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A Farty Fractured Fairy Tale

My Giant Farts

Written by Neil Roy McFarlane

 

This book might be considered a fractured fairy tale with humor in the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Personally, I am not a fan of this kind of humor, but I do know how popular it is with middle grade students.

The plot involves Tom, a boy who is playing down by the old factory and comes across a pile of rubbish. He spies a shiny metal object sticking
out. Tom discovers a lamp like Aladdin’s lamp, so he rubs it. Instead of a genie, a giant pops out. Tom thinks he can make wishes. He asks for a time machine and a flying car but the giant informs Tom that he cannot grant wishes.

During the day, Tom meets a few of his friends. Sally Patterson shows him her new dog who fetches, Horace Chomsky demonstrates how his parrot talks and Becky Wilkinson shows him her flea that does circus tricks. Tom is dismayed that his giant has no unique qualities. But when Tom crosses paths with Basher Bates and his gang, the giant’s response is an unexpected relief.

This book is targeted for ages five and older. I believe eight to twelve-year-old readers will particularly find it to their liking.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Daring Animal Adventure

A Daring Animal Adventure for All Ages

Dottie is an adorable dog who lives with Mindy, a University of Arkansas student, and her cat Mindy. About a year before, Mindy had seen Dottie’s picture online and had driven all the way to Oklahoma to adopt her. One Saturday, Mindy decides to take Dottie for a walk on the Razorback Greenway Trail. That decision would begin an adventure Dottie would never forget.

When a bike rider inadvertently loosens Dottie’s leash, she decides spontaneously to run away. Dottie rationalizes that she will be home before dark. Dottie meets a raccoon, a hog, and a seeing eye dog, to name a few travelers along the way. She is frightened and scared, but like a rebellious teenager, her curiosity and love of freedom spur her on. Then Dottie finds herself at a football game. Will she ever be reunited with Mindy?

This animal adventure tale is told in first person. The dialogue is amusing and feels genuine. While the story is marketed for ages three and older, the book is really appropriate for a middle grade and young adult audience. Dendler includes a glossary to assist younger readers with some of the more difficult vocabulary. A few photos enhance the appeal.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

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.

A Christmas Holiday Gift of Self Worth

Snow Pup: Holiday Heartwarmers (Book2)

Written by Mimi Barbour

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A Perfect Read for the Holiday Season.

This is the second book in Barbour’s holiday series. Well-written plot with realistic characters that has no real connection to the Christmas holiday other than the setting. Deputy Shawna Mallory is a thirty-one year old single cop who lives in the rather sleepy town of Carlton Grove. She has a deep commitment to her job, and moves quickly when she hears an amber alert on the radio for a missing eleven year old boy. Mallory hears a dog barking; she finds the boy under a snow drift being guarded by the pup. The sheriff agrees to take the boy in while he awaits a new foster care family.

Complications arise when the boy’s real father arrives back on the scene from an overseas assignment in Chile. John Reid McCrae appears to have a poor parenting track record, but Shawna’s friend Alice knew him many years ago and offers a different opinion. In the meantime Shawna grows attached to Billy, who is about to be given to a new foster family. Billy runs away once again, but even more puzzling is the strange affect Billy’s dad has upon Shawna. What outcome ensues for Billy, John, and the Deputy Sheriff whose lives have become entangled.

A heartwarming story revolving around coming of age, domestic violence, foster care, romance, pets and peer relationships that will tear at the heart strings of young adult and adult readers. Actually, the book could be a middle grade read if one is willing to look past a few curse words and one or two light romantic scenes. Snow Pup is the kind of story that will put the reader in the mood for the holiday season.

Barbara Ann Mojica
LittleMissHistory.com

Rats!

Rat Books for Kids: Amazing Pictures and Interesting Facts for Kids

Written by Susie Eli

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Interesting nonfiction book especially suited for students in the elementary or middle grades. I will readily admit that I learned quite a bit from this thirty page book so I do not hesitate to recommend it for adult readers who have an interest in the subject. Royalty free common stock photos enhance interest and add an additional dimension.

Originally rats came from Australia and Asia, but are now found anywhere in the world. Readers learn that there are 60 types of rats, the brown rat and the house rat being the most common. Topics covered in the book include their behavior and habits, how they eat, grow and multiply, wild and pet rats, and the Gambian Pouched Rat. Some interesting facts that I gleaned from the book include: a group of rats is called a mischief, males are bucks and females are does, rats are smart and make good pets, happy rats might roll their eyes or make grinding sounds with their teeth, and one female may have as many as 2000 babies in one year! While rats are often seen as a nuisance, the Gambian Pouched rat can detect deadly land mines and diagnose a patient with tuberculosis.

Animal lovers will enjoy learning about this often maligned animal. Great resource for a science research project or report. Recommended especially for children in third through fifth grade. Fascinating read for adults as well as children. Available in kindle and paperback.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

The History of Household Pets

Humans seem to have a need to bond with animal friends. In my own household, we have had experiences with a myriad of pets. Some of these are common choices like dogs, cats, and birds while others are a bit unusual like seahorses and hermit crabs. I thought it would be interesting to explore how the types of pets in households evolved over time.

Most Americans love their pets. Our first settlers came here with dogs, cats and farm animals. During the early days of our country, most pets were both farm workers and pets. They were often known as favorites. By the 18th century, the settlers had also begun to tame wild animals. Visitors to America were shocked to deer wearing fancy collars and kerchiefs walking the streets and even meandering through homes. Ironically, many Americans saw no problem in hunting the very same kinds of animals they kept as pets.

Squirrels on leashes followed their owners and sat placidly on their shoulders. If they were caught when very young, they were easy to tame. Squirrel nests were frequently robbed of their young babies which were sold in the city markets. Because squirrels gnawed wood, tin cages with metal bars were developed. The fact that squirrels liked to run led to cages with mills and waterwheels. Does this sound remarkably similar to pet hamster cages used today? Children particularly loved flying squirrels. The well-known painter, John Singleton Copley painted a portrait of his half-brother, Henry, playing with his pet squirrel in 1766.

Wild songbirds like cardinals and mockingbirds were frequently sold in the city markets for use as pets. Wealthy citizens could be observed playing organs and flutes while standing in front of caged wild birds trying to make them sing songs to classical music. Many owners believed songbirds could be taught to sing to a tune. If a song were played over and over, birds would imitate the music. Peter Kalm, a Swedish-Finish explorer of the 18th century writes in his accounts that turkeys, wild geese, pigeons, and partridges were often let free in the morning being so well tamed that they flew back home in the evening.

Kalm talks about other wild mammals as well. He says beavers were tamed to bring home their fishing catch to their owners. Some otters were observed to follow their masters. When the master went fishing in a boat, otters were seen jumping into the water and coming up with a fish for him. Kalm remarked that raccoons appeared domesticated, yet at night continued to kill poultry. Owners needed to carefully hide sugar and sweets from them. Kalm mentions a deer in New Jersey so tame that it runs into the woods for its own food, but at night brings wild deer home to its master providing him the opportunity to hunt deer at his doorstep! Indeed, the deer was a very common pet in the early to mid 18th century. A 1730 painting in the New York Historical Society depicts a young boy from Manhattan with a pet deer wearing a collar. In Virginia, the Revolutionary War hero, Dr. Benjamin Jones kept more than one hundred deer to amuse the family children and grandchildren. As time went on, Americans learned that as they become older, deer became troublesome. Increases in population and traffic particularly the invention of automobiles led to the elimination of deer as pets.

Today we are attached to more domesticated pets such as cats, dogs, and birds. It is hard to imagine the energy it must have taken to tame the wild mammals most of us now view as animals to hunt or nuisances in the 21st century.

Barbara Ann Mojica

Author of the Little Miss HISTORY Travels to….children’s book series http://LittleMissHISTORY.com

Barefoot and Beautiful

The Girl With No Shoes

Written by B.J. Rand

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Charming and delightful book, the first in a series of books based on the character Arielle, written for children ages nine through twelve. This is a longer length chapter book based on Arielle and her two pets, Britches, the dog, and Nosy, the black cat. Arielle and her pets love to take walks in the hollow. Britches and Nosy are unusual in the fact that they both communicate in English with their mistress.

One day the three friends come upon a little girl sitting by a tree crying and barefoot. Upon hearing a loud man’s voice, she runs away. Arielle and her pets are mystified and worried for the stranger’s safety. They want to meet her again and agree to find a pair of shoes for her to wear. In the meantime, Nosy finds a pair of ballet slippers that fell out of a box near a neighbor’s house. They bring the shoes to the hollow, but cannot find the girl. Eventually one day the shoes disappear, and after repeated trips to the hollow, the girl appears and tells them her name, Francesca. She thanks them and promises to dance for them one day.

On Halloween night a stranger comes to the door and beckons them. Nosy lives up to her reputation and decides to investigate by following her home. That initiates a trail to another mystery that the three friends will have to solve. Will they ever learn the true identity of Francesca and why she has chosen Arielle and her pet family? No spoilers here, but children will learn it is better to give unselfishly and always be true to your own passion in life.

While it may seem difficult for tweens to accept this story line, it works seamlessly. You want to believe in all the characters and empathize with them. The vocabulary of the text is challenging enough but not overwhelming for the average reader. I had to finish reading it one sitting. Can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

Barbara 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
WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com

Courageous and Loyal

Heart of a Hero

Written by Billi Tiner

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This book is a portrait of a loyal and brave Irish Setter, inspired by the author’s childhood family dog. As a pup, Lady wanted nothing more than to emulate her mother, who was a prize hunting dog. Carl, a teenage farmhand, develops an affinity for her, and Lady is elated when her owner Mr. Thompson sends her to live with Carl. At first life is wonderful, then World War II breaks out; and Carl leaves for battle. Carl never returns. A friend suggests to Carl’s dad that the Marines are looking for war dogs, and Lady is offered up as a candidate. After rigorous training and many adventures with new dog friends Scout and Fancy, Lady is sent to the Pacific with her human handlers, Tim and Steve. Lady succeeds in becoming a war messenger dog. She will prove herself a worthy hero.

After the war things return to normal for a while, but Lady has battle scars and her new owner will make a decision that does not include her. More uncertainty for Lady and a dramatic change in life circumstances again. Will Lady find peace, dignity and happiness in her final years?

This book makes a great read for middle grade students. It deals with complex issues in a plot that is simply laid out and easy to follow. Loyalty, bravery, courage, coming of age, bullying, and family relationships are explored. The characters are well developed; the reader can identify with Lady as she narrates the story from her point of view. I do think the plot moves a bit slowly in sections, but that may be due to the fact that the reader is eager to see what happens next. Recommended for dog lovers, history lovers and anyone who enjoys a good family read. Available in kindle and paperback editions.

Barbara Ann Mojica
http://www.littlemisshistory.com/