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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Childrens Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,908
26. Getting Kids Into Music? Can It Be Done?

Learning To Play Music

Kids Love Music

Children’s Music Education is too important to be minimized or overlooked.

Articles and lists of why children need to be learning music are easily found on the net.

Everything from improved brains to social and educational benefits.  So we can conclusively establish that learning to play a musical instrument is vital for everyone.

Yet, educational authorities have allowed music to be marginalized in many schools.

It seems kids have stopped listening to classical music or learning to play an orchestral instrument?  And apparently, 75% of high school students in the US never or rarely take lessons in arts or music. This is not looking good.

I would like to see every school with orchestras, bands, choirs and a good supply of musically competent teachers.  Because there’s nothing like enjoying an orchestra playing your favorite music to help you feel great as it rebuilds you from the inside out.

Anyway, what does Richard Gill the highly respected advocate for Children’s Music Education say?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because children are listening to pop music at school they are receiving a music education.  Indeed, just listening to music of any kind is not music education. What’s more if you peel away the pop jargon, the music the kids are listening to is essentially a simple melody – lots of rhythm and just a waste of time.”

Call me grumpy perhaps, but I have to say, nothing annoys me more than seeing children choosing entertainment through technology.

For instance, kids on a device. IPhone, iPad, spending time scrolling through Facebook and Pinterest images while sorting out twitter feeds.

And there is more.  In general education, formal learning is under fire.  Have you read about the  growing attitudes of some groups of children towards learning in general.  A ten year old said this in our local newspaper.

“You Don’t Do School and you just live and learn things…I do whatever I feel like I want to do.”

Mmmm – he will struggle learning music with this attitude.  Music is a privilege and a joy but does include attitudes of commitment and hard work.

So!  How can we motivate kids to Learn To Play Music?  And, how do we motivate the reluctant ones to do so?

Perhaps we might learn something from Youth Sports?

Many children participate in youth sports each year?  Viewed as a rite of passage in a child’s development, parents believe that youth sports are good for their kids.

If the clichés that permeate sports broadcasts and locker room speeches are to be believed, sports participation teaches children the value of hard work, builds character, and develops future leaders.

Young children follow and like their sporting heroes and want to be as good as them.

I’m not going to beat about the bush.  I think it’s time we considered this a model for Children’s Music Education?  Finding music heroes for children to choose to like and follow?  Asking this question: ‘Who is your absolute favourite classical musician?’ 

The real problem is so often children don’t know what music they don’t know about! The music they haven’t heard.

They don’t know what they’re missing until they hear it.  And, by tapping into their inner core that loves music, and selecting music outside their experience which will inspire, encourage and motivate, kids can be encouraged to turn around for another look or listen or both.  And then it’s: “Oh! I lOVE this music!

As a former teacher and musician I realise that Kids think classical music is all too complicated and long.   My conversation with Kids can go a little bit like this.

Oh! Chrissy!  You actually like Classical Music?  Oh I’ll never listen to Classical Music!  I don’t like it at all” 

Classical Music” I reply, “should be a grand excuse for stepping out of the world to share exquisite moments of sheer bliss.  There’s the have to have music you love to listen to, over and over again.  And the magnificent music that keeps us spellbound – the music that you don’t want to ever end.”

As my friend Ginny says: “With classical music you never know what you’re going to get.  Some concerts are so exquisite I have to stop myself sobbing out loud.”

Learning to play a musical instrument

Teach Kids Music!

Anyway, moving on.  Whether kids play an instrument, sing along, or enjoy the music played by others, every child deserves an adult who will understand how a child can become the very best they can possibly be.

To be sure, teachers who patiently sit through countless music recitals and question their sanity at encouraging those trumpet or violin lessons need do so no longer.  A musical moment shared with even one other person, is a treasure that exists at no other time, in no other way.

To be honest I believe the way forward is in ‘Live Music’ being a part of everyone’s day to day.  Yet it is not for the majority of people. So why be part of it?  Why not we need to ask?”

Stephen P Brown says: “Think about what your plans are tonight or this weekend. Are there simply not enough concerts?  Yes – I did just say that.”

When most people think of classical music they think of an orchestra at a large concert hall, but music is far greater than being confined to an exotic square box for a night out once a month or twice a year When someone comes home from work without anything in the calendar (i.e. kids’ sports or band practice, etc.), what do they do? They think of going to a movie, or a restaurant. Perhaps visit a museum at the weekend, or a walk in the park. Some like to annoy a neighbour or family, whilst others potter in the garden.

The more concerts we host, the more they will enter people’s minds; the more the press will include them in the “what to do” listings online and in their papers; the more they will be accessible at times and places more convenient than now. The more concerts you arrange, even for a handful of people, the more music grows to become an essential part of their lives, and at the moment that is truly a God-given gift that most people are missing out on.

Now, hold that thought!  On this theme of ‘Go to a concert’  Everyone likes Street Concerts!

And, what can be more exciting for most people than the involvement in sharing live music, whether it be classical, jazz or pop!

Which brings me to the very recent street concert in Sydney.  “Visions of Vienna

The sails of the Sydney Opera House were alive with moving images of paintings by famous Austrian artists. And the music presented in the Opera House Concert Hall by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Austrian Conductor Ola Rudner was a colourful selection of polkas, waltzes and marches.   As the music played the people in the street began to dance.  It was wonderful, colourful and glamorous!

I think it’s time we found new and innovative ways to make music training more widely available to young people, and to start this during childhood.

When his Auntie left him a piano in her will, Welsh singer, Aled Jones decided he  wanted to learn to play Beatles Songs on his very own piano.  Needless to say this intriguing beginning began his career with the end result – Aled’s first self-titled album by the time he was 11.

We’ve reached the beginning of the end.

Which brings me to Kids’ Educational Stories about Music.  You see, I can’t resist the opportunity to once again mention my children’s books. Just thought I’d throw in a plug for it while we’re all here.

Classical music!  Coffee and a good book!

Sounds like a plan!

Cheers Chrissy

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27. New Dr. Seuss Picture Book Manuscript Found

Random House Dr SeussA long-lost Dr. Seuss book has been discovered. Random House Children’s Books will release What Pet Should I Get? on July 28th.

According to USA Today, the story stars a brother and sister who are looking to bring in a new addition to their family. The same sibling duo appears in the Seuss classic, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, which came out in 1960. For that reason, the editorial executives estimate that the soon-to-be published picture book was written sometime between 1958 to 1962.

The New York Times reports that “the manuscript had been in a box that was discovered in the home of Dr. Seuss (otherwise known as Theodore Geisel) in the La Jolla section of San Diego, shortly after his death in 1991, and set aside. In 2013, Mr. Geisel’s widow, Audrey, and longtime secretary and friend, Claudia Prescott, went through the box and found the nearly complete manuscript, along with other unpublished work.” The same team plans to use other uncovered documents and materials for two more picture book projects.

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28. One Witch at a Time Blog Tour

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for including us on the blog tour for One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser! Check out the other blogs on the tour, as well as a guest post from the author and a giveaway of both books (The Brixen Witch in paperback and its sequel in hardcover).


One Witch at a Time Blog Tour Schedule

Mon, Feb 9 - Cracking the Cover
Tues, Feb 10 - Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, Feb 11 - Mother Daughter Book Club
Thurs, Feb 12 - GreenBeanTeenQueen
Fri, Feb 13 - The Book Monsters
Mon, Feb 16 - Word Spelunking
Tues, Feb 17 - Read Now, Sleep Later
Wed, Feb 18 - Small Review
Thurs, Feb 19 - Kid Lit Frenzy
Fri, Feb 20 - The Flashlight Reader

About the book

Misplaced magic is trouble.

The day had started so well. But now here was Rudi, racing home to intercept a thief. All because of a foolish bargain made by a nine-year-old girl.

Trouble has returned to Brixen, and once again, Rudi is the one who must make things right. Can he undo the disaster caused when an unsuspecting stranger brings a foreign witch’s magic into the Brixen Witch’s province? 

Guest Post

Alethea asked me to write about the books that keep me reading past bedtime, but I have a confession to make: I’m a terrible bedtime reader. Five pages and I’m drifting off, no matter how awesome the book is!

Maybe that’s why I love to travel: There’s nothing better than a long flight or a day under a beach umbrella, because then I can devour a good book in one long sitting.

I have a few absolute favorite books. If I could stay awake past bedtime, these would be the ones to keep me reading:

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean: This book is haunting and horrifying, and unfolds so relentlessly that it gives me chills just thinking about it!

Nation by Terry Pratchett: I’m a huge Pratchett fan, and this is his masterpiece. Not as wildly fantastical as his Discworld books, it’s heartbreaking in parts, and laugh-out-loud funny in other places. (And if you’re a writer, and want to study a master of the omniscient point of view, Pratchett is your guy.)

Anything by Jonathan Stroud: Currently I’m reading The Whispering Skull, the second book in his new Lockwood & Co. series, about young ghost hunters in London. And his four Bartimaeus books are among my favorites of all time.


Anything by Hilary McKay: Her Casson family series (Saffy’s Angel and sequels) are some of the funniest books ever. I’m eagerly anticipating Binny in Secret, the sequel to Binny for Short, which is hilarious and sweet. Plus, there’s a dog.

Just thinking about all these wonderful books makes me think I should take another long trip soon!


About the author

Stacy DeKeyser is the author of The Brixen Witch, which received two starred reviews and was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Pick, and its sequel, One Witch at a Time, as well as the young adult novel, Jump the Cracks and two nonfiction books for young readers. She lives in Connecticut with her family. To learn more and to download a free, CCSS-aligned discussion guide, visit StacyDeKeyser.com.



One lucky winner will receive The Brixen Witch in paperback and One Witch at a Time in hardcover. US addresses only, please!

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only. Ends 02/23/2015.
  2. We and the publisher are not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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29. Is Nostalgia the Next Big Thing?

If, like me, you enjoyed reading mystery stories such as Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven and the Nancy Drew series you'll be pleased to hear that, according to a newspaper article I've just read, the trend apparently is going back towards traditional storytelling and the sort of books we liked to read as children are back in vogue.

This does seem to be the case, several of the books nominated for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize are mystery-based stories such as Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (5-12 age group) and Smart by Kim Slater in the Teen group. Of course, the theme's been given a fresh angle and modern mystery stories deal with topical issues. Smart for example investigates the death of a homeless man  and  although Murder Most Unladylike is set in a traditional boarding school and investigates the murder of a teacher it explores topics such as racism and same-sex relationships. All very modern.

Nostalgia has been popular for some time now. Items that my children played with such as Furbies, Pokemon cards and Tamagotchis are fetching incredible prices. Many toys such as Furbies, and even traditional toys from my childhood, have made a come back - modernised, of course.

I think the reason for this is because in our fast-paced, twenty four hour, high pressure society many people long for the simplicity of the past when children played in the streets with hooplas, footballs and skipping ropes or wandered the fields looking for adventures.  Nowadays most parents don't think it's safe to let their children out of their sight so most children are cooped up indoors playing on Ipads and computers. Small wonder that many people feel quite nostalgic about the past.

Mystery stories have always been popular, of course. A few years ago I wrote a detective series called The Amy Carter Mysteries for Top That Publishing.

They're quite popular with children in schools I visit and it's tempting to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon and write another detective series reminiscent of Enid Blyton's popular tales. With my luck though by the time I'd finished it the trend would have moved on and something else would be 'in vogue'. And guessing what the next Big Thing will be is pretty impossible.

What do you think? Is Nostalgia here to stay?

Karen King writes all sorts of books. Check out her website at www.karenking.net

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30. Book Review: The Last Wild/The Dark Wild

I read both of these books together, so I'm going to do what I rarely do and review them together. If you haven't read the first book, you might want to stop after my review of The Last Wild, because my review of The Dark Wild will, of necessity, have spoilers for the first book.

The Last Wild
by Piers Torday

In a dystopian future, all animals have died out from an illness called "red-eye" that mutated to spread throughout the animal populations. The only animals still living are a few hardy species like cockroaches. Even the bees are dead, which means that there are no more food crops. The only food left is a synthetic food called Formul-A, and the only supplier of Formul-A is the Facto corporation, essentially giving them control of the remaining human population.

Twelve year old Kester Jaynes has been incarcerated in Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children for six years. The Academy is just as horrible as its name makes it sound: the children live regimented, restricted lives, and breaking the rules is punished by solitary confinement. Kester can't even complain: he hasn't been able to speak since his mother died. The words just won't come out.

Kester keeps company with a cockroach at lunch, but one day he's surprised to hear the cockroach speaking to him in his head. Shortly after that, one hundred pigeons break through his window and help him escape from Spectrum Hall. Kester discovers that Facto lied: the animals are not all dead. There is a group of them — a Wild — still living on the edge of civilization, and Kester has a unique ability to talk to them through a kind of mental connection. Between the red-eye virus and the cullers sent out by Facto to kill any remaining animals, the Wild is in grave danger. Kester sets off with the pigeons, the cockroach, a stag, and a wolf cub to find his father, who used to be a vet, and try to find a cure for the red-eye.

If all this sounds a bit unbelievable, it is, but that's ok. This isn't the kind of book that has to be realistic. The characters and the situations are somewhat exaggerated, like you might find in a Roald Dahl or a Lemony Snicket book, with the same kind of dark humor found in those books.

The main characters are Kester and a girl named Polly, whom he meets along the way, and various animals. Kester and Polly are good characters, but the animals are really the best thing about this book. Torday has done an outstanding job of giving the animals unique voices that really fit their personalities. Kester develops through the story, as he learns to be self-reliant and to take responsibility.

The pacing is good, and the plot keeps you turning pages, as Kester, Polly and the animals go from one situation to another as they try to make their way to the city to find Kester's dad. The Last Wild is a unique and interesting book, and a good read. I've read a lot of books, and I can honestly say that I haven't read anything quite like it.


There isn't really any diversity that I saw in the book. In fact, in a few cases I was bothered that some of the villains had impediments or physical characteristics exaggerated in a negative way for comic effect. For example, the evil headmaster stutters.

Who would like this book?

Middle-grade readers, particularly those who like animal fiction. Be aware that The Last Wild is a dark book, and there are deaths; some animals are killed by evil people in front of Kester and Polly. Sensitive children who are bothered by such things may want to give it a pass.

I suspect that this book would have strong appeal for fans of the Warriors series. It's a very different kind of book, but I think that Warriors fans would appreciate not only the animal characters, but also the dark conflicts in a dangerous world, the Wild community, the theme of personal sacrifice, and the well-paced plot.

The Dark Wild
by Piers Torday

Kester and Polly have saved the Wild, and helped Kester's dad find a cure for the red-eye virus. But the Facto corporation isn't going to give up their control of the world and everything they've worked for so easily. Selwyn Stone, the head of Facto, wants something more than to kill all the animals. He wants what Polly has, the secret she swore to her parents that she'd never reveal.

Other factions are also after the secret, and Polly escapes into the city to protect the secret. Kester sets off after her, to help and protect her, but before he can find her he discovers another Wild — an army of bitter, angry animals living under the city, who are determined to destroy the human race. Kester is caught in the middle, and must try to find a way to stop the Dark Wild, while also saving Polly and the animals of his Wild from Facto.

The Dark Wild is a gripping read, and just as thrilling as The Last Wild. In the first book, Kester had to learn to be a leader, but in this one he learns something much more difficult: the value of loyalty, personal heroism, and sacrifice. Other characters develop as well, particularly the wolf cub, who is beginning to grow up and become an adult wolf.

It's also just as dark as the first book, if not more so. In one painful scene, Kester, as a prisoner, has to watch Selwyn Stone taxidermy a squirrel who had been one of Kester's friends. The squirrel was already dead, killed earlier in the book, but it's quite a horrifying scene.

Some things are not resolved by the end of the book, so there may be another book on the way.

FTC required disclosure: Review copy sent by the publisher to enable me to write this review. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

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31. Unexpected News

Finally, some good news. Levono called today and it was someone from the upper echelon, or at least a supervisor. He somehow came across my complaint and request for help and is going to do just that. Levono is footing the bill and offered a discount on a new system when I decide to upgrade.

It is wonderful to find there are companies that still care about their customers after the sale, thinking about customer loyalty. Too bad Best Buy no longer falls in this category—no more loyalty from this gal.

I am pleasantly surprised by this unexpected phone call. I am not sure how long it will take, but it will be faster than any other solution at my disposal. So I will soon see you on a regular basis, when I no longer need to quickly borrow a friend’s computer. Thanks friend!

Waiting to return, and reading and writing reviews in my handy notebook, will be my second priority—just behind standing up on two feet again. Oh, yeah, another good news I had forgotten about. My left leg was always 1/2 inch shorter than the right (from the original hip replacements), but now it is only 1/4 of an inch shorter. This may not seem like much unless you, too, have different length legs. A little less wobble!!


Filed under: Children's Books

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32. Interview with Alinka Rutkowska, Author of ‘Cinderella’s Secret Slipper’

alinka_cartoon_low - Version 2Alinka Rutkowska is an award-winning and best-selling author and coach who’s been featured on Fox Business Network, the Examiner, She Knows, She Writes, Blog Talk Radio, The Writer’s Life and many more. She’s here today to talk about her latest children’s picture book, Cinderella’s Secret Slipper.
Welcome to Blogcritics, Alinka! Congratulations on the release of your latest picture book,Cinderella’s Secret Slipper. When did you start writing and what got you into children’s books? 
Thank you. I’ve been writing since I remember. One of my most notable achievements as a school girl was founding the second school newspaper. There already was one, but I thought it needed some healthy competition. That got me into the writing and publishing world very early on, and I have loved it ever since.
I’ve always loved children’s books, but I only wrote my first one when I took a break from the corporate world to travel around the world. I then had more time to get in touch with myself and to understand what I really wanted to do in life – and that’s to have the privilege to shape young readers’ minds through my stories.
Tell us a bit about Cinderella’s Secret Slipper
Cinderella’s Secret Slipper tells the story of our favorite princess while she’s living her “happily ever after.” She’s a mom and has some real-life problems like her son smashing one of her favorite glass slippers against the wall. Since it’s the only glass pair she has and she’s very nostalgic about it (after all she was wearing it when she first met her husband!), she’s on a quest of putting the slipper back together again, which turns out to be quite challenging.
The early reviewers really appreciated the “real-life” aspect of the story and very much enjoyed the humor.
Writing the story was challenging, as it’s completely different from my “Maya & Filippo” series, which focuses on world-travel and profound messages. Cinderella’s Secret Slipper is shorter, lighter and funnier. It’s main aim is to entertain, but the insightful reader will find a profound message in it as well, it’s just very subtle.
What was your inspiration for it? 
I love classic fairy tales, and I know that when they end with “and they lived happily ever after,” they don’t really end. There’s so much more to tell and I’m fascinated by it!
I also got much more tuned into what my audience wants and this seemed to be a perfect fit. Now that the pre-release reviews are out, it makes me very happy to see that my readers are delighted with this story.
What is your writing process like? 
I usually come up with an idea and write it down in my “drafts” folder. Then I let it marinate in my head for a while. At a certain point I feel like I have to let it out and pour it all onto paper. Then I read it, change a few things and move on to something else.
After a while I read it again and again and again… change a lot of things and send it off to my critique group. If it comes back with positive feedback andCinderella Coversome minor improvement suggestions (as opposed to “flush it down the toilet”), I edit the story again and if I’m satisfied, I send it to my editor. We toss it to each other back and forth, and then the illustrator gets the manuscript.
How was your experience working with an illustrator?
I’ve been working with the same illustrator since book one, and he’s created the artwork for 15 of my titles. It was love at first sight. He liked the idea of my books when we first talked about it, created a few drafts, which I loved and we’ve been working happily ever after.
I usually just send him the story, and when he sends it back the illustrations are perfect 95% of the time. If I want a change, there’s never a problem.
My readers have paid me many compliments for the artwork, which makes me very happy. I have had offers from other illustrators, but when they came back with their drafts I just couldn’t imagine having those illustrations in my book. I wouldn’t feel like the book is “mine” anymore.
What was your publishing process like? 
I publish all my books independently. I really enjoy the speed of the process and the control I have over all aspects. I’ve also learnt a lot about publishing and feel like I don’t need a traditional publisher. However, I have a lot of respect for traditional publishers and have sold rights to 16 of my titles to traditional publishers abroad.
What has writing for children taught you? 
Writing picture books is very different from writing any other fiction. Since the expected word count is around 600, writing for children taught me brevity. I learnt to hook the reader from the very first sentence, create a compelling story that draws the reader in, have him on the edge of his seat wondering if the main character will ever solve his problem and then create a climax and often a surprising ending.
This has to be done in around 600 words, which is less than half of this interview, so it’s quite challenging. I learnt to weigh every word for its life and cut off anything that doesn’t move the story forward.
Writing for children is both an art and a science!
What do you know now that you didn’t know when you published your first book?
So much! I’ve always been a nerd with my nose in books, and that hasn’t changed much, only now my nose is also in online articles and courses, so I learn new things every single day.
I’ve learnt plenty about book marketing, optimizing my books’ metadata for online sales, getting reviews, selling in bulk, foreign publishing deals and much more. This has allowed me to create a business helping other authors.
I’ve also attended several events for authors and made connections that led to opportunities I haven’t even dreamt of.
What do you find most challenging about book marketing? 
I graduated in management and marketing but that’s very different from book marketing online! My degree did give me the confidence that I should be able to do this though :) But it’s the confidence that allows me to move on, not the degree.
Book marketing is such a broad subject, and the landscape keeps changing so quickly that the most challenging thing is to keep up and to be able to identify the things that work for you. That’s why it’s important to test and understand where most of your results are coming from.
There are many avenues to success and also success means different things for different people but the important thing is to focus on those marketing strategies that bring you what you want to achieve.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book? 
Ha! I don’t think I do because it’s never really complete. When I’m done with the first draft, there are many edits to come. When I have the final manuscript, it needs to be illustrated. When I have the illustrations, the book needs to be put together. When it’s ready, I wait for the proof to come.
When I see the physical proof I get really excited, and I always carry it around with me because I love to look at it. While I keep admiring my proof, I prepare the launch of my book. While the book is being launched, I’m already thinking about other promotional campaigns and about other books.
So I guess the only time I really celebrate is when I go to one of those award ceremonies and get a medal. While it’s hanging on my neck and gently swaying as I move around the room and make new connections, I feel really blissful but I’m not sure if that beats what I feel when that first proof comes in the envelope.
What do you love most about the writer’s life? 
The freedom. I worked in big multinational companies before, and while I had great positions and a lot of visibility I was just one little part of a huge machine. And in the end, I had to do what was expected of me.
With book writing and publishing I have much more control, flexibility, I make my own decisions and I do it when I want to. The difference is huge.
What is your advice for aspiring children’s authors? 
Just do it. I know that at the beginning you will be very focused on the writing and you will have no author platform and no marketing experience, but that’s just how it works. We all had to start, and you will eventually learn to do many of the things you need to know to succeed.
Experience comes with practice, and if you are passionate about what you’re doing, that passion will take you places.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers? 
I’d like to give them some presents! If you enjoy children’s picture books, I’d like to give you a free copy from my award-winning collection – go grab it here: http://alinkarutkowska.com.
I have something special for authors as well, it’s my “200 Book Marketing Tips” ebook, which you can download for free at http://alinkarutkowska.com/authors-home/.
Thank you!
My interview with the author originally appeared in Blogcritics Magazine.

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33. One Final Update

Thank you for your kind words and concern. Here is an update. The Consumer Protection Agency is nothing more than an arbitrator, not  a protector. If Best Buy continues to refuse to fix the problem they missed all these months ago–and the are–there is nothing I can do short of a lawsuit.  This is not lawsuit worthy, though I would love to make the company stand by what it sells and fixes.

The same goes for Lenovo, the Chinese company making headways into the American computer world. Supposedly top-of-the-line computers, solid state drivers, and who knows what else (I am not a computer expert) that puts Lenovo computers ahead of many others, but they failed me miserably.

IF, and only if, I had bought directly from the company, they would outright replace my computer. But since I bought from Best Buy, they will offer no help. Another company refusing to stand by what the make and sell. It is Lenovo that made the lemon of a computer and yet they feel no duty to replace a badly made unit.

Which brings me to the worst post I will ever write. I will start saving for a new computer immediately, but until I have enough I will be absent. This borrowed computer goes back today. A borrowed computer, actually a small netbook, doesn’t have the needed power.

I appreciate all of your kind thoughts, wishes, and prayers. I WILL BE BACK. I hope sooner than later. I never anticipated a day like this would arrive, nor did I ever think such a day would immensely bother me, as it continues to do. Take care of yourselves, read a lot of kid’s books, and please stay alert for my return.


Filed under: Children's Books

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34. Tiny Hamster to Star in Picture Book

hamsterSimon & Schuster Books for Young Readers plans to publish a children’s book starring the YouTube sensation, Tiny Hamster.

Here’s more from the press release: “Tiny Hamster Is a Giant Monster will have a photographic treatment and feature images from the video. When Tiny Hamster accidentally eats some mad scientist goo, he turns into a giant, Godzilla-like hamster, stomping through the city and eating everything in sight. This adorably monstrous story is sure to delight readers of all ages. The Tiny Hamster videos, including ‘Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Burritos,’ are created by Denizen Company.”

Joel Jensen, Joseph Matsushima, and Amy Matsushima, the co-founders of the Denizen Company, will collaborate on the writing for the forthcoming picture book. A release date for both the book and a new video with the same title has been set for June 2nd. Follow this link to check out a playlist of videos featuring the celebrity rodent.

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35. A Sad Update Thanks to Best Buy and Lenovo Laptops

Hi Everyone!

I’ve commandeered a friend’s laptop to let everyone interested know what is going on in the land of Where’s-Sue-Is-She-Coming-Back. I plan on returning, absolutely. At the moment, I am home, rolling around in a wheelchair, staying off my hip/leg for two more months. Then rehab will begin. I hope. For those who don’t know, my leg was broken while removing the old hip. It had to be screwed and wired together—in a five hour operation–in addition to attaching a new hip. Until the bone heals around the post inside the leg I cannot put any weight on the leg. If I do, the post will ram down into the leg and break it apart, destroying too many things to think about.

You are probably wondering how this keeps my fingers off the keyboard of my laptop. Well, it would not if I had a laptop to use. My new (less than a year old) laptop had a faulty motherboard, according to Best Buy Geek Squad, who replaced it under warrant. Returned in  August, the motherboard went out again in late September. This makes me think the problem is not the motherboard but something else which is causing the board to go bad. What are the odds the a motherboard – the main components of your computer, would go bad twice in a year? This is the first time I have ever had a motherboard go bad in all the computers I have ever used.

None of this matters to Best Buy. Since I did not return the laptop to them, but rather called and had a friend return it, and it was not done by September 5th (30 days past returning the “fixed” laptop) Best Buy blew me off and refuses to find and fix the real problem. The Geek Squad tried to submit my laptop but a manager said “NO!” He wants me to buy a new motherboard – or a new laptop since the cost would be similar. A brand new, top-of-the-line laptop, with solid state drives, destroys its motherboard not once, but twice within its first 8 months.

Thanks a lot Best Buy, for NOT standing behind your Geek Squad service and the products sold to me. I will never again buy even a piece of gum from Best Buy.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Agency is now trying to deal with Best Buy, which no longer is concerned with customer satisfaction or the quality of any service it provides. This is not the first time a Geek Squad agent agrees something should be done and a manager nixed it without regard to the customer, the Geek Squad’s knowledge, or any concern for customer loyalty. There was a time when I would not even look anywhere but Best Buy, mainly because of the customer service and the way the company stood behind the products it sold. NOT ANYMORE! With no competition in my area all the company—the manager at this store—care about is a sale — the managers leading the way.

Until I can get another laptop, I cannot post. Borrowing a friend’s laptop is not a good solution. I apologize to everyone who has sent in a book for review. I am still reading all the books, taking notes, and hand writing the review. Once this is settled, or I figure out how to come up with another $1000 for a solid state, top-of-the-line, don’t-need-to-worry-about-laptop, the reviews will be posted. Please do not send in an books until further notice. If you do, please keep in mind it could be 6 months before a review is posted. Or maybe longer.

I hate this. It makes me angry. I sincerely apologize to every reader and loyal supporter of KLR. This was not how this medical adventure was to have worked out.

Filed under: Children's Books Tagged: AVOID BEST BUY, Best Buy, Geek Squad, Lenovo Laptops, Poor Best Buy Repair Service

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36. The Drawing Center Hosts a Tomi Ungerer Exhibit

Tomi UngererThe Drawing Center is hosting the “Tomi Ungerer: All in One” exhibit. As a children’s books creatorTomi Ungerer (pictured, via) has become well-known for the picture books The Three Robbers and Moon Man.

According to the press release, Claire Gilman served as the curator for this art show. It will run from January 16th to March 22nd.

This retrospective features Ungerer’s “childhood drawings depicting the Nazi invasion of Strasbourg, through his work in New York and Canada, and concluding with the artist’s most recent political and satirical campaigns, as well as his illustrations for the 2013 children’s book Fog Island, ‘Tomi Ungerer: All in One’ re-introduces this wildly creative individual to New York City and the world.” Visitors will also see Ungerer’s erotic artwork and animation pieces.

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37. Illustrator Interview – Roxie Munro

Roxie was one of the very first kid lit people to welcome me to New York in 2012. I have visited her in her home and lovely studio here in New York City. Roxie is the author/illustrator of more than 35 … Continue reading

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38. ALA Youth Media Awards Wins for Lee & Low Books!

Yesterday was the ALA Youth Media Awards, or the “Oscars of Children’s Literature” as they’re sometimes called. It was a big day for diversity. Diverse books and authors were honored across the board and we couldn’t be happier.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison, received the Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Little Melba follows the life of famed trombonist, composer, and arranger Melba Liston who broke through racial and gender barriers to become one of the great unsung heroes of jazz.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.49.26 AM

Pat Mora, author of Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube and many other award-winning titles, won the 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award! This award recognizes an author, librarian, or children’s lecturer who will then present a lecture at a winning host site. In addition to her writing, Pat Mora is also a literacy
advocate. She created Día, a day that celebrates children and the importance of reading.

Congratulations to all the titles honored at the ALA Youth Media Awards!

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39. A Twisty Path to Publication–with Dragons

This is a reblog from www.writersrumpus.com Post #5: Morris Award Finalist Blog Tour Week YALSA’s Morris Award honors the year’s best young adult novel by a debut author. The Morris Award winner for 2014 will be announced at the upcoming ALA 2015 Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. Writers’ Rumpus is honored to host a week of […]

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40. A LIterary Apprecitation of Dragons 2015 – Part 4 of 4

Far too soon, we've come to the end of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons Series. Anyone needing some backstory, or a refresher, can click on the link in the first sentence and get caught up quite nicely. But don't forget to come back here to catch this last literary dragon post for the 2015 series.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

So far, we've read our way through three Fridays of dragon book fun:


And for today's post, we've got something really fun:

Drawing Dragons

That's right! We here at Bugs and Bunnies were delighted to find this little collection of books, so we could learn how to draw the dragons we love to read about! We hope you enjoy them, too:

1-2-3 Draw: Knights, Castles, and Dragons: A step by step guide
By Freddie Levin
Ages 5 - 10

This one is great for the beginner level artists out there. It starts with a list of very basic tools you will need - all things you probably already have around the house. The book is separated into several sections, starting with drawing basic shapes. As you move through the book, these basic shapes are used to guide you through drawing a variety of medieval-type things, starting with a basic person, and moving through to specific ones (king, queen, prince, princess). There are sections for drawing castles, heraldry, knights, and of course dragons. And there are other sections, too, each related to knights, castles, and dragons, plus an index.

How to Draw Dragons (Drawing Fantasy Art)
By Jim Hansen and John Burns
Ages 9 and up

This one is great for those who want to both learn a little about dragons as well as draw them. The Introduction section explains the equipment you may want to have on hand before you begin. (Some of the supplies listed are more advanced equipment, but you will still be able to use this book with just the basics - pencil, paper, eraser.) Then there's a short lesson on Perspective. And then there's the instruction, separated into types: Western Dragon, Eastern Dragon, and North American Dragon. The book also contains a glossary of art-related terms, as well as a section on suggestions for further reading. The instructions start basic and work up to the details fairly quickly, so this book will be most helpful to those who already have a good base of drawing skills.

Draw! Medieval Fantasies: A Step by Step Guide
By Damon J. Reinagle
Ages 8 - 14

This one starts with a list of basic drawing tools, and a few "Common Sense Drawing Rules" to get you started. It is for those who are a little more advanced in drawing skill, yet still starts with Basic Shapes, then moves on to sections showing you steps for how to draw Rods and Joints, Dragons, Castles, and Heroes and Villains. Then there is a section on adding Textures and Patterns to your drawings, and finally, one on Putting It All Together.

Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book: Become an artist step-by-step
By Ralph Masiello
Ages 8 - 12

As with the others, this one also starts with a section on the drawing tools you may want to use. It is also for those who know a little about drawing already. There are step-by-step instructions for drawing eleven different types of dragons, from all over the world. For each dragon, you'll be shown one detailed step at a time, using just the drawings to guide you - no text instructions. You can easily tell which is the new line to add for each step, because it is shown in red.

Once you've been guided in drawing the dragon, the next page for each one shows what the fully-complete drawing could look like, with all color and pattern added, as well as some information about the type of dragon you just drew, and hints for how to create the patterns you see in the finished drawing example. At the end, you'll find a section on Resources for you to learn even more about dragons, as well as a Pronunciation Guide, so you'll know how to pronounce the names of the dragons you've just learned how to draw.

* * *

And so, we've reached the end of our series for this year. We hope you enjoyed this Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons Series as much as we did, and we hope you'll come back again next year to celebrate a whole new bunch of fabulous dragon books with us!

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41. Sports Books for Girls

Today Kristine Carlson Asselin revealed the cover of her debut YA novel, Any Way You Slice It, about Penelope Spaulding, who uses hockey as a great escape from her parents’ restaurant. As her confidence on the ice and her commitment to the Rink Rats and someone named Jake Gomes grows, she finds it harder and […]

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42. A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 3 of 4

Another Friday in January, another post in the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons series. (Not sure what this is? Click on the link in the previous sentence, and that will get you up to speed quite nicely. Then come back here to continue the book-ish dragon fun.)

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

Back now? Great! Let's get to it:

If you've been here for the last two posts, you'll recall that we've added a new component to this year's festivities: Themes! And if you're new to Bugs and Bunnies? Well, now you know. The theme thing is new.

So far, we've had fun with two themes:

Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable – with dragon books that are informational in nature


Chinese Dragon Tales – with dragon books rooted in Chinese culture, with Chinese dragons

For this week, we present:

Other Dragon Tales

These dragon stories involve a variety of world cultures - Egyptian, Viking, English, and one that's unspecified but seems American. Enjoy!

The Dragon and the Thief
Written by Gillian Bradshaw
Ages 9 and up

Prahotep was born backward, with his eyes wide open. The people of his small Egyptian village took that to mean he was frowned upon by the gods. And it seemed to be so, for this son of a fisherman was no good at fishing. 

When one day a crocodile attacks Prahotep's father, his dying wish is for Prahotep to leave his small village near the Nile river, and try to find something he is good at. So Prahotep travels to Thebes. But his attempts at learning new trades there goes no better, and he finds himself labeled with a new name: Bad Luck. Finally, there is only one trade left for him to attempt – theft. When even that doesn't go well, he begins to think the gods really do frown on him. 

And then, Prahotep stumbles into the cave of Hathor, the last of what was believed to be an extinct line of dragons. Her discovery by others will mean her death. Could this be the destiny Prahotep has sought for so long? Could he be the one who can save the last Egyptian dragon?

Dragon Stew
Written by Steve Smallman
Illustrations by Lee Wildish
Ages 5 and up

Five bored Vikings are looking for an adventure. But they don't want to do the same old things. Battle? Nothing new. Shark fishing? Nope. Wresting a bear...in their underwear? Been there, done that!

And then, Loggi Longsocks comes up with one last idea: Catch a dragon, and make a dragon stew! To that, the other Vikings say, "Now, that's something new!" And the adventure begins...

The Reluctant Dragon
Written by Kenneth Grahame
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Ages 7 - and up

Long ago, there lived a shepherd, his wife, and their small son. One day, the father came across a dragon living in a cave outside the village, and he was beside himself with fear. But the boy, who read lots and lots of books and knew about these things, was less upset. "It's all right, father. Don't you worry. It's only a dragon."

And then, the boy befriended the dragon, and soon convinced his parents the situation was not as dire as all that. The dragon was rather cultured and quite mild-mannered. But when word spread, as word is wont to do, the villagers were not so serene. And they sent for St. George, slayer of dragons. 

The boy sees only one way to save his friend. And it involves convincing the whole town – and a dragon slayer  – to not slay a dragon. But, how?

The Best Pet of All
Written by David LaRochelle
Illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama
Ages 3 - 5

This is the story of a boy who wants a dog for a pet. But each time he asks his mom for a dog, she refuses.

Then one day, the boy decides to ask for something new. He asks for a dragon for a pet. And this time, his mom says, "If you can find a dragon, you can keep it for a pet." 

So he finds a dragon. But a dragon does not make a good pet. And when the boy's mom tells the dragon to leave, it refuses.

The boy has an idea how to get the dragon out of the house, though. And it involves a dog...

* * *

And that's that for this week. We hope you enjoyed Part 3 of 4 of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. Please join us again next Friday, for Part 4 of 4, when we present dragon books that will satisfy those who like to do more than just read about dragons...

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43. Candlewick Press - Best of YA Giveaway

TIME Magazine recently published their 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time and 100 Best Children's Books of All Time lists. Candlewick Press is offering a chance to win 6 of their titles which appeared on the YA list!


The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Rob, sickly and devastated by the death of his mother, moves to a hotel with his father for a new start. But after he comes across a caged tiger in the woods outside the motel, the unexpected find helps him overcome his sadness and open up to a new friend.

The Tiger Rising is a National Book Award finalist (2001).


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle--that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is in the Top 25 to be voted on for Best of the Best ranking by reader vote: http://time.com/100-best-young-adult-books/

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

An unforgettable debut novel that follows an antisocial cinephile as she meets a quick-witted artist who's savvy enough to see through her sci-fi disguise. 

Boy Proof will celebrate its 10th anniversary in February 2015.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Illustrated by Jim Kay

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. 

Soon to be a major motion picture!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

A dystopian thriller follows a boy and girl on the run from a town where all thoughts can be heard--and the passage to manhood embodies a horrible secret.

Feed by M. T. Anderson

Anderson takes on consumerism in this smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now. 

Feed is a National Book Award Finalist (2002).

Thanks to Candlewick, you can enter to win all 6 books using the Rafflecopter widget below! The giveaway is open to the US and Canada only, and ends Monday, January 26, 2015.

Candlewick online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

eVolt online: Twitter | Tumblr

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US and Canada residents only. Ends 01/26/2015.
  2. We are not responsible for items lost, stolen, or damaged in the mail. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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44. Star Bright Title Makes Headlines

A local newspaper based out of Manchester, Indiana has written an article profiling Neil Wollman and Abigail Fuller, the co-authors of the recently published What Animal Needs a Wig?! The article (which can be expanded above) highlights both the lives of the co-authors, as well as the background on their hilarious new book.

In contrast to the research-based academic reports and activism publications that both Neil Wollman, a former psychology professor, and wife Abigail fuller, a current sociology professor, are accustomed to working on, What Animal Needs a Wig? came about much more casually. During long trips to visit Fuller's family in Massachusetts, Wollman would make jokes and puns with his family regarding animals. Curious to see if anything could come of it, Wollman decided to team  up with Fuller and her sister, illustrator Frances Baldwin, to construct a compilation of well-researched, interesting, and funny factoids and puns about nature.

Everyone at Star Bright Books would like to extend congratulate Neil Wollman and Abigail Fuller for writing such an amazing book, and our warmest thanks to writer Eric Seaman for writing this article. For more information regarding What Animal Needs a Wig?, please visit our website, starbrightbooks.com

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45. A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 1 of 4

We're getting a bit of a late start for the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons, but let's not let that dampen our fun, shall we? Counting today, there are still four Fridays left for us to fill with fabulous books full of fantastic dragon stories of one sort or another.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

A Bit of Explanation, for those new to Bugs and Bunnies, or new to this series:

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons is a series where we feature books with some sort of dragon connection, with posts appearing each Friday in January. It began here at Bugs and Bunnies as part of our 2012 observance of Appreciate a Dragon Day - a holiday celebrated annually on January 16th. The day officially came into being ten years ago, courtesy of author Donita K. Paul, to celebrate the release of her novel, DragonSpell (Waterbrook Press, 2004). Want more details? Click on any of the links above for all kinds of dragony fun. When you've had your fill, come on back here, and we'll get started with this year's bookish dragon festivities.

And now, on to the literary dragon fun:

New for this year: Themes! (Not planned, but the books did seem to just fall into categories of their own accord. Weird, how that happens sometimes, isn't it?)

This week's theme:

Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable

All of today's books are informational in nature. All but one contain brief descriptions of various myths, legends or stories specific to various world cultures and histories. And that one that doesn't? Well, we'll save it for last. It's kind of in a category all its own:

Dragons (Monsters and Mythical Creatures)
By Carla Mooney
Ages 13 and up

Dragons is a well-researched, informative book presenting a wide variety of information, images and illustrations on everything to do with dragons. Five chapters cover the general similarities and differences dragons have across different cultures and mythologies, content specific to Western dragons and Eastern dragons, animals that may have inspired dragon myths, and dragon depiction within pop culture. There are also useful sections at the end, detailing the author's sources, a list of various media to consult for further exploration, a content index, and picture credits.

Dragons (Mythologies)
By John Malam
Ages 8 - 10

This beautifully illustrated Dragons book focuses on dragon myths and stories within various cultures. It covers information, myths and legends about dragons of Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan, and India. For each of these areas of the world, general information is presented about how dragons were depicted and described, as well as brief retellings of one or two myths or stories from those cultures. A helpful glossary and index are included at the end.

A Time of Golden Dragons
Written by Song Nan Zhang and Hao Yu Zhang
Illustrated by Song Nan Zhang
Ages 9 - 12

A Time of Golden Dragons traces the history and significance of dragons in Chinese culture, from their earliest beginnings up through today. The authors weave together history, culture, myth, art and storytelling to give the reader a clear, easy-to-understand narrative of the ways dragons are used, referred to, and depicted by the Chinese people.

There are sections on Where Dragons Come From, the difference between Eastern and Western dragons, dragons as a symbol of imperial power, Where Dragons Live, dragon references and their meanings within the Chinese language, the significance of dragons in Chinese festivals, dragon references and use in modern Chinese culture, and the dragon's part in the Chinese time measurement system. Each page is accompanied by colorful and detailed illustration to enhance understanding of the text.

The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species (How to Train Your Dragon)
Written and Illustrated by Cressida Cowell
Ages 8 - 12

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, reluctant hero of the How to Train Your Dragon series, against the wishes of his Viking Barbarian father, Stoick the Vast, Chief of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, presents to the reader: The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species, which contains everything Hiccup has learned about dragons.

He includes sections on Dragon Anatomy, Nesting Sites, Dragon Eggs, Training Your Hunting or Lap Dragon, Dragon Riding, The Wilder Species, The Mighty Monsters, The Future of Dragons, and Know Your Dragons. Each section contains drawings, illustrations, typed information, and handwritten notes – some whole-page and some margin, and even a handy reference chart of dragon types and their respective characteristics. There is also a fold-out Map of the Barbaric Archipelago – the lands where Hiccup and the Hairy Hooligan Tribe and the dragons live and travel.

* * *

And so, that's that for this week. We hope you haven't yet had your dragon fill, though. Come on back next week for Part 2 of 5, when we delve into books with dragon lore from one particular corner of the world...


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46. Book Review: The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf, by Caldric Blackwell

Title: The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf
Author: Caldric Blackwell
Publisher: Icasm Press
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Six-year-old Byron Woodward is a werewolf who can’t howl. Determined not to embarrass himself after being chosen to lead a full-moon ceremony, he embarks on a mission to learn how to howl. He learns a lot about howling during his journey, but more importantly, he learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.

My thoughts...

I love werewolves and I love picture books--but a picture book about werewolves? That's kind of an unusual combination. So I was curious. Well, The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf turned out to be a pleasant surprise! I read the story with keen interest throughout, and there's was even a bit of suspense as I wondered what was going to happen. The ending was sweet and satisfying. I bet young readers will have the same reaction and will be glued to the pages, though adults might have to explain to the little ones what werewolves are. I love that the author tells an enjoyable story that also touches on important values and ideas, such as the love for nature and, more importantly, the need to believe in oneself. I hope to see more picture books from talented author Caldric Blackwell!

About the Author

Caldric Blackwell realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten.

Exposure to a host of great authors while studying at the University of California, Santa Barbarainspired him to begin writing fiction. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he eventually migrated to writing children's books. His debut work is an early chapter book titled The Enchanted River Race. His second release is a picture book titled The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf.

Outside of writing, Caldric enjoys hiking and playing the mandolin, banjo, and guitar. Caldric currently resides in California.

For More Information

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    47. Reading Resolutions

    Everyone is making goals and checking them twice. Welcome to January! Fresh ideas, new perspective and a clean slate is on the horizon. As an author and an avid reader my goals tend to lean towards literary objectives. Do you have any goals that focus on literacy? Here are a few of mine: Have at least four library visits each month, read and complete one fiction book and one business oriented book monthly, read through my son's personal library collection in entirety every week (this goal is shared between my hubistrator, sitters and myself because he has a lot of books), write in a gratitude journal daily, work on incomplete manuscripts. Those are my reading resolutions-what are your goals when it comes to literacy? Read to a classroom, volunteer at your library, work on a project related to helping others with their literacy goals. The list can be quite endless. Readers are leaders-let's begin this year by leading by example. Read something great.

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    48. This little Griffin has a new home....Salem County Bookmobile

    Meet our new little Griffin,  the mascot for Salem County Bookmobile ..He now has a home but is in need of a name....

    Salem County Bookmobile and Library

    0 Comments on This little Griffin has a new home....Salem County Bookmobile as of 1/11/2015 3:48:00 PM
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    49. Parragon Books Debuts New Line of Princess Books

    updated-webbannerParragon Books — the publisher of such children’s books including: Monster High; Pinkabella and Sunshine and Snowballs – has unveiled a new line of children’s book called Glitterbelle. 

    The series, which is aimed at the 6 and up set, is centered around a high energy modern-day princess named Glitterbelle. 

    From illustrator, Harriet Muncaster, the artwork in the books begin with sketches which are turned into handmade 3D scenes using card, fabric, tiny gems and glitter. The series includes story books, activity books and products. The first four titles in the series will be released this month.




    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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    50. A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 2 of 4

    Here we are, with the second of four posts for the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons!

    Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

    Regular readers – or at least those who follow this particular series here on Bugs and Bunnies – already know what's what. For those who are new: click on the link up there in the very first sentence of this post, and you'll find all kinds of information that will catch you up quite nicely. Then come on back here to continue the dragon-y fun.

    Last week, our theme was Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable. This week's theme is:

    Chinese Dragon Tales

    It's a little round-up of four picture books focused on stories rooted in Chinese culture, with Chinese dragons:

    The Paper Dragon, by Marguerite W. Davol
    Illustrated by Robert Sabuda
    Ages 5 - 8
    * Summary courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl

    Humble artist Mi Fei spends most of his time painting scenes of the glorious past on paper scrolls. The people of his village love to admire his epic portraits of gods, festivals, heroes, and great deeds. When news arrives one day that Sui Jen, the great dragon of Lung Mountain, has woken from his hundred years' sleep and is rampaging through the country, the villagers are sure that Mi Fei has enough knowledge of ancient heroes to save the day. But Mi Fei is just a simple artist! Can he live up to his village's expectations and convince the mighty dragon to sleep once more?

    The Boy Who Painted Dragons
    Written and Illustrated by Demi
    Ages 7 - 10
    * Summary courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl

     Ping paints dragons everywhere - on the walls, columns, doors, windows, tables, and chairs, and all over the ceiling and floors. All of the other children are in awe of his skill, but none of them know Ping's secret: he is terrified of dragons. No matter how many he paints, he still is unable to get over his fear. When the mighty Heavenly Dragon catches a glimpse of his art and decides to pay Ping a visit, the boy artist is in for a big shock... 

    Written and Illustrated by Jon Berkeley
    Ages 4 - 8

    Chopsticks is a small gray mouse, living on a floating restaurant in a busy harbor on the island of Hong Kong. The restaurant's entrance is flanked by two huge pillars, each of which has coiled around it a magnificent carved wooden dragon. One night – New Year's night, Chopsticks is going about his usual business of foraging for crumbs, when one of the dragons of the pillars speaks to him, and asks him for help with something very important. But how can one small mouse help a dragon made of wood and lacquer to realize his most cherished dream: to be free, so he can fly?

    Dragon Dancing
    Written by Carole Lexa Schaefer
    Illustrated by Pierr Morgan
    Ages 3 and up

    A class of students listen to their teacher read a book about dragons. And then, during art class, when it's time to decorate for Mei Lin's birthday, the sparkly paper and ribbons give the kids a great idea. And very soon, a sparkle-headed Birthday Dragon is off exploring imaginary lands, far, far away...at least until they hear their teacher calling.

    * * *

    And so we've come to the end of Part 2 of 4 of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. Be sure to come back next Friday, for Part 3 of 4, when we'll explore some more dragon tales...



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