WONDERWORLD: THE MUSICAL
Wonderworld: The Musical is a Tim Burton style fairytale about Max, a lonely and confused boy who struggles with distinguishing reality from fiction. An outcast, he is picked on in school and his only solace is found in his art (his “Wonderworld”). At his lowest moments, his creations come to life to sing to him. Can his art save him?
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Have you ever felt that you didn’t belong? That no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t make friends or people found you weird? That was Max’s world. He always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. To end his confusion and loneliness, he discovered Wonderworld, an imaginary place created solely by his imagination, and a box of colored pencils.
Now the thing about Max is that—. Oh, I can’t tell you that part. I don’t want to spoil it for you. In fact that part, that thing I can’t tell you about is what makes this a UNIQUE read. It also shows that the evil person and the good person are—oops, almost.
Wonderworld: The Musical is recommended for Middle Grade Readers. However, the musical version of the book is a great teacher for First Time readers or as a bedtime story for those children that can’t read yet.
BUY IT HERE Amazon (Book) Amazon Music (Musical Version)
Brett Schieber is the musical half of the electro-acoustic duo Arcanum. He also records solo music and gigs frequently. In addition to being an in demand writer, producer, and session musician for other artists, he writes and records popular educational music for children under the name of Mark D. Pencil and Friends with his friend, Ace. He loves all animals, Duran Duran, and Star Wars. Tree, the narrator and vocalist of “Wonderworld: The Musical”, is the lead singer of the critically acclaimed electro-acoustic duo Arcanum. He produces solo music, art, and writings under the moniker of Kobritz. He does not own a computer.
THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR
ILLUSTRATED BY KEVIN CANNON
Lost in a strange land where everything is gray, Alvin must find the true color thieves to save the princesses and restore the color to the kingdom.
Floating into the air with an enormous gum bubble, Alvin lands in a strange world where everything is gray. The trees, the flowers, the dirt, the sky, the animals, and even the people are all missing their color.
Confronted with the mystery of the missing color, Alvin teams up with some unexpected friends to battle man-eating plants, outsmart the bumbling Crimson Guards, cross the Sugar Desert, overcome the two-headed dragon, and find the color-stealing goblins to restore color to the kingdom.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
It starts off with a simple game of kick the can. but with Brandon and Steven being the only ones free, it was bound to end in a tie. And…it almost did. You see they both reached the can at the same time, they both kicked it up into the air at the same time, but when it came down, somehow it landed in front of Steven making Brandon and all the other kids the winners.
As they celebrate the win, Paul and Derek, two brothers, drop by and asked them to go fishing. However, they can’t find anything to cut the spool of fishing line. Wait! Brandon’s grandfather lives near the pond, They can get something from him to cut fishing lines for each of them.
Grandpa Alvin, pulls out a pocket knife and not since the Wizard of Oz has such an adventure been told. A wad of Never Pop bubble gum lands twelve-year old Alvin son of Jack in a place that is all gray. The grass, the road, the sky, everything, Well not Permy of course, but everything else is gray. Together, Alvin and Permy set out on a trek across THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR simply to find out what happened and change everything back to its normal self.
Did I say simply. Nothing is ever simple and THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR doesn’t disappoint. First there’s…, then… well next… Shucks, I can’t tell you about any of that. You’ll just have to find out for yourself as you read THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR. I can say that there is one wicked twist that will have every parent cheering.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR and which makes the story UNIQUE is that it had lots and lots of pictures. Something that is very rare in a Middle Grade Book. However, its main character, which turns out to be Alvin, provides an ETHNIC read.
THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR is primarily recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9-12) especially those boys and girls who are reluctant to read. However, because of the illustrations, I also recommend this book for first time readers who show advanced reading skills.
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon
BIO Benjamin Ellefson loves writing whimsical adventures for children of all ages.
Childhood was a magical time for him. Benjamin grew up in a neighborhood full of kids. Every day was filled with imagination, adventures, fantasy, and wonderful stories. In school he loved any project that let him explore his creativity.
When Benjamin was older, he traveled across the country to study story telling at the University of Southern California in their school of Cinema/Television. While in school, he had the amazing opportunity to work on several film productions and saw stories coming to life first hand.
Over several years after school, Benjamin had four beautiful daughters. When they were little, he spent all of his creative energy giving them the magical childhood that he had when he was small. There was nothing as exciting to Benjamin as watching their imaginations flourish as they explored the world.
Now that they are older, he wants to give that magic to all of the children of the world. Benjamin focuses his writing on modern fairy tales that are fun for kids and thought provoking for adults. Each adventure celebrates important values of self-reliance, preparedness, and diversity. He hopes with each book to spark imagination in each reader.
IN THE LAND OF BROKEN TIME: THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY
MAX EVAN AND MARIA EVAN
Illustrated by MARIA EVAN
This book is about the adventures of the boy named Christopher, the girl named Sophia and golden retriever Duke. By chance they find themselves in a balloon, that took them into a fairyland, where mysterious events happen.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
Now according to the authors, In The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey is about the journey of a boy, a girl, and a dog in a fairyland.
They tried to make a story about the different ways of measuring time and about friendship. In fact, In The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey, there are many facts about how to construct different clocks (not only mechanical, but also sundials, water clocks, hourglasses, and aromatic clocks). They also tell readers how the human eye responds to light and about the animals that never get old. Were they successful, yes.
But most kids aren’t going to pick up on that. They’re going to love the adventure of the balloon ride, the unusual characterization of Temporus Certus, who is a professor concerned about time which is broken, the gentleness of Merula, the giant gnome who once lived underground, and the gut wrenching humor involving Duke when he finds out that— Ahhh, I can’t tell you what he finds out. I don’t want to spoil it for you.
The UNIQUE thing about In The Land of Broken Time: The Incredible Journey is the story itself. Its complexity was made so simple that it was just a joy to read.
In The Land of BrokenTime: The Incredible Journey is recommended for both FIRST (0-8) and MIDDLE GRADE (9-12) readers.
BUY IT HERE: AMAZON – Ebook
AMAZON – Paperback
BIO MAX EVAN
Once, when I was 11, I walked past the library. It was a special library for adults who worked at the metallurgical plant. My father worked at this plant as well. Through the narrow window I saw shelves full of books. Usually there were no people inside. Workers rarely read. I was a smart kid, but did not read the books too.
Nevertheless the books in the Soviet Union were a rarity. You could not freely come to the store and buy them there. It is hard to believe today, but it’s true. Books have been a deficit. You could easily buy the works of Marx and Lenin, but could not reach, for example, Jack London or J. D. Salinger.
I went inside. I do not remember exactly what we talked about with the librarian. It was a middle-aged woman. As a result, she enrolled me in the library under the name of my father, went down somewhere in the basement, and brought a thick volume. It was a novel by Jules Verne ”The Mysterious Island”. I read this book avidly. A whole new world opened before me. And so ever since I came to this library and I was given more and more new books.
I grew up, graduated with honors from the University. I am currently working as an editor at the largest Russian TV channel and writing books.
If this had not happened then, perhaps I would have to be working at the plant, which today due to the economic crisis no longer exists. So the only one book changed my life. So when someone says that reading can dramatically change a person, I believe in it, because I know it from my experience.
BIO MARIA EVAN – The idea to write a fairy tale came at the time when our son was 5 years old. He was sick, and I really wanted to please him with something. Our son has learned to read at a very early age. In two years he already knew how to do it. All the children’s books that we had at home, he had already read several times. That’s why I had a desire to come up with something new. It was a story about how our son travels with our boxer dog. They flew in a hot air balloon. It was very exciting for me too. I saw how my son’s eyes light up and thus he gave faith that my compositions are interesting. Thanks to the writer’s talent of my spouse, Maxim Evan, the idea was realized. I am an artist. And I really like to make illustrations for our books. I really hope that our first children’s book translated into English will please young readers.
JAY-JAY THE SUPERSONIC BUS
ILLUSTRATION BY ARTFUL DOODLERS
Jay-Jay the bus was rescued from the scrap yard where he was sadly gathering dust and cobwebs. He is taken to an airport where he is magically transformed into a ‘Playbus’ full of toys, games and adventure.
Jay-Jay – The Supersonic Bus is a fictional tale based on a real life bus ‘Supersonic’ which flew in the imagination of the many young children who visited him.’
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
Imagine, your favorite toy being taken away from you and broken down into pieces. You’d be upset right. Well put that on a larger scale and you have Jay-Jay, a bus. Recently, he had begun to feel tired and old. So, he was sent to a scrap yard and left to be taken apart (piece by piece) and turned into scrap metal. Scrap, how embarrassing. Sadly, he waited in the scrap yard with only a spider for company until something amazing happened.
What happened you ask? Come on, you know I can’t tell you that. It would spoil your chance to read this wonderfully illustrated and beautifully told story.
The UNIQUE thing about Jay-Jay, The Supersonic Bus is that in this age of recycling, it shows how something as large as a bus can be repurposed without being torn apart.
This book is recommended for First Time Readers (0 – 8) with in some cases a parental assist, and a great bedtime story. It would also be great for some nine-year-olds.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
OKI AND HARLO
Oki, a little orphaned goat meets Harlo, a shooting star, who falls to earth and ends up in the field where Oki is asleep. They become instant best friends and together they go on a quest to find Oki’s momma.
On their adventure, the little friends encounter wise old, Mr. Owl, Wobbly, the chicken, and a little girl named Ellie and her family.
Enter a world where children can safely go and learn about making friends, being honest, and believing in dreams, as well as healthy eating and the REAL purpose of rainbows!
“Oki and Harlo, fairytale friends” is the first ever draw freely e-book.
The story invites the readers to make their own illustrations. There are free-draw pages that have clear instructions on what to draw.
“Oki and Harlo, fairytale friends” is written for children aged 5 to 10 years, but is suitable for older children and adult kids too! It is a fun fairytale to read to your children and it is equally fun for children who are discovering the world of reading and imagination.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ (REVIEW)
Life is good for Oki as he plays in the pasture with his mother and the other farm animals. Yes, life is good until that faithful day, that farmer Barbic takes his mother away. His mother tells him not to be alarmed because she is only going to the farm and she’ll see him later. But, when winter ends and the other animals return from the farm, his mother is nowhere to be found.
He is sad, especially since Mrs. Sheep who cared for him during the winter months, now has her own family to care for. That night, as he struggles to fall asleep, he hears a noise not far away. It turns out to be Harlo, a star who has just fallen from Heaven.
After meeting and greeting each other, the two become fast friends and Harlo offer’s to help Oki find his mother. Thus the adventure begins as the two set out the next morning. Of course they had a little guidance from the—oh, you’ll have to find that out for yourself.
The UNIQUE thing about Oki and Harlo, Fairytale Friends is that it’s interactive. That means YOU CAN WRITE IN THE BOOK! EXCITTTTING!
Oki and Harlo Fairytale Friends is a bedtime story written in the form of a chapter book for First Time Readers (1-8), but I feel that the interactive part will also appeal to Middle Grade Readers through age 10.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
BIO: Cas Mesterom is a Dutch born author, poet, model and actor. Although Dutch is his native language, he feels more at ease writing his ideas to life in English.
Oki and Harlo is his first children’s book, and has taken seventeen years to breath life into the characters so that they live in print.
THE TREE TALKS BACK
Illustrated by ESA GRIGSBY
Summary: A plucky girl encounters an enormous tree, discovers it includes all fruits, and decides, much to the chagrin of its current animal and insect inhabitants (no epiphytes, sorry!), to climb to the top to retrieve a prized tropical fruit, the mangosteen. On the way she makes a mess, though, and well to continue would be to spoil the reader’s adventure.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
The Tree Talks Back starts with a girl walking into the forest. A little ways in, she sees a huge, no gigantic, no humongous tree. The tree is so big that it takes her half a day to walk around it. Now the most interesting thing about this tree is that it contained a lot of…. Well there were a lot of…. And then…
You know it was a really big tree and I can’t tell you what was going on because I don’t want to spoil the story for you.
The Tree Talks Back is a beautifully illustrated, very, very funny adventure story. Interestingly, the play on words is what makes this a UNIQUE read.
Sssh–another thing that is unusual about The Tree Talks Back is that the tree…zzzzzzz.
Can you believe that girl. She was about to give you a secret. I had to put her to sleep. Ahem! No spoilers here!
This book is primarily recommended for First Time Readers (5-8) and Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12). But I think all tiny readers and some not so tiny ones will enjoy reading it.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
BIO Bill Grigsby leads the glamorous life of a small college professor. ‘I could never write. I went to a ex-pharmacist-turned-handwriting analyst, and she said I should have been a doctor. At the time I didn’t know that simply meant my handwriting was illegible, so I went back to school. I found out the hard way that illegible handwriting and a PhD don’t grant a license to perform surgery. They don’t tell you that til you’ve defaulted on your student loans and lost your first malpractice suit.’
Speaking of student loans, his oldest daughter Esa announced after graduating with a degree in foreign languages that her true passion was illustration. ‘I told her I’d write up an old bedtime story and she could illustrate it. How hard can children’s books be to pen? Complete sentences, right?’
That’s how No egrets Publishing was born. Bill keeps his day job teaching sociology at Eastern Oregon University. ‘Lots of people are locked in to pretty narrow ways of thinking about the world, society, and their places in it. Some of what I do is trying to disrupt intellectual entropy. It’s not a great marketing strategy, but it’s therapeutic.’
Esa keeps her day job in the Portland schools, but her talent at translating stories into pictures, scenes and side stories comes out pretty clearly on the page.
Their stories are full of sociological themes. ‘Kids are a tougher audience than college students. You can’t hold a final exam over their heads. The subtext in The Tree Talks Back is subtle but universal, the visual adornments extravagant, and it will never be mistaken for an academic report.’
At the time I made up this story, I had been working and researching in Africa, and as part of that studying tropical trees and fruits. Our daughters were unimpressed with my day job exploits, and parents intuitively know that none of that matters to young readers at bedtime. Subtext is there for those with an interest, but the story always comes first, and this one–mind you the illustrator was part of that original bedtime audience–was a labor of love.’
This story is best read to a younger audience, older children will appreciate following the meter and rhyme (and the subplots hiding in plain sight in the pictures).
SCARED OF THE DARK
CAROLINE L. THORNTON
SCARED OF THE DARK is a rhyming picture book for children.
Shadows dance on your wall
Curtains flap in the breeze
Floorboards squeak in the hall
The wind whips through the trees
**Some children may find a small section (4 pages) to be scary but the section is easy to skip without affecting the story.
The dark can be scary, especially when you don’t know what you’re afraid of. But you’re not alone, most of us have felt scared at night and the dark’s not actually so bad. Discover some of the reasons for our fear, meet friendly animals who play in the night and learn to think of the dark in a new way. Oh and just in case some monsters are real…you’ll be reminded that you’re braver than you may think!
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ BOOK REVIEW
There comes a time in every parent’s life when they must deal with the monster in the closet, the whispers under the bed, and even “the Martians are gonna get me!” fear that every child experiences. Okay, that last one was me when I saw my first scary movie at the age of ten . In any event, I felt that SCARED OF THE DARK, was a visual way to help children overcome many frightening obstacles that they experience at night. It is also something they can read on their own thus providing a tool when dealing with this problem.
The question is will you be able to sleep through the SCREAMING, HOLLERING, and/or YELLING as they solve their problem. Of course we will, that’s what parents do. Okay, I know you wimps will be there every time they call. Get SCARED OF THE DARK, so you can get some rest.
The UNIQUE thing about SCARED IN THE DARK is that it’s a handbook for your child to use as they learn, in their own way, how not to be afraid of darkness.
SCARED OF THE DARK is recommended for First Time Readers (1-8) and Middle Grade Readers to age 10.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
BIO Caroline L Thornton lives in Scotland. She loves animals, movies and all things vintage. She writes rhyming picture books and her first, Scared of the Dark was inspired by her own fear of the dark as a child. She wanted to write a book that she feels could have helped her and which may help others who feel scared in the night.
THE NEVERNIGHT WARS BOOK ONE: TOBY’S GIFT
The weirdest, most horrible week in Toby Stevens’ life starts when he hears a voice no one else can hear. The voice tells him that he has been Chosen to fight in a thousand-year-long war. It says that he’ll be given a Gift, a superpower to help him save the world. Terrified, Toby tries to ignore the voice, to pretend that everything is normal. But his friends keep catching him talking to himself. And the voice keeps saying stranger and stranger things. It tells him that he has to go to the middle of the Nevernight Forest, the giant woods that surround Toby’s town. In the Nevernight, the voice almost screams, all of your questions will be answered.
By the end of the week, Toby can’t take it anymore. He jumps up in the middle of class, races past the school security guard and runs straight into the Nevernight Forest. As the shouts of “Stop!” and “Come back!” fade behind him, Toby almost runs headlong into a fight between an old man with a silver sword and a huge man with a black axe. The two men stop fighting long enough to turn to look at Toby. As they drop their weapons and start walking toward the frightened boy, Toby’s normal life ends and the Nevernight Wars begin.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW
Imagine sitting in your basement on a dark and stormy night secretly looking at a forbidden scary movie with your best friends Kirsten Roberts and Billy Delancy when you hear a voice. “You have to help her,” it pleads. You look around, did the others hear it? No, they are focused on the screen where Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is chasing some girl. In confusion, you wonder if this is part of the movie. No . . .it’s not his voice. Freddy’s voice is deeper and scary. This voice is soft and gentle and . . . it’s outside. Slowly you look towards the window. There’s nothing there but your backyard. Yet, beyond that lies—the Nevernight Forest. Someone in that forest is asking you to help her because, “she’s drowning.”
Who is she? Who’s talking? Why are you the only one that can hear him? Yes, that soft gentle voice is male. At your hesitation, it becomes commanding. “TOBY! LOOK OUTSIDE!” What are you going to do? What any curious sixth-grade boy would do. Ignore the wet and wild weather and step outside.
The brilliant thing about Jeff Trussell’s The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift, is:from the moment that you discover the voice in the woods is Cayman, a black man with a Jamaican accent who tells you the history of the Nevernight Forest, and the war that has been going on for centuries to save it from destruction; from the moment that Toby’s gift (superpowers to you), which is achieved by an ancient process handed down by the Goddess Isis, begins to grow and you find yourself trying to scrat—no, no, no–no spoilers from here; from the moment, the very touching moment (I’m a girl what do you expect), that Toby asks Billy, his best friend who is in a wheelchair to teach him how to use his gift, you are part of the story both mentally and physically.
The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is a fantasy story with a little bit of science fiction and a lot of mystery thrown in. The way that Toby defeats Mr. Skinner, the antagonist, makes this a UNIQUE read. With the inclusion of Cayman (not to mention Isis, my favorite Goddess) and Billy, The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is also an ETHNIC and SPECIAL NEEDS read. I can’t wait to see where the next adventure will take us.
The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12). First Time Readers (8 -12) with Parent assistance. Girls will also enjoy this book.
BUY IT HERE: Amazon
BIO Have you ever had a story you just had to tell? Something you ran home from school, burst in the front door and started blabbing to your parents before they even knew who was talking to them? The Nevernight Wars is that story for me. And like any good story, The Nevernight Wars has become more that just a story. In a weird way, and I wouldn’t admit this to just anybody, the characters are real. Toby, Kirsten and Billy aren’t real in the same way my wife Jennifer or baby Silas or our funny looking basset hound Luke are real. But real in the way Halloween or what you wish for on your birthday is real.
And for everyone who keeps asking when the next Nevernight will be ready, the answer is very soon. I won’t say what’s going to happen, but I will say that even I was surprised.