Monthly Archives: October 2017

A funny Hallowe’en video

Had you seen any of LadBaby’s videos yet? One of my daughters introduced me to these and they are HILARIOUS! A young British couple have their own YouTube channel HERE, so you can go THERE and see their crazy antics.

Watch this Hallowe’en one first, though. I think they’re so funny and I hope you enjoy it.

Be safe if you are involved with any Hallowe’en activities at all. I’ll be at Dad’s and maybe we’ll have a little one visiting same as last year. One cute tiny little girl brought by her parents, besides our grandson later. 

What do you do for Hallowe’en? Do you get many trick-or-treaters?

Thanks for reading, and Creative Musings!  🙂


Book Review: Love, Triangle – by Marcie Colleen






Title: Love, Triangle
Author: Marcie Colleen
Illustrator: Bob Shea
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date: October 3, 2017
Genre: children's picture book; age 4-8 
Pages: 32
Price: $21.99
My rating: delightfully fun & educational at the same time

Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen makes geometry fun – and it’s not even a math book! Or is it – in disguise?

Marcie Colleen introduces geometry to young readers through her lively characters – Circle, Square, and Triangle. Circle and Square had been friends “ever since they were a dot and a speck.” (Isn’t that a great line?) They were practically inseparable, the best of friends, and appreciated one another for their differences.

Circle and Square’s friendship took on an uncomfortable dimension when Triangle came along. They both wanted Triangle as their own friend and soon their friendship is in danger of collapse. In fighting over Triangle they cause a new problem for Triangle when he attempts to find a way to patch up the friendship between Circle and Square – which is illustrated with humour and play on words.

Marcie Colleen‘s use of language in Love, Triangle is easy and clever. The illustrations by Bob Shea are “spot-on”, amusing and visual of the geometric situations created through the text. His illustrations show geometric shapes for children to discover, and, combined with the text, makes this a wonderful book for classrooms. In fact, because of the benefits (simple geometry, word play, friendship, cooperation, and more) found in this book, Marcie is offering a free cross-curricular guide for teachers HERE.

Children and students are sure to love Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen.

You can find Love, Triangle – written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Bob Shea – on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on,, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by authors, illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Saving Thunder the Great: the true story – by Leanne Shirtliffe





Title: Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil's 
rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire
Author: Leanne Shirtliffe
Illustrator: Georgia Graham
Publisher: Boulder Publications
Date: November 2, 2016
Genre: nonfiction picture book; ages 4-8
Pages: 32, hardcover
Price: $21.95
My rating: A child-friendly telling of a traumatic true event 

Saving Thunder the Great: a true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire, written by Leanne Shirtliffe is a story children will enjoy reading.

It was May 1, 2016, when a fire started outside the northern city of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada.

Jackson was visiting his grandparents in Newfoundland, the farthest eastern province of Canada, and had left his pet gerbil – Thunder the Great – in the care of his mother in Fort McMurray. His mother, Julie, was a young woman working nightshifts, trying to support herself and her son.

On the afternoon of May 3 Julie was wakened by a friend urgently telling her they had to get out of there, the wildfire was spreading so that all 88,000 residents of Fort McMurray had to be evacuated immediately. The fire was moving so quickly she had time only to throw some clothes into a suitcase, grab the gerbil in his cage, and head her car – low on gas – out of the city.

It was a terrifying experience. Along the way Julie stopped to pick up a few people who were walking in the choking smoke and let them out where they needed to go. Julie is the person who took a photo of a woman, Karley, riding her horse and leading her two others to get them out safely. That photo went “viral.” Georgia Graham‘s illustrations makes the reader feel the urgency.

The Fort McMurray wildfires were very dangerous and destructive. Author Leanne Shirtliffe, talked with Julie several times to get her personal story of the events, and through Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire, her story is told on a level suitable for children to read while not ignoring the real-life drama. 

Although the beautiful illustrations by Georgia Graham show how close the fire was to the thousands of people escaping to save their lives, they do not make this book too scary for young readers. Her work is impressive and realistic.

In the back of the book you’ll find two pages of Author’s Notes about Fort McMurray and Julie, who is referred to as Mama through the story. Also, in case you read the publisher’s information on the last page and wonder about it … when I inquired about Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire being listed as a fiction I was informed by the publisher “The book is non-fiction; the cataloguing citation is an error.”

You can find Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil’s rescue from the Fort McMurray wildfire by Leanne Shirtliffe on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on,, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by authors, illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Update and Infographic: 28 boring words and what to use instead

It seems I’ve been absent too much lately from blogging. I’m still around, although not keeping up with everything. On Saturday last week – with hundreds of other writers from all over the world – I participated in an online Picture Book Summit which was amazing. Over 9 hours of amazing, in fact. It’s part of my education in learning about writing for children and I know I’m gradually learning some very good and helpful information.

Thanks to my local library I’ve been doing a lot more reading of picture books again – and other books, too, but mostly picture books. That’s part of the learning process, the really fun part. As a member of 12×12 the goal is to try to write a new story (rough draft) each month, and so far this year I have managed to do that. I’ve even drafted more than one a couple of months! Sometimes the story starts in my brain when I’m relaxed at bedtime and just lingers there long enough for me to scribble it down. One morning I wasn’t awake very long when I started hearing a story beginning, so I had to stay focused on it to capture the story before it went the way of my forgotten dreams. It’s fascinating to me how that happens.

Today I have some information to share with you that could be of help with your writing. It’s an infographic of 28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead, and was created by writer and blogger Jack Milgram. (Thanks, Jack!)

To go to the infographic CLICK HERE , but please come back to leave a comment.

Are there any words that bug you or you think are overused or boring?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Tuktuk: Tundra Tale – by Robin Currie





Book: Tuktuk: Tundra Tale
Author: Robin Currie
Illustrator: Phyllis Saroff
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
Date: August 25, 2016
Genre: picture book; age 8-12, gr K-3
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95
My rating: educational entertaining story with life-like


Tuktuk: Tundra Tale by Robin Currie is educational in disguise, and children will love the accurate illustrations by Phyllis Saroff.

This story is set in the Arctic, “at the top of the world”, and on the first double spread we see an Inuit driver controlling his dog sled over the snow and ice. What we also see, that he does not, is one of his waterproof boots – a kamik – fall off the sled and land right beside a furry little animal named Tuktuk. Tuktuk is a collard lemming and he decides the kamik with its warm fur will be just right to help keep him warm as the colder weather of winter sets in. 

As Tuktuk is dragging the kamik the long way to his burrow, Putak the polar bear sees it and wants it. Tuktuk knows he can’t win against a polar bear so he comes up with a silly idea, convincing the bear the kamik is for his nose. The bear tries it on his nose but it makes him sneeze so ambles away without the boot. 

Using the rule of threes, Robin Currie brings two more animals who try to take the kamik from Tuktuk. Tuktuk has silly ideas for each of them and they leave without his find.

The rich, bold illustrations are amazing in Tuktuk: Tundra Tale. Each page is a feast for the eyes and adds great detail to the description in the story of the northern clime. “Polaris appeared in the expanding night sky …”  “The Northern Lights shone …”

In the back of the book is a section (that can be photocopied or printed from the website for educational use) called For Creative Minds, in which the reader will find very interesting information – Polar Seasons, Arctic Skies, Arctic Vocabulary, Life in the Cold: Animal Fun Facts – with illustrations from the book coinciding with the information. Beautifully done!

Tuktuk: Tundra Tale by Robin Currie is a book to treasure, both for its amusing adventure of a clever collard lemming and for the information revealed in its fabulous illustrations by Phyllis Saroff. Readers will discover more details with each read through.

You can find Tuktuk: Tundra Tale by Robin Currie on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Goodreads, and when available on,, and Chapters.Indigo.

Your comments are greatly appreciated by authors, illustrators, and this blogger.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂




5 Writing Tips from author Harlan Coben

Sometimes so much is going on that I have to step back a little from some things, and that’s what’s happened with blogging. I haven’t forgotten you, I’m still close by, and I’ll keep plodding along. I hope you’ll plod along with me.

Today I read helpful tips from bestselling mystery and thriller author Harlan Coben. Here they are for you:

Working off my Rule 3, I’m going to skip boring you with a long introductory paragraph and get straight to it:

1. You can always fix bad pages. You can’t fix no pages.

So write. Just write. Try to turn off that voice of doom that paralyzes you.

2. Never try to jump on a trend.

In part I say this because by the time you write it, the trend is over, but mostly I say it because you have to love what you’re writing and really believe in it.

3. Write like there is a knife against your throat.

The knife is right there and if you bore us, flick, you’re dead. Write with that kind of energy. Make every word count. The great Elmore Leonard said it best: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

4. The distance is nothing. It is only the first step that is difficult.

I don’t know who originally said this, but the first word you write each day is the hardest, the second word is the second hardest, and so on. Once you start, it does get easier.

5. There are days you just can’t write. Fill them with self-loathing.

What, snowflake, you wanted me to tell you it’s okay to feel this way? It’s not. On the days I’m not writing, I am wracked with guilt and self-hatred. If you’re not, try another profession.


I feel quite sure there are one or two points you won’t agree with, so tell me! What would you change about what he said? What works for you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂