Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Christianity, Reading



A debut novel…historical fiction, the first in the series — “A Hidden Masterpiece Novel.”  A fine novel woven on today’s Manhattan, New York, warp threads, interwoven with Austrian Nazi WWII weft threads.   It is lovely with each chapter’s focus back and forth from one era to the other, tying each strand together as the weaving is being formed in words.

The story centers around a painting that Sera James, a Manhattan art dealer, saw when she was a girl.  It was a portrait of a young violinist with beautiful blue eyes.  Tied into the Manhattan, New York, chapters is William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul who has a connection to this painting.

Adele Von Bron is the daughter of a high-ranking member of the Third Reich who is a talented violinist in Austria, extremely well-loved by the Austrian aristocracy.  She is invited to play with the Vienna Philharmonic where she meets Vladimir, the son of a merchant who also plays in the orchestra.  He is below the status that Adele’s parents desire for her, yet they spend time together as often as they are able.  As Hitler’s destructive progress engulfs Austria, Adele and Vladimir begin smuggling Jews from Austria, risking lives, leading to horrific changes for both.

Sera is thorough and diligent as she unravels the intricacies of Adele’s life and the background of the painting which is at the very center of this story.

Ms. Cambron interlaces these two stories beautifully.  Love, faith, courage, music, and art dance together, and alongside, some of the history of 1938 when Adolf Hitler advances on Austria is intertwined.  I enjoy historical fiction, and it seems that history of the Holocaust has taken up residence in some of my reading of late.   This is one novel, a debut novel yet, that I am so thankful I did not miss.


RT Nominee* Named to Best in Christian Fiction, 2014 –  Library Journal Reviews

* Nominee, Inspirational Novel of 2014  —  RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards

*Nominee, Best Debut Novel –  2015 INSPY Awards


Kristy Cambron “fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller.”

“Kristy is a Speaker and Art/Design Manager at The GROVE, and holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons….”  She can be found @

“Her second novel, A SPARROW IN TEREZIN, was named to Library Journal Reviews Best of 2015 list, and received a nomination for RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best Inspirational Book of 2015. Kristy’s third historical novel, THE RINGMASTER’S WIFE, will release from HarperCollins Christian Publishing in June, 2016.”

“The last and most important thing?  Everyone has a story– you can read Our Story here. In ours, we’ve found one truth: Jesus Christ is faithful. I’d love to tell you about Him sometime. <><”  (from her websites)


Book Information

ISBN-13:  9781401690595

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Publication date:  07/15/2014

Series:  The Hidden Masterpiece Series, #1


Product dimensions:5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)




linking up with:  Teach Mentor Texts, Unleashing Readers, The Book Date, Literacy Musing Mondays, What to Read Wednesday, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Kid Lit Blog Hop, Booknificent ThursdaysLiterary Friday, Semicolon Saturday, Reading List/Cozy Reading SpotBook Review Blog Hop

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading



Henry loses Raspberry, his toy rabbit, his do-everything-together companion.  His parents help Henry search the house and the yard high and low to no avail.

Then he asks his grandfather who gives him this answer: “You just have to imagine that Raspberry is with you—in this moment!”

So, Henry, believing his grandfather knew “more than anyone else who had ever lived,” began to imagine that Raspberry was with him.  Henry imagined that he and Raspberry were explorers, mountain climbers, pirates, astronauts, and dragon catchers.  Henry’s imagination kept his faithful friend right alongside of him….until….  Yes, this story reaches an happy conclusion.

The illustrations are unique.  Nic George used pen with black ink to draw the simple sketches on manilla-colored paper.  As a photographer, Nic produced the pages using pieces of shrubbery, salt shaken and formed into a cave around a drawing, clothespins as crocodiles, fabric swirled around the crocodiles to resemble the sea, and other objects and ingredients forming collages, background and foreground.  He adds color via these photographed additions, calling his use of these various mediums ‘mixed.”  It is an interesting journey for the eye.

The website for this book is @

What I am not pleased with is that the author makes it sound like believing makes everything we ask for come true.  The words “Ask.  Believe.  Receive.” are written on the book’s website.  For children, they ask for what they want or hope for which is not always in line with the way things really happen or along the same vein as what the parents or God want for that child.  It is more like the old line from my childhood of “wishing on a star.”  There may be some disappointments just like we, as adults, have come to find in our lives.

Reading Level:  4 – 8 Years

Skye Byrne is originally from Australia.  She studied Professional Writing before moving to California to be the Writer and Production Assistant for “The Secret.”  She is currently the Senior Editor and Executive Producer with the company.  This is her first children’s book. 
“The Secret’s” website is


Nic George is also originally from Australia, and now living in California.  His background is in Fine Arts and Design.  He is the Creative Director and an Illustrator for “The Secret.”

Book Information: 
ISBN-13: 9781481406260
Publisher:  Aladdin
Publication date: 10/20/2015
Pages: 40
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.30(d)



Posted in Adult Fiction, Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading



What a hoot!  This rendition of Clement C. Moore’s classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is so original, dedicated “For all the overworked underpaid librarians.”  And it is a perfect fit!

A read for children?  Probably not!  But…it is for adults, especially for librarians, library staff, literary buffs, readers who still use public libraries!  Filled with library terms, this poem is a work along the lines of Mr. Davis’ other “Night Before Christmas” series (Nurse’s, Lawyer’s, Cowboy’s, etc.).  He weaves interlibrary loans, “Hawthorne, Jane Austen, Steinbeck, and Millay,” book carts, Newbery, Caldecott, New York bestseller, “Dewey and his decimal system,” overdue fines…and more…in and throughout the poetic lines!  Thus, you can see why adults would appreciate this whimsical book far more than a child who would be anticipating the original “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

As we turn to the first page, we see a librarian with a tired, sad face shelving books on Christmas Eve.  There are children still in the library reading, totally enchanted by their books.

‘Twas a cold Yuletide evening, and I wandered the stacks,

Shelving multiple titles that the patrons brought back.

We toiled overtime at our library here,

‘Cause the powers that be cut our staffing this year. 

They spent pork-barrel money like a tidal-wave seas,

But no funds trickled down far enough to reach me.


And thus we begin!

But Santa comes flying in from atop the trees in his red bookmobile, rocket a-flare and an helicopter blade a-spinning.  Upon landing, the doors open wide while elves jump out with stacks of books in their hands.  The library is ‘the little one’ who receives the gifts this year…books in all genres, decorations for Christmas, a new carpet, pictures for the walls, and even a story time to the real children by Santa Claus.

The wording is so clever and fitting of the financial times for most library systems in the country…

“For the book-budget cutters, Old Claus had no plan,

‘Cause if they could read, they just read Ayn Rand.”

The artwork is filled with exceptional detail, including the twinkling eyes, splendidly expressed on Santa.  There are tiny stories told between the lines in artful manner (or as PBS’ series is titled–“Between the Lions” know…those two lions on either side of the gate as you walk in the library?  TeeHee!  I just got my own double entendre!).  Jim Harris, the illustrator, does a masterful job at bringing the poem to visual life through his colorful and lighthearted characters as well as the library’s decor.  Take your time in the reading because you will want to really look at the illustrations.

Reading Level:  5 – 8 Years, but really for the adult reading audience and librarians!

David Davis grew up in San Antonio, Texas.  He writes Travels with Grandpaw, his graphic art stories about old time Texas, now featured on his website.

He authored Jazz Cats and Ten Redneck Babies, both of which were named to the Children’s Choice Top 100 List.  Jazz Cats was also a finalist for the Texas Golden Spur Award.

Mr. Davis has published pen-and-ink artwork, cartoons, poems, humor, and short stories in various magazines and newspapers.

He’s been a featured author at the Texas Library Association Convention and the Texas Book Festival.  He lives in Forth Worth, Texas.

More information about him and the books he writes can be found @


Jim Harris was born in 1955 in North Carolina, now residing in Upper Moutere, New Zealand.  He has illustrated and written children’s books, with more than three million copies in print. His books are best known for their detailed and humorous depictions of animal and human characters.

Jim Harris’s delightful artwork has brought smiles to the pages of original books and classic retellings, such as The Tortoise and the Hare, Rapunzel, and The Three Little Pigs. 

He uses watercolor, oil, acrylic and gouache paintings and pencil drawings.

Many of Mr. Harris’ books have won awards too numerous to list in this space.

This website is filled with Mr. Harris’ art  —

The publisher of this book has information about Mr. Harris @

Book Information:
ISBN-13: 9781589803367
Publisher:  Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/28/2007
Series: Night Before Christmas Series
Pages: 32
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)




Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading

Jan Brett’s Many Books


These are just twelve of Jan Brett’s forty-plus books that she has written and illustrated (Jan Brett’s Book List).  I am not reviewing a particular book today because she has so many that are oriented towards the Christmas season and the chill of a winter snow.  If you have never looked into one of Jan’s books, I encourage you to spend some time pondering the incredible illustrations.  You are in for a treat.  The detail of each page is so minute: the characters’ facial expressions, including the animals, the scenery, the costumes, and so much more.  There are often sidebars on the pages with little acts of the story going on there.  Each page is filled with color, costume, characters, surrounded by the natural world.  Plus, Jan Brett tells a story, often a long-known fairy tale or a tale (with a tail) of her own.

Jan and her husband travel around the world.  When she does, she absorbs the dress and the colors that the people wear, the natural surroundings, and the art of that area.  Then she transfers all of that into her books.  The characters wear the dress of a certain people, the natural world is drawn and colored in the way she saw it in one particular area, and the story is set in that scene.

Reading Jan Brett’s books are meant for a one-on-one story time rather than being read to a large group.  I was a children’s librarian for a few years and found that I could not use her books well in a group setting.  The stories were good, but there is so much to look at and the drawings are so detailed that no one but the reader can see just what is going on all over the pages.  You will want to sit in a cozy nook to read this with your child or children.  Each page will draw you back for many-a-look to find the delightful details, finding something you missed the last time.

On the page I have linked in the first paragraph above, each book on her list tells where the story is set and that is a great guide to the type of costume and scenery you will find there.

Reading level range of all books:  from age 1 to about 8


“With over thirty nine million books in print, Jan Brett is one of the nation’s foremost author illustrators of children’s books.  Jan lives in a seacoast town in Massachusetts, close to where she grew up.  During the summer her family moves to a home in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts.

“As a child, Jan Brett decided to be an illustrator and spent many hours reading and drawing.  She says, ‘I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books. Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I’m drawing really exists. The detail in my work helps to convince me, and I hope others as well, that such places might be real.’

“As a student at the Boston Museum School, she spent hours in the Museum of Fine Arts. ‘It was overwhelming to see the room-size landscapes and towering stone sculptures, and then moments later to refocus on delicately embroidered kimonos and ancient porcelain,’ she says.

“Travel is also a constant inspiration. Together with her husband, Joe Hearne, who is a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jan visits many different countries where she researches the architecture and costumes that appear in her work. ‘From cave paintings to Norwegian sleighs, to Japanese gardens, I study the traditions of the many countries I visit and use them as a starting point for my children’s books.'”  ***

You can find Jan @

On that site, you can find activities galore, coloring pages, games, and cards.  The learning activities and games are not only focused on her stories, but on math and reading skills, phonics, sight words, and so much more.  You will be amazed.  Under “Blogs ‘n’ Books,” you will find links to units based around her books.  Jan writes the monthly blog post herself under “Jan Brett’s Blog.”

I hope you will check out some of Jan’s books.  They just might encourage an artist-to-be!




***  Bio taken from her website @