Monday, November 26, 2012

The Smiling Burro by Mary Esparza-Vela Art by Mike Motz

The Smiling Burro, by Mary Esparza-Vela, with artwork by Mike Motz, is a sweet story about a boy and a burro.  Raulito, a young boy in Mexico, finds a stray burro who quickly becomes his pet.  As his pet burro, Pepito helps the family with their hauling chores.  In return, Pepito is lovingly spoiled by little Raulito. 

All goes well until one day Pepito goes missing.  Who knows what has befallen him?  Raulito is distraught and Papa fears Pepito has been stolen.  They’ve almost given up hope when Grandpa comes to visit.  Grandpa tells the children a scary ghost story to take Raulito’s mind off losing Pepito.  The ghost story spooks the children, but then leads right into the happy ending.  I don’t want to tell too much, but it’s my favorite part of the story!

The artwork by Mike Motz depicts family life in a small house on a mountain in Mexico.  The cartoon characters are cheerful and colorful, and add to our reading pleasure.  Children can describe Raulito’s home and compare it to their own homes.  They will gain a better understanding of life in rural Mexico and contrast it with their life here in America. 

Children will enjoy the story and can relate to loving and then losing a valued pet or a much-loved toy.  Since this story will also be available in Spanish, it will help facilitate bi-lingual education.  English speaking students can read the story in English and Spanish speaking students can read it in Spanish at the same time.  Thank you, Mary Esparza-Vela, for this pleasing story which shows a boy’s love for his pet, and provides insight into another country’s culture and a different way of life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Myth-Busting Columbus by Kelly Bakshi

Myth-Busting Columbus, by Kelly Bakshi, has it all – adventure, intrigue, scandal, power struggles, lies, and the true story of one of our nation’s most famous historical figures.  Should Columbus be honored and celebrated for his contributions or vilified?  This book is exactly what teachers need to spice up their U.S. and World History studies.  There are several questions this book will answer.

First, was Columbus the first European explorer to “discover” North America or were others there before him?”  Is our country named “Columbia” after Columbus or named for some other explorer?  Second, was Columbus searching for “The New World,” or was he looking for something else?  Third, was he a great leader or hero based on how he treated his men and the native peoples in the New World?  Finally, what did Columbus accomplish?  What can we credit him with?  What was the Columbian Exchange and how did it affect the world? 

As a companion to classroom history text books, Myth-Busting Columbus is presented in an easy-to-read format.  Small bits are presented with “Think About it Review” questions for continued discussion.  It is illustrated with interesting photos, paintings, and maps that further grab our attention.  There is a vocabulary word list and bibliography, too. 

In Myth-Busting Columbus, Kelly Bakshi has brought history alive in a way that will stimulate classroom discourse.  It will also clear up long held historical inaccuracies.  Thank you, Kelly Bakshi, for this much-needed clarification!

Available from

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chances Are by Susan Bangert-Wood, and Illustrated by Jack Foster

Chances Are, by Susan Bangert-Wood, with illustrations by Jack Foster, is a fun rhyming alphabet book.  It’s a new take on the traditional “A is for Apple” alphabet book.  Chances Are gives children colorful and comical critters to expand their alphabet study in a creative, “nonsensical” way.

The book is entertaining and enjoyable.  It practically dances with silliness.  Children will appreciate this rhyming read as much as teachers and parents will.  Crazy questions will delight and amuse.  Here’s my favorite paired example:

Can an Iguana
chew on gum
then blow a
Bubble?  POP!

Would a Jaguar
write a ticket
if he dressed up
like a cop?

The wild word rhymes are illustrated in a whimsical way by Jack Foster.  He has the right amount of goofiness in these illustrations to appeal to young readers.  They will hang on every humorous page and be wiggling and giggling before they finish the book.

Chances Are gives teachers and parents plenty to talk about for children learning the alphabet and beginning readers, too.  Susan Bangert-Wood has thoughtfully provided supplementary resource materials:  An Alphabetizing Activity, Scrambled Words, Word Bingo, A Crossword Puzzle, A Hidden Word Puzzle, and more.  These should keep kids busily engaged in lively learning activities.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Guardian Angel Publishing October 2012 Releases


by Sue Bangert-Wood, artist Jack Foster
An entertaining alphabet book with unusual animals doing zany things, aardvarks, komodo dragons, and many more incredible creatures. The comical illustrations will capture the imagination while building reading skills at many levels. Also included are activities for parents/teachers to do with children.   
by Jennifer Bond-Reed, artist Jack Foster
Rachel loves to doodle on walls, on her school books, and on her back pack. Anywhere Rachel can doodle she does, but it gets her into big trouble. She tries to draw and color in other places. She learns she can mix colors and make more colors. Suddenly, Rachel’s doodling becomes a lot more fun! Educational page, too.
MAGICAL MATTHEW hardcover & softcover
Littlest Angels
by Penelope Anne Cole, artist Kevin Scott Collier
Matthew has a secret. He fixes things magically. Matthew secretly uses his magic to fix things for his family and friends.  Later, he expands his magical good deeds by fixing things in his neighborhood. Matthew’s friend, Lily, suspects something.  Matthew must decide whether to tell her the truth or not.
Littlest Angels
by Marilee Crow, artist Jack Foster
Every child at some point in their lives has a fear of monsters. Through charming, funny rhyme, see how one child conquers her fear of the monster in her room. Read what happens when the child finds out that monsters have fears too. 
THE SMILING BURRO  English  (Spanish Edition-coming soon
by Mary Esparza-Vela , artist Kevin Scott Collier
A tiny burro shows up at a little boy’s house and becomes a real asset to the family. The day he disappears, they never expect to see him again until he prances in one dark spooky night.

Lynda S. Burch, Publisher GAP's online interactive ezine for kids!

First Review of Magical Matthew on Amazon

Here is the first review of my new book, Magical Matthew, on
5.0 out of 5 stars Good "Magic" for kids!, October 28, 2012
This review is from: Magical Matthew (Hardcover)
I am a Christian Education Director and have read many books to children over the years. I just read "Magical Matthew" to the children at church. They loved it! What a wonderful story to show love and compassion for others as Matthew tried to "fix" his wheelchair bound friend Lily. The story also gives a perfect example of caring for God's earth as together they work their magic to fix things in their neighborhood, beach, and park. My children all want a copy of "Magical Matthew" for Christmas so that they can read it over and over again! And they wonder what will happen with Matthew's little sister Mea as she "inherits" the magic? We want more and look forward to the next book in the series.