Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dewi and the Seeds of Doom by Maggie Lyons



by Maggie Lyons

MuseItUp Publishing

Middle Grade Fantasy

ages 6+

70 pages

When Dewi is clobbered by a falling rat, the nosy Welsh dragon snoops his way into a challenging predicament. Helped by a toad with a passion for chemical wart cures, Dewi discovers that a megalomaniac baron is secretly breeding mutant corn at an unfriendly castle. To thwart the genetically modified-corn baron’s sickening plan, he must use moxie and firepower in a series of catastrophe-skirting capers.


Did you know rats can simply fall out of the sky? Neither does the sweet dragon Dewi until one plops on him. As a dragon, you'd think that meant dinner time for Dewi...but not this loving Dragon. He's off to solve a mystery and find out what is going on. Of course, he finds more than he ever dreamed.

Dewi is a wonderful dragon who will really reach out to kids 6+. Not only is he kind and sweet and a dragon (yes, dragons are simply cool creatures), but he sometimes feels that he's underestimated and is capable of more than the 'adult' world will give him credit for. Kids will love it when he goes on this mystery, knowing that if his dragon father or others really knew what he was up to, they'd put an end to it quick. This dragon trusts himself and encourages kids to believe in themselves and their abilities.

The writing is perfect for first readers as is the length. The settings are whimsical and place kids in a magical world. There's danger without going over-board, action without being scary and evil characters which won't leave nightmares.

Summed up, I can highly recommend this adventurous tale (and adorable dragon) to readers who love adventure and a lot of fun.

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cleo's Tomato Sandwich by Julia E. Antoine

Written and Illustrated by Julia E. Antoine
ENVISION Business and Computer Publishing
50 pages

Eleven year old Cleo loves tomato sandwiches more than anything else in the whole entire world. She loves tomato sandwich so much that she had been trying, ever since she was six, to grow her own tomato garden. Now, finally, at age eleven, Cleo is making one more effort to grow a tomato garden. Will she succeed? And if she does, will it be everything she’d hoped? Read Cleo’s journey, as she sets about fulfilling one of her long held dreams.


This is the only book I've read in the series, but I'll have to look into the others. Cleo is a sweet girl who loves tomatoes, and she's particular about it too. Unfortunately, keeping tomatoes at room temperature (as we learn in this book is the best way to hold them) also means they rot after a few days. But this eleven-year-old does something that will inspire young readers - she takes matters into her own hands and finds a solution.

Not only does this book help children realize that they can do things, but it gives them instructions during the story on how to grow tomatoes themselves. Cleo is a strong, smart character who isn't afraid to go after what she wants.

The illustrations are bright and enjoyable. The story moves along at a nice pace, and the information offered holds the readers interest in several ways. Although the plot itself is basic, it's told in a fun, loving way which kids are sure to enjoy.

I personally see kids ages 7+ enjoying this. And get ready parents because your kids is going to want to do some planting of their own when they're done.

You can find this on Amazon!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Unnatural Selection by Victoria Escobar

Unnatural Selection
By- Victoria Escobar
Genre- YA Sci-Fi
Publication Date- November 4th

I had no name. My assignment was M001/A5. Marpesia Project Test One, Fifth Embryo. I wasn’t considered human. I was a thing to be owned.

I just wanted freedom. I wanted out of the lab and away from being the guinea pig for hundreds of scientists. I wanted to see the world with my eyes not through a computer monitor.

Instead I took two bullets, fell from twenty stories and ran to save my life. From who and what I had no idea and that wasn’t important at the time. Life was important.

I had my freedom but no idea what to do with it. There’s no way to out run the past, and I had to face it. There were too many strings loose and too many people that would be more than happy to lock me in a cage again.

Life was an evolution of natural selection but thanks to human intervention I was Unnatural. I would be deciding who to allow living, and who needed to die.


Friday, January 9, 2015

A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp

by Helen C. Hipp
A Different Kind of Safari LLC
32 pages
ages 5 - 10

What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, this heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling “different and lonely” Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. You will never guess what happens next!


A safari? Sure! Especially when it's one taken on the back of a pink hippo. Although this book takes the readers on a short safari down an African river, it isn't about the least, not in the normal sense. Things are not always as they appear, especially when one tries to judge a person (or in this case) animal by its looks or reputation.

Through loving illustrations and a little bit of fun, a boy who isn't satisfied with who he is, learns that it's not the outside that counts but what's under the skin. The writing is a little heavy for the youngest of readers, so I tend to recommend this to 3+ or as a self-read for the 1st or 2nd grade. (I realize this is recommended up to even a 10 year old, but found that a little much for my own kids.)This is a book which will make kids think, so parents might want to be prepared for a little discussion time afterwards. Although the story takes a few cute turns, and has a lovely story which (I assume) originates from an African myth, there is a constant, serious tone in these pages. In other words, this is a safari but not so much about animals as about discovering what's inside.

Inspired by real-life adventure, the story behind the story unfolded when I went on an African safari back in 2001. The trip was led by my father whose dream was to share the safari experience with his family. Little did I know that this trip was going to incite me to write a children’s adventure book but it did.
The storyline made it appearance when my family spotted a pod of hippos and one was pink! My son Ray fourteen at the time immediately named her “Rosie”. Curious and wanting to learn more about this hippo we asked the guide many questions about hippos and hippo behavior. Specifically I wanted to know why the pink hippo stood so far outside of her pod. The familiarity of the guides answer took me by surprise, he explained that “Rosie” was tolerated but not necessarily accepted by the herd because of her differences. As a parent of a child with special needs I immediately felt a strong affiliation with Rosie’s situation as did my son Ray who has experienced his own challenges with acceptance. Inspired, I decided to share the story with the world by weaving them into a children’s adventure book that celebrates differences. The book is entitled “A Different Kind of Safari”. Find out what you can learn from Rosie the pink hippo, and how you can share those lessons with the children in your life.
All About the Author. . .
Helen Hipp’s experience raising a special needs child led her to an M.A. in clinical psychology and certification as a life coach. She began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families. Helen uses her 13+ years of counseling experience and 20+ years’ experience as a successful advocate for individuals with special needs by helping them reveal their innate ability to solve difficult situations. Her debut book ” A Different Kind of Safari” puts into words the essence of Helen’s teachings addressing the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities.
For more information, visit the books official website and to see a picture of the real Rosie the real life pink hippo that inspired this story, go to

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