#372 – The Dragons of Pan Gu by Kevin White


The Dragons of Pan Gu

by Kevin White

Rex White, illustrator

Chimeric Press

4 Stars

////////////Short Review (click here)

Website:  Light and dark, hot and  cold, wet and dry, male and female, perhaps even  intelligence and imagination… seemingly at odds from the dawn of  creation… dragons embodying the endless struggle for control… and finding  that, in  struggle, balance is achieved… and somewhere in the mists of time  and  wisdom, a grandfather discovers that balance is a gift best given.

First Sentence:  Long ago, Pan Gu walked in the void of the heavens.

About the Story:   The Dragons of Pan Gu is the story of Earth’s creation.  Pan Gu is a lonely man, all alone in the universe.  He decides to plant a seed on which he pins his joy.  The seed becomes Earth, but it is barren.  Pan Gu realizes Earth needs a source of power and he creates the Black Dragon.  This dragon pulls a cloak of darkness as it travels passed Earth.  The cold, frost, and snow the dragon produces makes Earth cold, dark, and barren.

Pan Gu thinks again and creates the White Dragon.  This dragon causes light to shine upon Earth as it passes by.  The smoke and fire from its breathe causes scorching winds that burns all it touches, and the Earth remains barren.  Pan Gu calls both dragons over, but they could not get along.  The Black Dragon chased the White Dragon, who chased the Black Dragon.  A great power struggled ensued and Earth clashed with the dragon’s abilities.  Pan Gu needs to find a solution, else Earth will never be his seed of joy.


What I Think:  I had to read this a couple times to understand the gist of it all.  I like the little Buddha man Pan Gu.  Pan Gu reaches inside himself and his mind to create the seed, and then into his vast knowledge and logic to form one dragon; his ideas and dreams to create the other.  I think the author is saying Earth was not a random event, but rather a thought–out event, created to please the creator, and part of the creator.  The Black Dragon represents darkness and cold, while the White represents sun and warmth.  I think kids will easily understand this even at an early age.  I think this story is an interesting way to explain the creation of Earth to a generation raised on knights and dragons.  Kids will quickly recognize these objects even at an early age.

I liked the image of the Black Dragon chasing the White Dragon, who chased the Black Dragon, circling around and around the Earth.  They are our 24-hour day, as they chase the tail of the other.  Maybe, when one or the other actually bites a chunk of the other’s tail, a vicious storm pours down upon Earth, or extremely high temperatures develop.  It is just a thought.


The Dragons of Pan Gu is an imaginative story.  The illustrations show Pan Gu, lonely and sad, having never smiled.  He stands among the stars, but an outline in the heavens, deciding how to soothe himself.  Pan Gu’s emotions are easy to read for a line drawing.  That is how good the illustrations are in this book.  The two White brothers make a good team.  Their other picture book, Stubby Pencil Noodlehead (review is HERE), was the beginning of this team’s collaboration.

I believe kids will enjoy this story of Earth’s creation and even learn from the elements (no pun intended).  The fanciful dragons will catch youngster’s eyes as the dragons fight and clash against each other.  The Dragons of Pan Gu would find many uses in the classroom, from a study on Chinese lore to the relationships between young and old.  The Dragons of Pan Gu is also a beautifully illustrated story that will be appreciated by those who collect children’s literature.

To read Short Review click here


The Dragons of Pan Gu

by Kevin White    website    blog   facebook    twitter

Rex White, illustrator     website    blog   facebook    twitter

Chimeric Press     website    blog   facebook    twitter

Released 2013

ISBN:  978-0-9847122-6-7

44 pages

Ages: 7 to 10


© 2013 by Chimeric Press, used with permission

Text:  Copyright © 2013 by Kevin White

Illustrations:  Copyright © 2013 by Rex White





pan gu


The Dragons of Pan Gu

pgcoverfrontThe Dragons of Pan Gu

by Kevin White

Rex White, illustrator

Chimeric Press

//////////////// SHORT REVIEW

About the Story:   The Dragons of Pan Gu is the story of Earth’s creation.  A small, lonely man named Pan Gu resides in the universe.  He wants to find his joy and smile, so he creates a seed that becomes Earth.  Earth is barren without a power source, so Pan Gu reaches inside himself to create two dragons—one at a time—to become the power source to the Earth, but they could not do the job alone, nor could they work together.  The Earth remained barren.  Pan Gu needed to find a solution else Earth would remain barren, the dragons would continue to fight, and Pan Gu would never find his joy or his smile.

What I Think:  I had to read The Dragons of Pan Gu a couple of times to get the gist of the story on a kid’s scale.  The book looks like a children’s book, but the text reads like an ancient manual at times.  I loved the story of creation.  It gives schools another source for creation in a Big Bang environment, giving kids differing ideas to ponder.  I like the black and white dragons chasing each other around Earth and becoming our night and day.  Much more needs explained than that in The Dragons of Pan Gu to educate children about Earth’s creation, but the story is a fun and easily acceptable way to introduce the ideas of Earth’s beginnings to young children.

dragons pan gu 2

BACK TO ORIGINAL REVIEW (and other illustrations)



pan gu

#1023 – The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes by Wade Albert White DEBUT!

agtse-cover-lbc The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes
Written by Wade Albert White
Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum
Little, Brown and Company  9/13/2016
374 pages  Ages 8—12

“Is there such a thing as too much adventure?

“Anne is about to find out. She’s spent most of her thirteen years scrubbing dirty hallways and laboring in dark mines at Saint Lupin’s orphanage, dreaming of finding her true home and of becoming an adventurer alongside her best friend, Penelope. Her dreams finally seem within reach . . . until Anne is denied her rightful ticket out of Saint Lupin’s.

“Determined to leave the (possibly evil) Matron and a life of chores behind, Anne’s daring escape plan takes a surprising turn when a mysterious dragon medallion fuses to her hand. Now tasked with a Rightful Heir™ quest, Anne, Penelope, and their new questing partner Hiro have just days to solve unsolvable riddles and triumph over undefeatable foes—or face the horrible consequences.

“Turn the page to discover an epic, action-packed adventure where worlds collide, danger lurks at every turn, and dragons aren’t nearly as innocent as they look (which is to say, not innocent at all).” [INSIDE JACKET]

Anne, an extremely clever girl, has finally reached the age at which St. Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children—where Anne has spent most of her life—boots her out. Each newly freed orphan receives a flying ship ticket and, at the prescribed time, sets off to wherever they end up . . . except for Anne. Her name goes unspoken. The Matron has found a way to keep Anne, but Anne and her best friend Penelope have different plans. They find a way off the tier Saint Lupin occupies, though not how they planned. Turned down at every wizard academy they’d heard of, the two girls find themselves one dragon ball-of-flame transport away from enrollment at Death Mountain Quest Academy.
headlessknightsThe Matron had a gauntlet in her office until it attaches itself to Anne’s arm. A beautiful light blue medallion then attaches itself to the gauntlet. The Matron wants them back. These, and an academy administrator on her last legs, become Anne’s ticket to an adventure. Her team of Penelope and Hiro find themselves in odd situations, facing strange creatures, solving strange riddles, and facing a cruel, meddlesome Wizard Council. The world in which Anne lives is creative and quirky. There are elements of “Old World” (where computers, robots, and other machinery are from) and the current world of tiers (islands floating around a ball of magical energy). Transportation consists of a flying ship (like the one taking away thirteen-year-olds from Saint Lupin), dragon fireballs (two types: fast and really fast, but expensive), and the forbidden portals. The world building is simply remarkable.
pre5gettinghand-cut-offThe Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes will entertain kids who like action and adventure with some silliness thrown into the mix. Little side notes on the opposite page of new chapters offer readers some insight into the story or the crazy, effective worlds the kids find themselves in. Anne’s library book changes titles and content to help Anne along the way, much to her surprise. There seems to be many little secrets at the Saint Lupin “orphanage.”

Written in a unique voice, this debut is one of the funniest this year. The quirky characters will engage kids, including the Death Mountain Quest Academy headmistress, who prefers a warm bed to curl up into and tends to ignore her students and Jeffery and the little sparrow living inside Anne’s blue medallion. Anne and Penelope are terrific female protagonists that boys will also like. The multicultural cast is a wonderful step forward in this middle grade fantasy. At each chapter headings, black and white illustrations depict forthcoming action or characters, giving readers one more view of this strange world of tiered planets floating in the sky.
flightfromstlupinIf you are looking for a fun, exciting, fast-paced fantasy The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes fills the bill. Kids will be amused and tickled. Readers will anxiously await the next edition in the series. Wade Albert White has written an uplifting, inane world, with interesting characters, absurd situations with hysterical outcomes. Kids and adults who love middle grade novels will eat up The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes. What are you waiting for?

THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ESCAPES. Text copyright © 2016 by Wade Albert White. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mariano Epelbaum. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksApple BooksLittle, Brown and Company

Add The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.

Next:  Book 2, (working title): The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (And Why They Keep Biting Me) Available tentatively in September 2017.

Reprinted with permission from THE ADVENTURER’S GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ESCAPES © 2016 by Wade Albert White, Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group. Illustrations © 2016 by Mariano Epelbaum.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes
Written by Wade Albert White
Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum
Little, Brown and Company 9/13/2016

The Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight Spills His Gut

Kid Lit Reviews is proud to have Dragon—and a captive Knight—here today to talk about Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle’s debut picture book There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight. Tomorrow, Kid Lit Reviews will review this gorgeous and humorous picture book (read it here).

Dragon Cover High Res copy

Please welcome Dragon and Knight.

Hi Dragon! Thanks so much for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews and bringing Knight with you. If it’s okay, I’d like to ask Knight a question.

Knight, with all the signs warning you about Dragon, why did you continue riding into the forest and the Dragon’s lair?

more signs and trees

knight fixed


“Signs? There were signs? I suppose I was too busy enjoying the beautiful day to notice signs. And, in case you haven’t noticed…I’m a knight! Oh, I think you may have noticed since you addressed me as “Knight”. Anyway, I’m a knight. A fierce knight. Why would a dragon swallow me? What? Oh. You’re asking the questions. Well, OK. Let’s get on with it.”


What were your thoughts when Dragon swallowed you?

knight fixed.

“My thoughts? My thoughts! Well, “It’s not polite!” That’s exactly what I thought. And I thought, “This dragon has medieval manners!”


dragon fixed.


“Hey, I have a joke for you!” 

knight fixed.


“Hmph, medieval manners!”


Dragon, please, tell us your joke.


Dragon, you slay me!

Knight, “Shame on you!” Your unrestricted travels caused a ripple effect. First, you were swallowed and then, your steed and then . . . Anything to say in your defense?

knight fixed.

“Well I must say that I don’t believe I’m to blame. I say, “Shame on Dragon!” This is my kingdom, after all. But, I guess I might have caused a ripple effect given the fact that my steed has a tendency to clippity-clop without my expert steedmanship skills. I’m sure Dragon just wanted to be rid of the annoyance. And for that I apologize. Forgive me steed, squire, cook, lady, castle, and moat. I am most sorry.”


“Clippity-clop?” Interesting. 

Let me officially welcome, Dragon.  My, you are one big creature! And (illustrator), Ben Mantle made you so handsome.  Just to clarify, how old are you?

dragon fixed.

“Well, thank you. Most people find me handsome. And, FYI, you shouldn’t ask a dragon his age. It’s not polite! Bwahahaha! That’s what the knight says! He’s a stuffy old bit-of-breakfast. Back to your question. I’m old. Very old. At my last birthday party I lit 600 candles. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s easy for a dragon to light candles.

“I have another joke for  you.”OldDragon_Image3_FB_2P

You could be a comedian!

I think the reade—

knight fixed


“Hey! Remember me? The knight in his belly? Well, I have a joke.”


Um, okay. What’s your joke?


Don’t lose your day night job. (hehe)

knight fixed.

“You’re not polite!”

And you’re small. (hehe)

Dragon, I think I now know the answer, but I’ll still ask. Why did you swallow the knight?

dragon fixed“I like knights. They are most tasty. And remember, they come to do me harm so I think it’s very smart to swallow them before they get a chance to do the harm they’ve come to do.
Because . . .

“How much harm can a good knight do
if a good knight means you harm?
A lot! That’s the correct answer—a lot!

The knight said, “It’s not polite.” Is it really not polite for an old dragon to swallow a knight (or are knights a tad whiny)?

“They are more than a tad whiny. I’ve yet to swallow a knight (and believe me, I’ve swallowed my share of knights) that hasn’t whined. “It’s not polite!” “It’s not polite!” “It’s not polite!” You get the picture.”

Yep, I do. Dragon, I love your blue and white-dotted kerchief and that you try to be a neat eater. Here is a two-part question: Is neatness important to all dragons? What, or who, was the messiest to swallow?

dragon fixed“Thanks! My blue and white-dotted kerchief is a one-of-a-kind Ben Mantle special. Ben really knows how to make a dragon look his best. As to dragons and neatness, we do our best not to leave a mess. Swallowing “things” whole helps.

“The messiest thing to swallow? It’s hard to choose between the steed and the moat. The steed clippity-clopped and made a real mess of things inside my stomach. But then the moat was full of alligators and such so it was not easy to keep things neat. And then when the moat came back out . . . oh my! Let’s not go there.”

Let’s not! Today is International Dot Day. Dragon, what does your dot look like?

“My dot looks like this. I’m on the outside looking in and that is extremely satisfying.”

Dot Day 2015

Very nice!

How about you, Knight, what does your dot look like down in the belly of the beast?

knight fixed.

“Well, my dot looks exactly like Dragon’s dot except that I’m on the inside looking out, which is not satisfying at all. In fact, it makes me want to holler, “It’s not polite!”

Dot Day 2015

Not as original as Dragon’s, but you don’t really have any art supplies down there, do you?

knight fixed“Hmph! You’re NOT POLITE!”

And you’re still small. (hehe)

knight fixed“You. Are. Not. Pol—“

And smaller . . . 

Dragon, many, many kids will read your story. If you could reach out to them, what advice would you give these kids?

dragon fixed.

“I hope my book will make kids laugh. So I would tell them to embrace their sense of humor because laughter is good for the soul.”


Dragon, thank you for stopping by KLR. I enjoyed our little chat. And I appreciate your restraint by not swallowing me! Will you ever let Knight go free?

dragon fixed.


“Thanks for having me. I do my best not to swallow those who have been kind enough to have me as a guest. About the knight’s future? It’s not in my nature to be lenient with knights, so I’d say the chances of me letting him free are slim to it’s-not-going-to-happen :D”


I hope you don’t get indigestion.

knight fixed.

“Its not po—“

I know “Polite!” But it is fun. (heeh) Seriously, Knight, thanks for tagging along.

I must also thank the author, Penny Parker Klostermann for bringing Dragon to this interview and, Knight for being such a captive guest. Penny, I love your story. What is next for you? Any sneak peaks you can give away?

PPK_0615_RGB_HR_02“Thank you for having Dragon for an interview. It’s very brave of you.

“My next book is A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE. In this fairy tale mash-up, a well-meaning chef accidentally cooks with ingredients essential to famous fairy tales—Snow White’s apple, Jack’s magic beans, and Cinderella’s pumpkin. Ben Mantle will be illustrating this book, too. It is slated for Spring 2017 with Random House Children’s Books.”

What a brilliant idea. I cannot wait to read A Cooked Up Fairy Tale. 

Thank you Penny and Dragon for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews. Oh, yeah, um, thank you Knight.

Dragon’s story can be found at your local bookstore or, if you prefer to order online, you can find There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunes BooksIndieBound BooksRandom House Children’s Books.

Dragon Cover High Res copy

Want a Signed Copy? Go to the Texas Star Trading Company HERE and leave details in the Gift Message field or call (325) 672-9696.


Much thanks to Penny Parker Klostermann—is this a cool alliterative name for a writer (or a superhero)—who spent way too much time helping me get all of the above together. Readers know I love debut authors and Ms. Klostermann is one of the most impressive “newbies” I’ve met. I truly think she is a star in the making. Read more about her debut, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallow a Knight, tomorrow in my review (here) (you never know, I might hate it).

You can find Penny Parker Klostermann at her website:  http://pennyklostermann.com/
.     .     .   .Blog :  http://pennyklostermann.com/blog-a-penny-and-her-jots/
.     .     .   .Twitter:  https://twitter.com/pklostermann
.     .     .   .Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/penny.parkerklostermann
You can meet Ben Mantle at his website:  http://www.benmantle.co.uk/
.     .     .   .Blog:  http://benmantleillustration.blogspot.com/
.   .     .     .Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BenMMantle
.    .     .    .Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ben-Mantle-illustration-163019703868052/
You can meet the Knight in Dragon’s stomach.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle is published by Random House Children’s Books. Dragon and Knight’s interview answers by Penny Parker Klostermann. Images copyright © 2015 by Ben Mantle. This post is for entertainment purposes. Any opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Guest Post: Children’s Book Categories by Diane Mae Robinson

Today’s post is a guest post by Diane Mae Robinson, award-winning author of the Pen Pie Yu Series with Sir Princess Petra and her trusty steed, Snarls. I appreciate Diane filling in at the last moment after I awoke with the yuckies. Diane is reviewing genres in children’s writing.

NOW, with a cough and a wheeze), I present Ms. Diane Robinson!  yeah! yeah! cough. yeah.

Book Categories in Children’s Books

There are several different types of children book categories and sub-categories. The writing style and word count is different in each type of category. The following list is a general guideline of the categories, and these guidelines may vary by publisher.

Board books/ Toy books:  Ages newborn to 3 years. These books are for the youngest of listeners and are meant to engage their minds in learning with textures, pop ups, flaps, noise makers, and lively illustrations. The words in these books are more about the sound they make when spoken by the reader. These books can have one word or just a few words per page.

Toddler books/ Concept books: Ages 3 – 5 years. Introducing basic learning through shapes, colors, alphabets, animals, and people, these books have a stronger emphasis on the words than the previous category.  The images and interaction of the book are still the main focus for the child. These books average 200 – 300 words and are often in the form of the board book format.

Early picture books:  Ages 4 – 6 years. Often referred to as picture story books,these are books written to be read to preschool and kindergarten children. The words are still simple but more intriguing with their sounds.  The word count is between 200 – 1000 words with just a few lines per page and a simple plot. The color illustrations on every page are still the main focus for telling of the story. Pages vary as per content–usually less than 32 pages.

Picture books/Easy readers:  Ages 5 -7 years.  Early picture book are books written for children just starting to read on their own. These books have between 500- 1500 simple words (1000 words being the average) and have a stronger focus on an entertaining story through the story’s action and dialogue. Color illustrations are still on every page or every other page. These books are usually 32 pages.

Early chapter books:  Age 6 – 9 or 7 – 10 years. The story is divided into chapter of 2 – 3 pages per chapter.  The plotting and characters become more complex than a picture book, but not too much that the child loses interest.  Theme and style of writing grab the child’s attention. Most chapter books for this age group still include some illustrations, usually black and white, but not on every page. The word count can be up to 10,000 words and up to 65 pages.

Middle grade chapter books: Written for children 8 – 12 years of age, the characters and plotting of the story becomes more complex as the topics have a wider range and the writer has more leeway to include some narration and descriptive setting, introduce more characters, and add dramatic effects to the theme and style of writing.  Chapters are 3 -4 pages each with few illustrations or no illustrations. Kid get hooked on character at this stage of reading. Word count can be up to 20,000 words within 65 – 200 pages.

Young adult books: Often referred to as YA books or  juvenille novels, are written for readers 12 and up, 14 and up, and 17 – 18 years.Topics and language vary greatly. Most YA books have an adolescent protagonist where the focus is on plotting, character and setting, while theme and style often take second place. Plotting can have subplots with several major characters, although, one character should still emerge as the focus of the story. Harry Potter books are consider YA novels.

Whatever age group your intended audience, the main character of your story should be a little older than the intended audience.

feather penVisit my author’s website to learn more about my dragon books for children:  http://www.dragonsbook.com
And Diane’s Homemade Blog http://www.dianemaerobinson.com/


If anyone would like to guest post, please send it to me using my email address, if you know it, or the Contact Form.  (Navigation bar to the right). Thanks.


#515 – Because Dragons Love Milk by Marie Chow & Miki Tharp

dragons love milk.

Because Dragons Love Milk

by Marie Chow

Miki Tharp, illustrator

978-1-49541484-8    1/27/2014

Age 3 to 7     28 pages



“They were halfway through dinner when Tycho announced, “I don’t want to go to bed tonight!”

The Story

Tycho does not want to go to sleep because there are dragons under his bed. Dad lets his son in on a secret. Dragons love milk. He explains that milk soothes a dragon’s fiery throats. If a dragon’ throat is soothed it becomes a happy dragon. Tycho is happy about the dragon but wants to know about the alligator. Dad had an alligator under his bed and it liked old shoes. Because alligator do not floss, their gums always hurt. Chewing on an old shoe helps sooth an alligator’s gums.


Because Dragons Love Milk will entertain any young boy who has ever had a dragon, an alligator, or a T-rex under his bed. It is refreshing to read a story about a young boy and his dad. At least two of a boy’s favorite animals are under Tycho’s bed (dragon and T-rex). The way dad breaks down his son’s fears is imaginative and adorable. The three terrifying animals become less threatening when they are fond of milk, stories, and old, stinky shoes.

The illustrations need detail to define one object from another. I see blocks of color, some of which fade or blend into the next. A color picture book needs to have lots of color, and details help. Give the child something to look at. If he cannot yet read, the only way to hold his visual attention is through details. A few toys, pictures on the walls, a window, any of this would have improved the boy’s room. Monsters get restless when there is nothing to play with in a room. The other problem is the lack of a credit page/copyright page. Every book must have certain pages and this is one of them.


Spreads are lighter in finished paperback book.

Kids will love the story. They will enjoy the odd things each “monster” needs and the reason they need them. Suspending belief is easy thanks to the author’s pen. She writes sentences that flow into one another, making them easy to read, and easy for a young child to understand. This is a nice debut story. I wish it were longer just so I can read more of the author’s imagination. Because Love Milk would be the perfect story to read right before a kindergarten classroom nap. A good choice for boys and dads.


Learn more about Because Dragons Love Milk HERE!

Buy your own copy of Because Dragons Love Milk at Amazonyour local bookstore.


Author Marie Chow’s website.   http://mariechow.com/

Illustrator Miki Tharp’s website.  http://mikitharp.com/


BECAUSE DRAGONS LOVE MILK. Text copyright © 213 by Marie Chow. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Miki Tharp. Reproduced by permission of the author, Mare Chow.



dragons love mik

Guest Post: Point of View Storytelling by Diane Mae Robinson

Welcome Diane Robinson

Author of The Pen Pieyu Adventures

Point of View in Storytelling

petra edit 

Point of View (P.O.V.) in a story depends on how the main character is presented.

In first person, the book is told directly by the main character:
I am a dragon. I entertain people. That is my destiny.

In second person, the story is presented as if the reader is the main character:
You get dresses, you eat breakfast, you go wrestle a dragon—it’s all in a day’s work.

In third person, the main character is referred to by name:
Petra wondered at this for a moment. “Really? Is it possible that a dragon could be turned into a frog? “

First Person Narrative
First person point of view instantly connects the reader with the main character, but often results in too much “telling” and not enough “showing.”
In the First person point of view, it is difficult to write about the physical description of the main character. In older writings writer’s reverted to the “looked in the mirror” description, which is shunned in modern writing.
First person point of view does allow the humor and thoughts of the main character to come through and the reader connects more readily with the main character.

Second Person Narrative

Second Person point of view is the least used form of writing books. Second person P.O.V. is difficult to maintain throughout a whole book and can produce awkward prose. This point of view is best used in blog posts.

Third Person Narrative

 Third Person P.O.V. is the most common form of narration.

Third person restricted has nearly as much closeness with the main character as first person but it is easier to avoid too much telling. The challenge to third person restricted is to keep the views only of the main character and not getting into and telling the thoughts of other characters.

One challenge with third person restricted is limiting the story to scenes where the main character is present. This often requires creative plotting; to write the scenes around the main character. But doing so usually works out better than switching viewpoint characters. Switching viewpoint characters can and is done, but the difficulty of sustaining alternative views is that the reader can get lost within the different character’s identities.

Third Person omniscient is the rarest form of writing because it tends to obscure the main character. This type of P.O.V. knows all, and the writer reads into the thoughts of both minor and major characters. The reader does gain obscure knowledge of  the other characters, but the more times a writer switches the P.O.V., the less the reader will care about the main character.

A few other points on P.O.V.

book 1mm
Book 1 in the series, Sir Princess Petra is available now.  (click for review)
Book 2 in the series, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent will be released September 2013
Visit Diane’s author’s website: http://www.dragonsbook.com

Short Reviews

Adventures of Caramel Cardamom,The #2: Return to Cardamom  2013 by Julie Grasso & David Blackwell

Al and Teddy 2013 by Neil Waldman – Dream Yard Press

An Honest Boy, Un hombre sincero (English and Spanish Edition) 2013 by Magdalena Zenaida – SP

Blucy 2013 by Julia Dweck & Erika LeBarre – SP

Charlie Bumpers vs the Teacher of the Year 2013 by Bill Harley & Adam Gustavson – Peachtree Publishers

Dragons of Pan Gu,The 2013 by Kevin White & Rex White – Chimeric Press

Hide and Seek 2013  by Taro Gomi – Chronicle Books

Horatio’s New Home  2013 by Pam Newman & Michelle Holland – Penn Press

Lion vs. Rabbit 2013 by Alex Latimer – Peachtree Publishing

Molly Goes to Preschool 2012 by Cynthia Andrews & Floyd Yamyamin – Author House (SP)

The Monster in the Mudball: An Artifact Inspector Book 2013 by S.P. Gates – TU Books (Lee & Low Books)

My Uncle Rob 2008 by Steve Sandler & Rob Cunningham

Rose in the Desert, A 2011 by Chi Emerole & Ryan Durney

Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish 2013 by Kate Messner & Andy Rash – Chronicle Books

Smidgen of Sky, A 2012 by Dianna Dorisi Winget – Harcourt Children’s Books

Smurfs,The #15: The Smurflings 2013 by Peyo – Papercutz

Tales from the Coins #1: Jake and Alex & The Holy Leap 2013 by Marc Zelinsky & Rick Sargent

TouchThinkLearn:  Colors  2013 by Xavier Deneux – Chronicle Books

TouchThinkLearn: Opposites 2013 by Xavier Deneux – Chronicle Books

Very Big Carrot, The 2013 by Satoe Tone

Wiggle! 2013 by Taro Gomi – Chronicle Books

Yell and Shout, Cry and Pout: A Kid’s Guide to Feelings 2013 by Peggy Kruger-Tietz & Rebecca Layton

#1177 – SISTER DAY! by Lisa Mantchev and Sonia Sánchez

Sister Day!
Written by Lisa Mantchev
Illustrations by Sonia Sánchez
Paula Wiseman Books 6/13/2017
32 pages Ages 4—8

“Sisters play,
sisters laugh,
sisters love . . .
most of the time.

“For Lizzie, the perfect afternoon is one spent playing with her big sister, Jane. But it’s tough being the little sister. Jane is always busy with activities and play dates. And so she hatches the perfect plan to show Jane just how much she loves her.

“This sweet and whimsical story perfectly captures the special bond of sisterhood.” [INSIDE JACKET]

[WC 538]
Lizzie loves her big sister, Jane, and simply wants to spend some time with her. She loves Jane’s stories, especially the one where Jane finds Lizzie living under a rock and brings her home. But Jane has a structured life with several activities, play dates, and then homework, leaving little for storytelling or much of anything else.
One day, Lizzie notices Jane’s calendar has an open square, a Saturday. Lizzie strikes upon an idea to get her sister’s attention, picks out a crayon, and marks the box with a pink circle. All week long, Lizzie works hard to bring her idea to life, as Jane remains busy with one activity or another. Monday is soccer practice, Tuesday ballet lessons, Wednesday . . . until finally an activity-free Saturday.

Lizzie uses the time to tame some wild dragons, dress up fairies in tutus, and other important preparations. Every day, while Jane does her activity, Lizzie prepares for Saturday. Finally, the day circled in pink crayon arrives. Lizzie takes her sketchbook, her drawings, and her plans and puts them all together. Once ready, she looks for her big sister, but Jane is not in her room. Where could she be?
Sister Day! is a special day for Lizzie. Her ideas, cleverly overlaid upon Jane’s activities, are imaginative and creative. Various animals help Lizzie plan her big orchestra, playing various instruments while Lizzie conducts, all while Jane has her piano lesson. Strangely, the piano teacher seems able to see Lizzie’s imagination at work. Each day, while Jane has her lesson or practice, Lizzie prepares for Saturday. Interestingly, someone in the room can see it all in motion. This helps direct the reader’s attention to Lizzie and her friends. Quite clever.

Young siblings will appreciate Sister Day! and may find inspiration. Big sisters could very well see themselves, over scheduled as many youngsters are today, and notice how lonely her younger sister is without her attention. The illustrations cleverly make ordinary days into special days, all filled with Lizzie’s imagination. There is much to smile about with little tugs of humor within each day. Moms will appreciate Mantchev’s practical reminder that children need an adult’s help when they use kitchen appliances.
Sister Day! mirrors National Sister’s Day. Always on the first Sunday in August, this year the day arrives on August 6th. National Sister’s Day is the perfect day for siblings to connect and remind each other of their love for one another. Young girls tend to idolize their older sister, wanting to be like them and with them, yet often left behind in today’s tendency to keep kids active—sometimes overextended with lessons, programs, and play dates. National Sister’s Day! can help slow down family life, if only for a day.
Sister’s Day! lovingly portrays a younger siblings need for their older sibling, be it sister or brother (Brothers Day occurs each May 24th). Lizzie and Jane’s story, narrated by the younger girl, is full of love, creativity, imagination, and the need siblings have for each other, especially when young. When kids do not connect with siblings when young, they usually lose touch as adults. Sister’s Day! promotes family and love. The story is perfect for sisters, no matter their ages.

SISTER DAY! Text copyright © 2017 by Lisa Mantchev. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Sonia Sánchez. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Paula Wiseman Books, New York, NY.

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Activity Sheets
Great Interview at Holly’s Narrative Dream.

Illustrations from SISTER DAY! by Lisa Mantchev copyright © 2017 by Sonia Sánchez. Used with permission from Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books.

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Sister Day!
Written by Lisa Mantchev
Illustrations by Sonia Sánchez
Paula Wiseman Books 6/13/2017

#1121 – The Wizard’s Dog by Eric Kahn Gale

The Wizard’s Dog
Written by Eric Kahn Gale
Illustrated by Dave Phillips
Crown Books for Young Readers  1/17/2017
288 pages    Ages 8—12

“Merlin’s magical pup and his
story will make you howl.

“My pack mates Merlin and Morgana spend all day behind the study door practicing magic tricks. What about me? If it’s a trick they want, I’m their dog! I can already Sit!, Stay!, and Roll Over!

“But there’s no way I’m Stay!ing when my master, Merlin, is kidnapped. I’m his best friend. There’s nothing I won’t do to get him back, even if it means facing the strange Fae people and their magic-eating worms, or tangling with the mysterious Sword and Stone. No amount of danger can keep me from Fetch!ing Merlin.” [INSIDE JACKET]

[WC 578]
The Wizard is Merlin, and his dog is Nosewise, a rescue dog living the dream of a furrever home. There is also twelve-year-old Morgana, the third member of Nosewise’s pack. But Morgana has found her father and she has been talking to him in the garden, past the Wall of Trees. One day, her father will come for her, but for now, she is Merlin’s apprentice and teaches Nosewise a bit of magic.

Nosewise loves Merlin beyond anything else. Once Lord Destrian kidnaps Merlin, Nosewise will do anything to find and rescue him. Like all heroes, Nosewise needs a sidekick. He finds his in Arthur, the poop boy at Lord Destrian’s castle. Arthur is tired of his life scooping scat. Soon he and Nosewise are chasing Lord Destrian through the Otherworld and beyond. Arthur will need to find a source of courage to be of any real help, but like the loyalty a dog has to the one who rescues him, Arthur develops loyalty for Nosewise. Together, they face much danger in their search for Merlin.
The Wizard’s Dog is a take on The Stone and The Sword, the Legend of King Arthur, Avalon, and much more. Gale expertly weaves the characters and the legends into an exciting fantasy that keeps readers glued to the pages. Nosewise is a likeable, loveable, and loyal dog. His voice and understanding of human speech is often the source of well-spun humor. Think of common dog behaviors and then question why humans do not do such behaviors and you have the source of much of Nosewise’s questions regarding man. Such as: Why do we humans not smell each other’s rear ends, as there is so much one can learn from doing so. Dogs can find out another dog’s age, general health, and what they last ate, all by smelling its rear-end. (It could put veterinarians out of business.)
Nosewise is a hero, similar to Lassie. But while Lassie’s vocalizations could be understood only by Timmy, Nosewise can understand and be understood by all thanks to his human speech—as long as he wears an asteria, Merlin’s magical stone. An asteria also gives Nosewise the ability to perform basic magic, a skill he’ll need to rescue Merlin. Without the stone, Nosewise is simply a canine, though one of the most loyal and bravest canines to go up against magic.

As narrator, Nosewise tells a compelling story using his canine/human perspective. Kids will love The Wizard’s Dog for its action, fast-paced story, and canine humor. Eric Kahn Gale’s middle grade novel is spot-on storytelling. He expertly weaves the various characters and scenes into a wonderful story. As a trilogy, I cannot wait to read the pack’s next adventure. Now that Merlin understands Nosewise can do a little magic, maybe Nosewise will become a new apprentice and learn more.

Whatever the storyline, The Wizard’s Dog, Book 2 will use its magic to keep us following Nosewise and his pack through old legends and new adventures. Though I am not sure how Gale will top this first book. Nosewise has already faced Lord Destrian and King Oberon—two of the most devious and dastardly antagonists any hero could face. They could not be any worse if they were one in the same. King Oberon is also the most physically knotted character I have ever met.

Whatever the next adventure, I hope Nosewise continues to narrate. The Wizard’s Dog is a fun fantasy kids will gladly devour.

Bowser, the Real Nosewise.

*(From the Author’s website: “Further novels find our heroes searching for the Holy Grail, the lost city of Camelot, tangling with dragons and the Queen of Dreams. Nosewise finds himself in the very center of the world of Arthurian Legend.” —So there you have it. I cannot wait to read the rest of this trilogy—and I am not a big fan of fantasy.)

THE WIZARD’S DOG. Text copyright © 2017 by Eric Kahn Gale. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Dave Phillips. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Crown Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.

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Add THE WIZARD’S DOG to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Teacher’s Guide is HERE.

Reprinted with permission from THE WIZARD’S DOG© 2017 by Eric Kahn Gale, Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Illustrations © 2017 by Dave Phillips.

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Wizard’s Dog
Written by Eric Kahn Gale
Crown Books for Young Readers 1/17/2017



#989 – Dear Dragon by Josh Funk and Rodolfo Montalvo

cover Dear Dragon
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
Viking Books for Young Readers   9/06/2016
40 pages   Ages 4—8
“George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects.

“There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a DRAGON!

“What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?

[Dear Dragon is] “A sweet and clever friendship story about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.” [INSIDE JACKET]

George and Blaise begin the new school year, at two different schools, assigned as pen pals. They will write, in rhyme, to each other during the school year. This new activity is a first for both boys, who rely on twenty-first century technology, including the internet, social media, and texting via smart phones. Putting a pen to paper will be a conundrum for both boys. To add a layer of difficulty, each letter must be written in rhyming poetry. Wow.

Letters begin as formal short descriptions of their recent day and then delve into a friendship.

As the school year continues, George and Blaise continue writing to each other. With each passing letter, the stiffness relaxes and the boys look forward to receiving new letters. Writing becomes an enjoyable task. Both boys look forward to writing and reading each new letter, visualizing the other’s activities, never realizing what the reader understands: The life of one tan human boy and one green dragon child will not be what the other can accurately imagine.
georgekittenbengaltigerFor example, George tells Blaise he needs to bath his Bengal kitten. Believing George to be a dinosaur like himself, Blaise imagines George bathing a huge Bengal tiger. Blaise tells George his father won the local fire-breathing contest and George envisions a man bowing fire out from his mouth, not a fire-breathing dragon flying through the sky. Young readers will enjoy being “in on the joke.”

Then the day arrives when the two teachers bring their classes together. A picnic that gives pen pals a chance to finally meet face-to-face and talk. No one expects the day to happen as it does—except maybe the wise and clever teachers.
sciencefairvolcanoeruptionDear Dragon contains Funk’s usual humor, grace, and insightfulness. Thanks to Montalvo’s equally humorously detailed illustrations. Imagine writing to a young boy, very similar to yourself (or young girl), and developing an amazing friendship, even though you could not pick them out in a crowd. In fact, appearances play no role in this friendship whatsoever. Yet, though your lives are so similar, your thoughts and visualizations of your pen pal are actually far from the truth, meaning your pen pal is not someone you would have chosen for a friend. In fact, you very well may have avoided him or her. Yet, now, you are the best of friends.

Funk and Montalvo cleverly teach kids to value a person’s inner characteristics over their physical features, which neither has seen until today. Readers will learn the value of appreciating a person’s character instead of the person’s appearance. Kids also can now understand how people (and dragons) erroneously visualize someone’s words based on their own experiences rather than shared experiences.
flyingDear Dragon is clever, a fun read, and a brilliant tale for young children who will learn more than anyone could ever expect from a pen pal. There is no twist at the end. Readers understand from pages one George is a human boy and Blaise is a green dragon. Will they become friends? Can they understand what the other writes? How off, if at all, will pen pals find himself or herself when reading and understanding their pen pal’s letter?

I love Funk’s idea. It would be a brilliant experiment, if two schools, from two countries or regions became pen pals. Can words alone, rhyming words, help each pen pal understand and become friends with the other? Will the friendships last beyond the school year? Time—and maybe a sequel—will only tell.

DEAR DRAGON. Text copyright © 2016 by Josh Funk. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Rodolfo Montalvo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Viking Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.

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Add Dear Dragon to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.
Find and Download Activity Page for Dear Dragon HERE.

Reprinted with permission from DEAR DRAGON © 2016 by Josh Funk, Viking Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers/Penguin Random House, Illustrations © 2016 by Rodolfo Montalvo.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Dear Dragon
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
Viking Books for Young Readers 9/06/2016

#946 – Selfies in the Wild by C. L. Murphy Book Tour – $200 Giveaway!

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SelfiesInTheWildCover Selfies in the Wild
Series: The Adventures of Loveable Lobo, #6
Written and Illustrated by C. L. Murphy
Peanut Butter Prose  8/01/2016
28 pages   Ages 3—7

“Lobo and his sidekick raven find a trail camera in their neck of the woods, and it attracts the attention of forest friends. Images captured have never been sillier or more candid. Just as their wild dispositions are exposed, the photo shoot comes to an unexpected end and they’re all left wondering why. The reason may be obvious.” [Amazon]

One warm summer day, Lobo and his forest friends happen upon a camera in the forest. After assuring the others of the camera’s inability to take their souls, the animals begin posing for the camera. For nearly an hour and a half, the animal friends show different sides of themselves. Their grins, their ears, their paws, their fun sides, and their curious sides. But then, unexpectedly, the camera stops taking images and the animals think they have broken it. Are they now in danger? Did they make the camera mad with their silliness? Maybe the camera simply needs a nap. These are some of the animal’s explanations for the camera’s demise. What they don’t know is the truth—or who is watching.

page1expSelfies in the Wild begins in confusion for both the animals and readers. Who is speaking? Bubbles don’t help in the dark. I was surprised to see such an error on the part of this normally astute writer. Not until the third page do we learn it is Lobo and his friend Raven, with Raven being the skittish participant. Their voices heard around the forest, other animals begin to appear. Each curious animal soon becomes a willing participant.

I love the initial worry of some of these animals. It is a belief in some civilizations that a picture captures—steals—a piece of your soul or spirit. The animals worry this may happen with each click of the camera. Lobo tells them not to worry, but never explains why they should not worry, he intuitively knows a camera is harmless. This begs the question do animals have spirits or souls. Not the type of question for a young child, but one that can open up interesting dialogue with older kids and adults. A good picture book reaches beyond young children.

spiritsAs time and pictures continue, the animals get goofy. The colorful illustrations bring out the animals’ personalities perfectly. Selfies in the Wild can be viewed as an interesting commentary on the current selfie culture of kids (and some adults) today. Why are we so fixated with these phone cameras and taking our own pictures? The animals also bring up another interesting question. Who sees these pictures? With all these possible discussion questions, I think Selfies in the Wild is perfect for tweens and teens. Teachers might find Selfies in the Wild as a way to broach the subject of the narcissistic behavior and the phone cameras that help brings this to the surface.

Selfies in the Wild is based on the author’s own wilderness camera, which has captured many wild animals. Of course, those animals had no idea a camera caught their image. Having seem a few of those images, I found them humorous in ways Lobo and his friends are not. Lobo and company know what is happening and pose for the camera. The real animals were simply being themselves.

good impressionSelfies in the Wild, as a children’s book, will produce many giggles from its youngest readers. At its core, this is what Selfies in the Wild is meant to be, a fun picture book showing goofy animals acting like many teens today. Parents will find this very funny. The bigger worth of Selfies in the Wild is the discourse it can foster with older kids and parents or in the school setting. In this regard, Selfies in the Wild is an unexpected, perfectly wild adventure for kids of all ages.

SELFIES IN THE WILD (THE ADVENTURES OF LOVEABLE LOBO #6). Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by C. L. Murphy. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peanut Butter Prose. 


Find Selfies in the Wild on Goodreads HERE.

C. L. Murphy:  http://lovablelobo.com/
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Reprinted with permission from SELFIES IN THE WILD (THE ADVENTURES OF LOVEABLE LOBO #6) © 2016 by C. L. Murphy, Peanut Butter Prose, Illustrations © 2016 by C. L. Murphy.

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Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Selfies in the Wild
(The Adventures of Loveable Lobo, #6)
Written and Illustrated by C. L. Murphy
Peanut Butter Prose 8/01/2016

#943 – Drawing Fantasy Creatures by A. J. Sautter

cover Drawing Fantasy Creatures
Series: Drawing Fantasy Creatures, Books 1-4
Written by A. J. Sautter
Illustrated by Martin Bustamante, etal.
Capstone Press / Edge Books  8/01/2016
112 pages    Ages 9—12

“Little grabs people’s imaginations more than fire-breathing dragons, magical elves, and other fantastic creatures. Now fantasy fans can learn to draw their favorite creatures and learn more about them at the same time. Simple, step-by-step instructions team up with lively creature descriptions to teach young artists how to draw dragons, orcs, dwarves, and many other fantastical creatures.” [publisher]

Have you ever wanted to learn how to draw unicorns, dragons, and fairies? How about ogres, dwarves, and elves? Or maybe griffins, trolls, orcs, and goblins? Maybe even a troglodyte? If you said, “Yes!” to any of those rather fantastical creatures, Drawing Fantasy Creatures (the complete set) is definitely for you.

Simple, step-by-step instructions teach readers how to draw dragons, trolls, and several other dangerous fantasy monsters.These creatures are not easy. The finished creatures look finished in Photoshop or Illustrator, not completely by hand. I could be wrong, yet given the creatures “final piece” is always in color, a little instruction in that area would have been nice, though probably impractical.

Each creature has at least four steps you need to follow to complete the image, sans color. A few have extra steps. Each new line to draw is shown as a dark line, with previous lines drawn become lighter. I really wish I could have done with my sketch, instead line had the same weight, and it got a little difficult to see my way at times.


In the end, I found these creatures were not as difficult as they seem—at least until the final additions and color in whatever medium the illustrators used. By following the guidelines, it is possible to draw these fantasy creatures. Young kids will love this series if they love to draw, in particular fantasy and magical creatures that can scare the dickens right out of you. The author gives a little background information on each of the 48 creatures. (I had no idea this many existed—thankfully, in someone’s mind.)

If your child—or you—like to draw, want to learn or practice drawing with something completely different, Drawing Fantasy Creatures is the book—or books—for you. I highly recommend it. I am a beginner, definitely not an artist, yet I really had fun drawing these odd creatures.

Simple, step-by-step instructions teach readers how to draw a wide variety of fantasy creatures, including background information about each.You can purchase Drawing Fantasy Creatures as one set in paperback, with all 48 creatures and instructions. Or, you can purchase each original four book separately in hardback. I strongly suggest getting the complete set in one paperback. Once you look at these creepy creatures, you may want to try them all. (A great Christmas present.)

DRAWING FANTASY CREATURES. Text copyright © 2017 by A. J. Sautter. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Martin Bustamante, Stefano Azzalin, Tom McGrath, Jason Juta, and Colin Howard. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Press, Mankato, MN.

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Find Drawing Fantasy Creatures on Goodreads HERE.

A. J. Sautter:  http://www.capstonepub.com/classroom/authors/sautter-a-j/
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Martin Bustamante:  http://martinhbustamante.wix.com/illustration
Follow on Twitter          @mhbustamante

Stefano Azzalin:  https://azzart.carbonmade.com/
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Tom McGrath:  https://spikedmcgrath.artstation.com/
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Jason Juta:  http://jasonjuta.tumblr.com/        https://jasonjutablog.wordpress.com/
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Colin Howard:  http://colin-howard.tumblr.com/
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Capstone Press is an imprint of Capstone.

(How to) Drawing Fantasy Creatures Series
Book 1: How to Draw Dragons, Trolls, and Other Dangerous Monsters [1-4914-8023-6]
Book 2: How to Draw Elves, Dwarves, and Other Magical Folk [1-4914-8027-4]
Book 3: How to Draw Griffins, Unicorns, and Other Mythical Beasts [1-4914-8025-0]
Book 4 : How to Draw Orcs, Goblins, and Other Wicked Creatures [1-4914-8024-3]

Reprinted with permission from DRAWING FANTASY CREATURES © 2017 by A. J. Sautter, Capstone Press, an imprint of Capstone, Illustrations © 2017 by Martin Bustamante, Stefano Azzalin, Tom McGrath, Jason Juta, and Colin Howard.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Drawing Fantasy Creatures, Books 1-4
Written by A. J. Sautter
Illustrated by Martin Bustamante, etal.
Capstone Press / Edge Books 8/01/2016


#880-81 – To the Ocean Deep & To the Moon by Sarah Yoon

a edit flap combo To The Ocean Deep & To the Moon
Created by Sarah Yoon
Laurence King Publishing 5/01/2016 and 2/01/2016
978-1-78067-770-5 and 987-1-78067-757-6
1 page  15’  Ages 7+

“In To the Ocean Deep, coloring artists will travel beneath crashing waves all the way to the mysterious depths of the ocean floor.

“In To the Moon, coloring artists will journey from a house on earth, past dragons, witches, space ports and flying elephants, to reach the outer space!” [press release]

The Coloring Books
To the Ocean Deep: The Longest Coloring Book in the World takes coloring book fans from the deck of a cruise ship down into an unusual house boat, and then into a mini-city. The mini-city attaches to and through a speed-boat to more underwater housing including blossoming trees—in a three-tier oxygen-filled globe, complete with a pyramid (lest your forget one of the seven wonders of the world on your way to sunken treasure). And we are just getting started. You are still 13 feet away from the treasure chest.

edited oceanTo get To the Ocean Deep, you must go through more submergible vehicles—and one real submarine—past an Egyptian pyramid, and through an underwater forest. Actually, everything is “underwater” so we’ll forego that term from here on out er, down. To help you quickly enter the deepest water, winding stairs, tubes, and ropes wait at the ready. There is even an underwa— uh, a winding train ready to help you move down the largest submersible in coloring book history.

Boredom will not overtake you on your trip To the Ocean Deep. Visit a pagoda and the Statue of Liberty. Whale watch, other creature watch, and be watched by the sea so deep. Eventually the bottoms of the ocean will appear and as will a treasure chest of, well, treasure!

If going down is not your idea of 15 feet of fun, then go up

To the Moon:  The Tallest Coloring Book in the World begins at home. Start your climb through the sky tubes and the connected buildings—with oxygen zones, so as not to take your breath away. An elephant helps support the structure in the early phases, holding up what looks like a huge washing machine and a castle. Early on, maybe five feet in the air, is a blimp. Water-filled globes make a faraway home for a few sharks. Several wind turbines help power the climbing structure and the various animals residing up this far (a giant squid, flying elephants, and dragons).

edited moonAs you continue your ascent through the darkening sky, keep a sharp eye out for all the oddball creatures, the circus, acrobatic sheep (must have escaped the circus), and the giant gumball machine. I hope you retrieve your mail before you began climbing. What? The mailbox was right there by the house. You’re very close to the moon when dragons begin looking at you like their next meal. Get past the dragons and the moon and its satellites await. Pop into a crater and rest a bit—it was a long, tall trip.

The pages in To the Moon and To the Deep Ocean easily spread apart, but you might need a long table—15 feet—if you want to see them in their entirety. The pages are easy to color with colored pencils and are thick enough to accept most art markers without a bleed. The detail is imaginative and, as a whole, To the Moon and To the Ocean Deep are creatively remarkable.

oceanview1moonsec6If you like to add your own details and special touches, you’ll find adequate room to do so no most every page. The final page in each book are designed for you to make completely your own—a wonderful reward for all the hard work you’ve done accomplishing a 15-foot, one-page coloring book. While this is a lot of work and takes a good amount of time, the fun outweighs all else. Kids will love seeing their completed book hung on their bedroom wall or perhaps their ceiling.

For families and teachers, one wonderful aspect of a 15-foot coloring book is the ability to space kids beyond the reach of their little arms and still have a wonderful and wacky foot or two for each child to color. The detail in both coloring books is exceptional. Strange, oddball (yes, I know this is redundant, but if you see all the freaky wonders in each trip, you too will double-speak).

oceanfoldoutuseWhere was I? Oh, yes. Strange, oddball objects and creatures abound high in the sky and deep in the ocean. If you love to color, and who doesn’t these days, take a family vacation to the moon or the ocean. Or both. Why color only 15-feet when you can color 30-feet? The “world’s tallest and longest coloring books” are both fun and addictive. Gather several of you coloring friends and have a fifteen-foot party. (No expedition gear required.)

TO THE OCEAN DEEP: THE LONGEST COLORING BOOK IN THE WORLD & TO THE MOON: THE TALLEST COLORING BOOK IN THE WORLD. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Sarah Yoon. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Laurence King Publishing, New York, NY.

To the Ocean Deep: AmazonBook DepositoryIndie BooksLaurence King
To the Moon: AmazonBook DepositoryIndie BooksLaurence King

Find To the Ocean Deep on Goodreads HERE.
Find To the Moon on Goodreads HERE.

Sarah Yoon:
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Laurence King Publishing:  http://www.laurenceking.com/
Follow on Twitter          @LaurenceKingPub

Reprinted with permission from TO THE OCEAN DEEP & TO THE MOON © 2016 by Sarah Yoon, Laurence King Publishing.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: To the Ocean Deep: The Longest Coloring Book in the World & To the Moon: The Tallest Coloring Book in the World by Sarah Yoon, and received from Laurence King Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

To the Ocean Deep     .     .     .     .     .     .     To the Moon
Created by Sarah Yoon     .     .     .     .     .     Created by Sarah Yoon
Laurence King Publishing 5/01/2016     .    Laurence King Publishing 2/01/2016
9781780677705      .     .     .     .     .     .     .      9871780677576


#879 – Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp

Mamsaurus_FC Mamasaurus
Written and Illustrated by Stephan Lomp
Chronicle Books  4/01/2016
32 pages    Ages 3—5

“Babysaurus is looking for his Mamasaurus, and he turns to his prehistoric friends to help find her. Is his Mamasaurus the fastest in the jungle? No. Is she the loudest? No. Is she the best flyer? No! Where can his Mamasaurus be?

“Of course, Mamasaurus has been right there all along, ready with a big hug and a sweet, leafy snack. Because for Babysaurus, his Mamasaurus is the best mama in the whole jungle! ” [inside jacket]

Babysaurus loves to sit high on his Mamasaurus’ back where he can reach the leafy greens off the trees. On this particular day, Babysaurus slides down the tip of Mamasaurus’ tail, flying high into the sky—


He then landed in a big pile of prehistoric leaves.


The baby brontosaurus could no longer see his Mamasaurus. How far had he traveled? Where could she be? Where is he? Ornito, one of Babysaurus’ baby-dinosaur friends, runs by. He calls out to his friend and asks if she’s seen his mama.


“Does she run faster than the wind like my mama?”

No, Babysaurus’ mama is not very fast. Even so, Ornito has not seen Mamasaurus. Babysaurus roams the jungle until he runs into Tritopa. She has not seen Mamasaurus either, nor has Hespero or Ptero—whose mama flies high into the sky thanks to her large wingspan. None of Babysaurus’ friends has seen his mama. Where could she be?

Mamasaurus is the classical story of a child roaming away from his or her mother and getting lost in the crowd, or in this case, the prehistoric jungle. Babysaurus roams the jungle, looking for his mama. While speaking with each of his friends, we learn a lot about Mamasaurus. She can’t run fast, but can take huge steps. Mamasaurus does not have a long horn, but does have a long neck. And, while Mamasaurus cannot fly high into the sky, she “is taller than the tallest tree.” Along the way, Babysaurus learns to appreciate his mama.

Mamasaurus_Int 2Kids love dragons and dinosaurs, and will love this mother-son dinosaur family. Mamasaurus is a fun read aloud. One creature Babysaurus happens upon is Rexy, a little brute of a T-Rex who sneers down upon the little Babysaurus. This is supposed to be the danger spread, but it fails to cause a real uprising. Instead, Rexy displays a dislike of leafy snacks and then runs away in a flash when Mamasaurus, with a smile upon her face, reappears. To work, Mamasaurus needs to seem menacing to Rexy, which is not the message the author or publisher want to deliver. This climatic sequence feels forced. Originally, Rexy towered over Babysaurus in a very threatening, teeth-baring manner, but the spread was replaced with the gentler I-would-never-eat-leaves “bully.”

Mamasaurus_Int 3Still, Mamasaurus will resonant with children who have been “lost’ or worried where their mother could be. Mamasaurus’ love for Babysaurus is clearly the winning theme for this picture book and the one mothers and children will appreciate. Stephan Lomp’s brush pen and digital illustrations effectively set the prehistoric jungle atmosphere with its dark green leafy background. Brightly colored baby dinosaurs pop off the page against this dark green setting, giving Mamasaurus its child-friendly feel. Mamasaurus becomes Stephan Lomp’s fourth picture book, but his first as both author and artist. Mamasaurus is also Lomp’s first America published children’s book.

Next Up for Stephan Lomp: Papasaurus

MAMASAURUS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Stephan Lomp. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

AmazonBook DepositoryIndie BooksApple BooksChronicle Books.

Find Mamasaurus on Goodreads HERE.

Stephan Lomp:  http://www.lomp.de/
Follow on Twitter          @lomp_de

Chronicle Books:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/
Follow on Twitter          @Chroniclekids      @ChronicleBooks

Reprinted with permission from MAMASAURUS © 2016 by Stephan Lomp, Chronicle Books, Illustrations © 2016 by Stephan Lomp.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp, and received from Chronicle Books, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp
Chronicle Books 4/01/2016

#864 – Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood and Juli Kangas

goodnightbaddiescover Good Night, Baddies
Written by Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Juli Kangas
Beach Lane Books     5/17/2016
32 pages      Ages 4—8

And big, bad wolves.

“By day they’re such baddies!

“But cozy at night
at home among friends?
Why, they couldn’t be nicer!

“Inspired by the mischief-makers from classic folk and fairy tales, here is a story about how even the baddest baddies can have big hearts.” [inside jacket]

The Big Bad Wolf blows the three pigs’ house down. The Giant chases Jack to get back his golden goose. Dragons capture princesses and fight off princes. It’s all in a day’s work for these baddies, but when bedtime calls them home, together they arrive at a big castle—home to all fairy tale villains. Bet you didn’t know that? I didn’t. Then I read Good Night, Baddies. These horrible baddies are total opposites once they get back home.


Baddies ask about each other’s day. They sit and eat a nice dinner. They smile and laugh, never once being cross or rude. Who are these characters?! Even the evil queen’s mirror dozes off at night. A bubble bath feels good to the troll, whose bunny slippers await his clean feet. Wolves all brush their teeth; better to catch Red Riding Hood or ruin a pig’s home. After a bedtime story and a glass of water, all the baddies go off to bed, saying good night as they head for their rooms.

The illustrations are beautiful and the baddies, dare I say, are adorable. Created using watercolors with an oil wash on top, the spreads have a slight grain effect, giving the illusion of softness and nighttime. Candlelight provides the only source light and a wonderful ambiance for this story. I love the expressions on these baddies’ faces. They smile. Yep, you read that correctly. They smile! As they dine and chat about their days, they smile. As they read, wait for a bath, or sit by the fire, they smile. The only character not smiling is the giant, but then he is scared (there could be a monster good character under his bed, oh my!)

Baddies 7

The rhyming scheme works well, is easy to read aloud, and fun.

“Bedtime now, but Giant’s scared.
Helpful witches come prepared.
Underneath the bed they peer—
nope, no princess hiding here!”

We think of the big Bad Wolf as a big, bad wolf because he is a big, bad wolf. Yet, once the sun sets, this big, bad wolf is a teddy bear with a family. Not even these ruthless fairy and folk tale villains are all bad. Each has some kindness within them. Everyone puts on pajamas, gnomes tuck in trolls, witches check under beds; a typical routine for both baddies and young children. Thanks to Good Night, Baddies, young children will now be able to relate to the villains they have always rooted against.


Good Night, Baddies is a clever take on bedtime. Children used to falling asleep to a story about nice characters and creatures will find Good Night, Baddies a fresh take on the bedtime story. I think it is hilarious. Between the rhyming text and the imaginative illustrations, parents and children will want to read about these baddies every night.

GOOD NIGHT, BADDIES. Text copyright © 2016 by Deborah Underwood. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Juli Kangas. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Beach Lane Books, New York, NY.

AmazonBook DepositoryIndie BooksApple BooksSimon and Schuster.

Find Good Night, Baddies on Goodreads HERE.

Deborah Underwood:  http://www.deborahunderwoodbooks.com/
Follow on Twitter          @underwoodwriter

Juli Kangas:  http://www.studiogoodwinsturges.com/juli-kangas.html
Follow on Twitter

Beach Lane Books:  http://books.simonandschuster.com/
Follow on Twitter          @simonschuster

Beach Lane Books is an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Reprinted with permission from GOOD NIGHT, BADDIES. © 2016 by Deborah Underwood, Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, Illustrations © 2016 by Juli Kangas.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood & Juli Kangas, and received from Beach Lane Books, (an imprint of Simon and Schuster), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Q&A with Snarls (Star of) from Sir Princess Petra’s Mission


Kid Lit reviews is pleased to welcome Snarls, the Dragon from Sir Princess Petra’s Mission, Book 3 of The Pen Pieyu Adventures. The Kingdom of Pen Pieyu is located in a magical kingdom located in author, Diane Mae Robinson’s Garden Kingdom, located in Alberta Canada.

cover group seriesIn Book 1, Princess Petra wants to become a knight. Her parents are against it, so King Longstride writes new rules in the Kingdom’s Royal Ryle book designed to trip Princess Petra up, causing her to fail. She doesn’t. Soon, Princess Petra is known far and wide as Sir Princess Petra, the only knight in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu. Her one test involved taming the ferocious and widely feared, dragon. Petra tamed the loud dragon, making him her steed. That dragon was Snarls.


Hello Snarls. I hope you are fine this good day.

“Hey, why are you asking Snarls . . .”


Yes, Hello Petra. It’s good to see you, too. The questions are for Snarls this time . If you recall, you were interviewed here a couple years ago and just recently at the Insatiable Reader. You are welcome to sit in, but please, let Snarls answer the questions.

So, Snarls, you are a real, live, fire-breathing dragon, not a horse, yet Sir Princess Petra rides you as if you were a horse. She calls you her “steed.” What is it like for a dragon to be a steed? 

“Uhhhumm. Yeah, about that. First things first. I have something to clear up about this steed business. My author girl would have you believe, by her writings in book two, that my pink tassel saddle was all Petra’s idea. NOT SO! I picked out the saddle myself. It’s my way of saying I am a modern dragon. Sort of like the “man purse” thing in your world.

“Secondly, Petra would have you believe I had no choice in the matter of becoming a steed. NOT SO! It was totally my idea from the beginning.”

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image12

What is it like being a dragon-steed?  Snarls?


Petra, please. Tickling Snarls tail is distracting.

Snarls, do you like being a dragon-steed?

“Oh, what was the question? Oh, never mind that . . . Since it was totally my idea to become the one, and only, and first ever, dragon steed . . . YES!I love my job. It was all my idea. I mentioned that, right?”

Readers know you are a fantastic cook. When not working as Petra’s steed, or as the chef-extraordinaire of the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu, what do you do to relax?

“I really like being near food, so I’m always happy to do more cooking and barbequing—I am the royal chef at the castle too. On my days off from cooking and steeding, I really enjoy rolling around in the mud. Mud is goopy and silky smooth. And it does wonders for scaly scales. But I have to be careful to clean off all the mud between my toes so Petra doesn’t find any. Petra either doesn’t like muddy toes or she thinks I like her picking mud out of my toes. And just for the record, I am fine with MANLY muddy toes.”

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image7.


Petra? Did you want to say something?

“I’m sitting right here, Snarls.”

Yes, you are. Now, Snarls, Onions. King Longstride demands all knight-wannabes empty the onion room—by eating the onions—before deemed fit for knighthood. What is so darn important about onions?

“Well, as you all know, King Longstride is a little bit of a scatter brain and his rules in the royal rule book don’t always make sense. He did, although, make up that rule just weeks before Petra decided she wanted to become a knight.

“Hmmmm. Pet—

Hello!!!!! I’m right here!

“Hi, Petra. Didn’t see ya.

“I was saying Petra hates onions. Strange, don’t you think?”

Strange, indeed. I don’t know why anyone would HATE a harmless vegetable, such as an onion. Onions are pretty good in most dishes. Dishes. How many plates did Petra hide onions under when she supposedly ate all those onions?

“No pl-ate-s. What are pl-ates?”

Never mind. I’m sure your “writer girl” took some literary license with that scene.

“No literary licenses, but she has the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award in   Literary Arts (2112) for Sir Princess Petra.”

Speaking of Petra, on her latest Mission, (Sir Princess Petra’s Mission), Sir Bograt becomes MFA (Missing from Action) while at Hooble-Wooble Creek.

“Hobble-Wobble Creek.”


Right, right. I heard tell a rogue wave swept Sir Bograt down the river—


—off on a wild CREEK-wave. Snarls, you were there. What happened? What caused this freaky wave?

“Ewwwww. Hobble Wobble Creek is a scary place. Rumor has it that sheep have lost ears, cow have lost tails, and the odd peasant has lost a toe or two there—you know, the kind of place a bog witch could go missing in.

“Umm, errrr. Hey, what did you hear?”

Oh, just that someone or something plopped in the riv, er creek, causing a huge cannonball-like wave, taking Sir Bograt riding a giant wave down the course of Hooble-Wooble River.

“Hobble-Wobble Creek.”

That’s what I said. So . . .  

“ Are you blaming me for something?”


“I know nothing.”

Are you sure?


Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp.   SLAM!

What was that? [Oh, really? Okay.] It seems Petra has decided to wait for you outside.

“It’s raining. I should take her an umbrella.”


“What? Oh, the interview. My interview. Continue.”

On this last mission, Sir Petra, Sir (now missing) Bograt, and you are to capture a notoriously feared and possibly nonexistent car-panther, bringing it back to King Longstride. We know when not a steed, you can be found in the castle kitchen, just off the royal court, where the king and queen do whatever kings and queens do when sitting on a throne. Voices carry.

“I did overhear something, but it didn’t make sense.”


Did you hear what the King wants with a fear inducing car-panther?

“I heard the king and queen whispering about the usefulness of car-panthers and how the kingdom should acquire one to CLEAN UP the castle before the next shingding. Then Bograt blabbed about the notorious dragon-eating car-panthers. Well! You can see where I’m coming from when I thought the whole thing was to get rid of me.

“You can see that, right?”

Maybe Bograt is just upset about Wobble-Cobble Creek.

“Hobble-Wobble Creek.”

Let’s finish with 5 quick questions.

  1. Favorite person (other than Petra), at Kingdom Pen Pieyu.

“My favorite person, next to Petra of course, would have to be Duce Craplips. He wears pink armour and he crochets—he’s such a modern-day type prince. I don’t really care for blabber-mouth Bograt, or smarty-pants Norton Nastybun.”

snarls crablipsThe same missing Bograt from Hobble-Wobble Creek?

“Quick question two? Hurry, this is supposed to be quick!”

  1. Most feared Land or Kingdom.

“The swamp lands we went through in book three were pretty nasty. As you know, I had a misfortunate event there.” 


Yes, I know. At the Creek Hobbled Wobble.

“Geez. Hobble-Wobble Creek. And NO!

“It all had to do with Norton Smarty-Pants Nastybun!  He had his puny army stick me with arrows, in my butt! Totally humiliating!!!!!  It was just a totally uncalled for scene.”

  1. What frightens dragon-steeds?

“Falling rocks, being chased, indigestion. You know, the usual stuff.”

  1. Favorite Food.

“Onion anything.”

  1. Finally, what is Today’s Chef-Extraordinaire Special?

“Crimson-crust-onion-strawberry pie

Bouillabaisse served with leek-onion soufflé

Onion Omelette Ta-Da (my specialty)”

Sounds, uh, yummy?

Snarls, thank you for stopping by. It is always a pleasure. If she’s out there, say goodbye to Petra for me.

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image21Snarls stars in Sir Princess Petra’s Mission, the latest volume of The Pen Pieyu Adventures, co-starring Princess Petra. It’s on sale now. Check out the rest of the stops on Snarls’ Book Blog Tour HERE

Pick up your own copy of Sir Princess Petra’s Mission
Amazon       Book Depository     Indie Books      Apple Books

Follow Diane Mae Robinson and All Her Magical Characters
Website   http://dragonsbook.com/ 
Blog   http://www.dianemaerobinson.com/
Twitter          @DianeMaeRobinso
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

#845 – Sir Princess Petra’s Mission by Diane Mae Robinson

Welcome this snowy April day to Snarls’ Book Blog Tour! This is his third book in The Pen Pieyu Adventures series, Sir Princess Petra’s Mission.
banner2One big change in this series is the illustrator. New with Book 3 is artist and animator Michael Bermundo. The Pen Pieyu Adventures are published by Tate Publishing. Snarls’ Book Blog Tour is sponsored by Sue Morris from Kid Lit Reviews—ME! I keep thinking I am missing something (or someone). Something or one really important to the series. Oh, yes, All of the fabulous children’s book reviewers. Thank you all for participating in Snarls’ tour. Banner created by C. L. Murphy. Thank you!

Okay, now that’s settled. Wait . . . did I still miss someone? Who? Oh, the author. I forgot about the author? I thought Snarls was the author (it is his tour). He’s not? In that case, the most important person in Sir Princess Petra’s life, the author, is Diane Mae Robinson. How could I ever forget.


Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image1 Sir Princess Petra’s Mission
Series: The Pen Pieyu Adventures, Book 3
Written by Diane Mae Robinson
Illustrated by Michael Bermundo
Tate Publishing   1-12-2016
105 pages    Ages 7—9

“Sir Princess Petra has already attained her knighthood in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu and her non-princess-like talent certificate from Talent School, neither of which pleases her father and mother, the king and queen.

“The king writes up more silly rules in the royal rule book to deter Sir Princess Petra from her knightly ways and useless talent, and turn her into a real princess once and for all.

“Will the king finally succeed with this newly written, ridiculous mission for Petra?” [back cover]

Sir Princess Petra and friends return for the third and final of four installments of The Pen Pieyu Adventures. King Longstride continues add new, oddly worded rules to the “Royal Rule Book” trying to strip Sir Princess Petra of her knighthood. The King is so determined to keep Petra a princess he willing sends Petra to the Land of the Boogy Gobees, alone. Wait, did he say alone? ALONE! No Snarls? No Sir Bograt? No one by Petra’s side?

Then King decreed, (should Petra actually fail her mission),

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image10“Hence if the hereby-stated should fail this royal seal-of-approval mission, which is of the utmost importance to the well-being of the kingdom shareholders—meaning me and the queen—the hereby-said Princess Knight will henceforth be required to relinquishment of the hereby-noted knighthood to the full completeness so as to render it null and never was.”

Could this get worse? Yep, if Petra has only 2 days to complete the mission and, should she “fail, forfeit, or give up” Sir Bograt, the bog witch, will lose her knighthood as well. Petra’s solo mission is to capture a “car-panther”—vicious scoundrels with saw-blade teeth reinforced with iron tips—and bring it back to Pen Pieyu Kingdom. (What will King Longstride do with such a dangerous animal?) Petra calls the King’s bluff and sets off on her mission. She travels deep into the forest, through the swamps surrounding Kingdom Mesoggie, and finally arrives at the Land of the Boogy Gobees.

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image18As Petra enters the Land of the Boogy Gobees, her steed suddenly disappears. (Did I forget to mention how Petra—once again—outsmarts her father? Well, she did. Snarls and Sir Bograt are by Petra’s side. Wait, you should know, Bograt was lost at Hobble-Wobble Creek, swept away on a rogue wave and disappearing down the creek). Now alone, as her father wished, Petra must complete the mission.

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image12Sir Princess Petra’s Mission may be the best installment of The Pen Pieyu Adventures. Robinson increased the number of unexpected twists, making them stranger and funnier. As is the norm in Kingdom Pen Pieyu, you will meet several characters, each one delightfully stranger than the last. Snarls, the dragon, has always been my favorite character. (Snarls, my friend, after three stories, you are looking perfectly plump.)

I love the word play, common in this series, and the goofy King and Queen. Petra is a great role model and a non-stereotypical character for girls. She wants her parents to accept her, as she is—a princess and a knight. Petra is respectful and considerate, has great self-esteem, and understands the King’s Royal Rule Book better than the King. Though The Pen Pieyu Adventures is a terrific series for girls, boys will find much to love as well, including characters such as Snarls the dragon (Petra’s Steed).

Book3-Nov.15 (1) (1)_page105_image7Sir Princess Petra’s Mission will keep reluctant readers entertained with its short chapters, broken up with interesting grayscale illustrations. At 105 pages, this is a fast read, though reluctant readers could easily finish one or two chapters a sitting, if not more. Bermundo’s illustrations enhance the story and bring the characters to life. Sir Princess Petra’s Mission is his debut children’s book. Michael Bermundo is also a student at, and will soon graduate from, University of Cebu with a degree in animation.

cover group seriesIf you are looking for a chapter book with non-stereotypical characters, intelligent word play, and kid-friendly humor The Pen Pieyu Adventures is the series you want. Each book in this three FOUR-book set is a stand-alone read, but to get the most out of The Pen Pieyu Adventures, read these award-winning, highly acclaimed chapter books in order:  Sir Princess Petra. Sir Princess Petra’s Talent, and finally today’s book, Sir Princess Petra’s Mission. You and your children will love the characters and the stories from Kingdom Pen Pieyu.

SIR PRINCESS PETRA’S MISSION (THE PEN PIEYU ADVENTURES, BOOK 3). Text copyright © 2016 by Diane Mae Robinson. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Michael Bermundo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tate Publishing, Mustang, OK.

AmazonBook DepositoryIndie BooksApple BooksTate Publishing

Find Sir Princess Petra’s Mission on Goodreads HERE.
The Pen Pieyu Adventures Website:  http://dragonsbook.com/
Coloring Pages for Kids are HERE.
Check Out This Review from Isabella.

Diane Mae Robinson:  http://www.dianemaerobinson.com/
Follow on Twitter          @DianeMaeRobinso

Michael Bermundo:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-bermundo-13a50187
Follow on Twitter

Tate Publishing:  https://www.tatepublishing.com/
Follow on Twitter          @TatePublishing

AWARDS for Sir Princess Petra (Book 1)
2012 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artists Award
2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Award
2013 Sharp Writ Book Award
2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award

AWARDS for Sir Princess Petra’s Talent (Book 2)
2014 Reader’s Favorite International Award
2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award
2015 Children’s Literary Classics “Seal of Approval”
2015 Children’s Literary Classics Book Award

Sir Princess Petra [reviewed here]
Sir Princess Petra’s Talent [reviewed here]
Sir Princess Petra’s Mission

Grammar for Kids and Dragons, an easy-to-understand grammar book for middle-grade children (dragons and adults too), will have all of the Pen Pieyu characters explaining the grammar lessons making this an easy and fun read, forthcoming 2016.


SIR PRINCESS PETRA’S MISSION (THE PEN PIEYU ADVENTURES, BOOK 3). Illustrations © 2016 by Michael Bermundo. Used by permission of Tate Publishing.




Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Sir Princess Petra’s Mission (The Pen Pieyu Adventures, Book 3) by Diane Mae Robinson & Michael Bermundo, and received from Tate Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

#792 – The Knights before Christmas by Joan Holub & Scott Magoon

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knights before christmas cover
The Knights Before Christmas
Written by Joan Holub
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Henry Holt & Co.      9/08/2015
32 pages      Ages 4—8

’Twas December 24th, and three brave (but somewhat clueless) knights were just settling in for the night, when out on the drawbridge there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of the unknown invader and his fleet of dragons.

“This parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s well-known poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “’Twas the Night before Christmas”) is silly, good fun—and full of medieval holiday cheer!” [inside jacket]


“’Twas December 24th,
And three knights ding-a-ling
were guarding the castle
For their illustrious king.”

Three knights Brave, Polite, and Silent are confronted with an intruder of the red suit variety. With a sprite “Be-ho-ho-hold!” Santa tries delivering gifts to the clueless knights. Knight Brave, afraid of tiny night crawlers, quakes in fear. Knight Polite takes out his trusty pen and writes the invader dire decrees: “Begone from Our Lawn!” The Silent Knight, tucked in bed, runs up to the tower, singing a jingle bells verse kids will appreciate.

Santa inquires as to the chimney and Knight Polite tells “the lout” castles don’t have chimneys. Santa stands his ground forcing the knights to check the king’s book. They concretely follow the rules, but Santa, using a tree as a catapult, sends the knights’ gifts flying over the castle walls. In response, the knights shoot arrows and catapult those gifts right back.

spread 2

The Knights before Christmas is a humorous take on The Night before Christmas with perfectly timed rhyming text. Talk bubbles contain often ironic and always funny words from the three knights. There are also other little snippets to entertain those who check out the whimsical details illustrator Magoon put in his brightly colored digital illustrations. Santa may have traveled back to medieval times, but his “dragons” are still reindeer, despite what the three goofy knights might believe.

Young children, especially boys, will love The Knights before Christmas. The bright illustrations will draw your eyes and the three knights will tickle your funny bone. Transforming The Night before Christmas into a knight tale, with all the medieval trappings, took the talent of two wonderful kidlit author/illustrators to successfully pull off. Holub’s rhythmic text captured Santa’s dilemma with timing, rhyming, and phrasing even Clement Moore would enjoy.

santa list spread

If looking for a unique, yet classic, story with boys in mind—and girls will love—The Knights before Christmas is the story you’re looking for. If you like humor, irony, and knightly tales, The Knights before Christmas is the story to read. And, if a witty, new Christmas picture book is on your list this year, The Knights before Christmas should be near, if not at, the top of that list. At the very least, check out the library for this inventive take on a Christmas classic.

THE KNIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Text copyright © 2015 by Joan Holub. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Scott Magoon. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt & Company, New York, NY.

Purchase The Knights before Christmas at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksApple iBooksHenry Holt & Company.

Find The Knights before Christmas on Goodreads HERE.

Meet the author, Joan Holub, at her website:  http://www.joanholub.com/
Twitter          @JoanHolub
Meet the illustrator, Scott Magoon, at his website:  http://scottmagoon.com/
Twitter          @smagoon
Find more books at the Henry Holt & Company website:  http://henryholt.tumblr.com/
Twitter          @HenryHolt

Also by Joan Holub
Hestia the Invisible (Goddess Girls Book 18) (artist: Suzanne Williams)
Uranus and the Bubbles of Trouble (Heroes in Training) (artist: Suzanne Williams)
What Were the Salem Witch Trials? (What Was…?) (artist: Dede Putra)
Little Red Writing (artist: Melissa Sweet) [reviewed here]
—and many, many more

Also by Scott Magoon
The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants (author: Eric Litwin)
Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!
Big Mean Mike (author: Michelle Knudsen) [reviewed here]
—and more

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: The Knights before Christmas by Joan Holub & Scott Magoon, and received from Henry Holt & Company, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

THE KNIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Joan Holub. Illustrations © 2015 by Scott Magoon. Used by permission of Henry Holt & Company.



ENDS IN 2 DAYS! $50 Gift Certificate Holiday Giveaway Enter here:   Mudpuppy Holiday Giveaway 

#791 – The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading

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dragn of the month club cover
The Dragon of the Month Club
by Iain Reading
2/22/2015 (originally 12/18/2014)
236 pages     Ages 8—12

“[This is] the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinary magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of very special and exclusive club—The Dragon of the Month Club. On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month.

“But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler’s messy bedroom. Traveling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.” [back cover]

Ayana and Tyler meet at the local library, way back in the dusty forgotten books section. There an old book is found, simply called “The Book.” In it are spells for conjuring dragons. Soon, Ayana and Tyler have conjured their very first, Splashy, a water dragon. As the tiny dragon flutters its wings, water flies everywhere. A comical first start to what will become their dragon collection. Having successfully conjured a dragon, the kids are invited to join the Dragon of the Month Club, with new dragon spells arriving on the 13th of the month. That just happens to be today. December’s new dragon spell is for the wise, objective “Review Dragon.” (Okay, I made that up.)

When Ayana and Tyler conjure a small steam dragon, Vapor, bubbles lodge in Tyler’s nose making him sneeze. This sneeze causes a chain reaction, pulling Vapor, Ayana, Tyler and several books lying about the room into a new world based on Tyler’s bedroom—“The Book World.” Here, the kids must escape a German character known to cut off the thumbs of thumb-sucking kids, sail a shark-infested ocean, and cross a sandworm controlled desert to find the man who Tyler believes can get them home: Professor Mobius from the science book series Tyler reads. But a final twist turns the kids’ world upside down once more.

Ayana and Tyler are characters kids will enjoy. They are well-rounded friends who are resourceful and inventive. Their dragons are cute, loyal, and trusting. Quickly, each dragon connects with both kids. When Dune Buggy is traded for a debt owed the Fremen, the sadness of losing this dragon is easily felt. The Book World is full of intrigue and danger, making for an exciting and unpredictable story.

There are a couple of problems. The directions for conjuring a dragon are very specific, with step one always being “Name Your Dragon.” Interestingly, when a last minute fast conjure of the waterfall dragon is needed, it is accomplished without step one. A magical spell needs all of its steps, just as prose needs fully edited for punctuation. Little details like this stick out poorly, as does the incomplete editing. Kids, and reviewers, notice these things.

Then there is the story of the wolf. While imaginative and instructive, this proverb neither propels the story forward nor enlightens the reader. It is simply dressing on a story that needs none. The same holds true for Tyler’s infatuation with Sherlock Holmes, which side-tracked the story, though in the end, Sherlock gets the kids back on track. Why does Tyler feel Sherlock needs his help to solve crime? He doesn’t. What this snippet does do is stroke Tyler’s ego, but why?

I was a little disappointed in the direction the story took after setting up the bullies and harassment Ayana suffers on a daily basis. I was hoping these dragons of the month would help Ayana address her bullies, but instead that story was set aside for the imaginative book world. Hopefully the author will get back to Ayana’s distressing “real world” problems.

Illustrations would have been a terrific addition to The Dragon of the Month Club. In middle grade novels images are still accepted and often expected. The Dragon of the Month Club’s unusual dragons and Book World are a treasure trove of opportunity for an illustrator. Images could greatly enhanced the story and the reader’s experience.

Criticisms aside, Iain Reading has an interesting voice. He knows how to tell a story and keep kids interested. The Dragon of the Month Club is an ambitious story, full of excitement, unforeseen twists, and an imaginative world. Kids will enjoy the various dragons Ayana and Tyler conjure and the interesting abilities each dragon possesses. A snarky epilogue titled, “Welcome to the Real World,” forebodes the unexpected final twist and the end of book one. Will Tyler and Ayana find their way back home or be forever stuck in Tyler’s alternative bedroom? Book 2 cannot be released soon enough.

THE DRAGON OF THE MONTH CLUB. Text copyright © 2015 by Iain Reading.

Purchase The Dragon of the Month Club at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound Books.

Find The Dragon of the Month Club on Goodreads HERE.

Meet the author, Iain Reading, at his website:  http://www.iainreading.com/
Facebook         Twitter          @IainReading

Book Websites

The Dragon of the Month Club:  http://www.dragonofthemonthclub.com/
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency:  http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/
The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire:   http://www.wizardsofwaterfire.com/

Also by Iain Reading
The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire Series
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading , and received from Iain Reading, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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#775 – The Dream Dragon by Kathryn England & Valeria Issa

The Dream Dragon

Written by Kathryn England
Illustrated by Valeria Issa
Xist Publishing    2/19/2015
32 pages     Ages 4—8

“A dragon protects a child’s dreams from nightmares in this picture book perfect for bedtime. Bedtime stories inspires a series of dream protectors for a little boy. The dream dragon keeps the nightmares away and is joined by dinosaurs, pirates, super heroes and more in the quest to keep nighttime safe.” [publisher]

The Dream Dragon enters the dreams of a young boy. He wants to be the main dream; the dream the young boy remembers in the morning. Dream Dragon chases good dreams off to the edges, out of his way, where the dreams will not be hurt. But if the young boy experiences a bad or scary dream, the Dream Dragon scares it out of the boy’s dreams to forever be forgotten.


The Dream Dragon continues protecting the young boy, until one day an egg appears. He has no idea what this BIG egg could be,

“He hoped it was just a giant fluffy duck. He would only have to say ‘BOO!’ to a giant fluffy duck and it would run away.”

The egg cracks and inside is something the boy had learned about in school. Dream Dragon could not fight off this creature, though he tried with all his might and with every flame he could muster. In the end, Dream Dragon is cast off, much like he had cast off so many other dreams. This new creature is as diligent as Dream Dragon had been, but is soon replaced with a super hero, who is replaced with a . . . who is replaced with a . . . and so it went with the young boys dreams. Dream Dragon never returned. Then, one night, a young girl slips off to sleep . . .

The Dream Dragon is a clever take on the ever-changing nature of dreams and how the world around us, what we read, see, touch, and think influences the dreams we have at night. The Dream Dragon also explains why dreams can be difficult to recall, having been pushed off to the side by our own “dream dragons.”


The illustrations are cartoonish and not at all scary. I love the Dream Dragon’s eyes, which have red lines around the pupil and dark circles around the eye. It looks like the Dream Dragon gets little sleep of his own. The fight between Dream Dragon and the creature from the egg (also when the egg cracks open), is accented with large onomatopoeic words such as,


Whenever the Dream Dragon speaks the text becomes capitalized and accented. Some may not like this drastic change in font, but it does give the Dream Dragon a sense of ferociousness and his speech strained, as though he finds it difficult to speak while in the middle of fending off other dreams. The last two dream defenders each have a life-line. If your dreams don’t have this life-line, you probably do not play video games.

The Dream Dragon will appeal to parents looking for “boy books,” though young girls will like this cuddly looking ferocious dream-keeper. The Dream Dragon is also a good choice for a bedtime story, especially if a child is having trouble with bad dreams. The last thing a child hears and thinks about before nodding off may well be his source of dreams. The Dream Dragon is cute enough to appeal to a four-year-old, yet savvy enough to catch an eight-year-old’s imagination. The Dream Dragon is illustrator Valeria Issa’s debut.

THE DREAM DRAGON. Text copyright © 2015 by Kathryn England. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Valeria Issa. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Xist Publishing, Irvine, CA.

Purchase The Dream Dragon at AmazonIndieBound BooksXist Publishing.

Learn more about The Dream Dragon HERE.

Meet the author, Kathryn England, at her website:
Goodreads       Facebook       Twitter
Meet the illustrator, Valeria Issa, at her website:  https://valeriaissa.carbonmade.com/
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Find more books at the Xist Publishing website:  http://www.xistpublishing.com/
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Also by Kathryn England
Grandfather’s Wrinkles – illustrated by Richard McFarland
Sami’s Genies (Aussie Nibbles) – illustrated by Craig Smith
Scratch and Old Mouse – illustrated by Kimberly Soderberg
T-Rex’s Terrible Tooth – illustrated by Ben Redlich

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved


Full Disclosure: The Dream Dragon by Kathryn England & Valeria Issa, and received from Xist Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

THE DREAM DRAGON by Kathryn England. Illustrations © 2015 by Valeria Issa. Used by permission of Xist Publishing.


#763 – Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor! by Nickelodeon and Papercutz

Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor!

Written by Eric Esquivel
Illustrated by Ryan Jampole, James Kaminski, Sam Spina
Papercutz — Nickelodeon       9/22/2015
56 pages           Age 8+

“Nickelodeon’s animated television series Sanjay and Craig follows best buds Sanjay Patel and Craig Slithers as they embark on epic kid-inspired quests that are at times totally ridiculous, absolutely gross and weirdly sweet. Now, the duo is set to conquer a new medium—the world of comics and graphic novels—with Sanjay and Craig: Fight the Future with Flavor!

“Does your neighbor have butt implants and a blueberry obsession? Can your best friend do ANYTHING without barfing? Welcome to Lundgren, where Sanjay Patel and Craig Slithers have the most rad-awesome adventures imaginable.From their collection of fart jars to their shared love of chicken wings, Sanjay and Craig are more than a boy and his pet snake… they’re family!Ready for the ride? Buckle up your fart baby and grab some napkins because Sanjay and Craig are about to douse you in awesome-sauce. NOICE! See you at the Frycade!” [press release/website]

This first edition of Sanjay and Craig features six stories about a boy, Sanjay, and his pet snake, Craig.

In the title story, “Fight the Future with Flavor,” Sanjay’s father fixes his son and Craig an afternoon snack of traditional Indian food. Sanjay and Craig are both repulsed. The duo prefers a diet of hot wings from the Frycade restaurant. To help the two get out of the nutritious snack, Sanjay’s alter ego materializes. He tells an apocalyptic story recalling the day he ate just such a snack, and what it caused.

Fight the Future with Flavor!

“Fight the Future with Flavor”

Instead of commercial interruptions, fictitious movie trailers fill the space between each story. Tufflips Productions announces the arrival of each movie. Remington Tufflips is the star, director, producer, writer, and anything I might have forgotten. First up, the swashbuckling high seas adventure “Hi-Yacht,” rated PG for “gratuitous puns.”c1Sanjay is the winner of a video game contest at the Frycade, winning a month of free hot wings, in “Hot Wings from Heck.” Sanjay and Craig take advantage of the prize by eating hot wings three meals a day, nearly putting the Frycade out of business. Penny, the owner, builds a Frankenstien-ish hot sauce that self-duplicates and then tries to take over the town. Sanjay and Craig are heroes when they eat the town clean.

“Hot Wings from Heck”

Now, another Tufflips Production movie trailer: Mall rats take over the shopping mall until the Mall Security Samurai tackles the overgrown mall rats. “Let’s Go Chopping,” is rated PG for “realistic mall melee action.”c2The colorful graphic novel continues with, “Lord of the Pipes.” Dad loses his wedding ring in the garbage disposal while retrieving Sanjay’s Aquaman figurine. Craig volunteers to slink into the sink drain and reclaim the ring. First, Craig must fight off a “Garbage Disposal Domain” creature determined to keep the ring and remain eternally in power. The ring’s inscription reads, “Forever.”

“Lord of the Pipes”

A mystical land is losing all its fairies and centaurs to a mysterious plague, until a medieval knight cures the land, in “The Knight Nurse,” rated PG for “excessive dragons.”c3Late at night, the hospital calls Sanjay’s mother into work. Sanjay and Craig have been watching a television show called “The Conspiracy Zone” getting a little too taken in by the movie. The pair think the government called mom in to operate on an alien. Sanjay and Craig go to the hospital to stop the operation, in a story titled “Alien Buttopsy.”

“Alien Buttopsy.”

“Alien Buttopsy”

A chainsaw toting cowboy arrives to clear the town of rabid skeletons, in “Chainsaw Cowboy 3,” rated PG for “historically inaccurate depictions of awesomeness.”c4Sanjay and Craig awake in the middle of the night with the munchies. While watching an old (old?!) 1980’s movie, the hero claims his “signature scent, Buttermilk Breeze” makes him the man he is. Sanjay wants a bottle and his father happens to have one, but the cologne has changed in its old age: it becomes a green “Buttermilk King” with horns and a nose ring. This king has come seeking vengeance for his imprisonment. Sanjay and Craig find a creative way to disarm this vengeful green king.


“The Buttermilk King”

A snake much larger than Craig slithers into town. It is the ultimate reptile. Police need the ultimate American hero to coil in this villain. Remington Tufflips is that hero, in “American Manaconda,” rated PG for “patriotic reptile radness.”c5Finally, Sanjay and Craig go to the theater to watch a family-genre movie, in “Rated ‘R’ for Radical.” The friends never make it. Sanjay sees Belle—from the Frycade— selling tickets and runs. He does not want Belle to think he watches “baby movies.” Sanjay borrows Baby Richard from a local band and tells Belle he is babysitting. Baby Richard turns out to be a terror-baby and out of control. Somehow, Sanjay and Craig must rein in this kid or forget watching their hero in the werewolf-inspired “Father Knows Beast.”


“Rated ‘R’ for Radical”

This Sanjay and Craig graphic novel is fun, tongue-in-cheek geekiness. Sanjay and Craig take the boy-and-his-pet to the extremes with Craig and his human capabilities. Their adventures are strange, absurd, and what pre-teen boys—and many girls—will love. The illustrations are colorful and filled with imagery boys crave (aliens, destruction, strange characters, and bodily functions, among other oddities).

I rate Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor 4-Stars, for venomous hijinks, outlandish adventures, and high scale comic fun. Up Next, Sanjay and Craig #2: New Kid on the Block(available now).

A SANJAY AND CRAIG #1: FIGHT THE FUTURE WITH FLAVOR. Text and animation copyright © Nickelodeon and Papercutz. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Papercutz, New York, NY.

QUICK NOTE: This year is Papercutz’s ten-year anniversary. A joint comic deal with Nickelodeon is an awesome way to celebrate. Many of Nickelodeon’s animated series will find a new home in graphic novels for kids to enjoy. Soon to unveil are Breadwinners, Harvey Beaks, and Pig Goat Banana Cricket. The two companies also launched a new magazine called Nickelodeon Magazine. The magazine will have posters, activities, and comics among other kid-fun things. I have not seen a copy, but my guess is the magazine will be similar to what a lighter kid-version of Mad Magazine would be like.

Purchase Sanjay and Craig #1 at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksiTunes BooksPapercutz.

Learn more about Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor! HERE.

Check out Nickelodeon at its website:  http://www.nick.com/
UTube    Facebook       Twitter      @NickelodeonTV
Find additional graphic novels at the Papercutz website:  http://papercutz.com/
G+         Facebook       Twitter     @PapercutzGN
.               . Nickelodeon is a trademark of Viacom International Inc.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor! by Papercutz & Nickelodeon/Viacom, and received from Papercutz, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

SANJAY AND CRAIG: FIGHT THE FUTURE WITH FLAVOR. © 2015 Papercutz & Nickelodeon/Viacom. Used by permission of Papercutz.

A Boy, a New Baby, and a Dragon?!

Today, Kid Lit Reviews is pleased to welcome a young man with either a wildly creative imagination or one of the most interesting best friends a boy can have by his side. We’ll call him “Big Brother” since his newest story centers around the addition of a new family member in the form of a drooling, crying, bundle of poop.


Jodi Moore and Howard McWilliam made a splash with When a Dragon Moves In, their sandcastle story of a  young boy who finds a dragon has moved into his sandcastle. They have a glorious day at the beach, swimming, flying kites, and a causing little mischief.


Now, in When a Dragon Moves In Again, the dragon has moved into the young boy’s home where they continue the fun. But with mom pregnant and soon to give birth, life changes for the two friends. Here to talk about what happened is Big Brother and Dragon.

Hi Dragon!

Dragon Boy DancingDragon: * waves *

I see you’ve brought your young friend with you. Hello there.

Boy: “Hi, Miss Sue!”

Hi! How about I call you “Big Brother?”

Boy: “That’s me!”

Last time we saw you two was on a sunny beach. After building a great castle, Dragon moved in. Young man, how did Dragon get from the beach to your home?


“Well, I wanted Dragon to sit next to me in the car, but we couldn’t get his seatbelt to fit, so he had to fly. I told Dad to drive extra slow so my dragon didn’t get lost.”


* nods * “Heh-heh-heh.”


Dragon, you and your young friend help Dad build a new castle. It is a cool castle and it looks like you were having a lot of fun playing in it. Why did you have to stop?


* tugs at Miss Sue’s pant leg * “Do you speak Dragonese, Miss Sue?”

No, I don’t. I suspect it involves a lot of fire.

“I can translate for you if you’d like.”

That would be terrific.

Dragon: * whispers into Boy’s ear *

7Boy: * giggles * “Sorry, Dragon’s breath tickles.”

Dragon: “Heh-heh-heh.”

Boy: “We’re not allowed to play in the crib anymore because we might step on the baby. But when he gets older, we’re going to build awesome castle bunk beds and then we can have epic Dragon and Knight adventures! En garde!”
When a Dragon Moves In Again crib spot“The baby will be my squire. You can’t be a knight until you’re a big kid. Like me.”

The baby arrives and it is a boy! I bet you were thrilled to become a Big Brother. What is the best thing about being a big brother?

2(Sorry, Dragon, this is for your young friend.)


“He laughs at my silly faces instead of saying, 

* places hands on hips and imitates Mom’s voice *

“Stop that or your face is gonna freeze that way!”

abubble polaroid

My mom used to say the same to me. Guess what? My face never froze.

I noticed two of you tried your best to entertain the baby, but Mom and Dad were not thrilled.  Then mom says it’s time for you to take a nap! Dragon, your little buddy replied, 

“Naps are for babies, not for big boys like me and dragon.”

Dragon, why did you follow the baby upstairs and take a nap? Wasn’t that being disloyal to your friend?

Dragon: * shakes head, distressed — whispers in Boy’s ear *

Dragon Boy Dancing“Dragon didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. He thought I was following him upstairs.”

 * yawns *

“I guess even Big Brothers and Dragons have to nap sometimes. Dragon loves me and the new baby. He loves our whole family.”

 * rolls eyes *     Even my big sister.”

Dragon: * encircles Boy like a Dragon donut and sighs with contentment *


Little brothers can be pests—I know, I have one. Big Brother, what is the worst thing about your little brother?

Boy: * holds nose * “He’s pretty stinky.” 



“Dad says he’ll learn to use the potty someday, but I dunno. He’s lived with us for a couple of months now and nothin’. Has your little brother learned yet?”

Nope. He still needs a diaper! Ha, ha. Mostly, I didn’t like all the attention he grabbed.

Boy:  “Sometimes I feel sad or mad when Mom and Dad are too busy to play with me. But mostly, I don’t like to share Dragon.

baby dragon


“I wish the baby would get his own.”


.Dragon: * curls even tighter *





Sharing is hard. What is the BEST thing about your little brother?


Boy: “The best thing is I get to teach him important life stuff like how to dunk French fries in your milkshake, how to burp words and how to build perfect castles. So he can, you know, get his own Dragon. But first I have to teach him how to sit up by himself. Right now, he’s like a lump of stinky Jell-O.”

.I bet he falls over a lot, too. Your singing soothes little brother. What is the name of the song?


Boy: “I like to sing him the Winnie the Pooh song, only I sing Baby the Pooh, ‘cause he smells like poo. Get it?”        * giggles uncontrollably *

Ha ha!! I do get it, very funny.

Dragon, here’s a question for you.  Why are young boys hard to train?

Boy: “Dragon says he doesn’t know what you’re talking about. I’m perfect.”  * crosses fingers behind back *



Dragon: “Heh-heh-HUH?”

You are the second dragon I have had the pleasure to interview. I have one question that has been nagging me for a while. Why are storybook dragons reddish-orange?

Dragon: * whispers in boy’s ear *


“Most people think it’s because Dragon’s filled with fire, but he says the real reason is he loves orange marmalade on his peanut butter sandwiches. Some dragons are reddish-orange because they like tacos. My friend Elijah’s dragon loves hot dogs.”

Dot Day 2015.

Boy:  “Dragons like to eat.
“Some even like to swallow Knights!” .* roars *

7 “Heh-heh-heh.”
Boy: “But some dragons are other colors too. I think Puff the Magic Dragon is green because he eats seaweed. I tried it once at the beach and Mom says I turned green.

“Then I threw up.”

That’s just . . . yucky!

Do you think the illustrator, Howard McWilliam, did you justice when portraying you in the book?

Boy: * scrunches forehead * “He drew more than “Just Us”. He drew my whole family. See?”
* opens book to show Miss Sue the inside front cover *

WhenADragonMovesInAgain_full_page23_image4“I drew a picture and sent that to Mr. Howard so he would know how to draw us. He did an awesome job. If I were a teacher, I’d give him an A plus infinity plusses. Infinity is the biggest number ever. Even bigger than a hundred.

Sue Morris Howard Pic editLoads of kids, young and old, will be reading When a Dragon Moves In Again. Taking turns, what advice do each of you have for your readers?

Boy: “Build a castle so you can have your own Dragon! Also, if you’re making sandwiches, you should know Dragons don’t eat crusts. Even orange ones.”


Dragon: * nods, then whispers into Boy’s ear *

Boy: “Dragon says more people need to believe in dragons. How would you feel if nobody believed in you?”

Wow, I would feel horrible. But I DO believe in dragons! I also love your newest story


Where can people (and dragons) get their own copy of When a Dragon Moves In Again?


“Ooo! Ooo! You can get Dragons at your favorite bookstore, like the one my aunt and uncle own, or at a store like Barnes & Noble, or you can order them online through a store or Amazon. I love going to bookstores! But if you go, make sure you wash your sticky hands after you finish your treat from the snack section or you might get a Time Out.”



I hope there are more new stories on the horizon. Any hints to what might be next?

Boy: “Me too! I’m ready to share lots more adventures! But Mom says next I have to take a nap. Even though I’m a BIG BOY.”

Nap time, huh? Well, then it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks for stopping by and chatting. Maybe next time you can teach me Dragonese.


* looks off to side * “Miss Sue? My author, Miss Jodi, wanted to thank you for inviting us here today and she wanted me and Dragon to give you a big heart-squishy hug from her! May we? Please?”

That would be nice.

Oh! 5Dragon! Uh, too tight!


Author headshotTomorrow, When a Dragon Moves In Again will be reviewed (go here).  To read the review of When a Dragon Moves In go HERE

I want to thank the author, Jodi Moore, for all of her help and for the wonderful, expressive answers her characters gave today. Also, I want to thank Ms. Moore’s editor at Flashlight Press, Shari Dash Greenspan, for her guidance as this was put together.

You can find Jodi Moore at her website: http://www.writerjodimoore.com/
Blog: https://kidsinspiringnewdirections.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writerjodimoore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jodi-Moore-Childrens-Author-151480774918889/

Sue Morris Howard Pic.

And, of course, I want to thank Howard McWilliam, the illustrator who created these wonderful images.

You can meet Howard McWilliam at his website: http://www.howardmcwilliam.com/
Blog: https://mcbillhow.wordpress.com/

You can meet Big Brother and Dragon in When a Dragon Moves In Again. flashlight press logo

In addition to Barnes & Noble and Amazon, When a Dragon Moves in Again can be purchased at Flashlight PressIndieBound BooksiTunes BooksBook Depository.


Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: When a Dragon Moves In Again and When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore and Howard McWilliam is published by Flashlight Press. Dragon and Knight’s interview answers by Jodi Moore. Images copyright © 2013/2015 by Howard McWilliam. Dot Day “Celebridot” © 2015 by Ben Mantle. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klosterman. Random House Children’s Books.This post is for entertainment purposes. Any opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

#681 – Nickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon by Terry Jon Barto & Kim Sponaugle



Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon

Written by Terry John Barto
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
AuthorHouse                 3/23/2015
34 pages             Age 5—8
“Nickerbacher is a sweet-tempered, bushy-browed beast who spends his days guarding Princess Gwendolyn and dreaming of being a stand-up comic—not exactly a profession for a dragon! He’s true to his duty as dragon—as dictated by his Papa—but wants only to make the world laugh. Gwendolyn is supportive and encouraging, telling his he needs to do what makes him happy. It isn’t until the dashing Prince Happenstance comes along, ready for a fight, that they realize that instead of battling each other, they should do what’s in their hearts and pursue their true desires (the Prince wants to e a baseball pitchwer). With a winning set at The Comedy Castle and his family’s newfound support and pride, it’s all laughter, happiness, and dreams come true for the good-natured dragon!” [press release]

The sign by Nickerbacher’s station below Princess Gwendolyn’s tower window states,


Maybe at one time, but Nickerbacher is no threat to any Prince or enemy. The softhearted dragon loves the princess, but he would rather be doing something else—telling jokes—on stage, on the road, or just about any place he might land. Nickerbacher’s papa is not one for tomfoolery. The gigantic orange and red-spotted dragon strictly obeys one commandment,

“Every dragon has a duty to guard princesses.”


Nickerbacher is to be no exception and quickly stands guard—fearfully—whenever Papa checks up on him. Poor Nickerbacher, he tries to explain, but Papa will not budge. Nickerbacher may display his angst but will not disobey Papa. Kids will feel for him, but they will identify more with Prince Happenstance, who would rather be a baseball pitcher than a knight. (Did baseball exist at the time of knights and dragons?) The story is cute and the illustrations are captivating, nicely enhancing Barto’s story. I love the spread where Prince Happenstance flips a coin, which bounces off Nickerbacher’s nose.

Though he looks young for a knight (maybe eleven or twelve), Prince Happenstance is a tad full of himself, which fits his knightly role. Once the prince decides to follow his dream his attitudes takes a major shift. Nickerbacher’s family finally accepts his true self, encouraging him to pursue his comedic dreams. The story does not end there. We see Nickerbacher signing his book How to be Funny with modern appearing people waiting in a long line for his signature. Nickerbacher no longer looks like a dragon as he dons a red hat and an Hawaiian-styled shirt.


Being a tad fussy, I notice out-of-place details: baseball, Hawaiian shirts, and modern looking people in the era of knights and dragons. I doubt kids will care and may appreciate the reference to a game most have played. Those details side, Nickerbacher is a good story about standing up for your true self. Barto gets his message across without hammering them by using kid humor. It is a shame the book is in paperback (eBook is available). Kids may well wear out the pages with repeat readings. They will love the goofy jokes. Parents who like read using different voices will have loads of fun with Nickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon. Barto’s first foray into children’s book was Gollywood (review here).

NICKERBACHER. Text copyright © 2015 by Terry John Barto. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Kim Sponaugle. Reproduced by permission of the AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN.

Purchase Nickerbacher at AmazonBook DepositoryAuthorHouse.

Learn more about Nickerbacher HERE.

Book’s website:  http://www.nickerbacher.com/
Meet the author, Terry John Barto, at his website:  http://www.tjbkids.com/
Meet the illustrator, Kim Sponaugle, at her website:  http://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/
Find more picture books at the AuthorHouse website:  http://www.authorhouse.com/

2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards Finalist: Picture Books
Mom’s Choice Award Gold

 Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

nickerbacher by Barto - authorhouse 2015

#608 – SLAM! A Tale of Consequences by Adam Stower


Slam!: A Tale of Consequences

written and illustrated by Adam Stower

Owlkids Books 3/15/2014


Age 3 to 7 32 pages


A boy heads to the store with his dog to buy some candy. On his way out, the door slams behind him. Oops. What starts off innocently builds into a contagious, calamitous, cacophony of crashing cars, flopping fish, wobbly workers, not to mention dogs, cats, rockets, kites, lions, clown, ice cream, dragons and . . . aliens? Where will this tale of consequences go next? You’ll never guess!”


“Don’t slam the d . . . SLAM!”


Have you ever thrown a pebble into a puddle and watched as the water ripples outward, never ceasing to end? Cause and effect. Now everyone has heard at some time in his or her life, “Don’t slam the door!” Why is this door admonition so universal? One word: consequences. Read SLAM! A Tale of Consequences and you will understand cause and effect.

A young boy, maybe nine or ten, steps out with his dog to make a candy store run. Someone inside the house yells to him,

“Don’t slam the door.”

The boy is listening to something on his headphones. Maybe a book on tape and a moment of crisis is about to unfold. He just cannot turn it down to listen to something he hears day in and day out. Okay, he is most likely listening to music while absentmindedly walking the dog. The boy slams the door and out bounces his red playground ball.


Now that the cause has been established, it is time for the effects—the consequences. The red ball bounces haphazardly onto the sidewalk, hitting the bag of groceries an older woman is was carrying. Eggs fly out and smack another woman jogging towards the first, and oranges roll out into the street where a fish truck swerves hard to avoid them. The back door of the fish truck swings open and fish fly everywhere. And you thought fish couldn’t fly. Wrong. Those fish flew into people smacking them in the mouth, knocking them down, and worse, an octopus flew down an open manhole. (In retrospect that probably saved two men’s lives, as it stopped them from entering the sewer.) The octopus hit a dragon that was calling the sewer home. The dragon flies out of the sewer, fire breathing everywhere, and goes crazy. Now the young boy, he is still oblivious to the destruction behind him, but his poor dog cannot get away from it all. Cause and Effect. Consequences.

The illustrations have so many details it takes a while to notice all that is happening on each spread. There are old and young people, dogs and cats, circus performers and a dragon, construction men and lots and lots of fish. The baker takes a swordfish in the rear while a dog, now on a skateboard, finds a fish over his head. Acrobats juggle a lion, clowns launch out the back of a circus van, and a big tough guy, he looks like he wants to run. Everyone ends up covered in various ice cream flavors.


Kids of all ages will love this hilarious minimal text picture book. Words, not needed. Once the door slams, the only thing people will be saying, or rather yelling, do not belong in a kid’s book, let alone a picture book for the youngest children. Even without words, SLAM! A Tale of Consequences is hilarious with a capital H. It is laugh-out-loud funny. It is read it too me again hijinks. If you like slam-stick, the kind that happened on older shows such as I Love Lucy or like Melissa McCarthy performs to today’s audiences of funny-lovers, you will love SLAM! A Tale of Consequences.  I love Slam!

The young boy does get his candy. On the way out of the candy store he once again fails to hear,

“Don’t SLAM the door!”

The young boy slams the door and the . . .

SLAM!  A TALE OF CONSEQUENCES. Text and illustration copyright © 2005 by Adam Stower. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.

**Originally published in the U.K. in 2005 by Templar Publishing.

Purchase SLAM!  A Tale of Consequences at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about SLAM!  A Tale of Consequences HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Adam Stower, at his website:    http://www.worldofadam.com/

Find other books to enjoy at the Owlkids Books website:    http://www.owlkids.com/

  NEW in 2014 by Adam Stower

Naughty Kitty!

Naughty Kitty!

Dinosaurs (Pictura)

Dinosaurs (Pictura)

Troll und Oliver - Bilderbuch

Troll und Oliver – Bilderbuch

Snowball Fight!

Snowball Fight!

Around the World in Eighty Days

Around the World in Eighty Days


#582 – Tao the Little Samurai #1: Pranks and Attacks! by Laurent Richard & Nicolas Ryser and Edward Gauvin

coverTao, the Little Samurai #1: Pranks and Attacks!

by Laurent Richard & Nicolas Ryser, illustrator

translated by Edward Gauvin

Graphic Universe      1/14/2014


Age 7 to 11       64 pages


“Tao is studying martial arts at the famous Master Snow’s school. But no matter how hard he concentrates on his lessons, mischief gets in the way! Tai plays pranks and jokes around with his friends Ray, Lee, and Kat. He also struggles to get to school on time, learn new moves, and—most importantly—avoid doing his chores.”


“Ohboyohboy . . . this is gonna be tight. If I’m late, I’m gonna get chewed out! Hurry, hurry, hurry . . . home stretch . . .”


Tao attends Master Snow’s martial arts school along with three friends, Ray, Lee, and his “not-girlfriend” Kat. Try as he might, Tao is late for school, and when there, has a hard time following Master Snow’s teachings. Each graphic novel page begins with a title, which is more like an oriental proverb. The second page is title “Showing off Can Spoil Dessert.” Tao is home and decides to practice annihilating blocks with a karate chop. He stacks three sets of two blocks to his right, left, and directly in front. Quickly, Tao chops with great force. “Bash! Bash! Bash!” Tao disintegrates every block, but his papa is unhappy with his son’s accomplishment—Tao used graham crackers as his cement blocks.

Kids, especially boys, will love Tao and his goofy ways. Tao tries but what he touches never goes right for him. I think reluctant readers will also like Tao. Rather than a 64-page story, there are 64 stories, one per page. Needing to stop is easy letting the reader–reluctant reader–go at their own pace, without becoming overwhelmed, or stressed. Remembering what happened is not necessary. If you don’t like the page where Tao is late for school, turn the page and a new situation will present itself. The stories have recurring characters that hang out with Tao, teach him, or guide him. So there is consistency in the Tai series.


The graphic novel is easy to following. The illustrations are bright and white lines mark each scene by placing them in boxes to divide the action. I found it was like reading a paragraph per block then moving on to the right for the next paragraph—only the blocks contained pictures not words. Some blocks do have a voice bubble with words, but those mostly set up or complete the joke on each page. Tao is completely for laughs and he succeeds. Needing help to put on his fencing outfit, not-my-girlfriend Kat helps and ties Tao up in bows—pretty pink bows—but Tao has no idea this is why his opponent is laughing.

A few pages I thought were especially good. Those included:

He Who Spies Gets a Black Eye

 He Who Cannot Fly Must Avoid Falling

 He Who Climbs Too Fast Falls Flat on His Face

The last involves Master Smith. Any page involving the Master is hilarious as he usually shows that age means nothing while performing some unusual human feat. After playing out all of the sage advice, the author takes readers “behind the scenes.” Here the author gives a short lesson on how Tao comes to life. The lesson includes writing voice bubbles, sketching characters and scenes, and colorizing the final images followed by black inking highlights so they stand out from the scene. The very last page lists the currently available editions of Tao. The color is light, almost like a transfer, which is what I thought it was. But, alas, it is not a transfer, so put those t-shirts away. Maybe next time.

Tao is a new graphic novel from Graphic Universe and rivals those published by Papercutz, the reigning king of graphic novels for kids. Tao is understandable and involves many situations most kids will face at some point in their life, karate not needed.

TAO THE LITTLE SAMURAI #1: PRANKS AND ATTACKS! Text copyright © 2011 by Laurent Richard. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Nicolas Ryser. Translation copyright © 2014 by Edward Gauvin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Graphic Universe, Minneapolis, MN.

Buy Tao the Little Samurai #1: Pranks and Attacks at AmazonB&NLerner Publishingyour local bookstore.


Learn more about the Tao the Little Samurai series HERE

Meet the author, Laurent Richard, at his website:   http://www.laurent-richard.com/

Meet the illustrator, Nicolas Ryser, at his website:

Meet the translator, Edward Gauvin, at his website:   http://www.edwardgauvin.com/

Find more graphic novels at Graphic Universe. blog:  http://graphicuniverse.wordpress.com/

Graphic Universe is an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group


Also by Laurent Richard & Nicolas Ryser

Tao, the Little Samurai #2: Ninjas and Knock Outs!  

Tao, the Little Samurai #2: Ninjas and Knock Outs!

Tao, the Little Samurai #3:  Clowns and Dragons!

Tao, the Little Samurai #3:  Clowns and Dragons! 

Tao, the Little Samurai #4: The Championship!

Tao, the Little Samurai #4: The Championship!

Tao, the Little Samurai #5: Wild Animals!

Tao, the Little Samurai #5: Wild Animals!








Also by Edward Gauvin

Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox 3: What a Team!

Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox 3: What a Team!




Reviewed (#30) HERE.



tao 1 pranks and attacks

#483 – Diego’s Dragon #1: Spirits of the Sun by Kevin Gerard

duegos dragon no1.

Diego’s Dragon #1: Spirits of the Sun

by Kevin Gerard

Crying Cougar Press  2011


Age 8 to 13     174 pages


Back Cover (edited)

“An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award a prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome glistening black dragon. . . . After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. . . . As Magnifico comes to life, he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny.”


“Diego knew the dragon was alive the moment he touched it. Even though only a statue, and only eighteen inches tall, Diego felt a pulsing heartbeat when he accepted it from the author.”

About the Story

Young Diego wins a district-wide writing contest. His prize is a black dragon statue. With wings spanned and sharp teething baring, the dragon looked magnificent standing tall on the library table. Diego felt a strong heat coming off the dragon but when he touched it, the base felt cool. Holding it near him, he could feel a heartbeat, as if the stone dragon were alive. Diego thought it a silly thought until the dragon bit, kicked, and punched him.

Magnifico, named after several people called him that, had a tendency to leave his spot on Diego’s desk, showing up elsewhere, usually by surprise. He also infiltrated Diego’s dreams and that of his school friend Racquel. When invited to dinner, the author gave a detailed story as to how he found the dragon years ago. Diego’s parents were beginning to suspect something more was going on, but it all seemed absurd. Until the day Magnifico ran off three bad guys, saving Diego’s drunk brother. It made the newspaper.

Diego’s real role, as he was the chosen one, was to release his people from the limbo they were in and had been for hundreds of years. Diego would be a hero to his people much like Zapata, Poncho Villa, and Benito Juarez were, but, unbeknownst to Diego, it would cost him dearly.

diego dragon


When I receive a book, I normally look through it and maybe read a page or two from a random spot. In the case of Spirits of the Sun, I read part of Chapter 14 in this thirty-three chapter book. Diego’s father has taken the dragon—as a statue—to work with him to show off. Everyone liked the statue which was now in Diego’s backpack. Magnifico was kicking, squirming, punching, and finally biting Diego through the backpack’s material. Not liking confinement, Magnifico wanted out, or at least the zipper opened. I was hooked. In only rare occasions do I actually completely read a book that only arrived the day before. Spirits of the Sun is the first in over twelve months and it was worth every word.

First, there is the Mexican hero as eleven-year-old Diego, a lead not often seen in middle grade novels. All but the author, Nathan Sullivan, are Latino and some sentences are written in Spanish, and understandable in context. Mexican history and three of its heroes from a time long past play a heavy role. While it is clear Diego is the protagonist, Racquel is a hero in her own right and I believe will be seen in a strong role in a future edition of the series. Diego and Racquel are each other’s first love, or rather, first crush. There is a second female character girls will find relatable. Both she and Racquel will be important characters in future volumes (I believe).

Second, the writing is as magnificent as the dragon. I saw one typo but nothing else. The sentences would make any English professor proud. Why Spirits of the Sun was not picked up by a publisher is beyond me. The story begins right in the middle of the action, the middle expands and retracts enough to keep you on your toes, and the ending is excellent, though it was not what I wanted to happen, nor what I expected. It is a series, so I may yet get my way.

There are no illustrations, which would be a treat, but it is easy to visualize the story. When the dragon takes flight, you can see the wings expanded and then one side dip to allow Diego entrance to his back. When Diego and Racquel hide to talk, you can feel the closeness. Diego tackles a girl in the library when Magnifico, who is only visible to Diego, sets out to bite a girl and other students. The shock upon the librarian’s face is palatable. Our hero is turning into a delinquent at school. I wanted to laugh while still feeling sorry for the visible changes this dragon is causing in the young boy’s life.

Kids who like dragon stories will love this adventure series. Those who liked Harry Potter, kids and adults, will like this series. I truly believe the Diego’s Dragon series will have readers anticipating new releases and then devouring the books immediately upon release. Spirits of the Sun is a great book for boys, and girls—and adults. Without gushing too much, I believe Spirits of the Sun is one of the best books I have read. If the series holds up, I will be its number one fan, though many others will claim that title. Kids, get this book.

Learn more about Diego’s Dragon #1: Spirits of the Sun click HERE.

To buy the book, go to Amazon – SMASHWORDS – MYSTERIOUS GALAXY.

diego dragon no 1 spanish.

Also available in SPANISH HERE.


Learn more about the author, Kevin Gerard:    website     blog     profile       goodreads     youtube


Learn more about the publisher, Crying Cougar Press:     website


DIEGO’S DRAGON #1: SPIRITS OF THE SUN. Text copyright © 2011 by Kevin Gerard. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Crying Cougar Press, San Diego, CA.

                               Desert Springs Middle School Play based on Spirits of the Son


diego dragon no 2 .


#2:  Dragons of the Dark Rift


diego dragon no3.ffff


#3:  Battle at Tenochtitlan




kevin gerard2.


Kevin Gerard began writing seriously in 2004 after leaving a CSU academic research position. He teaches statistics at Cal State San Marcos and spends the rest of his time writing middle grade and adult fiction. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife and four crazy cats. When not writing or teaching, he enjoys walking the grounds at the San Diego Zoo, hitting the waves at Cardiff State Beach, and hanging with his brother, nieces and nephews at the local Pizza Port.


.diego dragon dicl.

#423 – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, Book 2: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent By Diane Mae Robinson

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Diane_Robinson_CoverIIThe Pen Pieyu Adventures, Book 2: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent

By Diane Mae Robinson

Samantha Kickingbird, illustrator

Tate Publishing


Back Cover:  Sir Princess Petra has already proven she is a kind and noble knight. This, however, does not please the king and queen—they want her to behave like a princess and forget this silly knight nonsense of hers! But when the king writes a new rule in the royal rule book that requires her to attend Talent School and acquire a princess talent certificate or suffer the spell of the royal magician, Petra, reluctantly, agrees to go. But who could have guessed what Sir Princess Petra’s Talent would be?

Opening:  Over the last several months, Longstride Castle had become quite accustomed to having the only snarls webPrincess Knight, well, the only knight actually, in the lands of Pen Pieyu. The king and queen held many parties in Petra’s honor, and royals and peasants alike acknowledged the Princess Knight’s kindness and bravery . . .

About the Story:  Princess Petra became a knight in book 1, much to her parent’s discontent. Now the king has thrown another curveball, He wrote another new rule in the royal rulebook designed to get Petra acting like a princess not a knight, a distinctly male occupation (though not one male in any of the kingdoms in Pen Pieyu could pass muster—for the job). Now, Sir Princess Petra must go to Talent School and learn a talent face rtbefitting a princess. King Longstride even makes sure Petra takes one of the talent classes the royal couple would like her to take.

Petra and her trusty steed Snarls, the new chef at the castle, go to Talent School, but not before running into a roadblock and then the school’s only instructor. King Asterman tries pushing Petra into every talent but the one she wants. On the way home, with a new friend in tow, the princess knight and her steed visit the Land of the Vast Wilderness, which contains several surprises for both Petra and the occupants of this strange land. The king and queen will not be pleased.

What I Thought:  I enjoyed this second edition of Sir Princess Petra and Snarls. There aredonkey many oddball characters, some silly situations, and a pair of determined parents. Attempts to control a strong-headed, yet kind and caring almost ten-year-old royal brings about goofy humor kids will like. Petra is a great role model for girls. She is determined to be herself, even if that means knocking down the kingdom’s patriarchal system and displease her equally determined parents.

I love Prince Duce Crablips and his girl worries. Nearing ten-years-old, Prince Duce is not ready to settle down or begin a six to eight year engagement. Petra has no idea Prince Duce even exists, let alone that he is her betrothed. Talent School is a disaster, considering the last of the donkeys have fled and King Asterman must run the school and teach the classes. I love reversal of traditional male/female roles, especially the humor that goes with this.

the 3

The illustrations are in black & white. The line sketches add substance to the story with characters much like those the reader will envision (at least this reader). Sir Princess Petra’s Talent, like the book before this, is a good choice for reluctant readers. The chapters are short and the story can be read in one sitting or in ten days at one chapter a day. It is also a great bedtime story for these same reasons. Beginning readers may need a little help, but will be on their way soon enough with the easy text.

Sir Princess Petra’s Talent could have spent more time on Petra pursuing her talent. I thought those scenes were too few considering it is the main topic of the second book. I thought Petra earned her certificate too easily and would have liked longer, more developed scenes. We learn little about the school and Snarls’ antics. One thing that confused me is the statement that Petra is the only knight in the lands of Pen Pieyu. Prince Crablips is called a strange knight . . . armour in different . . . his helmet was a weird . . .  Is Duce a Knightly Prince or just a prince who wears knight’s armor?

scrap snarls

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the story-within-the-story. The new characters had just the right quirks. Sir Princess Petra’s Talent is a great book for girls but boys will like Petra. She is what years from her time is called a tomboy. Boys her age (8-10), like girls who are not girly. The story is also a good choice for teachers that read a chapter at a time to their students. Each chapter has points worth discussing. Petra explains to King Asterman the different forms of poetry (ballad, sonnet, limerick), but gets cut-off. My favorite possible discussion point:

What is a story? somebody (in the kingdom), finally asked.

Petra answered . . . Stories tell a tale worth remembering . . .

If they do, Sir Princess Petra’s Talent is a story worth remembering.

The Pen Pieyu Adventures, Book 2: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent

By Diane Mae Robinson     website    blog

Samantha Kickingbird, illustrator    blog     linkedin

Tate Publishing    website    blog    news

Released September 24, 2013

ISBN:  978-1-62510-682-7

91 pages

Age 7 to 9


© 2013 by Tate Publishing, used with permission

Text copyright © 2013 by Diane Mae Robinson

Illustrations © 2013 by Samantha Kickingbird


petra book 2


Diane has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature. The author teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children, and is an instructor at the 2012-07-13 08.57.08Creative Writing Institute. She also works full time at a dental office

The author’s first book in this series, Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, has won two prestigious awards: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (literary arts) and a Purple Dragonfly Book Award. The book is short-listed for two other awards.








Interview#21b – Characters from Sir Princess Petra’s Talent by Diane Robinson

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To return to the original post, click HERE.

Thank you for clicking over and finishing this unusual interview, with a strange cast of characters from The Pen Pieyu Adventures, Book 2: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent. It now continues–

Hm. Moving on. King Longstride,  what is it like having a daughter who is also a knight? Petra is the first female knight and the first knight–the only knight–in the Kingdom?

klgtinyIt’s tough. What can I say? We’ve tried and tried to get her to behave like a normal princess—nada, nothing, not happening. If this is what the next generation is going to be like, well, the soldiers will put on aprons and girls will be fighting evil forces. It’s preposterous! I don’t know what the world is coming to!

Your Kingship, since the world has always been run by men, up to this point, and your kingdom is a mess, with dragons as steeds and all, would it not be worth a try having females run the things and have the males take over the household?

Little girl, my kingdom is not a mess! You are a loony! 

I beg your pardon!

It is so granted!

Huh? I wasn’t asking for forgiveness.  **never again will I interview characters. who’s loony?**

My wife, the Queen, has fainted at your aside. How dare you!



 Okay. King Longstride, your Queen is awake. Now tell us, why all the Royal Rule Book changes?  The first in centuries?

klgtinyHello Dear. Feeling better, dear? To answer your silly question, how else should a king deal with this Princess Knight fiasco—the first ever?

“Princess fiasco.” Your daughter has broken through the stone ceiling!

Yah, that’s it. Tell a king how to run his kingdom, will you? Why, if you ever visit, you’ll be thrown into the dungeons to think about your silliness for a while.

Good thing I am not in your kingdom then, which is not real, by the way.

NOT REAL! BLASPHEMY! You know not of what you say.


Do not tell me when to talk!

No, the phrase is “You know not of what you SPEAK.”

SPEAK! How dare this creature. Check the Rule Book on dealing with horrible creatures outside of the kingdom, AT ONCE!


Speaking of your rule book, again, have you been able to accomplish your goals with these changes and additions to the book? 

klgtinyNot yet, but the royal magician and the royal councilman have agreed to put their great minds together and come up with something fast, or else!

“Or else” sounds drastic. I am surprised a King of your stature would rely on magicians and politicians to take care of a problem, let alone a perceived problem about your princess.

**whispering to royal councilman** Find out where she lives and bring her to me.


So King,  you and your wife cannot handle your daughter and this “troubling” problem (troubling in that there is really no problem). Petra is a knight. A knight protects the kingdom. Petra is a princess and will be the next Queen, whose job it is to protect the kingdom. Where is the problem?  The two careers are basically the same.

klgtinyNo problem, you say?  **whispering to royal magician** (whiisss, isssss, whissssy)

Get the magic man off the stage.  Nice try King.

**whispering** (Is she right? No, yes, which is it? What do you mean she makes sense! You run the, uh, you write the royal rule book. Oh, my! Then what should I say?)

.Is there something you would like to say, your Majesty?

No. Yes, there is! *whispering* Yes, I want to say that Petra is a great Princess, but we do not need any knights in my kingdom. Problem solved.

Really, your kingdom does not need protection?

Maybe at night, but Petra’s bedtime is 9 PM. She cannot patrol the grounds.


Daddy! Snarls watches over the kingdom at night.



There then! No knights needed. Petra hang up your costume. No further books are needed. The series is done! This “interview” is done!


dmr b


King Longstride, sir! You do not have control over the series. You are my character and exist at my leisure.


Who is this woman? Why is she telling me what will happen? 

King Longstride, she is your author.

My what?!

Your author. She writes your story, controls what you do, what you say, and also for everyone else in and out of your kingdom.

So, she controls you!  Don’t faint dear, it will be alright. Royal Councilman, catch my wife! 

Ah, no, only the characters in her books, like you.

I am no one’s CHARACTER! You shall be fined for such slander!


Send me a bill. Moving on, who influenced you to make these royal rulebook changes and why did you give in to her, uh him?

klgtinyWhy do you presume that my wife can tell me what to do? I am the king! Who told you such a thing? Did she tell you that?

I did not mention the Queen.  Could this ghost ruler be Bograt, or the maybe the magician you just whispered to? Who are you hiding? Another author?

NO! I am the king! I can do what I want! Stop pestering me! GUARDS!

Let’s ask your wife. Queen Longstride, how do you feel about your daughter trailblazing for all woman by being the first knight in any kingdom?

qlgOhhhhh, I don’t feel so good . . .

Do you need a doctor?  A magician? A councilman-politician?

I need my daughter to act like a princess! . . . ohhhhh, everything’s twirling, twirling . . .


Queen Longstride are your fainting spells due to a real condition or is this your attempt to manipulate Petra?


She is out like a light, again!  And on my foot. Can someone remove the Queen from my foot?


klgtinyRoyal councilman, here, poke her with this scepter.

Thank you, King Longstride.


Yes, Snarls, I am coming back to you. How do you feel about the following statements:

1. You are an impatient dragon.

as22That’s not true, I am not imp. . . whatever.

2. You are a gourmet cook who loves to binge on Mars Bars.

You news hounds, you’re all alike. Okay, I’ll tell you a story. I went to visit this girl I like—her name is, Babbling Suzy, and she doesn’t cook. All she had was these Mars Bars things to eat.  Now, through no fault of my own, I am (shhhh) an addict. We don’t have Mars Bars things here. I’m crawling out of my hide. I NEED THEM. HELP!

Uh, yes or no would have been okay! Blaming others for the crack in your character. Is this the real reason the editing took so long? {Corrected the response, which was fine, since that is how I talk but you wanted it changed so I changed it. Now please stop threatening to pull the interview. okay, Ms. picky author?!}

Why NO!

Were the long absences due to your addiction?


Were you on a chocolate binge when the author was trying to edit the last few pages and needed your help?

NO!! Okay, okay, okay already! It’s not Babbling Suzy’s fault! That’s what you want to hear, right?


Princess Petra seems to walk next to you on much of her journeys, rather than ride. Illustrations often prove this. Hey! Don’t argue, just answer please. And no fire!

as22Oh My Holy Grail, you are annoying! Okay, I’ll tell you. It’s kind of embarrassing. Will you keep it hush-hush?

Sure. *rolling eyes*

It’s that ridiculous rash thing–it’s all over my backend and backside. I just can’t seem to get rid of it—even with the royal magician’s special salve. I think I might be allergic-like to the pink-tassel saddle. Considering the rash is embarrassing enough, just think how I feel about wearing a pink-tasseled thing?

A rash, you say. And you went to a magician to help with this rash.

Of course. Where else would the author send me?

Hm,  to a doctor in the dragon world, your world?

Yes I can, but I’m not going to. Ha!

Again with the magician! Really, your powers do not work outside of the book.   Didn’t the author explain this to you?

wlgI’ll get it right sooner or later.

What spell are you trying to cast?

I’m testing out a spell where the villain’s toes fall off. Ha,ha!

And you think I am a villain?

Who said anything about you? Now that I know you may be a villain, that spell should come in handy.

I am simply a book blog hostess, asking questions of characters in a new book.

What’s a blog hoser, er. . . um . . . hostess?

You do realize you are just a character, a figment of your author’s imagination?

The king is right—you are silly!


Sir Princess Petra, please give us a hint about what is to happen in book 3?

ptiny2It is about time you called me by my official name. Now, Father has written new rules, I know he has. On his writing desk, I glimpsed the words: Mission; Falling-Off Toes; The Kingdom of the Boogy Gobees; and Carpenters (whatever that is). Who knows what’s up. I’ll be ready. Ha!

I am sure you will, your Knightly Highness, I am sure you will.  How many more books before your story is finished? 

I’m in a story? Whoa!

Whoa, indeed! You are a figment of an author’s imagination (in case you were not reading the last question).  


**whispering to royal councilman**  What in all the kingdom is she talking about?


Thank you for reading this interview. I want to thank the Pen Pieyu characters for stop–  What? Really? *sigh*

Okay. Okay, Alright!  Snarls, here is your last question. Because of a rock you became the royal steed.

as22That’s a statement!

**why did I agree to this**  Here is a question. How did that rock trap your tail in book 1?

Really? Do you have to know everything? . . . Okay, I’ll tell you. It was my first real fire-blast from my nostrils. And it was big, I mean, HUGE! Very professional. That is until the blast hit the rocks above my cave. Darn embarrassing predicament I got into there.

I’ll say it’s embarrassing.  Speaking of embarrassing, why can you not control your fire?

Well, actually, I was an early fire-breather—just 3 years old. That could be the reason the fire is not so, well, refined yet.

An early fire-breathing dragon?

OH, you wrote the question wrong and so I misunderstood it.


as22Okay, truth is I was a late-fire breather, according to the dragon growth chart. My aim in not yet perfected and sometimes when I sneeze . . . ah-ah-CHOO!




Well, thank you, I think, for stopping by! *and ruining the set*


What, my dear, did you say? 

I said thank you, King Longstride and company, for stopping by what . . . is . . . left . . . of the set.

Oh, you are welcome, dear. qlg

as22Me, too. Sniff-sniff, So sorry. And this was my first interview.

*And your last.*  Hey! Watch the fire, pal!

ptiny2Thank you for having us. I apologize for my trusted steed, Snarls. He really makes a better steed than a dragon. Please read our newest book in the Adventures of Pen Pieyu, Book 2:  Sir Princess Petra’s (that’s me) Talent.

You can get a copy at AmabigaBarbs & Nobility, and the Castle Gift Shop. Oh, and probably a few places in your world, too.

ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY SAMANTHA KICKINGBIRD, the official illustrator for The Adventures of Pen Pieyu Series.


To return to the original post, click HERE.

For the Book BLog Tour Schedule, click HERE!

To read an excerpt from Book 2 of the Pen Pieyu Adventures: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent, click HERE!

2012-07-13 08.57.08Author Diane Robinson has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature. The author teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children, and is a tutor at the Creative Writing Institute. She also works full time at a dental office

The author’s first book in this series, Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, has won two prestigious awards: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (literary arts) and a Purple Dragonfly Book Award. The book is shortlisted for two other awards.

Author’s website at: http://www.dragonsbook.com

Author’s Blog  http://dianemaerobinson.com

Interview: Characters Snarls and Sir Princess Petra

Tour Banner

[Please note, questions run from green hashtag (~~~~), to green hashtag. Questions are in light print and answers are in bold. The speaker remains the same until a new photo appears. This interview contains NO SPOILERS.]


Kid lit Reviews would like to welcome some of the cast of characters from The Adventures of Pen Pieyu, Book 2: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent. They rode onto the studio set and demanded, uh requested, an interview–a long interview–and we are more than peeved, uh pleased, to bring that to you now. before Snarls burns down the set

Snarls the Dragon, I heard, from a reliable source, you were not going to be in book 2. How did you change the author’s mind?

as22Where do you people get your information? That’s not true! You are celebrity hounding!  I was always and will always and forever and ever be in that humiliating-me-by-making-me-wear-a-pink-tasseled-saddle writer’s books!  snort . . . oops . . . fire & smoke. . . errrrr . . . . ouch!

Writer’s” books. Do you not know the name of your writer and best friend?

Yah, I know her name. “Diane The Embarrasser.”

Folks have been calling her “Diane the Embarrassed!”  hehe


ptiny2Sir Princess Petra, what would have been your steed had Snarls not been in book 2?

Well, the royal mule, Heinz Backfire, is quite fuzzy and cute, and he’s not even very mulely-like—he listens. Well, he is a little stinky, and a bit short, but he’s not a fire hazard, you know what I mean?. . . hmm . . . I might have picked him.

as22Snarls,  any response to this?

What?? (crossing arms, looking the other way) NO!!! YES!! Heinzy Backfire does nothing but backfire air out his rear end. What kind of steed does that? Sheesh!

Uh, one that does not blow fire out of its nose?!


ptiny2 Princess Petra, do you have any nicknames by other kids, maybe something like, perhaps, “PP?”

You’re funny. Why would anybody call me ‘PP’?  That would be rude. My initials are P.B.L. for Petra Brettania Longstride named after my Nan, Brettania May Longstride. You know, the storyteller. NOBODY calls me ‘PP’ and gets very far around here. Are you calling me, ‘PP’? Or are you just asking?

Why, just asking, of course, your highness, er  Your Knightly Highness.

All the better for you, I’d think.

as22Uh, okay, okay. Snarls, any nicknames?

No, but some people call Petra . . . ready for it? . . . Coyote.

Why Coyote? Does she occasionally howl?

ptiny2Of course I don’t howl. I’m a knight! Well, I do have very messy hair–I think that’s why they call me Coyote. What kind of knight has time for silly nice hair?                                             


Princess Petra, this question is for Snarls.  Story Book Times ran a feature– Excuse me! Who are you?

wlgI am the King’s magician waving arms around and I am here to stop this nonsense!

Someone get this clown out of here.

Hey, let go of me! Why I–

Thanks Bograt.          

As I was saying. Story Book Times ran a feature story on the writing of book 2 and mentioned your behavior, specifically you went missing for long periods of time during the editing phase, causing a longer release date. What do have to say about this?

ptiny2Well, I nearly had my foot chopped off by a wayward axe—that took awhile to heal. Then I had a crocodile to train at my cousin’s house. After that, Snarls had a bad rash on his backside that he couldn’t reach and I had to take care of . . .oh, you were asking Snarls.

Yes , Princess, again, the question is for Snarls.

Thanks a lot, “PP”. Way to go. Let the world know about my, umm . . . predicament. Darn nasty, itchy as22rash had me floating in the moat for weeks.                                                                    


Princess Petra, this question is for you. You have met many oddball characters on your trips through the forest. Who is your favorite, least favorite and why?

ptiny2Now look what you started? You got Snarls calling me “PP”. Really! I shouldn’t even answer your questions anymore if you’re going to make trouble. thinking  I guess I like Prince Nastybun the most because he danced with me. I don’t like that giant hawk that lives in The Forest of Doom—that hawk thinks he can just dive-bomb people. And besides, that hawk hangs out with a bunch of bees. I hate bees.

Thank you, and I am so sorry Snarls has adopted the nickname PP, your Highness PP.

Are you calling me “PP” and laughing at me?

I am laughing your magician over there, waving his hands like he has powers outside the book.

He is my father’s magician, not mine. Knights do not need magicians.

Snarls, who are your favorites and why?

as22I like Bograt. She doesn’t yammer on and on, and she likes onions, and I like onions. I need onions so I can create my world-famous onion recipes. You do know that I have a world-famous-onion-chef resume, right? I don’t much care for King Asterman—he’s kind of uptight, you know?

So, this King Asterman does not like any of your onion recipes? Speaking of onion recipes, what is the most common reaction when others eat your concoctions?

Well, of course, he does, everybody loves my cooking! I’m a world renowned chef  . . . what did you hear about my concoctions?

Uh, King Asterman, he said—

King Asterman is a blunder head!


Hm. Moving on. King Longstride,  what is it like having <–TO CONTINUE READING CLICK HERE–>

ptiny2Thank you for having us. I apologize for my trusted sneed, Snarls. He really makes a better steed than a dragon. Please read our newest book in the Adventures of Pen PieyuBook 2:  Sir Princess Petra’s (that’s me) Talent.

You can get a copy at Amabiga Barbs & Nobility, and the Castle Gift Shop. Oh, and probably a few places in your world, too.

ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY SAMANTHA KICKINGBIRD, the official illustrator for The Adventures of Pen Pieyu Series.


For the Book BLog Tour Schedule, click HERE!

To read an excerpt from Book 2 of the Pen Pieyu Adventures: Sir Princess Petra’s Talent, click HERE!

2012-07-13 08.57.08Author Diane Robinson has a journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature. The author teaches acrylic and watercolor art to children, and is a tutor at the Creative Writing Institute. She also works full time at a dental office

The author’s first book in this series, Sir Princess Petra – The Pen Pieyu Adventures, has won two prestigious awards: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (literary arts) and a Purple Dragonfly Book Award. The book is shortlisted for two other awards.

Author’s website at: http://www.dragonsbook.co

Author’s Blog  http://dianemaerobinson.com

When Authors Play, pt. 2 by Diane Robinson

Kid Lit Reviews once again welcomes children’s author Diane Robinson.  Ms. Robinson’s fantasy series, The Pen Pieyu Adventures, book 2, Princess Petra’s Talent, releases on September 24, 2013. You can pre-order the book at Amazon as of September 14th.  And beginning on release day, Diane will be touring the blogosphere stopping to visit at least 21 wonderful blogsters between September 24th and October 8th.  But right now, Ms. Robinson has a response, of sorts, to a genius report, read here, posted here just a few days ago.

Creativity In The Forest

Creating, imagining, daydreaming, and writing in the forest is one of my favorite summer pastimes.  I imagine all sorts of fantasy creatures and then, just as I nearly catch a glimpse of them, they run and hide behind the trees, giggling at me and my human eyes that can’t quite focus on them.

The forest is my inspiration for my writing about the fantasy characters that are featured in my fantasy/adventure children’s books series (book two coming soon).

As I imagine and daydream, the trees turn into faces and then materialize as full bodies.  They start to laugh and dance and turn into fantasy characters doing all sorts of things (of course this is just the wind shape-shifting my perception, but we’re in creative mode, right?)

This creative process was how Snarls, the dragon, and Petra, the princess knight, were created several years ago–they are the characters in The Pen Peiyu Adventures.  And still, years later when I look at the same tree formations I first saw them in, they are still etched into the bark of their tree homes.

Can you spot the dragon guarding my horses?

Through the years, and with lots of practice at creative imagining,
I’ve trained my human eyes to be more perceptive to the forest and the fantasy characters that live within it.  I see gnomes, fairies, witches, princesses, giants, and of course, a dragon.  Creativity is a training process.  The same process occurs when we stare into the clouds and make pictures.

I’m often asked at author visits how I get into creative mode.  Well, creating characters within the barks and leaves of the trees is definitely a creative process for me. But what of those who don’t have a forest?

dmr combo 715I have suggestions.

–  Listen to music, especially classical music, to get your right brain stimulated–scientists have proven this.

–  Write and doodles with the opposite hand you usually write or doodle with.

–  Do an art project. I am an artist, so I paint while listening to music. This really stirs up my creative juices    and I can write wonderful things after a session of art.

– Meditate or deep breathing with your eyes closed for at least 20 minutes.

– Dress in a costume relevant to what you are writing about.

– Dance nude under the moonlight. Okay, this one I don’t suggest if you live in a town or city. (Okay, I’ve never done this, but my writer friend swears by it).

#1 Suggestion that guarantees a NY Times Bestseller?   Ride a unicorn in an enchanted forest until  fanciful characters race behind you like the wind, trying their darndest to get in the story you don’t even know you are about to write – but they do.  So listen with your heart, write with unabashed zeal, and be careful of fire-breathing dragons.***

This is me in my creative forest.

dmr4 715

Visit my author’s website: http://www.dragonsbook.com

Visit my author’s really cool blog:  http://www.dianemaerobinson.com

View the original post AND COMMENT here:  http://www.dianemaerobinson.com/2013/05/creativity-in-forest.html



***NY Bestseller suggestion is not Diane’s original work.  No, no, no.  It belongs to me, the KLR cat burglar.  he-he!

Author Spotlight: Cheryl Carpinello





Cheryl is the author of three children’s books. Her latest is King’s Ransom, reviewed here on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.  Cheryl is a retired teacher, with passion for working with kids, especially with their writing skills.  Her Medieval Writing Workshops are held for local elementary and middle grade students and girls who are members of the Colorado Girl Scouts.  Of these workshops, Cheryl states, “ I’m not the only one who loves Medieval Times and the King Arthur Legend. The kids thoroughly enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights!” Cheryl is a member of the Colorado Authors’ League and can be seen twice a month as part of the new Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Cheryl’s Books



Wild Creatures in My Neighborhood 2012



The King’s Ransom 2012



Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend 2009

Writing Life:   Via Satellite Magazine – Associate Editor, Writer;  Channel Guide Magazine – News Editor, Writer;  Satellite Communications Magazine – Associate Editor, Writer

Education: U. of Phoenix – Principal License, July 2003;  Lesley College – Master’s in Computer Education, 1996;  U. of Northern Colorado – Bachelor’s Degree, 1974

Teaching: Jefferson County Public School District -1986-2007

Awards:  2012  Silver Award Recipient for YA Fiction  (Children’s Literary Classics);  2012 Seal of Approval from The Children’s Literary Classics;  2012 Finalist for USA Best Book Awards, E-Book for Children;  Finalist Dan Poynter’s 2011 Global Ebook Awards for Pre-Teen Literture

Interests:  Cheryl likes to travel, read and write, movies, and spending time with her family

Favorite Books:  A Tale of Two Cities;  The Hobbit;  The Lord of the Rings;  Lord of the Flies;  The Once and Future King

For more information or a closer look at Cheryl Carpinello, follow any of the links below.

Website: http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com

Blog : http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Publisher Website: https://museituppublishing.com

Authographed Books: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/ccarpinello

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6


To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit http://worldofinknetwork.com



#231 – When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore

When a Dragon Moves In

5 Stars

When a Dragon Moves In

Jodi Moore
Howard McWilliam
23 Pages     Ages: 4 to 8

Inside Jacket:  If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in—and that’s exactly what happens to one very lucky boy on the beach. The boy and his dragon brave the waves, roast marshmallows, roam the shore, and have a perfectly amazing time together.

But when the boy tries to share the news of his magnificent dragon, no one believes him, That’s when the mischief begins. The dragon devours every last sandwich, blows bubbles in the lemonade, and leaves claw prints on the brownies.

Is there really a dragon running around on the beach, or is someone’s imagination running wild?


Winter is the perfect time to be thinking of the beach—when cold, think of warm sand on a hot day, or hot sand on a warm day. A winter vacation on the beach is the best time to build the perfect sandcastle. But build a perfect sandcastle and a dragon will move in. What happens when a dragon moves into your perfect sandcastle? You must be the one to feed it, play with it, and hide it, because no one anywhere on the beach will believe you have a dragon in  your  perfect sandcastle.

When your dragon gets excited and roars, your parents will say something like, “Yes, dear, we hear the ocean too.” Show them a dragon feather and they will say, “That’s a seagull feather, put it down.” Try to show them a dragon claw and your parents will say . . . I do not know, this one isn’t in the book. So your family does not believe you, the beach bully will if he tries to mess with you.


What good is a dragon in your perfect sandcastle? Well, for one, no beach bullies.  Your dragon has fire—roast marshmallows. Can he fly? Yes and he is a perfect kite. If your sibling, you know, the brat, starts to bug you how can your new resident help you? Well, lots of things come to mind, none of which I should write. Let’s just say he can—without hurting anyone, physically.

I like When a Dragon Moves In. The illustrations are brightly colored and animated. The text is wildly imaginative. And it is perfect for boys; and especially boys who refuse to read or do not like books. It’s about building and there’s dragons! What could be better?

The illustrations of the little boy and the dragon will have you laughing. Most of the time, the boy and his dragon, are identical in both body language and facial expressions. When the boy winks, so does his dragon. This makes it difficult to know if there is a dragon or a little boy with a huge imagination.


The pages in When a Dragon Moves In splash with color and detail, even in the far off areas of the water. The text has a boy’s imagination. Girls might like this—I’m a girl and I like it—but mostly this is a boy’s book.

Is there really a dragon in the sandcastle? Is the dragon part of a vivid and active imagination and not real? Hm. Let’s see, the boy definitely has an active imagination, which is real. If his imagination is real, why can’t the dragon be real? He did build a perfect sandcastle. Perfect sandcastles are known to attract dragons.

Using all the logic I can muster, I conclude that the boy’s imagination and his sandcastle are real, so the dragon must also be real. All this means is, before you go to the nice warm beach this winter—or next summer—it would be wise to take along When a Dragon Moves In.


When a Dragon Moves In

Author: Jodi Moore    website
Illustrator: Howard McWilliams   website
Publisher: Flashlight Press    website
Release Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-979974-67
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 4 to 8
Copyright ©2011 by Flashlight Press, used with permission.
Text: Copyright ©2011 by Jodi Moore.
Illustrations: Copyright ©2011 by Howard McWilliam

Summer Send-Off Contest

This being the end of summer, Susanna Leonard Hill came  up with the perfect contest.  The Summer Send-Off Contest.  Here is my entry.  I hope you enjoy it.

illustration copyright Heather Newman 2012, used by permission

The Outcast

“Hi, Paul!” said Patsy. cheerfully waving to her brother.

“What are you doing?” Paul yelled. “You need to come home right now.”

The dragon rose up at Paul’s words and fire came from within, landing inches from Butternut, Paul’s horse. She rose up, nearly dumping Paul on his rump. Beneath him, Paul watched the Earth split into a fiery dividing line.

“Sh, it’s okay,” said Patsy to the dragon. Trying to calm the giant creature, she patted its head.

“Did you see that?!  Don’t do this Patsy,” said Paul. “Mother and Father are frantic. You’ll be an outcast.”

“Come look at what we have accomplished.” Patsy waved her hand in a sweeping motion from over the dragon to the tiny castle behind her. Paul was still holding onto his horse, frantically trying to stay on her back. Desperately, he grabbed Butternut’s forehead, yanking back her head.

“Paul, what are you doing? You are part of the problem, did you know that?” Paul did not hear anything but his own wildly beating heart. “Paul, you’re hurting Butternut!”

“He’s my horse,” Paul yelled with such fury the horse, having had enough, tossed Paul onto the ground. “Fine, you go ahead with this PT thing. I’m going home.”

It’s PETD.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Dragons,” Patsy corrected her brother.

“Yeah, whatever, I’m outta here,” Paul muttered as he walked away. His sword was with his horse. His horse was now with Patsy. “Some knight I am.”

(245 words)

The 250 word children story contest, created by Susanna Leonard Hill.
Contest Rules:

The contest is for a children’s story of 250 words or less based on the picture above and in which somebody somewhere in your story says, in dialogue, “Did/do you see that?” (you may substitute any of the other senses – “Did/do you hear/feel/taste/smell that?”) and somebody somewhere in your story says, “Goodbye!” (you are allowed to substitute “Farewell!”, “Au revoir!”, “Sayonara!”, “Ciao!”, or “So long!”)  Entries must be posted on your blog between Friday August 31 and Tuesday September 4 at 11:59 PM EDT.

#167-168 – Shadows On My Wall & They’re Coming! by Timothy Young

4 Stars
Shadows On My Wall
Timothy Young
Schiffer Publishing
No. Pages: 32  Ages: 4 to 7

The streetlight makes shadows on Kevin’s wall! In those shadows, he sees monsters, dragons, and all sorts of frightening creatures. Does he let them scare him or does he find imaginative ways of dealing with these creepy shadows?  Kevin’s room and his imagination come to life in Shadows On My Wall.

Each night, the window in Kevin’s room throws shadows upon his wall.  He sees all sorts of creatures, some scary, some funny, some simply odd.  Like the pirates who appear and then look like they are arguing or the dragon that Kevin scares away with another dragon, he makes using the shadows from his hands.

Anyone who has ever seen a shadow that made them jump will appreciate this cute picture book.  Kevin’s visitors upon his wall include Santa on Christmas, a giant robot, and strange wiggly aliens.  At first, Kevin is afraid of these shadows. As time goes on, Kevin stands up to the shadows, often scaring them away.

I liked the way Kevin decides not to give in to these shadows and finds a way to turn things around.  He takes the power back from these creatures that appear at night.  He even turns the table on a few.   Any kid who was ever afraid of the dark, or a monster under the bed, will like Shadows On My Wall.  The author also gives a short lesson in shadow puppets at the end of the book.

This is the first of two picture books by Mr. Young.  The second is titled They’re Coming!


4 Stars
They're Coming!
Timothy Young
Schiffer Publishing
No. Pages; 32   Ages:  4 to 7

They’re Coming! From dark, dusty tombs to deep, forgotten forests, strange creatures, spooky creeps, and frightful fiends that haunt your nightmares are coming! But why? Tension builds and builds . . . mounting horribly . . . Isn’t it time you found out why They’re Coming?

This picture book will make you wonder and worry.  Who are these creepy fiends, slimy things, evil creatures and magical beings that are coming?  Why are they coming tonight?  Throughout the book, you will read about these ghoulish creatures, all coming together on a dark, mysterious night.

As these beasts of the night get closer and closer, where are they going?  Well, you must endure the mounting tension of each page if you want to know the answer.  Not until the very end will you know and I cannot tell you.  I was much too scared to finish this picture book, written for grades pre-K to 4.

I know, as a reviewer it is my duty to read every word, but the weirdness of the night, the eeriness of the creatures, the gloominess of the pages, were too scary for me and I had to tightly shut the cover.  Where do you think these devilish looking creatures are going on the scariest night of the year?

They’re Coming may not be the best bedtime story, but it is a wonderful story hour tale for the Halloween season.  Reading this to a group sitting around a campfire would be even better.  If you like scary stuff, then They’re Coming is the perfect book for you.

Parents: nothing in the pages of They’re Coming will cause nightmares—if you are under the age of twenty-five. That is why I could not finish, yet I am told this has a delightful ending that will make you laugh or groan.  Maybe even cause a groaning-laugh.

Both They’re Coming and Shadows On My Wall, written and illustrated by Timothy Young, are great selections for the Halloween season.  Perhaps, if read together, They’re Coming to be Shadows On My Wall, could be the highlight of a Halloween party.  Oh, my.  That is scary.  If you love Halloween, you will love these two books, which are perfect for younger kids.


Shadows on My Wall
They’re Coming!

Author and Illustrator: Timothy Young   website
Publisher: Schiffer Books   website
Release Date:  2012
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4224-0                 
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 4 to 8      Grades: Pre-K to 4

#158 – Puzzled by Pink by Sarah Frances Hardy

 5 Stars

Jacket:  Izzy’s sister Rose loves pink. In fact, she’s planned an all-pink birthday party, where guests will wear fairy wings and tutus. NOT IZZY!  She is puzzled by pink, and she’s planned her own party in the attic.  Her guests will be ghosts and spiders and monster dolls. Rose decides to crash the party that her magic wand really works.

Rose likes fairies, princesses, and the color pink.  Izzy wears black, has a black cat, and instead of a doll, she has a green, snout-nosed monster.  Today is Rose’s birthday party and all the guests are wearing pink fairy wings and pink tutus, except for young brother Fletcher, who wears only the pink wings.  All the partygoers carry a gold magic wand.

Izzy, wearing a black dress, hates pink and does not understand Rose’s fascination with the color.  She tries to attend the party but Izzy kicks her out until, she puts on the pink tutu and wings. Izzy balks and decides to have a spooky party in the attic—no pink allowed!

First, Mrs. Bitter must change from her pink outfit to one that is purple.  Izzy collects her green snout-nosed, yellow-bellied monster with the candy-striped horns.  The black cat Jinx, follows Izzy everywhere, so she will be attending too.  In the attic, Izzy decorates with dried roses, her favorite tea set, and a few creepy-crawling spiders.

Soon, Izzy’s invisible friend V arrives and the party can commence.  V sits in the haunted chair next to Izzy, Mrs. Bitter sits at the end of the table, and the monster and the black cat sit on the table.  Izzy is having a delightful time until Rose crashes the party with a plate of pink frosted cupcakes.

....No.  Thank.  You.  Do not give those to my monster!
...........Oh, look, here’s an empty seat for me!

Rose sits down in the haunted chair occupied by invisible V.  When told this, she jumps up and looks all around for V—who has left the party.  Izzy tells Rose to leave her perfect party.

.....................This isn’t a real tea party.
....................Well, you’re not a real fairy.
........................I most certainly am.
....................That’s not even a real wand.

Rose tells Izzy her wand is real and will show her.  Izzy grabs onto the wand and the two begin grappling for control.  Suddenly there is a zap.  The black cat is gone and in her place is a pink and black dragon.

Puzzled by Pink is the classic story of two quarrelling sisters.  The two are night and day, black and pink.  On the day of Rose’s party, the differences between the two girls cause a rift.  Each is in their own corner of the house having fun with friends, until one sister kind of, sort of misses the other.

I really like Ms. Hardy’s take on this over used scenario.  It is fun and a little twisted with invisible V flying in the window to attend Rose’s creepy, spooky party.  Ms. Hardy understands the mechanics of sisterhood.  The girls are different, want their own personality, but in the end, do not like doing things without the other.  With fairies, ghosts, and dragons, Puzzled by Pink brings this classic sister situation to the twenty-first century.

The illustrations are cute.  Depicted in their favorite colors, Rose and Izzy could not be more different, yet it is easy to see these two girls are sisters.  The whimsical illustrations add to the fun of the text.  There is even a little brother, who seems caught in the middle.  Bright pinks and matter-of-fact blacks give the reader an instant read on each girl’s personality.

Puzzled by Pink is definitely a book for young girls, especially if those girls are sisters and as different as black and pink.



Puzzled by Pink

Author & Illustrator: Sarah Frances Hardy   website  blog
Publisher: Viking (imprint of Penguin)     website
Release Date: April 12, 2012
ISBN:  978-0-670-01320-3
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 3+