Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St. John

A Laura Marlin Mystery


“Orphaned Laura is sent to live with her uncle inCornwall, convinced that a life of adventure is hers at last. But everywhere she turns she’s confronted with mysteries. Is Tariq, the shopkeeper’s silent son, a friend or an enemy? Why does her uncle seem intent on erasing his own past? And why is everyone so afraid of Dead Man’s Cove?”

-From Back of the Book


This is an excellent book for all ages. This is YA but I would say that the older end of the Children section of the library (like 11+) could read this book. It had great role modeling and excellent values which a teen/child should not know. A person may not be inspired by the cover because it is kind of childish, but remember never, ever, EVER, judge a book by its cover. I would say that anyone would be interested in this book. The characters were intriguing and easy to relate to and the setting and the story line was interesting as well.

I read another one of her books The White Giraffe (not a great review as I was new to this blog) and completely loved it. She has two series. Legend of the Animal Healer which has The White Giraffe, Dolphin Song (which I also read but never reviewed unfortunately), The Last Leopard, and The Elephant’s Tale. Then she is now starting a new series called Laura Marlin Mysteries. So far she has Dead Man’s Cove and Kidnap in the Caribbean which came out last July.

But this is a great book with great values and issues which some children may encounter. But they are not obvious in the book because Lauren St. John seems to hide the underlying messages in things which happen. You have to understand what is happening to find these message.

This book is not violent in any aspect and is great for all ages.

So go and check this one out. It is a defiant read.

Who is Lauren St. John?

Lauren St. John was born in Gatooma, Rhodesia, now Kadoma, Zimbabwe. She and her family moved when she was 11 to Rainbow’s End farm in Gadzema. She later wrote a memoir Rainbow’s End. She then moved to England and worked there for a few years.

If you want to read more about her click here.


The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi (Based on poem by Mary Howitt)

This is such an amazing book. It is, admittedly, a picture book. Not something that a Young Adult’s would read, but I have to say this is a very good book. The story is very cute and there are also some really good illustrations as you can see.

I was curious how the pictures were drawn or created because they are so good, so I looked in the back of the book. It said, “The illustrations that appear in this book were rendered using Lamp Black and Titanium White Holbein Acryla Gouache and Berol Prismacolo Pencil on Strathmore 5-Ply, Plate Bristol board and reproduced in silver and black duotone. The “ghosts” were created in graphite and then added as a transparent layer using Adobe Photoshop.” To sum it all up into a few simple words, a lot of it was drawn by hand, but some of it was “enhanced” with Adobe Photoshop. When I say “enhanced” I mean the edges were rounded and the pictures were softened and there was a glow added. But overall this book was hand drawn. A very impressive work of art, if you would call it that. This story was based around the poem and became its own little masterpiece.

This book is not for younger children because they might find the spider scary or the story a little frightening. I have always loved it because I like the pictures. They are really good and they are just so much fun to look at. There are little things hidden all over the place. Not a treasure hunt, but the ghosts and the butterfly are on almost every page. I would definitely check this book out because it is really cute and a great Halloween read.


Who Was Ben Franklin? By Dennis Brindell Fradin Illustrated by John O’Brien

Who Was Ben Franklin? By Dennis Brindell Fradin Illustrated by John O’Brien

Late winter and spring is the time in school when many students read biographies of famous people. Starting in the lower grades youngsters scramble trying to find someone who is interesting enough to read about and write an assignment on and maybe even present it in character. Athletes, pop stars and others compete with famous historical characters. Here they learn about their lives, discover what their accomplishments were, what hardships and challenges they faced and hopefully they will see them as role models. (Maybe better they choose someone from times past than now as some of the more famous make poor role models) The range of biographies available for the younger to middle school readers is quite vast and there are many to choose from. The authors of these books manage to pack a lot of information into them, while making the person seem real and authentic.

Who Was Ben Franklin” is in the series Who Was…? which includes famous names such are Albert Einstein, Ferdinand Magellan, John Kennedy to name a few. The books are literally crammed full of information with interesting and amusing illustrations to highlight points of the person’s life, or to visually present something that was discussed. The series is aimed at the lower grade students (grades 2-5) and is presented in an interesting and engaging style with comic book style illustrations. The books are small with a large font, well spaced so that the page isn’t overwhelming for beginner or early independent readers.

“Who Was Ben Franklin” is packed full of information on the founding father. From his youth Ben Franklin’s life is described in reasonable detail (spoiler alert – he did ‘t really come from a loving home) and his thirst for adventure, his curiosity and great mind is obvious. Each of his contributions is covered and at times they are mesmerizing. How could one man accomplish so much in his life? As the opening section states he was “a man of many talents” and  “did so much that people claimed he had magical powers.” Inventor, statesman, scientist and quite a young rogue Ben’s many accomplishments and life story are presented in a very readable manner.

I quite liked this book and certainly learned a lot about Ben Franklin. I thought I knew about his life, but was I wrong. Dennis Brindell Fradin has done a wonderful job of packing so much information into this really slim book.


Talk Among Yourselves Tuesday – A Day Late

Yesterday it was audio book apps to entertain the children. Nice idea, real stories, real voices. Today NPR reported on kids books that leap off the page and are interactive. Here. It seems that publishers want to draw younger readers into an interactive world where they can become part of the story and characters. “These multi-platform books allow kids to move seamlessly from the printed page to the digital page, and are designed to appeal to both the avid and reluctant readers.” Without doubt many young readers will be attracted to this.

But here is the question. Does this help them to read? To learn to love reading? Going into an interactive world is another thing, uses a different part of the brain. Deepens their reliance on technology. Is a distraction.

Good idea or not?

Comments please.

I know where I stand.


Holiday Helper

There is so much going on at the moment, it feels like the world is spinning too much. So much to do, so little time. So, once again here to help you with some gift ideas for others (or yourself……yours elf!!) here are some excellent suggestions.

Amie Borst of From The Mixed Up Files blog has written a lovely piece about holiday traditions in her home with a great list of books in various subjects. Here. Thanks Amie, wonderful suggestions.

If you are into technology you have to check this out. Full explanation is here. Technology, kids and reading is something we have touched on before but this has them listening to books. Here at MLCWO we love listening to books and have our favorite readers as well as books. This looks like it could be the perfect addition to a child’s development of reading – supplementing the books, of course. While checking the site out (rather quickly) Rodney Yee (cool yoga dude) was found doing a little meditation piece…..not sure if they are planning to move into adults as well…..or maybe it was for the harassed mother in the introductory video.