‘Dreamland’ by Julia E. Clements

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

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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!

Book Review: ‘The Gift’ by Rhonda Hopkins

This Christmas story challenges the reader to assess their values and priorities, and to remember what is most important in life. 

What do we sacrifice for success without realising? Rhonda Hopkins The Gift
When his life is thrown into turmoil with no notice two weeks before Christmas, Robert faces a number of challenges he had never anticipated. The choices he makes will be the difference between success or failure as a father and family man.
The story itself is well-written and nicely developed. I wasn’t expecting the ending to happen as it did, but the ability to surprise a  reader thus is one mark of a good writer.  ‘The Gift’ is an enjoyable and rewarding short read.
This Christmas story challenges the reader to assess their values and priorities, and to remember what is most important in life.
Silver Acorns
Book Squirrel gives this book a Silver Acorn.
Find ‘The Gift’ on Amazon.

Dec 24 ~ Featured Book: ‘The First Christmas’ by JB Richards.

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘The First Christmas’ by JB Richards.

A brand new release, this is a beautiful retelling of the story of the first Christmas that makes perfect Christmas Eve reading. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 23 is ‘The First Christmas’ by JB Richards.

A brand new release, this is a beautiful retelling of the story of the first Christmas that makes perfect Christmas Eve reading. JB Richards The First Christmas

What happened on that very first Christmas day? Were heavenly angels singing praises about a new savior as shepherds looked on in awe as they tended their flocks? Did a magical sign in the heavens lead wise men to a special Child—One who would someday day save the world?

Join James bar Joseph as he relives the birth of his younger brother, Yeshua, and reveals that the miracle of the first Christmas may not lie in myth and legend, but in the hopes and dreams of a family destined to change the world forever.

‘The First Christmas’ is available on Amazon.

 

Dec 22 ~ Featured Book: ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. 

Book Squirrel’s Advent Event featured book for December 22 is ‘Goldmayne’ by Kate Stradling.

This is a blend and retelling of two quite obscure fairy tales from French-Canadian folklore. As Quebec is one of Book Squirrel’s favourite places in the whole world, this was a “must” for Christmas reading. Kate Stradling Goldmayne

Evil witches, cursed royalty, heroes by happenstance, and happily ever after: Duncan does not believe in fairy tales, but when he runs away from his father’s farm, he tumbles headlong into one. Old Dame Groach recruits him as caretaker of her crumbling estate, where he must tend her poisonous garden, beat her white horse daily, and keep far away from the mysterious closet beneath the stairs… and that’s only the start of his fantastical troubles! A retelling and shameless embellishment of the French-Canadian folk tales, “Scurvyhead” and “Sir Goldenhair.”

‘Goldmayne’ is available on Amazon.