Tag Archives: dogs

Ruby’s Camping Adventure (Shiba of the North) by B.A. Tomka (Book Review)

Roasting marshmallows was the plan, until a rabbit hops by…

Ruby is a cute, cuddly Shiba Inu with a mind of her own and a knack for trouble. When Ruby gets lost in the forest on a camping trip with her best friend, Anna, she comes face-to-face with several forest animals who don’t welcome the fox-like dog. Through the darkness, Ruby searches for a kind friend who will see the little pup for who she really is.

Ruby’s Camping Adventure is a charming children’s book for young readers (ages 3 – 6) that will keep kids in suspense, while delivering a subtle message that stereotypes are hurtful.

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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.

 

Oh my goodness gracious, what an adorable book. The illustrations of Ruby and Shiba Inu were cute but not as cute as the real-life photos of the two. What an adorable duo! 

Natia Gogiashvili did a fantastic job illustrating all of Shiba Inu’s expressions. Without reading the text, you knew precisely what the dog was feeling. If you have a child who has difficulty reading emotional cues, these images would be a marvelous therapeutic tool. 

Shiba Inu is like most dogs; they love to chase things! Shiba Inu couldn’t resist chasing after a bunny in the forest, which led readers to meet some wildlife characters. For those teaching children the names of animals, several woodland creatures are featured in Ruby’s Camping Adventure. 

I do not have dogs, but I thought it was comical it preferred bacon and popcorn over freshly caught fish. I don’t blame the pooch; popcorn is delicious. Bacon, eh. It’s still better than unbreaded fish, though. 

If you have an early reader in your home, Ruby’s Camping Adventure would be an excellent book for your child to practice their reading skills with. There are a couple of tricky words, but it’s not a complex story to read. Most words are common except for boreal. That one might need explaining. I suggest showing them pictures of the northern lights. They are quite beautiful! 

I loved the B.A. Tomka included a pronunciation key for Shiba Inu because it would be a word that might trip up some early readers. I also liked how they defined Shiba Inu as well. According to the author, it’s a breed of hunting dog from Japan. 

Amazon’s recommended reading age is 3 – 6 years. Depending on your child’s reading level, even second graders could use Ruby’s Camping Adventure to sharpen their solo reading skills. 

I look forward to reading more works by B.A. Tomka.

 

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

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Meet the Authors

Mother-daughter writing team Bonnie and Anna Tomka — B.A. Tomka — live in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, with their Shiba Inu, Ruby, and two humans, Michael and Austin. The family shares a love of popcorn, bacon, and a good story. Their first book kicks off the Shiba of the North book series.

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My cat brother, Sterling by Mayra Hernandez (Book Review)


A cat that barks, fetches the newspaper, and goes potty on trees?! How could that be?

Sterling idolizes his big brother Rocky and wants to be just like him. So much so, he actually believes he’s a DOG!

Rocky knows the truth about his cat brother, Sterling.

There’s only one problem! Rocky hasn’t told him yet! Or has he?

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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.

 

Aw, Sterling, the cat is so dang adorable. We loved the drawing of them, white as fresh powder snow and sporting a solid gray tail. We noticed a few illustrations had Sterling with a gray streak on his face, but others did not. There was a group shot of three cats together, and Sterling now had two stripes on his face. As the My cat brother, Sterling continued, the kitty gained more spots on his body. The inconsistencies in the design of Sterling couldn’t be overlooked.

We thought Sterling believing they were a dog was the cutest thing ever. FYI: We also have a cat who thinks they are a canine. Our cat barks like a dog, just like Sterling the cat did in My cat brother, Sterling by Mayra Hernandez. Our cat plays fetch too. However, our feline doesn’t pee outside on fire hydrants or head to the dog park. My kitty doesn’t dig in the trash either. They do stretch and sniff inside it quite often.

The similarities in coloring and hysterical canine behavior between Sterling and our furbaby made this story a home run in our house. Okay, we would’ve loved this story even if our cat didn’t look or act like Sterling. We loved the “Meet the real-life characters.” Your furry friends were just as adorable in person as they were in cartoon format.

Amazon’s recommended reading age is 3 – 8 years, and I agree with that assessment. Toddlers might not understand the dialogue, but I think they will get enjoyment out of the pictures. Kids love dogs and cats!

My cat brother, Sterling by Mayra Hernandez is absolutely, 100% brilliant. I will be recommending the book to my parenting groups, and my daughter said she would tell her friends about it too. We can’t wait to read more creations by Mayra Hernandez!

 

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

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Meet the Author

I am a former kindergarten teachers aide, now author. I hope to continue writing books for children to find joy and laughter in. I love watching true crime shows, and having family game nights. My husband and I live in the beautiful Sunshine State with Rocky, Katie, Pumpkin, and Sterling, of course.

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Come and Play! Exploring Animal Friends by Heidi Dehncke (Book Review)

Kids love animals — and they love picture books about animals, too. Come and Play! Exploring Animal Friends takes children on a tour of fifteen types of animal friends. Discover what makes pandas, raccoons, spiders, cats, and frogs unique (just to name a few). Whether or how they play, and what makes them special. While this children’s animal book gives interesting and surprising facts, it is the original illustrations which makes this book a treasure. The animal illustrations magnify the beauty and distinctive qualities of each creature. Ultimately, kids learn they share many similarities with animals (both feelings and behavior), and they learn about the world around them.

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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 had mixed feelings regarding Come and Play! Exploring Animal Friends by Heidi Dehncke. I loved the facts about various animals and insects. There was a lot of information that might be NEW to most children. 

Examples: “Raccoon” is an adopted Powhatan word meaning “animals that scratches with its hands.” While spiders don’t like to play, some play dead. I knew that raccoon tidbit, but I did not know the spider information. That just proves even adults can learn something new with Come and Play! Exploring Animal Friends, and that’s a beautiful thing.

While I adored all the facts presented in the book, I wasn’t a huge fan of all the images. Some drawings were lovely, such as the bald eagle bust, elephants, penguins, and butterflies. On the other hand, there were some that I didn’t particularly care for, and neither did my daughter: the peek-a-boo frog and the first primate page, for instance. 

Amazon’s recommended reading age is 3 – 9 years (Grade level: Preschool – 4). I think everyone in that bracket can benefit from the content. Three-year-olds might not fully grasp (retain) the information as quickly as a nine-year-old, but that’s okay. If you read Come and Play! Exploring Animal Friends time and again, one day, they’ll tell you the facts before you have a chance to read them. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

I originally attended Pratt Institute for illustration. Then I became a self taught editor and multimedia producer. I received my MS in journalism from Columbia University in 2000 and made the film Dust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11, (Sundance Channel, 2006). I also pursue fine art painting. 

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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!


AMAZON ~ B&N
BAM ~ Walmart

add to goodreads
 
 
 
 
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) 
Score: 
 
AMAZON ~ B&N
BAM ~ Walmart

add to goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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Alina All Alone by Laura Tava-Petrelli (Book Review)

 

This book summons up all the pain of separation and loss . . . and the joy of being reunited.

In an era of never-before-seen difficulties, our very young children have been challenged by feelings of solitude and frustration. This book attempts to demonstrate to our youngsters that these feelings are shared and understood.

This book is unique in that there is a very distinct and purposeful absence of any adult’s voice or perspective or commentary-there is no adult talking to Alina about what is happening. Alina’s voice and reactions to isolation are hers alone, but key.

Alina demonstrates to adults and children alike that long-term persistence wins in the end, and that sometimes the only way to react to situations is to “stamp your feet, cross your arms and scream and shout until you’re red in the face!”

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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.

 

Children grow attached to objects and people. When someone or someone is missing, for whatever reason, they miss it or them dearly. In Alina All Alone by Laura Tava-PetrelliAlina loves visiting her neighbors and their doggies. They are an intricate part of her day and daily routine. When she knocked, and no person or animal answered, she went through many emotions. All these emotions were brilliantly expressed through Jupiters Muse’s illustrations. As a parent, a child screaming is rarely a cute moment, but the images of Alina screaming were very cute. All the various poses with all her treasures were also adorable. My daughter and I loved Alina wearing a mask while holding a cat, who was also wearing a mask. She looked so perturbed while the kitty looked excited to play dress-up. My daughter remarked she wished her kitty would allow her to play dress-up with it. I had to assure her it was a stuffed kitty so she’d let our feline sleep. 

The scene where the child was crying and whispering, “I miss you,” touched our hearts. As a mother, I never like to see a child sad. Alina won’t be crying long because you can’t have a picture book end with tears. Alina’s neighbors and doggies come home. HOORAY! Happy face returned on the pages and on my daughter’s face. 

For those reading Alina All Alone in the states, you will have to explain to your child that some familiar words are written differently in our country than in European countries, such as in Australia, where the author resides. We don’t add a U after the O in favorite or neighbors. We also tend to spell the color gray with an A instead of an E. 

Kids as young as 3-4 can follow the storyline with no issue. Young readers should have minor difficulty reading the text. Established readers should breeze through the pages with no problem. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Meet the Author

Laura is an Early Childhood Teacher, currently working as the Director of a community-based preschool in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. She is a trained Mothercraft nurse, adult educator, mother to three adult children, and unofficial nonna to a few more.

Reedsy Link

 

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