Sunday, May 07, 2006

Book Reviewing

When you review books on a blog, you sometimes receive books that have been published by other means. That's right, self-published books. And, once in awhile, those books are really good. Today, I'd like to highlight two such books--T-Bird and the Island of Lost Cats, by Tonia Stangherlin, and Wuffy the Wonder Dog, by Margaret Morgan.

T-Bird and the Island of Lost Cats

T-Bird, aka Theodora, is sent to live with her aunt on the beach while her parents are on a four-month archaeological dig in Africa. T-bird's Auntie tells fortunes and has dabbled in potion-making. Her house is adorned with crystals of all shapes and sizes.

Auntie's neighborhood along the coves is small and within days T-Bird meets everyone including a famous children's writer, a nasty caretaker, and a brown-eyed boy her age named Rexie. T-Bird and the Island of Lost Cats is set in Australia and has a nice sense of place to it. The town is relaxed and beachy and the kids putter about in little boats and have the freedom to explore. But, there's a mystery afoot. All the cats in the neighborhood have disappeared with the exception of T-Bird's own one-eyed cat named Soot. Soon Rexie and T-Bird are on the trail of some wicked catnappers, a chase that culminates on mysterious Lion Island.

T-Bird and the Island of Lost Cats is a fast-paced mystery with some fantasy elements thrown in. Kids ages seven to ten will love this book. It's perfect for children who've mastered early readers but are still too young for longer chapter books. T-Bird and the Island of Lost Cats is published by

Wuffy the Wonder Dog

Wuffy the Wonder Dog, by Margaret Morgan, is a collection of short stories about a self-centered little dog. Wuffy lives with a mom, a dad, a kid, and a wonderful, long-suffering cat named Elizabeth. Wuffy's sole desire is to score meat pies and often, mysteriously, he hopes Elizabeth will bake them for him.

Wuffy gets into all sorts of puppy predicaments and, in general, wreaks havoc in his home. But, he's well-loved and even Elizabeth succumbs to his charms. He can sing, loves to play dress up, and paints. He's a charmer and gets away with it.

Morgan's stories have an old-fashioned feel to them. They're written beautifully and are humorous in an everyday fashion. They're perfect read-alouds for the three-to-seven-year-old audience.