Children’s Book of the Week: Thomas and the Lily Pond by Jane Whiteoak


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I am thrilled to introduce this week’s Children’s Book of the Week, Thomas and the Lily Pond by Jane Whiteoak. With enchanting animal characters, charming illustrations and a fast pace this enjoyable little book shows children how friendship ultimately will triumph over bullying tactics. Please read my review below.

Thomas and the Lily Pond - Book cover: Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

About the Book                                                   Thomas and the Lily Pond is a book about bullying for children ages 4-6 yrs. old. A group of animals are living very contentedly in a forest until the arrival of a large outspoken frog, named Bruno. He attempts to manipulate the group through flattery and ultimately directs his insults at a docile, hardworking Turtle named Thomas. The group follow the directive of the bullying frog due to peer pressure, ultimately getting involved in a food heist at night! Bruno’s ultimate goal is to take over the lily pond completely for himself; he is almost successful! Chaos erupts when a huge storm arrives and most of them end up fighting for their lives in the water. Thomas does not hesitate to try and save them.                                                                                                                                About the Author                                                                                                         Jane Whiteoak has worked in media and communications for over thirty years. After her son had completed University, she changed careers, went back to school and became a Montessori teacher. She has always had a great respect and love for children and had started writing books for children, in health related areas, for a Company when she first started working, years ago. Thomas and the Lily Pond is Jane’s first e-book. Martin the Christmas Mouse, will be on Amazon KDP within the next few weeks. It is her second e-book. The illustrator for Jane’s books was a former amateur and pro-boxer. Interestingly, Ray Henderson was also a professional graphic artist and did work in advertising. His father was a professional artist from Kent, England. Jane and Ray collaborate on books together; he has a unique style with  animated animal characters.

My Review of Thomas and the Lily Pond
Thomas the turtle has a life that verges on perfection.  Idyllic home, lots of good things to eat and wonderful friends. Until, that is, the arrival of Bruno; an over-sized, overbearing and overtly Machiavellian frog.
Bruno arrives unannounced at Thomas’ lily pond one day, and with much blandishment and no small amount of  intimidation, manages to draft all the other animals onto his team, with each soon vying for his attention. But sadly, he turns on Thomas, whose friends, eager to stay in Bruno’s good books, and slightly overwhelmed by him, side with Bruno against Thomas and drive him away from the pond he loves so much. Bruno’s motivation is two-fold. He not only wants the pond for himself but he also wants the little animals to do his sneaky bidding. Thomas, he declares, is too ‘pokey’ to be bothered with.
I am pleased to say, Bruno does get his comeuppance and there is a happy ending.
Aside of the well-written narrative, another notable thing about Thomas and the Lily Pond are the illustrations by artist Ray Henderson. Original, colourful and bold, they complement the story beautifully – and there are plenty of them. There are some lovely descriptions by the author of the various animals too, making it easy for children to learn about different species.
At a time when we hear so much about bullying, Jane Whiteoak’s delightful book would be a most appropriate addition to any child’s bookshelf.  But it is not only about bullying – the story is also about friendship and how doing the right thing usually wins through in the end. It is a great little book to read aloud to small children, and I can just see them all cheering in Thomas’ corner. Nobody likes a bully!
Whilst the book is perfectly suited to the age group it is aimed at, I also feel children up to ten or more will enjoy it too.
I highly recommend this book and hope to be able read more of this author’s work soon.

Buy on Amazon    Flurries of Words    Author Page-Amazon    Under The Whiteoak Tree

Thomas and the Lily Pond - sample image- Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

GO away Thomas, let our new friend live here on his own.

Thomas and the Lily Pond - sample image - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

They stuffed themselves so much that they could hardly move…

Thomas and the Lily Pond - sample image - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Everyone returned to the peaceful life they had once known, deep inside the forest.

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Children’s Book of the Week: A Dog Called Dog by Harri Romney


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A Dog Called Dog, this week’s Children’s Book of the Week, is a delightful book for young children.  Filled with appealing illustrations, drawn by author Harri Romney herself, the book shows children why sharing is so much better than being selfish. Please read my full review below.

About the book                                                                                                                                                                                                 Dog goes out for his usual walk one foggy morning.  His friends come to find him, but the unsociable hound is eating his bone, and barks at them to go away until he’s ready to play.  Dog eventually realises that his friends were trying to find him to come along and share their wonderful feast, but now they won’t share…Dog must rectify this situation.

About the Author by the Author                                                                                                                           I’m from the smallest county of Rutland in the UK.  I’m the author and illustrator of quite a few children’s picture books.  My trademark seems to have become, that I  create picture books which are mostly written in narrative verse, plus do hand illustrations using traditional pencils and paint pens.

My Review of A Dog Called Dog

A Dog Called Dog is an enjoyable little rhyming book filled with very charming illustrations drawn by the author herself. Well written and easy to understand, the young reader is taken on a walk with ‘Dog’ as he goes to the park and meets his friends, one by one. Quite determined not to be interrupted by any of them whilst enjoying his bone, he refuses to play with them. He soon realises what a mistake he has made.

The short narrative is well-written, and amusingly, the same sentence is repeated throughout at the end of each page, “Leave me alone to eat my nice bone. I don’t want to play, so go away!” reinforcing Dog’s attitude.

More importantly the book demonstrates to young children that being selfish and not sharing doesn’t pay dividends, and it is possible to distance friends this way. Dog’s attitude is not acceptable.

Although this would make an excellent book to read aloud to small children, emergent readers would have no difficulty reading this on their own.

It is sweet, visually pleasing and entertaining!

Buy amazon.com       Buy amazon.co.uk     More Books by Harri Romney      Website

An image from A Dog Called Dog - Children's Book of the Week on mungaiandthegoaconstrctor.me

Three dogs sat round a table;
there was one empty place,

An image from A Dog Called Dog - Children's Book of the Week on mungaiandthegoaconstrctor.me

Reginald sniffed him out at the park,
so grumpy Dog yet again would bark.

An image from A Dog Called Dog - Children's Book of the Week on mungaiandthegoaconstrctor.me

A rude dog called Dog had a privileged life.
He was spoiled rotten by the doctor’s wife.

Children’s Book of the Week: Amazing Matilda – A Monarch’s Tale by Bette A Stevens


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This week I would like to share the work of Author Bette A. Stevens. Bette has both written and illustrated her ‘amazing’ book, Amazing Matilda – A Monarch’s Tale, and here you will be able to get a taste of what to expect – a wonderful story with beautiful illustrations.

Amazing Matilda - A Monarch's Tale - Book cover - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

About the Book                                                                                                                                                             This inspirational tale of a Monarch butterfly and her meadowland friends is the second children’s book written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. AMAZING MATILDA becomes discouraged when she is unable to fly during the early stages of her metamorphosis. But, this amazing Monarch never gives up on her dream. Encouraged by her meadowland friends, MATILDA learns that if she tries long enough and hard enough, she can do anything that she really wants to do. AMAZING MATILDA will inspire readers and listeners alike, not only to follow their own dreams, but to encourage others to do the same! – Courtesy of  Bette A. Stevens

About the Author

Bette A. Stevens received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Maine at Orono before embarking on graduate courses in Curriculum Studies at Chapman University in California. Following a rewarding career in the business world at a Maine-based construction company, she taught in elementary and middle school classrooms in California and Virginia. She and her husband are now retired and living in Central Maine, where they enjoy trips to the coast and gardening when they’re not renovating their 37-acre farmstead. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. Stevens enjoys gardening, walking, reading, writing, drawing, painting and  Read more…

My Review of  Amazing Matilda – A Monarch’s Tale                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      From the very first illustration I was hooked on this book. I am an absolute sucker for unique, hand-painted art work. The author did not disappoint here. And then came the tale; an engaging, informative and  touching tale about a caterpillar who became a beautiful, self-assured butterfly (full story from egg to imago).  When we first meet Matilda she is just emerging from her egg and her first and only wish is to fly, which, of course, she cannot do.   Her meadowland friends, seeing she has no wings, encourage her to be patient and not to give up, but to rely upon her instincts and to keep trying. They reinforce this advice by relating stories of their own efforts as youngsters. This book conveys a wonderful message to children. A message about patience and self-belief, and that if you have your heart set on something, and try hard enough, you will get there in the end. It is a beautifully written book and a worthy addition to any child’s bookshelf.

Get Your Copy on Amazon           See more books by Bette A. Stevens           Blog

Butterfly illustration from Amazing Matilda - A Monarch's Tale - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Up, up, up went Matilda, soaring high above …

Sparrow illustration from Amazing Matilda - A Monarch's Tale - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

“Why Matilda, me dear, you are amazing!”

An illustration of Matilda as an imago - from Amazing Matilda -A Monarch's Tale - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Before long, a green coverlet surrounded every bit of …

Children’s Book of the Week: Ode to Icky by Maranda Russell


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Another great find!  This week’s featured work is the delightful, Ode to Icky by Maranda Russell, which will undoubtedly appeal to young children and parents alike. With its lovable and lazy protagonist and its very resourceful heroine, I think many a young reader may be set to thinking about how to bulk out their pocket money – so keep a vigilant eye on the pets!

Ode to Icky by Maranda Russell - Illustrations by Nicolas Peruzzo - Book cover - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa ConstrictorAbout the Book                                            

Geared for ages 4-9, this is a cute, funny picture book about a stinky cat and a little girl who finds a way to cash in on her pet’s hygiene issues.

About the Author 

I am a 29-year-old foster parent, children’s writer, poet and writing teacher. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and of the Western Ohio Writers Association (WOWA). I spend most of my time reading, writing, hanging out with my family, playing with my 5 cats and organizing author presentations & writing workshops at schools... read more about Maranda

My Review of Ode to Icky  

Ode to Icky is a well-constructed story about a creative and resourceful little girl and her ‘banished to the backyard’ cat, who is, to say the very least, somewhat lax about his personal hygiene. Candy, the little girl, inspired after smelling the
newly purchased perfume of an older sibling, comes up with a money-spinning plan to utilise the disgusting Icky’s odour by turning it into ready cash. Sneaking up on Icky to put the plan into action is the simplest part, due to the fact that the cat is so lazy, all he does is eat and sleep all day. The rest takes a bit more imagination.                                           The wonderful illustrations, placed on every page, can almost tell the story by themselves, which is good for small children unable to read yet. Though I am quite sure many parents WILL be reading this to their children. So either way, the story will be delighted in by all.                                                                                                                                             Maranda Russell’s tale of Ode to Icky is sweet and funny, and will no doubtless be enjoyed by many a young child. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Amazon review from C. Chapman

“Creativity is at its best here. Candy is no doubt my hero, what’s a girl to do when a problem arises? Solve it creatively of course. Occasionally it does come with a few setbacks. Candy is a free spirited innovator who takes matters into her own hands to make the best out of an already stinky situation, until consequences rears its ugly head. However, Candy strikes me as the type who will learn from her mistakes but she won’t let it stifle who she is at heart. A free spirit. I enjoyed this wonderful story. Once again hooray for Ode To Icky.”

Get your copy on Amazon                See more books by Maranda Russell                Website        

Picture of Icky from 'Ode to Icky' - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

He hated doing anything other than sleeping

Picture of Candy and Icky from 'Ode to Icky' - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Candy sat down beside him and quietly cut off some of
Icky’s stinky, matted-down hair.

Children’s Book of the Week: A Father’s Wish – the Tale of King Big Bear the Fat by Christine Corretti


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I am extremely honoured to be able to share the work of fellow children’s author, Christine Corretti, here on my website. Christine is exceptionally talented. As well as authoring the delightful  A Father’s Wish – the Tale of King Big Bear the Fat, the first book in the King Big Bear the Fat series, she has also created all the illustrations for the same, by hand.

‘About’ – Courtesy of Christine Corretti

King Big Bear's Castle - sample image: Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa ConstrictorDiscover a unique world of fantasy, enchantment, beauty and learning for all ages in The Chronicles of King Big Bear.  Here, you will meet a royal figure who is hundreds of years old, but who never grows old!  The king will take you on a journey throughout history and even show you what his present day life is like.  As you shall see, his realm is filled with riches, and he is blessed with many animal friends and family.  It is no wonder that King Big Bear is called the Father of Nature, for he is deeply inspired by all things living and believes his duty is to protect and nurture life.  He wishes you will do the same.  Come in and explore the world of King Big Bear the Fat!

My Review of A Father’s Wish – the Tale of King Big Bear the Fat

A Father’s Wish is an enchanting tale about conservation and the protection of wolves. It is filled with adorable animal characters, save one, and beautiful illustrations. King Big Bear the Fat, our hero, starts to feel something is missing in his otherwise perfect life. With a little inadvertent help from his sister, he soon realises just what this is, and goes on to adopt a very lovable wolf cub. Unfortunately things don’t quite turn out the way he hopes. I found myself needing to read on in the hope of a happy ending here.

I would recommend this book for children of all ages. Parents are sure to enjoy reading this to smaller children and those old enough to read it themselves will, no doubt, take great delight in it. Definitely a 5 star read!

Read more reviews on Amazon                      Buy on Amazon                     Website

The King reading in his castle - An illustration by Christine Corretti

A Father's Wish - the Tale of King Big Bear the Fat - Book Cover - Children's Book Review on Mungai and the Goa Constrictor