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Middle Grade Mystery

Jug Valley Mysteries, HANDS UP!

Written by Anne Digby

Amy and Tim are students at Jug Valley. Together with their friends and fellow students, Ben, Ludo, and Mini, they have formed a club called Hands and Spouts. They meet regularly to solve mystery cases. One day at school, Ben accidentally kicks a football over the fence into the rector’s garden. It belongs to Charlie, a lower class man, who becomes terribly distraught. The five friends make a promise to retrieve the precious football as soon as the school day ends.

What appears to be a simple task turns thorny, when the members of the club discover the football has vanished into thin air. Howard, the rector’s son, promises to help, but the trail runs cold. These young detectives are mystified as to why a grungy, old football is so important, but when it becomes apparent that football is gone, they intensify their efforts to stop at nothing to get Charlie’s football back into his hands. Why is this football so valuable and why are so many people trying to gain possession of it? There are enough twists and turns to entice middle grade readers to keep turning pages. When the mystery is finally solved, all who have been touched by it learn valuable lessons about themselves and each other.

My only criticism is that the story begins slowly. I had not read any of the other books in the series and therefore was unfamiliar with the characters. After the first couple of chapters, the story evolved and grew more interesting. I like the fact that there is enough challenging vocabulary to stretch the minds of young readers. American readers will need to acclimate to British phrases. Recommended especially for readers in the eight to twelve age bracket.

Adventure with Anna the Virus

An Adventure With Anna the Virus

Written by Emma Gertony

Fun illustrated early chapter book for children to explain how viruses enter the body. Anna has been hiding in waiting while inside young Henry’s nose. Like her fellow adenoviruses, Anna has a round shape with spikes and is less than 200 nanometers in size. She and thousands of others like her wait for the perfect moment to travel through the air at 100 miles per hour and land on a surface like a park railing. Here they lie in wait for an unsuspecting child. Their leader, Captain Roger, calls out instructions. George places his hand on the railing; when he touches an itchy nose, the viruses seize the opportunity to slide down his larynx, hoping to eventually reach his lungs. In the meantime, Ted, who is positioned in George’s Thymus valiantly calls out to his troops, the white blood cells and mucus glands to fight off the viruses. Those viruses seem to be winning the battle until George’s body defenses of high fever and chills initiate a visit to the doctor, who prescribes medication and a regimen of good hygiene to defeat the invaders.

This book is richly and vividly illustrated making it a crossover between a picture and early chapter book. Parents of preschoolers might want to use it to explain what makes a child feel sick. Older children will enjoy the humor and the adventure story. Recommended especially for children ages four through ten. Good choice for libraries, doctor’s waiting rooms, and classrooms.

Dragons and Danger

Dragon Lightning: Dragon Dreamer Book 2

Written and illustrated by J.S. Burke

If you read Book One in this series, you probably already love the complex communities of dragons, octopi and squid that you have encountered. These beautifully described creatures introduce their readers to unique habitats in a fantasy world explained in real scientific terms. Readers become immersed in adventures, while learning about real scientific phenomena like volcanoes, lightning and glaciers.

Book Two introduces us to Drakor who is experiencing the red lightning from a volcanic eruption. He lands on a thin piece of ice. Arak, Taron and Dorali are traveling up north on a wooden skiff. They come upon the injured Drakor and rescue the ice dragon. He is mystified by these golden dragons as well as the octopi traveling with them. Each species will teach and learn from each other. The dragon communities are aware that their communities may face extinction. Their octopi friends under the sea fear underwater destruction.

Readers learn about the “might makes right” society of the ice dragons and the democratic, healing ways of the golden dragons. The peaceful octopi must use force to defend themselves against the squid. Principles of science are interwoven with fantasy and philosophy.

Smooth flowing prose accompanied by simple but elegant illustrations mark this tale as a winner for fans of science, fantasy and adventure. Widespread appeal for pre- teens, teens and adult audiences. What adventures await the dragons in Book Three?

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

 

Perfect Picnic Celebration for Canada’s 150 or 4th of July

Picnics are a perfect way to celebrate, but how did this tradition begin?

The calendar says July and we are feeling the heat. On a sunny day, we feel the urge to get outside and relax. Of course we will probably find ourselves hungry so we might want to take along some food for a picnic. Where did the term picnic originate?

That is not such as easy question to answer. Most historians agree that picnics evolved from the traditions of outdoor feasts the wealthy classes entertained. There were medieval hunting feasts, banquets in Renaissance times, and garden parties in the Victorian era. In America picnics only go back as far as the middle of the nineteenth century.

Earliest picnics in England were medieval hunting feasts. The convention of having a feast before the hunt started as early as the fourteenth century. Participants would have eaten foods like hams, pastries, and baked meats. Picnicking outdoors, as we know it, became popular during the Victorian era. There are many examples of picnics in the writings of Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen. Likewise, European painters such as Monet, Cezanne and Renoir depict many scenes of picnics.

It seems likely that the French invented the word picnic. The French word piquenique combines the French verb piquer which means to pick and the word nique which means something that is worth little or has no value. By 1800 the word appears to be widely accepted throughout Europe. The term picnic originally meant a contribution by every guest for a meal. Every invited guest was expected to show up with a dish. The success of the social gathering depended on everyone bringing food. We use the phrase “pot luck” supper to describe such a gathering in America today. Over a period of time the word picnic’s meaning shifted to a gathering that was always held outdoors in a peaceful setting rather than a a meal in which everyone needed to make a contribution. Today a picnic means an excursion that includes sharing a meal outdoors in a pleasant area like a park or garden. A picnic might include two people sharing wine and cheese or a picnic basket with sandwiches and fruit or pastries and home baked goods. It might even be a large community event like a church social or town community day. What distinguishes it from a barbeque is the fact that the meal is already prepared and ready to enjoy outdoors not one that requires the cooking outdoors.

No matter which of these outdoor pastimes you prefer, here’s hoping that the summer will bring us many opportunities to enjoy sharing food with family and friends. Bon Appetit!

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to ELLIS ISLAND
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON
Little Miss HISTORY COLORING BOOK, Volume 1
The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY, Volume 1

WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com TO SEE MUCH MORE AND PURCHASE BOOKS

Cuddly Puppy Care

The Puppy Place # 1 Where Every Puppy Finds a Home

Written by Ellen Miles

This is my first time reading a book in this series. I enjoyed reading this chapter book that is perfect for beginning readers who love dogs. Lizzie and Charles are two siblings who really want a dog, but their mom favors cats and feels that their family is not ready to shoulder the responsibility of caring for a dog. One day, their father, who is a volunteer fireman, rescues a golden retriever puppy from a fire. The children plead with their parents to keep the pup. When their two-year-old brother falls in love with “Goldie,” and follows her everywhere, mom reluctantly agrees to adopt the dog temporarily as a foster pup. Lizzie researchers how to train puppies and Charles helps out with socialization training. Mom insists that they advertise in the community for a permanent placement, and the children reluctantly agree. They come up with a plan to keep the pup nearby. In the end, the family is surprised at how this golden retriever has transformed them.

This chapter book is charming; it tells the story from the viewpoint of the children as well as in the first person from the viewpoint of a puppy. In the process, children learn responsibility and the proper way to care for a puppy. Recommended especially for readers ages seven through ten, but the tale can be enjoyed by all ages.

Father’s Day Now and Then…

On the third Sunday in June in the United States, we celebrate Father’s Day. Like most things, the role of a father has changed over time.

Economics and culture had a lot to do with this. In the earliest human communities, men hunted and fished far away from their families, while the mothers and grandmothers foraged locally and looked after the children. Many war-like tribes discouraged father involvement with children. The growth of Christianity encouraged the role of “father” as a detached leader within the family. On the other hand, in rural areas men and women often worked side by side for long hours in the fields, and the idea of young children sleeping in a separate nursery was not common before the nineteenth century. After the industrial revolution, dads in urban areas worked long hours farther away from the home. Women often began to take over traditional “father” tasks. Long wars, including the two World Wars, resulted in fathers being away from the home for long periods of time.

In the 21st century, gender roles are changing rapidly. Increasingly both sexes are working at home allowing more time to be spent with children. The number of dads staying at home while the mom works outside is also rising. More dads are finding time to spend with family and children, while in later life increased mobility means more adult children are now moving far away from their parents. A globally connected world will mean change among roles in all cultures.

History is full of good and bad dads. Charlemagne, who was crowned first ruler of the Holy Roman Empire by the Pope in 800 A.D., is often called “Father of Europe.” In private life, Charlemagne was easy-going. His son Pepin became known as Pepin the Hunchback, because he suffered from a spinal defect. Charlemagne loved and favored Pepin, but when it came time to choose a successor passed over him. Pepin conspired to kill his father, mother and siblings. When Charlemagne uncovered the plot, he showed his mercy by banishing Pepin to a monastery instead of executing him for treason. Charlemagne also doted on his daughters and their children by bequeathing them convents so they could live out the rest of their lives peacefully.

 
 

Teddy Roosevelt credits much of his success to his father, Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. Teddy calls his dad, “the best man I ever knew.” Roosevelt says, “He combined strength and courage with greatness, tenderness and great usefulness. He could not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness or cowardice or untruthfulness. As we grew older, he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right for a man.” Little wonder Teddy Roosevelt became one of our most productive and successful presidents.

To all those fulfilling a role of “dad,” we celebrate your achievements. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to ELLIS ISLAND
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON
Little Miss HISTORY COLORING BOOK, Volume 1
The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY, Volume 1

WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com TO SEE MUCH MORE AND PURCHASE BOOKS

A Spiritual Journey Filled with Life Lessons

Spiritual Journey Filled with Life Lessons

Raywyn and the Golden Bow

Written by Angelos Ashes

Young Raywyn and her parents are journeying from London to Australia by sea when they are shipwrecked. Raywyn has washed ashore where she is discovered by beachcombers. When she wakes up in the hospital, she realizes that her parents are dead. Raywyn meets her uncle, Patrick Blake, who will become her guardian. She is whisked away to his home named Black Swan at the southern tip of Australia.

Once there, Raywyn is immersed in a totally different environment. Patrick and his friend Rollo introduce her to archery, philosophy, literature and meditation. Raywyn discovers how to meditate and transform herself from within. The reader participates in her spiritual journey to the netherworld, the City of Light and the Ganges. Raywyn discovers how and when to fight. Her spiritual journey takes the reader on a roller coaster ride immersed in fantasy, science fiction and reality filled with interesting characters and life lessons. Recommended for readers ages eight and older who enjoy these genres.

Barbara Ann Mojica

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Looking for a unique Father’s Day project? “Look” no further

Looking for a unique Father’s Day project? Here it is!

Grab the download on my Teacher’s Pay Teachers

Give Dad Love From Every Angle on Father’s Day

Your students will love making this “magic” art project for their Dad in just 3 easy steps.

1. Create and Color

2. Cut and Paste on to the easy to follow template.

So how did I make these? Just 3 Easy Steps:

1. Choose a greyscale design template and color over each design with dark pencil crayons, markers or paint.

2. Cut along each strip on the dotted lines provided. Then use the template to paste the strips down following a A1, B2,C3…

3. Fold along the cut lines in an accordian fold. Wallah! Look at the masterpiece from each side angle to see the amazing effect! Dad will be thrilled.

Want to know what else is even better? Because I love my followers, I added a few bonuses to the package!
Bonus #1: Family/Caring/Guardian and “Make Your Own Design” templates for those students who do not have a father.
Bonus# 2: Pre-colored, just print, cut and past versions for every template for those who don’t have the time to color the designs.
Bonus #3: Free Birthday agamograph templates included as a sneak preview to more agamograph packages coming soon! I’m hooked. I love making these and I will be making more over the summer break!

Just look at some of the templates I included in the pack now available in my TpT store. Go read the teacher reviews and grab them here.

I sincerely hope this helps you with your Father’s Day planning in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy. As always, I’d love to hear back from you. Let’s chat. Just hit the reply button. 🙂