The Pickelfrey Twins

The Picklefrey Twins Mystery in the Bermuda Triangle assumed published, copyright and written by Molly McIntyre and Kyle Kroupa.

This is a nicely written children’s book about two precocious children who are able to save their parents who had initiated a flight into the graphically designated Bermuda Triangle. They are aided in their performance by magical gifts they previously had received from a favorite aunt. Added after the story’s conclusion are brief accounts of the three most (in)famous tales from the Triangle area – the strange case of the sailing vessel, Mary Celeste that left New York in 1872; the disappearance of WW I USS Cyclops with 306 crew members; disappearance in 1946 of Flight 19 that consisted of 5 U.S. Navy bombers making a routine simulated bombing run in the area.

Discussion: The author, with assistance from her co-author grandson and enjoyably pertinent illustrations from Arthur Lin, has set forth a tale which has all of the elements for basic appeal to young readers. The additional material at the book’s end should even provide stimulation for slightly older children to search further into the mass of material that has collected referring to these incidents.

5* Enjoyable, appealingly written/illustrated book for young readers.

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball ISBN: 9781543939651 assumed published copyright and written by Eddie McPherson.

Dereck constantly is baby-sitting his 6-year-old sister Jessie because his mother has had to find a second job since his father died last year. He loves her and doesn’t mind except when meeting his friends who mock him. He has taken Jessie to the carnival where she now is riding a horse on the carousel and waves every time she passes him. Two of his friends see him and begin their usual routines. While he is occupied with them, he looks back and finds that Jessie is nowhere to be seen. From this moment, he is whisked away on an incredible journey through the land in which all of the characters about whom he has been reading to Jessie, reside. It is a world in which monsters, dragons, witches, fairies, magic and more and where Little Red Ridinghood, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and other of these famous people live.

Discussion: The author has provided a second novel to accompany the first which also had deposited him in this other world for a time before returning him to his home. His creative style is one that young readers will find entertaining and adults involved may discover amusing reminiscence. It is somewhat longer than most children’s books, but its pace and frequent introduction of new scenes and players should overcome any deterrent influence.

5* Enjoyable children’s book even adults reminiscently may enjoy.

Are you Scared?

Are You Scared? An e-book copyright and written by Ingo Blum, Illustrated by Mark Balita.

This small book is subtitled “Help Your Children Overcome Fears and Anxieties”. The story tells of little Susie whose mother sent her to a store to obtain ingredients she needed to bake. Susie leaves on her journey and encounters numerous imaginary fears that fortunately no longer scare her on her return. The reason is that her beloved grandfather happens by and gives her a ride home. It is then she sees that she was imagining the fearsome figures.

Discussion: The author has presented a very short book purportedly to aid small children in handling their fears. On the good side, the idea is sound and the illustrator has provided charming drawings. However unfortunately, most of the book expresses Susie’s imaginary fears and only a few lines actually are directed toward a solution. In fact, much of the book could be scary to a child with imagination. The author has brought forth an excellent matter about which parents unfortunately give too little thought and he is to be commended for doing so. It is just that, regrettably, pragmatically and apologetically from this reader’s perception, he has written an excellent reminder for parents, but not a book per se for young children.

3* 5* Reminder for parents; far less for small children.

Fractured

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Shortcut to OZ ISBN: 9781483599373 apparently published copyright 2017 and written by Eddie McPherson.

Thirteen-year-old Dereck is plagued with requests from his younger sister Jessie to read and re-read stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and more. If he does not she runs to their mother complaining. However, he loves his little sister and complies. His widowed mother must make a short trip leaving him to take care of Jessie. A violent storm arises during the night, she awakens him calling for help, the electricity fails, attempting to find his way he falls into the cellar and steps into a seemingly bottomless hole. Eventually he strikes bottom and discovers it to be the same rabbit hole that provided the prominent beginning of activities in The Wizard of OZ. However, here he is offered a short cut to the Wizard which will allow him to return home much more quickly to discover what has caused his sister to call him.

Discussion: The author has developed a plot woven around the basic Wizard of OZ with added fragments of other of Grimm’s Tales, additional fairies, good and bad witches and similar figures of fantasy. Fundamentally it is a well-written action packed thriller with humor and periods of suspense that provides a strong positive message of kindness, perseverance and family fidelity. It should have an appeal to children in the 6 to 12 or possibly slightly older group and as an aside, parents may find it somewhat more enjoyable to read to their younger children.

4* As described.

The Cats of laughing Thunder

The Cats of Laughing Thunder, Guide for Kids and Money, an e-book copyright by ThinkerBlox, written by S. S. Curtis, MBA, JD.

Following a disclaimer, nineteen chapters of advice for children on money and how to save, invest and use it are offered. A simple introduction is followed by six chapters giving suggestions to all with respect to starting your own business; working for someone else; allowances; gifts; saving money. These are set forth in a manner that can be understood by quite young children. The followed chapters contain subject matter that perhaps may be of greater interest to those somewhat older, but still couched in appropriately understandable language. Specifically, these offer material about compounding; first account; needs versus wants; budget; productive spending; debt; investing, certificate of deposit; bonds; stocks; real estate; charity; the human brain and money. A twentieth chapter provides author’s websites and in turn, is followed by a brief biography of the author and the source of her series name. The volume finishes with excerpts from coming books.

Summary: A short book of explanations and suggestions with respect to management of money directed toward children, even of quite young age.

5* for targeted audience.

Bubble Belly

Bubble Belly, Passerport Productions, a children’s e-book copyright and written by Chris Tian.

This very short, illustrated book is the simple story of Junco who wants only a big juicy hamburger. His mother tells him no, to eat all the fruit he wants for breakfast. At lunch she tells him to eat all the vegetables he wants for lunch. The same message for snack time. – all the snacks he wants. However, for dinner he gets his hamburger but is so full of everything else he has eaten all day that he must rush to get rid of all of the food plus the big juicy hamburger.

According to the other reviewers, the reaction of small children of their acquaintance to this book was a joyfully reception. This seems to be in accord with serious studies performed a number of years ago by educators who had become concerned with the tremendous drop in the amount of reading done by children. They discovered that books with a violent theme and/or bathroom humor were by far the best received. The reaction reported by the reviewers here appear to support the findings of the educational studies in the past. So from this reviewer’s perception, if the parent, friend or other acquaintance of these young children wish to provide books with such content, this book definitely seems ideal. If instead they would prefer to present more appropriate reading material to aid the child’s progression, any number of well-written/illustrated books are available. Obviously, this is the buyer’s decision.

3* 4* to 1* dependent upon the giver’s desired level of motivational provision.