An enjoyable romp for kids willing to play along.

SKEETER'S DREAMS

A lighthearted, illustrated can-do story about a four-legged performer extraordinaire.

In this debut children’s book, Skeeter, an Arabian trick horse, gallops toward dreams and adventures. She envisions success in more exciting and certainly less-traditional careers than her current one. “I am a trick horse and could do so much more,” Skeeter laments. “As long as I have dreams, who knows how high I can soar?” And soar she does. Readers travel with the stunning white horse as she transforms into a theatrical actress with a bouquet of roses between her teeth, a painter who stands beside a canvas showcasing the beautiful vista that surrounds her, a funky-hat-wearing musician bedecked with a guitar around her neck, and more. The fantasies become more and more far-fetched: She surfs a blue Hawaiian wave and masquerades as one of Santa’s helpers on a snow-covered field in front of a white-capped mountain. Amid the beautiful scenic backdrops, the singsong rhyming verse moves the story forward through the Arabian’s different personas. Metzler charmingly portrays Skeeter’s antics as the costumed horse prances through scenes in which she declares her hopes and fantasies, illustrated by a series of vivid, full-color (often amusingly if not flawlessly Photoshopped) photos of Skeeter’s imaginings. The dream concept could be turned into a lesson, either formal or not, although Metzler doesn’t make the point in an overly explicit manner. Instead, the author aims to lead the way toward a connection, but the message is subtle and the story remains Skeeter’s to tell. Either way, young readers will smile as they explore her antics. If a horse can be a mountain guide who spots and belays rock climbers, why can’t they?

An enjoyable romp for kids willing to play along.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-4575-2522-3

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya

A CHILD'S INTRODUCTION TO CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD

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

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

THE CHRISTMAS SPRYTE ENCOUNTER

BAD BEHAVIOR

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

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