Stella and Shell

Stella and Shell by L.S. Lentz

Book reviewed by Teri Davis Takle

Making new friends is always a little scary, especially when moving to a new home.

For Stella, a big dog, there is so much to explore and the nearby river is almost calling to her.  She is an adult dog, but she sometimes cannot help herself by getting into the trash, like a naughty puppy.  Purchase Here.

Moving to a new home is exciting.   What new adventures are waiting?  Who will these adventures be with?  Who will be her playmates?   Who will be her friends?

Stella and Shell is a beautifully illustrated children’s book.  The lush, picturesque settings immediately pull the reader into the story with the simple text in perfect correlation.   It’s easy to relate to the farmhouse, the kitchen, the river, and the surrounding area.

Friendship is the theme and the need to find something in common to build those friendships.   With the challenge Stella has about how to approach new friends and being persistent, many lessons can be learned.

There are numerable teachable lessons in Stella and Shell.  Vocabulary lessons with the words amber, oozes, startled, and fluffy would be appropriate for young children.  With Stella sniffing, patting, and barking the senses could be mentioned along with when to best use those actions.  For everyone, discussions about how to approach new people, as well as dogs, and big dogs could be wonderful life lessons.  Even a little problem-solving could be used with asking how could Stella later make friends with Mr. Fish, Mrs. Owl, and Brother Beaver.   Who could be friends with these other creatures?

Unlikely friendships are essential for everyone.  We all need to respect each other’s natural abilities, strengths, weaknesses, disabilities, and gifts.  There is a need for everyone to learn to make friends and to further develop their friendships.  Who would ever imagine a friendship between a large dog and a turtle who enjoy digging together?

The ideal reader for this book would be for young children with the book being read out loud to them.  However, the audience could easily be extended to older children, especially those with any type of difficulty, disability, or those who have problems making friends.

The author, L.S. Lentz, is an experienced educator who recently moved to a farmhouse in Massachusetts.  Stella is her actual dog and she really created a bizarre friendship with a turtle and the two of them enjoy digging together.  Stella and Shell is her first published children’s book.

Stella and Shell is a delightfully wonderful story for young children, those who enjoy a happy story, and friendship.  We each differ but finding common sharing is the key to building lasting relationships and lifelong friendships.


Season of the Dragon

Season of the Dragon (Dragos Primeri Book 1) by Natalie Wright

Book Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Natalie Wright’s Season of the Dragon opens up the Dragos Primeri series in a mystical storm. Using familiar elements like dragons and shapeshifters, the author succeeds in building a unique and complex world that easily takes root in the reader’s mind.  Purchase Here.

Following the life of Quen, a young girl born under a curse or blessing – a simple matter of perspective – we embark on a journey of magical self-discovery. Since she was a child, Quen was different from the other children, more agile, faster, and stronger. However, what set her apart most was her differently colored eyes, flaming red and calm blue.

A misfit, Quen tries to suppress her unnatural abilities in hopes of social acceptance. Yet, she continues lingering as an outcast until the day an ominous visitor comes to claim her. That visit sets in motion a series of events that lead to the destruction of her home and deeply scar her family.

Quen promises to seek revenge for the loss and destruction the dragon inflicted on her settlement and loved ones. Thus, she sets off with a group of diverse misfits to find and destroy the fire-breathing dragon and his rider.

Her quest for revenge is deeply intertwined with self-discovery, as her true identity is at the center of everything. All her life, she tried keeping her shadow soul at bay, but the ancient voice gradually awakens and bubbles over in her conscious mind. As the duality within her asserts itself more and more, the possibility of an ongoing harmonious co-existence weighs heavy on Quen.

Walking in the shadow of prophecy, Quen tries to break free of the shackles set by ancient words. Natalie Wright makes her personal quest our own as we uncover a layered and disjointed social system of magic, politics, and religion.

While Season of the Dragon is aimed primarily at a young adult audience, it is a mesmerizing read for adults as well. Natalie Wright’s world-building skills, together with her astute psychological and social observations, weave a compelling and multi-layered story.