Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review :: Willie Out West by Rhonda Walker, Illustrations by Alan McCuller

Willie Out West by Rhonda Walker
Illustrations by Alan McCuller

Published: 6/28/13
Format: E-Book
Pages: 26
ISBN: 978-1-44979-849-9
Print Type: Color

Young Willie Walrus leaves his ice home to travel on an adventure to Big West, where the town’s citizens desperately need help. Arriving to cheers, he quickly runs into Old Walter, the One-Eyed Whale. Colorful illustrations and action take readers to an old West town where the citizens expect Willie to save them. Can he?

The boys crawled into bed tonight and I read them the children's book, Willie Out West. Dalton is only 8, so I thought this may be OK for him, but I knew it probably wouldn't be a hit with Bailey as he is 12. I'd say this is aimed at pre-school children.

Willie Out West really had potential. Both of the boys loved the idea of the sea animals living in the Big West. They cracked up at the thought of an octopus wearing spurs and a one-eyed whale as the villain. 

When the book starts out, Willie is "bored" and is angry that he has to play "play dumb games".  He has a very negative attitude and yet his Mom just smiles and suggests he get some rest without correcting his behavior. 

Willie decides to lay down on the couch and falls asleep. He dreams of an adventure in the Big West where he and the town folk have a show down with Old Walter.

Eventually, he awakens and thinks it was all a dream, but there is a silver star laying in the floor. He isn't sure if it was a dream or not. 

His bravery and saving the town, cause him to be a better person and to be more mindful of his parents wishes. 

Unfortunately, the story wasn't wonderful. It lacked a lot of details on what Old Walter had done to the town and why the town was so scared of him. The book was in simple terms, vague. It was over too quickly and there could have been a better climax. It needed something more to build up the suspense.

There were a few things I didn't understand... First, how had Willie spoiled Old Walters reputation? He hadn't done anything but come into town on the request of the Octopus.  The next thing that didn't make sense to me was the town filling with salt water after Old Walter left. Why would it fill with salt water? Why was there no salt water when he was there? Had he stolen all the salt water? I just don't know... I can't even use my imagination to fill in the gaps. Finally, the dream made Willie better behaved and helped him to respect his parents more. How did this happen? I can see how it could possibly have made him braver and have a feeling of more self worth... but better behaved? It just didn't make sense.

The illustrations were basic, but cute. Nothing that really grabs you and drags you into the story. Just basic. 

Personally, I'd give the book one star, because it really could have been a great story. It had a lot of potential. Dalton said he liked the show-down a lot, but wouldn't want to read it again. The only thing Bailey liked was that the villain was a one-eyed whale. He wouldn't read it again, ever. I can't really blame him. I wouldn't chose this out of a stack of books to read to my nieces and nephews either. It needs some work. It could be a GREAT story. Could be. 

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone else, sorry.

The boys and I were provided this complimentary E-Book for our Kindle by BookLook Bloggers and WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are shared are mine and 100% truth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Our newest addition: Mango

Last fall, we had a visitor, a BIG one. A bear! We had piles and piles of scat right behind our house. (I have pictures, but I didn't think anyone would want to see bear poo.) Anyway, I don't feel comfortable with the boys outside with a bear roaming around. Yeah, we have dogs, but Peaches (our Lab) is getting very old and Slinkie (our mini-Dacshund) couldn't do much about a bear. So, we decided to get a BIG dog. My cousin's full stock English Blue Tick bred with a full stock Woodstock Grizzly English Red Tick and produced a litter of eleven on the coldest day of the year: January 6! A big dog that will bark and is free? Yep. That's what we need.

When the pups were born, Dalton saw the pics and wanted "the one with the dot on it's head." So my cousin said, "She's yours!"

Here she is at 2 weeks old.
We brought her home when she was 8 weeks old and 7 lbs. She has been such a blessing. When asked what we should name her, Bailey said "We have a Peaches, let's name her Mango."

Here she is at 11 weeks old and almost 20 lbs!

And only the other day,  at 12 weeks old.

We adore her!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Welcome, Bill!

We've had tragedy here at the roost as coyotes have been reintroduced into our area. Brownie and Floppy were inside an electric fence, and we'd never had any issues with coyotes before, so we weren't locking them in the barn at night. Sadly, Floppy lost her life and Brownie has been alone most of the winter.

Since it is getting to be THAT time of year, we were graciously loaned Bill until he is needed elsewhere. He is a brute, but fortunately, like Brownie, he will lead like a dog. He was quite skittish at first, but has settled down some.

Isn't he gorgeous?! He doesn't smell as good as he looks, trust me on that one. 

After a week or so, he and Brownie have become good friends. Well, unless it is feed time.

And with any luck, Brownie will have some little ones trotting around late this fall.

I'm sharing this at From the Farm Blog Hop!