A Phoebe Chen Mystery: The Book Bandit #1 Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Friday, April 28, 2023


A Phoebe Chen Mystery: The Book Bandit

Written by Caron Pescatore

Illustrated by Amanda Neves

Ages 7+ | 136 Pages

Publisher: Pesky Books 4Kidz | ISBN-13: 9781958043097

Publisher’s Book Summary: Phoebe loves anything that involves brainstorming, like jigsaw puzzles, riddles, and word searches. Her lifelong dream is to solve mysteries like her detective father—or ND, her favorite girl detective. So when a friend’s prized autographed book disappears, Phoebe immediately offers to take on the case.

Enlisting the help of her BFF, Phoebe gets to work searching for clues, interviewing witnesses, and compiling a list of suspects. But when the evidence implicates a friend, she realizes being a detective isn’t all fun and games. Phoebe must find concrete evidence before she points the finger. Can she do it, or will the book bandit get away with the dastardly deed?

Available for purchase here


Caron Pescatore was born in the United Kingdom. She spent her childhood in Jamaica before migrating to the United States. After practicing as a registered nurse for several years, she entered law school, getting her J.D. in 2001. She worked as an attorney for years before leaving the profession to become a stay-at-home mom—her most challenging career to date. Ms. Pescatore recently returned to law and now works for Legal Aid. Her favorite pastimes are reading, writing, and watching true-crime shows. At present, Ms. Pescatore lives in Florida with her husband and children.

For more information, visit https://caronpescatore.com/.




Life Is What It's Called - What do you think readers will enjoy most about The Book Bandit?

Caron Pescatore - That’s a hard one. The mystery is intriguing, and I’m sure readers will enjoy trying to figure out what happened to Becky’s book. But I think readers will enjoy Phoebe’s quirky personality the most.

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book different from other mystery books for kids?

Caron Pescatore - One difference in this book is that it tells the story of a little girl who aspires to be a police detective like her father. But by helping her friend solve the mystery of what happened to her book, Phoebe begins pursuing her life goal even though she’s only eight.

Life Is What It's Called - What’s the overall message for readers in this book?

Caron Pescatore - The overall message of The Book Bandit is one of friendship. Phoebe and Luana are complete opposites, yet their friendship shines throughout the story. These two friends, one soft-hearted and the other brash and impatient, bring out the best in each other.

Life Is What It's Called - How will readers relate to the characters?

Caron Pescatore - In my opinion, the characters are the best part of the story. There are various personality types, and I’m sure every child will discover they have something in common with at least one character.

Life Is What It's Called - Are you like any of the characters?

Caron Pescatore - I’m a combination of Phoebe and Luana. I’m outspoken and determined like Phoebe, but like Luana, I always look for the good in people.

Life Is What It's Called - What was your favorite scene to write?

Caron Pescatore - Writing this story was so much fun! Mostly because Phoebe is such a unique character. She’s smart and sassy, determined to solve the mystery, but gets distracted throughout the story. It’s funny watching Luana struggle to keep Phoebe focused on the case. But if I had to choose, my favorite scene is where Phoebe summarizes how she solved the mystery and reveals what happened to Becky’s book. I laugh every time I read it.

Life Is What It's Called - How many books will be in this series?

Caron Pescatore - Many, I hope! I have two other books finished. I plan to release book #2 this fall and book #3 next spring.

Life Is What It's Called - What are you working on next?

Caron Pescatore - I have another series titled Kids’ Court Whodunit. Luana and Phoebe are the main characters in those books, but they are eleven. I’m currently editing book six in that series, The Ladder Larceny, which comes out this summer. And I’m writing the fourth book in the Phoebe Chen Mystery series. The working title for that book is The Summer Camp Scare.

Life Is What It's Called - What do you want readers to know about you as an author?

Caron Pescatore - I have always loved writing. I wrote a play one summer in elementary school and co-wrote a book with a classmate in high school. We took turns taking it home and adding to the story. That was such fun because I never knew in what direction she’d take it. It wasn’t until many years after I’d earned degrees in two professions and had my children, however, that I pursued my passion for writing. I like to think that from Phoebe, readers learn it’s never too early to work toward your goals, but from me, they learn it’s never too late.


Enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Book Bandit, autographed by Caron Pescatore.

Four (4) winners receive:

  • A signed paperback copy of A Phoebe Chen Mystery: The Book Bandit

The Book Bandit: Book Giveaway 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Caron Pescatore. This post also contains an Amazon affiliate link.

The Sergeant and the Girl Next Door Author Interview and Review

Thursday, April 20, 2023


World War II may be over, but Sergeant Davis Wilson feels no peace. Burdened by the loss of his best friend, Patrick, Davis has returned to his small town determined to make sure his friend’s mother and little sister are cared for. But the fiery young woman who greets him isn’t the “little sister” he remembers.

Faith Penwilliger lost both her brother and father during the war and had to grow up fast. The last four years molded her into a strong woman who runs the family business, cares for her widowed mother, and loves going out dancing with her boyfriend, Freddy. And she doesn’t need anyone else in her life, especially not Davis—the boy she idolized until the night he enlisted and the subsequent humiliating argument she had with him that she would rather forget.

Davis is puzzled and frustrated by the new version of Faith. Even more disconcerting are the unexpected feelings he’s developing for the girl next door. As Faith plots revenge and shows Davis what it feels like to be meddled with, it doesn’t take long for the line between love and dislike to blur. Now only the truth of the past can unlock the possibility of building a future together.


Laura Rupper spent her first six years of life in Metlakatla, Alaska. There was no TV reception on the island so a great love of books was born. In addition to reading, Laura loves creative activities from painting, to new ways of teaching fourth grade math concepts. Boring chores, like laundry, leave her daydreaming of magical worlds and interesting characters. Laura has three beautiful daughters, an extremely nice husband, and one giant dog. Laura is an eclectic reader but, no matter the genre, she believes in happy endings.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired you to write this book?

Laura Rupper - I wrote this book because I truly love the WW2 generation. My grandparents were part of that great generation. They rarely, if ever, spoke of what they had gone through. They didn't think of themselves as heroes, but they absolutely were. My grandpa Frank served in Patton's third army and was shot in the head. He received surgery and was in a hospital in England for a month. We know very little of his war experiences because he didn't like to talk about it. I do know that he and his best friend were in a foxhole, they went up to shoot and his friend was struck in the stomach. My grandfather held his friend while he died in his arms. My other grandfather was a radioman in the merchant marines. His boat was torpedoed multiple times but never sunk. My grandmothers each had their first child and were left behind to be single moms during the war years. I can't imagine the loneliness and terror they must have faced. I wanted my book to be lighthearted but to still recognize the type of people typical of that generation.

Life Is What It's Called - What was your favorite scene to write?

Laura Rupper - I liked writing the dinner scene in the Wilson home where multiple people are talking at the same time and there are three different conversations going on. In my experience, this is what dinner in a family is like. I also liked writing Davis's sister Janet in this scene. She figures out that Davis is going to attempt going out dancing for the first time since before the war and helps him figure out what to wear. She's a quietly fantastic sister.

Life Is What It's Called - What themes run through the book?

Laura Rupper -  I hope readers will pick up on a few thoughts/themes. One is that you can find joy (happiness) during hard times. I served a mission for my church in London. Once a week we would take a wheelchair bound woman named Eva to do her shopping. She had been a young adult during the war and I was fascinated by her stories. Eva stayed in London during the horrendous bombing. She told us that it had actually been one of the happiest times of her life. She said it was because everyone was so united and that they would get together in the evenings, finding makeshift places to dance. I wanted Faith to have this vibe - finding happiness (dancing) even during a really tough time. I also want the reader to have a sense of Patrick (Faith's brother who died in the war) being real and irreplaceable - not just a number or a statistic. Another theme/vibe I wanted in my book was hard work and resilience. My grandparents (especially Lyle Davis) believed in hard work. Davis is named after him and hopefully is an accurate representation of the many soldiers who fought hard and then came home and just got on with their lives with grit, hard-work, and no need for acclaim. Lastly, I deliberately wanted the business Faith runs to be about building. The war was all about destruction. The post year wars were about building and moving forward.

Life Is What It's Called - What writing projects are you working on?

Laura Rupper - I have a couple middle grade books that I've written and am debating what to do with. I wrote a sequel in my Nora world and need to write two more to wrap that world up. I think it will take a couple years to finish the Nora books. I've also collaborated with my sister, whose children are half-Mexican, to write a middle-grade book set in Mexico. I wrote Rose (Faith's cousin's story) and am waiting to hear if the publisher wants it. I also have a quirky romance set in the 1980s that I'd like to clean up and Indy publish at some point. I also would like to write a romance for Davis's sister Janet where she is trying to become a journalist and chooses to research and write a story on Patrick and find his lost, last composition.

Life Is What It's Called - How is The Girl Next Door similar and different to Nora and the Sacred Stones?

Laura Rupper - The Sergeant and the Girl Next Door is completely different from Nora and the Sacred Stones. Nora is middle-grade fantasy and The Sergeant is a romance. One similarity is that both are told from alternating points of view. I want the reader to feel sympathy for both the male and the female characters.

Life Is What It's Called -What do you think readers will like most about this book?

Laura Rupper - I grew up reading books that my mom loved by authors like Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Cadell and L.M. Montgomery. Those books all have strong side-characters and are slow paced. Hopefully readers who like that style will appreciate my story. One review of my book that made me laugh was someone who said they liked it but that it was the slowest, slow burn they had ever read.

The Sergeant and the Girl Next Door shares the story of a WWII vet that struggles with coming back home from war, and his best friend's sister who had to step up to support her family after the death of her brother and father. This story reminds me of the stories that my grandparents used to tell of going out dancing for entertainment, listening to big band music, and neighbors often stopping by and chatting. There were a lot of realistic elements that made the story seem appropriate for that time. The characters felt real and well-rounded...they made mistakes, learned, and tried to figure out their lives. The story is entertaining to read, and I felt like it was a good, clean romance that readers would enjoy reading again and again. It's different from the other WWII books that I've read. Most of the books from WWII seem to focus on overseas and not what happened after the war in America. I don't think I've ever encountered a book during that time period that seemed like it matched some of the stories that my grandparents used to share and I think that may ring true for other readers as well. The story was well written and it's something teens from Adults would enjoy reading. To learn more, click here.

Please note that I received a free ebook to review, however, I shared my honest opinion. This post contains Amazon affiliate links that help support this blog.

The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

Written by Rebecca Laxton

Illustrated by Gracie Laxton

Ages 10+ | 252 Pages

Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc | ISBN-13: 9781960146236

Publisher’s Book Summary: Thirteen-year-old Emma Murry has three goals for summer vacation: finish her art terms project, land an ollie, and help the environmental club save the monarchs.

But then her Instagram crush Jeb Scott and his celebrity dad Chester make a surprise visit to Black Mountain. At first, Emma is thrilled, but then she overhears their plans to destroy the monarch butterfly garden to build a ski resort. She and her best friend Sophie add a new summer goal: STOP. THE. SCOTTS.

Emma ignores Sophie’s warnings and makes friends with Jeb, convinced she can change his mind. Then when Chester receives a mysterious death threat, Emma teams up with Jeb to investigate. She slowly discovers people are not what they seem as she attempts to untangle friendships, organize a protest, and uncover supernatural secrets hiding on the mountain.

Emma will have to go through her own metamorphosis by overcoming her fears and facing what she dreads. If she fails, she could jeopardize everything—butterflies, friendships, and her family.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop.org, Barnes and Noble.


Rebecca Laxton has served school communities as an afterschool program director, reading specialist, and school psychologist. While working for Boone County Schools, she was named the Kentucky School Psychologist of the Year for collaborating with teachers and administrators to write and evaluate an emotional intelligence curriculum.

Rebecca is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Charlotte Literary Arts, and the North Carolina Writers Association. Her short memoir, “Throw Like a Girl,” about playing on a mostly boys Little League team can be found in The Love of Baseball (McFarland 2017). Currently, she is a dyslexia practitioner and enjoys reading, writing and spending time in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three dogs.

Rebecca invites you to visit her online at www.rebeccalaxton.com.


Gracie Laxton is a freelance graphic designer and dance choreographer from North Carolina but is currently based in New York City. A 2021 graduate of Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, NC, she studied art as part of The Savannah College of Art and Design’s high school joint enrollment program. Currently, she attends Marymount Manhattan College, pursuing degrees in dance and art.


Life Is What It's Called - What inspired The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry Tour?

Rebecca Laxton - The purpose of the tour is to spread the word about the book to librarians, teachers, parents and caregivers, or any adult who recommends books to older middle grade readers. This book is perfect for kids 11-13.

Life Is What It's Called - What will the readers learn from this story?

Rebecca Laxton - The Kirkus review stated, “… there’s educational value too, as Emma not only praises nature, but also notes for Jeb (and readers) things that harm the environment.” While this book wasn’t written to teach kids things, there is a lot they can learn through the main characters who love nature and art and who are trying to persuade another character to love those things as well. I was also writing it during early Covid in the spring 2020, when my daughter Gracie was working on her AP art portfolio and school was closed. I didn’t know a lot about art, but I wanted to help guide her, since she had limited access to her teacher. I spent a lot of time on the AP website and other sites learning about art terms. That’s when I got the idea to have each chapter title be an art term that relates to both the artwork Emma is working on and the narrative in the chapter. The terms have double meanings. So, there’s a lot of educational STEAM content, but it’s done in an organic way and is not didactic.

Life Is What It's Called - What was your favorite scene to write?

Rebecca Laxton - I have several favorite scenes, so it’s hard to choose. But there’s a scene where Emma takes Jeb to the monarch butterfly garden and they see a caterpillar form into a pupa. Jeb is both horrified and amazed. I had a similar experience a few years ago when my kids and I raised monarchs. When the caterpillar is ready to transform into the pupa, it finds a secure location to hang upside down then sheds its skin one last time to reveal the bright green chrysalis. There were so many times that we missed the transformation. We’d look into the terrarium and the pupa would already be there. It’s a really quick process. But one day a caterpillar transformed while I happened to be sitting right by the terrarium. Jeb’s reaction in the book was the same as mine—shocked, amazed, and slightly horrified. Realizing that the caterpillar’s enzymes are about to eat the caterpillar so that it turns to goo inside and then reforms into a different being is both really gross and really amazing. I tried to capture my own experience through Jeb’s eyes. But I also like this scene because Jeb is a guy who grew up in the city, and he has had a limited experience with nature. After seeing the caterpillar transform into the pupa, he’s starting to understand why Emma loves nature so much. It starts his own metamorphosis—his transformation from city kid to nature lover that happens slowly throughout the book.

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you feel it's important to discuss metamorphosis?

Rebecca Laxton - The book is titled The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry because it refers to a conversation that Emma’s mom has with her about that growth in cognitive development when kids begin to realize the world is complicated. Emma’s mom uses the metaphor of the metamorphosis of a monarch to explain those cognitive developmental changes. Kids at this age are just beginning to have metacognition—the ability to think about thinking–so it takes Emma a little while to process what her mom meant, but Emma is trying to figure out how to navigate the grayness of a world she previously thought was black and white. It’s important to have these conversations with kids so that they understand the developmental changes they are going through. There’s a big focus on the physical changes that occur during puberty, but there’s a lot of cognitive changes happening as well, that kids aren’t always equipped to deal with.

Life Is What It's Called - Are you like any of the characters in the book?

Rebecca Laxton - I’m probably most like Emma’s mom, because I’m also a mom. Emma uses colors to describe people, and she describes her mom as being the color after violet, “a mix of intense blue but powerful and invisible ultraviolet.” She flies under the radar taking care of everyone she loves in ways that aren’t always seen, which I think sums up parenthood. But I’m like other characters too. I share Emma’s love of art and nature, although I’m not an artist. I hate to be late just like Sophie does. I love my dogs and talk to them like they’re people, just like Cami, and I enjoy a good show tune like Evelyn, except I can’t sing (although when home alone I sing loudly). I also enjoy being around kids and often make jokes that only I find funny, just like Mr. Zauber.

Life Is What It's Called - Why does this book stand apart from what's on the market?

Rebecca Laxton - The middle grade audience of eight-year-olds to twelve-year-olds is such a wide age range developmentally. This book was written for kids at the upper end of that range, those who are eleven, twelve, and even thirteen. Cognitively those kids are transitioning from concrete thinking to more complex thinking, so they’re beginning to think more abstractly and more logically. They’re ready for books that have more difficult themes unlike an eight, nine or ten-year-old, and there isn’t a lot of books for this age range currently in the market. It’s also a contemporary novel about current 2020s kids and a lot of MG seems to float into historical fiction or fantasy.

Life Is What It's Called - What should readers know about you as an author?

Rebecca Laxton - I use my background in psychology, literacy, and creative writing to create books that are relatable and fun to read. I loved reading as a kid and met so many interesting characters in the books I read. I’ve tried to create the same kinds of memorable characters for my readers. Readers can join my reading club on my website for puzzles and updates, and can also contact me with any questions or opinions about the book, or just to tell me about their pets. I love animals.

Life Is What It's Called - What are you working on next?

Rebecca Laxton - I have two projects I’m working on. One is another upper MG that takes place in the same town as The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry and has some of the same secondary characters, called The Curious Disappearance of Beth Anne Sperling about a thirteen-year-old girl who goes on a quest to rescue her bewitched aunt from an alternative dimension, and a lower MG, Bugsy Popper and the Lost Pets of Lillington about a ten-year old sleuth and pet psychic. The first is the book of my heart and was written to help me process grief after losing my dad, and the second is my attempt at writing with a bit of humor. They’re both very different but writing them has been very fulfilling.


One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A SWAG bag that includes:

  • A signed hardcover copy of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
  • A tote, puzzle, word search, small skateboard sticker, small butterfly sticker, and large vinyl butterfly sticker made with the illustrator's graphics.

Five (4) winners receive:

  • A signed paperback copy of The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry

The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry Book Giveaway

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rebecca Laxton. The questions asked in the review are based on my personal view.

Odette's Alphabet Virtual Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Monday, April 17, 2023


Odette’s Alphabet

Written by Sandrine Marlier

Ages 5+ | 64 Pages

Publisher: Belle Isle Books | ISBN-13: 9781953021519

Publisher’s Book Summary: One day, Odette the ant wakes up feeling stressed. After realizing that all she does is work, Odette decides to leave her anthill in search of the freedom to create her own world. Along the way, she meets Marcus, a lost mouse, and together they discover simple ways to feel better. Inspired by her journey and this wonderful new friendship, Odette finds her way back home to the colony with a new sense of being.

Odette’s Alphabet is a mindful story that offers a map to handle big emotions with kindness, unity, and courage. Fun and easy activities support each of the chapters, along with letters of the alphabet to provide additional opportunities for learning while encouraging young readers to explore meditation practices.

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble.


Sandrine Marlier woke up one day in her New York apartment feeling out of sorts. She realized that no matter how many trips she would take around the world, thanks to her modeling career, only a journey within could bring her peace. Eventually, she trained with world-renowned meditation teacher davidji. That training inspired this book, as she found herself drawing an ant and a sound: A, the beginning of all beginnings. Sandrine is a mother, meditation teacher, transformational coach, and Reiki practitioner. She shares free meditations about healing and empowerment on Instagram (@sandrinemarlier).

You can connect with her through her website, www.sandrinemarlier.com.

Odette's Alphabet shares the alphabet, along with mindful words that go along with the alphabet, and a story about big/emotions and how to practice meditation and stress relief. This book appeals to kids at multiple levels. You can read it to younger preschoolers by just saying the alphabet and the words that go along with it. It can also be read to/read by older children to help them learn about meditation and mindfulness. I could see this book being used at home, school, or in a counseling session to help kids learn about breathing techniques and how to regulate their stress. It's a useful book for kids to read and to understand that there are various techniques and positive ways to handle their emotions. The illustrations in this book are attractive and engaging. The color scheme seems to use colors that you would find in nature and invoke peace. Overall, I found this book to be interesting and an important tool that could be used to help children learn how to regulate their big emotions.


Enter the giveaway below for the chance to win a paperback copy of Odette’s Alphabet and a $25 Amazon gift card!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of Odette's Alphabet
  • A $25 Amazon Gift Card
Two (2) winners receive:
  • A copy of Odette's Alphabet

Odette's Alphabet Book Giveaway 

 This post is sponsored by Sandrine Marlier. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. I received a free copy of this book to review, however, I expressed my honest opinion.

Mrs. Springs Garden Virtual Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


Mrs. Spring’s Garden

Written by Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by Leen Roslan

Ages 4+ | 46 Pages

Publisher: Chelshire | ISBN-13: 9781950080090


Publisher’s Book Summary: Snail and Worm are having a dispute.

It’s causing quite a ruckus in their home.

Many of the other inhabitants of the garden are affected by their fight.

Will they be able to put their differences aside when they learn the garden’s existence is threatened?

What’s a bug to do?

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Barnes and Noble.


Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children’s books. Whether it’s pirates, princesses, spies, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children of all ages.

Her best-selling book, The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids: 800+ Jokes! has reached number one on Amazon in March of 2020 and has remained in the top 200 books since then.

She published Mindfulness for Kids with J. Robin Albertson-Wren.

Carole has co-authored two self-help books. Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing with Julie A. Gerber, and Marketing Indieworld with both Julie A. Gerber and Angela Hausman.

Roman is the CEO of a global transportation company, as well as a practicing medium.

She also writes adult fiction under the name Brit Lunden and has created an anthology of the mythical town of Bulwark, Georgia with a group of indie authors.

Writing is her passion and one of her favorite pastimes. Roman reinvents herself frequently, and her family calls her the ‘mother of reinvention.’ She resides on Long Island, near her children and grandchildren.

For more information, visit http://www.caroleproman.com/.

Mrs. Spring's Garden shares how bugs in a garden can be beneficial for plants to grow. It explains how each bug has a purpose from collecting pollen and redistributing it to plants, tilling the soil, and eating old leaves and plants. This book explains about bugs in a way that's fun for kids and helps them to realize that different bugs have different purposes to helping a garden flourish. Children will find bugs more relatable and understandable that they have a purpose and aren't necessarily something to be scared of. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and attractive. The storytelling is entertaining and fun. I liked how the author was able to mix educational aspects in her story while making it lighthearted and enjoyable for younger children.  The worm in the book does have teeth (when they don't in real life) and the idea that it's the season, Spring's, garden, may be abstract to younger kids, but overall, I think it's a book that young children will enjoy. It's not only entertaining, but educational and could be easily used in a classroom to help children learn about bugs and how they work together to help the ecosystem flourish. The story could also be used to talk about cooperation and teamwork. I recommend checking this book out.


Enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Mrs. Spring’s Garden and a $100 Amazon gift card!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A signed copy of Mrs. Spring's Garden
  • A $100 Amazon Gift Card

Nine (9) winners receive:
  • A signed copy of Mrs. Spring's Garden

Mrs. Spring's Garden Book Giveaway 

This post is sponsored by Carole P. Roman. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. I received a free pdf of the book to review, however, I gave my honest opinion.

Goobletygok Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Wednesday, April 12, 2023



Created by Richard Bird

Ages 4+ | 24 Pages

Publisher: FriesenPress | ISBN-13: ‎ 9781039143425

Publisher’s Book Summary: Chulippitee. Buckadoodle. Uckeybuckey.

What do these words have in common? Poppy and Freddy invented them!

Freddy and his grandfather, Poppy, love to spend time together. One day, while they’re eating a snack, Poppy says, “Buckadoodle,” to Freddy. What does this mean? Freddy isn’t sure, but Poppy promises he will find out!

Join Freddy and Poppy on this word-game adventure, and maybe invent a word or two of your own that shows your loved ones just how much you care!

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble.


Richard Bird is a grandfather and avid reader who has spent his career crafting policies and leveraging his love of words into creating beautifully written materials. Now, he brings his two passions together in this children’s book inspired by his relationships with his grandsons.

For more information, visit www.richardbird.ca.




Life Is What It's Called - What is the Theme of your book Goobletygok?

Richard Bird - This is the story of the affection between a grandfather and a grandchild. There are two themes. One is the joy of a child expanding his horizons and having fun doing so. The second is that the sharing of love can happen in many ways including making up funny words.

Life Is What It's Called - Why did you decide to write this story?

Richard Bird - I had not seen my grandchild in a while. I decided put to fond memories into words. The writing of the story was a therapeutic process for me.

Life Is What It's Called - Is there a lesson learned from the story?

Richard Bird - Good question. Helping to grow a child’s mind can be fun for everyone. The joy it brings in doing so is priceless.

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers most like about this book?

Richard Bird - The funny words. The rhyming words that follow. The laughter it will produce for who is reading the story and who is hearing the story.

Life Is What It's Called - Why do you think it is important for kids to spend time with their grandparents?

Richard Bird - The grandparents have been through all of life’s tribulations while they were parents. Now they want to just kick back have fun and enjoy life. Kids that have the benefit of being around grandparents with that kind of approach to life, all the better. There is a lot to be said for having a second childhood.

Life Is What It's Called - How is this book different from anything else in the market?

Richard Bird - There are so many different kid’s books in the market now. All I can say is that this book will make adults and kids laugh, it will probably produce fond memories and maybe even bring a tear to your eye.

Life Is What It's Called - What is your background in writing?

Richard Bird - I am retired now. However, most of my work life revolved around writing up business plans and policies. In a sense, I have been writing stories my whole life. The only difference between then and now is that those stories were non-fiction.

Life Is What It's Called - What should readers know about you as an author?

Richard Bird - There is still a kid in me. I hope that kid never leaves.


Enter for the chance to win an autographed paperback copy of Goobletygok and a 3-pack of lined spiral notebooks with a pen holder—perfect for writing down your favorite words!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • An autographed paperback copy of Goobletygok
  • A 3-Pack Lined Spiral Notebook Kraft Paper Cover Notepad with Pen In Holder
Four (4) winners receive:
  • An autographed paperback copy of Goobletygok

Goobletygok Book Giveaway

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Richard Bird. The questions presented in this post are my own. The giveaway is managed by The Children's Book review. There are no affiliate links in this post.

Famous Seaweed Soup Virtual Book Tour, Author Interview, and Giveaway

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


Famous Seaweed Soup

Written by Antoinette Truglio Martin

Illustrated by Penny Weber

Ages 5+ | 32 Pages

Publisher: Purple Butterfly Press | ISBN-13: 9781955119405

Publisher’s Book Summary: Beach days are the best days and Sara loves everything about the beach. Her favorite part is making her Famous Seaweed Soup. Collecting all the ingredients is a tough job but Sara thinks she’s up to the task!

Can she make it all by herself or will a busy family foil her recipe?

Available for purchase on Amazon, Bookshop, and Barnes and Noble.


Antoinette Truglio Martin is a retired speech therapist and special ed teacher, who now enjoys life as an author and nonny. She finds wonder in children’s play and captures the magic with her stories. Antoinette lives in her hometown, Sayville, New York, where she writes and plays on the Long Island seashore with her beach-loving family and friends.

For more information, visit: https://antoinettetrugliomartin.com/




Life Is What It's Called - Why did you decide to write Famous Seaweed Soup?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - It all began with playing on the beach. Famous Seaweed Soup was born from scribbled observations in my journal while my child played. I had always been writing. I took a slice of time watching my daughter, Sara, play on the beach, and created a charming story. For weeks, Sara and I recited the story lines while commuting to daycare/work and laughed at the smelly parts. It was so much fun writing the story, “testing” it out on my daughter and later with my preschool students. Sara drew pictures. I had other stories ready to submit, but I felt so strongly about Famous Seaweed Soup. It should be a real storybook for kids to love as much as Sara and I love the story. So I pushed it ahead and here we are!

Life Is What It's Called - What will readers like most about Famous Seaweed Soup?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - Young readers will first like the silly icky things, like tasting toes, the slimy seaweed, and snails that ooze their bodies out of their shells. They will enjoy Sara, a character who knows what she wants to do and is determined to do it even if she has to do it by herself. Stories that tap a playful and independent spirit are appealing to readers and listeners of all ages.

The beach is also a big draw. I don't know anyone who does not at least like the beach. All kinds of natural discoveries and surprises are found on the shores. Readers will recognize their familiar beach treasures and perhaps learn new ones. 

Life Is What It's Called - What makes your book stand apart from what's on the market?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - Famous Seaweed Soup can shine over the crowded market. The story tells a story in a compelling and relatable way. Repetitive lines act as a refrain from a song everyone knows. The predictable sentences encourage young readers to read and hear the story again. I consciously worked the story so that each word carried meaning. The language is not bogged down with unnecessary phrases and details.

The illustrations also set Famous Seaweed Soup apart from the crowded market. Penny Weber's style captures beautiful facial expressions and body postures. The shrugs, the wonder in the eyes are authentic. You cannot help but smile at them.  Although computer generated pictures have their place in children’s books, this story needed the personalities and settings illustrated in this artful style.

Life Is What It's Called - How has your background helped you to develop this book?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - Write what you know is the writer’s mantra. I know my home. 

I grew up on the south shore of Long Island where the Great South Bay, Fire Island

Beaches and the Atlantic Ocean are within sight. I managed a boat before learning to ride a bicycle. The beaches and the sea remain part of my writing palate.  My career as a speech therapist and special educator also shape what and how I write. I spent most of my forty-plus years treating young children and their families in Early Intervention programs. Acquisition of language and play were the primary goals. From modeling and scaffolding skills, I witnessed how amazing language develops. I appreciate the fine nuances of language and play development. The author's trick was to craft stories that respects readers’ and listeners’ developmental process and challenges the next step. 

I believe Famous Seaweed Soup achieves a great combination depicting my love for the shore and the sea and celebrating play in a story that is developmentally appropriate for readers and listeners.

Life Is What It's Called - How are reading and speech development connected?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - Reading and speech and language development are interconnected. It is a magical phenomenon. Reading is a skill built upon language, speech and cognitive development. Language acquisition, including expressive speech, develops before reading happens. Reading development encompasses more than recognizing letters, symbols or signs. There are specific readiness markers that must be met before reading is ready to emerge. Auditory and visual attention, memory, and integration are the foundations. One must be able to sequence the symbols, and process the sequence
into words, phrases and sentences. Then there are the sensory and motor components to master—ocular tracking, proprioception, and motor planning for speech responses. The brain must coordinate, practice, and remember millions of codes and responses. When a pre-reader wants a story, the body calms and (hopefully) remains focused. It is quite magical.  

Life Is What It's Called - How would your book help speech therapists, schools, parents, readers/listeners?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - Famous Seaweed Soup is a must have in classroom, school, and community libraries and home bookshelves. The illustrations engage attention, the repetitive text invites listener participation, and the underlying story structure fosters pragmatic language (facial reading, emotion identifications), short-term memory, and inferential observations. The story is fun and the illustrations are beautiful. Famous Seaweed Soup is the complete package for home, school, speech therapy, and reading intervention settings. 

Life Is What It's Called - How will

Famous Seaweed Soup
help children develop their "s" words?

Antoinette Truglio Martin - Famous Seaweed Soup is well suited for phonemic awareness activities. As the student listens to the story, instruct the student to identify words with /s/ sounds, (or any other target sound) and where the sound is positioned in the word. As students' proficiency improves, Famous Seaweed Soup would serve as a read aloud to assess the student’s carryover as he/she reads the story. The pages where all the beach finds are listed would be a wonderful challenge.

Life Is What It's Called - What activities would go along with reading Famous Seaweed Soup?

 Antoinette Truglio Martin - So glad you asked!  After the story is read, close the book and ask the children to name the items Sara found on the beach. Can you name the items in story order?  Look at the facial expressions. Can the children identify how the characters are feeling? Don’t forget to look at the seagull.  Play the memory game (similar to “We’re going on a picnic…”) "We are going to the beach and I will bring...”. Each player repeats the growing list and names a new item to bring to the beach. How many items can you remember in sequence? Can you do this game in alphabetical order?  Take a sand pail on a beach walk. Collect shells, crab parts, seagull feathers. Perhaps you will find beach glass. Sort and compare your treasures to Sara's finds. How many are the same/different? Make a Venn diagram on a whiteboard or class easel. Compare and contrast setting, character, plot between Famous Seaweed Soup and Little Red Hen.

I have other printable activities available on my website.


Enter for the chance to win a 30-book classroom set of Famous Seaweed Soup!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A 30-book classroom set of Famous Seaweed Soup

Five (5) winners receive:
  • A paperback copy of Famous Seaweed Soup

Famous Seaweed Soup Book Giveaway

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Purple Butterfly Press.

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