Leo, Dog of the Sea Blog Tour Review & Giveaway

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LEO, DOG OF THE SEA
Written by Alison Hart
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
(Peachtree Publishers; $12.95, Ages 7-10)

 

Leo Dog of the Sea cover image

 

 

We’re delighted to be included in Peachtree Publishers’ Blog Tour for Alison Hart’s Leo, Dog of the Sea, the fourth installment in this action-packed series available April l. The Dog Chronicles series introduces young readers to the important yet often overlooked roles our canine companions played in major historical events. Please read on for more info about the book and giveaway. 

BOOK SUMMARY:

Leo Dog of the Sea interior artwork by Michael G. Montgomery

Interior illustrations from LEO, DOG OF THE SEA by Alison Hart copyright © 2017 by Michael G. Montgomery. Used with permission from Peachtree Publishers.

After reading the first few pages of Leo, Dog of the Sea, prepare to be instantly swept aboard the Trinidad, one of five ships in the Spanish armada under the command of Captain General, Ferdinand Magellan. The date: August 1519. In 14 fast-paced, engaging chapters, readers will join the ship’s rat-catching canine, Leo, who narrates the treacherous voyage around the globe as Magellan navigates the seas looking for a route to the Spice Islands. They’ll also meet a motley crew and a colorful cast of characters and can decide for themselves who is worthy of friendship and loyalty and who is not to be trusted. While Leo certainly becomes the most endearing of the lot, Pigafetta, Magellan’s Italian scribe, and Marco, a young stowaway are sure to be favorites, too.

Hart has once again created an observant and compelling character, this time in Leo, a dog reluctant to get close to any human. Now embarking on his fourth voyage to foreign lands, Leo has a wealth of seafaring experience making his detailed descriptions of all things sailing related both realistic and believable. And while five vessels set out in search of a westward route, only one will complete the entire three year journey intact. 

Interior artwork by Michael G. Montgomery from Leo Dog of the Sea

Interior illustrations from LEO, DOG OF THE SEA by Alison Hart copyright © 2017 by Michael G. Montgomery. Used with permission from Peachtree Publishers.

When the armada sets off, readers learn that reporting directing to Magellan is master-at-arms, Gonzalo Gomez de Espinosa who will, according to Magellan, “… carry out my orders and assure that the laws of Spain and navigation are obeyed.” This man is the epitome of cruel and Leo and Marco must steer clear of him to save their skins. Keeping notes on everything that occurs, good and bad, is Pigafetta who takes to the boy and dog early on, helping them survive during the perilous trip. It doesn’t hurt that Leo displays bravery in the face of adversary on numerous occasions. And Marco, stoic and astute, proves to be an invaluable companion and page. The story revolves around all the various ports of call visited, the inhabitants encountered and the obstacles faced by Magellan and his crew along the way. Those include every type of weather condition imaginable including violent storms or lack thereof, thievery, hunger, deadly disease, mutiny and murder. 

I knew little about Magellan before beginning the book and found myself eager to find out more as I approached the story’s end. Fortunately there are 19 pages of information Hart has included to fill interested readers in on the rest of what happens after her story finishes as well as other fascinating facts about seafaring in the 16th century. From ship dogs to conditions onboard, the back matter in Leo, Dog of the Sea is as riveting and educational as the rest of the book. Illustrator Michael G. Montgomery’s artwork adds to the book’s appeal. His pencil illustrations provide just enough detail to give readers a real taste of the clothing and equipment of the time period, while zeroing in on the key action of a chapter. I guess in closing I have to say that, unlike days out a sea for Magellan’s armada, with no wind blowing for weeks on end, this middle grade historical fiction chapter book is never, ever boring. Get a copy today at your local independent bookseller or enter our great giveaway below. Thanks for stopping by the blog tour. Here are more blog posts to check out, too! 
3/27: Kid Lit Reviews
3/28: Librarian’s Quest
3/30: Boys to Books
3/31: Ms. Yingling Reads

Interior artwork by Michael G. Montgomery from Leo Dog of the Sea

Interior illustrations from LEO, DOG OF THE SEA by Alison Hart copyright © 2017 by Michael G. Montgomery. Used with permission from Peachtree Publishers.

 

  • Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

Other books in this series: Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I; Murphy, Gold Rush Dog; Finder, Coal Mine Dog.
Please read our review of Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I, Book One in the Dog Chronicles series by clicking here.

Click here for a Teacher’s Guide.
Click here to read a Q & A with author, Alison Hart.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Please leave a comment on this blog post for your chance to win one (1) copy of Leo, Dog of the Sea, courtesy of Peachtree Publishers, MSRP value $12.95. One or two words for comment will not be considered valid entries. Giveaway ends 11:59p.m. on April 18. The winner will be chosen via Random.org on April 19th. For an extra chance to win, follow Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook here and let us know you did. Want to increase your chances? Get an additional entry into the giveaway by following this blog on Twitter or tweeting about the giveaway. Must be U.S. resident to enter. The winner will be notified via email. Good luck!

 

 


Children’s Book Week 95th Anniversary & Giveaway!

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BE A READER AND BE A WINNER!
ENTER OUR PEACHTREE PUBLISHERS
GIVEAWAY TODAY!

CBW_Poster-small

We’re celebrating Children’s Book Week,
“the longest-running children’s literacy
initiative in the country” with a wonderful
picture book giveaway courtesy of
Peachtree Publishers. To find out more
about Children’s Book Week, please
visit their website here.

Here’s the beautiful poster that
FANCY NANCY illustrator,
Robin Preiss Glasser, designed
for the 2014 Children’s Book Week.

Today, May 12th, is the last day to enter your vote for favorite book, author and illustrator. Visit the voting page for the Children’s Choice Book Awards and the Teen Choice Book Awards to make your voice heard. Click here to vote.

WIN THREE FABULOUS PICTURE BOOKS!

Here’s a list of the three terrific picture books (worth a total of $49.50) from Peachtree Publishers that we’ll be giving away to one lucky winner. We’ve reviewed two of the three books on the blog so you’re likely to be familiar with the stories.

1. First, to be eligible, all entrants must first LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on either Facebook or Twitter.
2. Use the COMMENT box below to send your email entry privately.
3. Please include your contact info. No P.O. Boxes, and U.S. only. Good luck!

NOTE: This giveaway ends at midnight on Monday, May 26, 2014. One winner will be selected by Random.org and notified on Tuesday, May 27th.

cover-2Lost for Words
Written & Illustrated by Natalie Russell
Age 4-8
Hardcover: $16.95

 

 

 

 

 

 

cover-3Churchill’s Tale of Tales
Written & Illustrated by Anca Sandu
Age 4-8
Hardcover: $16.95

 

 

 

 

 

TJ61-9-2013 JKT 175L CTP_Layout 1The Grudge Keeper
Written by Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Age 4-8
Hardcover: $16.95

 


Lost for Words by Natalie Russell

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Lost for Words, written and illustrated by Natalie Russell (Peachtree Publishers, $16.95, Ages 4-8), is reviewed today by Cathy Ballou Mealey. Tapir has a lovely new notebook, and yearns to fill it with something marvelous. If only he could think of something to write! Staring at the page, he tries to come up with of something, anything! But his head is as empty as his page.

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Lost for Words written and illustrated by Natalie Russell, Peachtree Publishers, 2014.

Anyone who has suffered writer’s block will identify with this cuddly tapir’s dilemma. And how cute is this Winnie the Pooh-shaped tapir as a main character? He turns to his friends for inspiration, and finds Giraffe writing poetry, Flamingo composing a song, and Hippo writing a story. Poor Tapir! He tries imitating their methods, chewing leaves, wallowing in mud, and humming with his eyes closed. Alas – the harder he tries, the grumpier he gets.

Lost-for-Words-Spread

Interior spread from Lost for Words written and illustrated by Natalie Russell, Peachtree Publishers, ©2014

 

Russell’s illustrations are fun and engaging, using soft lines and gentle blue, green and yellow earthy pastel tones. She draws distinct, beautiful suns over panoramic Central American landscapes and smudges realistic muddy textures onto Hippo and Tapir. The colorful pages are bright and filled with simply sketched details like dragonflies and curly, twisty plant life.

Tapir wanders off by himself to think atop a quiet hill, and finds a creative solution to his blank notebook problem. Although the ending may come as no surprise to experienced picture book readers, it is sure to delight young listeners. This sweet, warmhearted story will win artists of all sorts who observe, appreciate and develop their own creative inspiration.

–   Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey

 

Where obtained: I borrowed a copy from my public library. The opinions expressed here are my own.

 


Churchill’s Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu

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Churchill’s Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

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Churchill’s Tale of Tails written and illustrated by Anca Sandu, Peachtree Publishers, 2014.

In Churchill’s Tale of Tails, a new picture book by Anca Sandu (Peachtree Publishers, 2014; $16.95; ages 4-8) readers meet Churchill, a rather sophisticated pig. He likes to take tea, paint self portraits (lots of them,) and play classical music. He is also quite a proud pig, especially of his tail. It wasn’t a big tail. It wasn’t a fancy tail. It wasn’t even a very practical tail. But it was his tail, and it made him feel great.

So when Churchill loses his tail, he isn’t happy. His friends, Billy and Gruff, try to help by finding other tails for Churchill to try. There are so many tails—zebra, peacock, fish, and more—and they make him feel so different and wonderful that Churchill no longer has time for his friends. A tail from the fish made Churchill feel fantastic! He could do things he’d never done before. “Churchill never talks to us anymore. It’s all these fancy tails.” Will Churchill realize he’s being a bad friend? Will he find his own tail? Does he even want it back? This delightful tale will engage readers for the creativity of the story, the humorous artwork, and the moral. Does trying to be different  mean that you forget your true friends? Anca Sandu answers this question in a realistic and sweet manner that young children will enjoy and understand.


Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I Blog Tour and Giveaway

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Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I *1917*

Fast-paced, fascinating historical fiction for readers who love dogs.

Fast-paced, fascinating historical fiction for readers who love dogs.

Welcome to the last stop of Peachtree Publishers’ Blog Tour!

Please read on for more info about the book and giveaway. Thank you Peachtree for this wonderful opportunity to spread the word about Dog Chronicles!

The new Dog Chronicles series introduces young readers to the important yet often overlooked roles our canine companions played in major historical events. In Darling, Mercy Dog of World War I (Peachtree Publishers, $12.95, ages 7-10), written by Alison Hart and illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery, we meet man’s best friend at her finest in this 176 page book set in England and Belgium during the Great War.

BOOK SUMMARY:

What an eye-opener this fast-paced and moving historical fiction novel was for me! I had no idea that mercy dogs existed, yet after reading Darling, Mercy Dog of WWI, I learned and appreciated what a vital military role they played in finding and assisting wounded soldiers on the battlefields of Europe. Hart’s tightly constructed story begins with Darling’s recruitment by the military from the family who loved her, especially the two children, Robert and Katherine. The book then details Darling’s training period and finally focuses on her service as a mercy dog, braving life and death situations. Montgomery’s sketch-like illustrations  done with various lines in assorted directions complement the story in their depictions of village life, battlefields and various characters.

Hart manages to convincingly share the tale in Darling’s voice so readers experience first-hand the stresses she feels and the successes she accomplishes as a soldier. In addition to all the satisfying action and adventure they’ll find in the book, kids will be drawn into the story because of several meaningful relationships detailed. First there is Darling’s relationship as beloved pet of Katherine and Robert. Second is her role as Mercy dog under the caring and watchful guidance of handler, Private Kent. There’s also a sweet friendship between Darling and a stray dog named Rags from Darling’s home town of Cosham in England. Before the war, Rags and Darling would roam the town together when, on occasion, Darling slipped free from her leash.

When at last Darling is faced with the prospect of being on an actual mission, she is scared but well prepared. “Hoping to pick up a trail, I kept my nose to the ground. The smells of burnt earth, gunpowder, and a hundred boot soles grew confusing.” Using all her keen senses, Darling the mercy dog locates a fallen soldier. With the story focusing more on the dog squad and Darling’s role saving soldiers, young readers will find this perspective less harsh than had it been a full-on WWI tale. There are some harrowing moments like when the Allied trench of Darling’s regiment is blasted by a barrage of enemy shells. Darling must race to find and dig out her colleagues despite a painful wound she’s sustained. Of course the questions remain whether she’ll get to them in time, whether she’ll recover from her wound and then, will she ever make it back from the Continent to Cosham and her dear Katherine and Robert?

Next up in this series: Murphy, Gold Rush Dog *1896*

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

The GOOD READS WITH RONNA giveaway opp begins today, Friday, October 4, 2013 and runs through Sunday, October 20th ’til midnight. Enter now by sending your name and address to Good Reads With Ronna by clicking here. Be sure to write DARLING/Peachtree Giveaway in the subject line. One winner of (1) one copy of Darling: Mercy Dog of World War I -1917- will be selected via Random.org and notified on Monday, October 21st. Click here to see our contest and giveaways rule page.  Good luck!