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Jennifer LB Leese

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Hello, do you love books? Want to read about your favorites?

It's Only Ink! Children's Book Review Newsletter is for children's book reviews. My name is Jennifer LB Leese. I am an author of children's picture books, young adult gothic, fantasy novels, and paranormal romance novels. I am also a children's book reviewer, copyeditor, freelance writer, and feature article writer and managing editor for the local Picket News. As a book reviewer, I have many authors, publishers, and publicists sending me tons of books for review. Because of this, I tend to get overloaded and have no where to send the reviews. So, I decided to put together this newsletter through AuthorsDen to get some of the waiting reviews out there and in the public.

Feel free to pass this invitation on to others. Thanks, and enjoy.

Newsletter Dated: 3/15/2004 1:34:04 PM

Subject: March 15, 2004 Issue 16: It's Only Ink! Children's Book Review Newsletter

March 15, 2004
Issue 16

Reviews in this issue:
2004 releases: Counting Coconuts/Contando cocos by Wendi Silvano
Polar Slumber/Sueño polar by Dennis Rockhill

2003 releases: Why Me? By Rita Y. Toews
The Giant Cabbage: An Alaska Folktale by Chérie Stihler

Favorites: Kid's Outdoor Parties: Hundreds of Fun Things to do at Outdoor Parties for Kids 4-12 by Penny Warner
Farmer Brown Goes Round and Round by Teri Sloat
The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold

"Gargoyle Tears" by JV Harlee
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"Gargoyle Tears" by gothic, fantasy writer JV Harlee
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• NEW CHILDREN'S BOOKS BY JENNIFER LB LEESE--All downloaded books at Writer's Exchange are just $3. Go here to purchase "Bows for Pigel's Nose," and here: to purchase "I Am Me!"

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2004 Releases:
Polar Slumber/Sueño polar by Dennis Rockhill
Published by Raven Tree Press,
ISBN: 0-9724973-1-5
Release: May 2004
Reviewed by Jennifer LB Leese,

With the inspiring text at the end of the book, children are first encouraged to look at the picture and tell a parent or teacher what they think is happening on the page. Small black and white illustrations, offset from the charming, vivid full-color illustrations, adorn each page to help children expand the story or to make up their own.

This beautifully written story book, set in a winter wonderland, is about a little girl who dreams about the polar bear she made out of snow. As she sleeps, she explores the snowy dream-like environment with her new friend.

Described as a wordless picture book, POLAR SLUMBER/Sueño polar will help children develop language skills, get their creative juices flowing, and will enhance reading and writing skills. Appropriate for ages 5-10, this book would make a wonderful addition to any library. It provides excellent opportunities for classroom teaching.

Raven Tree Press books come in English and in Spanish. At the end of each book, readers will find a helpful glossary for those who want specific words translated.

This reviewer highly recommends POLAR SLUMBER/Sueño polar by Dennis Rockhill.
Counting Coconuts/Contando cocos by Wendi Silvano
Published by Raven Tree Press,
ISBN: 0-9720192-6-X
Release: May 2004
Reviewed by Jennifer LB Leese,

After gathering coconuts, Monkey decides to count them. However, just as he begins counting by ones, a snake, dangling from a nearby tree, suggests that Monkey count by twos. Just as Monkey begins to count by twos, a Macaw, hanging from a vine, suggests that he count by threes to save time. Every time Monkey starts to count, another animal friend has a faster method of counting.

COUNTING COCONUTS/Contando cocos by Wendi Silvano is an excellent children's book. Not only can readers learn to count by twos, fives, and tens, they learn animal names, and they learn English and Spanish on top of enjoying the tale of a counting monkey. This book, put together with delightful color illustrations by Marty Granius, would make the perfect book for teachers to read when celebrating the 100th day of school. My younger children, ages six and seven, enjoyed reading and counting with Monkey. Labeled as an Accelerated Reader® book, my six and seven year old read the entire book by themselves.

Raven Tree Press books come in English and in Spanish. At the end of each book, readers will find a helpful glossary for those who want specific words translated.

This reviewer thoroughly enjoyed reading COUNTING COCONUTS/Contando cocos by Wendi Silvano and highly recommends it for ages 5-10.
2003 Releases:
THE GIANT CABBAGE: An Alaska Folktale by Chérie Stihler
Reviewed by: Jennifer LB Leese,,
Published by Sasquatch
ISBN: 1-57061-357-5
Release Date: April 2003

When Moose tried to lift the giant cabbage into the back of his truck, so he could take it to the Alaska State Fair, he found that he needed help…and lots of it. With the help from his friends bear, wolf, fox, squirrel, and a few others, they finally made it to the fair for all to enjoy the giant cabbage.

THE GIANT CABBAGE is based on a Russian folktale that involves an enormous turnip that causes family and friends to work together to solve a very big problem.

Stihler fills this book with fun, easy-to-read sentences and word repetition. Jeremiah Tremmell brings the well-written animal characters to life with his vividly colorful illustrations.

This reviewer and her three children, found THE GIANT CABBAGE by Chérie Stihler a wonderful book that is perfect for young children. It would also make an excellent teacher's tool.

WHY ME? By Rita Y. Toews
Release: 2003
Reviewer: Jennifer LB Leese,

In my opinion, everyone has experienced being bullied to some degree. Everyday millions of school-age children fall victim to bullies. In reality, bullies are insecure, jealous individuals who are unhappy with themselves. As someone who has had her share on and off through school with being bullied, let me tell you that the wounds are usually not visible—they are deep down and can stay there for a very long time.

Rita Y. Toews has put together a wonderful informative e-book titled "WHY ME?" It tells the story of a young girl named Chelsea and her experiences with bullying, humiliation, and hopelessness.

"WHY ME?" includes a multiple choice quiz with question such as "You are being bullied if…" and "When someone bullies you, you should…". After the thought-provoking quiz, readers will find a "Bully Quiz Answers with Feedback" section.

In the "Information About Bullying" area, readers will better understand what bullying is and how it affects others. They will also find informative web links on bullying and ways to handle them. The "Tips to Develop Self-Confidence" is a magnificent source for those who would like a boost in their self-esteem.

This reviewer highly recommends Rita Y. Toews's book "WHY ME?" for people of all ages, whether you are a bully or not.

To read more of Toews's works, visit her webpage at:
Reviewed by: Jennifer LB Leese,,
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers
Release: 1998
Format: Hard Cover
32 pages
ISBN: 0-8037-2124-2
Purchase URL: Marsha Diane Arnold’s Book Gallery
Stars out of 5: 4

Joshua Summerhayes isn’t like any other gray-haired man you’d see on the streets in a city. In fact, Joshua doesn’t live a city, he lives on a huge farm in Blue Gum Valley in Australia with is dog Yellow Dog and Aunt Millie. He is a huge pumpkin fan (feels that it gives him his energy to run), and eats them most of his days.

Joshua is used to running. He had been running for fifty years, and he likes it. He and Yellow Dog run from one end of their massive farm to the next, checking on his livestock. Most of the farmers around him use jeeps, or trucks, but Joshua and Yellow Dog use their feet.

After reading a poster announcing the Koala-K run from Melbourne to Sydney—winner takes home $10,000, Joshua and Yellow Dog sign up figuring that they can “see two cities and get a little run as well”. With pumpkins loaded in the back of a borrowed truck, Joshua, Yellow Dog and Aunt Millie head towards the race.

Aunt Millie cooks meals for Joshua and Yellow Dog and meets them at the checkpoints to give them the energetic pumpkin, but when she doesn’t show up at the last checkpoint, Joshua realizes that he and Yellow Dog have to run the rest of the way using their own power.

THE PUMPKIN RUNNER is an excellent story, it is sure to fill children with confidence. This book will make children laugh as they watch Joshua run in his overalls and orange gumboots, waving to all the people.

This reviewer thoroughly enjoyed reading about Joshua and Yellow Dog, and I was pleased to learn that Arnold wrote this story based on true-facts. Cliff Young was a 61-year-old farmer from Victoria, Australia who ran the actual race in 1983. I won’t tell you the ending of Mr. Young’s story, but I will say that he ran over 542 miles.
Arnold was born and raised in Kansas, but now resides in California with her husband, Fred. Spending time at home with her family is her favorite activity. When she’s not writing, or speaking at school, she’s in the garden, practicing yoga, going to the movies, or taking long walks with her friends. She likes to travel and explore faraway places. Her father called her “a little dreamer” while growing up—fitting to what she has grown up to be. Arnold “believes that the world is nourished by positive visions of dreamers.”
THE PUMPKIN RUNNER has won several awards including the Smithsonian’s Notable Book in 1998, Outstanding Book from the Westchester Library, and 2000-2001 nominee for the Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Awards.
Visit her website at for purchasing information, and to find out what else she writes.
Reviewed by: Jennifer LB Leese,,
Published by DK Publishing,
Release: 1999
Format: Soft Cover
32 pages
ISBN: 0-7894-8187-1

After finishing the last of his chores, Farmer Brown relaxed while he listened to the animals on his farm. Then out of the blue, he heard a rumbling sound that turned into a twister. All the animals along with Farmer Brown, spun round and round inside the twister. But when the wind from the twister stopped and dropped them down to the ground, weird sounds came from all the animals…and from Farmer Brown!

This delightful story, told in rhyme, is sure to grab children’s attention from the very first stanza and hold it until the very last word. It is a well-written book—perfect for reading aloud.

FARMER BROWN GOES ROUND AND ROUND is a hilarious and fun story that is fun to read. The colorful illustrations by Nadine Bernard Westcott are comical—readers can see for themselves what a mare looks like in Farmer Brown’s plaid underwear as it spins upside down alongside a pig that moos!

Teri Sloat and her family enjoy the art. Her son, Matt, is a fish biologist and painter. Her daughter, Carrie, is a graphic designer and painter, and her other daughter, Becky, is in high school and just designed her first Bluegrass poster and CD cover. Sloat’s husband is an artist, and they have illustrated two books together. She resides in Sebastopol, California with her husband and daughter, Becky.

Parents and children will have a blast reading the irresistible chaotic behavior that covers every page.

Highly recommended!
Reviewed by: Jennifer LB Leese,,
Published by Meadowbrook Press,
Release: June 1999
Format: Soft Cover
111 pages
ISBN: 088166-333-6

KIDS’ OUTDOOR PARTIES is a useful and fun book that holds hundreds of things to do with children any age outside! This splendid book offers 35 party themes complete with costumes, invitations, party favors and prizes, food, cake, decorations, activities, games, and variations in case of a rained-out party. Some of the lively themes included in this book are Balloon Blast, Carnival Time, Frisbee party, Hayride party, Hollywood Stunts, and Mystery Mayhem. Tons more are listed by age group on the Contents page in the front of the book.

An interesting party, sure to be a hit with any science fiction fan is the Space: The Final Frontier party. This party comes complete with alien ideas, UFOs, and instructions on how to create glow-in-the-dark invitations. For the Olympic Gold party, children can participate in events, team sports, and win trophies or medals. Children will love the ideas included in this handy book.

Enjoy outdoor parties with your children—get your hands on KIDS’ OUTDOOR PARTIES HUNDREDS OF FUN THINGS TO DO AT OUTDOOR PARTIES FOR KIDS 4-12 by Penny Warner today!

Penny Warner is a leading author of children’s party and activity books. She has sold over 30 books for adults and children, writing fiction and non-fiction. Some of her books include Kids’ Outdoor Parties, Kids’ Party Cookbook, and Games People Play. Many of her books have won awards including the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. She and her husband Tom write and produce murder mystery events for libraries and other organizations across the country. Warner lives in Danville, California with her family.

Highly recommended!

If you want to have your book reviewed by Jennifer LB Leese, write her at and tell her about your book.
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