Monday, March 1, 2021

Review: Forty Winks



 Forty Winks

Written by Nancy Allen
Illustrations by Diane Brown

Reviewed by Wayne Harris-Wyrick

              Generally, picture books for kids have one of two primary purposes: to entertain or to inform. While these two ideas don’t begin to cover all the variations in picture books, virtually all picture books articulate these two qualities in some proportion.

             Virtually all children’s books have a moral or help the child reader understand good choices. The best children’s books both teach and entertain. In Forty Winks, Nancy Brown offers what seems, on the face of it, a bedtime story to entertain young readers. Joey has trouble getting to sleep. Although he tries some methods to bring on sleep, his imagination keeps him from becoming drowsy. That is until he meets Sir Nod, a book-loving monster living in his closet.

              Sir Nod shows Joey his “magical book.” “Read it,” Sir Nod says, “ and you can travel anywhere,” then immediately falls asleep. Joey takes the book and reads a story about a pirate adventure, but is soon fast asleep, dreaming about pirates.

Joey wants to keep the book, but Sir Nod cries that it is his only book. Nod tells Joey he can read his own books, but Joey complains that his books aren’t magical. Sir Nod replies, “The magic happens when you read a book.” Joey and Sir Nod settle their disagreement about using the book and come to a mutual, and sleep-inducing, solution.

As is common with picture books published by 4RV Publishing, the book contains an appendix with discussion questions and extra “fun facts.” Here, Nancy Allen continued her mix of entertainment and information.

Diane Brown’s illustration nicely captured Joey’s adventures on a pirate ship, traveling through space, and more. These illustrations will trigger the imagination of young readers as well as the story does.

This book may help a child go to sleep, but even better, it encourages children to experience the magic of books. I applaud any book that encourages children to read, whether or not it helps them sleep. 


This book, Forty Winks, can be purchased from the 4RV Bookstore, as well as from other online stores and through physical book stores.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Review: Carla's Cloud Catastrophe




Carla’s Cloud Catastrophe
by Beth Bence Reinke.
Illustrated by Ginger Nielson
Published by 4RV Publishing

Review by Nancy Kelly Allen

Carla’s birthday plans are set…until clouds dump a disaster. Puffy, billowy, white swirls plop
down on Papa, plug chimneys, and plunge from wires throughout town. What a mess! What a catastrophe! What about Carla’s birthday party? She’s going to miss it, that’s what! She must hurry with Papa to the mayor’s meeting to discuss the cloudy mess. A flurry of suggestions rain in from every direction, but no one can figure out a solution. Carla has an idea that might save the town in one clean sweep, but her forecast for her birthday party—catastrophe!

            Reinke’s delightful, descriptive prose adds spice to this quirky, imaginative tale, and Nielson’s whimsical illustrations capture the spirit with a lighthearted mood. This book will excite giggles and can be used as a lead-in to problem solving by asking the reader for suggestions for cleaning up the clouds. With genuine heart, wit, and wisdom, the story showcases challenges, failures, and successes with humor and style in a cloudburst of positive energy.

Publisher: 4RV Publishing/ISBN-13: 978-0-9828346-0-2


32 pages

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Review: Dust of Lies


Dust of Lies
Written by G.K. Davenport
Published by 4RV Publishing
Review by MLM Opinion's Reviews 

I enjoyed the book. It’s an excellent little mystery read. It’s about Kay, a reporter who is looking for the story of the year. She was going to cover the story of an old jail building that was about to be knocked down, the last piece of history.

“Here, I hang. With my face to the wall. Ora Price was the cause of it all.” She finds a piece of a wall with words written by a prisoner, Ezra Hacker, who died while incarcerated. It was a poem that touched her, and she found herself wanting to know more about this man and his history. 

The poem is where the story begins. Kay is determined to figure out Ora, the prisoner’s wife, and what causes Ezra to abandon all responsibility. Her mother-in-law encouraged her to dive deeper and discover the truth. 

Dust of Lies is an excellent look into the past and the secrets waiting to be exposed. This book kept me wanting more, and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this book, especially if you love a good mystery.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Review: If You Swallow That Seed ...


If You Swallow That Seed

Written by Wayne Harris-Wyrick Illustrated by Matthew Hughes Published by 4RV Publishing, 2015

Review By Kena Sosa


Parents say the weirdest things. In the case of the story, If You Swallow That Seed, a mother’s words literally sprout into action. The main character is shocked to find carrots growing out of his ears after swallowing a seed just as his mother warned him. He puts the carrots to good use feeding horses, but before he can overcome his problem, his mother has even more wacky comments to say and they all come true!


The boy shows determination time and time again, finding solutions to the weirdness until it gets out of hand. Matthew Hughes’ illustrations are full of texture, adding dimension and additional flavor to the story, especially in the cover illustration where we see the boy and his horses enjoying their role in the adventure.


Kids will get a kick out of this story and connect with it as they’ve been confused by their own parent’s idioms and sayings. A story that feels straight out of the childhood of the author, Wayne Harris-Wyrick, this book takes it further than just one metaphor. Swallowing the first seed is only the beginning of the adventure of what happens when words are taken literally. It is packed with excitement, fun and a great segway into the silly and savvy world of idioms and sayings.


Copies of If You Swallow That Seed … can be ordered from the 4RV Bookstore  or from other online and physical stores.