Linguistic play, adventure, and gentle lessons combine effectively in this humorous tale.


In this debut fantasy children’s book, a girl and her dog receive an invitation to make a huge contribution to the world of the Hidden Shoreline, learning something in the process.

Trinket, an 11-year-old girl, is walking along the beach on a pleasant day with her dog, Grits, a German shorthaired pointer. She’s mulling over school and an important question: Should she take it easy, as some of her friends do, or keep working hard and trying her best? Grits finds a large blue conch shell, and Trinket is astonished to hear a voice coming from inside it belonging to a Mr. Penpoint. He issues an Official Greeting and an invitation to the Hidden Shoreline: “Everyone I take there has a different adventure, depending on what they need to learn.” Mr. Penpoint shrinks Trinket and Grits and reveals himself to be a penguin with black-and-white plaid feathers. It seems that denizens of the Hidden Shoreline are engaged in an endless battle against Roarers, who come in on the waves and operate “like bad thoughts that want to take over the mind.” Now the Shoreline is in great danger because the Wind Indicator, which gave essential advance notice of Roarer attacks, has run away. The threesome set off to find him before it’s too late. In his book, Strandwitz tells an entertaining fable about the value of persevering against doubts, insecurities, and other harmful thoughts so as to find meaning in life through one’s best efforts. Luckily, comedy and the urgency of a rescue mission prevent the tale from becoming overly preachy. With her moxie, intelligence, and concern for others, Trinket is appealing, and the story’s nonhuman characters are very amusing, with playful names such as General Situation (the starfish in charge of Homeland Security). These characters do, though, face real difficulties, and their feelings are taken seriously. Wald (One Day in the Desert, 2017, etc.) provides well-rendered, charming illustrations that help readers visualize the work’s sometimes-bizarre characters and situations.

Linguistic play, adventure, and gentle lessons combine effectively in this humorous tale.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73246-581-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Collaborative Publishing Services

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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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

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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...



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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