Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Friday, July 5, 2019
Horse Show! A Donkey-Donk StoryBy: Ellen Feld
Photographed by: John Cebula
Publisher: Willow Bend Publishing
Publication Date: June 2019
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: July 1, 2019
Donkey-Donk is at it again! This time she's going to a horse show and she'd like you to come along.
We first met Donkey-Donk (she insists you call her "Donk") in What Can I Do? A Donkey-Donk Story.In that adventure, Donk moved to a new farm, and try as she might, she just couldn't do any of the jobs that the other horses and ponies did. The story had a happy ending and was chock-full of delightful photographs of Donk as she tried her best. To capitalize on the popularity of that book, author Ellen Feld and photographer John Cebula captured another delightful adventure of Donk's as she prepares to go to a horse show.
Hopeful that she might win a blue ribbon, Donk is very excited about the upcoming horse show. But she quickly realizes, when she tries to go over a jump, and can't, that she better practice before the show. The reader "rides" along as Donk tries several obstacles and realizing each time that she is unable to perform the needed task, she decides, "I better practice..." She then returns after practicing and, each time, successfully completes the obstacle. Once at the horse show, Donk is met by a group of very big horses. Will she be able to perform all the obstacles at the show and maybe, perhaps, win a blue ribbon?
Like the first book in this series, Horse Show! A Donkey-Donk Storyis told through simple text and fantastic photographs of the adorable Donkey-Donk doing what she does best - entertain. And the cuteness quota in these photos is high. The author uses simple words to convey her message and readers will learn several action words too. For example, Donk tells her readers that she is going in a trail class where "...I will have to go over, under, or through different obstacles." This text is accompanied by three photos - one each of Donk going "over," "under," or "through," and with the appropriate word underneath each photo. Like the first book in the series, this story conveys an important message (if you have trouble, practice, practice, practice) and has a happy ending. Overall, a great story combined with wonderful photographs make Donk's second book a winner.
Quill says: A joyful gigglefest that also teaches a valuable lesson. Young readers will love Donkey-Donk’s adventure.
For more information on Horse Show! A Donkey-Donk story,please visit the publisher's website at: www.willowbendpublishing.com
Sunday, June 30, 2019
My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care UnitBy: Manjeet Kaur, M.D.
Publisher: Inspirante Publishing LCC
Publication Date: March 2019
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: June 28, 2019
Dr. Manjeet Kaur delivers a beautiful book that showcases the miracle babies who took their first breath of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Women & Babies Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
(Dr.) Manjeet Kaur was born in Delhi, India. While her credentials speak for themselves, it is the person behind such credentials that makes this book a bittersweet journey that is laced with unwavering commitment and a ferocious tenacity of a person who never gave up. In 1984, Dr. Kaur traveled to Lancaster, PA, where she established roots and set to the task of singlehandedly setting up the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). In the early years of taking on such a feat, there were many days when Dr. Kaur worked twenty-four-hour shifts (and sometimes more) to stabilize a sick and quite premature infant. Simply put, there was no one else who had the knowledge or ability to do what she did.
Through her commitment and leadership, Dr. Kaur established a care unit that was not only gaining recognition beyond Lancaster, but a place that was renowned for its level of quality care thanks to her vision and determination. Despite her unconscionable workload, Dr. Kaur never took on a case without applying her personal touch of love and compassion. This book is truly a testament to her legacy. Specifically, in 2002, the hospital recognized Dr. Kaur’s unfaltering achievements and awarded her a prestigious honor by naming the neonatal division at the Women and Babies Hospital the ‘Manjeet Kaur MD Division of Neonatology.’
When I was first approached to read and review Dr. Kaur’s book, my thought was: I have to do this. My mother has passed, but I have fond memories of the years when she would share her stories and experiences while working as a nurse in the NICU of Plantation General Hospital. Dr. Kaur has done an epic job of chronicling the first breaths taken by premature babies whose birth, by all accounts, defied survival. Not only did these little miracles survive, many grew up to become quite accomplished adults. Dr. Kaur’s voice resonates throughout this book and through her words, she has painted a beautiful ‘garden of flowers’—the ‘flowers’ depicting the premature babies she treated. There is a vast array of articles, photographs, and personal stories of the surviving babies and their families and tender moments of reunions year after year with Dr. Kaur—a gift the good doctor was graced with each time she saw her miracle babies who fought tremendous odds and won. While I was blessed years ago with two full-term and thriving ‘baby girls,’ this book is a must for all the women out there whose little bundle of joy simply couldn’t wait for full gestation. Well done Dr. Kaur. This is an outstanding book.
Quill says: My Garden of Flowersis an exceptional read. It offers a bounty of beautiful accounts of the miracle of birth that are anchored with faith and the will to live.
For more information on My Garden of Flowers: Miracles in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,please visit the book's website at: mygardenofflowers.wordpress.com
Sleeping BeautiesBy: Stephen King and Owen King
Publication Date: September 2017
Reviewed By: Ellen Feld
Review Date: June 26, 2019
A world where all the women have fallen asleep, wrapped securely in cocoons, while the men fight it out in a somewhat barbaric fashion takes center stage in a novel co-written by the father-and-son team of Stephen and Owen King.
Sleeping Beautiesopens in the small town of Dooling, somewhere in Appalachia (surprise - not Maine!), where the local sheriff, Lila Norcross, keeps tabs on the petty crimes common in rural America. Her husband, Clint Norcross, is the senior psychiatric officer at the Dooling Correctional Facility for Women. They have a son, Jared, and are relatively happily married. After several chapters where the authors introduce the various players in this novel (and there are a lot of them!), the action starts. It seems there has been an accident at a local meth spot, that is quickly re-dubbed a multiple murder site. As Lila is rushing to the scene, she almost hits a woman on a side road. Stopping to help the woman, Lila soon handcuffs the strange woman when it becomes apparent that this unusual person is on some type of PCP...or something and is in need of help.
Evie, as the strange woman is dubbed, is taken to the women's prison for evaluation. At the same time, a strange affliction has taken over women on the other side of the world...and is quickly making its way to the United States. When women, and only women, fall asleep, they are enveloped by an odd white cocoon of a weird, sticky substance. They continue to breathe, and appear unharmed, but if disturbed, and the cocoon is ripped open, these women become extremely violent and kill everyone near them. As the virus, plague, or whatever it is, advances toward Dooling, Lila and the other women struggle to stay awake.
One by one the women in Dooling fall asleep, as the town erupts in chaos. Like the others, Lila eventually succumbs, and with that, Part One of this novel comes to an end. The second part deals with the men as they break up into two camps - one at the prison that is willing to risk all to protect Evie, who they are convinced is at the center of the outbreak, now called "The Aurora." The other group of men, led by a somewhat violent man determined to save his little girl and free her from her cocoon, is convinced that Evie needs to be captured, and sent to the CDC, or maybe killed or...? As the battle at the prison heats up, the reader learns that the women who have been "cocooned" are not dead, but instead have been transported to a parallel universe or perhaps a time in the future (it's not really clear and left up to the reader to figure out). They establish a civilization and seem to be living in an almost perfect place. But as often happens, things do go wrong.
The premise of Sleeping Beautiesis definitely unique and makes for a fun read. Now in development for a limited television series, it's no surprise as the typical "creep factor" so common to King's novels is present. Some readers may not like the fact that we never learn what, or who, Evie is, but rather are left to speculate on some possibilities suggested by the authors. Readers familiar with Stephen King's writing will likely notice a slight difference between the storytelling here as his son Owen takes on much of the tale (it was Owen who came up with the original idea). The novel is long, at slightly over 700 pages, and there are sections that seem to drag a bit, such as the battle at the prison. That's common in many of King's novels, and something most of his fans are willing to overlook. As previously mentioned, there are a lot of characters in this book and perhaps because of that, the character development is a bit lacking. But overall, it is a fun, unique novel that follows the format that King is so well-known for that will satisfy his readers.
Quill says: While not the "best of the best" of Stephen King's novels, Sleeping Beautiesis definitely a satisfying read for fans of the "King," and of the genre.