Monday, December 7, 2020

Nonfiction Monday


WHAT’S THE WEATHER? Is the first in the “What, Why, or Where” series of new books offered by Arbordale Publishing. Topics are explored through a collection of open-ended questions that reflect the natural curiosity of young children.

The goal of understanding weather’s causes and changes defines the mission of this book. Readers are given multiple opportunities to heighten their awareness of the various topics. Color blocked text identifies information to be read in a standard manner.  Italicized questions are posed throughout to serve as topics of discussion.   Multiple high-quality photographs on each page create opportunities for conversations and encourage children to employ observational skills. Building on those observations and conversations then enables readers to understand ways in which weather impacts their lives on a daily and seasonal basis and relate it to the world around them.

The book identifies an audience of ages 3-7. Younger readers will enjoy the strong visual impact of the images and benefit from reading with an adult or older sibling. Experienced readers will find the text engaging and will discover more information in the final section titled For Creative Minds. “Easy Weather Observations” provides a bulleted list for ways in which parents and caregivers can create opportunities for youngsters to develop organizational skills. “The Six Parts of Weather” defines basic terms that help weather forecasters describe weather such as atmospheric pressure and precipitation. “Clouds” provides labeled photographs of six cloud types. “Weather, Climate or Seasons?” defines, discusses, and illustrates those three terms that are frequently misunderstood. 

A teaching activity guide is available on

An excellent introductory STEM resource. Recommended for home, school, and library.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

                                  JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!


 From the wonderful OutWest Shopcomes a special offer and contest for adults and children!    

 Purchase an autographed copy of "Desperate Straits" and receive either a second copy Free OR select a copy of my picture book "Gracie Jane" Free for the young readers in your life. 

                                           GIVEAWAY AND CONTEST details HERE 

                                                             BOOK GIVEAWAY! 

Hermit's Rest - Arizona Territory, 1887-  

An immigrant Irish girl and a veteran lawman battle for their lives when they stand between one man's obsession and the Lost Adams gold.

 "Squires’ briskly paced romance crackles with energy thanks to well-drawn characters and settings ... Squires’ use of historical details bolsters her settings, particularly the depiction of everyday life in the Arizona Territory ... A well-developed romance wrapped in an engaging and fast-paced Western, complete with strong protagonists, colorful settings, and superb historical details."

           — Kirkus Reviews


GRACIE JANE - has a heart as big 
as the Western sky, and she's always ready to lend a helping 
hand. So, she doesn't think twice about rescuing Fifi La Rue and taking the lost pup home. After all, how much trouble could one little dog be on a great big ranch? 

It's nonstop fun and excitement when one good deed turns this cowgirl's life upside down!

"Gracie Jane" is the first title of a cowgirl series that is full of action, humor, charm, and character. Written in exciting action prose with a hit of rhyme, and fully color illustrated..." ---Midwest Book Review June 2019



Monday, November 16, 2020

Nonfiction Monday


AND THAT’S THE TOOTH by Terri Fields is an informative and entertaining look at one of the many characteristics that differentiate animals – their teeth!

A full-page color photograph of each animal is obscured by a set of clues to guide the reader in identifying a dozen animals. Mammals, reptiles, and fish such as sharks, giraffes, snakes, dolphins, and even the toothless humpback whale appear as a page turn provides the big reveal and another interesting fact. A good bit of the fun is in the photographs which succeed in capturing each animal in a toothy shot of their pearly whites.

The final discussion focuses on humans with a diagram naming each type of tooth and noting that 97 of 100 people will experience tooth decay. Although cavity prevention is not discussed, this book would offer a fun introduction to the topic of tooth care.

The book identifies an audience of ages 4-7. Younger readers will find the strong visuals appealing and enjoy trying to identify each animal through the clues. Experienced readers will discover more information in the final section titled For Creative Minds where a “All About Your Teeth” highlights human dentition.  “The Right Type of Teeth” challenges readers to determine which animals are herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores based on their teeth.

The publisher, Arbordale, offers more fun facts and downloadable educational activities at

A fun introductory STEM resource for home, school, and library.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Nonfiction Monday


RIVER OTTER’S ADVENTURE by Linda Stanek with illustrations by Shennen Bersani relates a narrative nonfiction story about a young river otter that sneaks into a zoo. The text offers a compare and contrast tale as the otter explores living like the reptiles and mammals that are encountered one after another.  She enjoys pretending to be a trunk-swinging elephant, a slippery salamander, a stalking tiger and others, but each encounter also reminds her of what she’d miss about being an otter.


The author weaves facts into the read-aloud story and expands on the factual material at the end. Colorful double-page spreads provide realistic reinforcement to this charming and educational offering for young readers ages 4-8.

 Readers will find the text engaging and will discover more information in the final section, titled For Creative Minds, where additional discussions provide a wealth of facts.

“Basic Needs and Living and Nonliving Things” reviews the various requirements that otters depend on and challenges readers to identify which things in a river otter’s habitat are living or nonliving. “North American River Otter or Sea Otter?” provides an informational chart to help readers differentiate between the two types of otters. “North American River Otter Adaptations” discusses the special ways in which otters are uniquely suited to their environment.

 The publisher, Arbordale, provides teaching activities guide at

 An excellent STEM resource for introducing young readers to otters and the concept of adaptation. Recommended for home, school, and library.

Monday, October 5, 2020

 ANIMAL HOMES by nature photographer, Mary Holland, introduces young readers to the methods in which animals construct and use their homes for shelter in this new addition to her collection of award-winning books.

Full-color closeups are underscored by age appropriate text that offers insights into the many ways in which animals build their homes. Some utilize natural materials – beavers form their lodges using branches and mud. Squirrels fashion nests of twigs, bark, leaves, and moss. Other animals like bears, woodchucks, foxes, and coyotes live in dens and tunnels underground. Insects have a variety of home building skills. Bald-faced hornets chew wood and their saliva creates a paste that dries into paper. Spittle bugs create a home fashioned from bubbles.

The book identifies an audience of ages 5-8. Younger readers will enjoy the strong visual impact of the images and benefit from reading with an adult or older sibling. Experienced readers will find the text engaging and will discover more information in the final section titled For Creative Minds where additional discussions review the many specific ways in which animals are home builders. A “Mix and Match” page challenges readers to match photos of animals with their choice of building materials.  “Which Are Animal Homes?” asks readers to identify pictures of animal dwellings. A third section provides an opportunity to pair an animal with its home.

The publisher, Arbordale, offers a teaching activity guide that is available at

An excellent STEM resource. Recommended for home, school, and library.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

A Lovely Review of Desperate Straits

Netgalley just notified me that Lisa Garrett (Reviewer) has just reviewed Desperate Straits.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Full Text:
I loved this book. The writing was very atmospheric and I felt as if I was in the midst of the story, right in the Wild West. The cast of characters were strong and resilient.
Many thanks to Janet Squires Books and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Nonfiction Monday

Biodiversity:Explore the Diversity of Life on Earth with Science Activities for Kids by Laura Perdew with illustrations by Tom Casteel offers an overview of life from the first single-cell organisms through the varied lifeforms that exist today. The text, which is designed for readers in grades four to six, is thoughtfully divided into six chapters that systematically develop each concept.

The book opens with a double-page geologic time scale and a vocabulary list which is followed by an introduction, What Is Biodiversity?, that discusses the basic concepts of ecosystems such as kelp forests.  The biodiversity and interconnection of ecosystems is explored through an up-close examination of a tree both as a specific organism, but also as a diverse ecosystem of birds, animals, insects, fungus and an assortment of microorganisms.
Chapter One, A Short History of Life On Earth, references the geological time table to answer the question, “How has life on earth become so diverse?” The Paleozoic Era saw the rise of early organism like Trilobites and primitive fish. Land plants developed into forests, and environments provided ecosystems for primitive amphibians and reptiles. The Mesozoic Era is known for dinosaurs, the first flowering plants, and the appearance of mammals. The Cenozoic Era is marked by the presence of primates, the diversification of birds, and familiar mammals such as mammoths and saber-toothed cats.
Chapter Two, Biodiversity Everywhere, examines the ways in which environmental factors such as temperature, precipitation, and geography determine the distribution of species on land and in water. Why do rainforests, which occupy less than two percent of the earth’s surface, account for fifty percent of earth’s biodiversity? Endemic species, like the Texas blind salamander, are so perfectly adapted to their environment that they don’t exist outside of their specific location. Extremophiles occupy niches from 660° F deep sea hydrothermal vents to the frigid waters beneath two miles of polar ice.
Chapter Three, Why Biodiversity Matters, discusses ways in which ecosystem stability is protected by biodiversity. Pollination, decomposition, and food webs are essential to the health of the planet and dependent on the variety of plants and animals that occupy earth’s many environments.
Chapter Four, Biodiversity And Humans, builds on the previous chapters by demonstrating the many ways in which humans are dependent on and benefit from earth’s biodiversity. The security of our food supply is supported by bees and other pollinators, as well as the many organisms that create healthy soil. Half of our modern medicines are derived from nature’s plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. Recreational opportunities rely on healthy natural environments.
Chapter Five, Threats To Biodiversity, focuses on the ways in which the presence of seven billion humans on earth impact the health of our planet. Climate change, ocean acidification, pollution, habitat loss, poaching, and invasive species pose unique challenges. Pesticides have been found in honey. Every year 9 million tons of plastic go into the ocean.
Chapter Six, Protecting Biodiversity, considers the question “What can we do to protect biodiversity on Earth?” Protection can take many forms, both large and small: conservation, innovation, and implementing laws, treaties, and policies to safe guard the health of our home on the small blue planet called Earth.
Vocabulary is highlighted in Words To Know sidebars.  Related STEM projects are listed to check knowledge and offer hands-on reinforcement for concepts.  Each chapter includes a QR code to enable readers to access primary sources. Readers are challenged to ask questions and use critical thinking skills in response to calls to action: Essential Question, Consider This!,  and Did You Know? Photographs and illustrations enhance content and provide excellent visual interest.

The book is well organized and the content expands on familiar facts and introduces readers to details that are often overlooked. It is not only educational, but is also a pleasure to read. The conversational tone and age-appropriate vocabulary is appealing.
Recommended for STEM home and school libraries.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer