The Little Boy’s Smile on YouTube!

By heather at 8:49 pm on Thursday, December 9, 2010

tom krause little boy's smile childrens book illustrations heather castles

Tom Krause, author of “The Little Boy’s Smile,” recently sent me this link to a reading of our story up on YouTube… enjoy!

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, The Little Boy's Smile Leave A Comment »

Riley’s Lost Tooth | Review by Swamy

By heather at 1:41 am on Wednesday, March 17, 2010

riley's lost tooth children's book coverDiane passed along to me the first review of our book, Riley’s Lost Tooth, over at Swamy Reviews. Here’s an excerpt from the review :

“The book is colorfully illustrated and the story is simple but delightful. Riley, a small girl of about 5 years loses her first tooth. When she shares that news with her grandma, the pups in the house get worried and start searching for the lost tooth. A tooth fairy appears and assures them that it is a natural process and Riley will in fact get a regular, permanent tooth in its place.

….The book is well written and the illustrations are beautiful. The book will definitely appeal to all children (including children at heart like this reviewer) and their parents / grandparents / elder siblings and other care givers. Strongly recommended as an educational gift.”

Riley’s Lost Tooth is due to be launched in just a couple weeks!

Filed under: reviews, Riley's Lost Tooth1 Comment »

Good-bye, Baby Max | Talking to Kids About Death

By heather at 4:39 am on Saturday, June 28, 2008

I just read an interesting article by Angie Wagner over at AOL Australia Lifestyle on Talking to Kids About Death. Wagner has interviewed Diane Cantrell, author of our book “Good-bye, Baby Max,” which is about a kindergarten classroom who deals with the loss of their classroom pet. Diane provides a lovely honest perspective on talking about death with little kids, offering the advice to not be afraid of discussing it with your children.

Filed under: inspiration, childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max Leave A Comment »

Just One More Book | Love of Reading Logo Call for Entries

By heather at 5:36 am on Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My favourite children’s book review podcast, Just One More Book, is coming up to it’s 400th episode this July… and to celebrate the love of reading they’ve invited children’s book illustrators to come up with a logo for their website. Mark & Andrea are a lovely couple whose love of reading with their children is truly apparant through their podcasts… they’ve received some great submissions already, including this awesome one by one of my favourite illustrators/writers, Oliver Jeffers… as well as artwork by some very tallented kiddies! Deadline for entries is June 15th, 2008… Happy drawing!

Filed under: inspiration, illustrations, reviews Leave A Comment »

Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise | Book Bites for Kids interview

By heather at 3:54 pm on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Author Lisa Chalifoux just took part in an interview over at Blog Talk Radio, and shares a little about her experience working with me on our book “Spotty & Eddie Learn to Compromise.” Lisa also chats a bit about her experience with self-publishing her first book.
You can listen to the interview here!

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Spotty and Eddie Leave A Comment »

Goodbye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 2:28 pm on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I just read a kind review of my book, “Good-bye, Baby Max,” by Lillian Brummet over at Chrsty’s Book Reviews :

“Good-bye Baby Max is a wonderful children’s book for those who are coping with the end of life. A former kindergarten teacher who currently works as a professional counselor and life coach in Texas wrote the hardcover book. The author, Diane Cantrell, states that the book was written to stimulate discussion on a topic that is often difficult to broach.

The illustrations are filled with gold, red, green and blue in the art are filled with activity, creations on the walls by the class and teacher’s lessons displayed here and there. The nature scenes are lovely and occasionally spotted with cute ladybugs - which might be fun to inspire your children find them….

Children will enjoy the opening and closing pages that are filled with tiny yellow chicks…. Rating 4 out of 5 stars.”

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max1 Comment »

Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 5:06 pm on Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Review by Lillian Brummet
Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Good-bye Baby Max is a wonderful children’s book for those who are coping with the end of life. A former kindergarten teacher who currently works as a professional counselor and life coach in Texas wrote the hardcover book. The author, Diane Cantrell, states that the book was written to stimulate discussion on a topic that is often difficult to broach.

The illustrations are filled with gold, red, green and blue in the art are filled with activity, creations on the walls by the class and teacher’s lessons displayed here and there. The nature scenes are lovely and occasionally spotted with cute ladybugs – which might be fun to inspire your children find them. Heather Castles has been enjoying a career in children’s book illustrations for some time and has a passion for nature.

A class of about 14 children is learning about spring and growing seeds; their teacher brings them three wriggling chicken eggs that are just about ready to hatch baby chicks. The teacher wants them to learn about caring for the delicate birds and to experience the cycle of life as a biology lesson. Unfortunately, one of the eggs was not allowing the little chick to come out of the shell. The children return to class the next morning and learn that the little chick, Max, has died. Tears flow and the teacher helps the children deal with the grieving process. Love for their unborn friend inspired a comforting funeral underneath a large oak tree. Each child is given projects to aide with the healing process and soon they begin to find joy in the two chirping, squirming delicate yellow chicks.

Children will enjoy the opening and closing pages that are filled with tiny yellow chicks. The hardcover is illustrated and protected with a slipcover with identical illustration as the cover.

Published by Bridgeway books (US), however environmentalists might be concerned that it was printed and bound in China, due to the shipping involved. Unfortunately I could find no information in the book or on the publisher’s site regarding environmentally sound printing options that were chosen, such as using chlorine or acid free paper. Because the environment is a strong passion of mine, I feel I have to dock the book by a star. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed this book.

Lillian Brummet: co-author of the books Trash Talk and Purple Snowflake Marketing, author of Towards Understanding; host of the Conscious Discussions radio show (http://www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit)
http://www.curledupkids.com/babymax.htm

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max Leave A Comment »

Goodbye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 4:03 pm on Monday, March 3, 2008

I stumbled across another review of my book, “Good-bye, Baby Max” over at TheCelebrityCafe.com by Janet Pope :

Mrs. B’s kindergarten class anxiously awaited the arrival of three baby chicks, which they have already named. But Max, the last one to hatch, doesn’t make it into the world. The next morning, Mrs. B has to break the sad news to the class. The rest of the story, told in rhyming text, shows how the children and the teacher handle their grief. “Silence falls over the room. Liz and Rob begin to cry. ‘Don’t worry,’ says Mrs. B. ‘We’ll find a way to say good-bye.’”

This simple and tender story takes a look at an occurrence that most every child, unfortunately experiences at least once during their childhood - the death of a class pet or a pet of their own. The colorful illustrations by Heather Castles are soft and muted, adding to the seriousness of the subject. The expressions on the faces of the multi-cultural children are precious and touching.

This a a great book for any young child experiencing a loss, especially appropriate for ages 4 through 8. This is a difficult subject to approach with a young child and this book would ease that conversation.”

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max Leave A Comment »

Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review by Carole McDonnell

By heather at 5:16 pm on Sunday, March 2, 2008

Book review of Good-Bye, Baby Max by Carole McDonnell (www.preschoolentertainment.com)

“Diane Cantrell, a former kindergarten teacher and a grief facilitator with degrees in education and counseling, has put much of her knowledge about grief into a sweetly illustrated book on dealing with grief.

The story begins in a season all kindergarteners are aware of. Spring. Children in Mrs B’s class are learning about growth and beginnings by planting seeds and hatching eggs. But then the unexpected happens and an emergency occurs. Baby Max, one of the hatchlings the children have been waiting to hatch, seems to be having trouble being born. Although his brother and sister, Dora and Spiderman, are as healthy as can be…his attempts to break through his shell are feeble. There is a rush to the veterinary hospital but unfortunately Mrs B returns the next day with the bad news: Baby Max did not survive. (Okay, some astute child might ask why Mrs B didn’t help Max out of the shell, but that is not likely to happen.)

Understandably, the children are upset. Their hearts were set on Max and although they hadn’t really seen him, they are grieving at the unexpected loss. Mrs B then arranges a grief ceremony which the children themselves create. Max is memorialized, buried, and with the help of Dora and Spiderman the children learn that life is still beautiful and life goes on.

First thing I’ll say is that this book is very multicultural. Children of all races appear in these wonderfully-illustrated pages. The second thing is that fortunately the trauma surrounding Max’s death comes fairly quickly. There isn’t a lingering buildup or a lingering drawn-out dying scene. The memorial also comes and goes fairly quickly. In fact, the book seems quite short –about twelve or so pages.

The rhyme is unobtrusive, unremarkable, and unnoticeable for adult standards. But kids will love it. And this is a book for kids. The words are common ones kids hear everyday….so kindergarteners will not struggle with terms and some first and second graders might be able to read it.

The drawings seem to be pastel crayons. I checked the information sheet to see what kind of media was used but am not quite sure. The emotion in the faces engages the reader and any child will easily understand it. Even the ladybugs weep for little Max.

The story is transferable to real life without being overly pushy and terrifying to children. Teachers could definitely use this book to discuss the arc of life and death should any of their students suffer a sudden emotional loss. I highly recommended this book for 3 to 7 year olds and for children in special education classes.”

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max Leave A Comment »

Good-Bye, Baby Max | Book Review

By heather at 5:24 pm on Friday, February 29, 2008

Hilary Williamson (BookLoons.com)reviews Good-Bye, Baby Max

“It’s springtime in a busy kindergarten classroom, when Mrs. B., brings in a box - ‘The children are thrilled, / for soon they will greet / Three baby chicks, / so soft and so sweet.’ In advance of their hatching, the children name the small fluffballs Dora, Spiderman and Max.

One morning, the chicks start to hatch - Dora and Spiderman quickly emerge, but Max ‘pecks and pecks, / trying to crack open his shell’. The kids worry and Chris asks, ‘Is Max gonna die?’ The next morning, they sadly learn that Max didn’t make it (the blue tinge to the illustration emphasizes how the children feel about the news).

At Mrs. B,’s urging, they decide to ‘find a way to say good-bye.’ This wise teacher organizes an outdoor funeral for the little chick - the children sing and each takes their turn for a ‘last good-bye’. They craft memorial projects and watch Dora and Spiderman cheep and play, ‘Knowing that soon / they’ll have happier days.’

Diane Cantrell, who was a kindergarten teacher and is now a Licensed Professional Counselor, does a nice job of handling this delicate subject, while Heather Castles draws settings and children’s (happy and sad) faces beautifully. I recommend Good-bye, Baby Max as an excellent vehicle to communicate what the loss of a loved one means to little ones.”

Filed under: childrens books, reviews, Good-bye Baby Max Leave A Comment »
Next Page »