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Category: children (Page 1 of 7)

ALL FISH FACES – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Tam Warner Minton

In ALL FISH FACES: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish! (Ocean Friends Book 1), author, world traveler and diver, Tam Warner Minton shares more than just tons of gorgeous personal photos of tropical reef fish. She shares tons of educational information with personal snippets of her personal encounters -sometimes humorous- with these beautiful sea creatures.


Tam Warner Minton has put together a highly enjoyable book that crosses ages, ethnicity, and gender. ALL FISH FACES is highly intriguing with so many pictures of the various different types of the species Warner Minton includes in the book. The e-book version has major formatting issues, but that could be fixed by hiring someone to professionally format the book for digital format. It certainly wouldn’t take away from the print version though. Throughout the book, readers will find sections inserted that focus on preserving the oceans and how to go about it. The drawback to those are simply where they are placed in the book. Perhaps, two parts to the book would have been better -one part focused on the fish and a second part focused on the health and vital importance of the oceans.


ALL FISH FACES is a quick and easy read, but the beautiful pictures captured by Tam Warner Minton just might keep readers entertained for much, much longer. The intent of Warner Minton to bring the beauty and joy of the tropical reef fish to those have not or cannot journey into the sea to witness them for themselves is a wonderful concept for the book. Inspiring others to care for such beautiful, comical, and fascinating creatures makes Tam Warner Minton’s ALL FISH FACES: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish! a must have for science teachers and children who are curious about what lies just under the surface off the beach.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Magic Pen: Cindy’s Castle Adventure – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Erin Childs

In The Magic Pen: Cindy’s Castle Adventure, debut children’s author, Erin Childs does a fantastic job of taking young girls on a magical journey of fantasy and wonder in just a few short pages. Cindy’s mother gave her a new coloring book and special glittery markers. With Cindy’s precise outlining and coloring, she transports herself into a magical world through the special magic pen. She enjoys exploring, but misses home. Therefore, she discovers how to return home by using her artistic skills yet again.


Erin Childs is a skillful writer and storyteller expanding on the glorious imagery within The Magic Pen: Cindy’s Castle Adventure, illustrated by René Hartman Domino, through her wondrous and colorful words. The only drawbacks, which are quite minute, are a teeny grammatical error once or twice and the idea that Cindy opts not to color for a while after her wild and exciting experience.


However, those are easy to overlook when there are such inviting and colorful images to entertain young readers, parents and teachers, alike. Even the colorful, yet simple, symbols on each page just above the page numbers are pleasing to the eye. Without question, the talent of Erin Childs and her illustrator, René Hartman Domino have the potential to make The Magic Pen: Cindy’s Castle Adventure a huge hit among young girls everywhere. The story crosses time and space and relishes in the support of a daughter’s artistic abilities by her mother. This is simply a fabulous story that deserves to be on library shelves, school book shelves and tucked lovingly under the pillow of young girls far and wide.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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My Dad is Just a Barber – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Donald Conley

Donald Conley’s story, My Dad is Just a Barber, is an excellent tale for your boys. Young Donnie has a career day coming up at his school, but he’s ashamed of the fact that his father is simply a barber. School bullies make fun of Donnie and what his father’s career is; therefore, Donnie is worried about completing his homework. The next few days he pays more attention while he’s at the shop with his father and comes to realize just how much the clients appreciate his father. Donnie’s point of view makes a ninety-degree turn once he realizes this.


My Dad is Just a Barber is a wonderful story for children, especially young boys. Donald Conley does a fabulous job shining a bright light on the important aspects of a job that may seem lesser in value than others. Unfortunately, there are numerous formatting issues in the book, which can be distracting from the amazing illustrations and core of the story. On top of that, the vast number of grammatical errors add to the distraction.


However, with a high quality edit, My Dad is Just a Barber has amazing potential to be a huge hit with elementary school age children and their parents. Hands down, Donald Conley has written a fantastic and deeply important story within the pages My Dad is Just a Barber. The illustrations are so wonderfully expressive and help portray the story. If My Dad is Just a Barber gets a solid edit, it should end up on every young boy’s book shelf.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Cindy L. Shirley

Cindy L. Shirley’s Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float is an adorable holiday tale for young children. Young Doodle often has friends come over to her grandparents, and they all enjoy playing on the farm and learning from Paw-Paw, Doodle’s grandfather. One day the children found a trailer in the woods that needed a little fixing up. With the help of Paw-Paw and Mimi, Doodle’s grandmother, Doodle and her friends turned it into a beautiful float for the upcoming Christmas parade. The children’s experience turned out to be downright magical -more than Doodle would’ve ever guessed.


Written as a beautifully sweet story, Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float is embued with more than just decorating an old trailer for a parade. It expresses the emotional joy of friendship and helping another -one who hasn’t had much attention as of late- all while displaying the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. There are some grammatical errors that a more thorough proofreading would fix, but they don’t detract from the charming story.


Due to author, Cindy L. Shirley’s wonderful writing skills and illustrator, Cleoward Sky’s gorgeous illustrations, Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float would make a perfect gift from grandparents to their grandchildren. It would also be a wonderful story read at school or a local library before having a children’s holiday craft workshop. With such a wonderfully written story, there is great potential for where Shirley’s Doodle and the Magic Christmas Float can be read and enjoyed -even though it’s niched into a short period of time each year.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Charley’s Cat Family – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Jeff Magnuson

A very sweet children’s story, Charley’s Cat Family, written by Jeff Magnuson and illustrated by Bettina Braskó, is sure to have young cat lovers reading it again and again. Charley is single guy working hard everyday, but he misses having a feline companion like he did as a youth. Eventually, he decides to adopt a cat from the local shelter and ends up with two kitties. There are some struggles, but Magnuson does a great job helping Charley and his new cats overcome them.

Charley’s Cat Family is an easy read for younger readers. There is a time or two that some readers might catch a grammatical error, but those are quite rare in this sweet story. Finding any real drawbacks in Jeff Magnuson’s Charley’s Cat Family was a bit challenging. However, one thing that could’ve made the story a bit stronger would’ve been if Magnuson changed something in Charley’s work life that gave him more time for his new pets. The move to a bigger place is helpful, but doesn’t fix the issue of working all the time, and having a house takes more time to care for than an apartment.

With that being said, Jeff Magnuson’s Charley’s Cat Family is an adorable tale for children who would love to get a pet. It offers an opportunity for parents to open a door to a conversation about what having a new pet my entails. It’s excellent at showing responsibilty and how to handle a new challenge without giving up. Charley’s Cat Family is a beautiful story of love, companionship and new friendships -even with animal friends. Jeff Magnuson’s debut children’s book is a perfect fit for hopeful, young, future pet owners.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Angel on Assignment – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Wanda Carter Roush

From the very first words in the cover, “Move over elf. It’s time to share the shelf.” Wanda Carter Roush’s Christian children’s story, Angel on Assignment, is a magnificent gem. The story tells once again the basics around the story of Jesus. Through the glorious illustrations by Mike Motz, it hints as to how the angels actually knew about Jesus’ birth without being told directly. Those same angelic behaviors continue through the book telling children that they can rely on angels by communicating with God. At the back of the book, the author also includes how to create an angel for one’s own shelf at home.

The only drawback to Angel on Assignment is for those readers who are quite particular with proper grammar. However, when writing in such a poetic style as Wanda Carter Roush has done, grammatical errors can be overlooked or ignored. Angel on Assignment is clearly meant for those with Christian beliefs systems. Instead of being a hinderance, that helps the book speak directly to those Carter Roush is trying to reach.

Wanda Carter Roush’s Angel on Assignment is not only fun to read with her skillful use of words, but it’s filled with beautiful imagery throughout. Young children can even play a little game on almost every page and search for the angel that is on assignment within this book. Colorful, fun to read and connected to the religious views of its readers, Angel on Assignment is sure to be a hit with young Christian families.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Moka and My Path to the Sea – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Alain Deanne Coleman

Moka and My Path to the Sea, written by Alaina Deanne Coleman and illustrated by Jennifer Stolzer, is a very unique book. A quick and easy read for children, Coleman takes a pair of young girls on a short journey to the ocean. The story is written in English and shared in Japanese directly above the English writing. This makes for a highly unique book. Adorable, full-color illustrations help express the story of exploration to young readers.

Alaina Deanne Coleman shared an exceptionally simple story and perhaps, missed an opportunity to share a more exciting tale of adventure. There could’ve been a mishap or something super exciting that the girls discovered. Without that this potentially adorable book fell a bit flat. It may not be one readers will be excited to read over and over again. Though most of the imagery is fantastic, there is one illustration that contradicts the idea of “cloudy skies”. This is something many children would pick up on. Such an oversight could lead to the book losing some credibility.

However, Moka and My Path to the Sea is truly a unique book and downright captivating with the use of brightly coloful illustrations and the Japanese version of the story being included. This makes Alaina Deanne Coleman’s work stand out in the sea of children’s books. In fact, that might be enough to get children to come back to the pages of Moka and My Path to the Sea time and again to learn how to write the Japanese symbols. Great concept!

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Weeds in Nana’s Garden – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Kathryn Harrison

Sometimes a story comes along that touches your heart so much it’ll move you to tears. Kathryn Harrison’s children’s story, Weeds in Nana’s Garden is one of those stories. A young girl enjoys spending time in the garden each summer with her grandmother. They sing songs, create bouquets, hang out with the fairies and simply build a special bond with one another. Unfortunately, Nana begins to show signs of dementia, which the young girl’s mother gently explains to the girl. Over the next few years, the young girl grows into a beautiful young woman as she tries to help her nana move through the continual decline gracefully. Harrision also includes a wonderful Q & A section at the end of the book to help parents, guardians, etc. talk to children about the disease.

Weeds in Nana’s Garden is gloriously depicted with full-color illustrations by the author. Readers will likely feel like they’re spending time in the garden right alongside the gently aging grandmother, her granddaughter, the fairies, the birds and the colorful blossoms. Kathryn Harrison has a gift that she shares not only through her illustrations but her poetic words. A teeny-tiny error here or there could stand to be fixed, but the overall eloquence and importance of Weeds in Nana’s Garden aren’t distracted from at all.

Every library, every doctor’s office, every child’s home bookshelf and every counselor’s office should have a copy of Kathryn Harrison’s Weeds in Nana’s Garden. This is a disease that everyone encounters in one way or another, and Harrison has done such an absolutely beautiful job of shining a light on it, explaining it in a way that children can grasp and yet, still gripping the heart of any reader who peruses the pages of Weeds in Nana’s Garden. Highly recommended.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Oh My Gosh! There’s a Mouse in My House – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Regina Hennegan

Regina Hennegan has woven an important message into her adorable children’s story, Oh My Gosh! There’s a Mouse in My House. A young boy, Bobby, was playing in his room when he heard his mother yell for help from downstairs. He rushed to see what was wrong. She encountered a very large mouse in the house and wanted to put the house up for sale. The father explained there needed to be a different solution, but getting rid of the mouse just because he was a mouse ended up being a challenging situation for the entire family. They had to decide the best choice for everyone concerned.

Though the illustrations, by Mike Motz, are absolutely adorable they don’t always match the story. The mouse on the cover is the size of a small dog, which leads one to not even recognize it as a mouse. On another occasion, the story talked about it being a cold and rainy day, but the images from outside appear bright and sunny. The poetic-like wording started out rhyming and flowing, but that began to disappear the further along the book went. That interrupted the cadence of the story.

Oh My Gosh! There’s a Mouse in My House is truly an adorable tale even with it’s conflicting illustrations at times and a large number or grammatical errors. However, thre grammar errors are easy fixes with some editing. The underlying core message to the story is deep and profound. Regina Hennegan offers a beautiful way to open the door to conversation with children about the differences amongst not only human beings but animals. That message makes Hennegan’s Oh My Gosh! There’s a Mouse in My House well-worth the read with young children!

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Ingus and Pingus in the Wild Wild Amazon – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Rad Komissar

Ingus and Pingus In the Wild Wild Amazon Jungle, written by Rad Komissar and illustrated by Claudio Espinosa, is a series of delightful tales for children. Dr. Ingus was bored and ready for adventure and change, which he found unexpectedly in a number of ways within in the Amazonian Jungle and within a new friendship with Pingus or the Big Bad Baby – Triple B. There are ups and downs along the way, but Ingus and Pingus come together and set an example for others to do the same as friends and helpers.

Komissar has such a unique take on writing -it’s written in a rap-like style- that it can be just as confusing as interesting at times. The biggest drawback is the use of nonsensical statements or word choices at times. Artistic license is something to be considered within the uniqueness of Ingus and Pingus In the Wild Wild Amazon Jungle, but phrases like, “From a night’s rest of farting” or “…who else would they be here…” are highly confusing. However, these may be intentionally written in that way in an effort to be humorous.

There is no question that Rad Komissar has an exciting and colorful idea within Ingus and Pingus In the Wild Wild Amazon Jungle. There are some areas that could use a little work, but overall it’s an adorable series of tales. It’s easy for children to read in big, bold font, but still includes gorgeous, colorful and creative illustrations to enliven the entire storyline. For parents and children, who are looking for a different type of book to read, Rad Komissar’s Ingus and Pingus In the Wild Wild Amazon Jungle series offers a lot of potential for a fun and playful read.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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