Sunday, January 13, 2013

#150 How to Pick Out a Good Book

     Welcome to our new audience in Saudi Arabia.  You represent the forty-eighth country reading one or both of my blogs as reported on my stats pages.  Thank you for joining us in our efforts to develop children's reading interests.

     I am using a special promotion from to offer a free Kindle download of my middle-grade chapter book, Tiny Others (Agent C Series) by Lynda, on January 19, 20 and 21. This eBook may also be ordered using a Kindle App on computers, smart phones and various tablets as well as on your Kindles. Just click on the Amazon link above and enter the full title and author in the search window on the appropriate dates.

     Don't you wish you knew a bit more about the book though?  

     In this case, Amazon's order site will give you more information, but what if you were looking for a good book in a book store or library and you had no idea if you wanted to read a book like Tiny Others, (only one that was in paper and print instead of an eBook for Kindle).

     What are some ways you can tell if you will enjoy reading such a book before you buy it or check it out?


     The first thing you will probably see is the book's spine:
     It might look like this.  The author's name is Lynda (first name only? Yes.)  The book title is Tiny Others, and it is part of a series called Agent C.  The reading level says it is 4.3.
     Pull it off the shelf and take a look at the cover:

     It looks like a pencil is writing the title on some paper. Does the paper look old or something?  Why are some of the words faded?  It looks like Lynda also has done some illustrations.  Pictures might be good, don't you agree?  

     There is some kind of a stamp near the top.  It is an old Santa-looking guy, and the tiny words under him read, "Agent C".

     Turn the book over.  There is usually some stuff about the story on the back cover:

     Did you notice a couple of trees and some information about the book's setting,  "Summer vacation in the mountains"? Two of the characters are named Savannah and Chip.  Savannah is twelve, and she has found a story hidden in in some old paper.

     Let's open the front cover:

     Here is an inside title page with those same trees as we saw before. Didn't you think that the forest would have pine trees?

     A dedication page is next:


     Lynn, who knows for certain that a fairy princess born without wings can learn to fly. 

    (Is there something about such a fairy princess in the book?)

     Then we find a page about Agent C:

     Agent C is an embedded reading coach.  He makes a cameo appearance in several of Lynda's stories.  In Tiny Others, he takes the role of Mr. Pippin, the little shopkeeper who delivers something special to the main character, Savannah.
     This object, a mysterious ream of old paper, causes the story to change from that point forward.
     When something causes such a dramatic change, it is called a "catalyst".
     The "C" in "Agent C" stands for the word "catalyst".


     The table of contents page can give some interesting clues about the story--especially if the chapters have titles, and they do:


Chapter 1----Pippin’s Market 

Chapter 2----The Geode

Chapter 3----Chips

Chapter 4----The Forest

Chapter 5----Awakening

Chapter 6----Naming a Princess

Chapter 7----Frolic in the Wind

Chapter 8----Secrets Shared

Chapter 9----Surprises

Chapter 10---Broken Ties

Chapter 11---Taming the Wind

Chapter 12---Whispered Warnings

Chapter 13---Whirligigs

Chapter 14---Crossing the Chasm

Chapter 15---Dark Wings

Chapter 16---Confronting Fear

Chapter 17---Into the Caverns

Chapter 18---Forest of Despair

Chapter 19---Suspended Time

Chapter 20---Promise in Gossamer

Chapter 21---A Seedling

Glossary of Plant Names

     There is lots of information in there.  Looks like this book has some adventure, doesn't it?


     And now we come to the first page with an illustration:

Chapter 1
Pippin’s Market
     “Bump!  Bump!  As our tires rolled over tar-filled cracks on the wet mountain road, their vibrations pounded my senses like the beat of a kettledrum.  Windshield wipers added a sound like brushes on snares, and raindrops on the car roof tied the whole thing together like a crazy syncopated melody.
     Suddenly, I realized that my brain was doing it to me again.  It was spinning another wild idea for my entertainment. 

     Just two more book parts to talk about--

     Did you notice the page at the end of the table of contents called "Glossary of Plant Names"? The Tiny Others in this story all have the names of plants or plant parts because they are inhabitants of the forest. This dictionary tells you more about the real-life plants they name. For example:

     Aloe...a plant with thick leaves, believed by some to have healing properties


     ...And finally we come to the author's page. It looks like this:


     That ends our little tour of Tiny Others (Agent C Series) by Lynda.   

     If you are interested, I have a summary of the plot on my other blog at Just click on the link to go there.

     And don't forget to download your free eBook on January 19, 20 or 21.  Please let others know about this offer too. (If you miss this opportunity, the book will still be available on for only $3.99.)

     As always, please keep reading...


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