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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.

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

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. 

Reedsy Link

 

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Darkness Hides by J C Gatlin (Book Review)

Someone she knows is watching.
Someone she knows is stalking.
And something hides in the darkness.

With a Category 4 hurricane about to make landfall, boat safety instructor Kate Parks is running out of time. Bodies are piling up–and they’re not from the raging storm. An injury may have ended her career as a Fish and Wildlife officer, but nothing can keep her away from the investigation.

And it doesn’t take long for her to see that the clues have one thing in common: a connection to the recent death of her five-year-old nephew.

In a brewing storm of rage, guilt, and family secrets, Kate fights to protect her grieving sister just as the hurricane threatens everything she knows and loves. But before her world is completely ravaged, she must uncover one final truth:

Run from the water.
Hide from the wind.
Flee from the shadows where a weeper seeks revenge.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Sun Bury Press
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.

 

Rarely do I stumble across a book that hooks me right from the start, but that’s precisely what occurred with Darkness Hides. I had a suspicion, early on, that this story was going to be a home run hit, and I was correct. 

Multiple people met their untimely demise courtesy of the elephant man. Yes, you read that right…an elephant man. Their journey to the hereafter was brutal, painful. The first notable victims were targeted for obvious reasons. It all centered around a death of a six-year-old boy named Noah. 

Then, when the hurricane made landfall, J C Gatlin, the author, really stepped up his game, dropping one bombshell after another. At one point, I remember saying aloud, “Holy crap, that was a nice twist.” 

I love stories that keep you guessing because who wants to read a mystery novel where you solve the plot (who and why) in the first several chapters. You WON’T have that problem with Darkness Hides. This story left me speechless. 

While I have much love for Darkness Hides, I wish J C Gatlin gave us some backstory regarding how Kate was shot. It altered her life drastically, so I wanted a brief recap of the incident. Who done it? Why? What happened to the shooter? Besides that, it was a solid read. 

On a final note, related to the book but not the plot: MAYO is delicious, and the flying poop-filled diaper scene was disgustingly funny. 😀

I can’t wait to read more books by J C Gatlin!

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤1/2

Amazon
Sun Bury Press
add to Goodreads

 

Meet the Author

Picture

 
JC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes mystery novels that include sunny Florida locales and quirky locals as characters. His last novel, H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word, won the coveted Florida Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Mystery in 2019. He is active in the Florida Writer’s Association and is a board member on the Florida Writer’s Foundation, a charity organization that fights illiteracy.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ linkedin ~ goodreads

 
 

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