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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Your Reading for January by Susan Keefe

Are We French Yet? Keith & Val’s Adventures in Provence

by Keith Van Sickle

 
Are We French Yet? Keith & Val's Adventures in ProvenceI absolutely loved Keith Van Sickle’s first book ‘One Sip at a Time,’ and so was delighted to discover this new release.
Keith and his wife Val’s path in life changed five years previously when Keith was offered a work assignment in Switzerland. The experience opened their eyes to new opportunities and so back in America they took the bull by the horns and became self-employed. This brave move enabled them to take their destiny in their own hands and gave them the freedom to split their time between America and France.
The story commences with a restless Keith impatiently waiting for the time to pass so they can close down their American house and spend spring in Provence. However, his wife’s suggestion that they have a relaxing bike ride backfires when a squirrel decides to join in…
Finally, back in their beloved Provence, complete with their dog of course, Keith and Val settle into their rented property and become reacquainted with the area and their French friends. They are keen to learn conversation French so they take lessons with a teacher called Geneviève who takes no prisoners where pronunciation and attention to details are concerned.
Throughout this informative story the open and helpful characters of the French people they meet and befriend shine through, and also the completely different attitudes of the French and Americans to things in life. Perhaps to everyone the most obvious is the pace of life in each country, and this is something which you immediately notice whether you are an expat or you are just on holiday. However, as you spend more time here you can’t fail to notice the French peoples attitude to work and family life are so different.
The author’s wonderfully descriptive writing brings alive the  warmth, culture, food and wine enthused life in Provence, with meals out with friends, visits to vineyards, and of course the marvellous scenery. On this visit amongst other things we find out what it is like to go gluten free in France, discover the French reaction to the Eurovision Song Contest, and experience the famous Courses de Camarguaise.
To be able to live in two totally different countries must be a wonderful experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to savour Provencal life, and meet through his writing some of its people.
However, there is one thing which anybody new to France is in peril of getting wrong and that is the kiss, or is it kisses you give and receive when greeting, and also how many? Not to mention the worry of which side of the cheek you start on. Fear not, the answer to these questions and many more are weaved within the pages of this thoroughly entertaining book which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to relax and enjoy France from the comfort of their armchair.

The Amazon Rainforest Adventure: Inform children about how important our

Rainforest is (Picture book) (The Rescue Elves Book 2)

 
by Monty J. McClaine
A wonderful story bringing the plight of the Amazon Rainforest and its inhabitants to the attention of children.
As a family we are very conscious of the world around us, the environment, recycling, and animal welfare. Awareness is so much easier to teach when children are young, and so when after reading The Plastic Pollution Adventure (Picture Book) (The Rescue Elves Book 1) I discovered that there was a second book in the series The Amazon Rainforest Adventure I just had to get it to read to my little granddaughter. This was not just because it has magical elves in it, but also because the deforestation of the Amazon rainforests has such an incredible impact on our planet and its ecosystems.
For those who don’t know, The Rescue Elves, or relves, are the special elves who look after Santa’s sleigh. It is their job to ensure that if there are any problems with it, they know what to do, and if necessary can rescue Santa, and save the day. However to do this they must stay in tip top condition throughout the year, and be ready to deal with any situation in any place on the earth. Therefore Mrs. Claus sends them on special missions to test their skills, and ensure they can deal with any situation, and these missions are the topics for this series of children’s books.
Holly, Charlie, Jack and Sparkle, are the names of the elves, and they are so excited, they love exploring and visiting beautiful places. In this adventure Mrs Claus has sent them to the beautiful Amazon Rainforest.
Before they go, the elves already know how important the rainforest is to the health of our planet and all the creatures who live on it, and why it is called the “lungs of the earth.” They also know how wet it is, the clue, well it is a ‘Rainforest,’ and so they are suitably dressed. However, when they arrive they are dismayed not to hear the animal and bird sounds they are expecting, but screaming!
Who could be screaming, and why? Well, the reason is revealed when they come across a very unhappy Monkey King who has his foot trapped. When the relves discover what it is under, and how it happened, they set about helping the monkeys to free him. However, when they find out from the monkeys how much of the beautiful forest has been cut down by humans, and the damage it causes, they are very sad. At the back of the book there is a list of a variety of websites which can provide more information.
I thoroughly recommend this compelling story which is beautifully illustrated. It is a wonderful instrument to open up discussions with children about the importance of trees, why they are cut down, and what they are used for. The author very cleverly bringing environmental awareness gently to their attention at an age when they are very receptive to ideas and good habits are easily formed.
                                                               ——————————————–

Mr. Tortoise on a Mission: A Folktale lesson on kindness and Forgiveness for kids. (Tortoise adventure Series Book 3)

by Simons Acquah
A beautiful and inspiring children’s book.
The author Simons Acquah was originally from Ghana and now lives in North Beach, Maryland. He is passionate about promoting reading, and supporting children’s literature, and works with several non-profit organisations to help achieve this. This desire to help build children’s characters through his wonderful stories shines through from the first page of this lovely story which I downloaded to read to my granddaughter.
It is the tale of a little sparrow who lives in the forest with lots of other animals. Every day she watches them as they diligently stock their larders with food, in preparation for the forthcoming drought. The other animals, and even her own family try and tell her that she needs to be prepared for the hard times ahead, but the little sparrow ignores them and thinks that she knows best – that is until the drought arrives…
Then, desperate for food she asks the other forest animals and birds for help, but only one would help her, the tortoise. Because of his kindness she survives the drought, however, despite her promise she has no intention of repaying Mr. Tortoise’s kindness, and he is very unhappy when he discovers that he has been tricked.
Luckily, when he angrily relays his unhappiness to the owl, the wise bird offers him some good advice, and after consideration Mr. Tortoise takes it and discovers that the saying ‘wise old owl’ is true (although we don’t know if this one really is old.)
What was the good advice, and what happened next? Well, to discover the answer to these questions and more you will have to read this wonderful heart-warming story yourself.
My granddaughter and I loved this enchanting yet educational story which has been beautifully illustrated by H. Likhon. The illustrator brings the authors wonderful forest creatures to life, and we are looking forward to reading more books in this lovely series.

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