Thursday, October 1, 2009


Prior to embracing the role of author, Jane considered herself a ‘professional tourist’ as her husband’s career kept her moving around the globe. According to Jane, settling in and exploring each new locale was an exciting, full time job with no pay but a host of benefits. She’s lived in Taiwan, South Korea, England, the Netherlands, Italy and Saudi Arabia, but has also had the opportunity to visit many other countries as well. Since settling back in the states, Jane is now a full time writer and occasional tourist. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association and the Gulf Coast Writers Association. The Ride, is Jane’s first novel and was released by ArcheBooks Publishing in August 2008.


Though I’d like to try my hand at children’s books someday, I write adult fiction. However, I wanted my guest post to fit into the theme of Kathy’s excellent blog. My almost three-year-old grandson, Sebastian, is an avid booklover (often opting for a new book over a new toy), so I thought I’d enlist his help by doing a mini-review of three of his favorite books. However, after realizing what his favorite books would be, I decided to pick my favorite books to read to him. When you read his list, you’ll understand why.

Sebastian’s list:
1) Any book about Thomas and Friends
2) Any book about a train
3) Any book with a picture of a train in it

Selecting three books was not easy. His shelves contain some old favorites I read to my daughter that I still enjoy such as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, and a variety of Dr. Seuss. However, I thought I’d select books I wasn’t familiar with before they became part of his collection. I settled on the following:

Miller the Green Caterpillar by Darrell House, illustrated by Patti Argoff, is a delightful story about a caterpillar who wants to fly. The underlying story is if you believe in your dreams and try hard enough, those dreams can come true. Sebastian likes this books not only for the story and artwork, but because he has also been able to observe the actual cycle of caterpillar to butterfly for himself. This book is one of my favorites because I met Mr. House through the Florida Writer’s Association and this book was Sebastian’s first personalized, signed copy to grace his shelves.

Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is a charming counting story that follows six wooly wombats on a walkabout. The book begins with a definition page to introduce some Australian terms children may not be familiar with, including wombat and walkabout along with billabong and kookaburra. The illustrations are darling, the rhyming story is fun and, well…wombat, billabong and kookaburra are fun words to say.

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt never fails to bring about a smile with the amusing illustrations and story. Along with letting kids know it’s okay to try new things, the book cleverly introduces time and days of the week. Scaredy Squirrel is afraid to leave his nut tree for a variety of reasons including bees and green Martians. When he accidentally falls out of his tree one day, he discovers that not only is there nothing to be afraid of but that he also is able to fly.

Regardless of the book being read, it’s the quality of time spent together in this essential activity that’s most important and makes the stories magical for everyone involved.

Thanks, Jane for this fun article, and the great book suggestions. Adults need fun books too! Jane's book, The Ride, is just that. Check out what others are saying about her book.

Midwest Book Review (5-stars on
“The wild and unexpected can be ever the savior when one is in despair of the mundane. “The Ride” is the story of a housewife who has sunk into a deep depression from her everyday life and her marriage to an egomaniacal husband who seems to forget she exists. But luckily for her, money is on her side, as is her Knight in a shining red convertible. A thrill ride of a romance, “The Ride” is exciting reading, sure to please.”

Jeff, 10/08, Goodreads
Through adversity comes strength. This book is aptly named and ultimately life can be one fantastic and fun ride.

Heather Lewis, Florida, 9/08, Amazon
A thrilling ride. The Ride is a well-written, thoroughly engaging, and downright fun read. You can't help but laugh out loud and cry at Barbie's sometimes heart wrenching, and always entertaining adventures. I highly recommend this book!

Buy The Ride on Amazon

ArcheBooks Publishing

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Helen Ginger said...

Fun review of children's books, Jane. My kids are fully grown and I don't have grandkids, so all the books were new to me. And all of them sound wonderful.

Straight From Hel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Thanks for hosting me, Kathy. I happy to be here today.

Helen, One of the many fun things about being a grandparent is having the opportunity to read fun books like these.

Katie Hines said...

Great that you gave us a review of these books! My kids are grown, but I've got one grandchild who we are reading to (18 months), and one on the way. I can hardly wait to share some of my favorite stories from when my girls were young.

Nancy Famolari said...

Enjoyed the review of children's books. "The Ride" sounds like a good read for adults! Loved the article

Margaret Fieland said...

Kathy, thanks for the great post. Jane, your book sounds terrific. Loved your grandson's book list!

Marvelous Marv said...

Great feature post. Jane is one of my favorite blogger buddies and I always enjoy learning more about her and her writing. Wow you've travelled and lived in lots of places! I'm jealous! lol

The Old Silly

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I had no idea you'd lived in so many places! That's fascinating...I'm envious.

We LOVE Scaredy Squirrel here! And thanks for your reviews on the other books, too. We'll check them out.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Darcia said...

Jane, your life has been far from boring and mundane! You must have lots of experiences to draw from in your writing. Congratulations on the great reviews for The Ride!

Darcía Helle

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I love blogs like this with valuable tips, Jane. I'll pass your children's books suggestions on to some young people in my life. (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Tweeting tips for writers @frugalbookpromo

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm always up for reviews for kids books as my kids love books. I've got to check out Scaredy Squirrel.

Stephen Tremp

Vivian Zabel said...

I enjoyed the children's books reviews. What fun.

Wow, the cover of your book, Jane, makes me want to read it.

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Hey, great reviews of kids books. My 3 yr old grandson loves anything with superheroes in it.

It's great to learn a bit more about you!

Thanks, Kathy, for a wonderful post.


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I was out most of the day and it was such fun to come home and see so many nice comments. Thank you all for stopping by.

Katie – aren’t grandkids fun!?!

Nancy – I’m glad you enjoyed the review. It was fun to write. I also enjoyed writing the The Ride and hope people feel that they get a good ride when reading it.

Margaret – I like a bit more variety in my book selections so I am always happy when my grandson lets me pick out the book.

Good to see you here, Marvin. Traveling so much certainly had a lot of pluses but a few drawbacks as well.

Elizabeth – I think Scaredy Squirrel was written as much for the adults who’d be reading it as for the kids.

Thanks, Darcia. I have to admit my life doesn’t resemble my character’s at all – thank goodness.

Glad you enjoyed the post, Carolyn.

I don’t know how old your kids are Stephen, but I think Scaredy Squirrel would make kids of any age smile.

Thanks, Vivian. I was pleased with the book cover, too.

Karen I need to try a superhero book for my grandson. I don’t remember seeing one on his shelves.

kathy stemke said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Jane's book sounds great.

Liana said...

Hi Jane, I love reading about your work, sounds so exciting!

Kathy, bravo for this very goos post!


Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check them out.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

When I was a child--about two weeks ago—I love to read. Before I could read, my mom read to me. Now that I’m in my dotage, you’d think Id be better at it. Sadly…Grin. Like Elizabeth, I too was surprised to learn you’d lived in so many places. I knew you’d been around the world, but not quite so many stops. One that caught my interest was Korea. No BSP intended, but my first book is set in 1978 Korea. So, we have linkage. Hey, maybe we were even there at the same time. I lived near Seoul from 75 through 78. It was an…interesting place.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog