Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If Kids Ruled The World by Linda Bailey

Good Day Dear Readers-
If Kids Ruled the World, I think we'd have ice cream for breakfast and never have set bedtimes.

This delightful book offers some fun ways kids might make the world more interesting. The pictures are wonderfully done and the text is easy to read, even for beginners. Below, you'll also find a fun activity idea to go along with the text.

Happy Reading!
The Queen


Author: Linda Bailey

Illustrator: David Huyck

Book Information:
Publisher and date:  Kids Can Press (September 1, 2014)
Reading level: 3 - 7 years

Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: children's picture book
ISBN:  978-1554535910

Book Theme:
Imagination, utopia from a child's point of view, Inventiveness, the world

Book Summary
This original, fun picture book delightfully describes, in hilarious detail, a small child's idea of utopia. Every two-page spread offers something new about this fantasy life, including, "If kids ruled the world, every day would be your birthday! Birthday cake would be good for you. Your doctor would say, ?Don't forget to eat your birthday cake so you'll grow up strong and healthy!'" And, "You could go to any kind of school you like ? Circus School. Fairy School. Inventing School. Lots of kids would go to Recess School." The topics that bestselling, award-winning author Linda Bailey has chosen are pitch-perfect for young children, from bedtime and baths (none!) to pets and tree houses (lots!). And illustrator David Huyck's detailed, brightly hued artwork is full of energy, joy and humor that gets right to the heart of a child's view of the world. While this is a book that would happily be enjoyed from cover to cover, it's not hard to envision an enthralled child spending long stretches of time daydreaming about one particular scenario. In the classroom, this book would make an excellent springboard for art projects or creative writing assignments that explore children's own unique image of the perfect world. Particularly gratifying is the emphasis throughout on sharing all the good things brought to life in a world of a child's own making. This book is a truly exuberant celebration of childhood, play and imagination. It's sure to become a classic.

Activity Adventures:

Crafty Ideas:
Make a poster...
Think like a campaign poster.
Draw or print a picture of a world - Here's one at Enchanted Learning. 
Color and cut out. Glue to the middle of the poster.
Now, draw a picture of yourself. Use half an 8x10 paper. Cut out you and glue on top of the world.

Like it? Now, here's what you need to do. Think of ways you would make the world a better place. Think of funny things. But also think of at least two serious things.

While doing this, also let their imagination go wild as they come up with crazy ways they would rule the world.

Writing Prompts:
Write a speech about ways you think you can make the world a better place. Like the poster, your ideas can be funny and silly, but you need to come up with one very real way you can make the world a better place.

Discussion Questions:
Teachers and Parents: Help children brainstorm real ways they can make the world a better place. Such as picking up litter, or not littering. Making a bird feeder for birds during the winter. Talk about kindness and helpfulness. 

Authors Arena


Linda Bailey is an award-winning author of many books for children, including Goodnight Sweet Pig, Stanley's Party, the Stevie Diamond Mysteries, and the Good Times Travel Agency series. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Raised near Chicago, David Huyck grew up half a block from the candy store in one direction, and half a block from the playground in the other. Along with a limitless supply of Legos, cartoons and all genres of books, the resulting high-fructose queasiness is the point source for everything he has made ever since.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cindy Lou and Sammy Too: Go To The Mall by Cheryl McNeil Fisher

Good Day Dear Readers:
This week I'd like to introduce a book that is both fun and educational. Cindy Lou and Sammy Too: Go To The Mall tells about a day in the life of a guide dog. 

If you're looking for a helpful book to explain how dogs help people, this is a great starting book. There's more, and I've included some links to places that will help enhance your lesson plans and discussions.

Happy Reading,
The Queen.


Book Title: Cindy Lou and Sammy Too Go To The Mall: The Adventure of a Guide Dog Team
Author: Cheryl McNeil Fisher
Illustrator: Lisa O'Gorman Hofsommer

Publisher and date: Doggoneit Publishing; 1ST edition (2014)
Reading level:
Book Info: Paperback: 32 pages
Series: The Adventure Of A Guide Dog Team
Genre: chapter picture book

Book Theme: Service dogs, guide dog, blindness, disabilities

Book Summary:

Colorful and heartwarming illustrated chapter book entertains and explains to children the vital role of a guide dog in the daily life of a blind person. "My name is Sammy and today my friend Cindy and I are going to the mall. I'm her guide dog and my job is very important. Cindy is legally blind and it's my job to keep her safe." The story will help children better understand the challenges Cindy faces and how her guide dog provides invaluable support. As Cindy Lou and Sammy travel through the shops, people stop to pet Sammy, but Cindy kindly asks them not to, explaining that he's working and needs to remain focused on his job. The book expertly explains why others should never disrupt a guide dog. Sammy also shares the rules he follows in his daily life, such as why he is only allowed to eat at certain times during the day, and what certain commands from Cindy mean to him. Readers learn that although guid e dogs are allowed everywhere with their owners, managers of stores and restaurants will often ask for proof that Sammy is in fact a service dog. Sammy tells readers that if he and Cindy are only one step out of sync with each other, Cindy can easily get hurt. Cindy Lou and Sammy Too Go to the Mall: The Adventure of a Guide Dog Team is a wonderful special education tool for teachers and students, enjoyable for children of all ages to read and to learn about the blind community and courageous guide dogs. Above all else, this delightfully illustrated tale is a story about loyalty and friendship. As readers see the world through Sammy's eyes, they can feel the devotion and love he has for his owner. Educational and heartwarming in equal measure, Cindy and Sammy are certainly a winning team.

Activity Adventures:

Discussion Questions:
Talk about some of the etiquette rules when dealing with a service dog, or someone with a disability. These websites might offer a few suggestions: Teaching Kids Disability Etiquette 

Sometimes we might see service dogs in school! Yes, even though there might be a No Dogs Allowed, with service dogs, there are different rules. Why would someone bring a dog to school? Here are various ways service dogs help people. 

The Humane Society has several lessons for various grades on pet and animal care. 

Authors Arena

Author:Cheryl McNeil Fisher

Prior to losing her sight nearly 15 years ago due to detached retinas, Cheryl McNeil-Fisher was a successful real estate agent and title closer in the Hudson Valley. After hearing a Public Service Announcement, she attended a Guiding Eyes Walkathon: a step, literally, that led her to apply for admission to a Guiding Eyes dog training program. She graduated with her first Guiding Eyes dog, “Pearl” in the winter of 1994. “Pearl” is now retired, and Cheryl has a second guide dog, “Gregg.”

Prior to losing her sight nearly 15 years ago due to detached retinas, Cheryl McNeil-Fisher was a successful real estate agent and title closer in the Hudson Valley. After hearing a Public Service Announcement, she attended a Guiding Eyes Walkathon: a step, literally, that led her to apply for admission to a Guiding Eyes dog training program. She graduated with her first Guiding Eyes dog, “Pearl” in the winter of 1994. “Pearl” is now retired, and Cheryl has a second guide dog, “Gregg.”

Since graduating from Guiding Eyes, Cheryl, a self described “over achiever,” has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling, was ordained an Interfaith Minister and has worked as an assistant pastor and youth minister. She holds a Masters Degree from The New Interfaith Seminary in New York City and Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She is also a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes.

Cheryl recently decided to explore her more creative side and started her own business, Cheryl Lynn Designs. Based in Walkill, she custom designs knitted apparel and other items and manages the business on her own. She markets her designs via the internet, using adaptive technology, as well as through in-person presentations and consignment shops.

Accompanied by “Gregg,” Cheryl educates school children and members of civic organizations about blindness and guide dogs.

Cheryl recently received the Entrepreneur with a Disability Award at the National Disability Employment Awareness Awards Ceremony in Poughkeepsie, New York. The event was sponsored by the Office of Vocational and Education Services for Individuals with Disabilities and the Poughkeepsie Area Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

Good Day Dear Readers-
Today I have a mid-grade novel to introduce to you. The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson. Love journey books? Steampunk? Adventure? This book has it all.

I actually really enjoyed this book. The characters are likable, the story engaging, and there seems to be a possibility of this being a series. I do not have any activity suggestions, but do recommend this as a fun read.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: The Mark of the Dragonfly
Author: Jaleigh Johnson

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 25, 2014)
Reading level: 10 and up/ Grade Level: 5 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 400 pages
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 13: 978-0385376150

Book Theme:
friendship, bravery, steampunk, magic, journey

Book Summary
Piper has never seen the mark of the dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the meteor fields.

The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.

The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.

Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

Authors Arena

Photo: Mark Jones

Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy author born and raised in the Midwest. Her novels for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line include The Howling Delve, Mistshore, Unbroken Chain, Unbroken Chain: The Darker Road, and Spider and Stone. Her first book for middle grade readers is The Mark of the Dragonfly, from Delacorte Press. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming, gardening, and going to movies with her husband. Visit her online at

Friday, September 26, 2014

Don't Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oeischlager

Good Day Dear Readers,
Today we delve into the art of Language with a book to help young scribes with their writing structure. Don't Dangle Your Participle is a beautifully illustrated, fun look at how troublesome misplaced participles can be for everyone. And, how to fix it.

First the author starts off with a description of Dangling Participles, then goes into some examples.

Every classroom should have this book. As always, we've found a few activity ideas teachers can try using to go along with the book.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Don't Dangle Your Participle

Author: Vanita Oeischlager
Illustrator: Mike DeSantis

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Vanita Books (May 1, 2014)
Reading level: Preschool - 3rd grade
Book Info: Paperback Children's picturebook
Genre: Grammar 
ISBN: 978-1938164033

Book Theme:
Grammar, language arts, parts of speech, writing

Book Summary
Words and pictures show children what a dangling participle is all about. Young readers are shown an incorrect sentence that has in it a dangling participle. They are then taught how to make the sentence read correctly. It is done in a cute and humorous way. The dangling participle loses its way and the children learns how to help it find its way back to the correct spot in the sentence. This is followed by some comical examples of sentences with dangling participles and their funny illustrations, followed by an illustration of the corrected sentence. Young readers will have fun recognizing this problem in sentence construction and learning how to fix it.

Activity Adventures:

Lesson Ideas:
Here's some  tips from Grammar Bites on dangling participles.

Chipmunk of Doom: Dangling Participles

Here's a pdf worksheet that can be modified to use with various classes.
A self-test to see if they're getting it.

Writing Prompts:
Have students rewrite sentences like those in the book, correcting the dangling participle.

Discussion Questions:
Talk about how easy it is to make sentences confusing by misplacing words.
Let students help you fix a few sentences and fix the mix-up/

Authors Arena


Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, former teacher, current caregiver, author and poet. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee. Vanita is also Writer in Residence for the Literacy Program at The University of Akron. She and her husband Jim received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2006. She won the Congressional ‘Angels in Adoption’ Award for the state of Ohio in 2007 and was named National Volunteer of the Year by the MS society in 2008. She was honored as 2009 Woman Philanthropist of the Year by the Summit County United Way. In May 2011, Vanita received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from University of Mount Union.
Prior to her publishing and writing career, Vanita taught school for 19 years and then helped her husband with his company, Oak Associates. Mother of two daughters, stepmother to a son and daughter, she is grandmother to seven.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Button Story by Emil Sher

Welcome back dear Reader Friends,
The Queen here returning from her summer vacation. Since school is now in session (as the dragon's have been quite busy with their homework and classes) I've decided it time to set down with a new list of books to introduce to you. I've searched far and wide over the summer and hope to have some fun and exciting reads for you  in the coming months. Check back weekly.

To start off, I've picked a delightfully colorful book for the younger readers. Even if you  are just starting to read, the text is simple, and the pictures bright and fun to look at. After you've read the book, scroll down for some ides on how to make your reading experience even more enjoyable.

Well, here's our first book, 

A Button Story

Author: Emil Sher

Illustrator: Cindy Revell

Book Information:
Publisher and date: Annick Press;  (June 1, 2014)
Reading level: 2 - 4 years
Book Info: Board book: 26 pages
Genre: Children's picture book
ISBN: 978-1554516520

Book Theme:
Buttons, father and daughter, counting, shapes and colors
Book Summary
Buttons, buttons, all around!
In this colorful board book, the search for a lost button takes a little girl on an adventure. When the button is nowhere to be found, she and her father set out for a store filled with every imaginable kind of button -- fancy buttons, funny buttons, bowls brimming with button... soup! She soon finds a suitable replacement, only to arrive home to discover the lost button on the stairs. But that's not a problem at all. The found button is quickly stitched on to join all the other fanciful ones on her sweater.

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
Working with a large jar of buttons can provide many fine motor activities.
* Scoop buttons from one bowl to another.
* String buttons on a bit of yarn or string. Make into a necklace or bracelet. 
* Sort buttons by color, size or shapes

Older Readers:
Make a picture using buttons. Suggestions might be a rainbow, a house, a button dog, or a face.
Or, if you have shape buttons like in the book, draw a picture to put your button on.

Here's more: 
Math Games using buttons

Writing Prompts:
Pretend to be a button that fell off a shirt and became lost. Write a story about what you would do? How you would feel: lost or free?  Would you try to find your sweater, or roll off on a vacation. 

Authors Arena

Born and raised in Montreal, Emil taught at a secondary school in rural Botswana before returning to
Montreal to pursue a degree in creative writing. He has written professionally ever since in a variety of genres, for young audiences and the once-were-young. Stage plays, screenplays, non-fiction, children's fiction: at any given time, Emil can be found procrastinating as he juggles a host of projects. Currently, he lives in Toronto with his wife and younger daughter as he texts his out-of-town daughter to distraction. He loves his family to bits, including an untrained dog that ignores him on command.

Illustrator:  Cindy Revell
Please see illustrator's website for more information and a gallery of her works.

Friday, April 18, 2014

20 Ways to Encourage Reading

I found this article and thought I'd share it with those who have reluctant trolls and dragons... Here's 20 Ways to Encourage Reading--
 Now for some ways to turn a young reader's reluctance into enthusiasm:

1. Scout for things your children might like to read. Use their interests and hobbies as starting points.

2. Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home.

3. Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.

4. Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.

5. Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children's section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.

6. Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child's collection, or planning a family trip.

7. Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.

8. Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.

9. Perhaps over dinner, while you're running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.

10. Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child's skills and habits.

11. Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure of listening to you read, rather than struggling alone, may restore your child's initial enthusiasm for books and reading.

12. Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don't feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.

13. On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child's current interests.

14. Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.

15. Introduce the bookmark. Remind your youngster that you don't have to finish a book in one sitting; you can stop after a few pages, or a chapter, and pick up where you left off at another time. Don't try to persuade your child to finish a book he or she doesn't like. Recommend putting the book aside and trying another.

16. Treat your children to an evening of laughter and entertainment featuring books! Many children (parents, too) regard reading as a serious activity. A joke book, a story told in riddles, or a funny passage read aloud can reveal another side of reading.

17. Extend your child's positive reading experiences. For example, if your youngster enjoyed a book about dinosaurs, follow up with a visit to a natural history museum.

18. Offer other special incentives to encourage your child's reading. Allow your youngster to stay up an extra 15 minutes to finish a chapter; promise to take your child to see a movie after he or she has finished the book on which it was based; relieve your child of a regular chore to free up time for reading.

19. Limit your children's television viewing in an effort to make time for other activities, such as reading. But never use TV as a reward for reading, or a punishment for not reading.

20. Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family's busy day.

Source: RIF Parent Guide Brochure.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Duskey Rinker

Dear Readers,
The Queen here with a bedtime book sure to enthrall the biggest Monster Machine Fans. Boys and girls alike who are fascinated by the large construction site trucks will love this book that shows several trucks as they finished a hard day and get ready for bed. A bonus is that there are some fantastic activity sheets provided at the author and illustrator sites. Find links in the Activity Adventure section.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Author Sherri Duskey Rinker:                                                         Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Chronicle Books (May 4, 2011)
Reading level: Ages 1 and up
Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Picture book
ISBN: 978-0811877824

Book Summary
As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they'll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.

Activity Adventures:
Fun Stuff
Download the free Activity Guide for this book here.
Find a Coloring book here.
Print your own bookmark.
Find more activities here

Writing Prompts:
If you could be one of the trucks, which one would you be? Write a short story with illustrations about what your day would be like if you were a truck.

Authors Arena

Author: Sherri Duskey Rinker
Sherri has returned to her passion of writing to indulge her own children's passions. A graphic designer, she lives in Chicago with her photographer husband, a cockapoo named Quincy, several fish, a few hermit crabs, an ever-changing array of insects in jars, toys in every corner, and two energetic and inquisitive young boys: one fascinated by bugs and magic and another obsessed with trucks and trains. She's constantly inspired -- and often exhausted! She created GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT, CONSTRUCTION SITE in hopes of happier bedtimes and sweet dreams for all.

This is Sherri's first book.Learn more about this author at her website in the link above. 

First-time author Sherri Duskey Rinker's Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site steadily climbed up the New York Times' Bestseller list throughout 2011, reaching #1 on January 29th, 2012. Here she shares the early inspiration that inspired a career in design, and how another artist brought her vision to life.

Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld's complete bio
Children's book author & illustrator Tom Lichtenheld writes for kids who love to laugh and adults who love to laugh along with them. His books have been featured in Newsweek and Child magazines, as well as the New York Times Best seller list.
He is available for school and library appearances.
See all of Tom's books and get a glimpse of how he creates them at

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cover Reveal for Bloodlust by Nicole Zoltack

Good Day Dearest Readers,
The Queen here with something a little different. Today, I'm introducing to you an upcoming New Adult epic fantasy book. The author has sent me her information, and I'm presenting it to you so you can look for it once it's released February 24, 2014.

I have to say, the cover is stunning and the description intriguing. I will most definitely add this one to my To Be Read shelf, the one I make sure my dragons stay away from. No scorch marks or dirty talon prints on my newest books, indeed.

I do hope you'll explore Nicole Zoltrack's book a bit more.
Until next time,
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Today, I'd like to introduce you to Nicole Zoltack! Take it away, Nicole~

Hi, everyone! Nicole Zoltack here and I'm so happy to share with you the cover for my upcoming release.

Isn't it just beautiful? And it's perfect for the story.

Here's the blurb for BLOODLUST, a NA epic fantasy romance.

In a world torn by prejudice and hatred, six races struggled for supremacy.


Barbarian-Princess Ivy is unwilling to allow her father to provoke the other races into war and forms an unlikely alliance with Lukor the goliath to save her people from utter destruction.


Unbeknownst to her, Lukor blames the barbarians for murdering his sister and plans on sabotaging her goal.


Almost despite each other, they grow to respect each other on their journey to decode secret messages from the trolls. But nothing Ivy can do will prevent the war as her father is blinded by Bloodlust and incites it himself. Not even killing him and becoming Barbaroness can stop the tide. And when Bloodlust claims Ivy, forcing her to kill everyone in her path, she must make a choice to destroy even Lukor, who she may have started to fall for and him in return.

The cover is so fitting, am I right?

The story will be released on February 24th. Ack! So excited. I'd love for you to share this and I'd even kiss you if you add it on Goodreads.

What do you think about the cover? The blurb? Does it sound like something you'd like to read?

Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially fantasy romance. When she's not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they're unicorns!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dress in garb. She'll also read anything she can get her hands on. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit her blog.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Heart of the Caveat Whale Trilogy by Precarious Yates

 Good Day Dear Readers,
Today, I have a series of fantastical books called The Heart of the Caveat Whale Trilogy by Precarious Yates.  This is a beautifully told tale which will take you from the the land of Aiqua Marrin and down into the watery world of the deep ocean where an evilness threatens everything that's good. 
Here's the Summary:
Aiqua Marrin, the world found in The Heart of the Caveat Whale books, is a world that is 90% ocean with numerous small islands scattered throughout and two large swaths of land, one in the tropics and temperate zones, one in the icy region.

Clans of aquavians live throughout the seas of Western Aiqua Marrin, mostly in the shallow tropical seas.

Deep in Loesheen Sea lives the MerKing, whose plans to dominate all of Aiqua Marrin become successful when he and his mermen take captive as many aquavians as they can. The once peaceful oceans of Aiqua Marrin are threatened, and all hope hinges on the prophecy that Shunda will rise and stem the tide.

Best of all, wait until you hear this!
For the first time, the each book of the trilogy is available for FREE download! This offer will end on Midnight of Wednesday, 1/22, so act fast! Click the links below to find the books.

 Author: Precarious Yates

Print Length: 334 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1478175125
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
File Size: 3430 KB
Print Length: 379 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B009H68R44
File Size: 2033 KB
Print Length: 364 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Precarious Yates used certain kinds of poems in her stories and has agreed to talk some about them. After learning more about these fun lyrical poems, try to write a few of your own.

On Yates website is more information about the ocean life found in her book for further study.

Doggerel: Nonsense with Meaning
There is an important literary devise that readers will often encounter while reading speculative fiction: doggerel. This is poetry that is either in rhythm or out of rhythm, in rhyme or out of rhyme and is nonsensical or ridiculous in nature. It comes from an old English word that meant “only fit for dogs (or puppies)”. Don’t let that definition put you off from this genre of poetry! Nonsense has its place and its importance.

Let’s consider of the most famous pieces of doggerel: Jabberwocky. This nonsensical poem is so famous that Microsoft Word recognizes ‘Jabberwocky’ as a proper word. There are so many words throughout this poem that simply make no sense. But in the nonsense lies the beauty. It’s almost a picture of what childhood is like, having to vanquish terrible beasts before the world even makes sense. But at least in Jabberwocky, the boy is congratulated and his win is honored as real.

In The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy, I have several doggerel poems. I inserted them into places where the story gets so emotionally intense that there’s need for a break. And therein lays the beauty of nonsense. In a way, it’s like comic relief that you see in movies. Nonsense releases some of the emotional tension. And then the nonsense, or comic relief, when used well, ends up deepening the emotion of the story.

In The Captives, book 1 of The Heart of the Caveat Whale, there’s a scene where the soldiers are overwhelmed by the screaming of their prisoners. Everyone’s exhausted after a battle and no one can find rest within a mile of this screaming.

Then a single soldier begins to sing a ridiculous child’s tune:
Unto the day we say
And bathe our feet in sand
and clay
And laugh at the rains that
ne’er stop
That tickle our chins until
we drop

How fancy a raindrop on birds who
On bird-of-paradise with flightless
On crops of sugar on leaves of
But not in my tea cup! says Father
Now I’m sure that if you’ve never read the book this poem is even more nonsensical. Just in the way that Lewis Carroll employed creatures from Wonderland in Jabberwocky, I incorporated the Ulys (Oo’ lees), which are the river dwellers in the trilogy. Incorporating elements from the surrounding story adds a unique depth to doggerel.

Aside from the silly songs, I also have some serious poems or songs. I wouldn’t consider a serious poem doggerel simply because it shows in the context of a novel. Doggerel is purposeful nonsense. And nonsense, when used well, has great significance!

Have you ever composed doggerel? Please share some you’ve written!

To learn more, check out these links:

 Author's Arena

Precarious Yates is a shepherdess living in the middle of the USA, 500 miles from the nearest beach. She hopes to live closer to the ocean soon. While in Ireland, she lived one mile from the Atlantic Ocean. Those landscapes and seascapes inspired The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates by Caroline Carlson

Good day, Dear Readers,
Aaargh! Ye book of the week is none other than The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot written by Caroline Carlson. I laughed out loud several times while reading this swashbuckling tales of a young girl who dreams of a life of piracy instead of having to attend a board school for girls where she will learn how to knit, feint, and dance. Of all things. The characters are enchanting, and the story will carry you along on a grand adventure.

Plus, there's some fun to go along with the book. Follow the links below.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Author: Caroline Carlson
Illustrator: Dave Phillips

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Publisher: HarperCollins (September 10, 2013)
Reading level: Age Level: 8 - 12 | Grade Level: 3 - 7
Book Info: Hardcover: 368 pages
Genre: Mid-grade chapter book
ISBN: 978-0062194343

Book Theme:
Pirates, Magic, Dream, Going after your dream, bravery,

Book Summary
September 10, 2013 
Pirates! Magic! Treasure! A gargoyle? Caroline Carlson's hilarious tween novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot is perfect for fans of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events and Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society.
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.
There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
Written with uproarious wit and an inviting storyteller tone, the first book in Caroline Carlson's quirky seafaring series is a piratical tale like no other.

Activity Adventures:

From Review
Pirate-iquette Tips: Brought to you by The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates and Caroline Carlson

PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #1: “A good pirate doesn’t run away from nefarious scoundrels—she confronts them.”
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #2: A pirate simply can’t abandon her mates.
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #3: Pirates aren’t punctual. Most pirates arrive for treasure hunts and mutinies fashionably late.
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #4: Pirates keep their word. All others walk the plank.
PIRATE-IQUETTE TIP #5: Sword fighting is the same as waltzing—just with a more gruesome conclusion.

Once you've accomplished these swashbuckling tips, download your own Pirate Certificate

Crafty Ideas: Be A Pirate
Make hats and eye patches and learn to talk like a pirate.
Writing Prompts:
Write a letter of persuasion to the VNHLP on why they should allow you to join their league. OR If piracy isn't your thing, write a letter to Miss Primm's Finishing School on why you would make a great pupil. Remember, being able to knit, feint and dance are all in your favor.
Here are some lesson ideas and printables that might help you with this.

Lesson Activity Idea:
Learn about Maps and how to create them.

Places you can get lesson ideas for teaching about maps:
National Geographic
National Education Association

Authors Arena

Caroline Carlson is the author of MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT, a funny and fantastical seafaring adventure for young readers. She grew up in Massachusetts and holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Caroline lives with her husband in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, amidst many stacks of books.

Want to know more, check out this interview with Caroline Carlson.