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review 2016-12-07 21:09
One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens
One Small Donkey - Dandi Daley Mackall,Marta Alvarez Miguens

Your family will love this heartwarming Christmas story told from an unlikely perspective: a donkey carrying Mary to Bethlehem. Though the donkey wasn’t the biggest, fastest, or strongest of all the animals, he had an important job all the same. Adults and children alike will love the message about how God has big plans for little ones.





This children's story opens with -- say it with me now -- one small donkey! Our adorable donkey protagonist is grazing on a hill,  enjoying some fine weather, when he spots two big, gorgeous horses with flowing manes coming his way. Donkey admires their strength and beauty and wishes he could claim the same qualities for himself. Alas, he finds himself of slight size and noticeable clumsiness. He also struggles with speed. But little does he know, HE has been chosen for a very important task and will soon be a key player in every future retelling of the Nativity story ever. This particular donkey will be responsible for carrying a very pregnant Virgin Mary to Bethlehem so she may birth the Baby Jesus. Not too shabby for this wee donkey!  


Admittedly, the biggest pull for me with this board book was the undeniably adorable (and beautifully colored!) illustrations. Illustrator Marta Miguens does a fantastic job bringing real personality to the story's starring mule! But aside from the illustrations, I think this little book offers a great way for parents to share the Nativity story with their youngest readers without overwhelming them with too many details at once. While the basics of the familiar tale are all touched upon, very small readers will enjoy the focus on all the livestock characters that typically take a backseat in more grown up tellings of this Christmas legend. Additionally, this story provides an important message to young readers that everyone has innate gifts that can help better the lives of others, even if those gifts are not always immediately recognizable. Life has a way of calling on those gifts when most needed, even if it seems to take months or years. But when called upon, the person often sees that no one could have helped quite like they were able to! 


I've come across some reviews that mentioned the wording at times being clunky, throwing off the flow of the rhymes. I didn't notice it myself at first but after seeing such reviews I did another read-through and sure enough, a few pages near the story's end do have a few awkwardly phrases lines. Now seeing that, I would recommend adult readers to do a silent read through or two before sharing with your child, just to get a feel for where to put the vocal pauses. 



FTC DISCLAIMER: BookLookBloggers.com and Thomas Nelson Publishers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

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review 2014-05-03 23:45
The Silence of Murder
The Silence of Murder - Dandi Daley Mackall

Hope lives in a small town with her mother and big brother, Jeremy, who hasn't spoken since he was about 9 years old. Jeremy is accused of murdering the town's baseball coach, and everyone is convinced he did it. His lawyer's defense strategy involves trying to convince the jury that Jeremy is insane, which Hope must help with. And while he is different, Hope knows he's not insane and not a murderer. With the police convinced they've caught the murderer, it's now up to Hope, her best friend T.J., and Chase, the son of the sheriff, to try to find the real murderer before Jeremy's trial is over.


I will say that I guessed who the murderer was almost immediately after the character was introduced, although I didn't figure out the motive until later. There is also someone who starts stalking Hope in the hopes of trying to scare her off her investigation. It took me longer to figure out who the stalker was. That all being said, unlike some other books where I'm marveling at how clueless the characters are, I could completely understand how it took Hope a while to figure things out. The murderer didn't have an obvious motive and didn't stand out as an obvious suspect.


Jeremy's trial took place throughout the course of the book, with Hope's testimony starting the book off and the closing arguments taking place in the last few chapters. I did laugh over Hope's comments about how much longer the court procedures took than they did on TV. It just reminded me of the many misconceptions that shows, movies, etc. create about things like court proceedings. I'm still learning about things I "knew" that turned out to not be true. (Sorry, misconceptions created by the media are a bit of a fascination of mine, so I always love when something points things like this out.)


It was a bit frustrating with how attached Hope would get to a theory and then focus exclusively on trying to prove that right, no matter how far-fetched it may be. At the same time, she was desperate to save her brother and scared, so I can understand not being the most rational about everything. She was grasping at straws because she just didn't have a lot to go on.


There were a lot of secrets revealed, especially in the last few chapters, and some of the reveals may have gotten a bit ridiculous, but I was entertained throughout everything. It was a fun and enjoyable read, even if I did figure things out fairly quickly.

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text 2012-08-22 13:05
2012 Book Awards Overview
Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1) - James S.A. Corey
Embassytown - China MiƩville
The Fifth Witness - Michael Connelly
The Silence of Murder - Dandi Daley Mackall
A Crooked Number - Nathan Jorgenson
The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers, and Boss - Jim Warner,Kaley Klemp
Gone - Mo Hayder

Book awards are important voice of appreciation made by readers and memebers of book world. Let's have a look at some recent and upcoming book awards.


Harper Lee PrizeMichael Connelly’s The Fifth Witness was awarded with 2012 The Harper  Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. In 2011 the winner was John Grisham with his bestseller The Confession


WNBA AwardAnn Patchett (Bel Canto, State of Wonder) was announced the winner of the 2012-2013 WNBA Award (The Women's National Book Association). The award is given to a living American woman for meritorious work in the world of books.

Benjamin Franklin Award

Winners of the 24th annual Benjamin Franklin Awards honoring excellence in publishing include (among others): A Crooked Number (Popular fiction), Public Anatomy (Mystery), The Drama-Free Office (Business), The Forgotten Locket (Teen Fiction). 

Orange prize for fictionLast Orange Prize for Fiction went to The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Chair of Judges said “This is a more than worthy winner — original, passionate, inventive and uplifting. Homer would be proud of her.”


The Edgars

The Edgars went to Gone by Mo Hayder (Best Novel), Bent Road by Lori Roy for Best First Novel, The Silence of Murder by Dandi Daley Mackall (YA). Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry was awarded with Mary Higgins Clark Award.


Upcoming Book Awards:


The Man Booker Prize 2012The 2012 Longlist for Man Booker Prize was announced and include (among others): Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil, Yips  by Nicola Barker and 9 more. The 2011 Booker Prize winner was Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending. Shortlist will be announced September 11 and the winners October 16, 2012.


Hugo AwardHugo Awards winners for sci-fi's most presigous awards, will be presented September 3, 2012. Nominees include A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin, Among Others by Jo Walton, Deadline by Mira Grant, Embassytown by China Miéville and Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey in Best Novel category. 


National Book Award

National Book Awards Ceremony which celebrates best of American literature  will be held on November 14.

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review 2011-10-12 00:00
Listen to the Silent Night
Listen to the Silent Night - Dandi Daley Mackall,Lou Fancher,Steve Johnson A clever take on the Christmas story with lovely illustrations.
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review 2011-07-07 00:00
Eva Underground
Eva Underground - Dandi Daley Mackall Eva Underground by Dandi Daley Mackall takes us back to Communist Poland. Our main character, Eva, and her father travel there from Chicago because Eva's father wants to help the radical underground movement. Eva is angry and afraid - she has no desire to be a part of the group or be anywhere but home with her friends in Chicago. Slowly but surely, she becomes immersed in her surroundings and begins to understand the importance of what her father and his friends are trying to accomplish. She also quickly becomes interested in Tomek, the 19 year old translator.I really felt like I got an inside view into a piece of history I had little to no prior knowledge of. I was impressed with the way Dandi was able to both keep things basic enough to be easily understood and intense enough to feel harsh and realistic. It doesn't take long for Eva to begin to face the harsh realities of life head on. As she becomes more interested in the people around her, she is introduced to her own shortcomings (namely, being a spoiled American) and ends up trying to grow into a person she can look in the mirror and be proud of.One of my favorite parts of the book is when she travels with Tomek to his family's plum orchard. She initially goes only to try and get in with Tomek, but once she is there - she falls in love, not only with him, but with his family and community. She discovers the beauty of people - even when under intense pressure from the government and from the simple fact of being poor - she sees people refuse to compromise integrity, honesty and basic human decency.This is not one of the books that is written in such a way that the reader becomes a part of the story. I always felt very much like an onlooker versus a participant. So, while I don't feel that the writing itself is extraordinary on its own, I do believe that the story it told is. There is a lot of intensity and tension packed into a fairly short book; I definitely recommend taking the time to read it!
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