Tag Archives: dance

Eka and the Elephants by Once Upon a Dance (Book Review)

 

Dance along with Eka and Ballerina Konora in this interactive adventure story.

Eka’s family creates a garden, but Eka worries animals may destroy all their hard work. When playful elephants visit, will Eka find a way to save the vegetables and flowers?

Each Dance-It-Out! story is a kids’ dance performance for the imagination stage. Ballerina Konora joins the pages with dance photos and suggestions for movement exploration.

Three books in one: readers can
• enjoy the story
• act out the tale in their own way
• try Konora’s suggested activities, designed by an award-winning ballet teacher to develop body awareness and practice dance fundamentals

The Dance-It-Out! collection spans books ideal for kids 3-9, and Eka and the Elephants makes a great series introduction for children 4+. Eka and the Elephants features Eka (no pronouns), Eka’s brother and sister, Koda and Kanoni, and Eka’s parents, along with elephants and bunnies. Dance-It-Out!s are above level (language-wise) as they are often initially enjoyed with a caregiver or teacher. (~700Lexile)


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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.

 

I have found that children who tend to a garden, farm, orchard, etc., better understand and appreciate the food they consume. If you have children who might shy away from veggies, consider planting and managing a garden together.  

As I was reading Eka and the Elephants with my youngest, I noticed she was very fascinated with the girl on each page, what she was doing, and wanted to mimic her actions. She was more invested in that than the overall story. That wasn’t a bad thing, she was engaging with the story, so I was pleased. I believe an older child will like every aspect of the book more than a (barely) three-year-old. 

As for the overall writing, I loved the mental image certain lines painted in my mind, such as “the shoots looked like little green hands waving hello” and “they had long tendrils, like octopus legs reaching out in all directions.” 

I also liked the bit of trivia information weaved into the story, “Did you know elephants can eat seven times as much food, and drink five times as much water as a human? And elephants don’t like bees, even though they’re at least a hundred times bigger!” A fascinating tidbit to share with your friends! 

The illustrations by Cristian Gheorghita were outstanding. We adored the purple elephants. As an extended activity, we counted all the animals we could find. We talked about a vegetable or flower garden that would be more fun to grow. She chose a flower, of course. We made plans to start on our garden. So, while my youngest’s attention span wavered here and there, they did enjoy reading it. They are excited about our weekend plans of starting a mini garden, so this book is MOM approved. Daughter approved. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

Meet the Authors

Once Upon a Dance is a mother-daughter team. With 3 main kids’ dance series (21 books), they are on a mission to keep kids stuck at home connected with movement. Ballerina Konora is a professional ballet dancer, and Teacher Terrel taught dance for decades. Visit www.OnceUponADance.com.

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Kai the Dancing Butterfly by Crystal Z. Lee (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

KAI THE DANCING BUTTERFLY by Crystal Z. Lee
 
 
Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?

Kai the Dancing Butterfly celebrates Taiwan’s natural scenic wonders, amazing animal species, and incredible Indigenous cultures. This children’s book is a marvelous read for all those who love Taiwan, or for those who’d like to learn more about Taiwanese culture. This elaborately illustrated picture book makes an ideal gift:

*Real locations in Taiwan make for an inspiring geography, history and cultural lesson

*Storyline sparks dialogue around empathy, kindness, courage, faith, perseverance, friendship, and the support between siblings

*Exquisite illustrations of Taiwan’s majestic animals and endangered species fosters learning around ecological conservation and habitat protection

 
BUY THE BOOK:
AMAZON B&N 
IndieBound ~ BAM
add the goodreads
 
 
 
 
 

Author Crystal Z. Lee

 

Crystal Z. Lee is a bilingual writer who grew up in Taiwan and California. She has called many places home, including Taipei, New York, Shanghai, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Crystal is also the author of the children’s book A Unicorn Named Rin, and the novel, Love and Other Moods. 

connect with the author:  instagram goodreads

 
 
 

Topic: Taiwanese Inspiration for Writing

Q: What was your inspiration for Kai the Dancing Butterfly? Why butterflies?
A: Taiwan has over 400 species of butterflies, 50 of which are endemic to the island! Taiwan is also home to the beautiful purple crow butterfly population, which makes up one of the planet’s largest butterfly migration overwintering congregation. My children and I adore butterflies, so I was inspired to write a children’s book about this unique butterfly species from Taiwan, where I grew up as a child.
 
 
Q: There are many Taiwanese locations in Kai the Dancing Butterfly. Which ones are favorites? 
A: Sun Moon Lake is one, because of the very fond memories I have from boating and vacationing there. Another favorite spot is Yehliu Geopark, where you can find sandstone rock formations sculpted naturally by the wind and sea. I still remember my grandfather taking us there.

 

Q: What other special animal species are featured in Kai the Dancing Butterfly, besides butterflies?
A: The Taiwanese black bear, Formosan clouded leopard, Taiwanese blue magpie, Formosan landlocked salmon, Mikado pheasant, Formosan rock macaques, etc. There are many unique animals found only in Taiwan. 

 

Q: Favorite Taiwanese films or movies based in Taiwan?
A: Some recent Taiwanese movies I’ve enjoyed: American Girl, Dear Ex, My Missing Valentine.

 

Q: Favorite and not-so-favorite aspects about Taiwan?
A: I love how friendly the people are in Taiwan, how delicious the food is, and how beautiful the sights are. It’s home to me. 
One aspect I wish was different would be their dependence on plastic. Boba tea is everywhere in Taiwan and they mostly come in plastic containers. I do hope someday a more sustainable material will replace that. 

 

Q: What was your inspiration for the emphasis on Taiwanese Indigenous tribal clothing in the illustrations? 
A: I collaborated with illustrator Allie Su, who, like me, also grew up in Taiwan. We researched special Taiwanese Indigenous attire and incorporated them into the story. It’s our hope that this story can shed light on the plight of Indigenous tribes in Taiwan.
 
 

Meet the Illustrator:

Allie Su was born and raised in Yunlin county, Taiwan. She attended Nanhua University in Chiayi city, majoring in Visual Arts. She is a professional illustrator, specializing in oil painting and ink painting. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Lovestruck Two Step by Mariposa Cruz (Book Review)

~~ Rhythm & Romance Book 1-3 ~~

Kindle Purchase Link (US) / Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

(Rhythm & Romance Book 4)

Print Length: 63 pages

With her marriage and dance studio wiped out by divorce, Becca Collins reluctantly agrees to teach Two Step lessons at a country bar. Carson Quill isn’t thrilled about spending his Saturday nights playing guitar in a local dive, but a certain dance instructor with long legs and dark curls caught his eye. Does love have a shot in a bar called Last Chance?

 

~~ Short Excerpt ~~

 

“You don’t have to do this,” Becca said quietly as he led her to the center of the dance floor.

“Dance with the most beautiful woman in the room? Of course I do,” Carson replied, taking her in his arms.

He paused for a beat, listening to the vocals, before starting to dance. Becca heard the playful undercurrent of the keyboard while Eleanor and Greer sang in harmony that they weren’t going home alone tonight. Somehow, Carson had mastered the quick, quick, slow steps integral to Two Step just from watching her teach it. He moved easily with the rhythm of the music, smoothly leading her into a turn without rushing the move.

“You’re good,” she exclaimed.

“I always pay attention in class with the right teacher,” Carson replied. He smiled at her, and the rest of the world disappeared. His touch was subtle, yet firm, as he led her in perfect time with the music. No words were needed. Too soon, the song drew to a close, and with his arm circled around her waist, Carson escorted her to her table. With a light kiss on the lips, he thanked her for the dance, then turned and walked back to the stage.

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

 

Life is all about curveballs. In Lovestruck Two Step, we witness two people who have faced their own bumps in the road but still push forward.

Becca lost her business, her husband to divorce, a job, and (for a time) she lost herself to depression, self-doubt, and lack of purpose in the world.

Carson, divorced dad, was trying to maintain a relationship with a teenage daughter who seemed to be pulling away in favor of her new step-dad.

Both of these characters were going through trying times, obstacles real life people face daily. These plausible scenarios are what will connect readers to Lovestruck Two Step.

People going through tough times like to see hope during their darkest moments. Readers will find that here in Lovestruck Two Step.

This story for me isn’t just about love and romance. It’s also about getting knocked down and finding the strength to get back up and try again.

Becca did dance again. She did teach dance again. Carson kept trying to connect with his daughter and his efforts paid off.

**This was a sweet romance with a HEA.**

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

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Wedding Tango: Rhythm & Romance Book 3 by Mariposa Cruz (Book Review)

Print Length: 64 pages

Moira Williams is dismayed when her daughter, Tami, announces her engagement. Sure Jon’s a great guy, but why do they have to get married in Buenos Aires? Though she dreads seeing her ex-husband, Alan, the gorgeous father of the groom has her pulse racing.

Widower Alan Rochester buries his grief with non-stop home improvement projects, but a sexy redhead has captured his attention. He’s eager to show Moira the sights of Buenos Aires from his college days, but is he ready to face the world again?

South of the equator, nothing is as it seems. Can Moira and Alan navigate through their feelings for each other and save their kids’ dream wedding from becoming a nightmare?

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Moira was frustrated by the time Alan reached her in the rotation. Rattled by the distracted dancing husbands and Roarke’s stare, Moira wanted to scream. Finally paired with a smooth dancer and the best-looking lead, she feared being an anxious, clumsy fool. Standing so close to him, she noticed that his eyes had flecks of brown and were framed by long lashes. Those gorgeous hazel eyes gazed at her with concern.

“You okay?” Alan asked.

“I don’t get Tango,” Moira confessed.

He nodded. “Let’s try something else then. For now, concentrate on the rhythm of the music,” he said as he took her into his arms. He waited for the opening strain of the music to pass before he led her around the dance floor.

“Better?” he asked.

“Much better,” Moira replied. Focusing on the music helped. Despite a few missteps, she finally felt as though she was dancing, not stumbling. Alan’s firm, but light, touch made it easy to follow him. The music drew to a close much too soon, and Becca announced the end of the lesson.

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

No matter the location, there’s usually always a hiccup or two when it comes to weddings. Mariposa showed us what could go wrong during the wedding planning process AND how all those unforeseen bumps don’t mean a thing once you exchange I do’s.

There was plenty of drama unfolding in Wedding Tango, but readers also experienced love (old and new) between several characters. 

Sometimes a person just needs a sweet romance story to get through their day or, in this case due to book length, lunch break. 

As much as I enjoyed the wedding hoopla, I must say the La Bibliotecha stayed on my mind long after I finished Wedding Tango… more so than anything else.

The La Bibliotecha is a bookworm’s dream destination. The La Bibliotecha is a hotel where each room is inspired by a different book genre. Now, I don’t know if a hotel like this exists or not. If not, it really needs to be built. I want to go there. I want to keep visiting it until I have vacationed/lived through every genre… twice. Hmm, maybe three times.

Do I recommend this short story? Yes.

Do I highly recommend Mariposa saving up all her royalties and putting it towards building this bookworm’s dream vacation hotspot?

ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

Website Link

Facebook Link

 

Kindle Purchase Link (US) / Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

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Ladies Man: Rhythm & Romance Book 2 by Mariposa Cruz (Book Review)

Print Length: 54 pages

Clark Stevens has always had a way with women, but his teenage daughter despises him. When his daughter comes to live with him fulltime, he enlists co-worker, Julie Wahl, to coach him on parenting skills.
As a single mom and paralegal, Julie, has successfully balanced family, work and swing dancing. After heartbreak on the dance floor, the last thing Julie needs is an office romance. But she can hardly say no to a colleague in need, especially one with dark brown eyes and a killer grin.

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“That’s why I need your help. Right now if Kiley left a note on my desk there’d be a dagger run through it. You have kids Kiley’s age; you understand all this stuff.” Clark waved toward snow-covered Mt. Rose as if it held the key to teens and all their secrets.

Julie shook her head. She sympathized with Clark’s plight, but what could she do? She and the kids had weathered tough times, but she was hardly an expert. “I don’t know, Clark. What works with one kid doesn’t work with another. You might want to consider counseling.” There, let the professionals handle it.

“I’m not asking you to play shrink; just coach me on parenting to help me get Kiley settled.”

Julie hesitated. Clark had been amiable and professional regarding the few deals they’d worked on together. But those situations had been straightforward negotiations headed straight to boilerplate contracts. Unfortunately, there was nothing simple or boilerplate about teenagers or working relationships that became personal.

“Please.” How had his dark brown eyes suddenly become so irresistible?

“I’ll do what I can,” Julie agreed. She told herself she did it for the sake of Clark’s daughter and not his dark-brown eyes and smooth voice.

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Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

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

Ladies Man is more than a love story. It touched upon real life scenarios parents face daily: teenagers blooming interest in boys and/or girls, underage drinking, and the aftereffects of divorce. We, parents/caregivers, know raising kids is a hard job. At times, our kids will get mad at us. They will yell, shed tears, and keep secrets. However, they also bring us much joy and laughter. 

Julie and Patrick might’ve argued over their different parenting styles but, in the end, these three teenagers banded together and did what we ask teenagers to do all the time…. TALK IT OUT. 

Anytime a story has real life scenarios in it, readers feel more connected to the storyline and characters. I think many readers will see their own life unfolding along the pages of Ladies Man.

Happy reading. 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.    Website Link / Facebook Link

 

 

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

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