Category Archives: Reviews & Interviews

Book Review: Cerdito a juicio; comment by author Darlene Foster; & book giveaway!

Cerdito a juicioBook: Cerdito a juicio 
(translation: Pig on trial)
Author: Darlene Foster
Publisher: Ediciones Camelot SRL
Date: March 24, 2015
Genre: children's
Pages: 30; paperback
Price:  $12.00
My rating: enjoyable bilingual medieval tale

Poor Fredrick! He was innocently minding his own business when soldiers showed up and arrested him, and ten-year-old Sebastian could do nothing about it. When Father came home, immediately the decision was made to go and sort out the misunderstanding. He took Sebastian with him, and what transpires is not quite as easy a rescue as expected. Fredrick was slated to be executed, and  Fredrick is the family’s pet pig!

Imagine medieval times, bizarre accusations, a pig on trial and the efforts to rescue him – as told by a ten-year-old boy. Now you have an interesting story.  Plus it’s in two languages – English and Spanish.

When I asked author Darlene Foster if there was anything she wanted to tell me about the story or the writing of it, here is what she said:

“I got the idea for the story a few years ago when I learned that animals were put on trial and sometimes executed in medieval times. I thought that children might find that interesting. Then, I met someone who, when he was a child, had a pet pig called Frederick, and I loved that name for a pig. As often happens, I couldn’t sleep one night, so I got up and scribbled down the first draft of the story. When I moved to Spain, I was introduced to a publisher here. He offered to translate the story into Spanish so we could offer a bi-lingual book to children (and adults) who wanted to learn either language. I am pleased with how the book turned out and will be doing readings at four outlets in Spain this summer.”

Congratulations, Darlene! :)  This is a wonderful book. 

Here’s an inside view to show you how it’s laid out in two languages:

Cerdito a juicio.2Now, to my readers located anywhere in the world I am offering one copy of Cerdito a juicio. If you want to put your name in for your chance to win this book, all you have to do is leave a comment about anything mentioned in this post. Easy peasy. 

You have until July 31 at 10 PM AST, that’s 9 PM Eastern, to get your name in. Don’t put it off! I will use an automated random name picker to select one winner. The next day, August 1, I will make the announcement of who won  Darlene Foster’s Cerdito a juicio.

You can find Cerdito a juicio on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

Book Launch May 7; Jan L. Coates does it again!

Today I want to let you know about an exciting book launch taking place tomorrow, here in Nova Scotia. When I was at the Children’s book fair last month I got to purchase a copy of this fun book – Sky Pig by Jan Coates –  directly from the author, and tomorrow it is officially being set free into all the world.

CONGRATULATIONS, JAN!

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?view=att&th=154867d5466a7e16&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=f_invtn60x0&safe=1&zw&saddbat=ANGjdJ-uQmZf4pP4fXCnh2SGuOaSS2Gtf9we_bwmlJ7dt72tstbBBIes6V7kXSL8SWDMOxDty3mk36u-tsPgvnE_QgmrcYj_tznVbd4T4BSoNz6W5LxoD-niwJphfXoJxLWXkRHb1n7QYPGpv7P8J0nUl-gt_WAD1PKHSe_X4P5e9OHhS129_onI659e9DBBj67C2R_iI7YBNtWBi2L6pDt-qS9sWhvw30LfjkFYKIynvnBEFK8yz7_E2ep47br-LWuy5-Szdrrmdm8jgu3_mddsE4aQynICG23q1Smar4ulTccZ74m-grIMspUlw3aKIrjSJ3_Kkl8n83L6vzoF7lHQEnihAJsR-u4T-X5DeXUWP7zBDtz41kh3EaPPz3TG-HWmPFKnq5sMY_yQh_Ixc5TEt_oSQcI2UBCuNUctpaLvB1zWPjFEqagRBp94YLm_XFQLtseyelVCczTNeeAMBeUAMkyb1ehSQ5e3oBRFsnqe2AEf2_XngdyfEK1_oNsmOfGpvgvYnRoilZZRrgaqiuopgcxI3ng7iNusPeJk9RTt_Y4IM7W8HvY_HQ0eiT3ksMKeWqJdBZzxycF3YyoS-TjstG38RvbgsM5Cer3AcZMTQq0pZxUIhv4w-4GTZ0-qA8NyYoDICiV1KCxfHjKc

The story is fabulous, and look at the illustrations by Suzanne Del Rizzo — they are made from clay! Impressive work.

This is such a wonderful children’s book by prolific author Jan L. Coates. I know if you could be here you would enjoy meeting her. You can send her a message HERE on her website to encourage her, too.  

In case you can’t make the journey and wish you could, you can pre-order a copy of Sky Pig HERE at Amazon.com or purchase HERE at Amazon.ca. It’s also available HERE on Chapters Indigo.

If Jan’s name seems familiar it might be because I interviewed her here, and I have reviewed two of her books here and here.  She is a talented, award-winning author.

Please pass this information along to your friends, neighbours, contacts, … even those people you’re not sure you like much. They and the little ones in their lives can all enjoy Jan’s writing.

And maybe I’ll see you at the launch!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

Inspiration at the children’s book fair

As I launch into the writing of this post I am still basking in the glow of a morning of meeting authors and buying books. This post will include more photos than I usually add so they will be sized down for your convenience. My apologies for the poor lighting. Please be sure to click on the links I’ve provided. Even if you aren’t local to these people and organizations there could be ideas you would like to emulate where you are located.

As to the above … yes, you heard read me right. I came home with more books, and these ones don’t have to be returned. Yay! In fact, I bought twelve books and a bookmark! Oh me. I DO need a new bookcase. (Ohh, HONeeeyyy!) 😉

It all began with an email from author Laura Best to let me know about a children’s book fair being held Saturday AM, April 23. Happily, I was able to get there before 9:00 when there weren’t many people crowding around yet.

children's book fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I arrived I talked with two ladies in the lobby who were enthused about their lovely art display they had set up there. They rent out works of art to children for only $2 a month. Beautiful work. You can see what they’re all about HERE. It’s a fabulous idea, plus they have an art program  – workshops once a month with local artists who work with the children.

At one table I met a lady representing the Valley Community Learning Association. She was happy to tell me a lot about it and suggested that if I were interested I could become involved in the family literacy program, helping people learn to read, including refugees who have recently come here and are learning English. They need the help. I think I would need more patience – like my mother had. It’s something to consider, though. You can check it out here.

I was delighted to be able to spend some time talking with many of the authors, and they all are such nice people – talented, inspiring, friendly, real, honest, and lovers of what they do. I came away invigorated and excited to write again. 

Laura B & Jan CLeft: Laura Best, author of Bitter, Sweet (see interview and review) and Flying With a Broken Wing (review and interview)

Right: Jan Coates, author of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (see interview  and review); Rainbows in the Dark (see review); and other books I purchased today that I will show you below.

 

 

Here are photos I should have shared with you long ago of Laura at her reading of Flying With a Broken Wing.      See, Laura? They are good pictures of you.:)Laura

IMG_0559

I got a chance to meet the lovely Starr Dobson whose first picture book I reviewed. Of course, I had to buy her second one, and she asked if I wanted a picture taken with her!  Okay.  :)  Thank you, Starr.

Starr DobsonStarr Dobson & me

I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures of every author I talked with, or at least whose book(s) I purchased. Not thinking, I guess.

Meghan Marentette & Carolyn Mallory

Here are two ladies with whom I had an enjoyable chat, and one invited me to a local writing group I didn’t know  existed! They meet once a week. Thanks, Carolyn, I am seriously considering it.

Left: Meghan Marentette

Right: Carolyn Mallory

 

 

Now, look at all the books I purchased today:

  • The Power of Harmony – by Jan Coates
  • Rocket Man – by Jan Coates
  • The King of Keji – by Jan Coates
  • Sky Pig – by Jan Coates
  • Gertrude at the Beach – by Starr Dobson
  • Fire Pie Trout – by Melanie Mosher
  • A Gift of Music: Emile Benoit & his Fiddle – by Alice Walsh
  • Fiddles and Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse – by Lila Hope-Simpson
  • Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice – by L. E. Carmichael
  • How Smudge Came – by Nan Gregory
  • Painted Skies – by Carolyn Mallory
  • The Stowaways – by Meghan Marentette

The Power of HarmonyRocket ManThe King of Keji

 

 

 

Sky Pig

 

 

 

Gertrude at the BeachFire Pie Trout

 

 

 

A Gift of MusicFiddles and Spoons

The Fiddles & Spoons cover is different from on the copy I bought today, but it’s the one on Amazon and other places so I used it.

Forensic Science - in pursuit of justiceHow Smudge CameI’d previously met Ron Lightburn, the illustrator of How Smudge Came, when his own book was released. (review)

Painted SkiesThe Stowaways

 

 

 

 

 

I was pleased to meet Lindsey Carmichael who is the Atlantic Representative for CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers). She is a sweet lady, and the many books she has written are quite amazing. She said she tried fiction but finds it harder to write than non-fiction. As you see above, I bought one of her books about a topic that fascinates me.

A fun bonus is I got to add to my bookmark and postcard collections.

bookmark from book fairpostcards from book fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fair opened my awareness to more about writing – that being a writer is very OKAY, that I should try writing non-fiction because I haven’t done that yet and it might work for me, that there is a writers’ group close enough for me to visit – especially tempting since I’ve now met someone who participates in it, and there are such fabulous books out there!  oh, I already knew that, but I found so many new ones! And I now own a few more. :)  Gotta love that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to the Children’s Book Fair. I certainly did.  :)  Thanks for coming along.

What inspires your creativity and helps nudge you forward?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

 

What’s going on at the movies? Star Wars Vll … Concussion …

This is an aside from my usual here. Please don’t hate me if you’re a Star Wars fan. I have been a fan too, and …

I ♥LOVE HARRISON FORD♥.  As he has matured and improved over the years I love him more. He is such a great actor, and so easy to admire.

Han Solo

Having said all that – I was glad to learn he was doing another Star Wars movie; I was happy to sit in the theatre to see him … uh, the newest Star Wars movie, to experience what thrilling thing was going to happen on the big screen … but, well, to be honest, I came away annoyed and disappointed, and miffed, asking … what was all the hype about? 

Yes, Harrison Ford was in it as Han Solo – older and still his usual great. In case you haven’t yet seen the movie I won’t say what I was disappointed in regarding his role. Also, I found this movie to be even more chopped up than the others before it. Fast and jumping from scene to scene, and a little stranger in a different way than I was ready for, perhaps.

All in all, I suppose it was a good movie. I don’t think it was worth the HUGE record-breaking amount of money it pulled in, though. The movie ended in such a way that it left room for another one to come after it with younger actors obviously willing to continue the saga.

In closing, never mind me. As you will recall, I have a little trouble with change .. and I’m working on that. :)

Oh yes! PS:  What’s with Concussion starring Will Smith? I didn’t see the movie yet, just the previews/trailers and the Awards hype around it. Will Smith wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for his role as Dr. Omalu? Wow! I was sure he would … just from the little I’d seen of the movie.  Yep. Hollywood doesn’t make sense.  

Just my opinion.  What’s yours?

Also, I haven’t read Concussion or any of the Star Wars books. Have you? If so, which is better, the movie(s) or the book(s)?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

Book Review: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – by Anne Frank

Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young GirlBook: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio) 
Date: May 25, 2010)
Genre: Memoir; historical non-fiction
Pages: audio
Price: prices vary according to what format you want
My Rating: raw, real, tragic

I  “read” this book through Audible.com and enjoyed listening to Selma Blair’s reading of it. Her voice and tone made it believable as that of a young girl.

Anne Frank was a writer, not officially, but a very good one who knew how to express herself well through the written word. Anne shared everything that was going through her teenage mind, all her worries, hopes, frustrations, desires,  fears, imaginings. She was a young girl struggling with her emotions in an abnormal way of living, while trying to be brave and making plans for her uncertain future. Anne’s relating of all she and the seven others in hiding with her had to deal with to survive for over two years in a small space was well recorded in what was, at first, to be a private diary. Of course, it would quickly become a stressful situation for them with many different personalities trying to share together. It was a horrible time for them, never sure they were going to be safe until the end of the war or if they would be found out. Unfortunately, it was the latter.

Imagine living in a few rooms with seven other people, both male and female, and not having a toilet that always worked, not being able to flush or run water or play music after a certain time each day because of the fear of being heard. Imagine outgrowing the clothes you were able to bring with you, or them wearing out, and having to make do because you can’t possibly go out to buy more. Imagine the few people knowing where you are risking their own lives to help you survive. Imagine being able to peek outside but never go out, and living in an attic space in the heat of summer without air conditioning. Imagine your food supply running out or rotting – and eating what you can of it anyway – or there being so little left you have hardly enough for everyone until more can be sneaked to you. Imagine being afraid and suspicious every time you hear a sudden loud noise; hearing bombers flying over; afraid the burglars who, at night are breaking into seemingly empty buildings, will discover you by accident. Imagine … life during a war, having to hide from almost everyone, including friends.

In her diary, Anne Frank expressed her thoughts regarding everything from her annoyances over petty things, to her hatred of her mother, to her sexuality –  graphic descriptions included. That last point makes this unabridged version not as much one for young readers unless approved by parents.

Anne’s diary ended abruptly, as – with no warning – her short life again changed drastically. If you want to know what it was like for Jews (and others) having to be in hiding during World War II, this book gives much detail of life from the inside of that.

You can find Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)

 

Book Review: You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes – by Chris Hadfield

You Are Here
Book: You Are Here: Around the World 
in 92 Minutes: Photos from the 
International Space Station
Author: Chris Hadfield
Publisher: Random House Canada
Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: Arts and Photography
Pages: 208
Price: Hardcover: US $26; CDN $29.95;
       Kindle: US $13.35; CDN $15.99
My Rating: Sensational, stirring, amazing photography!

This is one of those books that easily qualifies as a coffee table book because you hate to hide it away on a book shelf. The photography in it is truly “out of this world.”

As you may recall, I am a fan of astronaut Chris Hadfield. He is among the very few famous people I greatly admire, so I was thrilled when my nephew gifted me his book, You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photos from the International Space Station. I love it! It is full of the magnificent photos Chris Hadfield took during his last mission – from December 2012 to May 2013 – on the International Space Station. His view of the world from way out there was captured in many amazing shots. Out of the approximately 45,000 photos he took, the ones in this book are some of his favourites, most never seen before.

The book is divided into chapters:

  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Oceania
  • North America
  • South America

Each section gives us a perspective only attained from space combined with Chris Hadfield‘s wonderful way of explaining what we’re seeing. At the end of the book is a photo location map. “Every photo’s page number is pinned to the corresponding location on a world map.”  (quoted from page 194) It is fun to go back and look at the photo that matches up with the number on the map.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photos from the International Space Station is such a beautiful book. It’s one I urge you to purchase, if only to get a better grasp of our mysterious and wondrous planet. You will be awed.

You can find You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photos from the International Space Station listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!

Book Review: Audrey (Cow) – by Dan Bar-El

Audrey (Cow)Book: Audrey (Cow)
Author: Dan Bar-El
Illustrator: Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Publisher: Tundra Books
Date: November 11, 2014
Genre: children's fiction; 
action & adventure; animals 
Pages: 240
Price: hardcover $19.99 US, 
$21.99 CDN;
kindle $10.63 US, $11.99 CDN
My Rating: Entertaining, 
wonderfully uniquely told story 
of determination and friendship
in the face of challenges



I received this book from Library Thing in exchange for my honest review.

Audrey (Cow), by Canadian award-winning children’s author Dan Bar-El, is an entertaining children’s book that adults will want an excuse to read.

The first things you will notice about this book is its size, hard cover, and great illustrations. It’s built like a novel with large print, the illustrations by Tatyana Mai-Wyss are delightful  – in colour on the jacket, black and white throughout the book – and its first recommendation is by Doris the deer.  Yes, a deer.

Audrey (Cow).3Interested?  It is an unusual approach and carries the story all the way through.

It seems in real life there was a cow in Ohio that escaped the slaughterhouse in Ohio in 2002. Her experience inspired Dan Bar-El to write the story of Audrey (Cow).

Audrey enjoyed her life on the farm with her mother and many animal friends. The one thing she dreaded was the big truck that would arrive every so often onto which would be loaded a few select cows. They would never return. Everyone knew what happened. Her own mother was taken that way. Audrey was determined to not end up the same way when she was grown and set about to devise a plan of escape, enlisting the help of her animal friends.

Audrey (Cow) is an amusing story told from the viewpoints of the animal characters through interviews. Each has its own individual personality, opinion, and contribution to the escapade. There even are humans unwittingly used to help.

Audrey (Cow) reads like a mild thriller and is a great adventure story. It’s a safe read for children, holds one’s attention, and gives the reader a sense of satisfaction. 

As I said, Audrey (Cow) is an entertaining children’s book that adults will want an excuse to read. No children to read it to? Never mind the excuse; read it anyway!

You can find Audrey (Cow) on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)