Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Signing Event at Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad

I am going to be at the wonderful Huckleberry Railroad in Crossroads Village on July 31 from 1-4pm signing copies of all of my award-winning books in my Crypto-Capers Series and my Joe-Joe Nut Series, for one of there events for children called Puppets and Playtime. They're going to be activites going on the entire day so come on down and check it out. It is going to be a lot of fun. We are going to make sock puppets and watch a puppet show.

Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad

6140 Bray Rd., Flint, MI 48505

Puppets and Playtime

July 28-August 1
“Use and reuse” is our motto at Crossroads Village, and you may leave wanting to clean out your sock drawer! Explore playtime of years gone by. Meet the Village puppets and make your own sock puppet. On Saturday and Sunday, watch a puppet play.

Renee Hand

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Book Review for The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1) by Jacqueline West

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1) by Jacqueline West

(Dial, June 30, 2010)

What do you find when you place a curious girl in a house full of secrets? Olive Dunwoody is an awkward and clumsy eleven-year-old girl who moves into a ghostly old mansion with her parents, who are more absorbed in their own mathematical lives than with Olive, leaving her frequently alone. The house was once owned by a Ms. McMartin who recently died, leaving behind her many secrets—secrets that Olive is determined to uncover.

The McMartins’ outcast family had lived in the house for years, their goings-on hidden from the neighbors. The Dunwoodys have bought the house for a good price, making it their first real home, as they have always lived in apartments. When moving in, the Dunwoodys keep the dead woman’s belongings in the house, removing nothing, mixing it up with a few of their own belongings. This allows bored Olive to do some exploring while learning about the history of the McMartins. She cannot believe what she discovers.

There is no mistake that something peculiar is going on when Olive meets three talking cats who are protecting her from an unknown evil that wants the house back. Among Olive’s discoveries are a pair of old glasses that were once Ms. McMartin’s. When Olive puts on the glasses she discovers another world. The glasses manage to bring many things to life—especially antique paintings, which talk and move. The glasses also allow Olive to travel back and forth into the twenty-plus paintings that are secured so tightly to the walls as to be irremovable parts of the creepy house.

Despite the cats’ warnings, Olive becomes careless. On one wandering trip Olive meets an annoying boy named Morton who is trapped in the painting world and cannot get out. Olive is determined to know why. She also wants to find out who exactly wants the house back. The people in the paintings warn her of an evil man, but no one is ever very specific. Olive can tell they are afraid of him. All that she can figure out is that he is willing to destroy her and her family to accomplish his goal. He feels the house belongs to him and that Olive and her family are intruding. The evil is in the shadows that lurk in the dark and in the paintings. It appears like it is everwhere and all consuming no matter which painting Olive is in. The evil arrives as if it were listening and observing. What Olive unearths will not only test her resolve, but will also uncover a family’s lost history—a history better left undiscovered.

The Shadows is a well-written debut book by Jacqueline West that offers many fantasy elements to intrigue the reader. The storyline is similar to the 100 Cupboards because of the paintings that lead to other places, and the Spiderwick Chronicles because of the glasses that can make things come to life. Ms. West has a wonderful and funny writing style that will delight the target audience.

The story does start off slowly, not sucking the reader into it until past chapter five where it begins to exhibit more action. Once the action really takes off—closer to the middle of the book—it is hard to put down. Because of the fantasy elements, the story does become dark. It also mentions witches—a subject that some parents may not approve of their children reading about. Yet the less puritan will enjoy the magical elements in the story.

Overall, this 256-page book for middle-school readers between the ages of 9–12 was a good read. The few illustrations helped the reader visualize what Olive was seeing or going through. The glasses were the only jarring anachronism. An older woman’s glasses should not fit Olive’s face so perfectly nor seem so modern and fashionable in the illustrations, considering that the shenanigans of the old paintings have been occurring for over a hundred years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review for How Bunnies Got Their Cottontails by Barbara Prignano

How Bunnies Got Their Cottontails by Barbara Prignano
(Eloquent Books, October 3, 2009)

How Bunnies Got Their Cottontails is an amusing fable that children will enjoy.

One of little Joseph’s chores was to water the plants every day, and though he knew the job was important, it also conflicted with play time with his friends. To create more play time for himself, Joseph thinks of a way to keep the plants watered without him having to stand there to water them. He decides to use cotton balls. So he wets each cotton ball and places them next to each plant. Thinking he solved the problem, Joseph runs off to play with his friend, Anthony. However, Joseph wasn’t counting on a bunny sitting down next to his plants to rest. As you can imagine, when the bunny wakes up and hops away, a cotton ball was stuck to his backside. The bunny’s friends were envious of his new tail, so decided to hop over and get one for themselves by sitting next to the plants. Joseph and his friend were amazed to see what happened next.

How Bunnies Got Their Cottontails is a charming tale for children to read. It is an interesting way to imagine how bunnies did get their cute fluffy tails. The artwork in this story is cheerful and simple, but helps bring the story to life. This book is for children between the ages of 9-12. It is a 20-page paperback picture book.

Reviewer Renee Hand is the award-winning author of The Crypto-Capers series for children. Look for her new release The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill, The Great Pie Catastrophe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Upcoming Book Signing Event and Discussion for Joe-Joe Nut

I am going to be at the Perry Library on Tuesday July 20th at 1pm to discuss Joe-Joe Nut. I will be doing a presentation and talking about the current contest that I have going on concerning readers creating a character for the series. I will have books for sale for anyone who wishes to buy one. The books are $10. Please call the library at 517-625-3166 to reserve your spot or visit their website at www.mycdl.org for more information. I will also have my Crypto-Capers Series available as well. Thanks everyone! Hope to see you there.


My Joe-Joe Nut Series Won an Award!!!

I am very excited. Book 1 of my Joe-Joe Nut Series has just won an award from Creative Child Magazine. It is as follows:

The Adventures of Joe-Joe Nut and Biscuit Bill: Case #1: The Great Pie Catastrophe,
(Books for Kids-Storytime category)


Feel free to check out Joe-Joe on my website at www.reneeahand.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review for Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Somar

Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Somar

(Dial, May 18, 2010)

Ladybug Girl at the Beach is a delightful story about conquering fear of the unknown.

Ladybug Girl at the Beach stars a girl named Lulu who feels confident about her family’s trip to the beach. Even though she has never been to the beach before she knows that she is going to love it. Then reality hits.

When Lulu walks to the edge of the splashing sea she does not feel so sure about going in, especially when a crashing wave slams the beach, the water sucking back out into the sea, nearly taking her and her Basset Hound Bingo with it. The roar of the waves and the roughness of the sea deter her from enjoying the water, so Lulu focuses her attention elsewhere. She builds sandcastles and flies a kite, picks up shells and gets ice cream, but it isn’t until her favorite pail begins to wash away that she realizes what she must do: conquer her fear of the water.

In the Ladybug Girl series, Lulu’s ladybug persona helps her overcome every obstacle she faces. Each book in this series focuses on a different scenario. The first book in the series, Ladybug Girl teaches the reader about imagination and empowerment. Book 2 in the series, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Brother, teaches children about friendship and compromise. The third book in the series, Ladybug Girl Dresses Up, covers dress-up and imagination.

This series is designed to empower girls, demonstrating to them their (often hidden) inner strengths. Turning into Ladybug Girl gives Lulu the power she needs to conquer her fears. In that way she is comparable to a superhero. When a superhero is in costume, they are imbued with all the qualities needed to overcome any problem, accomplish any goal. Strength, courage, patience, compassion, understanding—just to name a few of these qualities. Ladybug Girl is the superhero in her stories. She lets other children know that it is okay to be afraid of the unknown, and yet it is imperative to find the strength and courage to stand up to our fears.

The artwork in this series is charming and well illustrated, bringing Lulu, the Ladybug Girl, to life. Girls from the ages of 4–8 years will delight in this 40-page hardcover picture book.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Book Signing Event In Traverse City

Hello Everyone
I will be in Traverse City, Michigan this weekend to celebrate the Cherry Festival. During this wonderful event I will be at the Horizons Bookstore on Front Street signing and talking about my new Joe-Joe Nut Series for lower elementary children and my Crypto-Capers Series for upper elementary children and into middle school. This will be a great event. I will be in the store from 10:30 am-12:30pm just before the Blue Angels take flight and perform. See you there!

Renee Hand

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review for "Nat Geo Amazing!" by Melina Gerosa Bellows

Nat Geo Amazing!: 100 People, Places, and Things That Will Wow You by Melina Gerosa Bellows
(National Geographic, June 29, 2010)

Nat Geo Amazing! is an awe-inspiring collection of human culture, animal oddities, and true tales of wonder.

Nat Geo Amazing! is filled with pages of unbelievable stories and unforgettable images which bring to the forefront questions about the why and how of the content. Readers can’t help but want to know more about these incredible 100 topics comprising various people, places, and things.

The author dug deep inside years of past stories from National Geographic, also incorporating information from many new traveling adventures, to create Nat Geo Amazing! Each page is filled with remarkable stories from finding letters of the alphabet in butterfly wings to adventures in underground caves. This book holds true to the real life oddities and information that National Geographic is known for revealing.

This book is a companion to a new National Geographic TV series launching in July called “Nat Geo Amazing!” Readers can visit National Geographic’s website and send in their personal stories and photos which might provide material for future topics and books.

This book is highly recommended for people who love the National Geographic magazines and real-life stories.