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The Sunny Day Squad: The Quest for the Caringstone by Michael Panzner (Book Review)

Making the world a brighter place
Join The Sunny Day Squad – Ollie the monkey, Poppy the puppy, Daisy the rabbit, and Ted the horse – on a heroic journey from Gaggle Grove to find the fabled Caringstone, a magical gem that can make the saddest child smile. Using their unique talents, the four friends work together to overcome obstacles, solve problems, and spread joy. This heartwarming tale celebrates the power of friendship, bravery, and perseverance – a perfect story for bedtime…or anytime!

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


Under the sun of Gaggle Grove lives four close friends known as The Sunny Day Squad. Ollie the monkey, Poppy the puppy, Daisy the rabbit, and Ted the horse each possess a trait that will aid them in their adventure: assisting Captain Bravebutter in locating a remarkable gem that can make even the saddest child smile. The gem is better known as the Caringstone. 

During their important mission, Ollie the monkey swings branch to branch, leading the group through the forest. Music got a llama up and moving thanks to Daisy the rabbit’s musical talents. Poppy the puppy’s sweet disposition and Ollie’s monkeying around charmed three beavers into helping them cross a stream. 

Ted the horse’s ingenuity made climbing a cliff a breeze. 

Ted’s words rang true that day: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Captain Bravebutter also spoke the truth when he said they found the Caringstone because they showed bravery, clearness, teamwork, and determination. 

As the four friends reflected on the day, they acknowledged they only succeeded because they were there for each other. Plus, they made the most of their talents. I agree. When people cooperate, listen to one another, and work as a team, they’ll be stronger for it. These are great lessons to teach young children. 

I recommend sharing The Sunny Day Squad: The Quest for the Caringstone with children 3-8 years. The story teaches valuable lessons, and the illustrations are adorable as well. While every image had its charm, I particularly loved the smiling flowers and Ted, the glasses-wearing horse. So, very, very cute!


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

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Meet the Author

Michael Panzner is a long-time freelance writer who’s always been a child at heart. Inspired by the countless stories he’s shared with his children and grandchildren, Michael crafts tales designed to entertain, spark the imagination, and instill values like kindness, courage, empathy and perseverance. Having lived and worked in various locales, including the U.S. Northeast, North Carolina, and London, England, Michael now resides in Tampa, Florida, with his wife, Catherine, and their loyal dog, Geoffrey.

For more about me, please visit michaelpanzner.com.

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Polly Mooney is a freelance illustrator based in the UK, with a BA (Hons) and MA in Illustration and Animation. Creating mostly digital art on her iPad, she enjoys bringing adorable characters, especially cute animals, to life.
Online, she shares her artistic journey through her YouTube channel, “Pollygone Illustration,” and extends her creativity to real-world products she designs, illustrates, and sells on her website.

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Pookie and Tushka Find a Little Piano – 20th Anniversary Edition (Icelands) by Jorge Tello Aliaga (Book Review)

Over 1 million downloads and 5 Years in the Top Ten

Pookie and Tushka are back! Meet Pookie and Tushka, the proud winners of the “BEST NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR” award, with this heartwarming story.

A frozen little piano arrives on the shores of the Icelands, bringing Pookie the penguin and Tushka the polar bear an abundance of fun, excitement, and a valuable lesson about the essence of friendship.

This enchanting tale also includes educational facts about penguins, polar bears, Antarctica, and the Arctic.

Don’t miss out on “Pookie’s Song” by Jorge! Listen at Icelands.com and on popular platforms such as Spotify, Amazon, Apple, YouTube, and more!”


20th Anniversary Edition includes:
• “Pookie’s Song” lyric video.
• New character profiles
• Deleted pages
• Sketches and work in progress
• 15 page preview of “Pookie and Tushka Become Friends”
• A letter from the author
And much, much more!

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


Pookie and Tushka are back and celebrating twenty years of bringing joy to kids worldwide. Including in this edition, kids will enjoy bonus material such as new character profiles, deleted scenes, and a 15-page preview of Pookie and Tushka Become Friends. First, let me share my thoughts on today’s featured title, Pookie and Tushka Find a Little Piano.


Pookie, the penguin, loves to sing. Happy or sad, he let the words pour out. To his dismay, his songs carry so much ache. One day, while hanging out with his new friend Tushka, the polar bear, they spot a little blue piano in the sea. Pookie was excited to play the piano and happy songs for his best buddy. He tried with all his might, but only sad tunes surfaced. The little bear also tried to make music but failed as well. In his defense, he didn’t know what a piano was until Pookie informed him. That didn’t matter to the sweet bear; he was devastated he couldn’t play the piano and erupted in big tears. 


Pookie was more concerned for his friend’s feelings than his own. Determined to lift Tushka’s spirits, the penguin had a great idea: a wonderful gift for the small polar bear. Tushka discovered that playing the drum required practice, and Pookie found the key to playing happy tunes. (No spoilers. Read the story!)


Pookie and Tushka Find a Little Piano teaches children valuable lessons. 

1.) To be good at something requires practice. Yes, you’ll make mistakes, but you grow through these mistakes. Have patience, and keep trying!

2.) Thinking of ourselves is easy, but sometimes we must put others first. Helping others may be the ticket to your problem and lift your spirits. 

3.) Always be nice and ready to help your friends! 


I loved reading Pookie and Tushka’s adventure with the little blue piano. Tushka once again amused me with his vivid imagination. I would also be worried about a monster fish in the frigid waters, but a monster piano…hmm, not so much. The bear’s overboard response to everything touched my heart. After reading two books by Jorge, I can see why their series has been downloaded over a million times. These two will warm your heart and make you smile.


Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Meet the Author

Jorge (or Jorge Antonio Tello Aliaga for short) is a writer and illustrator born and raised in Lima, Perú. He has created books, toys, and apps that have received several awards including a “Children’s Book of the Year” award. His experience includes having worked for Apple, Adobe, Cisco and Oracle.

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Ozzy Ox: Moody Morning by Callen Kropp (Book Review)

When was the last time you woke up on the wrong side of bed? In Ozzy Ox: Moody Morning, Ozzy Ox finds it’s not the best way to start out his day. In this second title in the Ozzy Ox series of children’s picture books, the young ox grumpily greets the morning with some choice words for his feline friend.

Finn Cat’s raucous response is a screech heard around the Land of Ox, summoning a startled menagerie of cagey neighbors hoping to help bring peace back to the community. 

But their good intentions clamorously fall apart, and Ozzy is soon in disbelief how quickly the neighborhood comes together while the day falls apart. Is he able to address the consequences of his moody morning? Ozzy Ox: Moody Morning resonates with a powerful message: that words and friendships matter!

Ozzy Ox: Moody Morning, by Callen Kropp, is one of four books in the Ozzy Ox series.  It is a 42-page rhyming picture book for children ages 3-8 that warmly embraces children and encourages them to make better choices. It shows children that acceptance and forgiveness are more likely when they admit their mistakes.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


We’ve all woke up on the wrong side of the bed. We may be dreading the first day back to school or work. Perhaps we didn’t sleep well or were feeling under the weather. Ozzy Ox woke up moody and didn’t waste a moment unleashing his crabbiness onto others. He screeched at Finn, scaring the cat to death and possibly knocking away one of his nine lives. Finn’s frightened, hair-rising illustrations were funny. His twitchy, spasming pose had me in stitches! 

Things turn disastrous when a cow jumps through the window and enters the house with the frame stuck around his head. More barnyard friends came to the rescue, only to make matters worse. The front door flew off its hinges, thanks to two horses! The drama-filled day is no fun for the animals, but kids will laugh loudly at the crazy scenes. Three cheers to the storyline (writer: Callen Kropp) and artwork (artist: Emily Hagen)! 

A steady stream of calamity befell the animals in the story, and Ozzy Ox realized everything started when he yelled at his friend. That show of anger caused a ripple event of fear and destruction. In the end, Ozzy realizes how his words and actions affect others. He vows, “To choose the words that launch each day In a much brighter, lighter way!”

Ozzy Oz learned several valuable lessons in Ozzy Ox: Moody Morning. One, treat others how you want to be treated. Two, choose your words carefully and realize how your words and actions might affect the day. Third, friends help friends in need. 

No one can be happy 24-7, 365 days a year; however, we can teach our children to think before they speak and treat others with kindness. Make better choices! 

I recommend the humorous, slightly under 40-page storybook to children ages 3-8. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Callen Kropp is a North Dakota author whose family has raised bison for decades.  After a career in corporate communications, she pursued her lifelong dream of writing books.  Adventures with her family, including children and grandchildren, provide inspiration for her Ozzy Ox picture book series.

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Kaida Brightscales and the Magical Meadows: Beehive Secrets 1 by Xanda Monteiro (Book Spotlight)


A world brimming with flowers and colors. An inquisitive young dragon. A sick friend in need of help.

Kaida Brightscales loves to explore. And when the shimmering winged creature crosses paths with a busy butterfly and a focused ant, she’s delighted to discover that they’re working hard at very important jobs. But after she spots her sick bee friend, she’s not sure how to help her feel better.

Bothered by the news that all the bees in the hive are ill, Kaida asks her insect buddies to help her find some medicine. And as the thoughtful youngster grows to understand more about how nature needs to be in harmony, she realizes she’s taken on a really big job.

Can she and her tiny chums stay strong and get everyone buzzing back to health?

Kaida Brightscales and the Magical Meadows is the first book in the Beehive Secrets series for children ages 4-6. If you or your child like vivid and beautiful illustrations, fun ways to learn about nature, and making new friends, then you’ll love Xanda Monteiro’s tale of teamwork.

Buy Kaida Brightscales and the Magical Meadows to fly to the rescue today!

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Kaida Brightscales TikTok#booktok #readersoftiktok #realmewishlist #readysetlift #readertok

♬ original sound – Xanda Monteiro – Xanda Monteiro

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Readers’ Thoughts! 

“We had lots of fun reading this book, my 4yo is a fan!”
— Linaewe  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


“This was a beautiful little book. The general appearance was gorgeous – adorable illustrations of Kaida the dragon and her friends, and I loved how colourful it was. The pages were so full of beautiful bright colours. The story itself was also really sweet, and a fun way for children to learn about pollination.” 

— Kelly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Meet the Author

Xanda’s story is one of a lifelong explorer, born in Africa with a sense of adventure that took her far and wide. She spent countless hours getting her clothes ripped in tree branches and her knees scratched, but the magic of discovering new places made it all worth it. 

As she grew older, Xanda’s curiosity led her to chase eclipses and capture the perfect shot with her camera. Her passion for nature and fascination with bees inspired her to write a series of books for children about their struggles and possible solutions. 

When she’s not writing, Xanda can be found practising Qi Gong and meditation to deepen her understanding of the world and herself. She loves spending time with friends from all over the world and is always seeking out new experiences and adventures. 

Xanda’s African roots instilled in her a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural world and the wonder that can be found in everyday moments. She believes that life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and that we can do so without causing harm to other beings. 

If you’re looking for a guide to help you explore the wonders of the world, Xanda is the perfect companion. With her infectious enthusiasm and boundless curiosity, she will show you the beauty in even the most ordinary things. So come along and let’s discover the magic together – just watch out for those tree branches and knee scratches! 

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Sunny and the Cats by Victoria Otto (Book Review / Author Interview)

SUNNY AND THE CATS by Victoria Otto
Everyone in meow village and woof village lived happily if they followed one very important rule…

​Dogs were not welcomed in meow village and any cat that stepped into woof village would be chased up a tree! But a special puppy named Sunny wants to become friends with the cats, so he breaks that rule to see if the cats might like to play.

What happened when Sunny went to meow village? Pick up this book to find out!

BAM ~ Walmart

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

My family is cat people. For the last 20+ years, we’ve had 1 to 3 adoptive kitties in our home. So, when I saw this story up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it. My daughter and I loved the cover. The inside was just as remarkable. 

From the initial pages, my daughter was hooked. She loved the name of the villages, meow and woof. She adored the background scenery very much on the story’s first page. We loved the creativity in the shape of the cat store and dog food buildingWe also liked the variety of feline and canine animals. They were all cute. Well done, Teguh Sulistio. We give your illustration TWO PAWS UP! 

The story contents themselves were just as entertaining. My daughter thought Sunny, the special puppy, was very sweet-looking. 

We both thought it was adorable how Victoria Otto labeled cats as clean, quiet, and calm while dogs are loud and smelly and filled with laughter. Out of the cats I’ve adopted, none had liked loud noises. My cats can get rowdy at times, but their energy level is nowhere near a dog’s, especially a puppy. They groom a lot, so the author is correct about their cleanliness. So, in a nutshell, I think Victoria Otto categorized them perfectly. 

Sunny and the Cats by Victoria Otto discussed how making new friends can be hard, but don’t give up trying. Be like Sunny, the playful puppy—try, try again. Also, help those in need because, you never know, the person (or feline) you help today just might be your new friend tomorrow. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
BAM ~ Walmart

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Author Victoria Otto

Victoria Otto is a children’s book author, born and raised in Metro-Detroit. She has a passion for children’s literature and strives to create picture books that are engaging, educational, and lots of fun for both children and parents to read. Victoria loves to make author visits at schools and organizations. So far, she has been able to read her books to and visit eight hundred children across the United States.



1.) When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I attended an event, and someone recognized me from my children’s books and not my pageant life. At that moment, I realized, “Okay, I guess I’m a writer now.”



2.) Describe your writing space.

It’s either very messy or very clean. There is no in-between. When I start to come up with a story, I first write it on lined paper, then I move to my desk and start typing what I wrote onto my computer. You can always find loose papers scattered in my space.



3.) Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

It depends. My readers, who are my close friends and family I always hear from, and occasionally a parent will email me pictures of their child reading my book, which I absolutely adore. But I would love, love, and love to hear from more of my readers, whether just a simple message or a picture. It brings me so much joy when I can connect with my readers and see how my book has impacted them. 


4.) Describe a typical writing day

Wake up at 6 am, make a cup of a honey lavender latte, and then head to the office to start writing for 3-4 hours.



5.) Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

Remember that it is okay to take a break, whether you need a short break to gather your thoughts or a long break. There is no timeline for publishing, so go at your own pace.



7.) What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

Don’t be afraid to write anything. Try not to get in your head and overthink things because writing is a very subjective sport, one person may love your work, and another person may not like it. Always go with your gut feeling and write about things you genuinely care about. 

​If you would like Victoria to make an author visit at your school or organization, please email her.

connect with the author: twitter ~ instagram


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