape painting is a special edition original painting created for Acquerello III.  It's painted in Hong Kong during my travel.  The abstract piece on the left, is a gallery painting, which is first exhibited at Asterisk Gallery, San Francisco at the "Party Mix Tape" show with Beehive Society.  
Please continue to support this campaign.  We are getting very close to the first stretch goal!!  

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/867120167/acquerello-iii-watercolor-and-beyond/posts/1157190

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11. Week in Review, March 2nd-6th

Week in Review

This week on hbook.com…

From the March/April 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: “Five Gay Picture-Book Prodigies and the Difference They’ve Made” by Barbara Bader

Floyd Cooper Talks with Roger

Reviews of the Week:

Read Roger:

Out of the Box:

Lolly’s Classroom:

Events calendar

See overviews of previous weeks by clicking the tag week in review. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on our articles!

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The post Week in Review, March 2nd-6th appeared first on The Horn Book.

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12. 3D models

After years of procrastination I've finally taken the time to prepare a selection of my 3D models for online selling. You're invited for an impression (free 3D models included).

Other work: MetinSeven.com.

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13. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Media Categories

Last year when I wrote about this group of categories, I noted that it consisted of two categories in which I didn't feel that my vote mattered much, and two in which I didn't feel knowledgeable enough to nominate well in.  That hasn't changed much this year--in the case of the Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category, in fact, my vote feels even more useless than usual.  2014 was full of so

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14. I’ll show you WINTER.

minnie2,jpg

by Watie White, http://watiewhite.com

Seasonally enough, last night I attended Blizzard of Voices, an oratorio by Paul Moravec (husband to your friend and mine Wendy Lamb). While you might have thought the warm and woody Jordan Hall would have been an oasis in Boston’s horrible weather, Moravec’s commemoration of the 1888 Schoolhouse Blizzard was terrible–in the exactest sense–in its evocation of the wind and cold and terror and death that swept over the Great Plains and killed more than two hundred people.

Taken from Ted Kooser‘s book of the same name, the work’s texts were beautifully shared shared among a chorus and six soloists:

We finally had to dig
Down into a drift, wrapping
the blanket around us. Billy
died in the night. I thought he
was only asleep. At dawn,
I dug out, finding that we
Were in the sight of the homeplace.

And with the orchestra thundering–and more ominously, insinuating–away, it really felt like voices from a storm, meteorological and otherwise.

Am I the only person who thought this was, historically, the same storm the Ingalls family endured in The Long Winter? Nope–Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book covers events of eight years earlier. Debbie Reese and I got into it a bit  a couple of weeks ago about that book, and while I take her point about the objectionable stereotyping of American Indians therein, I’m not ready to give The Long Winter up. The way it turns winter-wonderland fantasy into nightmare is unparalleled and as keenly evoked as what I heard last night.

After the concert was over, I discovered that my bus, which is supposed to show up every ten minutes, wasn’t due to arrive for at least half an hour. I started to think that the Boston winter of 2015 was Just Like Back Then, but then I slapped myself hard.

 

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The post I’ll show you WINTER. appeared first on The Horn Book.

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15. Viewpoint Selection

Here's a simple explanation of the pros and cons of each point of view.

https://henryherz.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/the-ten-commandments-of-picture-book-writing/

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16. Edinburgh - Pictures 2

Random shots while wandering about town...
There are bookstores EVERYWHERE!!!

And this is the square where the annual book festival is held:

The pubs really are stunning...


Stan had a meeting here:

And here he is at the Bon Vivante (a French restaurant on Thistle Street):

This is across from an apartment we're looking at - it's being refurbished:

Random clock tower:

On the higher street of Victoria Street:

And Stan looking over, facing the other way, up Victoria Street:

We really haven't been doing the touristy stuff. We've mostly been walking - trying to get to know the neighborhoods and get our bearings. Truly, everything is within walking distance in Edinburgh, but there can be some tremendous hills from point A to B. Everywhere, we're surrounded by ancient and old architecture butting up against the new. And everywhere, people smile. This has got to be the friendliest town I've ever been to - hands down.
More coming soon!

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17. GlobalPost Seeks Funding to Hire War Correspondents

Digital news organization GlobalPost is hoping to raise $95,000 on Kickstarter in order to hire a senior conflict correspondent and a dedicated conflict editor.

“War reporting is expensive and dangerous, yet it is vital to the public interest,” explains the project’s Kickstarter page.” We need you to help us keep it going through the financial challenges of a rapidly-changing media landscape.”

The video below explains more.

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18. Submarine Stories and Military Writers

http://submarinestories.blogspot.com

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19. The Ship of Brides

The Ship of Brides. Jojo Moyes. 2005/2014. Penguin. 464 pages. [Source: Library]

Did I love absolutely everything about Jojo Moyes' The Ship of Brides? No, I can't say that I did. But I enjoyed it enough to read it in two days. I'll start with what I loved.

I loved the subject. I loved the idea of reading about a group of women--war brides--sailing together into the unknown. The book is about a ship full of Australian women--all war brides--sailing to England in 1946. It isn't any ship either. It's an aircraft carrier. The potential to mingle with the navy is definitely there, though obviously discouraged. There are over 600 women on board, though readers only get close to four women who share a room: Jean, Avice, Margaret, and Frances. They are sailing into the unknown in a way because they've never been to England, they've never met their in-laws, and they haven't seen their husbands in months or even years. Take into consideration, that some of these couples only knew each other a few weeks before they got married, and, yes there is plenty of unknown ahead. Even if they felt like they *knew* their husbands when they got married, they don't know how the war has changed them, if the war has changed them. The time on the ship is an in-between time: the first taste of a big change in all their lives. Will they be happy? Will it all work out? Are they still loved? Are they still wanted? Several women receive messages--telegrams, I believe-telling them NOT to come.

I liked the narration, especially of the time on the ship. The days/weeks are chronicled, and, one gets a sense of the experience, of the journey. The anxiety, the awkwardness, the heat, the opportunities, the stresses, etc. I thought the setting was well done, for the most part.

Did I love the characterization? Not as much as I hoped initially. I don't know if there was any one character that I loved. And some of the characterization felt a bit uneven.

What I didn't quite love was the framework. The beginning and ending felt a little off to me. Readers first meet a grandmother and a granddaughter on their trip in India. The two just happen to stumble upon a ship about to become scrap. It is THE ship, and it overwhelms the grandmother to see it. The rest of the book is about the four women--really, just three women if I'm honest--and tries, I suppose, to keep readers guessing which of the three is the grandmother of the future. The ending is part of that framework: readers finally knowing how it all fits together.

I liked it. I'm glad I read it. I am. I'm interested in the subject. I would be happy to read more books like it. But it wasn't love for me.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20. a peek...

©the enchanted easel 2015
at some flaxen haired royalty...

©the enchanted easel 2015
who happens to don a blue ball gown. 

{painting-officially DONE! can't wait to share it next week....:)}

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21. Illustration Friday: Path


Hmmm, I guess he doesn't like other dogs, especially poodles!
This is my entry for Illustration Friday this week, for the word path.

Thanks for stopping by!

colored pencil and ink on a grocery bag

See other entries on www.illustrationfriday.com

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22. Some Great SF Movies of the 1980s!

There's a rather delightful post over at tor.com:


on the subject of fantasy movies of the 1980s, ranking eighteen of them. I must admit, there were some of the list of which I had not heard, probably with good reason, others which I remember with great fondness. This was the era of speculative fiction movies - there was at least one on every school holidays.

My favourites on that list were The Princess Bride, Excalibur, The Neverending Story, Labyrinth and Highlander, though I could understand adding Willow(one of Warwick Davis's first films - he was only 18 at the time, and was the head Ewok in Return Of The Jedi) and Clash Of The Titans, which was not a very good film, but was lucky enough to have the SFX of Ray Harryhausen and deserves to be seen if only for those. It was his last film. I found Conan The Barbarian a disappointment on a re-view. Dull, dull, dull!  Legend : another dull film that had fabulous effects. The unicorn was gorgeous and Tom Curry's make-up as the demon was wonderful, though he didn't have much to do. But go to the web site and check it out for yourself. 


It's a pity the list didn't include SF movies, because one of my favourites would have been The Last Starfighter, which I think may have been Robert Preston's last film; I still watch it occasionally. It's delightfully - intentionally - silly, with Robert Preston as an alien who has set up a computer game called Starfighter on Earth in hopes of recruiting real starfighters, gunners who can fight from spaceships against a real menace somewhere far off in the galaxy. The young hero, who is not quite good enough to get into his university of choice, is a fabulous computer game player and finds himself whisked off to fight the bad guys using those skills. Yes, I know, silly, but probably not much sillier than the premise of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, and that worked out fine, didn't it? And became a classic?


I was delighted to get Tron on DVD. Both this and The Last Starfighter  did some "firsts" in computer animation. But the stories were a delight. Pity someone made a sequel to Tron; it just wasn't as good. In the far superior original, Jeff Bridges was the computer game designer who is pulled into his own computer game, where he encounters Tron, the hero of his game, who helps other computer characters. The title role was played by Bruce Boxleitner, who went on to play the role of Captain John Sheridan, station commander, in Seasons 2-4 of Babylon 5, and in one scene Bridges encounters and has to fight a character played by Peter Jurasik, who, as  Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari, got some of the best lines in Babylon 5.

And there was Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, still my favourite of all the Trek movies. That's the one with the whales, and that joyous music as the whales romp in the ocean of 23rd century Earth. The one where Kirk doesn't get the girl and Spock experiments with swearing and Chekhov, lying on a hospital trolley and not quite awake, implies he's after Kirk's job. Walter Koenig, by the way, was another Babylon 5 cast member, and made a great villain. And Scotty, in a glass factory, tries to speak to the computer using a mouse, then uses the keyboard with great proficiency.

I watch that to cheer me up when I'm feeling low.

Another one I watch to cheer myself is the 1980 movie of Flash Gordon. It's great fun, played with tongue firmly in cheek. Chaim Topol, best known as Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof, was scientist Dr Zharkov, the delectable Tomothy Dalton, a future James Bond, was Prince Barin, Brian Blessed was Prince Vultan of the Hawk Men- you may have seen him in Blackadder 1 as King Richard IV, or in   I,Claudius as the Emperor Augustus or even in Dr Who as a barbarian chieftain... No, probably not unless you're my age...   and Max Von Sydow, star of many a Swedish movie and Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told, was Ming The Merciless. And that score by Queen is absolutely perfect! You can see the actors are having a ball. I once won a prize at a SF convention masquerade as a lady of the court of Ming The Merciless, back in the days when I was embroidering a lot with sequins and I had the figure to carry it off. 

And who could forget the classic Back To The Future? Michael J Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as the delightful Dr Emmett Brown? Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover, who played as his parents, were actually not much older than the teenagers they played in the 1950s scenes and had to be made up to look middle aged. Lea Thompson said she wore her make up home once to shock her own parents! You couldn't do a remake now, not with the 1950s settings because the 1950s are too far away. 

What about you? Any favourites?

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23. Michael Arnold

michaelarnold-4

Bold and playful work from Michael Arnold, a 22 year old illustrator from the UK.

 

 

 

Michael Arnold

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Michael Arnold

 

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24. Starting to #ink my #comic The Boyler Kat. #sketch (at 17th...

0 Comments on Starting to #ink my #comic The Boyler Kat. #sketch (at 17th... as of 3/6/2015 5:22:00 PM
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25. Blood Runs Green: Your nineteenth-century Chicago true crime novel

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Below follows a well-contextualized teaser, or a clue (depending on your penchant for genre), from Sharon Wheeler’s full-length review of Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago at Inside Higher Ed.

Blood Runs Green is that rarer beast—academic research in the guise of a true crime account. But it leaps off the page like the best fictional murder mystery. Mind you, any author presenting these characters to a publisher under the banner of a novel would probably be sent away to rein in their over-fertile imagination. As Gillian O’Brien says: “The story had everything an editor could want: conspiracy, theft, dynamite, betrayal, and murder.”

So this is far more than just a racy account of a murder in 1880s Chicago, a city built by the Irish, so the boast goes (by the late 1880s, 17 per cent of its population was Irish or Irish-American). At the book’s core is the story of Irish immigrants in the US, and the fight for Irish independence through the secret republican society Clan na Gael. In England, and running parallel to events in America, is the saga of Charles Stewart Parnell, a British MP and leading figure in the Home Rule movement.

Who got bumped off is an easy one to answer: Patrick Cronin, a Chicago doctor, Clan na Gael supporter, and a chap renowned for belting out God Save Ireland at fundraising events. Whodunnit? Ah, well, now you’re asking.

To read more about Blood Runs Green, click here.

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