Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls


Title: Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls
Author: Lucy Nolan
Illustrator: Connie McLennan
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Age Level: 3-7
ISBN: 978-1-934359-96-9 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-607180-41-8 (pbk.)

As the title of this book implies, with ingenuity and an obvious love of the sea, Ms. Nolan took some wonderful old standard nursery rhymes and wove them into sea and coastline themed poems. Within these rhymes, Ms. Nolan introduces bits of nautical history and information. Instead of Jack and Jill, it’s Jack and June who go up a dune. Sing a Song of Sixpense includes a trawler crew, first mate, captain, and deckhand.

Ms. Nolan takes these old standards and makes them her own. Some of the rhymes go over very well, such as Sleep Baby Sleep, and Buoys and Gulls; others may leave a young child a little puzzled, such as Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee, and Two Skippers from Texas.

I love the concept of Mother Osprey, introducing sea lingo, history and information in a wonderfully illustrated rhyming book - much of it works. I do think that a couple of the rhymes include words and themes that are geared for an older reader. One rhyme in particular is One Flamingo. It is an amazingly intricate and informative rhyme, but verses such as: “First a goose, and then some geese—a gaggle in the lane. But if the geese are flying, the gaggle is a skein,” I believe would lose many young readers of 3-7. Another is The Witch of November, 1913 with verses such as: “The lakes heaved and tossed—so many lives lost. Howling wind, high seas and snow. More than two hundred souls filled those sorrowful rolls—the crewmen of long ago.” Again, this may be a wonderful piece, but not for the intended age group.

With colorful and realistic illustrations, Mother Osprey is, overall, an entertaining, fun and educational book that celebrates the sea and coastline. Phrases and words such as okra pods, Puget Sound, shark, pirate, and shoal of bass will peak children’s interest. Although, I do feel the book would be better intended for ages seven through ten.

Mother Osprey also includes a “For Creative Minds” section that sheds insight and gives information on each rhyme. Also included is a two-page map of the United States and its surrounding waters highlighting the geographical areas the rhymes reference, along with a “Map Activity Questions” section.

About the author: Lucy Nolan is an award-winning author who spent many childhood days roaming two very special islands: Pawleys Island, SC, and Amelia Island, FL. Ms. Nolan is also the author of Down Girl and Sit chapter books. She lives in Columbia, SC with her daughter and two rambunctious dogs.

About the illustrator: Connie McLennan has been a freelance artist for over 25 years, since attending Academy of Art College in San Francisco. In addition to illustrating Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys and Gulls, she has also illustrated four other children’s books for Sylvan Dell Publishing. Ms. McLennan lives in northern California with her husband, teenage son, and a playful kitten.

This is a reprint of my review for BookPleasures.com.

Direct Link to Amazon Page: Click Here.

Karen Cioffi
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure


Title: What’s New t the Zoo?
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator; Joan Waites
Reading Level: 4-8
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-934359-93-8 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-607180-38-8 (pbk.)
Rating: 5 Stars

What’s New at the Zoo? takes the reader on an animal adding adventure. This learning zoo adventure begins: “Two hungry pandas eat a bamboo lunch. One cub joins the meal. How many crunch and munch? 2 + 1 = ?” Through delightful rhyming text and numerals Ms. Slade creates a wonderfully engaging learning experience for children. Each page offers a new addition problem.

Within the rhyming text Ms. Slade cleverly weaves information about animals and the names of the baby animals pictured. Did you know that a baby mammoth boa is called a neonate? But that’s not all: the illustrations are striking - they are vivid, realistic and elaborate. Children will love reading this entertaining and educational picture book, in fact, they may not even realize they’re learning in the process.

An added feature to this book is the “For Creative Minds” and “Animal Matching Activity” educational section in the back. It offers additional math problems and solutions as well as information on the animals mentioned in the book. It also explains the differences in the animal classes: mammals, birds and reptiles, and asks the reader to put each of the animals shown within the book into their correct class.

I read this book to my three-year-old grand son. He said his favorite part was the picture with the peacocks. I then had my eight-year-old great nephew read it to me while answering the addition questions. They both enjoyed this book as will all children within the intended age group and even those a little younger. I highly recommend What’s New at the Zoo?

About the author: Suzanne Slade is the author of over 60 books for children. Her works include picture books, and biographies, as well as many non-fiction titles about animals, sports, insects, planets, and various science topics. During an earlier engineering career, she worked on Delta rockets and designed automotive braking systems. Ms. Slade lives near Chicago with her husband, two children, and their tiny dog, Corduroy.

About the illustrator: Joan Waites spent 15 years as a neo-natal intensive care nurse prior to studying illustration and launching her freelance career. In addition to What’s New at the Zoo? Joan has illustrated nearly 40 books for the educational and trade marketplace. She is also an adjunct member of The Corcoran Museum School of Arts and Design in Washington, DC, where she teaches various children’s classes for the college’s Aspiring Artists programs.

You can purchase What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure at: Amazon.com.

Karen Cioffi
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com

Monday, June 15, 2009

Norm Goldman's Interview with Karen Cioffi

Karen Cioffi co-author of Day’s End Lullaby Is Interviewed By Norm Goldman Of
BookPleasures.com

Karen is a former accountant who left her profession in 2000 and has now turned her talents to authoring and freelance writing.

Two of Karen’s favorite sayings are: Nothing ventured, nothing gained and You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Karen is a children's author and children's ghostwriter as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Writers on the Move.

Good day Karen and thanks for participating in our interview

Norm:
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What keeps you going?


It's a great interview, please stop by and check it out with the link at the top of the post.

Karen

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sunstruck, by Mayra Calvini


Check out Mayra Calvini's book, available from Zumaya Publications


Zumaya Publications
Trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-934841-18-1
eBook formats ISBN: 978-1-934841-19-8
Parody/Satire
Sunstruck has its own site at: www.sunstruckthenovel.blogspot.com.

Twenty-four year old Daniella is an architecture student living with her narcissistic artist boyfriend in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Abandoned by her father at an early age, Daniella always falls for the wrong type of man.
Her most enduring male relationship so far is with her 30-pound Turkish angora cat. Thankfully, Daniella's mother is always there to offer a shoulder.
Several strange mysteries are threaded through Daniella's everyday life: her ex-husband, Ismael, has just opened an outlandish hotel for animal lovers that has her distraught; Ismael's wife, a rich woman Daniella fondly refers to as "Lady Dracula," has some gruesome ways to keep her skin looking young; Daniella's mother is founding a revolutionary, feminist society called The Praying Mantises; the island's national forest is being depleted of hallucinogenic mushrooms; meanwhile, young girls are disappearing and there's a nut loose dressed as Zorro slashing the rear ends of women who wear miniskirts.
Oppressed by all these crazed, eccentric characters, Daniella feels herself falling into an abyss. Then something horrendous happens, making Daniella wake from her stupor and take charge of her life.
*For additional information, visit the author’s website at www.MayraCalvani.com
Contact the author at mayra.calvani(at)gmail.com

Saturday, May 30, 2009

How Many Are Visiting Your Blog and Web Site

This is a reprint from a how-to article for writers that appeared in my Sharing with Writers newsletter.

Some people are infatuated with figures.

I'm really not. I'm a big-picture girl. I don't believe that if a blog draws "only" 50 or 500 it's of no value. Where is the cutoff number anyway? Ask instead, how does that blog work with the other promotions you're doing? It's how things work together--mostly--that makes a difference.

Still, it's sometimes nice to measure what we're doing—especially if we remember not to let low numbers (or what we perceive as low numbers) discourage us but instead use them as prompts to do something to get them up there. So, here's how I set up and use Google Analytics the super-fast and super-easy way.

1. You probably already have a Google account. If not, get one. Go to Google.com to do it. They may ask you to set up a Google gmail account. Don't worry. You can use it or ignore it.

2. Set up your profile. Find the "Add New Profile" and click. It works about like profiles everywhere--from Amazon to Facebook. You'll be lead through the steps. And having it will make it easy to comment on blogger or blogspot blogs.

3. Find your "Google Analytics" link. Click. There you will get some code that you copy and paste (the fancy name is HTML code) at the end of the Web pages you'd like to track. You can also add some code to your blogs. You'll want separate code for each place you want to track.

4. Add the analytics codes to places you want to track at your leisure. This is not a marathon. Give some thought to what figures will be most indicative of your success and add them one at a time.

5. Go back to your Google Analytics every so often. Not every day. Not every 10 minutes! You want to have time to write, not analyze numbers! Nose around the links you find there. One gives you a pie chart of where your visitors are coming from (direct, links or whatever). Another tells you what country your visitors are coming from. It's like a mini geography lesson!

Happy tracking!
------
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books for writers, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

Writers who seek information on promoting their writing careers and the craft of writing may sign at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Look in the left column for a signup window. The newsletter even includes a tips for poets each week. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Helena Harper: Family and More - Enemies or Friends?


I recently read Helena Harper's Family and More - Enemies or Friends? and am pleased to post my review on VBT - Writers on the Move. Helena is a member of our merry band!

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is more than a collection of poems, it is a story I enjoyed and learned from. As you read this book it becomes clear that the author put a great deal of time and effort into the choice of every word used. Each poem has a melodic flow that moves smoothly into the next.

Family and More enlightens the reader to the conflicts and confusion that exist in a family divided by war. Being the child of a German mother and English father in the aftermath of WWII, the author delves into her family’s history by examining the lives of several family members as well as other personal relationships. Each poem is an intertwined life. With descriptive imagery these people come alive; you see their struggles and triumphs.

This wonderful poetic story goes beyond a family history; it depicts the futility, frustration and hardship of war, along with the frailties and strengths of the people that make up each of our families.

Family and More – Enemies or Friends? is a beautifully written book. I highly recommend it.

You can contact Helena at: webmaster@helenaharper.com

To learn more you can visit Helena at:

Author's website: http://www.helenaharper.com


Karen Cioffi

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Art of Science by Ransom Noble


It's my pleasure to present Ransom Noble and her newest book, The Art of Science. This is an exciting time for Ransom, with her new baby and new book! Okay, let's get right to it.

A little about Ransom Noble:

An early love of reading and the sciences led Ransom into writing and a career in mechanical engineering. Believing determination can help one attain any goal, she constantly sets new goals for herself and encourages others in their quests for knowledge. Ransom can often be found with her husband and their friends listening to music or playing games (every kind).

Her work includes:

"Qui's Contract," a short story that appeared in Ruins Metropolis, June 2008

The Art of Science, April 2009 by 4RV Publishing.

Now for a synopsis of The Art of Science:

Janie Hunter begins seventh grade looking forward to doing activities that she enjoys. Her mother has other ideas, she thinks it's time for Janie to start preparing for college and Art club isn't a part of that plan. When Janie qualifies to get into Argonauts, a special after school science club she has to find a way to make her mom happy and do the things she loves.

When Janie’s dropping grades and her first dance come to her mother’s attention, Mom intends to steer her in the ‘right’ direction.

To make matters worse, a boy at school threatens to make her miserable, though his motives aren't clear. Janie just wants everyone to get along, but even her friends can’t manage that.

As an added bonus, here's an excerpt from the book:

Sophia met Janie outside the school. “Mom says we’re to be home right away, Janie.”
“I’m on my way.”
“I’m driving us. Get in the car.”
Janie grimaced. “I’ll walk.”
Sophia rolled her eyes. “Don’t be difficult.”
“I’m not difficult.” Janie got in the car with her sister. “You don’t have to rub it in all the time. You got your license last month.”
“I don’t mean it that way, Janie. I’m just wondering why Mom wanted us home so fast.”
“Wait …” Janie paused, completely shocked for a moment.
“Doesn’t Mom have to work?”
Sophia shook her head. “I guess not. She just called the school to tell me to pick you up. We’re supposed to go directly home. I don’t know what’s going on either.”
Janie’s fingers traced the raised patterns on the cover of the book sitting in her lap. What could this be about? She and Sophia didn’t speak again on the drive. When Sophia pulled the car in the driveway, Janie realized she was missing the first Art Club meeting. Too late now; she hoped the teacher would allow her to join next time.
Sophia and Janie walked in the house, dropping their book bags by the door. “Mom? Dad?” Sophia called.
“We’re in the dining room,” her mother called back. “Please join us, girls.”
Four wineglasses sat on the table, filled with white grape juice, Mom’s favorite family celebration drink. Janie and Sophia sat in their usual seats. “What’s the big deal, Mom? Did you get a promotion?”asked Janie.
“No, guess again.” Mom’s smile was bursting with happiness.
Janie didn’t remember the last time she smiled like that.
“What?”
“You.”
Janie’s heart pounded. “What did I do?” It had to be something good, or Mom wouldn’t be smiling, right?
“You got into Argonauts at school.” Mom’s smile grew larger.
“I’m so proud of you, honey.”
“What?” Janie hadn’t heard of such a thing before.
Mom explained, “It’s a special program at school. On Wednesdays, you’ll stay after school for two hours with some other very smart children, and you get to do exciting science stuff. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Let me remember: They said you’ll be studying chemistry, physics, electronics and robotics. It will prepare you for the future.”
Janie didn’t say anything. Why did everything have to be working toward the future? At thirteen, college seemed far away to Janie.
“Wow. Congratulations, Janie,” Sophia said quietly.
“Yes, congratulations, Janie,” her dad added.
“You’ll get all the information about it tomorrow.”
“But volleyball meets on Wednesdays!”
Her mother continued like she never heard her. Most likely, she didn’t. “And Dad will be able to pick you up afterwards. Isn’t this wonderful?” Mom smiled down at Janie.
“But what if I don’t want to quit volleyball?”
“This is going to help you get into college, Janie. This is important. You can play volleyball on the weekends or next summer.”
Janie gulped down some grape juice.
“And we’re going out to dinner to celebrate.”
Janie sat quietly the rest of the evening. The decision had been made. She thought her dad must not have mentioned Art Club yet, since her mother didn’t add that to the lecture.

Well, that about raps it up for now, below is the Facts Sheet:

Title: The Art of Science
Author: Ransom Noble
Illustrator: Stephen Macquignon
Category: Young Adult
ISBN 10: 0-9818685-4-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-9818685-4-7
Pub Date: April 2009
Price: $12.99
Pages: 87
Publisher: 4RV Publishing, LLC
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
Web sites:
Find Ransom Noble

Visit 4RV Publishing
Media Contact:
Ransom Noble
noble.ransom@gmail.com

It's been a pleasure hosting you today, Ransom. I hope The Art of Science is a HUGE success!

See you in blog world,
Karen

Indie Authors: 3 Tips to Make Model Books Work for You

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