A wonderfully imaginative tale of overcoming obstacles and finding special powers.

Lake of Clustered Stars

Native American folklore and magical realism combine in a young boy’s life in this debut children’s book. 

Jamie’s idyllic life in the Hudson Valley is much like any other child’s—he plays, he laughs, and he loves his family. After breakfast one morning, Jamie notices his grandfather dropping toast crumbs through a grate in the floor, and he doesn’t think much of it—until a tiny pink nose pokes through and takes the little feast. Then one day, Jamie awakes to find his parents frozen and his grandfather vanished. Ollie—the mouse owner of the little pink nose that Jamie saw earlier—tells him that the Wharwhoops, large, treelike creatures, are after him, and they must escape in order to help the boy’s family. Ollie and Jamie embark on an adventure through the Hudson Valley’s many rolling hills in search of the Great Manitou—the ruler of all things—and they encounter many creatures along the way. Jamie also discovers that he may have special powers that he’s hidden all along. Will he save his parents and find his grandfather? Or will the Wharwhoops flex their mighty roots and take the family’s spirits for all of eternity? Santa Teresa’s childhood in the Hudson Valley is clear as soon as the reader begins turning the pages of this work. He mixes traditional Native American folklore with the romanticism of being a kid, and it all culminates in a delightfully dreamy result. Children and adults alike should be charmed by the evocative tale—there’s just enough drama to pique the interest of older kids but not so much that it would be frightening for the younger set.  Kids should be able to relate to Jamie’s quest—surmounting hurdles, facing fears, and ultimately looking within to see him through. Paek’s colorful illustrations are an alluring addition to the book—there’s a surreal quality to them that pairs perfectly with the folklore backbone of the volume. The only caveat? There should be more images, because they’re so lovely to look at.

A wonderfully imaginative tale of overcoming obstacles and finding special powers.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 110

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya


Roman (If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway, 2013, etc.) offers a children’s primer of the geography, sports, food and vocabulary that Kenyan kids encounter in their daily lives.

The latest installment in this cultural series—preceded by books on Mexico, France, South Korea and Norway—takes young readers to the African nation of Kenya, where they get a short, engaging lesson on the country’s culture. The opening phrase “If you were me…” helps kids imagine a narrator not much different from themselves. Their Kenyan counterpart lives with their parents (“If you needed your mommy, you would call for Mzazi. When you are speaking to your daddy, you would call him Baba”), buys milk from the market and pays for it “with a shilling,” eats snacks (“samosa, a small triangular pastry filled with meat or vegetables and fried in oil”) and goes to school. The book covers Mombasa Carnival, a large yearly festival, and discusses its importance. It also explains the basics of cricket, a popular sport in Kenya, and the fact that kids usually entertain themselves with handmade toys. Roman’s books are successful since she draws connections between cultures while maintaining a tone that keeps young readers engaged. Colorful illustrations further enhance the text, such as one showing kids playing with cricket bats. A glossary at the end offers a pronunciation key for the unfamiliar words throughout. This series of books would be a natural fit in school classrooms and would also provide a good way for parents to teach their own kids about the cultures, languages and geography of different countries. This installment is a quick read that may help kids see the similarities between themselves and their Kenyan peers.

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481979917

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good...



A cranky little girl changes her behavior after a warning from one of Santa’s helpers in this debut rhyming Christmas book.

With bushy red hair and freckles, the narrator—who appears to be age 5 or 6 in the cartoonish images—throws a tantrum to avoid going to the mall on Christmas Eve. But her scheme doesn’t work—and it lands her on Santa’s naughty list. Her grumpy antics are interrupted by Glynt P. Spryte, one of Santa’s Behavioral Elves. He’s been trying to subtly adjust her conduct for months. Now that her deeds have crossed the line, he is paying her a visit. Glynt’s dire warning (no toys!) and his lack of hope that her behavior can improve in time for Christmas give the narrator just the push she needs to clean up her act. “But the best part is this—I LIKE who I’ve become,” she says on the final pages. Crighton’s lines scan well in her series opener, using a vocabulary overly advanced for her narrator’s age. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are reminiscent of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous Christmas poem, though the obvious message may not enthrall mischievous young readers. Glynt is a fun invention: a combination of angry and sorrowful wrapped up in a cowboy outfit. But the uncredited illustrations don’t match the story’s description (he’s called “young” and “handsome” but appears with gray sideburns and a Santa-esque figure).

For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good addition to their collections.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947352-87-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: BookBlastPro Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet