Monday, June 18, 2018

Behind the Scenes with Donna Everhart--Part I

Congratulations to Darlene who won the seven audio book giveaway last week.

As promised two weeks ago, Donna Everhart generously agreed to give us a glimpse into how she developed THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET. (If you haven't had a chance to read my review, I hope you will now. This interview will make a lot more sense if you do!) I find it fascinating to see how authors come up with their stories and I bet many of you do too. 


CAROL: How did you decide on the main idea for the story? Was it hearing about the flood of 1940 in Silva, NC?  

DONNA: I was nervous about coming up with an idea for my second book after my debut, THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE was so well-received.  It's hard to follow up a story like that, one that's gritty, graphic, and delivers such a gut punch. 

One thing I did know; I wanted to write something very different, and I wanted to set the story in the North Carolina mountains, first, because I love the region, second, because it has so much history.  I've stood at many a lookout on a bright day with the sun shining, staring at the peaks and valleys, watching the shadow of clouds passing over the hillsides, enjoying the beauty of the scenery, yet, I have also felt a sense of the mysterious, and an appreciation for the rugged hardiness of those who came and made a life for themselves in the area.

Back in the late 90s, my husband and I hiked to a preserved, historic cabin in Doughton Park, called the Caudill Cabin.  It's maintained by descendants of the Caudill's and North Carolina's Parks and Recreation system.  The hike, which totaled fifteen miles, was strenuous, but worth it.  Getting to see something built in the early 1900s and that was still standing, was extraordinary.  This cabin, as the signage says, is one of the only remaining structures left standing from the 1916 Basin Cove flood. It housed a total of eight people, two parents, and six children. The number of inhabitants originally was thought to have been sixteen, but someone at some point (maybe a member of the Caudill family) corrected that.  The interior of the cabin couldn't have been more than about 150 square feet, and it was mind boggling to think about it sheltering eight individuals. 

Caudill Cabin, Hikers of Iredell Club

I am fascinated by this sort of thing, a piece of history right before my very eyes, and I have always had this tendency to want to let my mind wander about, thinking about the people who lived in it, how they managed to survive, picturing what their lives must have been like.  On top of that, there was the flood that forced this family to move.  I did some research on flooding in the western part of North Carolina and learned there had not only been the 1916 flood, which the Caudills were part of, but one in 1940, which was just as devastating. I began to think, "what if a family tried to make it after this sort of devastation happened?"  I had to believe there were some who did, and then I began to think, "exactly how would that work? If they had nothing?"
Pictures from Donna's hike with her husband. Look carefully at the picture on the lower right
 and you can see Donna peeking out from the cabin doorway.
The combination of my love for this part of my home state, the interesting hike to a cabin that depicted the reality of the lifestyle, and the floods all provided the inspiration. That was a LOT of material to work with, and after I settled on the 1940 event as the timeframe I wanted to write about, I began writing. 

Near Marshall, NC 1944


CAROL: Why (and perhaps how) did you decide to make Laci autistic? 

DONNA: The why likely comes from the fact I like to work in areas where I have little knowledge, to explore differences in order to better understand them. A lot of progress has been made with regard to autism, but just like those who first began to diagnose it in the 1800s, who knows where the research will be fifty years from now.  The term "idiot" was used in earlier time frames for those who appeared to have strange behaviors, and seemed incapable of learning in the same way as the rest of society.  I researched about autistic savants, those who have an uncanny ability for mathematics, music, or memory.  We likely all think about the movie RAIN MAN when we think of an autistic savant.   

According to the Autism Research Institute, "The reason why some autistic individuals have savant abilities is not known... Dr. Rimland speculates that these individuals have incredible concentration abilities and can focus their complete attention to a specific area of interest. Admittedly, researchers in psychology feel that we will never truly understand memory and cognition until we understand the autistic savant."

How I decided is the desire to include what might offer a different twist, to explore a uniqueness in a very different setting from today, to consider unusual situations a family might encounter with others, and their perspectives. I began to think what if there was a young girl in 1940 in a remote area, with extraordinary musical talents, who'd been diagnosed as an "idiot savant."  What would this mean to the family dynamic, and in particular, how would it impact a younger sibling?  

Laci by Cyndi Hoelzle
This picture is a part of Trio.


CAROL: Why and how did you decide to include a traveling carnival? 

DONNA: Although I haven't been to our state fair in about twenty years, I do remember how captivated I was as a child when my parents would take me and I'd see all of those mysterious colorful banners and the carnies screaming about "Freaks!" and "Come see them all!" There was this air of suspense, and intrigue as I passed by the tents.  My parents never allowed my brother or I to go see the Man With The Alligator Skin, or, "The Two-Headed Goat," for instance, but I sure wanted to. People who were being exploited back then, like the bearded woman, (androgen excess, or hypertrichosis) can today be explained away by a medical reason, but there is this wish as a kid to believe in the bizarre, the inexplicable, when it comes to the "attractions" that were and are so typical of those traveling shows or carnivals. Because of Laci's situation, it seemed like this would make for an interesting dynamic to the story, to have them experience something they'd never experienced before, yet to have it sort of backfire when one of their own is used for that exploitation.

Aside from that, it was also the fact this family had been through so much post-flood, and I needed some way to give them a break, a reprieve.  Because they performed in some sort of musical capacity from the beginning, I felt it could work as a natural progression for the story.  I actually thought about having them stick to what Wallis Ann feared - go around the countryside "begging."  However, this was just coming into the post-Depression era, and while I knew people of the mountains would gladly give what they had, they wouldn't have much to spare.  In reality, the Stampers wouldn't be able to do this for long and get anywhere.  I could see early on if I wrote it like that, I was setting them up for more failure and when would the starvation, hardships ever end?  How would I turn the story so they stood the chance to not only survive, but to recover what they'd lost?  

                             Clogging Video by David Hoffman, shot in 1964

Come back next week for Part II when Donna shares some aspects of her research.


If you are interested in winning the audio book of THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET (courtesy Tantor Audio) please leave me your name and email address, particularly if you are new to my blog. I'll draw a winner on June 28.


THE FORGIVING KIND, will go on sale, January 29th, 2019, with an official publication date of February 5th, 2019. That story is also a southern fiction coming of age novel, and is about a
twelve year old young girl called Sonny Creech, who lives with her family in Jones County NC, on a cotton farm. Sonny has the special gift of water divination, a talent she shares with her father.  After a tragic accident claims his life, she and her family become entangled with a reclusive neighbor named Frank Fowler who offers to finance that year's cotton crop. It's set in 1955.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Audiobook Tour = Amazing Giveaway!

I'm pleased to be a part of the Audio Publisher's Association's celebration of JIAM-- June Is Audiobook Month. This is my second time to participate and it's a great opportunity to remind you of some terrific audiobook titles--just in case you'd forgotten them. PLUS there's a fantastic giveaway that you don't want to miss. 

Audio books like the ones highlighted here are great company on car trips, if you're recuperating from an illness or surgery, when you exercise, or take a walk. I've found audiobooks make boring, routine jobs (think weeding, raking, or dusting) more fun. Writers and readers alike can delight in the spoken word as amazing narrators bring the stories to life. Several of these books have stayed in my mind and become mentor texts because of the powerful narration.

In no particular order, these are the last four audio books I've listened to.

If you're looking for a superbly researched Civil War story, then Be Free or Die by Cate Lineberry will fit the bill. This book is both a biography of an unsung African American hero, but also an in-depth look at what was happening in South Carolina before, during, and after the war. 

I bet I walked at least thirty miles while listening to this insightful book into misogynous relationships. Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them is written by Dr. Susan Forward, a psychologist whose practice includes women who struggle to respond appropriately to their husbands. I highly recommend it to women and men who need insight into this difficult situation.

If you're taking a trip to Italy (or dream of visiting this historic peninsula as I do) then The Pursuit of Italy should be on your reading list. Comprehensive in terms of history, politics, geography, art and music, this book by David Gilmour is packed with everything you ever wanted to know about Italy--and didn't even know to ask!

You might think that I ordinarily read non-fiction based on the previous three titles, but that's actually not the truth. My most recent audiobook, The Road to Bittersweet by Donna Everhart, is now one of my favorite titles I've listened to. The narrator, Amy Melissa Bentley, added depth to an already wonderful novel through her authentic portrayal of the North Carolina mountain characters. 


Leave a comment (and your email address if you're new to this blog) to win the audiobooks listed below. will pick a winner on June 15. Click here to visit other bloggers who are also promoting audiobooks this month. Leave your name on their blogs and increase your chances of winning ALL of these books! (Books are courtesy Audio Publishers Association.)

  • Seven by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankowitz 
  • Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman, narrated by MacLeod Andrews
  • Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris, narrated by Kevin Hely and Cathleen McCarron
  • Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland, narrated by Shannon MacManus
  • Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, narrated by Todd McLaren
  • Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan, narrated by David Shih
  • A Girl Stands at the Door by Rachel Devlin, narrated by Robin Miles
  • Torn from Troy, Book 1 in the Odyssey of a Slave Trilogy by Patrick Bowman, narrated by Gerard Doyle

Monday, June 4, 2018

Beware! Blogger Issues!


I hate to overload your inboxes from my blog, but Blogger is having issues letting me know when you leave a comment. Since I'm hosting several great giveaways in the upcoming weeks, please email me at if you want to add your name to the giveaway list. (You can also try to leave a comment; Blogger is promising to fix it--but who knows when!) I don't want any of you to miss out on winning a good book.

Thanks for your support of my blog.


The Road to Bittersweet: An Audio Book Review and Giveaway

When I read in the Tantor Audio new release list that The Road To Bittersweet was set in North Carolina in the forties, I knew this was a book for me. This was my first book by Donna Everhart, but I suspect it won't be my last. Today's post is a review of the book that is based on the Flood of 1940 in Silva, NC. On June 18th and 25th I am posting a two-part interview with Donna that provides the backstory for this dramatic novel that both young adults and adults will enjoy. (Note: Since I reviewed this as an audio book, quotes might not be exact. I did my best to capture the words as I listened.)


The book opens with Wallis Ann Stamper, the protagonist, turning fourteen and telling a birthing story. Not her own story, like the reader might expect, but rather the story of her older sister, Laci, "whose name alone conjures a frail and delicate bein'." Wallis Ann repeats what she's heard her mother tell: how when the granny woman delivered Laci she "come out the color of a ripened blueberry." Although Laci survived that difficult birth, she doesn't fit in with the harsh way of life in Western North Carolina, but "exists as a whisper you barely hear" or a "shadow on a partly cloudy day."

Granny women
From Donna Everhart's Pinterest board

Mute from birth but gifted musically, the local doctor diagnoses Laci as an idiot savant; Laci hears a tune once and then plays it perfectly on the one thing that matters the most--her fiddle. (Today she would be diagnosed autistic savant.) Wallis Ann is given the responsibility of taking care of her sister; as a result Laci, tags along behind her older sister wherever Wallis Anne goes. Since the author spends so much time in the opening scenes showing Laci through Wallis Ann's eyes, the reader knows that Laci will be an important secondary character.

Wallis Ann's family including her little brother Seth, lives besides Stampers Creek. On the night of Wallis Ann's birthday, a monstrous storm hits their cabin. As the creek rises, Wallis Ann sees her father's face get tight, "smoothing out the normal crinkles and curves." With Laci clinging to her fiddle, they pack the truck cab "tight as ticks" and try to escape the rising waters. The fear in Wallis Ann's mouth "tastes like bitterness."

The creek, fed from the roaring waters of the Tuckaseigee River, becomes their enemy rather than a stream by which Wallis Ann and Laci had rested; Laci sitting on the Wishing Rock playing her fiddle, Wallis Ann thinking. In excruciating, tension-filled detail, the author shows as each family member is swept off the roof of the truck. "The muddy wall of water is like a charging, angry bull." As Wallis Ann fights the current, she sees dead animals and people floating downstream and wonders if it's selfish that she doesn't want her family to go under. 

Flood of 1940

"As spent as a nickel in a dime store," Wallis Ann finds refuge by climbing a tree where she stays for several days. When it's finally safe to come down, she is exhausted, weak, and starving. She's worried about her family but "I refused to cry over what I didn't know." 

On the road trying to get back to Stamper's Creek, Wallis Anne is met by Joe Calhoun and his son; Joe's wife was crushed by a pine tree that fell on their house. Wallis Ann smells his grief and misery, even as they lift the tree and rescue his little daughter. 

When Wallis Ann returns to the property, there aren't even two chairs left from their home. The oak that her great-grandpa had planted as a sapling had fallen down. Nothing was left but the stone foundation which her father had built twenty years ago. "A part of my history had been taken away."

Like Cricket in Jo Hackl's debut middle-grade novel, Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe," Wallis Ann listened to her father's stories about survival and is able to build a fire, boil water, and with the gifts of food from Joe, can sustain herself. When her family comes back together again they're convinced they've seen the worst--but unfortunately, that's not the case. 

Flood of 1940

I risk giving away too many spoilers but Wallis Ann watches Laci become more unstable without her lost fiddle; her parents desperation trying to survive increasingly colder weather without shelter, food, or warm clothing; disease and death. As Wallis Anne observes, "All of us was collapsing like the barn."

Their "salvation" comes in an unlikely place. They leave Stamper's Creek to find work and shelter, and end up on the road singing in churches for enough food and gas money to keep them going. Wallis Ann meets Clayton, a high dive act in a carnival. When Clayton finds out the Stampers are a musical family, he convinces them to join the carnival--a further blow to Mama's pride. 

This new period in Wallis Ann's life is rich with symbolism. After they perform she observes, "People stared at us like we were a side show of freaks rather than regular people." The carnival is full of freaks but when the carnival owner puts a sign up that advertises Laci as  "The Mountain Mute," Wallis Ann's father finally draws the line.  Wallis Ann and her mother are haunted by the question of who is normal and who are the freaks.
Circus Freaks were not unknown in the past. 

Laci's beauty and musical abilities attracts attention--even from Clayton who Wallis Ann crushes on--and she experiences annoyance over her sister's constant attachment. "How will anybody notice me with Laci beside me all the time?" And, "I'll never be able to separate from her and go after my own wishes."

Wallis Ann witnesses Laci and Clayton's love and her jealousy drives her to a response that she deeply regrets. This deep point of view shows how a well-developed secondary character can impact the protagonist and how motivations drive actions. "I wanted someone else to hurt as much as me."  When the couple disappears after Wallis Ann betrays them, she is consumed with guilt; she and her parents are overcome with grief. "Afterwards, we moved about the camp site like we was strangers. Like we’d each gone up a different mountain and stationed ourselves far apart." 

After much trouble and sorrow, The Road to Bittersweet  has a satisfying ending. When the family returns home, Joe Calhoun's wise words help Wallis Anne find a way out from under her paralyzing guilt that "tugs at her soul like the Tuckaseigee." 

Amy Melissa Bentley, the narrator, does an excellent job portraying both male and female voices. The perfect Appalachian North Carolina dialect lends authenticity to this period novel. Here's the snippet which opens the book.

The Caudill log cabin which inspired Donna's depiction of
the Stamper family's cabin.
Photo courtesy Iredell County Hiker's Club


Please leave me your name and email address if you would like to enter the giveaway for this audio CD. A winner will be chosen on June 28, following the two-part interview with Donna. Leave comments on each of those blog posts and I'll add your name for additional chances to win. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Pup Called Trouble: A Review

Congratulations to Rosi Hollenbeck who won OOTHAR THE BLUE and Cathy Ogren who won MAY I COME IN?

A Pup Called Trouble (Kathy Tegan Books, 2018) by Bobbie Pyron is an engaging story that 3-5th grade students or older reluctant readers will enjoy. Based on true stories of coyotes who live in New York's Central Park, the book is told mostly through the point of view of the aptly named coyote, Trouble. Pyron, who makes her home  in the Utah mountains, spent four days roaming around Manhattan imaging how the city would smell, sound, and look to a lost coyote pup. Those four days became the backbone for this story. 

Although the child reader may not recognize herself in the story, Trouble’s desire to experience what his parents have forbidden is very child-like. Pyron sets up this identification at the beginning of the book when Trouble’s parents take him to see a tractor for the first time. Whereas his siblings fear the loud noise it makes, Trouble responds:

“It sounds huge,” Trouble exclaimed. “It sounds exciting! Can we go see?” (p. 16) 

After he sees Makers (humans) for the first time, he bombards his mother,
[Trouble] raced in circles of excitement. "Can we see more tomorrow?" (p. 21-22)
"No, she snapped. "Nothing good comes from Makers."
Swift shivered with fright. Pounced moved closer to his father, and Star trembled. 
Trouble's eyes glowed with dreamy curiosity. (p. 21-22)

Inevitably, the pup’s curiosity gets him into trouble. The reader sees and feels what happens when Trouble hides inside a truck. "...a loud, low growl rumbled to life beneath Trouble's feet. It grew louder and louder, shaking the floor and the walls and the ceiling of the shelter. Then, to Trouble's horror, the Beast lurched to life."(p.30). 

He finds himself in a "stone forest [which] rose so high it cut the wide blue expanse to wedges and slivers of white (p. 33). His senses are accosted by strange scents, sounds, and sights--not the least of which is the Makers "looking intently at a small something [they] held in their hands." At one point he is surrounded by Makers of all sizes. "Trouble leaped to his feet, spun in circles looking for the cover of forest, trees, bushes, anything where he could hide. Nothing. Everything was hard. Solid. Unforgiving." (p. 33)

Although Trouble admits that he's lost in this strange world, his curiosity drives him further and further from the truck that brought him to the city. When a crow named Mischief spies Trouble and takes an interest in him, there are great opportunities for fun and games as the two ride a subway, scare New Yorkers, and cause general mayhem. 

Mischief introduces him to other animals living in Central Park and Trouble falls in love with a poodle named Minette. As a result of these friendships, Trouble begins to lose his homesickness and begins to start liking his new life. His friends are alarmed and arrange for him to visit the "Place of the Once Wild." At the city zoo Trouble's eyes are opened to see what he risks losing. 

Ultimately, it is the fact that his friends band together to save him from the consequences of his poor decision that helps Trouble return home. The "good friends help friends stay out of trouble" moral-of-the-story is subtly and sweetly woven into a book that boys and girls will both enjoy. 

Once again, I can't part with this book! My animal loving granddaughters will love it! 

Bobbie Pyron is the author of five award-winning, critically-acclaimed middle grade and young adult novels including A DOG'S WAY HOME, THE DOGS OF WINTER, and LUCKY STRIKE. She lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, dogs, and occasional moose.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Privacy Policy as of May 23, 2018

This privacy policy has been compiled to better serve those who are concerned with how their 'Personally Identifiable Information' (PII) is being used online. PII, as described in US privacy law and information security, is information that can be used on its own or with other information to identify, contact, or locate a single person, or to identify an individual in context. Please read our privacy policy carefully to get a clear understanding of how we collect, use, protect or otherwise handle your Personally Identifiable Information in accordance with our website.

What personal information do we collect from the people that visit our blog, website or app?

When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name, email address or other details to help you with your experience.

When do we collect information?

We collect information from you when you register on our site, fill out a form or enter information on our site.

How do we use your information? 

We may use the information we collect from you when you register, make a purchase, sign up for our newsletter, respond to a survey or marketing communication, surf the website, or use certain other site features in the following ways:
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How do we protect your information?

We do not use vulnerability scanning and/or scanning to PCI standards.
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Your personal information is contained behind secured networks and is only accessible by a limited number of persons who have special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. In addition, all sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. 

We implement a variety of security measures when a user enters, submits, or accesses their information to maintain the safety of your personal information.

All transactions are processed through a gateway provider and are not stored or processed on our servers.

Do we use 'cookies'?

Yes. Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computer's hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the site's or service provider's systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. For instance, we use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart. They are also used to help us understand your preferences based on previous or current site activity, which enables us to provide you with improved services. We also use cookies to help us compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future.

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We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your Personally Identifiable Information.

Third-party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third-party products or services on our website. These third-party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


Google's advertising requirements can be summed up by Google's Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users. 
We have not enabled Google AdSense on our site but we may do so in the future.

California Online Privacy Protection Act

CalOPPA is the first state law in the nation to require commercial websites and online services to post a privacy policy. The law's reach stretches well beyond California to require any person or company in the United States (and conceivably the world) that operates websites collecting Personally Identifiable Information from California consumers to post a conspicuous privacy policy on its website stating exactly the information being collected and those individuals or companies with whom it is being shared. - See more at:

According to CalOPPA, we agree to the following:
Users can visit our site anonymously.
Once this privacy policy is created, we will add a link to it on our home page or as a minimum, on the first significant page after entering our website.
Our Privacy Policy link includes the word 'Privacy' and can easily be found on the page specified above.

You will be notified of any Privacy Policy changes:
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How does our site handle Do Not Track signals?
We honor Do Not Track signals and Do Not Track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place. 

Does our site allow third-party behavioral tracking?
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COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)

When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under the age of 13 years old, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, United States' consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children's privacy and safety online.
We do not specifically market to children under the age of 13 years old.

Fair Information Practices

The Fair Information Practices Principles form the backbone of privacy law in the United States and the concepts they include have played a significant role in the development of data protection laws around the globe. Understanding the Fair Information Practice Principles and how they should be implemented is critical to comply with the various privacy laws that protect personal information.
In order to be in line with Fair Information Practices we will take the following responsive action, should a data breach occur:
We will notify you via email
       Within 7 business days

We also agree to the Individual Redress Principle which requires that individuals have the right to legally pursue enforceable rights against data collectors and processors who fail to adhere to the law. This principle requires not only that individuals have enforceable rights against data users, but also that individuals have recourse to courts or government agencies to investigate and/or prosecute non-compliance by data processors.


The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
We collect your email address in order to:
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To be in accordance with CANSPAM, we agree to the following:
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If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy, you may contact Carol Baldwin using the information below.

Last Edited on 2018-05-23

Monday, May 21, 2018

Picture Book Bonanza #2 PLUS Two Giveaways!

This week I'm sharing three spanking new picture books with your chance to win two of them. (See rules below).

OOTHAR THE BLUE by Brandon Reese (Lion Forge, 2018)

Written and Illustrated
by Brandon Reese
You first heard about OOTHAR on my blog two months ago. (If you didn't read that blog please stop now and go back and read it. Lots of great process drawings and background information!)

We all have moments when we don't feel ourselves. But what does a barbarian do when he's feeling blue? He no longer wants to slay dragons or banish uberwaiths to the ninth dimension. Even the forest wizard's spell of enchantment doesn't make him feel better. 

The answer to Oothar's blues comes in an unlikely manner. Since I don't want to give away the perfect-problem-solving-ending, here are some of Brandon's amazing illustrations for clues.

Here, Oothar expresses some of his frustrations:

Next, he receives an unexpected response from the resident minotaur:

And finally, he ends up with...oops, sorry! That's the spoiler! You'll have to buy the book for your favorite little reader to see the clever way Oothar resolves his dilemma.

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK by Patricia Keeler (Sky Pony Press, 2018)

Written and Illustrated
by Patricia Keeler

When you're an old ice cream truck "who has seen a lot of summers" and only sell vanilla ice cream cones, then you get a little down in the dumps when fancier ice cream trucks roll into town.

But, if your name is Scoop, you try lots of things to beat the competition. You get more flavors and neon lights that zoom around your roof. Sadly, Scoop's plan fails.

Scoop's ice cream started to melt. He gave away seventy-two flavors of ice cream.
The ice cream got soft, so he gave seventy-two flavors of softserve.
Then the soft serve ice cream melted, so he gave away seventy-two flavors of milk shakes.
He had nothing more to give. 

But Scoop is not defeated! He and his faithful friend who has followed him all through town, come up with a perfect plan that will leave adults and children as satisfied as the most perfect ice cream cone ever. Patricia's lively illustrations are as yummy as the text!

MAY I COME IN? by Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrated by Jennie Poh (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018)

By Marsha Diane Arnold
Illustrated by Jennie Poh

Raccoon's search for shelter from a scary storm reminded me of a little of The Three Bears. Each friend finds a different reason why Raccoon won't fit into his house. Raccoon is to big to fit into Possum's den; he's too wide for Quail's brambles; and Woodchuck only has room for one.

Eventually Raccoon goes, "Swish, plish, Swish, plish, Swish, swish, PLISH" until he comes to Rabbit's house. (Little readers will love the onomatopoeia!) Where he is greeted by,

He is not only welcomed into their tight little home, where "There's always room for a good friend," but becomes a part of the greeting committee when the other three animals come knocking at Rabbit's door.

This sweet book tells a friendship story in a way that little ones will understand and their parents will enjoy. Jennie Poh's warm illustrations welcome the reader inside the book...just like coming inside on a stormy day!


I am giving away OOTHAR THE BLUE and MAY I COME IN?
To enter, please leave a comment by May 25 with your email address if you are new to my blog. Feel free to mention which book you are interested in winning. For extra chances, share on social media or follow my blog (please tell me what you do!) and I'll enter your name twice. 

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