Parents looking for stories that reinforce religious teachings may find much to like, but others may not be captivated by...

THE KEY TO NEDE

AN ADVENTURE BEGINS

Two children learn about themselves and the worlds around them—both visible and invisible—while on an adventure in the magical Land of Nede.

When 12-year-old Billy moves in to Lovett Manor after his mother goes missing and a fire burns down the building in which he was hiding, he meets Sarah, the niece of Mrs. Lovett. The pair searches for a lock that matches the key that Billy has carried with him for years and finds an agreeable padlock on the tree house in the backyard. Upon entering the tree house, they fall through its rotting floorboards of the tree house and end up not on the ground below but in another layer of reality. They have stumbled upon the invisible Land of Nede. Here they meet Trick, who teaches them what to fear—namely Prince Goth and his minions. They also encounter the royal family, who teach them about the power within themselves and how they can fight evil creatures to make their own reality more like Nede, where everyone lives within the same parameters of wealth, eats for pleasure rather than out of need, and time is no barrier. Billy, as a chosen one, is especially important in the war between the people of Nede and Prince Goth. Once they return to their families, Billy and Sarah strive to keep the lessons of Nede in their hearts and minds as they deal with people already infiltrated by Prince Goth’s army. Ewinger’s writing is clear and concise, though she often resorts to clichés in her descriptions. Also, much of the dialogue consists of long explanations that may not succeed in maintaining the interest of young readers who might suspect they are being exposed to valuable lessons. Children usually learn best when new knowledge is better shrouded in authentic characters and more intricate adventure.

Parents looking for stories that reinforce religious teachings may find much to like, but others may not be captivated by the tepid prose.

Pub Date: March 30, 2010

ISBN: 978-1935529699

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Interlink

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2010

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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