Monday, 2 December 2013

Another Two Furry Cute Tales in Time For Christmas.

Vickianne Caswell has completed another two delightful children’s picture books in the “Freckles the Bunny Series” and released them both just last month in time for the Christmas holiday season.
Book 3: Freckles Lends a Paw. Freckles lends a Paw
Book 4: Freckles and The True Meaning of Christmas. Freckles & the True meaning of christmas
The illustrations are beautifully created by Anastasia Drogaitseva and are in keeping with the original wonderful character designs from the first two books.
In Freckles Lends a Paw we meet both old and new characters who come together to help teach Freckles and children everywhere yet again another valuable lesson. This time we learn the value of friendship and trusting in oneself and others instead of allowing fear to rule our lives. Fear of the unkown, fear of rumours, and fear of bad behaviours, all are easily overcome when you work together.
We meet poor old grumpy Mr Loppity who is accussed of not liking children very much and of being a mean old wizard. The children pick on him and throw things at his house making him even grumpier (understandably). When Freckle’s mum finds him injured and comes to his rescue the children quickly learn Mr Loppity is perhaps not so frightening after all.  Fun antics in the house ensue as the friemds soon learn that to help others is far more rewarding than at first it may appear.
Freckles and The True Meaning of Christmas is a timely reminder that it is the giving not the receiving that is important before, on Christmas day and after. Without giving too much away, in this delightful Christmas tale we are invited to meet not just the brothers and sisters of Freckle’s friends but their entire families as they extend love and Christmas cheer, spreading good and helping around their community. Each family member gets involved one way or another to find the true spirit of giving their time and effort to those more in need.
Vickianne has found a truley inspirational way to write a story to thank those amongst us in the community who volunteer their time  as well as to subtly suggest to others the significance of giving and sharing such a valuable comodity as spending time helping others.
These two gorgeous books along with the origininal two, Book one: Freckles is Scared of School Freckles the Bunny Series, Book # 1: Freckles is Scared of Schoo
and Book Two: Freckles and The Less Fortunate
Freckles the Bunny Series, Book # 2: Freckles and the Less Fortuwould be the beginning of a wonderful collection for young children of pre-school and early reading years. FOr  areview on these two fabulous books please refer to my earlier review Hop on intoTwo Furry Cute Reads, posted June 11, 2013. They are all easily read aloud and would be enjoyed at bedtime or in the classroom. Each have great discussion topics for lessons in their own right, making lessons plans for teachers easy to develop.. Teachers and parents alike could not go wrong. I could not recommend these more.
I’d rate these books 5 out of 5 gold stars.. 5 gold stars

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Always make Home Reading Fun!

Twelve months ago this week I began writing my first blog to help parents “Raise Awesome Readers.”
My goal was to assist and equip mums and dads with ideas that would make the learning process at home easier, less stressful and above all fun and enjoyable for both parents and their children. Learning to read (and write) does not begin and end when the school day is finished. It has to be a partnership between the teacher and family, with both providing role models, mentors and a warm loving, caring and supportive environment.
1381497_525197787571730_1819947331_nOver the year I have posted many quotes on my facebook page encouraging the importance of families reading together. None more so than the one I posted today. “Children should learn that reading is a pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school. Beverly Cleary.” Along with the quote is a delightful picture of a child and his parents reading together, laughing and genuinely enjoying the shared experience. This is exactly what I have been advocating all along. It is essential not only in the growth of the child but in his/her potential to want to learn to read. A happy child is encouraged and will strive as he/she is a confident child.
My very first post on November 5, 2012, was titled Is the after school home reader a battle of wills?
I’d like to re-post it here now as a reminder that I do realise how difficult life can get trying to fit in home reading each day, but with a little pateince it is worth it in the end. Reading with your children can be a valuable, worthwhile experience, it is what we make it afterall.
Master six squirms on the lounge. He figdets and fiddles with the T.V. remote control , the cushions, anything he can get his hands on. He scratches his head while he turns, his ears are pricked to listen to the laughter of his older brother who is playing computer games in the next room. You desperately try to turn his attention back to the home reader at hand. So far he has managed to struggle through the first page. As usual this is going to be a long drawn out affair, a battle of wills.
You point at the next word, he rocks back and forth with a deep sigh. Just when you think the word is about to burst forth he cries out to the family dog instead. The dog wags it’s tail and delighted with the attention, jumps up into his eager arms. They begin to rumble on the lounge. Son number three, (the baby of the family) is playing with blocks on the floor at your feet. Master six, now bored with the dog, slides off the lounge to join his younger brother, all thoughts of the home reader totally forgotten.
Time for you to take a deep breath, go make a cup of tea and re-group. He may have won the battle, but you can still win the war. A little love, time and patience can work wonders. Give him time to construct something amazing with those blocks, (little boys are hands-on creatures they need to be physical,) while you enjoy that soothing tea. Then come down to his level, join him on the floor. Make a word out of the blocks yourself, then ask Master six if he can make a word, any word he likes. If his classroom teacher uses sightwords, you should have a copy of the list. Suggest he makes a word from those, preferably one you know he can achieve. Start with the simple obvious words like mum, dad, dog, cat, anything that is familiar. Then introduce a word or two from the home reader. Before he realises it he has made a long list of words he knows. His confidence will grow triple fold.
Now re-open the home reader. Ask Master six if he can find each word one at a time on each page. If he finds a word, see if he can read it in the sentence or read the sentence together. before you know it. “hey presto!” he has “read” the entire book and he has had some fun along the way. :)
In the early years of learning to read, a home reader is one of the most important tools brought home from school. If read with a loved one evey day it really does make a world of difference in the development of the reading process. Children can get bored or frustrated with them when they are not changed regularly enough at school. Parents need to keep in mind that sometimes the school day has a very hectic schedule and the change of readers is not always possible. Parent helpers are always very much apprecaited. Don’t forget to read other favourite books from home,(like Gingerbread Aliens a great early fun reader), libraries or swap with friends.
For further reading help and suggestions please read through some of my past blogs or drop by and leave me any questions or comments. I am always happy to help. :)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Origins of Halloween

Halloween was not a holiday I grew up practising, nor did my own kids. Although during their childhood it was starting to appear around the neighbourhood. It is only in recent years that it has become more popular here in Australia to the extent where the shops are becoming full of merchandise, media is all over it and kids everywhere have begun to dress-up and prepare to spend their eveings trick or treating. Adult parties have even become the norm as a great excuse to dress-up and have some fun.
A few years ago while I was teaching Kindergarten, one of the children’s mum’s orgainised a Halloween party at their house and invited the entire class, including myself. It was a huge success. The kids had a fantastic evening, everyone dressed-up and joined into the full spirit of the event. We even took them trick or treating through the neighbourhood. I must admit even I had a lot of fun giving the kids quite a scare in my witches costume as it took them quite sometime to realise that the dark haired witch was in fact their beloved gentle blonde spectacled teacher. witch
Over and over again I hear people say that Halloween is an American custom and question whether we in Australia should follow their traditions and celebrate it ? So I decided to look into this festival of sorts and draw my own conclusions.
I have always known that Halloween is short for All Hallows Eve, but what I was rather delighted to have confirmed was that All Hallows Eve is a Scottish term for the evening before All Hallows Day. A day to honour all saints, which occurs on November 1 and is followed by All Souls Day on November 2. There is much that can be read on these topics suffice to say, these days celebrate the souls of both the good and the bad that have since passed on,  in the hope that with prayer and blessings they may rise to heaven and live out their days in peace. All Hallows Eve became the night to begin the feast in celebration of the dearly departed. This also happens to tie in with the ancient Celtic or Gaelic harvest festival that occured in Ireland on the same date, 31st October, to mark the end of one season and the beginning of the next, that is, winter, the shortest and darkest time of the year.  This is referred to as Samhain (pronounced sah-win) where the Celts also believed it was the time of year where the spirits or fairies worlds and ours overlapped causing havoc or possible damage to crops and even ill health to the people of the village. Being the beginning of the winter season it was critical to ensure the crops survival through the long harsh season. Thus a bonfire was prepared and the festival began. Villagers would wear masks and dress-up to disguise themselves in the hope of tricking the spirits so that they could not be recognised.  Although souls of “kin” were encouraged to return to rejoice in the festival, food and drink were left aside to help include them. As the villagers rejoiced they would also sing and chant as they visited one neighbour to the next (in thier disguises known as guising)) in return for food,.
Considering my Irish and Scottish anscetry, I tend to rather like this historical take on Halloween and now have a rather favourable outlook on it. I realise there are more suggestions of Halloween’s origins from other cultures but as my origins are also Celtic, I felt this was where my heart preferref to stay.
Halloween is only once a year afterall and as long as children understand that it is not just a celebration of all things evil or a way of gathering an abundance of treats, I don’t see the harm in having a bit of fun. I understand that some may say we are sending mixed messages by allowing treats like this in this way when we spend the rest of the year trying to avoid them, but everything needs to be in moderation and children need to be allowed to have a childhood. Dress-up with them, get some exercise and walk with them, you might have some fun too! :)
If you don’t like handing out too many sweat treats, you can always try this great recipe for “Soul Cakes” originally made for All Souls Day.

Soul Cake Recipe

Makes 14 large ‘cakes’

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 340g plain flour (sifted)
  • 170g sugar
  • 170g butter (softened & diced)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tsp of white wine vinegar
Traditionally Soul Cakes simply have a cross imprint on them as a decororation however they would be easy to add icing, sprinkles etc to. For the full recipe photographs and further information on their history please go the the link above.

Friday, 25 October 2013

If You Have Never Read Good Horror Now is The Time

If You Have Never Read Good Horror Now is The Time.
Horror, spooky and spine tingling scary stories are not my usual choise of genre to read as I snuggle down to bed each eveing, but sometimes it is just as good to find yourself out of your comfort zone in a different style of book as it is in other more energetic activities.
Yvonne Mason gifted me two hard copies of “Satan’s Holiday” as a thank you for my contribution to the anthology. As I read the chilling stories within I became even more honoured to be included amongst such incredibly creative authors. Some of the stories are so creepy you’ll find yourself glancing over your shoulder or leaving on a night light,….. just to be safe! Satan's Holiday cover0001
One had such a great twist I didn’t see coming that I re-read the story with delight once the truth was revealed.  Another almost brought me to tears, it was written with great intrigue and historical facts but also with tenderness and sincerity. Set in ancient Scotland in the early days of Samhain I found this story fascinating especially as I am always captivated by all things to do with my Celtic heritage. I would love to tell you more about this amazing story but no “spoilers” here! :)
This is not a book for the faint hearted and certainly not for children. Even though by choice I am a Children’s author, I wrote my ghost story to challenge myself in an alternative genre and am pleased it has been so well received. “A Renovator’s Delight” won its first award in an online writng competition for Halloween in 2012 and is now published in this amazing anthology alongside so many other inspirational wonderfully frightening short stories. Renovators Delight Picture0001
If you are interested in a good spooky Halloween this year, or a great scare any other time of the year, why not give “Satan’s Holiday” a try…….you might just be surprised!
Available as an ebook at
For hard copies please contact me directly.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

In Search of Aliens

Knowing I was about to reveal the cover page for the next exciting chapter book in the mischievous Bradberrie brothers alien adventure series, I went in search of evidence of other life forms somewhere out there in our universe. Perhaps even proof of aliens here on Earth.

I visited the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station with high hopes. On entry the sign asked for all mobile phones, laptops etc to be turned off to “Help us listen to whispers from space.” Surely I would at least hear something interesting here!P1080328
P1080337 I searched high and low, but to no avail. I found moon rocks, Mars rovers. rocket ships  and even adorned a space suit just in case an alien was hiding in some obscure place too firghtened to reveal himself. P1080331It was a very interesting day, I learnt a lot about deep space, the race to the moon and even a whole lot of information about our sun, but no aliens were to be found anywhere here.
So I travelled further afeild, Down the south coast  to the most southern part of mainland Australia. I had high hopes as I wondered through the rainforests that something unusal may have been lurking in there. I searched the waterways and estuaries and even hiked high up a mountain top. P1080588P1080570
It was only when I arrived on Phillip Island to observe the Little (Fairy) Penguins that I felt that perhaps I had found what I was searching for. These unique little birds stay out at sea for 75% of their life and yet each time they come to land to nest they know exactly where to find the same burrow. It was just like watching aliens, waiting until after dark to sneak to shore, then suddenly (almosy magically) they appear in their hundreds and race across the sand, waddle up bush tracks and find their waiting mates. Calls go out through the night as the party begins, neighbours chat and freinds re-unite. 20130830_046_1Observing the penguins in their native state was not only enchanting, it seems almost other worldly as they marched on by us totally disregarding the throng of humans eager to catch a glimpse of such a special creature.
Note: The above picture with the penguins is a green screened photo of us superimposed amongst the penguins. Naturally you cannot disturb their march to their burrows, touch the penguins or even get quite this close!  All photography is prohibited with respect for the penguins.
The cover for Alien Shenanigans is revealed! Head on over to my website for a sneak peak!
Alien Shenanigans
Coming Soon! Not much longer to wait! :) There is trouble afoot in Mr Haggardy’s classroom. An unexplainable explosion in a science experiment

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Gingerbread Alien Sandwhich – a Healthy alternative.

We all love Gingerbread cookies and in this case Gingerbread Alien cookies.
While these make great treats on special occasions, mums are usually looking for a healthier alternative for their childen’s lunch or after school snack.
With this is mind here are 2 sandwhich suggestions that are both really yummy and fun. :)
1. Peanut Butter/ Gingerbread Alien
1. Spread a slice of bread with peanut butter.
2. Using a gingerbread man cookie cutter cut out shape. (note: I would have preferred to use my 12cm cutter however the bread I had today was too small, so had to use my smaller cutter)
2. Decorate with sultanas for the brains (just as Simon did in the Gingerbread Aliens book), slices of cucumber for the eyes instead of Simon’s green lollies and grated carrot for the intestines as an alternative to the orange snake lolly that Simon used.
NOTE: Many kids these days have peanut allergies and therefore can’t eat this first sandwhich. The second sandwhich below is a happy and safe alternative.
2. Grilled Cheese / Gingerbread Alien.
1. Butter a slice of bread and add a slice of cheese.
2. Grill in a sandwhich maker or under an open grill until lightly brown.
3. Remove from heat and cut with cookie cutter.
4. Decorate as above with peanut butter sandwhich
Some alternative toppings:- tomato, lettuce, alfalfa, bean sprouts, snow peas
Watch how fast they disappear into hungry tummies! :)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

How do you define an Alien?

The other week as I glanced in awe out of my window at the gorgeous scene before me I couldn’t help but ponder on the question of how to define what it takes to call something an alien?

It was another cold. wet and misty winter  morning  just like the other days of the week had been. The difference being that this morning we had a unique visitor grazing amongst the usual mob of kangaroo. All week there had been sightings from various neighbours of this graceful creature that was virtually unheard of in our little rural part of the world,, but so far it had managed to escape capture on film.  I had seen it briefly once before, my eyes hardly beleiving what they saw as it ran into the trees, up the hill and disappeared. This morning it stood there, serene and splendid amogst the thick fog. I couldn’t get a clear picture, the rain was too heavy, but a neighbour had caught a shot the day before of not one but two graceful deer happliy grazing alongside the kangaroos.
Deer in Royalla
Now to most people in the Northern hemisphere a deer sighting might not seem that unusal, but firstly they are not native to Australia, are not usually found roaming wild and free amongst our native animals or wandering into our front paddocks and certainly the most unique and special of all was that one of the deer was white.

As I quietly observed her feed in sheer amazement and glory I couldn’t help but ponder on how weird it actually was to experience such a beautiful sight. The deer looked so out of place and yet so at home. She was an alien creature in an alien land and yet she was fitting right in. Then I had the thought that perhaps to others viewing this scene, the kangaroo might appear to be the alien creatures with their tiny front paws, strong hind legs and massive thumping tails.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines an alien as :-
(adjective)  belonging to another country or people; foreign; strange.
(noun)  1, foreigner    2. a person living in a country of which he is not a citizen.”

So I guess that makes the deer an alien to me, but a freindly one that I welcome with open arms and would invite to return to my property on any given day

Putting the dictionary definition aside, how do you define an alien?

Is he an ET type character that we all came to know and love from Steven Spielberg’s  1982 classic movie?
Maybe they are the scarier version outlined in the 1986 science fiction movie ALIENS directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver.

The Universe is a very large place to explore, making it possible for aliiens to come in all shapes and sizes depending on our imagination. We can choose to make them friendly, cute and cuddly, curious or even mischievous. The three Bradberrie brothers find out quickly what sort of mayhem a mischief an alien can cause in my upcoming children’s alien advetnure sereis for early and reluctant readers.

In Gingerbread Aliens they mix up a whole lot of fun when disater abounds in the kitchen causing a sequence of events that madly tumbles so out of control that not even even the quick minded reader will see what iscoming next. Gingerbread Aliens is available for purchase from the side link.
Book 2, Alien Shenanigans will be released soon. The boys find themselves unwittingly in a whole lot more trouble as they discover the truth behind the alien and try to keep the secret. For more on Alien Shenanigans click on the above page link. Updates on an expected release will be posted there as well as my facebook page. Books 3 through 5 are still in the writing process.

What or who is your favourite Alien?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

10 Simple Steps to Make Green Slime!

While Simon is busy making his Gingerbread Aliens his older brother Brian makes Green Slime or as he calls it “Silly Putty Ooze and Goo!” Along with the bread that David is also bakng, the mixtures inevtably get muddled and a whole lot of trouble follows.
After reading the story of Gingerbread Aliens, many kids have often asked me how can they make their own goo?  So finally here are a few simple steps to follow so that you can make your very own slimy goo at home.
You will need:
1 teaspoon borax powder (I substituted washing soda as my supermarket didn’t seem to supply Borax)
1 1/2 cups waterP1080142
1/2 cup craft glue (either clear or white)   (Elmers Glue/PVA glue)
Green food colouring
  1. Add Borax to 1 cup of water, stir to dissolve and then set aside.
  2. Pour glue into a medium mixing bowl and add the remaimg half a cup of water.
  3. Add a few drops of the green food colouring until the desired slime colour is reached.
  4. Stir to mix glue solution until smooth.
  5. Pour the Borax mixture into the glue mixture and watch the solids start to form. P1080143
  6. Stir for a few moments and then the fun can begin. :) Use your hands to gather the ball of goo. The slime at this stage will be very soft and wet.
  7. Keep kneading it or playing with it between your fingers and palms until it forms into a stronger blob (eeww!!!) and feels somewhat dry.
  8. Discard excess liquid in the bowl down the kitchen sink.
  9. The more you knead and play with your slime the firmer it will become. Let it droop and slide, have fun. :)
  10. Store in cling wrap, a zip lock bag or an air tight container and it will last and last
Remember: Goo is for play only not for eating. Adult supervision is recommended.
Be creative, think of all the things you can do with your Goo, but please clean up after yourself so that mum stays happy/ :)
Take photos of your goo, I’m sure Brian, David and Simon would love to know what you do, …….but stay out of trouble!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Hop on into Two Furry Cute Reads.

Freckles the Bunny Series by Vickianne Caswell Illustrated by Allissa Thompson.
Book 1. Freckles is Scared of School. Freckles the Bunny Series, Book # 1: Freckles is Scared of Schoo
Change can be a frightening thing, particularly when you are small and use to staying home with mum, being able to play all day with familiar toys. When Freckles learns it is time to start school, like any child who is afraid of the unknown Freckles is rather apprehensive.
This is a delightful story about how to manage that feat. As Freckles meets her teacher and makes new friends she learns that school is not the scary place that she imagined it to be afterall. We are introduced to some cute furry friends that are not all necessarily bunnies. Each have their own little quirky traits, like the duck name Donut that runs around in circles all the time, or Dreamy who always falls asleep, they are wonderful concepts that bring memorable life to each individual character.
This is a great book for parents to read to their pre-schoolers to help prepare them for the beginning of the school year, or for teachers to read-aloud during those initial anxious first weeks of Kindergarten. Wonderfully written and illustrated in delightful animal characters this tale will find its way into the hearts of pre-school aged children everywhere.
Book 2. Freckles And The Less Fortunate. Freckles the Bunny Series, Book # 2: Freckles and the Less Fortu
The heartwarming story of how Freckles learns to give and share with those that are not as comfortable as her own family. Like most kids, Freckles wants everything she sees when she goes shopping with her mum and doesn’t understand why she can’t have what she asks for. It isn’t until a new clasmate arrives that barely has enough food for lunch or toys of her own to play with that Freckles realsies how lucky she really is.
The generosity and kindness in this story is so touching that it nearly brought me to tears. Beautifully written and illustrated it is an excellent read-aloud story for the whole family to enjoy and treasure. Children will learn in a gently guided atmosphere that to give is better than to receive as they read how happy Freckles and her family are when they are able to help other families that are not doing as well as themselves.
Stay tuned for more in this gorgeous little series. I am sure that it is just the beginning as Freckles still has so much more to learn and share with children young and old.
Author Vickianne Caswell. Vicianne Caswell
Vickianne Caswell is married and has one daughter, who has an amazing gift with animals (all animals wild or tame seem to love her). Vickianne was raised an animal lover, in the city and continues to pass that on to her daughter. Vickianne hopes to pass the love and joy of animals to other children through these books. She has been doing writing at home since she was a teenager, after her father got her interested in writing  when he published a poem. She has done a few articles for a small paper on animal care and continues to experience the joy of pet ownership on an acreage where her family lives. New characters may appear, as new animals enter their lives, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

16 Simple Steps to Cook a Gingerbread Alien.

Have fun cooking your very own Gingerbread Aliens.
Ask an adult to help you.
Take some photos of your yummy creations and send them in, I’d love to post them here.:) P1060339
  • 125g softened butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) golden syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups self raising flour (gluten free flour also works)
  • 1 tbls ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • snakes, jubes, sultanas, honey to decorate (may also use gluten free jellies) 
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat sugar and golden syrup together in a large bowl until creamy.
  4. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  5. Add the flour, ginger, cinamon and cloves, stit with a wooden spoon until combined.
  6. Use your hand to knead until smooth.
  7. Cover and rest in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  8. Divide the dough into 2 portions.
  9. Roll one portion out on a lightly floured surface to about 4-5mm thickness.
  10. Use a 12cm gingerbread man pastry cutter to cut out shapes.
  11. Reshape the head by pushing in the sides to elongate and make more tiangular.
  12. Alternatively for those more creative, do not use a cutter, use a blunt kitchen knife to shape by cutting freehand.
  13. Use a skewer to poke two holes for nostrils and draw a thin line for a mouth.
  14. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes.
  15. As soon as gingerbread aliens come out of oven, decorate with sultanas and honey together for brains, snakes for intestines and lollies for eyes. Aliens need to be hot for lollies to stick while cooling.
  16. Repeat with remaining dough, rolling and re-rolling gingerbread.
These gorgeous treats were made by Peter and Emma. There mum said “I just have to stop the kids eating too many aliens at once! They are still decorating some today so it was a good school holiday activity.”
Thanks Helen, I’m glad Peter and Emma had so much fun reading the book and making their very own gingerbread aliens. :)
129 121
Submitted by Sean who says, “I made these for school during Book Week. They were very yummy and a huge success!”
Thanks Sean, I adore the glowing alien he looks rather scrumptious! So pleased the kids in your class enjoyed eating them as much as you enjoyed making them! :)

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Saddle Up for an Amazingly Entertaining Read

photo2Cover picWhether you are young or merely young at heart this is a story to delight. Told through the wise old eyes of “Pie An Old Brown Horse” (That Knows What He Is Doing), you will ride through the world of stables and Equestrian competitions, caring for people and animals alike. Let Pie nuzzle up by your side and whisper in your ear as you read his amazing tale.
Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo allows Pie to come to life as he personally tells his story from being a deserted old work horse left to rot in a paddock forgotten and unloved to becoming  rescued to live out his days caring for others and by others in stables where the “Keeper” is a compassionate and hard working woman who will do anything to take care of the animals within her charge.
Horse lovers will adore this story as will any child contemplating taking care of their very own horse. City childern who have never had the opportunity to experience raising or working with animals will get a feel for country life and empathise with these majestic animals. Country kids will relate to the difficulties and joys of working with and taking care of animals every day.
Pie makes you develop compassion for the horses under the care of ‘The keeper” as he carefully and profoundly explains how each horse gradually came to find themselves at the stables. The revelations of how some of the previous owners treated them can be quite shocking and devastating.
There are also moments of surprise and joy as Pie gently steers his “little one” through her childhood, helping her to grow in confidence and strength. Once she becomes a teenager and moves on in the world, Pie fears he is no longer needed again until he realises the importance of becomg a therapy horse to other children in need of special care. It is very touching to read what a signifant difference he makes in the lives of autistic children simply by allowing them to ride such a gentle natured soul.
Entwined through Pie’s amazing life story are not only the tales of the other lovable horses like Flurry, a skittish little mare that is frightened by nearly everything that moves and Dusty the dark gelding that is head of the herd, but chickens that roosted in Rebel’s stall  as he enjoyed their company. You will also meet the stray cat and her adorable kittens that came in search of shelter and found a family and the overly large racoon that began to eat the chickens but the keeper was not game enough to tangle with him so a compromise was reached and he was happily fed cat food everyday thereafter.
This is a story of survival, courage,  companionship and true friendship between horses and people who care and love them. So saddle up and allow Pie to take you on a journey, at times it is like a stroll through an open feild on a breezy summer day, other times it is a gallop through a wintry storm or a fun canter along a winding trail but no matter what the weather, it is all one heck of a ride!
Author Kandy Kay Scaramuzza.  photo3
Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo is a seventh generation Texan who has her own brick at The Cowgirl Museum. She has taught in alternative education for over twenty years. Ms.Scaramuzzo is a member of the 2012 Strathmore’s Who’s Who. She has a BA in Criminology and MAedCT. She works in horse, dog, cat and snake rescues. Ms. Scaramuzzo has been a tester observer for therapy dogs for nine years. She ran a therapy horse riding program for autistic children for five years. She has been a recognized animal behaviorist for over 20 years. This is her first book about an exceptional horse. She feels it is important to give back to maintain the balance of a civilized society.

Friday, 31 May 2013

My Very First Blog Award (the Liebster Award)

liebster award
Many thamks to J. R. Barker for granting me the honour of  nomination for this award it is received with much appreciation.
“Liebsters Award is a way for blogs with less than 200 followers to connect with other bloggers, share a little more about you, and a way to help promote other small blogs”
How does this work? Here are the rules.
Post 11 random fact about yourself.
Answer 11 Questions from your Nominator.
Visit the other 1o blogs that were nominated with you.
Nominate 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers and ask them 11 questions – NO TAG BACKS!
Visit your Nominees and let them know they won the award.
Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry
11 Random Facts about myself.
  1. I love to go bushwalking even though I have two left feet which inevitably cause all sorts of problems.
  2. I am constantly on the lookout for more native trees to plant on our property which will help encourage the native birds and animals to feel welcome.
  3. Fairies nest at the bottom of my garden, (ok they are fairy wrens) but it sounds good!
  4. I’ve hunted for the Loch Ness Monster and skipped stones across the Loch with my sons in true adventure style.
  5. Searched for Leprechauns under rocks and shrubs around the lakes of the “Ring of Kerry” in Ireland.
  6. Sipped champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower like a true romatic heroine.
    Top of the Eiffel Tower
    Top of the Eiffel Tower
  7. Rode a camel at sunset along Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia.
  8. Swum under a waterfall in an Outback waterhole.
  9. When I am not writing or reading I am creating stained glass windows.
  10. I adore sunsets, red wine, good comapny and a warm fire on a cold winter evening.
  11. When all is said and done, there’s no place like home!
Cable Beach
Cable Beach
Python pool Millstream National Park.
Python pool Millstream National Park.
Questions to me.
  1. What is your favourite children’s book? Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French. Simple, yet very cute and clever.
  2. Who’s your favourite story tale villain? Professor Severus Snape. J.K. Rowling wrote a fantastic antagonist and Alan Rickman portrayed him superbly. You love to hate him and yet he has a lost soul you can’t help but feel sorry for.
  3. Who’s your favourite story tale hero? Who else? Harry Potter! Need I say more! Thanks to Jo Rowling so many more kids started reading again!
  4. What’s your favourite fairy tale? Rumpelstiltskin (I just love saying that name and hearing kids try to read it), but then I love Snow White and all the seven dwarves. Far too many fairy tale choices.
  5. What’s your favourite childhood memory? Family days out in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Where we had picnics, bushwalks, apple picking, BBQ’s and toffee apples to munch on all the long drive home.
  6. Sweet or Savoury? Can’t go past a bit of chocolate, but I lean more towards the savoury platter these days.
  7. What genre of books do you prefer?  I read an abundance of children’s books both for my own writing and when I was a teacher as well as a general love of them, but really enjoy  historical fiction as they take me to places I get to learn about while I immerse myself in the lives of the characters.
  8. Watching sport or playing sport? Definately watching sport. When my youngest son played soccer I really got into being  one of those soccer mum’s on the sidelines, (although I said I never would).
  9. Cats or dogs? Dogs, we’ve always had one of man’s best friends in the family.
  10. Name one story book that you feel has touched your life or changed it in some way. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. From the minute I read these as a ten year old and entered through the wardrobe into a world full of fantasy and imagination I knew I too wanted to write.
  11. Name one act of kindness that you have witnessed.
    I had a flat tyre at the supermarket a while back. A very kind gentleman noticed the problem while I was busy loading the weeks groceries into the boot. He offered to change the tyre for me. In return I offered to buy him a coffee or even lunch to which he declined saying it was all part of his civic duty.
My Nominees.
(I am extremely knew to blogging so my list of other bloggers is quite small. My apolgies if a few of my nominees have gone slightly over the limit.)
My Questions to you.
  1. What has been your greatest adventure in life?
  2. Who is your favourite Action or Super Hero?
  3. What do you consider to be yout greatest strength?
  4. If you were a Super Hero what would your special power be?
  5. Tea or Coffee?
  6. Name your favourite binge food while reading or writing?
  7. What was your favourite subject at school?
  8. What is your all time favourite movie that you have watched over and over again?
  9. Which is better, the book or the movie?
  10. When do you prefer to read? In the afternoon sun or tucked up in bed late at night?
  11. Who has inspired you in your life? 
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Posted in Children's Books