Welcome to Feathered Quill Book Reviews, a place for readers to find their next treasure.
Along with reviews of many well-known titles, this site also searches out unique books
from small, independent presses.
Feathered Quill Book Reviews prides itself on giving the reader an honest, unbiased critique of each and every book on its website.
So slip off your shoes, pour yourself a cup of coffee, explore our pages,
and discover many wonderful gems in the world of books.
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The Cockroach Invasion
By: Sherry L. Meinberg
Illustrated By: Thinkstock
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Publication Date: June 2014
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: August 16, 2014
The way that young children learn, observe, and then explain what they see is always interesting and reading about the adventures of the third graders in room eight is no exception. Everything that comes out of the mouths of kids is straight forward, to the point and usually quite entertaining. However, in this story the subject is cockroaches and that subject alone provides endless opportunities for these third graders to express their young opinions on these creepy, crawly creatures. Of course each one of these children have their own ideas about these insects but they never imagine how much they will learn about these relatively unknown species.
It was a normal school day for the third grade class in room eight as they all prepared to start a lesson in Ms. Matson’s classroom. However, the day drastically changed as a swarm of cockroaches suddenly came scurrying out of the sink drain! The room erupted into shrieks, screams, and crunching as the boys (primarily) decided they needed to take a stand against the army of roaches invading their classroom. Desperately trying to control the mayhem, Ms. Matson tells the students to find as many containers as they can and trap the cockroaches inside. After most of the pesky insects were trapped in jars the janitor was called in to take care of the mess in classroom eight. As the mess was cleaned, everyone’s interest was quickly overcome with everything that was unknown about cockroaches.
Using this new interest, Ms. Matson decides that as a class they will all do their own projects explaining all sorts of facts about cockroaches. At first the students know very little about cockroaches, but they are eager to learn and answer the many questions as they embark on an information finding quest. What they discover is more interesting than any of them could have predicted. The lesson even brings the quiet students out of their shells.
Working with children is always unique as there is never really a way to predict what will happen or what they will say. It was obvious that the author of this book, Dr. Sherry L. Meinberg, has quite a way with young children as she brought to life a book that not only entertains but teaches - which is exactly what great educators do. Including sketches made by kids was also an amazing touch as I can see how that would be incredibly appealing in the eyes of a child. The writing also flowed easily and quickly, allowing this book to be enjoyed by any age. I even found myself laughing out loud at some of the comments of these third graders. The humor and fun made for a great and enjoyable read!
Quill says: This is a fun read that can be enjoyed by a reader of any age.
Grandma, Aren’t You Glad the World’s Finally in Color Today!
By: Lori Stewart
Publisher: Palmar Press
Publication Date: September 2014
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 14, 2014
This new book is a rhyming tale for children that is absolutely perfect for adults as well. The author who brought the world If I Had as Many Grandchildren as You, which won rave reviews as well as awards, is back with this incredible creation that will become one of those ‘classics’ you keep on your shelf to share with your grandchildren one day.
School is out! Which is what every child likes to hear. But for the two siblings in our story, they are off to the shore to visit Grandma...and the adventure they embark upon is far better than any video game could supply.
As Grandma pulls down the old photo albums because the kids truly want to see what’s in them, a whole world is opened up that they never knew about. They learn all about those ‘black-and-white’ days, where it was fun to ride bikes outside, and horses were used for transportation. Grandma shows them photos of the past, of her mother, and the one-room schoolhouse with girls in pinafore dresses and boys in their sailor suits. These were the days of peace, hard work, and where family and friends sat around the dinner table each night. These were the days of family fun, before the TV invaded every home.
But what Grandma also shows is the difference between today and back then. She tells her grandchildren all about the toys she played with, as well as giving a pat on the back to technology and the inventions over the years that brought the world into Technicolor – from laptops to smartphones to the ability to light up the globe. She speaks of the ventures back then versus the ones that are ahead of our children now – and the amazing things they could create because of what there is to utilize in these modern times.
The beauty of this tale comes from the ‘good’ things in life that are very rarely spoken of anymore...except between those lucky ones who can visit Grandma’s house, smell the scent of the chocolate chip cookies, and literally have a time travel experience, as they meet their relatives and admire and learn about the generations that have come before them.
This author has done a stunning job; from the rhyme to the timeline across the top of each page that actually corresponds with the topic being spoken about (AKA: a timeline of toys is offered that marks everything from the Teddy Bear arriving on the scene in 1902 to the Apple iPhone introduction in 2007). This is a definite look back book, but combined with the present day ‘color’ that the past two centuries produced. Beautiful thoughts, exciting ideas and great photos make this one a definite ‘must-read’ for all kids and adults.
Quill says: A perfect tale that teaches to never forget the ‘black-and-white’ glory, while making sure to celebrate the Technicolor world of today!
For more information on Grandma, Aren’t You Glad the World’s Finally in Color Today!, please visit the author's website at: www.loriscottstewart.com
Santa Rita Stories
By: Andrew J. Rodriguez
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: June 2014
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 8, 2014
‘Coming of Age’ takes on a unique meaning in this tale, as a young man learns from, basically, the town ‘gossip,’ about various stories regarding the residents of the small village he calls home.
Right off the bat the reader meets a truly unforgettable character. His name is Pedro, but he is referred to as ‘Old Man.’ Pedro is a homeless person who wanders the docks in the Cuban fishing village of Santa Rita. He is ripe with scent, and he is one of those storytellers who definitely uses the facts and weaves them expertly with his words of wisdom in order to help teach young Carlos about life.
Pedro, the Old Man, weaves ten tales. He begins with the story of a man named Don Patricio Mayor – a poor immigrant who became a nobleman. Of course, to accomplish this feat, Mayor didn’t always do the right thing. Mayor began as a personal assistant when he was young working for a boss named Juan de Dios. This job introduced Mayor to a world of lies and thievery. However, when a fight occurred between the two men, it took years for them to meet up again. And, when they did, Mayor was the boss. He hired Juan to act as a ‘thug’ to round up debts in Santa Rita. But Juan is still the ultimate liar and when he falls ill, Juan decides to make a mockery of the town, as well as his old assistant by using lies to convince the Church that he is basically a Saint. This is one tale that teaches a true lesson about how looks can definitely deceive.
Each and every tale that comes from Old Man Pedro teaches a lesson to Carlos. Whether it be the completely wrong lesson is up to the boy (and readers) to decide. As the story moves forward, we see Carlos deal with many things that occur in real life; from his first kiss to dealing with a bully to his debate and wonder over sex. Carlos defies authority, yet tries to keep his morals and values intact. And while doing all this, he comes to make a lifelong friend.
This author offers up entertainment, fun, sadness and thought. This is a book that teaches a great deal to any age group that reads it. The “Human Condition” is spoken about by many, but as technology grows and as temptation increases, everything can alter peoples’ minds as they attempt to adjust to a far different world, while keeping their faith and self-respect.
Carlos reminds people of their own battles; and the ‘Old Man’ is most definitely that familiar character for anyone who grew up in a small town where everyone from the con men to the saints to the church ladies to the local librarian always knew exactly what you were doing. Although the freedom was lacking there, the support was easy to feel. A small town is a family with both good and bad members – the foundation that never moved, as you did your best to grow up. And this particular author shows every corner of that foundation, even the ‘cracks’ in the marble pillars of society.
Quill says: Outstanding work that offers depth without burying the kindness, humor, and variety of life.