25 Jun 2022

WHY WE WALK {SIENA'S STORIES: 2}.

 One of several bloggers who over 10 days will be participating in this Blog Tour. Today {the 1st day of the Tour) its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on ...

WHY WE WALK by SIENA

Target Age ...  Children {Ages 4-6}

Genre ...  Children's Picture Book

Publication Date ... 25th June 2022

Standalone Book 2 of Siena’s Stories

Estimated Page Count ... 34


When we walk we see things that we would have missed if we drove. Things like birds, cats, & squirrels. 

When we walk we have fun spending time together. We talk and learn how walking can help to care for our planet. 


Join Siena and her dad as they walk to school and discover every little step counts.

This is the second book in the Siena's Stories series. The first book, The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine. ... Blog Tour Blurb


My name is Siena. ... First Sentence, Page not numbered


He tells me we must protect our skin from the sun.


I think he also likes wearing a hat because he is losing his hair. ... Memorable Moment, Page not numbered


Why We Walk follows Canadian Siena and her father on their daily walk to school. Siena telling us of the different clothing they wear during the changing seasons; a snowsuit, toque, mitts and boots for her, a wide brim winter hater hat, snow boots, gloves and 3 jackets for her daddy during the winter, lighter shoes, jackets and of course, always a hat on their heads during Spring and Fall for as Siena's daddy tells her 'we must protect our skin from the sun', of the game of 'squirrel' that they play, of the animals they see.


I'm pleased to say that as with the first of Siena's Stories: The Dance Of The Snow Tractors {see my review here} there are lots of bold, full page illustrations that provided no end of amusement to even those of my Little Bookworms {LBW} who are yet to learn to read. The big difference being that this, the second of Siena's stories, had more of a story to it {something that my fellow now 6 year old LBW picked up on straight away and was delighted about}; a story with an environmental issue at its heart, that of the hurt exhaust emissions are causing the planet we live on.


I can't say the thought of the book {or indeed any book} having an environmental message proved popular with all of the adults I spoke to, some of them thinking that children as young as 4, 5, 6 {the age the book is marketed as being particularly suitable for} were too young. 


Me?


Just the kind of conversation I can imagine a parent having with their child {yes, even a child as young as 4} when passing a 'long line of cars, trucks and buses waiting to drop children off' at school, I felt the environmental message was done very well, that it felt very natural, age appropriate and not at all preachy; the very fact it it prompted much conversation surely no bad thing.


My LW's? 


More savvy about environmental issues than I ever was at this age {in fact I can't remember there being a concern}, there was lots of discussion to be had.



19 Jun 2022

WHO HIDES HERE? FOOTPRINTS AT THE SEASIDE.

 WHO HIDES HERE? FOOTPRINTS AT THE SEASIDE by
RACHEL COVERDALE
{With illustrations by SHELLY OYSTON}

Who is hiding under the shade?

Our love of them will never fade.

Lovely to ride,

Carry children with pride.

Who is hiding under the shade? 

... First Sentence Verse

Who is hiding in the sea?

Paddling round and feeling free.

Best game of all,

Is fetch the ball.

Who is hiding in the sea? 

... Memorable Moment, Page not numbered


 As with the other books in the 'Who Hides Here? series; 'Footprints In The Garden', 'Footprints On The Farm' and 'Footprints In The Forest'this, the fourth book in the series, is a seriously charming and fun little read that inspires not just the young but the young at heart to explore the world around them; encouraging them to discover just which animals are 'hiding here' by the footprints left at the seaside ... or, as in previous books, in the garden, on the farm, in the forest.

A huge fan of author, Rachel Coverdale, and illustrator, Shelly Oyston, whose illustrations you feel you can actually reach out and touch {as proved by the eighteen month old brother of one of my little bookworms who, having reached out to touch the illustration of the dog whose footprints could be found at the seaside, cooed 'Ooh! Nice doggie!'; you would think that by now the impact the books had on me would have worn off a little but I find myself just as much in awe as I ever was.

Written it rhyme, something young children delight in; a fun way to learn and develop reading skills, the bright, life-like illustrations a sure way to gain the attention of even the most reluctant of readers/pre-readers. 

That the author straight away welcomes the adult and youngster with a brief 'Dear Grown-up' and 'Dear Child' note; inviting the grown-up to insert a picture/drawing of their child/insert a piece of shiny paper to act as a mirror a lovely touch that straight away has the grown-up on board, their child feeling that they are to be involved.

Likewise from the finding of a colourful kite which is to be found in every picture, to tongue twisters, to collecting shells, to matching the footprint to the animal, to circling the picture of the animals in the book the next time they are seen at the seaside, there are lots of fun and engaging activities to be found at the back of the book all of which reinforce learning in a fun way.


Learn more about Rachel Coverdale and her books here 


13 Jun 2022

{THE HISTORIES OF SPHAX 3}: THE HOSTAGE OF ROME.

  One of several bloggers who over 7 days will be participating in this Blog Tour. Today {the 5th day of the Tour) its my pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on ...

THE HOSTAGE OF ROME by ROBERT M KIDD.

Genre ... Historical fiction

Publication Date ... May 2022

Standalone Book 3 of The Histories of Sphax series

Estimated Page Count: 380


217 BC. Rome has been savaged, beaten and is in retreat. Yet, in that winter of winters, her garrisons cling on behind the walls of Placentia and Cremona, thanks to her sea-born supplies. If he could be freed, a hostage of Rome may yet hold the key to launching a fleet of pirates that could sweep Rome from the seas. For that hostage is none other than Corinna’s son Cleon, rival heir to the throne of Illyria, held in Brundisium, four hundred miles south of the Rubicon.

But Hannibal is set on a greater prize! Macedon is the great power in Greece, feared even by Rome. Its young king, Philip, is being compared with his illustrious ancestor, Alexander the Great. An alliance with Macedon would surely sound the death knell for Rome.        

 

Given Hannibal’s blessing, Sphax, Idwal and Corinna face an epic journey against impossible odds. Navigating the length of the Padus, past legionary garrisons and hostile Gauls, they must then risk the perils of the storm-torn Adria in the depths of the winter. If the gods favour them and they reach the lands of the pirate queen, only then will their real trials begin. ... Synopsis


Sphax watched anxiously as Jagurtha, Hanon and Abgal threaded their javelins. ... First Sentence, Part One: Chapter One


Even as they watched, the light seemed to diminish from the world. Moments later the first squall hit, splattering with hailstones as the mainsail billowed, lurching them forward almost out of control.


'We can outrun it. We must outrun it!' he heard Corinna mutter under her breath before she yelled, 'Camo! Elpis! Man every oar. Row for your lives!'... Memorable Moment, Page 82


Lucky enough to have participated in the tour for all three books in the Sphax series, The Walls Of Rome, The Winter Of Winters and this, the third instalment, The Hostage Of Rome. Whilst all three can be read as standalone novels, I'd strongly suggest that, following Spax's journey as they do, in order to get the very best out of the books they are best read in order of publication.

I said it about book one, The Walls Of Rome, and I'll say it again here, what my late grandad would call a rollicking good read. 

The author a wonderful story teller; their ability to weave historical detail into the very fabric of their writing; seamlessly mixing fact and fiction, their attention to detail, their world building, all truly exceptional ...

And what a tremendous cast of characters.

I had worried that the books would perhaps prove too plot based for my liking but as strong as the plot was, so the characters proved themselves to be every bit as strong.


I've enjoyed following the journey of Sphax from a young man, his childhood spent a slave, intent on seeking revenge for his parent's murders to a strong, capable warrior, here in book 3, The Hostage Of Rome, tasked with a new challenge ... may the gods favour him. 


I've enjoyed sharing in his exploits, in listening to the 'banter' between himself and the Numidians, none of them natural sailors, their navigating the Padus leading to some witty retorts as you may imagine.


More than this though, I've enjoyed Corinna. I've enjoyed her become the strong, feisty woman I'd hoped her to be; her go from strength to strength, her coming into her own, assuring her a place as one of my favourite characters of 2020.


With thanks to the author for a compelling, action pact read, much of it taking place at sea, a list of principal characters, some of them fictional, some of them actual historical figures, and the  interesting historical notes.



About Robert M. Kidd ... When Cato the Censor demanded that ‘Carthage must be destroyed,’ Rome did just that. In 146 BC, after a three year siege, Carthage was raised to the ground, its surviving citizens sold into slavery and the fields where this once magnificent city had stood, ploughed by oxen. Carthage was erased from history.

That’s why I’m a novelist on a mission! I want to set the historical record straight. Our entire history of Hannibal’s wars with Rome is nothing short of propaganda, written by Greeks and Romans for their Roman clients. It intrigues me that Hannibal took two Greek scholars and historians with him on campaign, yet their histories of Rome’s deadliest war have never seen the light of day.

My hero, Sphax the Numidian, tells a different story!

When I’m not waging war with my pen, I like to indulge my passion for travel and hill walking, and like my hero, I too love horses. I live in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.


Follow Robert M Kidd ... ~ Website ~ Twitter