Friday, August 26, 2016

Dark Fire by Angela Dorsey is an Excellent Book for Young Girls

Lisa’s life has been turned upside down. Her parents have lost their family home and, along with it, Lisa’s beloved horses. She misses Jupiter the most, but at least the kindly new homeowner, Mr. Pickering, allows Lisa to visit the horses whenever she likes – until his evil nephew, Jimmy, shows up. Lisa is forced to visit the stables under the cover of darkness, for fear of alerting Jimmy. It’s becoming clear to Lisa that Jimmy is willing to do anything to keep her away from Mr. Pickering and the horses. Fortunately, for Lisa, a mysterious and beautiful stranger named Angelica arrives to help.

What a wonderful story this is! I LOVE books that place girls in strong protagonist roles and Dark Fire certainly does this. Ms. Dorsey has written a story about a young, determined girl who is fearlessly devoted to her friends, family and horses. She’s willing to risk anything to right the wrongs she sees. This makes Dark Fire an excellent book for young girls in particular.

There’s plenty of mystery, action and suspense in this book to keep youngsters involved until the very end. The writing is compelling and intelligent.

The idea behind this story is lovely – that there are kind and gentle souls who are watching over horses and their owners is a charming basis for a book series. I’ve already downloaded another one of Angela Dorsey’s books and can’t wait to read it!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Uncle Amon Book FREEBIES


© Uncle Amon Books

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Uncle Amon is running an awesome promo on a bunch of his books. There are plenty of freebies to grab during this promo, so download them while you can! Several Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas books are included!

You can check out the Uncle Amon collection here. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Things My Mother Taught Me Zine - Turn Your Card Stock Scraps into Accordion-Fold Zines

Here's a use for your card stock scraps. This one measures 2.75 x 4.5 when closed, and is folded into four equal pages to create an 8-page zine. I pasted some basic sketches to the pages, added some sayings I printed off from my computer and now I have another mini zine to keep, trade or give away as a gift.

Things My Mother Taught Me Zine - Front Page © 2016 Susan Barton

Things My Mother Taught Me Zine - Front Side © 2016 Susan Barton

Things My Mother Taught Me Zine - Back Side © 2016 Susan Barton

Monday, August 22, 2016

Turn Your Junk Mail into Happy Mail Art!

I've recently noticed all the great mail art people are making and sharing on YouTube. If you're like me, you probably get a lot of "junk" mail. I decided to give it a try and I'm hooked.

Like most things, all it takes is looking at things in a new and different way. Turning flyers, advertisements, postcards and other mailings into artwork can quickly become addictive. So much better than throwing them into the trash!

Before long, you'll be positively giddy to see junk mailings in your mailbox! You can also find unique and creative ways to reuse cardboard boxes, product packaging and even retail product tags. Keeping everything in a box and ready to use will help inspire ideas!

Here are just a few things I've recently made from junk mail:

© 2016 Susan Barton

The piece on the left was made from a recycled cracker box (the "you'll love" text was already on there). The piece on the right was a church mailing that I turned into an 8-page mini zine. A little paint, some drawings, pen and ink and I have something I can send in some happy mail.

© 2016 Susan Barton
This piece was another sheet from the church mailing. I was able to tear the sheets in half and get several 8.5 x 11 inch sheets to use. I painted, stenciled and stamped on it, drew one of my girls to glue on and folded over the top slightly to create an envelope. I sealed the edges with double-sided tape. (you can also sew the edges to seal them)

© 2016 Susan Barton
This one is made from several different pieces of junk mail cards that I folded over and bound together using some inexpensive cotton string. I added ATCs, hang tags with tassels and a bunch of other secret goodies inside some pockets created from junk mail envelopes. You can pretty much paint over anything and add your own touches using this technique.  

Do you create junk mail art? I'd love to see some of your work. Please leave a comment below. I'm always open to trading mail art too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What a Pair by Wanda E. Brunstetter is a Wonderfully Positive Book for Kids

What a Pair begins with a brief background to the Amish community. This is valuable information, since it introduces readers to the lifestyle of the book’s main characters, Mark and Mattie.

Mark and Mattie are nine-year-old twins, who reside in an Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio and bicker just like any other brother and sister. They manage to get themselves into any number of sticky situations, but realize that teamwork is the key to it all.

This is a delightful chapter book for youngsters. It’s wonderful when books can expose children to different cultures and lifestyles and the Double Trouble series certainly does that. Children find that they’re not so different from most other kids their age. There is also positive parental role modeling going on here as well. I’d have to say that What a Pair is an all-around positive book for children.

There are fourteen brief chapters, with each chapter centered on a particular adventure or activity. This is sure to keep youngsters entertained and amused. What’s great about this book is that it should appeal to both boys and girls. The stories aren't overly simplistic, nor are they difficult, so this book is definitely appropriate for its intended audience. Highly recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Friday, August 12, 2016

Oliver and Jumpy Stories 49 – 51 by Werner Stejskal is Another Wonderful Book for Children

There are three adorable stories in this installment of Werner Stejskal’s children’s book series, Oliver and Jumpy. We follow Oliver, the dapper and clever cat, and his best friend Jumpy the Kangaroo with these new stories: 
  1. Ice
  2. Mice Chase
  3. Dragon Heat 

In Ice, Oliver wakes one cold morning to find a beautiful ice scene outside his window. Oliver decides to go ice skating with all of his friends. His friend Joey is having a difficult time skating, so Oliver helps him and the two friends end up in an action-packed and scary adventure.

In Mice Chase, we find out that, although Oliver is a cat, he’s a cat that doesn’t eat mice because he’s allergic to them. Mausi the Mouse is one of Oliver’s friends and needs some help. He knows he can count on Oliver to keep him and his family safe from all the other cats by teaching them some escape techniques.

In Dragon Heat, Oliver and Jumpy come across a blackened and charred forest, and wonder what’s happened. A very large mail carrier ant explains it’s the work of a destructive dragon. Oliver and Jumpy enlist the help of a giant and the three friends search for the dragon to stop him from causing any more damage.

As before, I enjoyed these Oliver and Jumpy stories. They’re fantastically illustrated, full of action and adventure, and are sure to become favorite go-to stories for children. I highly recommend Mr. Stejskal’s Oliver and Jumpy book series for children, parents, grandparents and caregivers!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bravo and Elphie by Hagit and Or Oron is Another GREAT Children's Book with a Positive Message for Kids

Elphie is a cute little elephant who gets a new pet rat named Bravo. At first, Elphie is worried. Bravo is so tiny and Elphie is so big. He doesn’t want to accidentally step on Bravo. So Mommy suggests they go to the park to play. While at the park, Bravo is fearless and does all the things Elphie has always wanted to do, but had been afraid to try - things like climbing the monkey bars and going down the big red slide. Through it all Mommy is close by, encouraging Elphie to conquer his fears.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing books by Hagit and her daughter, Or, in the past and I was again impressed with this new book. I love books that have positive messages for children, and Bravo and Elphie certainly fits this category. Children will enjoy hearing how these two unlikely friends bond and instill confidence in one another. Many children are afraid of some of the same things that Elphie is afraid of, so it’s easy for them to relate to this story.

The illustrations are beautiful, expressive and wonderful accompaniments to the story. I would highly recommend this short, sweet book to children, parents, grandparents and caregivers. It’s worth downloading and keeping on hand, as I’m sure it’ll soon become a favorite read!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton