Saturday, 1 August 2015

Sir Princess Petra's Talent Receives 5 Stars From Amazon Top 100 Reviewer

Review by Grady Harp, Amazon Top 100 Reviewer, 5 Stars

Canadian author Diane Mae Robinson freely states `My mission in life is to inspire children to believe in the magic within themselves, to become heroes, and to accomplish great things' and to that end she is proceeding with her series of richly detailed imaginative fantasies focusing on a young princess who feels the need to be a knight - thus the perhaps confusing title of Sir Princess Petra. Diane earned her journalism diploma from the Schools of Montreal and an advanced diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature in Connecticut. She also teaches art and writing in addition to her own primary interest of writing her own novels. Though young and new to the field of publishing she has already been awarded honors and medals. SIR PRINCESS PETRA'S TALENT is the second installment in this series of young adult fantasies.

For those of us who have yet to read the first book, Diane generously opens this second book with a very fine synopsis of Book 1 - always a sign that an author cares about her readers. Briefly, `At Longstride Castle, in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu, it is Princess Petra's ninth and royal birthday. Her father, King Longstride, has promised her anything her heart desires. Petra chooses to become a royal knight and protect her kingdom. (Thus far, Longstride castle has no knights as all of the silly soldiers are still trying to become knights.) After much commotion in the royal throne room, King Longstride has no choice but to grant her request. The royal rulebook says nothing about a girl becoming a knight but only that the proposed knight must perform a deed from a list of three. The choices are: to capture a crocodile and make his skin into a royal leather chair; to hush the howling, nasty dragon, Snarls, in the Forest of Doom; or to eat a roomful of raw onions.'
Petra takes option two and faces Snarls the dragon, but as in all fine fairy tales, the two become friends.Equally fine is the introduction to Book 2, so well written it bears quoting:' Over the last several months, Longstride Castle had become quite accustomed to having the only Princess Knight, well, the only knight actually, in the lands of Pen Pieyu. The king and queen held many parties in Petra's honor, and royals and peasants alike acknowledged the Princess Knight's kindness and bravery and brought what gifts they could to the castle, although the gift bearing seemed to have slowed of late. Petra was not concerned with the parties or gifts as much as she was eager to practice all her knight skills : jousting, fencing, javelin throwing, steed grooming and maintenance, running, armour polishing, and, of course, onion-throwing to hit the mark. She also kept up with her Highland dance lessons, just because she liked it. Longstride Castle had also become quite accustomed to having a dragon in the kitchen since Snarls had become master barbecue connoisseur. The royal rule book said nothing about a dragon in the kitchen, only that the master barbecue connoisseur must provide a very hot fire available for barbecues at a moment's notice. The castle parties flourished as Snarls roasted to perfection his specialties: skewed onion-turnip pom-poms, onion-broccoli no-where-to-be-seen, and, of course, onion omelette ta-da.'

However, the king and queen tire of Petra's obsession with knighthood and the king creates a new rule book that requires Petra to achieve another status level - she must attend a Talent School to reorient her thinking to that of a Princess rather than a knight Or (of course in good fantasy) endure the spell of the royal magician. And Petra's new talent must read to discover. (Just remember the author's gift and you'll guess it).

Diane peppers her book with fanciful drawings by Samantha Kickingbird (and a terrific cover by Errol Villamante) of maps, scrolls, figures of the cast as well as the story at the end. She keeps the book short (a true plus for young readers) and makes her dialogue full of contemporary humor with just the right touch of lightness. In other words, Diane has mastered this genre. Or as other have said, her books are `amazingly fresh, charmingly funny, and embrace timeless values kindness, understanding, and respect'. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, May 15

For more information and reviews on my dragon books for children: 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Kitty Claus--Book Review

Kitty Claus


About the Book: Can Kitty Claus, the meanest cat around, learn what Christmas is all about? On a snowy Christmas Eve a fierce cat named Kitty Claus rules over a family of starving mice. Until a frightful crisis for the ferocious Kitty Claus is resolved when the father mouse rescues him from danger and transforms their adversity into a new bond of mutual friendship. This is a little story-poem of transformation, courage, and righteous behavior that generates the most positive outcome. Originally published in the award-winning book -PESKY POEMS- a collection by T. L. Needham.

What I Thought: Kitty Claus is a wonderful poetic story. I love books that give me warm heart tingles, books that are written in a whimsical way where magic flows from page to page. I especially enjoyed the heartwarming theme of helping those in need, no matter what color their fur is. The illustrations are exceptionally well done and fit the text of the book perfectly. Kitty Claus and his mice friends are charming and their tale is one everyone will love.

About the Author: T. L. Needham, is an award winning author and a native of Kansas City. He grew up with
tales of survival of his mother's family, who endured life during the 1920s and 1930s in western Kansas. This inspired him to write the historic memoir--When I Was A Child, which was honored with an HONORABLE MENTION in WRITER'S DIGEST INDIE BOOK AWARDS, plus a FINALISTS by USA BOOK NEWS--BEST BOOKS AWARD in the category of History-USA. In addition, this book has been awarded the BRONZE MEDAL by READERS FAVORITE, a national book review/literary critic/author services firm. Recently this book was awarded a GOLD MEDAL by Global Ebook Awards, and the cover was awarded an HONORABLE MENTION MEDAL.
Read More:

Other Books by the Author:

When I Was a Child
The She Wolf
Pesky Poems

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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Maya & Filippo Show Aloha--Book Review

  • Maya & Filippo Show Aloha

  •                                                                                                 Author: Alinka Rutkowska                                                 
  • Illustrator: Konrad Checinsk
  • Print Length: 37 pages
  • Publisher: Capraro Press (March 7, 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.Language: English
  • ASIN: B00U2JD7RM

About the book:
Have you ever been to Hawaii? Let Maya & Filippo show you around! Learn important facts about the islands’ geography and history. Discover the culture of Hawaii with its lei, ukeleles and hula dance. But there’s more. Learn how to live the spirit of Aloha with Maya & Filippo. 

If you enjoy free kids' books for kindle ages 4-8, this will be a wonderful introduction to Maya & Filippo's world of cruise travel.

What I thought: 
This is a great book to introduce kids to the history and geography of Hawaii through interesting facts about culture, beliefs, and the use of the island's local words. Maya & Filippo have an Aloha adventure that is fun  and easy to read. The author does a fine job with capturing the Aloha spirit in this book. Kids are sure to love this book as well as all the  Maya & Filippo's adventures books.

I like that the  book also has a short quiz at the end, to test reading/listening skills, along with some facts about Hawaii. The book also has colorful illustrations that enhance the text.

About the author                                                                                    
Alinka Rutkowska is a multi-award-winning and #1 international best-selling author and coach.

She's been featured on Fox Business Network, Examiner, She Knows, She Writes, Blog Talk Radio, The Writer's Life and many more.

Author's website:



Barnes and Noble:

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Friday, 12 June 2015

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID--Book Review

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum (Volume 5)

  • Series: Little Miss HISTORY Travels to
  • by Barbara Ann Mojica  (Author), Victor Ramon Mojica (Illustrator)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: eugenus® STUDIOS; 1 edition (March 28, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988503034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988503038

About the Book: Where can you explore life on a submarine, an aircraft carrier, and outer space all in one place? At the INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum, visitors can watch war movies, view actual WW II planes, and explore the Growler nuclear submarine. The USS Intrepid served: in WW II, the Vietnam War, during the height of the Cold, and as FBI headquarters for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Read more about this one ship’s amazing history, and the sacrifices of those who served on her, to keep the USA safe and free!

What I Thought:
Barbara Ann Mojica has done it again! "Intrepid" is a wonderful, well written addition to this great history series. The author has a great gift for writing history that is interesting and so much fun to read. In, Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum, the author introduces the reader to the history of the USS INTREPID, the famous attack carrier used in America’s military conflicts. USS INTREPID is now a sea, air, and space museum in New York City, and this is where Little Miss History takes us in the book by way of important facts of the carrier's history. The use of photographs and colorful illustrations by the illustrator enhances the book with visual appeal. Highly recommended.

My review of Little Miss History Travels to Mount Rushmore:

About the Author, Biography:
Barbara Ann Mojica is a historian and retired educator. She writes historical articles for the Columbia Insider under the banner "Passages." Using the whimsical Little Miss History character, Barbara hopes to inspire
children to learn about historical people and places. Little Miss History's antics make reading nonfiction a fun-filled adventure for all ages.

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE is her first stop. In her second journey she sails to The STATUE of LIBERTY. Little Miss HISTORY'S third adventure to SEQUOIA National Park finds her skydiving into the park to explore its history. This book recently received honorable mention in the Children's Literature Independently Published Principal's Awards (CLIPPA), and runner up in the nature/wildlife category of the 2015 Great Northwest Book Festival. In her fourth adventure, Little Miss HISTORY arrives at FORD'S THEATER in her horse and buggy just in time for the 150th Anniversary to witness an event that changed history.


Little Miss HISTORY'S most recent excursion transports readers to the INTREPID, Sea, Air & Space Museum. Where can you explore life on a submarine, an aircraft carrier, and outer space all in one place? At the INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum, visitors can watch war movies, view actual WW II planes, and explore the Growler nuclear submarine. The USS Intrepid served: in WW II, the Vietnam War, during the height of the Cold, and as FBI headquarters for the September 11, 2001 
terrorist attacks. Read more about this one ship's amazing history, and the sacrifices of those who served on her, to keep the USA safe and free!

Author's website:

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Children's Book Series Wins 7th Book Award

Linda F. Radke, Five Star Publications, Inc.
Phone: 480-940-8182



‘Sir Princess Petra’s Talent’ Wins Coveted Purple Dragonfly Book Award 

   CHANDLER, AZ (June, 2015) – The judges of the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in children’s literature, have spoken, and Sir Princess Petra’s Talent by Diane Mae Robinson, won Honorable Mention  in the Chapter Books category.
                “Winning any place in the Purple Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score is required before a First or Second place or Honorable Mention will be awarded to the entrant – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Radke, president of Five Star Publications, the sponsor of the Dragonfly Book Awards. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”
                Sir Princess Petra’s Talent is a book about finding one’s passion in life, even when the odds are against you. It retails for $9.99 U.S. and can be purchased at: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Abe Books and many other online book stores.
                For a complete list of winners including all first and second place and honorable mention recipients, visit and click on “Winners.”
                The next Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest is already underway. Submissions postmarked March 1, 2016 or earlier are eligible for the Early Bird reward: a free e-copy of The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing or Promote Like a Pro: Small Budget, Big Show written by Radke. Final deadline for submissions is May 1, 2016. The Early Bird deadline for the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Contest, which recognizes outstanding literature in all categories, is August 1, 2015. October 1, 2015 is the final deadline. For complete rules and submission forms for either contest, visit and click on the contest of choice.

                To learn more about Five Star Publications, celebrating 30 years of doing business in Chandler, Ariz., access, email or call 480-940-8182.

For more information about my multi-award winning series, The Pen Pieyu Adventures, and the awards for my dragon books for children: 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Night Buddies Go Sky High--Book Review

  • Series: Night Buddies
  • Author: Sands Hetherington
  • Illustrator: Jessica Love
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dune Buggy Press (March 16, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984741739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984741731

From the Back Cover:
Young John Degraffenreidt and his red crocodile buddy, Crosley, show up at the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory and find Big Foot Mae lying on the floor, staring up at her Great Star Puzzle on the ceiling. Crosley only wants a new supply of pineapple cheesecakes, but what Mae points to on her ceiling will start the Night Buddies on a totally new fantasy adventure. A suspicious white dot has passed through the Corkscrew Constellation and is now moving underneath the Hound Dog Stars. Across the Borough, Crosley s brother Crenwinkle sees the same curious speck in the sky. It looks to be a long night for sleepyhead John, but thanks to the time spreader dingus with its sleep retardant setting, he gets right into their next escapade. Join the Night Buddies as they embark on another Program, this time taking them all the way into the stratosphere in their racing blimp.

What I Thought:
What do you do when an iguana gang member in a black undershirt breaks into you room in the middle of the night, spits up brown juice on your floor, looking for a fight? Why, you face off in a duel with cans of green spray paint until your red crocodile friends bursts out of the closet threatening the iguana with a menacing pineapple cheesecake, which sends the iguana packing.

This is the tone of the whole book and it is hilarious. Night Buddies Go Sky High is an imaginative, non-stop, funny adventure that had me chuckling on every page. The characters are well developed and the plot keeps the story going at a good pace. The different font sizes of some of the typed words jump out at the reader to add interest to the story. And there's a really funny list of "Night Buddies Uncommon Words" such as:
Loggie: Big gob of spit
Cogitate: To think hard (crocodile weasel word). 

The black and white pencil-drawn illustrations throughout the book are well done and a great addition to the story.

The ending did leave some loose ends for me. Overall, it is a really good book that kids will have fun reading. 

My review of Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare:

   About the Author

Sands Hetherington is a single dad, world traveler, and lifelong learner who turned his son's idea for a bedtime story into a 7-time award-winning children's book series. He enjoys writing, storytelling, and taking care of favorite 4-legged friends. Sands has an MFA in creative writing and an MA in English from UNC-Greensboro.

Author website:



Friday, 22 May 2015

Great Review From Award-Winning Author

Sir Princess Petra's Talent
The Pen Pieyu Adventures
Book 2                                                                       
5 stars
Story Within a Story
Review by award-winning author, Wayne Clarke

I have given a well-deserved five stars to Diane Mae Robinson’s delightful tale Sir Princess Petra’s Talent. But if I had the good fortune to live in her uniquely nutty fantasy world I would be allowed to give it the praise it truly deserves: five onions, fresh from the Royal Onion Room.

I’ve read all the wonderful reviews previously written for this series, The Pen Pieyu Adventures. Clearly, the author has a deft hand when it comes to exploiting the imagination. Within only a couple of pages I became a citizen of her world. 

As other reviews have pointed out, the plot twists are relentless, each one producing a sweetly bizarre new character, and they are characters who subtly demonstrate that gender is of no matter when it comes to bravery and talent. After all, knights wear pink, don’t they?

A poem about jam made me chuckle, but what almost took my breath away was the story within the story read to the court by Sir Princess Petra, a story created with the Talent of the book’s title: writer. I leave you to read it for yourselves.

I want to mention that I chose to read this tale out of nostalgia for the days when my daughters were young and I read to them nightly. Shortly after I began reading Robinson’s book on a quiet Saturday morning, I began reading aloud, to me and myself. I wish I could have shared this book with my children. 
Illustrations by Samantha Kickingbird

Illustrations by Samantha Kickingbird

B & N :


Book three, Sir Princess Petra's Mission, forthcoming, Fall of 2015

Book three Synopsis:
   Sir Princess Petra has already attained her Knighthood in the Kingdom of Pen Pieyu and her non-princess-like Talent Certificate from Talent School, neither of which pleases her father, the king.
   The king writes up more silly rules in the royal rule book to deter Sir Princess Petra from her knightly ways and useless talent, and turn her into a real princess once and for all.
   Will the king finally succeed with this newly written, ridiculous mission for Petra?
Book 3 Endorsement:
Diane M. Robinson has created a heroine unlike any other in children’s literature. Sir Princess Petra sets a fine example for young readers, and for young girls, as the Princess teaches them what’s really important, like friends, being true, brave, honest, and always having faith in your Dragon! Ms. Robinson sets the bar by writing a truly charming and imaginative adventure series and I heartily recommend it.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Author of the award winning middle grade fantasy, The Sword of Demelza.

To read more review about the multi-award winning series, The Pen Pieyu Adventures, dragon books for children: