Friday, September 30, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Couponing from "Coupon Chief"

I just read through an exceptionally well written guide to couponing. I'm not real familiar with the "Coupon Chief" website, but felt this article worth-the-share. Click here to access article on Coupon Chief.

A Love Transformed (Book #3 Sapphire Brides) by Tracie Peterson

About the book: When Clara Vesper's husband, Adolph, dies suddenly, Clara is stunned--but not grief-stricken. Her marriage to Adolph had been arranged, their primary interaction revolving around the sapphire jewelry Clara designed and Adolph produced and sold. Widowed and penniless, with two small children, Clara decides to return to her aunt and uncle's ranch in Montana, the only place she has ever been happy. 

Curtis Billingham, injured in a sapphire mine collapse, is recuperating at the ranch of his friends, Paul and Madeline Sersland. But when the Serslands' niece returns from New York City, Curtis curses both his broken body and his broken past. Clara, the love of his life, has come back to him, but he is no longer worthy of her love. 

Clara's brother-in-law Otto Vesper, Adolph's business partner, fears that the loss of Clara's design skills will doom the company's prospects. Following her to Montana, Otto is prepared to do whatever it takes to get Clara to return with him to New York. 
As Clara fights for love and freedom, a dangerous secret in her late husband's life comes to light, threatening everyone she loves.

My thoughts: A Tracie Peterson book is usually one I anticipate reading because she has been an author whose works are dependably interesting, well researched, clean reads filled with wonderful characters and descriptive writing.

A Love Transformed was somewhat of a disappointment to me as a reader. I found the story line and characters (at least some of them) tending toward the worn-out melodramatic wild-west villainous folks that peopled "B" movies of the past.

Little Hunter and Maddy were adorable kiddies who brightened the lagging story in places. The older couple, Madeline and Paul, were precious and lent depth of character.

I found the devious, contriving, dramatic antics of Clara's mother and Clara's brother-in-law stilted. Also, the posturing of the German spies who were engaged in treasonous activities with the brother-in-law was stilted.

The ideas behind the story were basically good and I could have enjoyed it immensely. I hope that my feelings about the short comings of this book by such an accomplished author are simply mine, alone, and that perhaps my interest just didn't "gel" with the story. Perhaps that is the case.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House to facilitate this review of my own opinions.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Amish Harvest: Four Novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Amy Clipston, Vannetta Chapman [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: From time to time, I want to snag a collection of novellas, or a stand alone book novella, and read the complete but shorter stories that they entail. In An Autumn Harvest a superb collection of non-connected stories from four different authors presents stories true to gentle and faith filled Amish fiction.

I have previously read three of the four authors but Kathleen Fuller was a new author to me. I can only say good things about each of these stories and the writing skill of each of the authors.

Beth Wiseman handled the story of the abused wife with gentleness and realism. The gentle  Brock is the picture of kindness and strength of character. And then in Kathleen Fuller's story we have the opportunity to read how two flawed individuals try to cope with their differences or handicaps and how they eventually find a way to love. These are two difficult social issues beautifully written about by these two skilled authors.

I love how Vannetta Chapman writes grace and faith into her stories and touches a bit on romance and a bit on mystery. In Mischief in the Autumn Air these two late middle agers, who are single (widow and widower), find themselves pursuing puzzling folks who attend the auction and mysterious clues.

And Amy Clipston's Love and Buggy Rides is a sweet story of finding love even though there is an age difference and other obstacles in their relationsip. Again, a sweet Amish romance.

About the book: Faith, hope, and love remain forever in season in this collection of four richly absorbing novellas set amidst the wonder of an Amish autumn.

Under the Harvest Moon, by Beth Wiseman

When Naomi Dienner is suddenly widowed, she never expects to find love again . . . until she meets Brock Mulligan, an English family friend hired at harvest time. As a sinister presence begins to threaten Naomi, Brock seeks to prove himself trustworthy while struggling with growing feelings for Naomi and her children. Will God open Naomi’s heart—and give Brock his own second chance at love?

Love and Buggy Rides, by Amy Clipston

Janie Lantz is a cashier at Lancaster Souvenirs and Buggy Rides, where Jonathan Stoltfuz is a buggy driver. A frightening accident brings Janie and Jonathan together in a blossoming friendship, yet daunting obstacles stand between them and something deeper. Can love kindle into flames that burn away fear and regret—and lead them to a life together?

Mischief in the Autumn Air, by Vannetta Chapman 

When items start going above market value at his auction house, Eli Wittmer is first thrilled, and then puzzled. But when the house is broken into, Eli and his new bookkeeper, Martha Beiler track down a trail of clues. Will they solve the mystery before the fall festival ends—and discover an unexpected new love?

A Quiet Love, by Kathleen Fuller 

Dinah Hochstetler, quiet and bookish, longs for marriage but hides in her shyness. Amos Mullett, a simple farmer, knows he’s different but aches for a loving wife. As Dinah and Amos navigate a budding romance, will the power of love—and the blessing of God—be enough to overcome their doubters?
Begins September 27
ENDS October 15 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my honest opinions. No compensation was received. Giveaway copy prize is to be provided by and mailed directly to winner by V.Chapman.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Safe, fun Face Paint Natural Non-Toxic from Good Earth Beauty [Giveaway]

Fall Festivals and special events call for fun products and one that kids love universally is having really bright, cute designs painted on their faces. They love butterflies, wings, colors, sparkles. And Mommy wants their kiddies to have fun but to have fun in a safe non-toxic way.

The folks at Good Earth Beauty have several face painting kits for you to choose from. They one they sent me to look over is "Angel Fairy Princess" ($9.99) which is sure to be loved by all those little princesses you know. Other kits include: Boy stuff, animal stuff, scary stuff....
Angel Fairy Princess Natural Face Paint from Elegant Minerals

If you're going to do a lot of facepainting, they have larger kits than this little sampler. But you can have lots of fun with these small kits.

Want it now? Find it here! Free shipping! 10% discount with code CEB10 


Winner can choose the $9.99 kit of your choice
Begins September 18
ENDS October 8 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
No children can enter, though this is for kid's fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product information - Face Paint Natural Non-Toxic Halloween

Finally a natural, non toxic face paint! Great for kids, great for Halloween - lead free, dye free, no micronized minerals. Each palette kit includes: 5 x face paint colors, 1 x Small Brush, 1 x 5pc Applicator Set, 1 x Glitter Bag,1 x 211 Geisha White Oil-Controlling Powder (goes on clear), 1 x Natural Vegan Facial Bar

Angel Fairy Princess: White, Purple, Hot Pink, Gold, Aqua, 6pc Applicator Set

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary produt to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated. Prize is provided by and shipped to winner by Good Earth Beauty.

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog Written & Illustrated by Lisa Papp [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781561459100
Ages 4-8 - Hardcover $16.95 
My thoughts: Oh to my! This book is stunning! The pictures and soft colors are simply enchanting. And the story is so sweet and so very much a reality for so many children. (Hmmm... I've used "so" so very many times that perhaps .... well, you get the idea)

Madeline Finn could be so many children across the world. Children who are shy about reading and children who simply have a difficult time reading - either silent reading or reading aloud. Reading aloud to others can be particularly difficult and troublesome for some. No matter the reason for the difficulty, they simply have a hard time.

And it hurts. It hurts not to get a gold star for good reading. It hurts when the snickers and giggles come from classmates. It just hurts to struggle with words.

In this sweet and breath taking beautiful book, dear Madeline Finn gets taken to the library by Mom after a particularly difficult week of school. Madeline is not happy. Madeline doesn't like to read. Madeline doesn't want to read. And the librarian knows all of that and yet she gets Madeline to go along with her to a special room. In that special room there are lots of children and lots of different dogs and the children are reading to the dogs. Madeline is asked if she would like to read to the large white Library Dog who doesn't have a child assigned. Madeline agrees. The reading begins, slowly, with some mistakes, but the Library Dog just waits patiently and without criticism and Madeline is able to continue.

This story speaks so much to my heart. I was shy in school. I was sort of a reluctant reader. I had difficult reading aloud (remember reading circles). I had great difficult getting in front of the class and doing anything! So I quite understand Madeline.

I don't know about the reality of Library Dogs, but I do know that patience is a magical worker for a multitude of difficulties. I heartily recommend this book for homes, classrooms, and libraries everywhere. It can educate young readers to be patient with themselves and with others.

Purchase the book - click here

Peachtree Publishing has a great article about Library Therapy Dogs - click here

On another note, when I was a child, our family had a dog named Bonnie, too. Madeline's Library Dog's name was "Bonnie." 

About the book: Madeline Finn DOES NOT like to read. Not books. Not magazines. Not even the menu on the ice cream truck.

Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn't so bad. When Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn't mind. Madeline Finn can pet her until she figures the word out.

As it turns out, it's fun to read when you're not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it's okay to go slow. And to keep trying. And to get support from a friend.

BEGINS September 18
ENDS October 10 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Peachtree Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are just mine, alone. I was not compensated for this review.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

FIRAA 5 in 1 Ultrasonic Pest Repeller - Plug In with Electromagnetic Ionic AC Socket & Night Light Electronic Repellent

My thoughts: We don't have a problem with major pests but we do have some "silverfish" and spiders and I don't like anything that creeps and crawls. I also don't care to be spraying insectisides around in my house. So the Ultrasonic Pest Repellers are very enticing to me. My husband has previously bought a couple for us and I tried another brand through a review program. The opportunity to review the Firra was very appealing to me simply because it looks like a much higher quality piece of equipment that those we've previously used.

I am really impressed with the quality of this little pest repeller. It is designed to do more than produce ultrasonic sounds that the critters don't like. As can be seen from the product information the ultrasonic sound is inaudible to people and most pets and the electromagnetic vibrations further irritate the pesty critters. If they aren't happy in your home, then they will leave. Sounds good to me and sounds bad to them!

Firaa Pest Repeller installed in my home. Blue montion
sensor night light, extra AC outlet on right side,
alternating indicator lights (yellow/red/green).
Also, this gadget has an ionic control that helps to remove pollutants and odors from the air that attract pests. None of my other gadgets had this.

Two other nifty features unique to the Firra are a soft blue motion sensor night light and an AC socket so you can still plug a small device into the outlet. I also love that this runs solely on your electric power and does not require batteries.

There are good instructions and information provided in an insert leaflet with this product. Another plus.

As their material states, it takes several weeks to realize control and results will vary. Frankly, I think it is well worth the money to use these since they have no harmful effects on people and pets and the possibility to repel the pesty insects is a given. Please note: this device does not kill the pests, it repels them.

Product information (provided by Firaa) - 5 IN 1 Functions: Click Here for more information and/or to purchase

  • ULTRASONIC SOUND - emits loud siren like sound that is inaudible to humans but incredibly loud to pests to drive them crazy!
  • ELECTRO-VIBRAWAVE - electromagnetic vibrations are sent to give pests no rest at all and to drive them out
  • IONIC CONTROL - removes pollutants and odors from the air that attracts pests
  • AC SOCKET - don't lose a socket, this allows you to plug in small devices
  • NIGHT LIGHT - a light sensor activated night light automatically switches on when it becomes dark

Do They Work?

An internet search will show you that yes these do work but results vary and there are no guarantees. That's the truth that most sellers won't tell you.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product to facilitate my peresonal opinion in this review. Opinions are my own, alone and I was not compensated.

Newton and Polly: A Novel of Amazing Grace by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giveaway]

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found 

My thoughts: Many in Christian circles consider "Amazing Grace" to be one of the most moving hymns ever written. Also, many know some of the story behind the life of the hymn's author, John Newton, and how he penned the words after surviving a virtually unsurvivable storm at sea and coming to the relization that his survival was in accord with God's amazing grace. But few know about his life leading up to that event and the lovely young woman who powerfully and graciously influenced his life, Polly.

This is Polly's story, but the main character is surely John Newton. The book opens when John is 17 and Polly a bit younger. He is smitten with her. But being so young, unemployed, and not a man of faith, he is definitely not suitable material for marrying the sweet Polly - at least in Polly's father's opinion.

John's adventures have him avoiding gainful and respectful employment, being kidnapped (by a press gang - for the King's navy), traded for a better seaman, a slave and in chains along with the Africans who he had previously enslaved. He was brutally beaten and then whipped on ship for his punishment. Still God pursued him.

Told in Jody Hedlund's beautifully written and flowing story style and painstakingly researched for authenticity, Newton and Polly is a book you won't want to miss reading. It's a good book. But not only is the story enthralling, it brings to us the story of God's redemptive powers and his amazing grace in the pursuit and protection of sinners. Newton's story is that we can not sink so deep into sin that God's grace can not lift us in redemptive power.

I heartily recommend this book.

About the book: Now remembered as the author of the world's most famous hymn, in the mid-eighteenth century as England and France stand on the brink of war, John Newton is a young sailor wandering aimlessly through life. His only duty is to report to his ship and avoid disgracing his father until the night he hears Polly Catlett's enchanting voice, caroling. He is immediately smitten and determined to win her affection.

An intense connection quickly forms between the two, but John's reckless spirit and disregard for the Christian life are concerns for the responsible, devout Polly. When an ill-fated stop at a tavern leaves John imprisoned and bound, Polly must choose to either stand by his side or walk out of his life forever. Will she forfeit her future for the man she loves?

Step back through the pages of history, to uncover the true love story behind a song that continues to stir the hearts and ignite the faith of millions around the globe."
Begins September 17
ENDS October 9 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my personal opinions. I received no compensation. Winner's giveaway copy is to be provided directly to the winner by the author or publisher.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

God Bless Us Every One (A contemporary Christmas carol) by Eva Marie Everson (Christmas Novella) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: I love that the setting of God Bless Us Every One is in my home state of North Carolina. The little town of Testament (fictional) is nestled in the mountainous area of Morganton (a real place). The characters are real, down-to-earth folks with real life issues, real likes and dislikes, real stuff happening in their live.

This contemporary story runs a bit parallel to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"; in fact each chapter begins with a meaty quote from Dickens. The reader will soon learn that Charlie's (female protagonist in story) father, John, is in prison. Note please that Charles Dickens' father's name was John and he was imprisoned in debtor's prison when Charles Dickens was a boy. Hmmmm.... getting the point?

As the story progresses, our modern day Charlie gets to know her father in his present day surroundings - a homeless shelter. Can she forgive for his past? 

Love that Charlie and her childhood crush, Dusty are reunited and strike up a great friendship (errr.... relationship). But the sweet nugget at the end doesn't entail Charlie and Dusty. You'll have to read this delightful novella to find out just what that was.

God Bless Us Every One rates a 4 or a 5 star for Christmas novella reading.

About the book: A timeless classic can change the future.

Charlene Dixon---called Charlie by family and friends---is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the head-mistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up dreams and returns to Grandma Esther, who raised Charlie as her own.

When Charlie arrives---broken and confused---Esther immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school's Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. When Charlie disapproves of having to work with Dustin Kennedy, the seventh-grade English teacher, Grandma Esther encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what the book could teach Charlie about the needs of the children in their own community.


BEGINS September 6
ENDS September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher to facilitate my review. Opinions are my own, alone. I was not compensated for this review.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Bear Who Wasn't There: And the Fabulous Forest by Oren Lavie & illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch

My thoughts: Often books written, illustrated, and published in Europe are a bit different from those of American origins. That can be refreshing. It is interesting as an adult to see various styles from America, Europe, England, Australia, and even Asian counties. It is also good to expose children to different styles and types of publications.

Oren Lavie's The Bear Who Wasn't There and the Fabulous Forest is one of those not-so-typical books. It will require a different type of parent or adult to purchase this publication for a child. Those who step out of the box of the ordinary and branch out to the quirky, non-realistic, thought provoking book that is filled with bold and unusual art will acquire it or read it to a child and will be the ones who open the seed pod of insightful thought for the child.

Will the young child grasp the "outside myself" tone of The Bear Who Wasn't There? Probably not. But it will surely tickle their imagination and mom and dad will surely gain a deep chuckle at some of bear's thoughts and quirky answers.

Bear wasn't "there" but an itch was there so the itch scratched itself upon a tree. The more it scratched the larger the itch became until it was bear. Now, I really don't think that this is delving into "creation" and an "out of nothing" theory. It is simply a nonsensical intro into getting bear into the story and into the forest that was, at that point, a single tree.

The story progresses as bear wanders deeper into the growing forest. He meets several other critters in the forest and these meetings give a sense of "Alice in Wonderland" deja vous.

The story teaches that you are you, yourself. It teaches you to be happy. It teaches you to accept yourself as "handsome," lovely.

The illustrations are very focused on the forest and its growing density. There is a good variety of foilage and though the book is primarily in deep greens, black, tans, and browns there are small spots of color that brighten the pages. I love the different look of this art and appreciate that each artist has his or her own style or styles and they utilize their specific talents to bring life to the text the author has composed for a story. This is a good combination of story and art.

About the book: A magical, lyrical picture book debut from acclaimed composer and playwright Oren Lavie, illustrated by beloved German illustrator Wolf Erlbruch.

One day, a few minutes after Once Upon a Time, a bear awakes to find he has lost something very important: himself! He sets out into the Fabulous Forest to find himself, using only a few clues scrawled on a piece of paper: the bear he's looking for is a nice bear; he is a happy bear; and he's very handsome too! These sound like pretty good qualities to Bear, and so begins his memorable journey. With the help of Fabulous Forest critters like the Convenience Cow, the Lazy Lizard, and the Penultimate Penguin, Bear finds that he himself is just what he's been looking for all along: a nice, happy bear—and handsome too!

As whimsical as Winnie-the-Pooh and as wryly comic as Klassen's bear who wants his hat back, The Bear Who Wasn't There joins a select crew of unusual bears who have captured the imagination of children for generations.

Wolf Erlbruch is one of Germany's most renowned illustrators; his work is respected and loved around the world. Among his many awards, Erlbruch received both the Gutenberg and the German Children's Literature Award, as well as a Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award. His previous book, Duck, Death and the Tulip, sold more than 100,000 copies and was published in nineteen countries.

DISCLOSURE: I received an ARC Early Reviewer's copy from in a contest. I freely give this review of my own opinions without compensation.

Devera Naturals ~ SNOW FLOWER CRÈME and MIRACLE EYES [Review & Giveaway]

The world of cosmetics is vast, confusing, intriguing, compelling, entrapping, alluring..... and lots of other things that one's mind conjures. Simply said, ladies are particularly prone to delve into cosmetics to enhance and beautify themselves. It was true in ancient times and it is true today.

The products available for us to use for our beautification can be high dollar or home made and they can break-the-bank and still do nothing for you, or you can spend a little and achieve wonderful results.

The story behind the Devera line of skin care product is compellingly touching and especially moving to me. You see, it involves a family struck by breast cancer and how a natural line of products brought good, quality skin care and beauty to a cancer survivor. That product line's history begins with old world secrets from Switzerland that were passed down to the founders of DeVera. Click here

Now a look at two of the Devera Naturals products I had the grand opportunity to try....


Edelweiss plant stem cells have created a new generation of anti-aging products. Edelweiss plant stem cells have been shown to decrease wrinkles by up to 15% in 22 days. Devera Naturals has combined this breakthrough ingredient with Goji Berry Extract for immediate and long term smoothing, lifting and firming.

My thoughts: This facial skin créme has a distinct scent which is not a perfumery type. I can't identify it, but assume it is from an ingredient or combination thereof. Not unpleasant nor overpowering and fades quickly, just different. The skin takes on (mine does) a matte appearance with the use of this créme rather than the shinny, oiled or "dewy" look of other crémes . The feel of the créme is pleasant throughout the day. With continued used I can only expect softening of wrinkle lines (Oh! Those devilish "gifts" of aging!). My skin feels good, soft and supple when I use this and there are absolutely no irritating elements to it.

The lovely Edelweiss flower is a major player
 in this face skin créme


Give this age-defying eye cream one hour and it will reward you with superior hydration and fewer fine lines, thanks to Edelweiss plant stem cells, Goji Berry Extract, hyaluronic acid, and marine extracts which smooth and firm the delicate eye area, while green tea and cucumber reduce puffiness and dark circles.

My thoughts: This is an absolutely lovely eye cream. Totally non-irritating. Refreshing. Silky feeling to the eyes upon application. Refreshing to the skin around the eyes after application and through the day.

I love it.

As a retiree I wear less makeup than during my work years. So Snow Flower Créme and Miracle Eyes with just a touch of blush pretty much completes my day-to-day look.

Where to purchase these products.....  "Since the establishment of Devera Naturals, we have experienced success  connecting with recovering cancer patients at post mastectomy boutiques and hospitals across the country." Please note that many of these vendors are located in cancer center boutiques which may attest to an endorsement that breast cancer patients may be able to beneficially use these products during and after treatment. CLICK HERE

Devera Naturals products contain only naturally produced ingredients and are 100% natural. Maintaining the ‘pure is best’ philosophy You can count on their products will never include harmful ingredients - parabens, petroleum, petroleum derivatives, pesticides, phthalates, or synthetic dyes, colors, or fragrances

One Chat With Vera reader will win these 2 Devera Natural products - "Miracle Eyes" and "Snow Flower Créme"

BEGINS September 14
ENDS October 5 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary products to facilitate this review of my honest opinions without compensation. Giveaway prizes will be provided and sent directly to the winner by Devera Naturals. Value of prize ~ $80.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Middle Ages (Vol. 6) by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: I have an interest in history of all periods and ancient histories have always been appealing. If You Were Me and Lived in.... the Middle Ages is not a history book or a story set in a historical period. It is a book that contains a lot of information pertaining to the historical period of the Middle Ages. That would be in the period 400-1400 AD.

The illustrations are softly conceived images of dress, housing, cities (villages), castles, and life in general during this period. The author takes you through the days of a young school age miss. The author also delves into the variety of classes in the feudal system of the time. She doesn't call the lowest of the low "slaves" but chooses to call them the "un-free." The "un-free" peoples were not free to do as they chose, however, and they could not even leave their village without permission. The difference between the nobility, well to do, free, un-free, and poor is pretty clearly defined in the book. It will reveal to the reader that the very poor might live in a one-room hut made out of sticks, clay, and daub and that the hut has no chimney but still they have a fire for cooking inside the hut. Also, that the hut is shared with the family's animals. Life was hard, indeed.

The quantity of soft-facts given in the book makes a good introduction to learning about history. It reads easily, though not for very young readers. I'd say perhaps grades 4-6. But it can be read to younger children with comprehension. I think that reading this will open the door for children's pursuit of more definitive research and even toward reading fiction about the period - King Arthur and other tales.

There is a glossary in the back that can be helpful when the reader comes across a word that perplexes them. The couple of pages of famous people from the Middle Ages is interesting and could lead to the reader seeking to do some biographical research.

About the book: Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in her exciting new series.

Learn what kind of food you might have eaten during the Middle Ages, the clothes you might wear, what your name could be, and children did for fun.

If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture.

So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.
2 winners each receive 1 copy of "Middle Ages"
Begins September 13
ENDS October 4 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the author to facilitate a review of my honest opinions. I received no compensation.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Extreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire Fighting by Mark Thiessen [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN13: 9781426325304
Paperback $12.99
My thoughts: National Geographic Kids publications have a knack for being spot-on with interesting materials that are captivating to the young reader (and the parents, too). Their publications prove entertaining and educational providing information in a manner that appeals and grabs their attention - many times over.

Extreme Wildfire: Smoke Jumpers, High-Tech Gear, Survival Tactics, and the Extraordinary Science of Fire really goes way beyond the old "Smokey Bear" fire prevention materials. The stunning photographs of Mark Thiessen are definitely close up and personal. He is truly a brave heart with the use of his camera and has captured the danger, intensity, and destructive beauty of raging fire. But this is not just a book of stunning photographs, the reader will learn that fires are a necessary part of the ecological system. Well, we just don't want ecology to get out of hand, though, so when fire rages, firefighters engage in preventive protection.

Some "famous" fires are recounted. I found it interesting that famous fires are tagged with names. Not dissimilar to the naming of tropical storms. The book has boxes of special information tucked away along the sides of the pages that are interestingly presented and packed with tidbits of information. "Fire Fact: You might think that attacking fire from the air is free of risk. But there's no such thing when it comes to firefighting. In fact, from 1990 through 2006, nearly a fourth of the 310 deaths of wildland firefighters in the United States came from aircraft accidents."

I found the section on Smoke Jumpers interesting. A smoke jumper is a firefighter that parachutes right onto the scene of a raging fire. "1-2-3- Jump! The plane approaches the fire's location. Twelve or so smoke jumpers are ready to go. But they don't just pile out and take their chances. Here's a 3-step procedure to make sure they hit their mark safely: 1) Find a safe place....., 2) Check the wind...., 3) Jump...."

It is also interesting the comparison of the United States and Russia in fighting fires - especially smoke jumpers. I like that Thiessen includes pictures from Russia as well as the United States.

I had a nephew that was a firefighter and fought wildfires all over the United States. It was fascinating to delve into this book of Extreme Wildfire information and see pictures that told the story that could easily have been his experience as well as that of many who have served to save our homes and our forests.

About the book: In one moment, there’s a simple spark, and then roaring flames surge 200 feet into the air, devouring forests. Trees, from root to canopy, are burned to the ground. Airtankers and helicopters hover above, executing an air attack. Brave firefighters, equipped with flame resistant suits, leap from helicopters onto the treetops and descend to the blazing forest floor.

In this book, young readers will learn about the ecological impacts of wildfires, the ins and outs of fire science including tactics for prevention and containment, cutting-edge technology used to track wildfires and predict fire behavior, and about the impressive skill, survival tactics, and bravery required to control a wildfire. Also included are expert tips, fun facts, and breathtaking photos taken by the author.

Author info: Mark Thiessen has 20+ years of photographing fires up close. From a searing expanse of flames in Russia to barreling blazes in California, no wildfire is too extreme for Mark Thiessen. Based in D.C., he has traveled across the globe investigating dangerous infernos and working alongside courageous firefighting teams. Mark is available for interview and can talk about his why his idea of a vacation is placing himself in the middle of blazing fires, fire prevention techniques and tips and the effects of fires on the environment and wildlife.  Here is a terrific video featuring Mark and his adventures:

Begins September 12
ENDS October 1 @ 12:02 a.m ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review of my opinions without compensation. Giveaway copy will be mailed directly to the winner by the publicist or publisher.

"The Bible and Me: Stories with a Message to Live By" Louis Rock, author & Alida Massari, illustrator

ISBN: 9780745964959
Hardback $14.99
Lion Children's Books

My thoughts: The artist, Alida Massari uses a style of art and coloration that is somewhat different from the typical children's story book, especially Bible story books. Colors tinged with rustic burnt sienna and blues of different hues and greens sprinkled throughout the browns along with the style that has an Italian flare or Russian iconic semblance bring a totally different and welcome sense to this book, The Bible and Me: Stories with a message to live by. Ms. Massari's bio is "Alida Massari is an award-winning artist who studied Illustration at the European Institute of Design in Rome. She finds inspiration from ancient art and architecture. She describes her work as modern with an ancient atmosphere."

As I began to look into The Bible and Me I note the comprehensive scope of this children's book. It begins at the Bible's opening, Genesis 1, and concludes with the final story of The New Jerusalem from Revelation. At the end of the first story, Genesis, a song from Psalm 148 is in verse.... "Praise the Lord from heaven, all beings of the height! Praise him, holy angels and golden sun so bright." 

Each story is clearly a gentle rendering of Biblical text so a child can understand and yet is not couched in such simplistic phrasing that takes away from the meaning and majesty of God's Word. And each story concludes with a Psalm, a hymn, or some other beautifully appropriate reading.

Bible selections are taken from or adapted from the Good News Bible. My Bible version of choice is the beloved King James and I would have preferred reading the selections in that version. I found this to be a beautiful book and the stories are sweetly told holding to an accurate telling of the Scriptures. This does not replace a Bible. It is a Bible story book with re-tellings of the most familiar stories from Scripture and beautifully illustrated by this unusual art form.

Many will find this a book to have in their homes or to gift a child. Again Lion Hudson Children's books has produced a winner.

The author's bio shows her talent and experience to be.... "Lois Rock has established an international reputation as a children's writer. Specializing in Bible stories, prayer books, and information books, her books have been translated into over 30 languages with sales approaching 4 million copies. She draws on her experience as a mother of three, and as a leader of church children's groups."

About the book: Lois Rock and Alida Massari have teamed up to create a Bible storybook full of inspiration and delight, sure to elicit moments of contemplation. Thoughtfully written, each section begins with a Bible quote and ends with a prayer or psalm that fits the theme of the story to help readers reflect further on what they've read. Alida Massari's richly colored and deeply peaceful illustrations fit perfectly with the meditative theme. Includes twenty stories from the Old and New Testaments.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel on behalf of Lion Hudson and the author to facilitate this review of my opinion. I was not compensated to render a review.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #2) by Mel Starr

My thoughts: When venturing into the pages of a Mel Starr novel, one steps into medieval England in the mid 1300s. Thoroughly enjoy these sojourns in the villages and across Shill Brook with the incomparable Hugh de Singleton Surgeon and bailiff of Lord Gilbert's estate and village. For those unfamiliar, Master Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon  a character of many fine points that the author develops quite well. Singleton is Oxford educated and medically read and trained. He is friend of John Wycliffe (Bible Translator). He is not married, though he longs for the comfort and warmth of a wife.

The story is written first-person with the voice of Singleton. Author Mel Starr is a historian by education and trade and has thoroughly research this series of period novels. Included in the front of the book are words and terms to help understand the terminology of the period. But you don't feel as though you are reading a history book. As Hugh de Singleton rides Bruce, the horse given him to use about the village and castle's business, he ponders the varied events that he must resolve and charge the culprits for the poaching and murders that trouble his village.

The story takes the reader through the mental exercises, daily treks and journeys, meals of loaves of bread and ale and pieces of meat taken cold because he missed meal time. Mel Starr writes with ease and knowledge about the life and times and the status of different folk. How each person's job or status determined the lodging and even the quantity, frequency, and types of food they are able to eat.The reader will gain an appreciation for the laws of the period about ownership, poaching, curfews, and simple rights or lack of rights. You grasp the social order and the privilege of rank that exists.

Singleton is trying to solve multiple murders and poaching that occurred on his Lord's estate and in going about this, his skills as a detective/bailiff are used but also his knowledge, and "cutting edge" opinions and skills as a surgeon.

I began this series in the middle and have now read six of the books. I had to go back and start with the first book. I found Starr's style different and refreshing. It was interesting to read this period book and I felt that I could trust Starr's interpretation of the customs of the time.

About the book: Alan, the beadle of the manor of Bampton, had gone out at dusk to seek those who might violate curfew. When, the following morning, he had still not returned home, his young wife Matilda sought out Master Hugh de Singleton, surgeon and bailiff of the manor.

Two days later Alan's corpse is discovered in the hedge, at the side of the track to St. Andrew's Chapel. His throat has been torn out, his head half-severed from his body and his face, hands, and forearms lacerated with deep scratches.

Master Hugh, meeting Hubert the coroner at the scene, listens carefully to the coroner surmise that a wolf had caused the great wound. And yet . . . if so, why is there so little blood?

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of A Corpse at St. Andrews Chapel from Kregel Publishing on behalf of the author for the purpose of my honest review. I was under no obligation to provide favorable comments. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Want to "Lose the Junk!" ???

Let's face it. We are all guilty of keeping stuff. We get too much stuff. We keep too much stuff. It is almost as bad as a two-year old's tantrum (at least inside our inner most being) to throw away Aunt Susie's trinket. Or that football you played with when you were in school.

The items might not be hidden in plain sight for all to see. But they are there, somewhere.

Face it. It's junk.

Having lived many years and accumulating my stuff, my husband's stuff, my kid's stuff, my deceased family member's stuff, I can tell you that a lot of stuff, a lot of junk is around.

The best "clearing out" I ever did was when we moved from our home of 40-plus years. We threw away so much. We carted it to Goodwill, and we dumped. Well, we really didn't get rid of enough, because clearly it was a bit hard - and time consuming. But we did not take it all with us to the new house.

Now it is time for me to face another clearing out. I am now retired and don't need some of the clothes and things I needed as a member of the gainfully employed society. So it is time to tackle a closet and a drawer or so.

And as a retiree I can take my time. Who knows what I'll find to share with someone or that will bring back a treasured memory.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

God Made the Sun & God Made the Moon by Mary Manz Simon & illustrated by Lizzie Walkley [Review & Giveaway]


ISBN: 978-0824919801
Board Book - Ages 2-5
My thoughts: This sweet little book is simply charming. The lyrical verses take the young child through the day's activities from rising to setting of Sun.

The child is joy-filled in the illustrations and this carries over into the verses that tell his little story. First the Sun is said to "smile on Earth." I think this is a great idea to present to a young child. The child splashes in the puddles left by an overnight rain because he realizes the Sun will soon dry them up. His shadow is caused by the sun and the sun plays hide and seek behind the clouds.

A simple introduction to the Sun's purpose and how God designed it to be a blessing to us.

Then, when the sun starts sliding down and carries off the light,
I'm sure that God, who made the sun, will stay with me tonight.

About the book: God Made the Sun: God Made the Sun is a celebration of God’s gift of daytime to the world. Beginning with the first rays of sunlight and moving through the day, this book reminds little ones that God’s love shines on us just as the sun shines on the earth. With its lyrical rhythm, sweet illustrations, and novelty diecut feature, the book will serve as a welcome reminder of God’s presence in our lives.


ISBN: 978-0824919818
Board book Ages 2-5
My thoughts: After the Sun sets for the day the Moon rises bringing with it the comfort that God is watching over him with the light of the Moon that God set in the sky.

God made the moon to smile on Earth and fill the dark with light.
The moon reminds us of the love God sends to us each night.

The joys of the night are brought out as the child enjoys the stars, light bugs, and chirping crickets. Bath time and preparation for bed starts and "The shining moon reminds me that God watches from above."

This is a charming book and goes wonderfully with God Made the Sun.

About the book: God Made the Moon: God Made the Moon is a celebration of God’s gift of nighttime to the world. Beginning with the first hints of dusk and ending with a bedtime prayer, this book reminds little ones that God’s love shines on us just as the moon shines on the earth. With its lyrical rhythm, sweet illustrations, and novelty diecut feature, the book will be a welcome addition to any child’s bedtime rituals.

I highly recommend parents (aunties, uncles, and grandparents) to get this set for the wee little ones in your family. They are treasures.

2 books for 1 winner: God Made the Sun & God Made the Moon
Begins September 8
ENDS September 26
Open to USA addresses only
Disclosure: I was provided copies by Worthy Publications First Look Blogger Review Program to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated. Winner's prize will be shipped directly to the winner by the publisher.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

God Bless Us Every One by Eva Marie Everson Contemporary Christmas Novella [GIVEAWAY]

A timeless classic can change the future.

Charlene Dixon---called Charlie by family and friends---is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the head-mistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up dreams and returns to Grandma Esther, who raised Charlie as her own.

When Charlie arrives---broken and confused---Esther immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school's Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. When Charlie disapproves of having to work with Dustin Kennedy, the seventh-grade English teacher, Grandma Esther encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what the book could teach Charlie about the needs of the children in their own community.


BEGINS September 6
ENDS September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only.

Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil by Anne Zoet - Author Q & A [Giveaway]

Fab Idea Press
Ages 3-9
ABOUT THE BOOK: Visiting Brazil, an earthquake hits and separates a family from Purrball, their beloved cat. Purrball's mad dash leaves her lost in a jungle where she becomes fast friends with a very clever sloth named Burrball. The two quick-witted animals embark on a journey to find Darryl, the loving and loyal boy who longs for his adorable missing cat. Witty word rhythms and rich illustrations make Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil an engaging read-aloud story. An alluring tale of friendship, family, ingenuity, and persistence.
This book will appeal to readers ages 3-9 #purrballmeetsburrball

Let's hear from Anne Zoet author of Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil

  1. What inspired you to write this book? The story hit me on a day that I took out for myself away from my high tech work. I was having a massage, which is when I zone-out and don’t think about anything. Oddly, this time, I started creating the Purrball and Burrball storyline the more and more I unwound. I was so relaxed that the whole thing unfolded start to finish. 
  2. How would you describe the characters of Purrball and Burrball?  Smart, kind, resourceful and they’re team players. Animals are invariably way more clever than we humans give them credit for. I’ve seen my cats use incredible logic to alter a situation they’re in. I once had a cat run away in a place she didn’t know (the worst weeks of my life searching every day) but she found her way back, though completely unfamiliar with the surroundings. I have another cat, my outdoor cat, who you can see trotting alongside opossums and raccoons in evenings. That scared me so much at first, but eventually we’ve come to see that he has a real relationship with them. He’s so smart and the more I see the wildlife interact with him, the more I see them as clever and accepting and even friendly. The Purrball and Burrball characters came to me before I moved to this area and could witness my cat and his outdoor adventures. But this experience really solidified how Purrball and Burrball should be portrayed as a team. I think that my cat’s experiences with wildlife show that animals are capable of very unexpected bonds with one another. 
  3. Why did you choose to write about a cat and a sloth? I’m crazy about both domestic and wild animals and it is a passion that just gets deeper all the time. I’ve done a lot of research on cats (on nutrition and behavior) as well as love to build cat structures and make toys for them. And, I do not know who could look at a sloth and not smile! They have the sweetest faces and they have so much more to them than the “  sloth”   slowness we think of. They’re rather industrious buggers and have some funny quirks, like the wildlife that grows in their fur. I firmly believe they should never be pets and should be kept wild. While the story is pure fantasy (as are stories where animals communicate with phones!), I really want to keep one a pet and the other wild and be true to my feelings about that and it would be so lovely to pass all that along to children! 
  4. How do Purrball and Burrball use technology in the book?Purrball, the cat, is unable to send a critical text message, so she asks Burrball, the sloth, if he could tap with his toes to write it. Maybe that’s my wish: I wish my cats would find a way to text me what they’re thinking. 
  5. Why did you decide to set the story in Brazil? It had to be set in the natural habitat of a sloth. I’ve always wanted to see a Brazilian rainforest, so I just created my own. It is roughly in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil and their plane arrives in Sao Paulo. Earthquakes are incredibly rare in that region, so all the more surprising that one happens when they arrive. After setting my sights on this area, I’ve seen dozens of photos of both Sao Paulo and the Atlantic Forest that make me long to go there! It is on my bucket list. 
  6. What does your writing process look like? It’s very interesting that verse isn’t the first thing that comes out. I think it all through with as much rhyme as possible, but just let the story be written in prose for a few versions until the story gels. I can picture the scenery faster than I can create a rhyme. 
  7. What was the most rewarding moment you experienced in writing Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil? It was seeing the art that kids created from my coloring pages! I always loved to draw and I didn’t find coloring pages that interesting as a kid. Now that I’ve seen what some kids have come up with (like one used a gold pen to make a gold mobile phone), I think it can be very creative. I look forward to some freehand drawings, if kids post any to my site (and there’s an option for that at 
  8. What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing this book? I’ve done a lot of digital art, but all for technology-related purposes, so letting things take shape (and learning from a very good freehand artist) was new, challenging, and not always what I had wished it would be until I found my style. 
  9. You also illustrated Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil. How did illustrating the book compare to writing it? It was a bit easier, given that I’m familiar with creating digital art for business purposes. To have artistic license was amazing and both writing and illustrating were very creative and fulfilling. In sum, illustrating was easier for me than writing, but both were much lengthier than I had ever imagined. I spent a good six months pulling both together. 
  10. Did any of your three cats influence the character of Purrball, either in physical likeness or personality? All three: one has the coloring of Purrball (I love grey kitties, although I suppose Purrball is a bit blue, really) and she has some cute characteristics—the scene where Purrball is looking up curiously at Burrball is so her! I have another one who is a squat and roundish cat with intense eyes and sitting frontally she looks like a black and white version of Purrball. And the last cat is the most clever cat you could imagine. I rolled them all into one. 
  11. What drew you to writing and illustrating a children’s book? My niece and nephew were recently of picture book age and I loved reading to them. I fell in love with books that were both beautiful and cleverly written and also reminded me of the years we live with unconstrained imagination. I love that animals are a big part of books for children. I figured I had a lot to say that could help kids fall in love with animals, like I did from a very early age. 
  12. What is the key to attracting young readers? It’s letting yourself be one for a moment—a good picture book can transport you back there. 
  13. When did your interest in writing begin? What about your interest in illustration? Recently, my dad reminded me of the “  novel”   I wrote and illustrated when I was in fourth grade and a few years ago he found my kindergarten poetry and illustrations. I guess I had it in me a while. He always told me I should write. I didn’t pay much attention to that, but like him, art has been a part of my studies and career and learning to illustrate children’s books is such a logical path in my life. 


Begins September 6
ENDS September 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
PRBytheBook furnished this informational post by the author to promote the launch of Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil. I received a complimentary copy from PRBytheBook. Giveaway copy is provided to winner by PRBytheBook on behalf of the author. Buy it here

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sarah's Orphans (Plain and Simple Miracles #3) by Vannetta Chapman [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts: I knew when I cracked the spin of Sarah's Orphans I was in for a good read. I have enjoyed every book from the pen (well, computer) of Vannetta Chapman. She has recently ventured into genres other than the gentle Amish fiction for which she is probably best known. The "Plain and  Simple Miracles" series is definitely about the Amish, yet we are seeing them in other settings and in situations not usually seen in stories about the Amish way of life.

We had met Sarah in a one of the earlier Plain and Simple Miracles books as the young Amish teen who was dealing with anorexia. Much of her personal emotional struggles were a result of her home with its many problems and her way of dealing with these issues.

Sarah's Orphans opens with the unusual situation of an Amish family near destitute because the irresponsible way the father has provided for them due to his mental illness. The mother, herself, is emotionally devoid of caring. The father dies, the mother walks out on the family of five children - two which are grown. So the tale of Sarah begins. An orphan herself, though she is grown, she struggles to hold home together for the four brothers. The older two brothers work valiantly to maintain the farm.

Into this dire situation, two very young Hispanic children are found and taken in. How this comes about is itself miraculous. How Sarah takes them in and, despite her own very needy life, begins to love and care for and provide a loving home for them.

True to Amish community ways they come together to provide assistance and support for Sarah and her family - her "orphans."

The characters in Sarah's Orphans will tug at the reader's heart strings. I just loved Sarah's brothers from the oldest to the youngest. Each had strong personalities with strengths that compliment each other. Mateo and Mia are the two little orphans that Sarah found. Mateo is full of energy, is smart, and very protective of his baby sister, Mia who is the charmer of the cast of characters.

And then we have the wonderful grandmother who unexpectedly appears on the scene and saves the day for all of them.

A sweet, blossoming romantic attraction develops between Sarah and their new Amish bachelor neighbor, Paul. He is a rock of strength and comfort to her, but unassuming on Sarah.

There are some real hard-hitting issues dealt with in this story: bipolar (the father), depression (the mother), abandonment (Sarah's mother and the mother of Mateo & Mia),  and anorexia (Sarah). Yes, these serious issues or conditions exist in every segment of society.

I heartily recommend Sarah's Orphans. In fact, I encourage you to acquire the others in this series Anna's Healing and Joshua's Mission.

About the book: Orphaned...But Never Abandoned by God

Sarah Yoder belongs to a Plain community in Oklahoma, but her days are far from simple. Life  suddenly gets complicated when a series of tragic events unfold, leaving her in charge of the household.

Alone with her younger siblings, Sarah is exhausted but finally at peace. Then she nearly runs over a small Hispanic boy with her buggy...and somehow finds herself sheltering two more orphans.

Paul Byler moved to Cody's Creek to help his brother in a time of need. But now that Joseph has recovered from his heart attack, Paul's ready for a quiet place of his own. The only problem? His new property lands him next door to the orphaned Yoder family—and a calling from God he can't seem to ignore.

A story of extraordinary grace and love in the face of desperate need, Sarah's Orphans is the third standalone novel in the Plain and Simple Miracles collection by Vannetta Chapman.


BEGINS September 5
ENDS September 26 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own. I was not compensated.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Miss Emily author by Burleigh Muten, illustrated by Matt Phelan (A story of Miss Emily Dickinson) [Review & Giveaway] USA/CANADA

ISBN: 9780763657345
Hardcover $15.99
Ages 7-10, Grades 3-5
Candlewick Press 
My thoughts: This delightful story presents a fictionalized Miss Emily Dickinson and her young neighbors in fun adventures in her garden and about in the evening. The story is written in free verse with short lines gracing the pages rather than structured format of rhyming poems or paragraph prose. This is a nice introduction (albeit fictionalized) to Miss Emily Dickinson, favorite poet of America. It is also a good introduction to reading free verse with a storyline similar to what it would be were it written in regular paragraph form.

A whimsical Miss Emily is portrayed in this story as the instigator and conspirator of adventures. The bibliography at the end is an asset as is the section of historical notes including the identity of the people actually in the story: "Mac" is MacGregor (Mac) Jenkins who lived across the street from the Dickinson mansion during his childhood. He became an author and wrote Emily Dickinson, Friend and Neighbor in 1930. And "Ned" is Edward (Ned) Dickinson who was Miss Emily's nephew living next door to his aunt.

The story..... It is an invitation to adventure issued by Miss Emily to the four children to meet her at night to go see the traveling circus and all it's glory. While out and about, one of the children is hurt. But all does not end there. They adventure continues.

Soft black and white sketches bring life to the story and each illustration has the identifying line of text beneath it. The book is abundantly illustrated but not a true "picture book." Matt Phelan's illustrations have a charm that speaks well to the story and to the time frame in which the story happened.

An engaging read, while it might involve some struggle for some readers to grasp the style. It is still a great introduction to fictionalizing a real person (and people), an opportunity to read a "story" in a different style, and to have a fun time whilst doing it all.
About the book: Discover the mischievous and affectionate side of a revered poet in this adventure about Emily Dickinson, four young friends, and a traveling circus. 

When an invitation to join Miss Emily in the garden appears, Mattie, Ned, Sally, and Mac know they’re in for some fun because Miss Emily — Emily Dickinson to the rest of us — always has a surprise in store for her young friends. And today’s may be the biggest adventure yet. In Burleigh Mutén’s suspenseful story, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Matt Phelan, Mac, the youngest member of the group, tells what happens when a reclusive poet and her band of pretend Gypsies wait for the midnight circus train to arrive.

Recap: Over the past few days, I have been reviewing three very well done children's books that feature the classical literary world. With these reviews is a giveaway of one of the books as a courtesy of Candlewick Press. So we've have a engaging look at Charles Dickens, an anthology of Classic Poetry, and a delightful rendering of a fictional tale about Emily Dickerson. The books are......
Begins August 30
ENDS September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.