Violet the Pilot in Hawaii – Review

Violet the Pilot in Hawaii is the third book of a children’s series written by author Bettina Bathe. One of the very first striking aspects of this book is the illustrator’s use of bright colored fish and birds, a flowery helicopter, tropical scenery and agriculture within the Hawaiian Island region. The illustrations by Barbara Fortin also reveal lush forest and wildlife scenes including a myriad of creatures that dwell in the waters surrounding the islands.

This adventure begins when two Hawaiian youth, Kimo and Malia, request a scenic tour ride in Violet’s purple helicopter. As always, safety comes first for Violet, and they spend a few moments discussing air currents and looking at maps before starting out.

Violet and her passengers are accompanied by as they fly above tropical forests, a beautiful waterfall, interesting volcanoes and agricultural fields. The adventure is interrupted when they are called upon to help rescue a baby whale. Thanks to Violet’s confident pilot skills and her loyal animal and insect friends, the frightened whale is returned to her pod. These unlikely heroes arrive to their destination safely and celebrate with a Luau and a feast. This is no ordinary feast – the table is laden with all kinds of Hawaiian foods. And later, they are entertained by Hula Dancers and Violet plays her Ukulele.

The author incorporates real life terms in her books, yet she is able to explain things in a way that young people can clearly understand. The last page has an illustration with all three of the flags from the countries Violet has worked in so far. These could be excellent teaching and memory tools for the reader to use with children. However, Violet the Pilot in Hawaii offers more than entertainment and education – the author has also dedicated a portion of the sales of this book to the Canadian Red Cross. Additionally, Bettina’s website offers contests and awards for young readers for her young readers to enjoy.

ISBN#: 0-9738290-1-X

Author: Bettina Bathe

Illustrator: Barbara Fortin

Publisher: Violet the Pilot Enterprises, Inc.

Published: January 2006

Book Review: Pretty Dolls, by Kimberly Dana

Pretty Dolls by Kimberly Dana, a finalist in the Children’s Picture Book category at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest, is a delightful story about overcoming jealousy and the love a girl can share with her special doll, no matter what she looks like.

Little Tasha has several dolls, but her favorites are Emily-Nicole and Gracie. Emily-Nicole is the most beautiful of all, with porcelain skin, silky red hair and turquoise-blue eyes. She spends most of her days perched on the top bookshelf case with the other beautiful dolls. Unlike Emily-Nicole, Gracie has tufts of brown hair (from when Tasha played hairdresser), purple eyes (from when she played artist), and a missing arm. She’s not at all beautiful like Emily-Nicole. But Tasha loves her because she’s the snuggliest of all and that’s why she always carries her around.

Unbeknown to Tasha, once she’s deeply sound asleep in the quiet of the night, Emily-Nicole, jealous of Tasha and Gracie’s closeness, starts making fun of Gracie and calling her cruel names. The other pretty dolls giggle and together they mock:

“Pretty eyes and pretty hair. We’re the best dolls anywhere. If you were a pretty doll, you’d be up here standing tall.”

Night after night the banter continues. As Emily-Nicole becomes more and more jealous, she turns increasingly cruel. Her heart becomes just as cold and porcelain-like as her beautiful face. Deep inside, though, she suffers. She would like to be the one to snuggle up with Tasha instead of standing on the shelf all day and night. She just can’t understand why Tasha prefers Gracie when Gracie is so ugly compared to her.

One day, Tasha’s dog Victor charges into the room and rocks the bookshelf back and forth, making Emily-Nicole stumble and fall. He snatches her into his mouth and shakes her, then heaves her into the air and she lands on Tasha’s bed… right next to Gracie. Will the other dolls help Emily-Nicole or will Gracie?

Pretty Dolls is an adorable picture book for little girls ages 3 to 8. It is a story about kindness and discovering new friendships. The book offers a valuable and lovely message about what it means to be truly beautiful and about accepting others, even if they look a little different than us. The language is simple and engaging, appropriate for this age group. The illustrations are charming, a splash of color on the pages with a lot of pinks and purples. There’s an accompanying audio book included with Pretty Dolls, which can be downloaded for free from the Tate Publishing website and burned onto a CD or saved to a portable device such as an iPod. Recommended.

Author Kimberly Dana is an award-winning English teacher. In addition to writing for children, she also writes for young adults. You can visit her at http://www.kimberlydana.com

Interview With Roe De Pinto, Author of "Too Much Junk in My Trunk!"

Roe De Pinto has received fourteen awards for her The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series and hopes to continue the accolades with the new release of this adorable little episode, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” Through her sweet characters Zealy, a baby seal and Whubba, a baby orca, Roe continues to embark on her journey and dreams of bringing back the morals that she was taught many years ago – respecting yourself, one another, and the entire world around you. Giving, sharing and caring is her lifelong campaign, starting with the birth of a newborn all through their developmental years. Giving to someone else before yourself, and always protecting one another are the simple life lessons, she feels, can restore peace and non-violence to a very jaded world.

Hi Roe, and welcome! It’s so nice to visit with you again. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Previous to writing I was a realtor, administrative assistant, manager, travel agent, notary, etc., for career purposes but have been writing for as long as I could write, starting at the age of 10. I am a mom of two beautiful children, and Nana of three precious grandchildren, who light up my life with joy and love. They have inspired my writing during my retirement years after countless hours of watching my favorite TV viewing- animated cartoons.

I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to since we last talked! What’s going on with your series, The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba?

Well, I have been working on the series, The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba for 3 years now and with the new book release, which is book 4, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk,” I have received 14 awards thus far, so I am so happy that the audience is receiving my books anxiously!

I have recently been picked up by publishers, Austin-Macauley, for my first three to be revised under their house format with hopes of their marketing bringing my work to the next level.

That’s so exciting, congratulations! And, what is “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” about?

My fourth book is about our two little characters exploring a food adventure, which develops into an eating extravaganza, with some newly made friends as they wind up with tummy aches that only their Mommy can make better by giving her best advice. The book ends with a wonderful lesson learned as they dance happily to the chant which you will see when they feel all better.

I love the lessons in your books! Great for adults as well – I can relate all too well to the message in “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” What inspired you to write about eating too much?

I am constantly telling my grandbabies to try new foods, but they have a tendency to overeat on foods that they prefer to eat, so I decided to write about it – and now they remember what Zealy and Whubba did and will recite the chant whenever I remind them they are eating too much.

What do you love about writing children’s books and what is the hardest thing about writing children’s books?

The hardest part I feel is getting inside a child’s mind and knowing how they will react to the words and the lessons you are trying to convey. Children are so easily impressed and one needs to be very careful how the wording is done and keeping it simple for them to understand.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started writing your first book?

How tedious the marketing really is when one is self-published. I prefer to expend the energy on writing!

How active are you in promoting your books? Tell us about some of the things you are doing to spread the news about Zealy and Whubba.

Social media, book signings coast to coast, award submissions, review submissions, book fairs and trade shows are all what I do – I am a one man band.

How do you feel about writing groups and critique partners?

They are beneficial in exposing to you things objectively rather than as you see them, subjectively.

Do you attend literary conferences? If so, what is your biggest takeaway from these events?

Absolutely, exposure is the key there as well as networking and seeing what works for other writers and industry experts.

Looking back, did you ever imagine your series would receive so much recognition and accolades? What does that validation mean to you as a writer, but also as a mother and grandmother?

I am completely in awe with each and every award, and it does validate everything I am expressing in my writing for parents of young children to relate to as well as the children.

What were Zealy and Whubba doing 30,000 feet in the sky in an airplane? I thought they were sea animals?

Oh my, the ad aired on national TV as an interview on Talk Business 360, Fox Business Network and it was extended on Talk Business 360 which airs on certain American Airlines flights (27000 in all) in October and November. I cannot express my heart throbbing when I actually saw it myself on the flight as well as the TV because my quest and dream come true is to see it on TV in an animated format someday and that was sheer delight for me to see my characters on the screen!

What’s next for The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series?

The fifth book is yet to be started for production, although I have the next 8 scripted, but not edited. I hope within the year, Book 5 will produce.

Knowing all that you know now about the writing and marketing and, the whole process for that matter – what information would you pass along to someone wanting to break into the world of children’s books?

Prepare yourself for spending time and money, but the rewards are much greater when you see children relating and happy and smiling from reading what you created.

Where can readers interact with you on social media and learn more about you and your books?

My website: www.zealyandwhubba.com has it all. I’m also on Twitter at @doctaroe and Facebook.

Roe, as always it was such a pleasure and an honor to talk to you today. I am inspired by your enthusiasm and ambition and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Thank you.