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My Elephant Is Blue–sadness
My Elephant Is Blue
written by Melinda Szymanik
illustrated by Vasanti Unka
Children sometimes have trouble verbalizing their feelings and managing them. My Elephant Is Blue was written to help children deal with sadness. “Big, heavy feelings” are represented by the crushing weight of the elephant Blue. The child’s family members try to help in various ways, and gradually the child does feel the weight of sadness lifting. This is Mental Health Awareness month, and My Elephant Is Blue is one of many picture books published by Flyaway Books to help young children and their families deal with emotions.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: Children’s Fiction, Health
Notes: 1. Ages 3-7
2. Supporting resources linked to this book are found at http://www.flyawaybooks.com/resources. There is a Discussion and Activity Guide that helps the reader understand the symbolism in the book. This guide includes Discussion Starters, Activities, a list with links of organizations that offer support, and a coloring sheet. There is also a book trailer if you would like a preview of the book.
Publication: April 11, 2023—Flyaway Books
They said, “Perhaps if you cheered up a bit…or smiled at it.” But it’s hard to cheer up or smile with an elephant sitting on your chest.
“It’s an elephant,” Mom and Dad said. “Surely it can’t stay forever. It’s bound to move on sometime.” I hoped sometime was soon.
The Rancher’s Homecoming–inspiration on a Montana ranch
The Rancher’s Homecoming
by Anna J. Stewart
What a great final book in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series! Anna J. Stewart has the job of continuing the story and finalizing this series in her book The Rancher’s Homecoming. Stewart does a fantastic job with both tasks.
Chance Blackwell considers himself the black sheep of the Blackwell family because he never enjoyed riding horses (blasphemy on a ranch!), he loves music, and he eloped with the foreman’s daughter, hoping never to return. Life is full of surprises, however, and Chance’s wife, Maura, passes away from cancer leaving him with a hole in his heart and an adorable preschooler, and without an inspiration for his songs. His grandfather, Big E, continues to manipulate behind the scenes, and Chance is forced to return to Falcon Creek to cast the deciding vote on the sale of the ranch.
The story moves quickly ahead while the reader gets glimpses into the past to see reasons for various characters’ actions. The relationship between Chance and Katie, his wife’s sister, who is also the acting foreman of the ranch, becomes complicated. The always likable sister-in-laws band together to try to make things better on several fronts. Will Big E ever explain himself? Has he changed? What influence does he have over Katie? Can the Blackwell brothers trust her? Should Chance vote to sell, hurting Ethan and Ty, or vote to retain the property, hurting Ben and Jon? Life is complicated, and so is the plot of The Rancher’s Homecoming.
This book is another in the series that lives up to its “heartwarming” moniker. Interesting characters, beautiful Montana setting, and a nice balance between introspection and action combine to make this a great read. If you haven’t read this series yet, I strongly recommend you put it on your TBR list for 2019!
I would like to extend my thanks to the author, Anna J. Stewart, for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #5 in Return of the Blackwell Brothers but will work as a standalone because of brief explanations of characters and past events as the book progresses
Publication: December 1, 2018—Harlequin Publishing
There was nothing for him here. Nothing except bitter memories of a place where he never belonged and a family he’d never fit into. Forget being a square peg in a round hole. For Chance, he’d always felt like a banjo in an orchestra.
The melody found itself, as it always did, skipping and hopping its way through his mind like stones across a still lake.
The late-summer air brushed over them, warm and welcoming, as the river rushed beyond them and meandered through Blackwell land as easily as a bee to its hive.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you libraries aren’t important. It’s where our dreams wait to be discovered.”