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Penelope Anne Cole has taught at every grade level,K to 12 and community college. She enjoys writing children’s stories to be read aloud. “Reading to children is the best way to help them love literature.” When not writing or reviewing children’s books, Ms. Cole enjoys dog walking, reading, gardening, church, and choir activities. Ms. Cole is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of the California Writers Club (Fremont Area Writers and South Bay Writers), and is a Reading Therapist with Read America. Ms. Cole reviews books at

http://pennyreviews-chat.blogspot.com/

See reviews of Ms. Cole's books at

http://reviewsforpenny.blogspot.com/

Her website is www.penelopeannecole.com

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Manny the TV Watching Dog, by Linda Derkez and Mike Derkez, illustrated by Nina Marie Rothfuss



Manny the TV Watching Dog, written by Linda Derkez and Mike Derkez, and illustrated by Nina Marie Rothfuss, is a delightful story that children and doting pet owners alike will enjoy. Inspired by the Derkezes’ real life dog, Manny is a fun story about how hard it is to get your sweet dears – dogs and kids – to do what you want them to do.

Manny The TV Watching Dog The book begins with Manny answering an ad for a cleaner, cook, and babysitter in chapter one. Of course, Manny says “I can do that” when asked about her cleaning, cooking, and babysitting skills. Then we get into the story and find that Manny’s main skill is TV watching! Hmmm, does that remind you of anyone you know? It’s so easy for any of us to get distracted by the TV and fritter away hours watching our favorite shows (or even watching online). Manny is no different. Still, it’s as much fun for us to watch her “at work” as it is frustrating for the Master to see that Manny is no great shakes as a housecleaner, cook or babysitter.

Her next adventure is getting ready for bed. Although everything she does is exaggerated for humor’s sake, parents will easily relate to how frustrating it is trying to get a child into bed.  There’s snack time, bath time, story time, drink time, potty time – preparations drawn out in getting our darlings into bed and, finally, asleep. This is the perfect bedtime chapter to read to your dawdling toddlers.

In the final chapter, Manny “helps” get her things together for moving day and the movers to load. She keeps getting distracted and Master has to come and finish the jobs he’s asked of her. Again, there is much relatable frustration and humor in keeping little ones on task and moving in the right direction.

The artwork, by Nina Marie Rothfuss, is another treat in this little chapter book. Manny is beautifully portrayed doing all her little tasks, to the best of her ability, but so cute, darling, and funny, that kids and parents alike will delight in pointing out the silly things that are pictured. This is a fun and funny book that will be enjoyed over and over again. Recommended for children ages three to seven -- plus parents, teachers, and grandparents.

Read more about Linda Derkez at:   


Manny the TV Watching Dog is published by Wee Creek Press, an Imprint of Whiskey Creek Press, www.weecreekpress.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"Silence," written and illustrated by K.C. Snider



The picture book, Silence, beautifully illustrated by K.C. Snider, is a completely wordless book. The lifelike artwork -- nearly photographic -- takes us a through a year in the life of a golden manteled ground squirrel. We follow him through his daily life and adventures at Crater Lake National Park.  Having been to Crater Lake in the early hours of dawn, I believe the choice of Silence for a title, is most certainly appropriate.  The natural beauty of Crater Lake makes you want to hold your breath and not breathe a word.

Wordless books are perfect for pre-readers. They can enjoy the beauty of the illustrations and not be distracted by the printed word. Children are free to put in their own interpretation, in their own words, in response to such questions as:  “What do you see in the picture?” “What is he doing now?” "What do you think he’s thinking as he. . .?” "What do you think he'll do now?" The imaginative story ideas are as endless as the children describing their stories. It will be just as much fun for the parent or teacher to see what they come up with as it will be for the kids.

K.C. Snider, an honors graduate from the School of Art in Eugene, Oregon, spent two years creating the artwork for this book.  Ms. Snider is an award-winning illustrator of over forty children's books.  Her Western Fine Art has won prestigious art awards and her illustrations for children's books have also won numerous literary awards.  This is her first "solo" book -- entirely written and illustrated -- wholly created by Ms. Snider.  Everyone would enjoy this book and could create their own word story while appreciating the amazing artwork.


 


"Share the most inspiring clear blue lake in the world with a golden mantled ground squirrel as he meets animal friends and explores the wonders of Crater Lake National Park. From Rim Village, Wizard Island, to boat rides around the lake, past Phantom Ship, fishing with kids, and more, the ground squirrel leads you on a wordless journey where you can interpret the story. Suggested age for readers: for all ages." 

Published by: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other quality online bookstores.





Friday, December 13, 2013

My Review of "Rock’N’Roll in Locker Seventeen," by Shannon V. Brown,



Rock’N’Roll in Locker Seventeen, by Shannon V. Brown, is a great book for teenage boys and girls, their parents, and yes, their grandparents, too. Why? Because Ms. Brown’s first book has cross-generational appeal. It harkens back to the days when rock and roll ruled – those golden days of yesteryear. It has humor and piques one’s interest, plus it is replete with musical and musician references (which I loved and hope you will, too.) Siblings will enjoy the banter between Steven and his bright younger sister, Jeanne. Parents will commiserate with Steven’s parents, Ellen and Jack White, having to raise two teenagers at the same time in a small Mid-Western town. While grandparents will rise above it all, but enjoy the journey back in time to a somewhat simpler period.

Product DetailsThe story begins with seventeen year old Steven White obsessing about his rock and roll idol, Ricky Stevenson, who mysteriously disappeared thirty years ago, but left a wonderful musical legacy. Yes, it is a mystery, even though the clues are laid out pretty clearly for us to figure out even before Steven does. We follow Steven through his rather ordinary mid-1990s life – at home, at school, hanging out with friends, shopping at the local Thrift Shop – where he buys vintage clothes to perfect his “Ricky” image, and working part-time at his Dad’s temporary storage business. Steven longs for the rock star life of glitz and glamour and spends way too much time daydreaming about it.

Steven is a typical teen, alternately bored with his mundane life, and fascinated with the past – even learning to play the guitar like his missing “role model,” rock legend, Ricky Stevenson. Ms. Brown’s use of sarcasm, wit, and humor through Steven’s comments and thought processes will have you chuckling, and happily turning pages to see what he’ll come up with next. In addition to the mystery and rock and roll appreciation, there are plenty of lessons here for everyone to take away. And lots of daily machinations that teens are famous for:  should I do this? What should I be when I grow up? Can I trust this friend/adult? What’s right? What’s wrong? Is the grass greener on the other side? What if??

In checking Ms. Brown’s website, (http://www.locker17.com), I was delighted to see that there is a Prequel and a Sequel to Rock’N’Roll in Locker Seventeen in the works. It will be great fun to revisit Steven and his family – and journey once more into their past and forward into the next chapter. I can hardly wait to see if it will be another mystery or a slice of life in the teen world. I’m sure it will be enjoyable, humorous, and positive. Rock'N'Roll in Locker Seventeen is available from Amazon.com.
 Shannon Brown
Note to parents/teachers:  I found the book to be between categories:  late middle-grade to early young adult (some teen drinking, unsupervised parties, some “truth withholding” and actual lying.) There no violence to speak of, drug use is referenced in the past, no sex scenes (some magazines referenced.) All in all, it is generally a good read for late middle grade students through high school.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Wonderful Weeks - Magical Awards with Book Sales and Signing!



I've had a wonderful couple of weeks!  November 20-22nd, I went to Miami to receive my Bronze Medal for Magical Mathew!  I met some lovely authors and went to the huge Miami International Book Fair.  There were some lovely speakers (see 11/26/13 post).  Here are the official photos:


When I returned from Miami, it was a rush to get ready for Thanksgiving (overcooked the pie and stopped up the drain with potato peelings!)  Still, we had a wonderful family gathering at my brother's.
 Then it was the Black Friday weekend Book Sales and Signing with the Fremont Area Writers Club.  I sold MagMatt and MagMea books every day!




















Today was the icing on the cake:
I received my Creative Child Magazine Kids' Holiday Gift edition and found that Magical Mea won a Preferred Choice Award from Moms and Educators!

Then I received an email that Magical Mea won a Fall 2013 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award from NABE!  Woo hoo! 
 What a great couple of weeks!




Monday, December 2, 2013

Guardian Angel Kids E-Zine - Dec 2013

Attitude of Gratitude
December 2013

BOOK FEATURE
Tales From Kensington Forest 
POEM
The Giving Fever by Robert Niven
Think by Sarah Varnam
SHORT STORIES
A New Kind of Club by Trisha Faye
Good Neighbor Love by Evelyn Horan
A Helping Hand by Felicity Nisbet
NON-FICTION ARTICLE
Freedoms Even Kids Have by Shari L. Klase
PARENT TEACHER ARTICLE
Instilling an Attitude of Gratitude
by Irene S. Roth