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Silver and the Ghost Horse by Koos Verkaik

Robin Hood is one of those characters that has sparked interest in many for decades if not for over a century. The thought of a man stealing from the rich to help the poor is something that many can easily get behind. I know I for one am a fan of two movie versions of the hero, the first being “The Adventures of Robin Hood”. This version was made back in 1938 and stared actors, Errol Flynn, and Olivia de Havilland.  I also am very fond of the 1973 Disney animated classic, “Robin Hood”. I point this one out second as the fact Disney decided to use animals as their lead characters made this version charming.

You may wonder where I am going with this review and I wanted to use that opening to bring you into the world of Angie and her wonder horse Silver, along with her friend Joe and his bear Bruto. So, if you have not determined by this point, the reference to Disney the book I am reviewing here is a children’s book by Dutch author Koos Verkaik.  The book is part 3 in the Saladin Series which tells the stories of Angie and Silver and is titled, “Silver and the GHOST HORSE”.

The book’s title does not make one think of Robin Hood and this is why I wanted to open by mentioning the thief(hero) known to have a golden heart, and honor. The reason being is this book takes place during the period of Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood, and his band of men. A period in which many stories have taken place, and where this children’s book finds a great home.

“Silver and the GHOST HORSE”, will start by letting us into the mind of Prince John as he must deal with the demands of his daughter and Robin Hood. The Prince will find himself taking the advice that will lead us to some fun encounters within the pages of the books. The choice will be to replace the current Sheriff of Nottingham with a monster of a man, or a giant. His name is  Buck Bains and the man truly fight, drink and eat. He, however, will need to have the Prince’s advisor Counselor Rupert with him to help give Bains direction.

The books adventures will take off from here and I found it quite interesting on who would tell Angie about Buck Bains. The now-defunct ex-Sheriff of Nottingham who is under a tree enjoying a beautiful day and no longer chasing Angie, Silver or Robin  Hood. Instead, the man will become a fountain of information due to his bitterness over being fired.

“Silver and the GHOST HORSE”,  is a unique tale set in the era of Robin Hood. Angie will be found to be quite an energetic, caring and brilliant girl. Her friends rally to her help and with all of them pulled together there will be some interesting and exciting adventures to come. I mean how can one not find themselves reading a book that features a wonder horse, a bear named Bruto and so many other interesting characters. There will be battles of wit, and others of simple lessons in the nature of people.

Author Koos Verkaik does a very good job in pulling a reader, regardless of age, into the story he unravels thru the pages. The characters are well developed and those you may know from past Robin Hood Stories are found to live up to the character you may remember. Verkaik also does a great job in introducing readers to Angie and Silver. The primary characters in the book will be found to be resourceful and loyal to her friends, including both Joe and his bear Bruto.

As it’s a children’s book I do not wish to give too much of the plot away. I will share there are other new characters to find in the book. There is a Sultan who has his eyes on the wonder horse for his master back in another land. There, of course, are townspeople who will have involvement as well, and many find reasons to laugh at Bains. The book is pure fun and something that both child and adult will enjoy. As for the ghost horse in the title, well again do wish to keep a bit of mystery for when one reads the book.

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Posted by on September 19, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss by Ty Mall

Children’s books are one of those areas in a book store, be it online, or in a store, that is full of titles.  It’s difficult to look through so many options, as many have cute titles, celebrity authors and unique art work to draw a potential reader in at the hopes of being purchased.  It is why it is important to understand the child’s interests when it comes to a main character of a book. This brings me to the book by author Ty Mall with some great illustrations by Alex Bjelica titled, Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss.

I am sure some of you are going why a dragon would need to learn how to floss. My response back is explained in the book as it could throw off their fire breathing. They may lose some accuracy if they have a tooth ache and are unable to shoot that flame straight. There are of course many other reasons for good teeth in a dragon but this is a children’s book.

The story is straight forward enough as the child will get a sense on the importance of flossing. I realize some may not think that as something important but really it is. Oral care is something all children should learn from an early age, or they can have a life time of problems.

The books artwork is well done and works well with the story and is something I can see young children enjoying. A parent would get a laugh out of the art work and I’m sure a good conversation with their child. I say this as I’m sure a child may have many questions about a dragon as a parent reads this to a child.  I’ll close by saying that I did get a copy to review and can see how this book would appeal to parents interested in teaching good oral care, and more importantly getting a child interested in reading.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Reviews

 

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Alex and the Wolpertinger -The Monster Inn by Koos Verkaik

AlexChildren’s books can be interesting and often be highly entertaining for both children and adults. The books often are filled with great stories along with creative and color artwork. The stories are often unique and told from the side of a narrator. It’s just such a book that I recently read that has many of these pieces with the pages. The story is well written and I found four things to be key in the book. They are a boy, a cat, a Wolpertinger, and a cheese sandwich.

I’m sure as many read that opening paragraph they will wonder what a Wolpertinger is, or how a cheese sandwich fits into a children’s book.  The fact is they fit very well and as you read the book by author, Koos Verkaik, you will soon learn just how well. The artwork that accompanies the pages will help explain even more what a Wolpertinger is and bring the creature to life within the pages of Alex and the Wolpertinger – The Monster Inn.

So, you want to know what a Wolpertinger is. I hear you asking and a brief answer is they are a magical creature that live in the Downhills and will at times enter the world of man. This is not where the story begins at all as we are introducing to poor Alex who is looking for things to eat in the forest. It is here where he will find himself introduced to a very large prince who will find the boy entertaining enough to take with him back to his castle and put him to work.

Alex ends up working in the kitchen and will introduce the Prince and his family to a simple but tasty treat. Alex will take cheese and have it melted on bread and here is the cheese sandwich I wrote about earlier. This is not the first appearance of the treat as in the instance here the sandwich may be what saves Alex’s life.

Alex makes friends with the staff and eventually even a magician that stumbles, no runs into, the castle. The best friend he will make is the old cat Chum who will eventually follow Alex on his adventure to the Downhills in search of the Wolpertinger. It will be in this land far below our world where the pair will be introduced to many new characters. They will come to trust the young boy and his cat but only after some “trials”.

I realize I am being a bit vague when discussing the book but that is intentional. The point is this is a children’s book and even so does have an interesting plot. The book is one that should be read to fully discover what I mean by some of the bread crumbs I have left within the review.  The truth is many will enjoy this book as we follow along with Alex and Chum. It is the start of a series and as an opening book you will wish to read more.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Reviews

 

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Haunted Cattle Drive, Creepers Mysteries, Book 1

HCD

Ghost stories are probably as old as storytelling itself.  This type of storytelling usually revolves around a dark night with limited lighting. Often the story teller is using a flashlight to highlight they are the one sharing their story. This is probably why when you scroll through the opening of Creepers Mysteries Haunted Cattle Drive at the Table of Contents it reads: Turn the lights down low, and crank the fun up high! Read it with a flashlight, if you dare! 

Haunted Cattle Drive is a children’s book that can be read to most ages and even some adults should enjoy the book. The book is also unique as within its pages there is an opportunity for parents and children to interact in some fun.  I am getting a head of myself by saying this so let me talk about the book first.

The story is written by Connie Kingrey Anderson and opens with a description of the western sky, and the bluffs. The opening includes a slight forwarding of what you may find as you continue reading as it’s mentioned that long rides in a saddle can lead to people seeing “things”. What are these things? What could they see, or come across? Well those are the questions.

Haunted Cattle Drive introduces the reader to a trio of kids on their way to Smokey Joe’s ranch. Harry and Gillian are on their way to help their mother’s travel agency by checking out the ranch. They have their friend Marvin, I’m sorry that’s Arvin along with them. You see, Arvin has ridden a horse before unlike Harry and Gillian so he should do well at the ranch.  Arvin isn’t the greenhorn the other two children are, and he tries to show that in the book.

The tourist bus they travel in, to get to Smokey Joe’s ranch, is driven by Smokey Joe himself. He introduces himself and talks to the children as they begin the long drive. He even points out some really old wanted posters hanging within the bus to the kids.  The drive is a long one and soon the children find themselves asleep as the bus continues down the road. Harry is awoken at one point and he and Gillian get quite a surprise as others appear and disappear from the bus.  An event that is later discussed and leads down the path of an adventure.

The adventure will take the kids on a cattle drive into the wide open spaces under a dark sky.  A drive that takes them along paths used by rustlers and thieves back over time, and where the thought of gold leaves Arvin a bit pre-occupied with finding this gold.

What author Connie Kingrey Anderson does within these pages matches well with the publisher of the book, Movies for the Ear. You see this is a story that should be read out loud and enjoyed by all involved. The story may not seem to very scary to some, but the characters are well developed. Anderson also does a great job in giving you the back story on the protagonists in the story. Along with how a legendary bounty hunter may have been tricked by his “final” arrest. All of this ties well into the book and makes for an enjoyable read.

As I mentioned earlier the book has some additional items that parents, and children, will enjoy. After the main story there is an opportunity for people to “Create Your Own Movie for the Ear”.  You will be introduced to Holly who takes the reader through the finer points of casting, rehearsing and adding sound affects to your “movie”.   This includes everything on how to use what you have just learned to put on a performance that others will enjoy.  This is something rare in many children’s books and is a unique in this genre. In the entire book and the additional bonus material is something that is enjoyable and should be fun for all.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Tristan Wolf by Mariana Llanos (Children’s book)

wolfTristan Wolf is the first book by author Mariana Llanos and uses the great illustrations by Rocio Perez del Solar to tell an interesting story.  This is the type of children’s book that parents will enjoy reading to their children as they will find it just as interesting as the child/children.

The story tells of a young child who as an infant is left alone in the woods and is adopted by a wolf.  The young child grows up living with the pack and is cared for by his “mother”.  A day eventually comes when Tristan begins to question who he is and heads to the world of humans.

The story is written in a manner that those who read the book will keep interested no matter the age. The unique illustrations add to the story and are another way to keep a person interested.  The target age would be for those over 8 years old and being 40 I found I was equally interested in the story.

What you will find within this children’s book is a story that teaches a few things to a child.  Through pages as you follow Tristan you find how he tries to interact in the world and wants nothing more than to learn.  He wants to find what humans are like but at the same time is like any child and questions the world.  A youthful questioning that can be contagious to the reader and those listening to the story as it is read.

The other great thing from this book is it helps to show the importance of using your imagination. It is engaging and helps to show the importance of taking time and letting your mind run wild.  It may help rekindle the love of reading to your child, and rekindle the use of your imagination.  It’s what makes a children’s book so great. A story that is engrossing enough a child will learn and the adult will cherish that time.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Reviews

 

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