Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Review: Peabody Pond


Peabody Pond, by Brian J. Heinz

Review by Holly Jahangiri

Peabody Pond seems like an idyllic place to spend the summer. Connor and Otis have their secret “pirate ship, the H.M.S. Wonder – as in, “It’s a wonder she stays afloat” – to take them to the best fishing hole on the pond. If only they can get there before curmudgeonly old Crusty Crawford. If the existence of their leaky vessel were the only secret they shared – the only “little white lie” they told to keep their parents from worrying and curtailing their summer fun – their days on Peabody Pond would be spent fishing and making wisecracks about their friends and neighbors.

Instead, their natural curiosity leads them to witness an assault, kidnapping, and environmental disaster of epic proportions. As little secrets lead to bigger ones, and the boys tell bigger lies to cover little ones, they learn that maybe the most intrepid pirates need to accept help from unexpected places, sometimes.

But will the lessons come too late for Peabody Pond? “Nothing to worry about. This will all be over soon.” Or will it?

Brian Heinz’s Peabody Pond is a page-turner, full of suspense and science gone awry. Harmless little secrets and innocent cover-ups lead to a snowballing of lies on top of lies – making an already dangerous situation dire. A tale of easy friendships and unlikely friendships forged in adversity, it is an adventure in which all the characters learn to work together, relying on each person’s unique knowledge and strengths to solve the problems in front of them. But will they solve them, or will they make choices that lead to bigger challenges?

As an author, middle-school teacher, and model ship-builder, Brian J. Heinz knows a lot about teens, boats, and the environment. “As an adult, I taught science in the classroom and tried to instill in my students the same excitement for the discovery and love of nature that I felt,” Heinz writes. “I want my books to be enjoyable, exciting, and memorable. And I also want to impart some knowledge. I do not try to write with a gimmick in mind, or for a trend. I write about what moves me deeply or excites my imagination.”

Peabody Pond is full of adventure and thought-provoking environmental issues. Science fiction – or is it? This is a great summer read – just maybe not while lazing on a rowboat in the middle of a familiar pond.

Peabody Pond can be purchased online through the author's 4RV Publishing page or from other online stores.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Review: Why Does that Star Follow Me?


Why Does That Star Follow Me?
by Wayne Harris-Wyrick, illustrated by Andrea Gray
review by Cheryl Malandrinos


Follow along with this rhyming story about stars. Whether in the car or in a house and whether playing or resting, the child in this story sees a star that seems to follow him everywhere. Even the dog sees it... unless it's foggy.

            Why Does That Star Follow Me? by Wayne Harris-Wyrick is an adorable rhyming story full of wonder and discovery. The colorful illustrations by Andrea Gray make it cheery as the two characters go along their journey. After the fun is over, the reader is treated to all types of helpful information about stars: what they are, why they shine, and how far away they are. Readers even learn how stars follow you.

            Why Does That Star Follow Me? is entertainment and education bundled into one cute package. I look forward to reading more from Harris-Wyrick.


Wayne Harris-Wyrick's books can be found at http://4rvpublishing.com/wayne-harris-wyrick.html, or from bookstores and other online stores.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Review: Storm Sentinel


Storm Sentinel
Review by:  vehoae
Author:  Tony LoPresti

Illustrator: Jeanne Conway

            Tornadoes can occur most anywhere, but in America the region known as tornado alley (from Northern Texas straight up through eastern South Dakota) gets the most attention - along with the State of Alabama.

Since we’re now into the normal season for tornadoes, April to June, this is an important time to speak about them with children. Storm Sentinel by Tony LoPresti is an excellent assist for educators and parents when talking with children. The story is told from the perspective of an animated tornado siren named Fred. The book also includes sections to answer many questions about the characteristics and incredible strength of tornadoes.

I was pleased to see that LoPresti wrote the story to address not just preparation for and duration of the storm, but also addressed the aftermath of one particular tornado in a gentle manner appropriate for young children. This excellent book certainly deserves a place on all bookshelves.