Friday, September 28, 2018

PPBF: A Review of Alice's Magic Garden by Henry Herz. Illustrations by Natalie Hoopes

TITLE: Alice's Magic Garden
AUTHOR: Henry Herz
ILLUSTRATOR: Natalie Hoopes
PUBLISHER: Familius, 2018

FROM THE PUBLISHER: Curiouser and curiouser! In this imaginative prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds herself at a gray, dreary boarding school that is decidedly up the rabbit hole. From the relentless clocks to the beastly students, Alice's world is void of color and cheer -- until Alice finds a secret garden and begins tending its wilting inhabitants. When Alice's love touches an ordinary caterpillar, a lorry bird, and a white rabbit, magical things will happen-- and that, as you know, is just the beginning of the story. Filled with literary allusions and clever nods to its classic roots, Alice's Magic Garden is a delightful prequel that begs and escape to the whimsy of wonderland.

"I'll have that vase!" demanded the biggest of the group. 

"Nonsense! They aren't yours, and you shan't have them," replied Alice (perhaps more bravely than she felt). The bullies closed in around Alice. 

One reached for the vase. 

Alice stood her ground...but she did not stand alone. 

MY THOUGHTS: This clever mash-up of both the secret garden and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland really engaged me. I appreciated the way the artist introduced Alice's world with gray tones and then brought in bright light and colors. I thoroughly enjoyed all the details and references the author made to the original text! What a fun and imaginative romp through a magic garden with curious Alice. Even better, woven into the book is a tale of three bullies who should have thought better than to bring their darkness into a magic garden!

RATING: 5 out of 5 Peas

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 10/16/2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, 2019)  and her first non-fiction picture book, Let’s Eat Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019) and more forthcoming. She is also a freelance Editor and a Travel Agent. When she’s not traveling to Disney World, Universal Studios and fascinating places around the world, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her daughter, son, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. You can learn more about her at

PLEASE feel free to leave a comment (I answer them all) and to sign up for e-mail notifications of new posts.

Monday, September 24, 2018

I'm A Round 1 Judge for Cybils Elementary and Middle Grade Non-Fiction Award!

So very excited to share the official announcement (now that I am back from my Travel Agent Training for Royal Caribbean Cruiselines).

Here it is!

Following 2 Years as a Round One Picture Book Judge, I am a Round One Elementary and Middle Grade Non Fiction Judge for 2018! So excited to serve in this new category.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

TITLE STUDY: The Spy Who Played Baseball by Carrie Jones

TITLE: The Spy Who Played Baseball
AUTHOR: Carrie Jones
ILLUSTRATOR: Gary Cherrington

In between my extensive travels (I've just spent a week in Mexico, four days at Universal Studios Orlando and five days in Jamaica in connection with my job as a Travel Agent), I had the pleasure of squeezing in the reading of THE SPY WHO PLAYED BASEBALL. It's the story of Morris (Moe) Berg, who was an talented Jewish baseball player who later became a spy during World War II.

What if it was called The Morris Berg story? Despite him having an amazing life story, that wouldn't be much of a hook, would it?

It's important to consider, when titling your own manuscripts, what works in this and other titles. I always say that a book should have three hooks right up front. This one has two, right in the title alone! SPY and BASEBALL! Just the combination leads to the compelling question -- how did a baseball player become a spy, so that's like three hooks for the price of two, in the title alone! PLUS, a title is a promise and this one kept it's promise, so even better!

Right now I am just discussing the book in regard to it's title. However, I want to say this was an enjoyable read, and I can see why the publisher, Kar-Ben (Lerner), snatched it up. It's the perfect example of a lesser known story that deserves and needs to be told

I hope you enjoyed this little mini lesson and that you are inspired to read this book!

Keep following this blog, and reading and evaluating these books and your own in this fashion, and you will soon see the way you look at your own stories change. For. the. better. 

PLEASE follow this blog so you don't miss any tidbit of information and please feel free to leave any comment or question you may have. I will do my bes to answer all! 

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling, pending) and Let's Eat Around the World -- illustrated by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books, 2019). You can learn more about her at 

To order the Star in the Christmas Play, click the title.