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Thu, Oct. 11th, 2018, 01:53 pm
Weekly Book Review

I say it's weekly, but it seems that doesn't mean a lot.  Sometimes it can be nearly two weeks between posting reviews, and rarely as is the case now, maybe only a couple of days since the last one was put up.  Anyway this is one I just finished for a book I read a month or two ago.
As for my current reading, I today finished Lieutenant Hornblower by C. S. Forester, for probably the tenth or eleventh time in my life.  Looks like I'm in to reading Hornblower again, as I've already pulled Hornblower and the Hotspur from the shelf for my next read.  (I've already reviewed the books in the series.  You can find them on my web-site. Go to "Others" and scroll down.)
The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen

By Thomas Caplan

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         Ty Hunter once served in the Special Forces. Today he is a famous movie actor, and his celebrity status allows him to continue working on the nation's security concerns.  He is tasked to track down and recover possibly stolen nuclear warheads.  These special weapons had once been a part of the Soviet Union's strategic arsenal, but with the demise of the USSR, these weapons had been inventoried and secured from possible use by international accord.
         But what if one or more of those involved in neutralizing this weapons stockpile had more profitable plans for it?  Surely certain rogue nations and ruthless terrorist organizations would be interested in possessing even a few of these deadly devices.  Ty teams with a member of British Intelligence, the one-time girl friend of the prime suspect and a world-wide group of young computer hackers to uncover the weapons’ hidden location and the complicated  path of the money paying for them.
         One claim to fame for this book is the introduction written by President Bill Clinton.  While that is extremely well-written, and no doubt expertly edited, the story itself started slowly.  It was difficult to pick up and read more once it had been set aside.  If one persevered and progressed farther, it became easier to continue reading.  At the end it finally became nearly impossible to put down.  Had this quality existed at the beginning, this might be a superb thriller.  Unfortunately, it is not, even though it ends up being an entertaining read.

Tue, Oct. 9th, 2018, 02:02 pm
Weekly Book Review (slighty delayed)

This book is by one of the members of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  I won it as a door prize a couple of months ago and read it soon afterwards.  I've been meaning to write a review and earlier today that task was completed. Eventually this will be on the SASP web-site and also on my own.
III Minutes To XII: The Last Secrets of the Bible

By Ed Des Autel

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         How long ago were Adam and Eve on the Earth?  Where was the Garden of Eden?  What really happened when Cain killed Abel?  Were angels really spiritual beings, or were they aliens from an advanced civilization?  These are some of the questions the author asks and attempts to answer based on his research of the Bible, ancient monuments is South and Central America, and non-canonized texts from long ago.  He also looks at future possibilities as revealed by the research he has done.
         This volume fits in with those who believe or suspect the present of aliens from far away worlds in the earliest eras of man’s history on earth.  It also offers something to those who feel there is more to the stories told in Genesis and other Books of the Old Testament.
         It does, however take some work to read this book.  There is a lot of repetition of Biblical and other verses, which slows down the process of determining the overall message.  While quoting these passages, the author has parenthetically inserted words or terms to help clarify meanings.  After several repeated insertions, most readers instinctively understand the duality, and additional words or phrases are now distracting.
         If we can make it through these obstacles in reading, we find an alternate explanation of early Earth history that makes some sense.  Yet, much of what is suggested does not fit with what science currently tells us to be true.  It is possible of course; that what we think we know is in error, and then all of this would mesh.
         The possibilities suggested by this book are fascinating and the author is to be commended for his single-minded dedication and research.  However, the information could have, should have been presented in a much smoother and easier to read fashion.

Sat, Sep. 29th, 2018, 02:16 pm
Weekly Book Review (just a tad bit late)

Today I'm breaking with the recent practice of posting reviews on file at Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  This is one that I've recently written for a book I read earlier this summer.  (BTW, it is also posted to the SASP web-site as a slightly revised version.  You can find this varient on my web-site.)
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy

By Orson Scott Card

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney
       I ended up with a copy of this relatively slim work because someone had donated it as a door prize at a local writers group meeting.  As I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and incorporate it in my own work, I thought it would be interesting to learn what a well-known writer would say about it.
       Mr. Card begins by defining the genres, combining the two into speculative fiction while maintaining a sometimes narrow difference between the two.  He also looks at genre as a marketing tool, or as a means of classifying work and what shelf it will go on in the bookstore.  He also looks at science fiction and fantasy standbys such as world building, possible scientific breakthroughs, and the creation of magic.  At this point I was a little miffed as he seemed to dismiss Star Trek’s Warp Drive as being scientifically impossible.
       Mr. Card also spends a little time offering advice on getting published.  As the book was published in 1990, some of this might be a bit dated.  He suggests that one seeking traditional publication need not look for a literary agent until offered a publishing contract.  In more recent times one generally needs an agent in order to even approach a publisher.
       On the whole, this is an informative and educational work.  I feel that my time in reading it was well-spent.

Fri, Sep. 21st, 2018, 04:32 pm
This and That

Or a rough accounting of my activities over the past couple of weeks...

Seems that lately all I've been posting has been book reviews.  Maybe that's because I've been somewhat busy and they are fairly easy to post.  I just need to copy and paste them in.

A week ago today, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers took part in Art at the Market in Liberty Lake.  We had a booth and a number of members provided books.  Friday night, when I was there we only sold a couple, but Saturday, when I was gone, I understand we did quite well.  We limited the number of members who could be there manning the booth because sometimes there can be so many that shoppers/potential buyers get shunted aside.  We had three of Friday night and four on Saturday morning.  We were the only stand with books.  Everything else was various forms of art... paintings, photography, etc.

Our booth at Art at the Market, Liberty Lake, Washington on Friday (and Saturday) September 14th and 15th.

I didn't go to Art in the Market on Saturday because I had committed to go to the open car show or Show-n-Shine, a part of Palouse Days in... you guessed it, Palouse, Washington.  It's where I lived and went to school from seventh grade through high school graduation, and going gives me a chance to possibly run into some classmates and friends from way back when.  When I had my Corvair Rampside pick-up, I'd take it and put it in the show.  They don't have any restrictions on what is allowed in the show, so I cleaned up the Frontier and displayed it.  If I'm going to be there all day, why not.  The entry fee is just $10.00 so parking is no problem.  Plus that one gets an event t-shirt and a bunch of other stuff, so it end's up being close to free.  I think there were over 200 vehicles there, ranging from early twentieth century to even newer than mine.  No judging, just peoples choices for several catagories,with all participants having a chance to vote.  And it's a nice drive of a little over an hour to get there, most of it on rural roads.

L - R: A newer Corvette, my Frontier, a 60's era Dodge or Chrysler, and a 1946 Chevy truck with dump bed.  Not sure, but I think it won one of the people choice awards.  It had been restored to tip top condition.

The event was on the calendar for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club and Craig Nicol came down from Coeur d'Alene with his '61 Rampside.  It's like the one I had, only looks a lot better and is a model year older.  Evident why it's called a Rampside!

Another member of the Inland Northwest Corvair Club, Bob Phelps, was there with his Chevy SSR pick-up.  Had hoped a few more members would have showed up and brought more Corvairs.

Today we took some stuff to Good Will, including four dining room chairs that we'd replaced.  Had them in the back of the truck and for some reason took the below pic.  Figure I could title it... "When the Crew-cab" isn't big enough for the Crew."  (Good Will wouldn't take the chairs as the tops all come out of the base when you try to pick them up.  They are like office chairs, with casters, elevation and swivel functions.

Chairs loaded and ready to go... but they got a return trip as well.

Finished up The Spy Who Jumped From the Screen a couple of days ago.  Decided it was time to read some Hornblower again so I'm about a quarter of the way through Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.  My hope is that reading Hornblower will, as it has in the past, put me in more of a mood to work on my own Stone Island Sea Stories.

Friday and the Mariners will be on shortly.  Time to get the pizza in the oven and have a couple of brews.

Wed, Sep. 19th, 2018, 01:40 pm
Weekly Book Review(s)

Here are the combined reviews of a couple more books from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.
Return from Armageddon

By Sue Eller

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney
         In the not too distant future, all of Earth is united as the Federation of United Countries and United Peoples.  Realizing the possibility of invasion from space, Becky Johnson designs a defense system to protect the planet.  On her way to the initial activation of the system, Becky disappears and earth-changing events begin to occur.
         This small book, which can be read in a fraction of the time required for most, packs an amazing story into a relatively small package.  There is an understated but noted parallel with Biblical history and prophecy.  Many characters appear to be modern versions of those from Scripture, identified in the story by more modern contemporary names.
         The author does a marvelous job of combining Science Fiction with Biblical history and prophecy, while stirring in a bit of sarcastic humor and irony.  The final result is certainly plausible, although not what we are led to expect by traditional interpretations.
         Return to Armageddon, ISBN 9781477655726 is available on Amazon, both in paperback and Kindle formats.
Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

         Mr. McChesney already said it all better than I could.  I would add that it could have been longer.  It is nice to read a book that doesn't take a month to read, but I wanted more of this future world.  Perhaps there will be a sequel someday, to let us know how her version of the world turns out.  Perhaps Becky and David's grandchildren? 

Reviewed by Sue Eller

        Catriona McDonnel's greatest fear is deportation back to Scotland, where she would never see her beloved husband, Dougal, again.
         Beth Camp brought me so completely into the story of Catriona and her trek across the continent, that I found myself shivering and hungry. Her descriptions of the characters' experiences and feelings, of life in the primitive areas of Canada and the northern United States, and the hardships explorers and settlers endured, draw the reader into the story as few writers can. If you enjoy historical fiction, adventure, and a quest driven by love and hope, you will enjoy Rivers of Stone.
Reviewed by Betty Deuber

         In her third McDonnell novel, RIVERS OF STONE, Beth Camp tells the story of a new bride, Catriona, who declines traveling to the Americas’ east coast with her family as an indentured servant. Instead, she chooses to sail to the Americas on the Hudson’s Bay Co. ship, Prince Rupert, as a hired-on-hand—disguised as Cat, her husband’s brother. They dock at Hudson’s Bay fort, York in September 1842
         When Catriona’s husband, Dougal, and his younger brother, Colin, are sent west with a brigade, Catriona/Cat stays behind at York, working as clerk and copier. Losing her advocates and protectors, she constantly looks over her shoulder in fear of someone discovering her deception. Nor only here, but throughout the novel, the reader feels Catriona’s deep anxiety about the pretense, about sleeping in the same room with unwashed men and how she endures the severe winter climate in northern Canada.
         Catriona/Cat acquires strength and stamina of a young man, and picks up the fort’s lingo. Yet the reader gets a chance to know her as a woman when she shows her true female feelings in secluded places. When Dougal doesn’t return in a year, like he promised, she desperately tries to hide her fear of abandonment. Later, when Dougal’s letters stop, Catriona grieves in solitude.    Then she buckles- up and joins a brigade going to Vancouver in search of Dougal. The reader is intimately involved with the young woman as she— struggles in her four year search— endures the  blizzards, floods  and treks over the Canadian Rockies beside rough-tough furmen, buffalo hunters, scoundrels, breeds and friends .
         Rivers of Stone is an interesting read. Compliments to Beth on the thorough bibliography she provided, as well as how she kept the narrator -third–person-direct throughout the novel. I would have liked to have followed a map of Catriona’s journey
Reviewed By D. Andrew McChesney

         In Scotland, in the first half of the nineteenth century, countless farmers were forced off their land so wealthy landowners could devote the countryside to pasturing sheep.  As a result of this forced upheaval, Catriona McDonnell, her husband Dougal, and his brother Colin hire on with the Hudson’s Bay Company.  Known as Cat, she disguises herself as a boy and pretends to be a third brother.
         Once arriving at York Factory on the icy shores of Hudson’s Bay, she is soon put to work as a clerk in the trading post.  Soon Dougal is sent to Fort Vancouver while she is forced to remain behind.  Not only must she cope with her husband being away, she must maintain her identity as a boy, lest she be sent back to Britain.  This then is the story of her trials over the next several years.  During this time she makes friends, enemies, and nearly gives up hope of ever being reunited with Dougal.  
         Extremely well written, Rivers of Stone excels in authentic detail of the time.  The suspense as Cat maintains her masquerade and her longing for Dougal continues at a high level throughout the story. Also notable is her willingness to make friends with, and to be friended by those of other origins, including members of the Cree Nation.
         This is an entertaining, informative, and absorbing read.  It is Book Three in the story of The McDonnell Clan, but it need not be read in sequence with the first two volumes.  It is truly a stand-alone work, and its quality should convince readers they need to read the other stories in the series as well.

Tue, Sep. 11th, 2018, 01:22 pm
Weekly Book Review(s)

So here is another collection of book reviews from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.

Reviewed by Sue Eller

         Jan Vasquez, a specialist in animal behavior, finds herself face to face with a dinosaur. A living, breathing, and hungry dinosaur. Her top-secret government job is to find a way to communicate with it. As she draws nearer her goal, strange events lead her to believe someone is trying to sabotage her work.
         Wayne Kyle Spitzer shows his mastery of the novella with his succinct character development and plot line. His use of a nine-minute countdown near the end drives the story to its conclusion while it keeps the reader on the edge of his seat.

(Sorry, no cover image currently available)
By Hap Murphy (An autobiography)

Reviewed by Bob Weldin

         Henry "Hap" Murphy was a story teller with a remarkable memory for names and details. Except for a few years in the Army during WWII, and a short time at Lake Roosevelt, Hap spent his active life on and around the lakes and rivers of Northern Idaho. He was born in Coeur d' Alene (CDA) and spent his early youth on the banks of the Pend Oreille River at Dover; at that time a bustling sawmill town. His father worked for the Dover Lumber Company and was in charge of the tug boats that towed the logs to the mill. Hap occasionally went with his father on two or three day trip up Pend Oreille Lake for a tow of logs for the mill. He tells several stories of his mischievous boyhood in and around Dover.
         Hap became a tugboat captain and spent most his adult life on or near Lake CDA living a full and rich life around family and friends. He worked hard and sometime played hard. He tells stories of Harrison and St. Maries when they were bustling, rowdy towns with bar fights and brothels. He tells stories about making and selling home brew and moonshine during Prohibition. He tells of the 1933 flood and how tough it was for some people during the great depression.
         He learned to cook on the tug boats or while batching in his boat house, tied up at the CDA beach. Army cooks were famous for being sloppy and bad. Hap was so good at KP duty that he rose to chief cook and was the pride of his unit. He later opened the Boat Drive Inn Cafe in CDA for more than a decade.
         My First 90 Years is a good read, and of special interest to those who grew up in the CDA area. Or maybe you just want to remember the men who piloted the tugs and walked the tow lines, to get the logs down the river and across the lake to the sawmills. 

Out of Hitler’s Shadow

By Roderick Stackelberg

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         This book is subtitled:  Childhood and Youth in Germany and the United States, 1935 – 1967.  It is the first volume of Stackelberg’s autobiography and covers the earlier portions of his life.

         Those first years are unique.  One of four children born to an American mother and German father, the book first details his parents’ family histories and briefly describes how they met.  As the Second World War begins, his mother elects to keep the family in Germany with her husband.  Celebrating his tenth birthday on VE Day, young Stackelberg, his siblings, and his mother eventually return to the United States.  His father, now separated from his mother, remains in Germany.

         Based largely on journals the writer kept from an early age, the major portion of this book deals with life after having permanently returned to America.  He describes life as a high school and college student in the 1950s.  There is also a stint as a US Army draftee, in which Stackelberg is assigned to forces based in Germany.  As the book nears the end, one finds the author searching for a meaningful career and becoming more and more curious about past events that have shaped his life.

         The writer is a very well educated individual, and the quality of writing reflects this.  It is very much in the academic style and at times proves to be dry and unexciting.  Still, it is filled with facts, reflections, and admissions.  It tells a very unique and personal story.  If for any other reason, Stackelberg should be commended for baring his soul and making public his imperfections.

         A professor emeritus of history at Spokane, Washington’s Gonzaga University, Stackelberg has written several books on Germany and the history of National Socialism.  This first part of his autobiography was self-published through iUniverse.   The book has an ISBN of 978-1-4502-6033-6 and retails for $16.95

Spokane Authors



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Wed, Sep. 5th, 2018, 03:35 pm
The Survivors

Coco has been with us for nearly eleven months now.  Since the day he came to live with us he's had his fair share, maybe more than his fair share of doggy toys.  He can be rough on them, chewing until we think his teeth would be sore and his mouth aching from the exertion.  Many have worn out or fallen apart and we've had to take them away from him and place them in the trash.  A few, while cute, were so poorly made that they lasted only for a day or so.  And we are careful to get rid of those that disinigrate as we don't want him eating/consuming things that might be physically bad for him.

But a couple items have survived since he first arrived.  One is his puppy dog, a little stuffed toy that looks a bit like a doggy, and a little blue blanket.  We used to wrap him up in the blanket and hold him.  Both still exist, and he still plays with them.  And he knows what is what.  You can tell him, "Get your puppy!" and he'll run and find it and bring it to you.  Typically he will put it in your hand, but he won't actually let you have it.  He wants to play tug of war with you, using that particular toy or item.  He also has a lot of fun with plastic bottles, chasing them around the floor as he tries to catch hold of them.  Now days, however, he quickly chews holes in them and we worry that he might swallow some of the chunks he breaks off.  Some only last for a few minutes.

So yesterday I managed to find Coco together with his original blanket and his puppy-dog stuffed toy.  Also remembered that I have a phone with a camera, hence the above pic.  Notice that his ever wagging tail shows up as a blur!

This was taken Oct 24 of last year, less than a week after his arrival.  He's snuggling with that same little blue blanket.

Sat, Sep. 1st, 2018, 05:11 pm
Catching Up

Well, I was only two days past in posting a book review every week... the entry previous to this one.  Surprising how time slips by, even when I'm retired now and should have plenty of it.

Biggest news around here is that Coco celebrated his first Birthday on Thursday.  Or more to the point we at least mentioned it to each other and he just took it all in stride... another day for him and that was it.  Yesterday I took him to the pet store to get his nails/claws trimmed.  What a pampered pooch!  Saw the trainer that worked with him a month or so ago as he went to basic adult dog training.  And of course he loves going to places like that because he gets to meet people and most of them make a fuss over him.  I did remember to get a couple of pics of him that day.

I like the "attitude" in the one on the left!
He also likes to take the "nyla bone seen here or the real bone in the r/h pic and scoot around on the hardwood floor in the living room.  Stands on it with his front feet and goes all over the place.  Wondering what he'd do with a small skateboard or something similar.

Have to some extend gotten back into the writing routine.  Must confess that I'm not writing everyday, but I am getting to it on a regular basis, every third day or so.  Busy right now with trying to get out the two newsletters I do every month.  Finished up and sent of SASP NEWS yesterday.  Over the next day or so I'll need to put together the next issue of the REAR ENGINE REVIEW.  The first is for Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, and if you want to see it is now up on the web-site.  The second is for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club and once I send it out should appear on the web-site in a bit.  I don't do that web-site so I can't predict just when the web-master will get stuff posted.  Right now I believe the August issue is available on the site.

I'm still reading The Spy Who Jumped Off The Screen by Thomas Caplan.  It's getting interesting and all in all is very well written.  I did think that it started a bit slowly, however.  Currently I'm about half-way through it.

Today was a fairly slow day, although I did get the front yard mowed.  Normally wouldn't have done that until Monday but it's growing good and if it gets too tall it's harder to push the mower.  Especially if I have the deflector set to shoot clippings ahead to be re-cut.  Tomorrow I'll do a bit of trimming and edging and then it should be good for another few days.  (Usually trim and edge every other time I mow.)  I've also been doing a bit with trying to clean out under some of the shrubs and bushes.  Seems like one trims or prunes the tops and sides but forgets the underside of them.  Lots of old lopped off branches and stems down there, so I'm trying to get most of that eliminated.

Now it's about time to get a bite to eat and then watch tonight's Seattle Mariners game.  Crossing my fingers they can get on a roll and make it to the playoffs and post season play.

More next time,

Sat, Sep. 1st, 2018, 04:42 pm
Weekly Book Review

Actually I have combined reviews for two books to post today.  One has just one short review which is why I'm doing two.  Once again these are from the Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers' files.  I have a couple of reviews to write and when I do I'll get them poste here as well.

Reviewed by Sue Eller
       A collection of short stories and poems centered around the myths and legends of mermaids, The Mermaid Quilt and Other Tales will entertain and delight the reader. Some of them are poignant, some a bit scary, but all will leave the reader with a sense of the magical world under the sea. A good book to pick up for a quick break, since each story or poem is a stand-alone piece, although once I started reading, it was hard to put down.
       The Mermaid Quilt and Other Tales is available at Amazon.com and CreateSpace in paperback and on Kindle and Smashwords in e-book format, or through the author.

Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

         I must admit that I spent most of my life terrified of spiders. I never killed them, I just jumped on a chair and yelled for someone else to come and do the deed. At some point, well into my adult years, I realized their worth and turned to ‘catch and release’: much to the dismay of my grandchildren.
         Now that I have read Mr. Inky, I’m so glad that I don’t have the blood of innocent crawly creatures on my hands.
         Ms. Hildahl tells a delightful tale about the budding relationship between ten year old Victoria and her unexpected ‘roommate.’ But wait, it’s not just about that! Hidden in the story are lessons about things like not judging others who are different, there just might be a wonderful friend inside. It addresses the topic of bullying, and teachers and parents not really listening to their children and how it makes the child feel. It touches on the angst of the everyday fifth-grader in a touching and respectful way. There is even a stinky brother, (a subject dear to my heart, having one of my own). It is full of great characters, found in every school, and artfully woven into the tale.
         It is a perfect read for fifth and sixth graders and this grandma can attest to the fact that it is fun to read to younger ones. I’m sure that the lives of countless creepy-crawlies will be saved as the children learn that all creatures have a place in our world and should be left to do their jobs.
Reviewed by Sue Eller

The last thing 10-year-old Victoria Wyatt wanted to find in her bedroom was a spider. How did Victoria go from wanting to squish it with her flip-flop to wanting to protect it against the classroom bully? Author Esther Hildahl spins a tale of a most unlikely friendship and leaves the reader with a whole new perspective on spiders – especially talking ones. A delightful chapter book that I highly recommend to children of all ages. Mr. Inky, Spider with an Attitude is available at the Hastings Book Stores in Spokane, Washington and at Auntie’s Bookstore, also in Spokane.
Reviewed by Joyce Caudel

         Vicki Wyatt is a normal ten year old except for the fact she shares her bedroom with a spider. A spider that talks!
         Vicki tells her family the spider talks, of course, they do not believe her. She must be imagining things. Vicki’s brother, Neal, teases her and tells some of the boys at school about Vicki’s ‘talking spider’. Vicki gets into a fight on the playground, with the meanest kid in school. They both get sent to the principal.
         The real excitement begins when Mr. Inky agrees to go to school, in a glass jar, for Vicki’s science project. Since no one believes her, she tells the class her spider is just an ordinary house spider. The meanest kid in school calls Vicki a liar. Mr. Inky can’t help himself and with a booming voice lets the class know he is really a talking spider. Mr. Inky escapes and chaos breaks out as the whole school searches for him.
         I found Mr. Inky: Spider with an Attitude by Esther J. Hildahl to be a delightful story any child will love to read or have read to them. The characters seemed very real to me and brought back memories of my childhood on the playground.  I’m going to think twice before squashing another spider.
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         Vicky Wyatt’s reaction when she sees a spider in her room is natural.  She’s going to kill it.  However, this spider is unusual and in order to save his live, reveals to Vicky that he can talk.  His gamble pays off and he is spared.  Mr. Inky, as he is later named develops a sometimes cantankerous relationship with Vicky.
         Larger problems result for the fifth grader because no one believes her story about a talking spider.  She eventually has to see the school counselor and in an attempt to calm things down says she made the whole thing up.  But when she takes Mr. Inky to school for a science project, things get out of hand and Mr. Inky is forced to speak in front of the entire class in order to protect Vicky.
         This was a fun read, a book that while written for elementary school age readers, is entertaining for those of any age.  Most notable is the way in which the author captures the feel of being in the fifth grade.  That brought back a number of memories, and in itself recommends this book for all.
         Mr. Inky: Spider with an Attitude is available in several Spokane area bookstores.

Thu, Aug. 23rd, 2018, 03:19 pm
Weekly Book Review

Every few days, once a week, a week and a half, every other week... something like that.  Anyway I'm trying to post book reviews at a fairly regular rate.  At the time I'm going through the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers and posting reviews  from there.  Most of the time, reviews are of books by SASP members, reviewed by one or more members of the group.  Sometimes the author or a reviewer may no longer be a member, and on occasion our members have reviewed books by non-members, and non-members may have reviewed books by a member.
Anyway, here is the next one up.
Meadow Pond
Esther J. Hildahl

Reviewed by James Bartlett Parry

        In this charming children’s book Esther Hildahl has anthropomorphized all of the animals living in or around Meadow Pond.  They are delightful critters who have fears, doubts, happiness, and sadness, just as we humans do.
        Meadow Pond teaches us many lessons:  We learn much about the biology of frogs and other amphibians; we learn that putting aside differences and joining together to fight a common threat can save the day; and we learn to have respect for all of God’s creatures.
        You’ll jump right in as Web, Clarence, Polly, Skier, Grover and others have many exciting adventures which include battles against the mean Red Boat Kids and Hes-per, the snake who likes to eat frogs.  There is even a skiing turtle!
        Hildahl has done a wonderful job bringing these animals to life in this cute tale that she relates so well.  Although Meadow Pond is meant for children (ages 5 to 11), I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

This book is SO great!  It starts out in the tadpole classroom as the wonderful frog teacher, Miss Gertie, explains to her students how their bodies will soon be changing.  Then she tests them on the history of Meadow Pond.  Charming.  Next we meet the other inhabitants of the pond.  The story quickly gets exciting as we meet the mean Red Boat Kids.  Then there’s Hes-per the snake.  Ms. Hildahl has created a wonderful backdrop for her story with enough description to put a child right in the story.  The characters are rich and recognizable as we all know people just like that. There are lessons about avoiding dangers, bravery against bullies, about working together for the common good, diplomacy in negotiations with another species, and making a plan, even if it’s sounds too scary to pull off.  It has a great happy ending, as it should.  As an added bonus, Ms. Hildahl has filled the book with her own whimsical illustrations that call out for crayons to color them in.  A perfect book for grandmothers to have in their libraries.

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