Tag Archives: talents

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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Little Sammy Square Finds His Voice by Lisa R. Thomas, M.Ed (Book Review)

In a family of circles, Little Sammy Square struggles to fit in. He is very different from the rest of his family members. They are all circles, and he is a little square. Everyone in his circle family plays an instrument, but not Little Sammy Square. This makes Sammy feel very sad. He doesn’t like to feel different. He wishes he could be just like everyone else. Little Sammy will soon discover a special treasure. This treasure will help him to see that he doesn’t have to be just like everyone else to fit in. Will Little Sammy find his treasure before it’s too late?

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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.


Little Sammy is a square who lives in a family of circles. Sammy wishes he could be round-shaped like them. He wishes he could play a musical instrument like them too. He wants to fit in. Period.

Sammy’s family loves to make music together. Each member excels with their instrument of choice. Macie plays the bass while the other sister, Tracie, tickles the ivories. Sammy’s dad harmonizes with his saxophone while mom adds the pounding beat of the drums. Sammy attempts to rock out with several instruments but can’t find his perfect match. The children’s book explains why Sammy couldn’t or wouldn’t play each musical device. 

Sammy was understandably sad when he tried unsuccessfully to “fit in.” It’s hard to feel like an outsider, especially in your own family. Many people can identify with Sammy’s mindset, young and old. 

As Sammy enjoyed a bubble bath, he went from humming a tune to belting out the lyrics. His family was surprised at his singing capabilities. They had no idea how the talent Sammy possessed, and neither did Sammy. 

Sammy found his musical instrument. In fact, he had it with him the entire time. 

Little Sammy Square Finds His Voice by Lisa Thomas teaches children that you don’t have to look like someone else to belong. Embrace your individuality! 

Amazon has Little Sammy Square Finds His Voice set for children between 5 and 9; however, preschoolers would also enjoy the story. The storyline is easy to follow, and the illustrations are big, bold, and fun. You could also share the book with toddlers to introduce instrument names.

This story would be perfect for a home or school setting. I would follow up on the book by having a jam session. Let your child or class pick their favorite musical instrument and rock out! 


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

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Meet the Author

Lisa R. Thomas is a professional school counselor who works with grades PreK-8. She specializes in student advocacy, and the social/emotional development of young children. She writes books to give children strategies to live their best lives. In the end, she hopes her books make them smile.

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