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Horses and Hope

Mary’s Song (Dream Horse Adventures Book 1)

Written by Susan Count

Mary is a twelve-year-old handicapped young lady. Her mother died when
she was three; no one wants to talk about it. Mary lives with her father
and a housekeeper. The story is set in 1952. Her father constantly
searches for a possible medical breakthrough to cure his daughter. Mary
is strong-willed and determined. Her best friend, Laura, rides and cares
for horses at her home. The girls become obsessed with saving a horse
named Illusion who needs surgery. They find ways of earning money toward
that end.

Mary’s overprotective father frequently gets upset with Mary’s obstinate
behavior. Laura and Mary disobey their parents and end up in trouble
often, but that means lots of interesting adventures along the way. Will
the girls be able to save Illusion? Can Mary’s father find a medical
cure to help Laura walk again?

Middle-grade and young adult readers will find the antics of these two
friends’ fun and endearing. There’s plenty of humor and a few surprises
in store for readers. Two strong female role models and a tender story
of animal affection will appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommended.
I look forward to reading the sequel.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Friends and Family

Of Feathers and Friends (Clean Adventure)

Written by Darlene Hoggard Davis

This chapter book addresses many issues confronting today’s families. Tyler has been sent to live with his Grandmother until his newly separated parents can work things out. He feels trapped and unloved because he has been torn away from his life and friends in the city. Tyler decides to run away. He finds a tree-house that belongs to Cody and Jenna. These siblings have their own problems, a mean babysitter who mistreats them and parents who are seldom home. When Cody and Jenna decide to help Tyler, he distrusts them. The only friend he has is an injured sparrow. After several mishaps, Cody and Jenna move Tyler to an old shed, where Jenna, a local foster child tries to help him when he is injured. The story progresses with many twists and turns. In the end, children and adults learn how to believe and trust in one another.

This story is targeted for grades K to 6. I believe it is best suited for children in the eight to twelve age group, who will appreciate and understand all the issues in the storyline. There is a Christian focus, but the book is not preachy. This book would make an excellent read-aloud book for discussion on many social issues.

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Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

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Self Confidence for the New Girl

Being the New Girl in School

Written by Kathleen Voclain

Grab this book on Amazon!

This book is a wonderful resource for any young lady who, for any reason, is facing a move to a new school. No matter what age, she faces worries about how she will fit into the school’s culture, will she be liked, who will be her friend, and the feeling of loss in leaving old relationships behind. The author explains the importance of developing a positive self-image and strong social skills. In the first chapter, readers are encouraged to build confidence by preparing ahead of time. Students should explore the new school’s mission statement and handbook, study the curriculum and practice portraying positive body image. They can get a good head start by making a good impression on teachers. Suggestions include sitting near the front, volunteering to answer questions and offering help and compliments. Newcomers need to observe students and how they interact with each other before deciding on new friends. By dressing neatly, smiling, and introducing oneself with confidence, new students encourage positive outcomes. Those students who are naturally shy or independent should take their time to find a few friends who have interests similar to their own. Finally, when things do go wrong, the new student must remain positive and proud, appreciate and respect the differences of other peers. Above all, never give in to the temptation to compare the new school to your old one or slack off on your studies. Accentuate the positive and use the opportunity to develop your personality and grow from new experiences.

The book could be used as advice for children or adults who are entering any new stage of life. It is an easy read filled with good reminders to promote courage in facing new situations and learning opportunities. Recommended for ages eight and older.

 

Barbara Ann Mojica,

LittleMissHIstory.com

 

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.

Running Away Doesn’t Always Mean Freedom

Running Away to Freedom or Forlorness

Gumbo Goes Downtown

Written by Carol Talley

gumbopicA tale that is charming and sweet, yet focuses on some important issues. The obvious story line is about a guard dog named Gumbo, who lives in a shotgun house on St. Charles Street in New Orleans. He spends most of his time barking at any one who comes near the chain link fence, such as the girl in a polka dot dress and the postman. When the postman fails to close the gate one day, Gumbo seizes the opportunity to see the world. He follows the trolley tracks downtown to New Orleans. Here he meets up with a poodle named Pompon and a champion pure breed named Stella. Gumbo has the time of his life in Jackson Square with clowns, dancers, jugglers, musicians and the like. Soon his friends leave to go home and be pampered by their owners. Gumbo begins to miss his house and owner Gus, whom he never appreciated. Will Gumbo decide to remain free in the big city on his own and fend for himself or return to his former life?

The book description suggests an audience of K-2. While the simple story of Gumbo’s adventure is appropriate for that age group, the larger issues of homelessness and running away from home are better addressed to a middle grade audience. Talley provides a nice guide for parents and teachers to set up a discussion on these issues. Maeno’s illustrations are soft, colorful and appealing, but the text is small and difficult to read on some of the pages. I recommend the book especially for parents and teachers who would like to open up a discussion on homelessness, running away, and poverty. Talley also includes an interesting background section on New Orleans and the points of interest mentioned in the story.

Barbara Ann Mojica
Little Miss History

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Teaching Good Money Habits to Children

Teach Your Child to Fish: Five Money Habits Every Child Should Master

Written by Holly D. Reid

teachchildtofishpicThis is an excellent guide for teaching children how to handle and save money. The book has nothing to do with fishing. Written by a CPA, the language is not complicated but clear and easy to follow. As a bonus, the author includes a downloadable printable workbook to accompany the text. In the first chapter children are introduced to why we work and the kinds of tasks children might find engaging. Chapter Two explains how to be conscious about spending and how to do so wisely, stressing what is worthwhile and how we can help community, Chapter Three encourages children to save and invest and lays out different ways to do so. In the fourth chapter children learn how to be responsible with credit, how it works, and how to minimize debt. In the final chapter the author talks about how give generously to others in their community.

I particularly enjoyed the recommended activities section at the end of each section and the final thoughts in which the chapter is pulled together. While the author is a CPA, she also presents a strong Christian viewpoint and quotes scripture to reinforce her lessons. This book may serve as a reference manual to be implemented at many different stages in a child’s life. I particularly recommend it for parents of children in the eight to twelve age groThis is an excellent guide for teaching children how to handle and save moneyup.

Barbara Ann Mojica, Author
P.O. Box 112
Craryville, NY  12521-0112
Tel/Fax: 518-325-5199
www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

A Delicious Change of Mind

Thought Soup: A Story for Youngsters and the Adults Who Love Them

Written by Lyle Olsen

Illustrated by Marnie Webster

ThoughtSoup,pic

This short ebook packs a lot of punch in a few pages. A stranger ambles into a small town carrying an iron kettle on his back. He unloads it in the middle of the town square and proceeds to set up cooking. The townspeople distrust him, having been tricked into contributing to strangers many times before. When the mayor confronts the stranger as to what he intends to cook; he answers, “thought soup” and offers to demonstrate.

The stranger says that he will solicit thoughts from them and pulls out a large sack from his belongings. He requests each of the townspeople place his head in the sack and deposit his thoughts within. Once they are finished, the stranger empties his sack into the boiling water and asks that each bring a bowl and spoon to taste the soup. Much to their surprise, the soup is so bad that many believe themselves to be poisoned. The stranger admits that the soup tastes bad. All the citizens want to run him out of town, but the stranger convinces them to give him another chance with dinner. If they will only think delicious thoughts, he will produce a wonderful soup. So they throw him into jail until supper.

During that same day, the townsfolk reflect on what could have made that soup taste so bad. Each of these colorful characters remember how negative their thoughts were that morning and think about how to make their lives better. For example, the candlestick maker realizes how greedy she has been and resolves to make better candlesticks quicker using cheaper materials while offering better prices. The town crier admits to himself that he has been spreading gossip and should concentrate on positive things. Even the mayor recognizes that deep inside he has not lived up to his campaign promises and owes it to the citizens to do a better job.

Dinner time arrives and the soup-maker is released. Each of the townspeople once again add their thoughts to the sack. There were so many positive thoughts they had to use a basket to keep the sack from flying away. How do you think the soup will taste? What will happen to the stranger and the members of the town in the future? Our author ends the book with the caveat, “This is Not the End.”

This book is really a delightful read for children and adults. I would recommend it as an independent read for ages eight and up, but parents and teachers can certainly use it as a read aloud and valuable teaching tool to discuss how our negative feelings can poison oneself and others. My one regret is that the pictures were not larger and more detailed because the nostalgic setting and characters are charming, and if illustrated in detail, would really bring this book to life.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Book Review: Runaway Smile

Runaway Smile: An unshared smile is a waste of time (Niditales Book 1)

Written by Nicholas C. Rossis

Illustrated by Dimitris Fousekis

RunawaySmile,pic

Readers who take the time to read the Prologue will discover the secret of this book. Plot is simple: a little boy wakes up one morning and finds that he has lost his smile. Shortly after, the reader is introduced to a set of quirky characters that will definitely make him smile. The boy’s dog, wears glasses, reads Proust and drives a car. A clothes-eating monster lives in the bedroom closet and ants windsurf across the boy’s breakfast cereal, but the boy is steadfast in his search to find the missing smile.

The boy meets several adult characters on his way to school. A workman, a man walking his gold;-) fish, a king being photographed, the greatest salesman in the world, and a clown, each display smiles that they are unwilling to share with the boy. At school, the boy asks his teacher, but she replies that a classroom is no place for a smile and proceeds to pass out a test! By this time the poor boy is completely disheartened. When he gets home, he asks his mother how to find his smile. She reveals the secret.

The sepia-toned illustrations in this book are done beautifully; they capture the spirit and humor of the tale. A poem, “Ode to a runaway smile,” included at the end portrays the cleverness and wit of the author. Adults will understand all the nuances of this story. The simple illustration on the cover is a bit misleading as to the underlying story. Young children will enjoy the pictures but probably won’t grasp some of the concepts without adult guidance. I feel the book is best suited for independent readers who enjoy different kinds of books with an unusual plot so I would especially recommend it for ages ten and older.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com