Tag: Fantasy

BEDTIME FOR BUZZY
T. J. HACKWORTH
Illustrated by SEAN BAPTIST

SUMMARY

A young boy is playing with his toys and doesn’t want to go to bed at bedtime. One by one his toys come to life in his imagination and convince him that going to sleep is the best way to continue his adventures.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW

There’s no doubt about it. Bedtime for Buzzy is a bedtime story. No more and no less. It starts off very, very good, but towards the middle end of the story, an unexpected twist turns everything upside down. Even with this twist, the book is a good read. However, I caution parents to read the story themselves before reading it to their children so that they can make the proper adjustments. The UNIQUE thing about Bedtime for Buzzy is it’s storyline. It’s storyline? Yes, you’ll see.

RECOMMENDATION

Bedtime for Buzzy is recommended for First Time Readers (0 – 8).

BUY IT HERE: Amazon

AUTHOR BIO:

T. J. Hackworth is a writer of short stories and children’s fiction.  His work has appeared recently in the Wisconsin Review. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and daughter.  And he never has trouble going to bed.

ILLUSTRATOR BIO:

Sean Baptist is a freelance illustrator with numerous publications featuring his art, design, and illustration over the last decade. He studied illustration at Northern Michigan University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.  And he sometimes has trouble going to bed when he should.

DEAR SUN
DEAR MOON
DEBORAH PAGGI
Illustrated by GAYLE COLE

SUMMARY

What do love letters between the sun and moon sound like? Dear Sun, Dear Moon expresses the beauty of the sun and the moon in nature through expressive letters describing the wonder all around us all.

The sun and moon share what they love most about each other in this endearing book that encourages children to enjoy the beauty of nature that is often overlooked. As the sun and moon share what they love most about each other, they find a way to blend their beauty through the magic of an eclipse.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW

Dear Sun, Dear Moon is an unusual story where the Sun and the Moon as they compliment each other in passing. That means as one is setting and the other is rising. For example the Moon tells the sun, “You are bright and shiny.” Not wanting the moon to feel bad, the Sun tells the Moon, “You are also bright and shiny—“ Oh, I have to stop talking. Otherwise I’ll give—. I know, I know, but then I’d feel bad for spoiling a wonderful story for you. By the way, the UNIQUE thing about Dear Sun, Dear Moon is that it’s edu—. Oh, there I go again. You’ll find out when you read it.

RECOMMENDATION

Dear Sun, Dear Moon is recommended for First Time Readers (0 – 8).

BUY IT HERE: Amazon

AUTHOR BIO

Deborah Paggi is a writer who spent several years working in the children’s publishing field. After working with libraries, parents, and children’s book authors, she was inspired to set out on her own author’s journey. Her passion for storytelling focuses on a deep curiosity about the wonder and beauty of the world around her. Dear Sun, Dear Moon is her first picture book, which captures the power and brilliance of the magical things occurring in the sky above. She has been an avid reader her whole life and is thrilled to be writing books for children. Deborah has a Master of Arts in English and is an active member of the California Writers Club (Redwood Writers) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. After raising three active and energetic sons, she now lives a quieter life with her husband, chocolate lab, and ragdoll cat in northern California.

ILLUSTRATOR BIO

Gayle Cole currently resides in the small town of Sebastopol, California, on a blueberry farm where she has lived for the past 33 years raising four children with her husband, Jim. She graduated from the Art Department at San Francisco State University in 1978 with a BA degree in printmaking. Gayle considers herself an illustrator and designer, inspired first and foremost by the art in classic children’s books from such illustrators who simply went by Lucille W., H.C. Holling, Walt Disney Studio, and M. Sasek. Gayle has illustrated for Horticultural Publishing, worked in a local silk screening studio, and taken her artist’s eye in to landscaping and home designing. Portraiture of people and pets is Gayle’s muse of the moment and this is her first children’s book.

LUKE
the Horse who wanted to be a Unicorn
ANITA HAGER
Illustrated by INSIMA

 

SUMMARY

Luke was a strong, stately, well-built horse who lived in a town with other horses. He enjoyed spending time with his horse-friends in the stable and with the little girls of the community. But there was one thing about Luke that made him feel ashamed and insecure among his friends. His body was covered in dark brown spots from top to toe. Luke figured that there was only one way through which he would feel more accepted among his friends – he had to look like a unicorn, beautifully white and magically majestic.

Old Brownie, the wisest horse in the stable, saw Luke’s sadness and tried to comfort him. He quickly came up with a brilliant plan to help Luke become a unicorn. Luke was very excited to join in the plan, but little did he know that Old Brownie was trying to teach him an important life lesson.

Will Luke realize his dream of becoming a unicorn? Will he be able to deal with the thrilling consequences of being a unicorn? Will Luke’s friends approve of his new look?

A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW

We’ve all been there, well maybe not all of us. But you know how it is, one day you step out of the house, and someone doesn’t like, your hair, your clothes, the way you talk, the way you laugh. Simply they don’t like you being you. Of course no one tells you directly. Mostly, you hear whispers or a few come and start making fun of you.

Now do you see what Luke is going through. Hmmm if he only knew. Knew what you ask. Well that he’s really. Oh you almost got me. I don’t want to be the person that gives away the ending. You’ll find out for yourself when you read Luke – The Horse Who Wanted to be a Unicorn. What makes Luke – The Horse Who Wanted to be a Unicorn a  UNIQUE read is its ending. Now, you know I’m not going the ending! But, I can’t wait for you to read it.

RECOMMENDATION

Luke – The Horse Who Wanted to be a Unicorn was written for First Time Readers (1-8), but Parents, I really feel that some Middle Grade Readers and Young Adults to 15 could benefit from this book.

BUY IT HERE:   Amazon

BIO: Anita Hager (1980-) is a mother of two who lives in a small cozy
town in Norway. She and her husband also share their home with four cats. Her imaginative and meaningful children’s stories follow in the tradition of her Grandmother who read to her when she was a little girl. Now Anita reads her own stories to her two little boys at night and has decided to share them with others.

You will see her love of animals reflected on each page as well as her dream to help children grow up knowing how special they are.

She has created The Be the Magic you Are series of books for children. Books with stories that inspire children to be the magic they are by being themselves and reaching for their dreams. Most of the stories are based on animal characters that combine great stories with great illustrations.

Her saying is “Be yourself and you are always a unicorn! Be the magic you are!”

 

A CHILDREN’S GUIDE TO RABBITS

ANGELINA SOMMER

SUMMARY

A Children’s Guide to Rabbits provides information about pet rabbits which is understandable for children, and in a way they can easily follow. The book gives them, a step-by-step guide on how to look after rabbits in their own backyards, from shelter to food to playtime, and everything in between. Later in the book readers are taken on an adventure with Radar and Jupiter. Where they will discover they are smart, adorable and full of fun!

A DIFFERENT KIND OF READ REVIEW

They’re so cute and cuddly, but as shown in A Children’s Guide to Rabbits, taking care of them is a lot of responsibility. Don’t worry, A Children’s Guide to Rabbits shows you step-by-step how to build their home (hutch as they prefer), feed them, take care of their physical needs and playtime, and to simply make them happy. That’s what this book is—simple guidance that children understand. But even I learned a few things, like phishing. Did you know that rabbits could do that? What is phishing you ask? Now you know that I can’t tell you that. I don’t want to spoil it. I can tell you that that rabbit food, (specifically iceberg lettuce) isn’t, because it’s harmful to them. What makes A Children’s Guide to Rabbits a UNIQUE read is that there is a fiction picture book within the guide. It’s called Radar and Jupiter and Their Capilano Back Yard Adventures. The things those two can get into…well, you’ll see.

RECOMMENDATION

A Children’s Guide to Rabbits is recommended for all ages. First Time Readers (1 – 8) and Middle Grade Readers to age ten, will enjoy “Radar and Jupiter and Their Capilano Back Yard Adventures.” While everyone will find the Guide very helpful in caring for or deciding to purchase a rabbit as a pet.

WHERE TO BUY   Amazon

BIO   Angelina Sommer is a high school student at Carson Graham Secondary. She wrote a book about how to take care of rabbits called, “A Children’s Guide to Rabbits with Radar and Jupiter,” in 2015.The book is unique because it is written for children by a child. She writes in her free time and takes English grammar lessons. She lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, with her family and enjoys caring for her rabbits. She has owned her two rabbits for around four years. Angelina was “the perfect example of what not to do” when deciding to get a rabbit as a pet. She realized she didn’t know anything about how to take care of rabbits and she needed to do research. The research available was difficult to understand, especially for children. Angelina researched on-line, she met with a vet and she spoke with a rabbit rescue organization in Richmond called Bandaids for Bunnies. She also included an adventure story because the book is for children and she wants them to have fun as they learn. In 2016 she published a story book about her two rabbits, “Radar and Jupiter and Their Capilano Back Yard Adventures.” She also has other interests such as dancing, playing piano and dramatic improvisation. For more information about Angelina and her guide to taking care of rabbits, go to www.radarandjupiter.com.

 

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WONDERWORLD: THE MUSICAL
BRETT SCHIEBER

SUMMARY

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.

RECOMMENDATION

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)

BIO

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

THE LAND WITHOUT COLOR
BENJAMIN ELLEFSON
ILLUSTRATED BY KEVIN CANNON

SUMMARY

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.

RECOMMENDATION

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.

61w9TZl00GL._UX250_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.

 

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IN THE LAND OF BROKEN TIME: THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY
MAX EVAN AND MARIA EVAN
Illustrated by MARIA EVAN

SUMMARY

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.

RECOMMENDATION

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 exactlyMax Evans 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.

 

Maria EvansBIO 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.

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JAY-JAY THE SUPERSONIC BUS

SUE WICKSTEAD

ILLUSTRATION BY ARTFUL DOODLERS

 

SUMMARY

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.

RECOMMENDATION

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

Sue Wickstead Bio

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OKI AND HARLO
FAIRYTALE FRIENDS

CAS MESTEROM

 

SUMMARY

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!

RECOMMENDATION

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

THE TREE TALKS BACK

BILL GRIGSBY

Illustrated by ESA GRIGSBY

 

SUMMARY

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!

RECOMMENDATION

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

bgrigsby1BIO  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.’

esagrigsbyEsa 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).