Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New Site Under Construction

Please browse through the archived reviews, articles and author interviews. Keep your eyes open for a new site. In the meantime, look for new reviews in print or online at Kansas City Parent magazine, Upstate Parent magazine,  Lowcountry Parent magazine and the Post and Courier newspaper.

Thank you for your patience,

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Winter's Tale

New rules, laws and regulations state that I have to make it clear on each review whether the book was supplied free of charge by the publisher, author or illustrator. (The mention on my home page isn't enough.) With the cold snap I began thinking about a book I reviewed for my monthly magazine column. It was not provided as a review copy. As a matter of fact, I read it while I spent a couple hours doing research at a local bookstore. I hope you enjoy.
"Black Dog"
By  Levi Pinfold
For Ages 4 - 8
              What is your biggest fear and how do you face it? In Levi Pinfold’s, "Black Dog" the Hope family’s fears are embodied in a black dog a large, scary black dog. The cover hides any dark side and offers only a beautifully illustrated house tucked into a wintry wood. Turning the pages to see what comes next is only natural.
             When Mr. Hope spots a black dog in the yard he is struck by its large size. As each family member describes what they see, the dog grows larger and larger. It begins as the size of a tiger. Then grows to the size of an elephant. Finally it becomes as large as a Big Jeffy – whatever that is.
             But this story is about confronting fears, not watching them prowl around your yard. Although it’s a little expected (some might say trite) little Small Hope, the baby of the family, decides to see what all the fuss is about. She marches out to the dog and they play chase. As they run, all the "big" fears become silly little concerns that are "nothing to be afraid of." By the time Small returns to the house the big, bad dog is just a lovable little hound.
             The rich color illustrations and black-and-white thumbnail sketches add multiple layers to this imaginative tale. There's only one possible complaint for this great story-time pick. Be sure your children understand not to wander away from their families and confront strange dangers lurking outside their homes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Heroes, Villains and Kisses

The holidays are over and it is time for me to get back to work. So let's not waste any time.

By Sybil Nelson
For Ages 9 - 13   
            Teen superheroes, hormones, villains galore and family issues make this installment of the "Priscilla the Great" series a must read. Rated 4 (peril, teen romance, adventure)

            Sybil Nelson picks up Priscilla's story a couple months after the first book in the series ended. As with the first book, this one is filled with action, adventure, super villains (some new) and super powers. Although this story has its share of fighting and bad guys, you may be surprised to here me say that it's not about that. It's about family and boyfriends. 
            To begin with, Priscilla is struggling with maintaining a long distance relationship with her boyfriend. It doesn't help that she has to erase his memory after every visit. While her boyfriend situation is happening, Priscilla's mom is sick and getting sicker. To top it off, something dangerous is nagging at the family and nobody knows what it is. 
            Filled with character development and and action, Nelson doesn't have to try very hard to maintain plot momentum. She even finds a way to squeeze in the kidnapping of the president's daughter and a daring rescue. Fans of the first book, and preteen girls looking for a strong teen character, won't be disappointed. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment. 

            Nelson has also made her fans very happy with a new series about Marco Avalon. The first issue can be found on and the second should be coming out soon. My 12-year-old son loves the "Priscilla" series and is bugging me for the new "Dark Marco" book. So I'll review it after we've finished it.