Review: The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail by John Spaziani

The Blogging Owl starts the New Year off with a book review for young readers that I ran across on Twitter. The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail, An Environmental Tale, written and illustrated by John Spaziani, published by Mascot Books, Herndon, VA, © 2016.

I never read other reader reviews before purchasing books for writing my own reviews. I purchased this book from Amazon.com.

Johnny Thumbnail.jpg

I was intrigued with reading this book with the premise to teach young children about nature and preserving the environment for its inhabitants. The author, John Spaziani is a retired teacher from upstate New York who (like myself) is concerned with the current state and the future of our natural environment. The book is written for grade levels 1 to 2. This is Mr. Spaziani’s first book.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The author illustrated the beginning and other parts of the book for young readers who may wish to color the pages. The author cautions the readers to use colored pencils instead of crayons or markers without any explanation as to why.

The illustrations are fun and appropriate

Whether in black and white or in color, the author’s illustrations are well done, fun and appropriate for grade levels 1 to 2. I would love to color the pages myself. However, the story line is somewhat stilted with confusing transitions from Johnny’s experiences from one animal to the next.

A book that tries to do too much

While the illustrations become beautifully colored pictures, I didn’t really care much for the author’s writing. The book suddenly goes from a black and white coloring story book to z story book written in large paragraphs and the story continues to be a bit difficult to follow.

On the other hand, there is a great story here. I just think the author tried to do too much with the format of the book. Is it a coloring book that involves the reader in learning about the animals that live in nature through the eyes of Johnny Thumbnail, or is it a story for a slightly older reader (3 to 4 grade levels) to understand how they, as individuals, and through the eyes of Johnny Thumbnail can make an impact on preserving nature and wildlife?

“A” for illustrations, “B” for storytelling, “C” for execution

With a good editor, this would be a great book for children. I love the author’s passion for teaching children about nature and the environment. I can see it hidden there between the lines and I hope Mr. Spaziani continues to work on his illustrations and storytelling craft.

Hoot Rating:

Genre: Children’s Books, Education and Reference

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, children’s book, The Amazing Journey of Johnny Thumbnail, An Environmental Tale, written and illustrated by John Spaziani earned 3-Hoot Rating

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 3 hoots

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

2018! Get ready, set, turn the page

My husband, Vinny Sal marvels how I can read more than one book at a time. Well, not really AT THE SAME time, but I usually am reading 3 books. I may be reading a reference book, a book of poetry and an inspirational book. Or, I may be reading a crime mystery, a collection of short stories, and a horror novel. Since the 3 books are not from the same genre that is why it isn’t difficult for me to have 3 books going at the same time.

sshh trying to read

A new year. A new book journal.

I already have my reading and book journal started for 2018. Of late, I have been using Moleskine’s XL Cahier Journals for all my different journals. These Moleskine journals are flexible but sturdy and fit nicely into my messenger bag AKA purse. (I detest technology journals of any kind. It is easier for me to write than tap, tap, tap and fuss with auto-correct! For the love of scotch! Where’s my fountain pen?)

In the front of the journal I write the date, the book’s title and the book’s author that I am reading. And starting on the back page of the journal, I list the books that sound interesting or that I want to read. When the front of the journal and the back of the journal meet, I start a new book journal.

Reading Challenges

These past weeks I have been searching online for a reading challenge list. One that I found interesting was from www.naturalbeachliving.com:

52-Week-Reading-Challenge-PDF-768x994
Another good reading challenge list is from children’s author, Julie Stroebel Barichello’s website, https://juliestroebelbarichello.com. She ran across the following excellent reading list in 2015 from the Goodwill Librarian’s Facebook page:

goodwill-librarian

2018 Reading Goal

My goal here at The Blogging Owl is to post more book reviews than last year. As I have mentioned in my previous blog post, my preference is to read new authors who have just published their first book although I’m not fussy. I just like finding new authors to love!

These reading challenge lists help me to expand my search in different genres and reading age levels. The Blogging Owl posts hoot ratings from 1 to 5 on book reviews here and shared on social media. I also post reviews on the Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble websites.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

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Happy Reading!

The Blogging Owl

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

The Blogging Owl’s Favorite Author for 2017

It would be an understatement to say I read a lot of books. My preference is to read new authors who have just published their first book although I love the classics and seasoned authors too. This past year I read some great first books and not all of them were published in 2017. But after reading many books this year, there is no doubt that Allen Eskens is my favorite author for 2017.

Allen Eskens is the best at reader foreplay

The first book I read by Mr. Eskens was his first book published in 2014 by Seventh Street Books, Amherst, NY, The Life We Bury. My initial attraction to the book was the title. Don’t we all have a life we have buried or would like to? I was also familiar with the book’s geographical setting in Minneapolis as I have traveled there often for business.

Eskens is a criminal defense attorney that lends credibility to his stories in the crime mystery genre. Not only does he know his topic, but the author is great at character and plot development. When I say he is the best at reader foreplay, he takes his time with the story with enough intrigue and surprises to causing the reader to impatiently want more but yet at the same time not wanting the story to end.

I couldn’t wait to meet up with another of Mr. Eskens novels again so I hurriedly purchased his next two novels, The Guise of Another published in 2015 and The Heavens May Fall published in 2016. These next two meetings were even better than his debut novel. In all of the four Eskens books I read in 2017, a few of the characters reappear in each novel. And what I love best about what Eskens has done with each of his novels is the storytelling stands on its own. The reader need not read the first novel to understand and thoroughly enjoy the next novel, or the novel before for that matter. Each novel reading experience is pure bliss.

Deep Dark DescendingI pre-ordered his last novel that finally arrived on bookshelves last October, The Deep Dark Descending. Oh my dear, Mr. Eskens, dare I say it? Not only are you the best at reader foreplay, you are the best at the finish line too. The ending of each novel is not quite how the reader may anticipate but assuredly takes the reader’s breath away.

Rolling over and sipping the last in my scotch glass and wanting to light a cigarette (I don’t even smoke), how can each novel be better than the last? That’s what makes Allen Eskens my favorite author for 2017.

I do hope another Allen Eskens novel is in my future in 2018.

 

Sidebar: Blogging Owl Book Reviews

In 2017 a few authors sent me their books in exchange for an honest review in which I happily complied; however, in 2018, I will no longer accept this book-for-a-review arrangement. (I purchased all four Allen Eskens novels.)

If authors would like me to review their book, authors may email me at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com with the following criteria:

• The title of your book
• Honestly answer why you wrote the book you would like me to review
• Your publisher’s contact information

I respond to all emails. Because of the sheer volume of books I read, I cannot offer a deadline for when a review will be given. The Blogging Owl gives a 1 to 5 Hoot Rating.All book reviews are posted here at The Blogging Owl and shared on social media. I will also post book reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble websites. All genres and reading age-levels are considered.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale
The books I purchase for review either remain in my personal library or are donated to non-profit organizations, schools, and libraries. (Sorry, I am not giving up my Allen Eskens novels.)

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Happy Reading in 2018!

(and to better selfies)