The Suburban Dragon and giveaway, an Aunt Betty review

The Suburban DragonGarasamo Maccagnone- author, Al Ochsner – illustrator

published 2007, 50 pages, paperback 

I have one copy to give away to one lucky commenter.  Leave a comment and tell me the name of the lucky recipient.  I will draw a name on April 30th at 10 am.  I’ll ship anywhere. 

Aunt Betty says

Funny- hilarious!  It has so much energy and excitement for a young reader to intertwine with throughout the story.  Each page gave way for even reluctant readers to use their imagination and enjoy.  The children I read this to were so anxious to find out what each new page had in store and they were not disappointed.  The illustrations and using a dragon character were perfect for K-3rd graders.  A great family read and personal favorite!

Leave a comment to be entered for a free brand new copy of Suburban Dragon!

My Aunt Betty has been an elementary school librarian for 24 years.  This is not surprising because she loves kids and kids appreciate her enthusiasm.  It is because of her that I enjoy a close relationship with my 7 cousins (later, 9).  She always had all of us over for sleepovers and other outings.  All 9 of us would cram into her Rabbit for trips around town.  You never see that anymore

I asked around for words to describe Aunt Betty and these are the words that came back the most…Happy, Caring, and Thoughtful.  As for me, my top three choices are Fun, Kind, and Full of Life.

9 in ’09 with Laurie Dean

Laurie is the author of the children’s book Baron Thinks Dogs are People Too (reviewed here).  Visit Baron’s fun website for interactive games and a special offer –  order the book before April 30th and it will be shipped FREE.  http://www.baronthinks.com/  You can also follow Laurie on Twitter (handyauthor).

1. Baron is adorable!  Is there a real Baron?

Baron is a fictional character.  His disposition is a composite from my recollections of behaviors and ‘personalities’ that various dogs from my childhood exhibited.  We lived on a dead end street in an unincorporated part of town.  At the very end of the street, past the last house, was a large woodland area.  Back then, in the 1960’s and 70’s, it was common for people to drive to the woods and drop off unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.  Sadly, they would be abandoned there to fend for themselves.  My siblings and I often played among the trees, whereupon, we would discover the baby animals and take them home with us.  We fostered many dogs and cats over the years.  I grew up in a large family with a lot of pets!

2. How long did it take you to write Baron Thinks Dogs are People Too! ?

For me, the process of writing children’s stories is like having ‘puffy clouds’ of ideas constantly floating around in my mind.  Then when I focus my awareness with the intention to bring a story to life in the form of a book, it’s like the puffy clouds form into a funnel cloud that ‘touches down’ through me.  This rumination process is a perpetual part of my sub conscience.

 Word selection and cadence is very important to me, so I start with a draft of the story, and then ponder the words and movement carefully as I rewrite.  Sometimes, rewrites can take months.  Several kindergarten and preschool teachers, and their students previewed the story text for Baron, even before it was submitted to an editor.  Their feedback helped me write the best story.  This book took me about two weeks to write.

3. When and why did you decide you wanted to write a children’s book?

The exact moment I decided on making my dream of creating this book come true was when I held my newborn grandson for the first time.  I felt an incredible sense of legacy, like a spiritual connection from my ancestors was beaming through me.  I wanted to create a book my own grandchildren would revisit again and again.  A combination of life experiences and time spent pondering my heart’s desire gave rise to my urge, and sense of calling, to publish children’s books.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your road to publication?

So far, I have not had any major challenges in my career as a writer.  Nowadays, it’s much easier for a first time author to publish good quality children’s books.  Since there are so many wonderful books in circulation, the challenge is to get your book noticed by all of the people who would enjoy reading it!

For me, the entire process of having my book published came about through the use of the Internet.  It has totally helped me in my writing career.  I found the website of DragonPencil/Big Tent Books publishing services online, and used them for the entire process.  Now that my book is in print, I use the Internet for marketing and networking with other professionals in the book publishing industry.

5. What was your favorite childhood book?

My favorite book that I read as a kid was Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, published in 1964.  Harriet loves to eat tomato sandwiches, and I do too!

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

The only way to have a friend is to be one.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. What are you reading right now?

Currently, I enjoy reading New Age books about affirming and manifesting my heart’s desires.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character, whom would you choose?

Tinker Bell.  It would be fun to fly around sprinkling magic pixie dust!

9. Are you working on another children’s book?  A follow-up to Baron?

I’ve written a series of stories about two imaginary friends I had when I was preschool age.  As for Baron’s future…his family may get a cat.  Baron thinks cats are cool!

Queen Vernita’s Visitors by Dawn Menge, an Aunt Betty review

Queen Vernita's VisitorsAuthor, Dawn Menge – Illustrator Bobbi Switzer

Reviewed by Aunt Betty

It was a fun read for me.  I would like to have been one of Queen Vernita’s visitors!  The story is such a great learning tool especially for Kindergarten – 2nd grade.  A child could pick up a lot of spin off ideas furthering their knowledge of the seasons, days and months.

Queen Vernita related a lot of cool everyday fun ideas for young children.  Being a ‘queen” I was impressed with the fun activities that included things she could do with her friends inside the walls of the castle, out on the grounds, or in the village.

The illustrator gave great insight with the drawings as to the characters personalities and the world around the oceaneer.  I was only disappointed there were no roses around the castle as was mentioned in the story, although the ivy was shown.

I was pleased to know Queen Vernita and her friend, Debbie, read books together.  It warms a librarians heart.

The counting of days in each month, I liked.  It encourages the child to learn them for his/her own self.  A teacher, librarian or parent could follow up on some of what was brought out in this fine story.

I liked the ending when each of her friends let Queen Vernita know how anxious they were to come for another visit when their month came around again.  The sparks of friendship glowed in this story.

My Aunt Betty has been an elementary school librarian for 24 years.  This is not surprising because she loves kids and kids appreciate her enthusiasm.  It is because of her that I enjoy a close relationship with my 7 cousins (later, 9).  She always had all of us over for sleepovers and other outings.  All 9 of us would cram into her Rabbit for trips around town.  You never see that anymore

I asked around for words to describe Aunt Betty and these are the words that came back the most…Happy, Caring, and Thoughtful.  As for me, my top three choices are Fun, Kind, and Full of Life.

My Aunt Betty as Guest Reviewer

My Aunt Betty has been an elementary school librarian for 24 years and I thought it would be fun if she reviewed children’s books now and then for my blog.  In the next few days I’ll be adding a page for her with fun facts and a photo or two.  Feel free to leave her comments 🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We threw my mom a surprise 60th birthday party on Saturday and had around 30 people.  So, it was a wonderful holiday weekend.  Now it’s time to start getting ready for that other little holiday we have coming up.

The Ark, the Reed & the Fire Cloud, by Jenny Cote

The Ark, the Reed, and the FirecloudThe Ark, the Reed, & the Fire Cloud. Finished 11-21-08, rating 4/5, children’s fiction, pub. 2008

This is book 1 in The Amazing Tales of Max & Liz

Max is a Scottish terrier who is called by the Maker to follow a fire cloud.  He leaves everything he knows behind and follows the cloud through Scotland, across Europe, to the Middle East.  Along the way he meets friends who are also being called to follow the fire cloud.  He meets a new best friend, an orange cat named Al, a mate for life, the beautiful white dog Kate, and a partner in leadership, the intelligent black cat, Liz.  Their adventures are fun and exciting and educational.  Liz loves sharing her knowledge with the others, like where rain and thunder come from and how food is fuel.

Their journey is entertwined with the story of Noah and his family as they build the Ark.  Noah’s family is shunned by their neighbors as they spend 100 years building the Ark as God has instructed.  One day animals from every place on earth begin to make their way to the Ark and a new adventure begins once they all board.

This book is magical and adventurous and fun.  It entertains, but also teaches and I think it is a must have for any Christian library.  It expands on the story of the flood without ever changing the biblical tale.  It is about friendship, loyalty, and hope.

This is a 450 page book for children 8-12.  I think it is beautifully done- the cover and the drawings inside.  Have you seen The Princess Bride?  Where Peter Falk is reading this grand adventure story to his grandson, Fred Savage?  Well, that is what I envisioned as I was reading this book.  It is a perfect book for you and a child to read together.  This is a perfect Christmas gift for preteen readers.

Author Jenny Cote has already written the next three in the series of Max and Liz and is also working with a movie studio to produce this book into a film.  I think it would be a wonderful movie.  Visit her website for more details and information, http://www.maxandliz.com/