Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: Mason the Mutt by Russ Hughes and KayeC Jones

by M. J. Joachim



As the owner of a rescue dog myself, the story of Mason the Mutt hit home. My little guy wandered the streets for over a year, according to the workers at the pound who found him. He’s a scrounge named Shadow, and many of you have met him here on this blog before. I’ve always wondered what might have happened to him, and how his personality might have changed because of it. Mason the Mutt almost makes me not want to know, something I don’t have to worry about, because it’s unlikely I’ll ever find out anyway.

The reality is that kids really do wonder about pets being left abandoned or mistreated by their owners. These topics are addressed on the news, talked about in our communities and clearly defined in pet stores all the times. Kids are already exposed to the harsh realities of cruel people abandoning and mistreating their pets, which is why Mason the Mutt could provide some extremely important information to them.

This is the story about a little dog who gets abandoned, meets new (doggie) friends in his quest to stay warm, fed and safe, and pretty much feels lonely and unloved and unlovable, because he has no clue why his owner was so cruel. Unfortunately, neither do the rest of us, other than to say life isn’t always kind.

Mason makes his way until one day he is captured by the dog catcher, taken to the pound and left to fend for himself in a cold, hard cage. Other dogs there try to be friendly with him, but he’s stuck in a rut, sad, lonely and hurt. It’s a perfectly normal response to everything he’s been through. This is an opening for parents and teachers to discuss feelings, not only about abandoned and mistreated animals, but about some very real human problems like bullying too.

When all is said and done, Mason survives and discovers he is worthy of being loved, and there are a lot of good reasons to remain hopeful when so many things seem to be going wrong. There are so many small teaching moments in this little story, that it is definitely worth adding to your child’s library. This isn’t a feel good picture book, but rather a little picture book full of a lot of messages regarding caring for our animal friends, and if one thinks outside the box, using the content of this little story to relate to some important things humans go through too. This is a book that will make children think, and perhaps when it does, they will think about how much better the world would be if everyone were just a little more kind.

I hope you enjoyed this book review of Mason the Mutt today. Please share it and let others discover this intriguing picture book, so they can benefit from it too.

Thank you so much. Until next time, my friends,

M. J.

©2016 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Book Review: Cerulean Rising: Evolutions by Justin Sewall

by M. J. Joachim

Entertaining a bit of history, political tug-of-war and spiritual reflection, Cerulean Rising: Evolutions, a sequel to Cerulean Rising: Beginnings, engages readers with a space war between aliens and humans, in interplanetary galaxies, fought among spaceships where leaders have far reaching agendas, not always in cohesive adaptation with the unscrutinized goals and best interest of all persons involved. It is fair to say that leaders want what they want, regardless of the consequences or loss of life, human or otherwise, in a battle where the end justifies the means.

It’s a tough tale to digest in the most pleasant of circumstances, because too many times it rings true in real life. War is ugly, no matter which species are fighting it. Prisoners of war pay a high price for being held captive. Some are never released, others die a thousand deaths through their tortures, while still others succumb to the slavery that entraps them, as they hope and wait for a hero, some mysterious or dominant being they’ve always known and trusted, to rescue them from their plight.

Dire, direct and otherwise, Sewall’s book kicks you in the stomach, especially if you read beyond the detailed and characteristically real scenery, where trivens and ai’s dominate much of what is being played out in the far expanses of the galaxies. Space war is not an easy concept to digest, its consequences dire and ultimately permanent due to the vastness of the universe.

Cerulean Rising: Evolutions is an interesting and qualified story, one that will undoubtedly satisfy science fiction fans, while tapping into a broader market due to its intriguing messages. There are some very profound things to think about after reading this book, which is one of the many reasons I found it so enjoyable to read.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Please share this review with others, so they can discover Mr. Sewall’s book too.

Happy reading, writing and whatever else you do,

M. J.

©2016 All Rights Reserved

Book Review: The Wandering Troll by Russell Hughes and KayC Jones

by M. J. Joachim

Traveling through seasons and various regions of the earth, including mountains, deserts and swamps, The Wandering Troll makes his way around the globe in search of … well, he doesn’t really know what he’s searching for exactly. He only knows there’s some deep longing for something better, so he sets out on a journey.

Hearts crave what they need, often becoming dissatisfied with everything else they find, until they find their true desire. Life is like that, as we make our way through it, not always knowing what we’re looking for, but knowing we’ll be happy when we find it - if we ever do, because as is often the case, we don’t know what we’re looking for, and it can get a little frustrating finding the wrong thing all the time. It’s a lot to process, I know.

A picture says a thousand words, and the pictures in The Wandering Troll might actually say a few more than that. Children will enjoy the bright colors, picking out various things in each page of the story. Very young kids will be able to pick out colors, shapes and letters, while older children will benefit more from the overall message of this book. It’s a nice one to put on your tablet, and let the kids enjoy ereading. Oh my, did I just make a new word? Nah, I’m sure somebody else already beat me to it. Regardless, this is one I’d add to the list of stories worth getting for kids.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Oh, and don’t forget to share this review, so we can get the word out about this fine book for kids.

Happy reading, writing and whatever else you do.

Best to all,

M. J.

©2016 All Rights Reserved