Book Review: ‘Yoga Fox’ by Sylva Fae

A book that every family with young children should own.

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Sylva Fae Yoga FoxThis is a breathtakingly beautiful children’s book.

The illustrations are gorgeous. From the rich autumnal tones of the leaves to the eloquence of the expressions on the animals’ faces, ‘Yoga Fox’ is a visual delight. The pictures alone will engage young readers, but there is so much more to be gained from reading this book than just aesthetic pleasure.

‘Yoga Fox’ carries important positive messages about resilience, self-awareness and positive strategies to change the ways in which one is perceived by others. In this story, a young fox recognises both his problem and a proactive way to resolve the situation. In doing so, he engages the interest and curiosity of both those around him and those reading his story.

This story would be ideal for family reading, bedtime stories, and independent reading by children who have begun to develop as readers. It’s certainly a book that children would love reading and a story they would value as they grow up.

Acorn Award I Golden

‘Yoga Fox’ really does deserve a place in every home bookshelf, library, and elementary school classroom. It has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Locksley Vol. 2 – Sherwood’ by Mark Brownless

This new retelling of the Robin Hood legend is engaging and full of action.

Mark Brownless Locksley 2 SherwoodThis second instalment of Mark Brownless’ new retelling of the Robin Hood legend is as engaging and full of action as the first. As the tension between the rebels in Sherwood Forest and the soldiers of Guy of Gisborne escalates, the reader is drawn deeper into the forest and positioned alongside Robin of Locksley’s band, ready for battle.

The characters are developed with more complexity as the story progresses, so that the reader sees their humanity as well as their heroism. The author has explored more of the back stories behind key characters such as Robin and Little John, and the growing familiarity with them further engages the reader’s loyalties.

Unlike many of the older accounts of Robin Hood that I remember, this one features strong and independent female characters who make valuable contributions to the outlaw cause, rather than looking prettily helpless and needing to be rescued or defended.  This certainly doesn’t come across as a 21st century construct based on feminist sensitivities or politics, though – it feels genuine and respectful, and reminds the reader of the historical fact that there were indeed women living  and fighting for the cause alongside the men, and they were equally as brave and committed to resisting the corrupt agents of government that ruled over them all.

I’m really enjoying this series, and I’m looking forward to the next instalment.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Locksley Vol. 2 – Sherwood’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Leshy’ by N.C. Stow

A great story for families to enjoy together.

N.C. Stow The LeshyA short story drawn from Russian folklore, ‘The Leshy’ is a poignant story of a girl who understands and accepts that she is different to others, and must discover her true destiny in order to fulfil it.

Although not quite as evocative as the author’s other Russian-inspired story, ‘The Kupala Night’ which was reviewed on this blog in February 2018, ‘The Leshy’ is an interesting story well told. The imagery used and the retention of Russian names for household items and places give the story a distinctly folky-fairytale feel that is both charming and very effective in helping to draw the reader into the story.

‘The Leshy’ is a short read that would be suitable for families to read together, and for older children to enjoy on their own.

Acorn Award II Silver

This delightful story has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

‘Dreamland’ by Julia E. Clements

‘Dreamland’ is a delightful children’s chapter book.

Julia Clements DreamlandFilled with magic, unicorns, fairies and other fantastic stories, ‘Dreamland’ is a delightful children’s chapter book. Each chapter is a new adventure in which Danny learns to work with his strengths and face his fears.

The author has very effectively portrayed Danny as a regular kid, with a great imagination and sense of humour as well as his fears and flaws, so kids will easily relate to him and his responses to the things that happen in his stories.

This would be a great book for families to read together, or for individual reading for kids in MY and older. As an adult reader, I still found it engaging and entertaining.Acorn Award I Golden

‘Dreamland’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Pablo the Storytelling Bear’ by Penny Luker

This is a storybook every family needs to own and read.

Penny Luker PabloThis is an adorable children’s storybook about Bill and his friend Pablo, a toy polar bear who tells delightful bedtime stories. Rich in imagination and wonder, this book and the stories within it are engaging and heartwarming, delivering very positive messages about friendship, family and behaviour.

Bill is a nice kid who belongs to an average family. Rather than portraying him as an ideal child, the author has made him relatable to other kids: he has disappointments, fights with his sister, and has moments of selfishness. Overall, though, Bill is a good model for kids in the way these situations are resolved.

Pablo’s stories also present opportunities to discuss highly relevant global issues such as conservation, environment, climate change and animal welfare with children in sensitive and proactive ways.

As someone who loves books, polar bears and Canada, I appreciate the beautiful storytelling and the messages of the stories in this book.

Acorn Award I Golden

This book has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Scheherazade Cat – The Story Of A War Hero’ by Stephanie C. Fox

A beautiful story of a little cat and how she saved a soldier.

Stephanie C Fox Scheherazade Cat

This beautiful story of a calico kitten and her role in the Gulf War is beautifully written in a straightforward yet heartwarming style that will be enjoyed by older children, but also by adults. The writing is expressive but still easily understood, and the uglier elements of the war are treated gently, although not ignored, so that younger or sensitive readers are not frightened or put off from reading the story.

The cover and illustrations by Milena Radeva are absolutely stunning, capturing both the story and the personality of the kitten as she grew and won her place in the heart of a soldier.

‘The Scheherazade Cat’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in both storytelling and illustration.

Find ‘The Scheherazade Cat’ here.

Author Interview: Dylan Madeley

Book Squirrel chats today with Dylan Madeley, author of the epic fantasy series, The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Interview Lime

Book Squirrel chats today with Dylan Madeley, author of the epic fantasy series, The Gift-Knight Trilogy.

Hi Dylan!

Hi Book Squirrel!

Let’s get straight into it, eh? What inspired you to write?

My dad was always reading and writing and then talking about how he was going to write, himself; children’s books or whatnot. I was really young at the time and caught the bug. Now I find I have two books on the market and I am waiting for his first, but life is funny that way.

What are you working on writing now?

The third book in the Gift-Knight Trilogy, to neatly close that off: The Masked Queen’s Lament. The first draft was written in 2011 under a different working title, and finally (finally!) I am prepared to look at it, make an outline of what’s actually in the book, make a counter-outline of what I want it to look like, and rewrite the whole thing using the first draft as source material.

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

I am very partial to freshly home-roasted coffee, yerba mate, irn bru, or herbal tea during the writing process. Food is more like drifting between sweet and savoury snacks, though like many of my Toronto NaNoWriMo brethren, I am partial to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

*sigh* I love Canada… and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups… oh, *cough* right! Yes! Where were we? 
Who designs your book covers?

For this first trilogy, all cover art is by Rona Dijkhuis and designed in a collaborative process. She did also assist with back cover layout/art once I moved to CreateSpace for print on demand paperbacks.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I have a good chunk of the Dead Can Dance studio album catalogue sitting in iTunes, but to freshen things up, I will go for just any music that seems to scratch an itch at the time. I like the couple of albums LEGEND (Icelandic dark electronic band) has put out. I can flip fully over to movie soundtracks and harsher industrial music, or straight up pop, but whatever it is has to feel right at the time.

What’s the best vacation you had?

Ethiopia. By far. Also the last. Full range of emotions experienced. I have four separate photo albums of what I saw/experienced there in my Flickr, under the user name “Dylerpillar”.

That sounds amazing. I’ll be sure to check those out!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

What jumps to mind is “astronaut”. I probably wanted to be whatever had looked coolest most recently to me, but that’s an early one that seems to be more important than the others for some reason. I was also a complete failure at math once you get to Relations and Irrational/Real numbers and whatever we were struggling at by grade 10 or 11. And no better at Computer Science for that matter. Fortunately, one of those things was “writer” too, and somewhat more within reach of the skill sets I have developed.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I am one of the autumn people, the ones you may have been warned about. It doesn’t have the oppressive heat summer can have, nor the bone-chill of winter, nor the heaps of allergens that tend to get me in spring (though spring would be in a close second for its balanced temperatures and precipitation).
What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

Your greatest asset is you, being present with your audience in person. This asset has more value than all the high priced marketing things you can sign up for put together. Be with your audience at vendor markets where you have a stall, at autograph sessions and readings, in their libraries, at their panels, in-person. If you have the skill set to make that work, you can probably make online presence work too.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I: Editing, namely self-editing, editing my own work. Enough said.
II: Stress-free social interactions with strangers and most other human beings. They’re mostly good but a part of me is often on edge for reasons I could write whole essays about, but wouldn’t try to fit in this interview.
I hear you. People can be so… people-ish. And they don’t always try to understand my Squirrelness.

Right!

Where can we buy your books?

Ebook editions can currently be purchased through Amazon:

and Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-crown-princess-voyage

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Readers can follow @thedylanmadeley on Twitter, and like/follow my Facebook Page.

Thanks for joining me today, Dylan!

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!