Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: Little Green: Arnold Rudnick and Illustrated by Marcelo Gorenman

Acceptance, understanding and tolerance are very important to young children and even to adults. Being part of a group, joining a club or even just having fun with a group of friends can be difficult if those in the group do not recognize you for who or what you are. At times even as adults we find that meeting new people can put a strain on us and our own outlook on life if those new acquaintances have any prejudices against race, religion, monetary status and appearance. Children often do the same when someone is overweight, not pretty, has difficulty learning or is not someone they think fits in. Meet Little Green a turtle that will not only inspire young readers but adults too to Believe In Yourself and Who you are!

Little Green was sitting in the center of a swamp when he saw a group of geese flying by. Little Green just wanted to be special and accepted so he joined the group and wanted to learn how to fly. The Great Goose was instructing his students and Little Green listened as he told them to stretch their wings and fly. But, when he asked a question the question of what happens if he does not have wings the response was quite startling. Great Goose seemed appalled and said reminded Little Green that he is not a goose. But, stating that maybe he was a good without wings and he definitely seemed inspired to learn how to fly. But, not being a goose did not help his cause and his question just made the Great Goose angry who told him to leave. He could not stay because he was different. So, he hopped away and guess what! He found and saw some horses. The Head Horse praised all of the foals for trying hard and meeting their goals. Encouraging them that they can win races, do things that are tough changed when Little Green asked about Hooves and said that he did not have one. Can it be that he’s a horse without hooves? Head Horse thought about it and then told him to leave and be on his way. The same thing happens when he goes to a nearby lake and sees a school of Koi. King Koi is instructing the students and teaching them to swim. Explaining that everyone wins and that they were not racing until Little Green asks a question and you have to read to find out what happens next.

The authors bring the story to life with the dialogue and the illustrations help readers understand the emotions that come through in each situation as you look into Little Green’s eyes. Where he goes next and what happens will make readers smile as he finds a group that just might be where he needs to be and just maybe might accept him. Father Frog is patient and when Little Green explains what happened before he tells him he tells him in simple words that everyone will understand: Almost anything is possible when you give it all you’ve got, except that you cannot be something that you are not!

What happens to Little Green as time passes you will have to learn that for yourself? What happens when someone different wants to join his group? Will they accept someone that is not like them? Acceptance is important to all children and even adults. Learning how to be who you are and accepting yourself the way you are is an important lesson learned in this book. So, teachers, parents, children, guidance counselors and adults of all ages look long and hard, deep within yourself, accept others for who they are and you just might find that you are inspired, determined and know that anything is possible: There just might be a Little Green in all of  US!

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Check out some of the new Summer movies - Reviews by Melissa Keir

 
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Looking for a feel good movie that will have you laughing out loud? Pitch Perfect 2 is just that movie! It seldom takes itself seriously. I give it an A. 


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The Bella's are back, and they are better than ever. After a leotard mishap at the President’s birthday celebration, the team needs to get their act in gear and win the International Competition. But the girls have a lot on their minds and their singing suffers for it! In order to win, they need to regroup and recharge and learn to harmonize again. 


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Rebel Wilson is the new Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett. Her comedic skills showcase physical comedy as well as amazing wisecracks. Then there’s the Acapella hosts, John and Gail! They have no filters or tact. Some of the most outrageous lines are theirs! In fact, Elizabeth Banks who played Gail is actually the director of the movie! And without spoiling anything, there are some wonderful guest appearances! Keep your eyes peeled!


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Having not seen the first movie, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. This movie stood on its own. The message of girl power and working together is one that everyone needs these days. While the movie does feature some raunchy adult humor, most children won’t understand it. So don’t be afraid to bring your whole family. 

 
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When does intelligence occur? Can a robot think for him or herself? The premise behind Ex Machina is a study in when does sentient life begin? I give it a B+.


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Caleb is an upcoming hot programmer who wins a week retreat with the CEO only to find out that the trip isn’t what it seems. When there, he’s asked to determine if a sexy robot is really sentient or just running her programming. Ava becomes more than just a robot to Caleb. She worms her way into his mind.

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This movie is twisted, with mystery and surprises. Viewers won’t see them coming. It keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat because you learn to not trust anyone at face value. It’s a very intellectual movie, and does have a large amount of drinking and nudity (I felt bad for the young child who’s family brought him).


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I found the movie to be intriguing but I hated the CEO. He wasn’t a nice person and each time he came on the screen, I wanted to see him hit with a club. There wasn’t anything redeeming about him. He’s supposed to be the CEO of a Google like search site but comes off as a bully with a God complex. Without spoilers, I also was disappointed with the ending, too contrite and quick to wrap it up, leaving the main character at a loss.


 
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We’ve waited over a year to see the latest Avenger’s movie, but they don’t give us all the answers. Only more questions. I give Avengers: Age of Ultron an A. From the very first scene, Joss Whedon keeps you on the edge of your seat with amazing action. There are whole towns demolished in this Marvel movie.

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Tony Stark is afraid that another alien race will come to Earth again putting everyone in danger. So he creates an artificial intelligent program to protect the world, but of course something goes wrong. Trust breaks among the Avengers team. Too many alpha males.

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Ultron sees the human race as flawed and that only through elimination, will life be better. He believes machines and himself to be better than humans. And it will take the whole team-along with some old favorites to defeat him.

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Age of Ultron gives moviegoers a glimpse at the past of the Black Widow and a look at Hawkeye’s secret life. It also introduces us to two new characters: Quicksilver and his sister The Scarlet Witch. Of course Stan Lee has a cameo and many hints of future events in upcoming movies are implied. Snarky comments abound and this movie has as many laughs as action moments. Those were some of my favorite moments. 

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I loved the movie but it didn’t live up to the hype or maybe my own expectations. I felt let down at the ending, maybe it’s because we don’t really have a happy ending or that it doesn’t feel like they triumphed. But I am anxious to see what the future Marvel Universe movies hold.

 
Directed and starring Russell Crowe, The Water Diviner brings to life one man’s search for his missing sons during World War I. I found it enthralling and give it an A.
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Joshua Connor is a man so in tune with the land that he can find water beneath the bedrock. When his sons are reported killed in WWI, he tries to move forward but his wife is unable to handle the loss of her sons. When she dies, he finally agrees to bring them home, even though it means heading to Turkey which is still involved in major conflicts. The Water Diviner is based on real life inspired events and will have you wanting to know more about the fall of the Ottoman Empire.


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It’s hard to categorize this movie. It’s a war piece, it’s a romance, it’s a sweeping epic…it’s all those things. Along the lines of Brad Pitt’s Fury, it doesn’t hide the harsh realities of battle, nor does it glorify it. We do see a seldom seen part of WWI, the point of view of the Turkish people and their amazing history. 

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Russell Crowe does a nice job sharing small pieces of the big picture as the movie unfolds and you find out more and more, like a hidden picture or puzzle. The Water Diviner will have you reaching for a tissue but will also make you laugh out loud with the outrageousness of the Grandfather and believe in a second chance at love and redemption.


 
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Paul Blart attends a security conference in Vegas which is just the thing to help him get over the loss of his mother and his new bride leaving him. I suggest that if you want to lose your money, go to the casino rather than this movie. I give Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 a D. 


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I grew up watching great physical comedians from Lucille Ball to Carol Burnett, from Jerry Lewis to the Chevy Chase. Kevin James isn't one of them. He tries to be funny as a mall security guard who thinks more of himself than reality is in this story written by James and produced by Adam Sandler. Yet the story was trite. Bad guys are stealing the Wynn art collection to get back at losing money at the resort and only Blart and his band of guards can stop them. 

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I know that the first Mall Cop was a cult favorite but in this story all the typical comedic parts are there from the bad guy with two different colored eyes who thinks he’s crazy, to James’ stumbling , bumbling accidents. There’s a fight with a bird while a man continues to play the piano and a chase scene on a modified Segway. Gun’s that misfire as well as all the bad guys being such horrible shots to miss everyone!

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I didn’t even crack a smile during the movie and while I saw a lot of YOUNG children at the theater, I wouldn’t recommend it for children under 10. Better yet, go spend the money to take the kids to see Cinderella again or take them to a picnic lunch.


 
“Love requires sacrifice... always”…Nicolas Sparks’ movies are guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings and The Longest Ride does just that. Much like his movie The Notebook, this story shows flashbacks of another relationship, which mirrors Sophia and Luke’s blooming relationship. I give the story a B+.

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There were two reasons I wanted to see this movie- Scott Eastwood and to see how Mr. Sparks’ cowboys compare to my own cowboys in the best-selling western romance books Cowboy Up and Cowboy Up 2.


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Luke, a champion bull-rider who is sidelined with an injury tries to regain his top standing the Pro-Bull Riding circuit. Sophia’s an art student who’s leaving for an internship in NYC in two months. The two are opposites who connect. We see their love story play out amongst the letters and remembrance of Ira (played by Alan Alda) and Ruth’s relationship.


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Scott Eastwood looks so much like his father that you close your eyes and you’re watching The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly if it was a sappy romance. The bull-riding scenes will have you gasping and wishing for your own sexy cowboy. But the storyline is predictable and while it does have a happy ending, like most Nicolas Sparks’ movies, it leaves you in tears. I liked Ruth and Ira’s romance more than Luke and Sophia’s. Their love was one that stood the test of time, sacrifice, and even death. Alan Alda is perfect for this role! 


The Longest Ride refers to being married forever...this movie is sure to appeal to women who love romance and believe in the strength of love, so see it with your girlfriends. 

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On It's Story Time: Little Green by Arnold Rudnick & Mikey's Bad Day by Cheryl A Johnson, Plus Book Picks with Agy Wilson.

On It's Story Time:  Little Green by Arnold Rudnick  & Mikey's Bad Day by  Cheryl A Johnson, Plus Book Picks with Agy Wilson.

Little Green ~ Little Green Frog hops out of the pond, looking for a
way to be special.  He sees other animals, with their special skills, and asks "Isn't it possible?" he can be a goose, horse or koi.
Little Green introduces young readers to animal groups, traits and skills
while he learns that ALMOST anything is possible.
Buy:  www.amazon.com/dp/0981587976
Arnold Rudnick's site: http://isntitpossible.com/





                                             &

Mikey's Bad Day~ Mikey's Bad Day is a story of a little
five year old boy who is struggling to remember the do's and don'ts that he's been taught. He's smart and energetic and has a great sense of humor but sometimes he makes mistakes. He finds out that by making a few mistakes, people can learn a whole lot, and what he thought was a not so nice day turned out to be fine.

Buy: www.createspace.com/5447705
Cheryl A Johnson's: www.mishandfriends.com/







Plus, Book Picks with Author Agy Wilson.     www.agywilson.com/

 It's Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park


Show site: itsstorytimeforkids.blogspot.com/2015/05/on-its-story-time-little-green-by.html#.VVuVFPlViko
Listen at: www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2015/05/26/its-story-time-jd-holiday-on-world-of-ink-network-526

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mom's Home Cooking -



Chocolate Cherry Brownie Cake
Pam well remembers this recipe. There was going to be a bake sale — something about the youth group Pam was in, and Mom helped her bake this two layer cake. Well, Pam was running late and didn’t have time for the cake to cool as long as it should have, so chocolate chips were still soft when she frosted it. Later that week, the person who purchased the cake at the sale came up to Mom to say how clever Pam had been to put a layer of chocolate in the middle of the cake; Mom just let the compliment ride.
1 pkg of chocolate pudding mix (not instant)
1 box of Chocolate Cherry Cake Mix
1 C maraschino cherries
1 C nuts, chopped
1 pkg Nestl├ęs chocolate chips
Whipped cream or frosting
Cook pudding as directed on package. Let cool.
Mix in cake mix, cherries, and nuts.
Put in prepared cake pan(s) and sprinkle with chips.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Frost or serve with whipped cream.

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