Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cassie and The Wild Cat Meet and Greet by Pat Hatt, Illustrated by Juuichi

Make room for new friends

Cassie and The Wild Cat Meet and Greet is a brilliantly written story about friendship. Pat Hatt embraces his love of cats to teach children not to make quick decisions about others, to give everyone a chance to be a friend. It could also be a great way to welcome a new sibling to the household.

The illustrations compliment the comical rhymes that introduce new vocabulary to the reader.

If you don’t own a cat before you read Cassie and The Wild Cat Meet and Greet, you may soon be bringing one home.

The Swashbuckle Chuckle by Pat Hatt, Drawn by Caleb Wallace

What a great adventure to take with memorable characters soon to be mimicked by children lucky enough to read The Swashbuckle Chuckle.

Children will be captivated in the pursuit of the village fountain. The rhymes are entertaining while teaching lessons – hint, read it to a child who is in a cranky mood, see if it doesn’t turn his/her frown upside down.

The illustrations will no doubt engage the children long after the book is read. Be prepared to bring the characters alive.

Boo and The Backyard Zoo by Pat Hatt, Illustrations by Ozzy Esha

Today it’s all about teaching children to work together to solve problems. Boo And The Backyard Zoo is a perfect example of this lesson. As a bonus, the story is cleverly rhymed with outstanding illustrations.

Current issues regarding how to deal with bullies are subliminally addressed as the evil Nugget and his Flashy Parakeets roam the streets.

A great book for children to enjoy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Reel Cool Summer by Martha Rodriguez and Illustrations by Joey Rodriguez

Technology to the Rescue!

What a perfect book for kids ages 6-9 to ward off boredom. First, A Reel Cool Summer is great fun to read, but to apply the technology idea the three siblings learned would be amazing.

The dialogue is so accurate and the illustrations are outstanding. It isn’t hard to imagine this scene taking place in Martha Rodriguez’s home on a boring summer day, or any other family’s home on any given day. Kids are always saying they’re bored.

Starting with the kids wanting a pool, and realizing it probably isn’t going to happen, to ending with a pool as the prize for their video, is absolutely genius. It shows kids hard work pays off. I also thought it was realistic they didn’t win first or second place in the contest.

A Reel Cool Summer by Martha Rodriguez is an excellent book for kids to enjoy. The Illustrations by Joey Rodriguez are superb. Great title too!

Orphan of the Olive Tree by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

Secrets of two close families in 13th century Tuscany.

Carlo and Enrico are best friends who become blood brothers and betroth their first born to wed. Neither suspect there would be problems conceiving a child to fulfill their blood oath. But Enrico’s wife, Felicia, seeks help from a healer in her desperation to conceive. Carlo’s wife, Prudenza, becomes jealous of Felicia when she finally gives birth to twin sons, and spreads a vicious rumor that twins mean two fathers. This ruins Felicia’s reputation and marriage, and she harbors hatred for Prudenza.

Ironically, Prudenza becomes pregnant and has twin daughters. In order to avoid the truth of her lie, and not alienate her husband, she gives away one of her daughters - Olivia - the orphan of the olive tree.

Olivia is raised by nuns in a convent, until she falls in love with Luca, one of the twin sons of Enrico and Felicia. Luca’s twin, Lorenzo, falls in love with Giustina, the daughter Prudenza kept. Unfortunately, this is not the order of the blood oath, or is it?

So much happens in Orphan of the Olive Tree; there is the big secret of Prudenza’s daughter she keeps for many years; there are evil eye curses of medieval times, there’s love, hate, jealousy, friendship, good times, and bad times. All these struggles kept me captivated throughout the story, always being unpredictable.

The ending is left open-ended. I’m not sure if Mirella Sichirollo Patzer plans to write a sequel. Prudenza, the only villain in Orphan of the Olive Tree, is left paying her dues for her secret betrayal to both families. Olivia must serve a three month penance back at the convent she was brought up in for having a child before she was wed. I’m left wondering if the two shall meet, after all, she just found out this is her biological mother who gave her away. No one currently has compassion or forgiveness for Prudenza, but there are hints that only time will tell.

I absolutely loved reading Orphan of the Olive Tree. As always, I enjoy learning history by reading a well written novel. Mirella Sichirollo Patzer writes her story with such utmost passion that it permeates on every page of Orphan of the Olive Tree.