The Cat’s Pajamas by Daniel Wallace

The Cat's Pajamas by Daniel WallacePromotional copy provided.

By nature, I am a very picky children’s book reader. If the first sentence or the pictures don’t draw me in, I place it back on the shelf and browse on. The Cat’s Pajamas is not a children’s book I would return to the shelf. It quickly snags your attention and brings you into the story. True to the nature of his novel “Big Fish,“ Daniel Wallace does not disappoint with yet another (adorable) tall-tale. It is the story of one cool cat in his quest to be different who instead, in the end, makes a difference. It is the perfect bedtime story or Pajama Day (at school) story and the narrative voice is quite pleasant and easy to read. I would say that this book is appropriate for ages pre-k through 2nd or 3rd grade and is enjoyable for any parent or teacher as well, especially if said readers are cat fanatics.

The cool thing about this book is that it was published through INKSHARES, which is a crowdfunded publisher. On INKSHARES.com, users donate funds to projects they are interested in by pre-ordering copies of the book. Depending on the amount donated, a user can receive a digital copy, hard copy, draft or even recognition in the book. Users can chose to donate $15, $40, $100 or an undisclosed amount to projects of their choice. Once the author has received enough support, INKSHARES.com supplies an editor, designer and takes care of other aspects of the publishing process.

Any writer can publish using INKSHARES, whether they’re a seasoned and published writer like Mr. Wallace, or a new and upcoming writer being published for the first time. INKSHARES supports an artist’s work by paying more per book sold than a traditional publishing house. A writer can receive up to 70% more in royalties per book as opposed to traditional publishing methods which pay only pocket change for each book sold.

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Please take a moment look at inkshares.com and browse their current project list or maybe even look into publishing your own book!

Mr. Wallace’s book “The Cat’s Pajamas” is available in hardcover for 18.00 here.

Books with Thought and Heart by K.S. Robinson

Books by K.S. Robinson

Samples were provided, opinions are my own.

I was delighted when given the opportunity to read and review 2 children’s books for Tate Publishing.

No Lunch Money! and A Mermaid’s Tale were written by Pacific Northwest writer, K.S. Robinson.  Let me just say that both books were well thought out and show the heart of the writer which I believe captured her intent in writing them.

No Lunch Money! finds young Casey having one of those days when you are just one step behind in everything you do. We have had those bad days, I have for sure!  Well, Casey learns a lesson about kindness that he will not soon forget and a single event can turn his whole day around.

No Lunch Money! has a biblical virtue and discussion questions at the end of the book to guide reading comprehension. This is perfect for a full class of children on a Sunday morning or one on one with your own child before any time.

A Mermaid's Tail

A Mermaid’s Tale
is a sweet little story. Every little girl dreams of and can relate to searching for that perfect shell and meeting a new friend.  Not every friend is a mermaid but don’t we all wish we could meet one!  While Melanie travels with the mermaid Celine to that, “Secret cove” (You know, the one that all little girls dream of finding), she frolics with Orcas and explores the ocean blue for her perfect shell.  Does she find it?  You’ll need to read the book to find that answer.

Cute stories, right? Here is what I liked about them: Both stories are GREAT read aloud books as well as beginning reader books. That is hard to do because read aloud and beginning reader books are written in a totally different perspective.  The pages are easy enough to read aloud with confidence, well illustrated, and challenging enough for a beginning reader.  They also creatively embrace situations that all kids know: Having a bad day or day dreaming while searching for that perfect shell!

A feature soon to be available for both of these books is an E-Live downloadable audio book.  Kids can just listen or read along.  However your kids choose they will love it!  Well done K.S. Robinson and Tate Publishing!

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton

Earlier this year on one of my blogging adventures I met LeVar Burton. He gave the moms at the Social Media Moms conference in Disneyland a speech about the importance of reading and helping your kids develop a love of reading. I had no idea how many kids are out there that are not learning how to read. He has written a book for children to help them learn to express their emotions. The book is called, The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm.

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When little Mica Mouse is scared by thunder booming outside her cozy home, Papa Mouse reaches for just the right story to comfort her. Hugging her close, he begins to read The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. In this poetic book-within-a-book, a happy little rhinoceros is overwhelmed by a storm that sweeps away everything he loves. Swallowing the storm just makes him feel worse, so Rhino sets off on a whimsical journey toward healing. Along the way, he meets many friends, including a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale. With their help, Rhino lets go of the storm inside and learns to see the light in a world turned gray. Mica Mouse is soothed by the story and Papa’s gentle reminder that even though bad things sometimes happen, the world is full of people who care.

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In his first children’s book, longtime Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton gives us an engaging resource to help children express their feelings and navigate through difficult experiences. The “Take a Deeper Look” page at the end of the book even provides discussion questions to facilitate a healing dialogue.

About the Author:

Actor, director, and educator LeVar Burton has been an icon for more than 35 years. 1977’s TV miniseries Roots propelled the 19-year-old Burton onto the world stage with his unforgettable performance as Kunta Kinte. As Star Trek: The Next Generation’s blind chief engineer Geordi LaForge, Burton reminded audiences that it’s not our disabilities but our contribution to society that defines us. However, it’s his 31st year as host, producer, and now co-owner of Reading Rainbow where Burton has had his greatest impact, delivering the message of the importance of literacy and reading to generations of children. Coauthor Susan Schaefer Bernardo is a published poet and the author of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs. Courtenay Fletcher is a designer and the illustrator of Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs.

I See Me! Birthday Magic Makes Mom a Little Misty!

I See Me

Sample provided by “I See Me!”

My sweet daughter recently turned 9. She is truly a princess, kind hearted, friendly, smart, energetic and sweet. So I thought an “I See Me!” gift from My Chronicle Books would be absolutely perfect. I don’t know about you all but I tend to get a little misty anyway on my kids birthdays but this sent me over the edge into a quivering chin and all! This book should come with a hankie for mom!

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We received, “A Day in the Life of a Princess” personalized with sweet detail and a personal letter written to her about being smart and kind hearted. Also, character features like hair color and skin color, favorite dress color and the best part was what she would name her royal pony! I knew the answer to this because we had just talked about it. Yvonna!

Princess letter

Personalized book

She read the book to us and the water works opened up! To hear her little voice reading a story about her and the things she loves (ponies) was perfect and special in every way. Not only was this a great gift to her but also a great gift to me.

Reading "I See Me"

“I See Me!” has a great website with many ideas for personalized product. We also received a placemat with her name which was perfect at the head of the table for the Birthday Princess. Check it out, you will find something for everyone.

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Mom and Kid recommended. **** note: you will need a hankie too***

Here is a great opportunity from Chronicle Books and friends for your little prince or princess to show their royal stuff!

Announcing “A Princess for a Day Photo Contest” for I See Me! fans! Submit a photo of your princess along with the caption, “What special qualities makes your child a true princess?” Grand prize winner will receive a personalized copy of our new princess book + a $300 princess prize package from Knot Genie Detangling Brush, Chronicle Books, Galison/Mudpuppy, and SmartLab Toys. Five additional winners will receive a personalized copy for our new princess book too.”

Enter at http://bit.ly/ISMprincess. Winners chosen at random. Princes welcome too!

Reading With Miles: Ricky Ricotta Book Series Giveaway #RickyRicotta

This is a partnered post and all opinions are my own.

We received the RICKY RICOTTA series by Dav Pilkey and they are perfect for my new reader Miles. They have adventure, colored pictures and are comic style. Miles’ favorite books to read right now are comics.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

When Dav Pilkey was a kid, he suffered from ADHD, reading challenges, and behavioral problems. Dav was so disruptive in class that his teachers made him sit out in the hallway every day. Dav loved to draw and make up stories, so he spent this time creating his own original comic books.

In second grade, Dav created a comic book about a superhero named Captain Underpants. His teacher ripped it up and told him he couldn’t spend the rest of his life making silly books. Fortunately, Dav was not a very good listener.

Dav has written and illustrated many bestselling books for children, including the Captain Underpants series with over 70 million books in print, the Ricky Ricotta series, and The Paperboy, a Caldecott Honor Book. 

Dav grew up in Ohio and now lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about him at www.pilkey.com.

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Dan Santat attended the University of California, San Diego, where he received a degree in biology. Thankfully, he had a change of heart and went on to pursue an illustration degree from the Art Center College of Design, where he graduated with honors.

After a few years of designing art for video games, Dan switched his attention to children’s books. Since then, Dan has written and illustrated several bestselling books for children, including The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend and Sidekicks. Dan also created the Disney animated hit The Replacements.

Dan was born in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in Southern California with his family. You can find out more by visiting his website at www.dantat.com.

ABOUT THE SERIES
From Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants, and acclaimed artist Dan Santat, an out-of-this-world friendship adventure with brand-new full-color illustrations and mini-comics throughout!

Ricky Ricotta is a little mouse with BIG problems! Every day he is picked on by the neighborhood bullies. He lives in Squeakyville with his mother and father, and being an only mouse, he is often lonely. That is until SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS! A giant flying robot enters Ricky’s life and an unlikely friendship is born! Together, Ricky and his Robot must save the planet from a galaxy bursting with bad guys!

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ABOUT BOOK ONE: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT

Little Ricky Ricotta has a problem: the bullies at school pick on him all the time. Until one day, he saves the life of a mighty robot. Together, Ricky and his Robot face the bullies, and save Squeakyville from a giant evil lizard monster. That’s what friends are for!

ABOUT BOOK TWO: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT VS MUTANT MOSQUITOS FROM MERCURY

Mr. Mosquito hates Mercury. The days are so hot, they melt his flip-flops, and the nights are so cold, his toothpaste freezes solid! He’s decided to take over Earth instead. Ricky and his Robot must stop his army of massive Mutant Mosquitoes!

ABOUT BOOK THREE: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT VS VOODOO VULTURES FROM VENUS

Victor Von Vulture hates Venus. His toasted cheese sandwiches are always way too gooey, and ice cream melts in a second! So he and his army of Voodoo Vultures try to cast a spell on the Earth. It’s up to Ricky and his Robot to stop them!

ABOUT BOOK FOUR: RICKY RICOTTA’S MIGHTY ROBOT VS THE MECHA-MONKEYS FROM MARS

Little Ricky Ricotta has a problem: the bullies at school pick on him all the time. Until one day, he saves the life of a mighty robot. Together, Ricky and his Robot face the bullies, and save Squeakyville from a giant evil lizard monster. That’s what friends are for!

Follow Along Socially:

Visit the Ricky Ricotta Official Site
Learn more about author Dav Pilkey
Follow Scholastic and ScholasticTeach on Twitter
Like Scholastic Parents and Scholastic Teachers on Facebook

ADDITIONAL FUN

Check out the Classroom  Guide
View the Book Trailer
Play the Make Your Own Robot Game
Read Chapter Excerpts & a Mini-Comic Excerpt
Download the Character Cards
Check out Ricky Ricotta Printables

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Enter to Win:

CONQUER THE PLANETS: BEAT RICKY & THE ROBOT’S VILLAINS

Prizing includes:

- 3-D Glow-in-the-Dark Solar System

- Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot
- Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs Mutant Mosquitos from Mercury
- Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs the Voodoo Vultures from Venus
- Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs The Mecha-Monkeys from Mars.

Prizing & samples courtesy of Scholastic

Giveaway open to US addresses only

Which Ricky Ricotta book would your children most enjoy?

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Weird but true! Who knew?

300 outrageous facts are available to young, inquiring minds at the turn of a page! Brought to you by the nation’s most popular kids magazine, National Geographic Kids. This cute little book captures photos and facts that are sometimes downright silly.
Weird but True 2 is full with 200 pages of bright colors, interesting pictures, graphics and photographs captured the attention of my little one. She loved the facts and photos of the animals. She laughed and laughed at some of them and quizzed me on the rest, none of which I got right! Way to go Mom, right!


This book comes in soft cover only and is available for $7.95 which I feel is a reasonable price. I always worry when I am buying books if it is going to be a read once book or one that will be read over and over again. Let’s face it, we have all bought those expensive books because they were cute only to have it read once and tossed aside. National Geographic Kids Weird but True 2, is fascinating and will keep your kids coming back for more. The pages are durable and it’s a good size to toss into a backpack or purse. Long wait at the Doctors office? Ba Bam! Entertainment in your purse that does not require batteries or need to be recharged!

weird but true

I love fun books that are at her reading level and encourage growth in vocabulary with a few challenging words. And National Geographic does not disappoint with words like Gelotology which means the study of laughter. I recommend you read along with your National Geographic Kid as you will probably learn some things and you too can be a trivia champion! I know it’s weird, but it’s true!

Bird Seed Craft Tutorial Inspired by "The Pigeon Needs a Bath"

Bird Seed Craft

MomStart is working with "The Pigeon" book series to bring you these fun ideas! Compensation and samples provided.

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The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge. First in the series, Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus recently celebrated it’s 10th birthday!

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Over the last decade, The Pigeon books have sold millions of copies and enchanted young readers. The books have received numerous starred reviews, have appeared on many "best of" lists, and have even been inducted into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame.

As you saw earlier this week, MomStart hosted a super fun "Pigeon Party" in honor of The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems.

 

To help inspire your own Pigeon Party, we wanted to share this fun and easy party favor craft that the whole family can make together.

Pigeon eggs!

These "Pigeon Eggs" hold a bird seed surprise inside, so that the recipient of the party favor can enjoy getting outside and feeding some real, live pigeons after chuckling over that hilarious pigeon scarfing down a hot dog! My parents always had several bird feeders outside our home when I was a child, so I grew up with a love of feeding the birds. I thought this craft would be a fun way to continue that tradition!

What You’ll Need to Get Started:

Bird seed favor supplies

Supplies:

  • Small bag of bird food – 1lb or less
  • Post-It Label Pads in blue & yellow
  • Sandwich bags
  • Bag of 12 plastic Easter eggs
  • Scissors
  • Black felt-tip pen

IMPORTANT NOTE: As always, if you are doing this craft or bird feeding activity with children, parental supervision is required.

Step 1: Fill The Sandwich Bags With Bird Seed

To get started, pay a visit to your local pet shop and pick up some bird seed for your little pigeon friends; ours has a "Dove Mix" that you can pick up for $1.79 per pound.

"Dove Mix"

You’re going to measure this out in 1 tablespoon increments into 12 sandwich baggies.

Bird seed bags

Tuck the bag shut, and fold it in half so that it fits into the plastic egg shell.

Egg filled with bird seed

Step 2: Create Your Pigeon

Now comes the fun part where you can let your inner Picasso Pigeon free! Take your yellow Post-It Label Pad and pull off one sheet. Cut off a small portion of the corner to form a crude triangle.

Cutting the Post-It Label

Creating a beak

Unlike regular Post-It Notes, Post-It Labels have an entirely sticky back, so this will stick easily to the egg to form your pigeon’s beak.

Creating the Pigeon Egg

Next, take your blue Post-It Label and draw your pigeon head. This is essentially 3 circles: One large circle for the head, one medium circle in the center to form the white of the eye, and one small black circle to create the pupil. This is so easy to draw that even my un-crafty bird brain could do it! :D

Drawing the pigeon

Using the outer line as your guide, cut out the head.

Cutting out the pigeon head

Line up the head over the beak and affix it to the egg.

Affixing the pigeon head

Finished egg

Voilà!

Bird Seed Party Favors Inspired by "The Pigeon Needs a Bath"

These favors are perfect for a Pigeon-inspired party – hand them out to your guests, then go outside and take turns feeding the birdies!

Finished party favors

You might say…this is one party favor that’s for the birds!

Now tell me: What party supplies would YOU create for a Pigeon Party?

The Pigeon Needs a Bath Book Party With Friends #ThePigeonParty

I’m working with The Pigeon books series and received samples and compensation to host a party with my neighbors for The Pigeon books…..And this is our Pigeon Adventure

So, here in Seattle when it’s sunny we have a party outside not inside and I think an outdoor theme for “The Pigeon Needs a Bathby Mo Willems and other The Pigeon series books is perfect don’t you? See it’s a sunny day and The Pigeon Needs a Bath, even the one with the red hair that has the same argument with me that you’ll find in the book….

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Once the kids got home from school we took our party over to the park. You see when the sun comes out in Seattle we all run outdoors because you might only have 15 minutes to enjoy it. Luckily on this particular Monday we had a TON of sun. It was awesome.

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Before the kids got home from school I got everything ready. I created salted melon rinds and a whole other basket of fruit to share. It was a hot day so really nice cold melon was really a hot commodity.

 

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Then I created some really fun gift baskets full of Easter supplies. Of those supplies each family received three of the Pigeon Series books. We have a lot of kids in each family so I LOADED up these bags with lots of goodies.

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The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog
The Pigeon Needs a Bath

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And

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy

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The books are a hit in our house, Zoe read all of them as soon as she saw them in the living room. The first time I saw any of The Pigeon books was in my daughter’s book order for school. I think she even had it circled, it was hers or her brother’s one of them had it circled.

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One thing about playing outside and having the party outside is that my kids end up playing in the dirt and needing a bath so of course we had to read The Pigeon Needs a Bath before bath time and bed that night.

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The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

First in the series, Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus recently celebrated it’s 10th birthday! Over the last decade, The Pigeon books have sold millions of copies and enchanted young readers. The books have received numerous starred reviews, have appeared on many "best of" lists, and have even been inducted into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame.

Check out the 10th Anniversary Activity Kit here. And see how much more fun we had in the sun with our Pigeon Needs a bath outdoor celebration.DSC00018DSC00019

PS: the day after my friend said thank you on Facebook:

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Be sure to follow The Pigeon Books by Visiting the Official Site and be sure to Follow @The_Pigeon on Twitter

About the Author

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Photo credit: ©Marty Umans

Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. And his celebrated Elephant & Piggie early-reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?) as well as three Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!, and Let’s Go for a Drive!). Other favorites include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and City Dog, Country Frog, illustrated by Jon J Muth. Mo lives in Massachusetts with his family.

Zombie Books Sale The Walking Dead Themed: Dead Sexy & A Ghoul-Lurching UNlifestyle

I received a copy of Dead Sexy and found it to be the perfect way to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. You see, if you get the make up right they won’t know you’re actually alive. Just act like them and have the look and you’ll survive easy peasy! DeadSexy_v2_300

In preparation for the finale episode of THE WALKING DEAD on March 30th, innovative hybrid publisher Riverdale Avenue Books will be offering 50% off of all their zombie titles including the best-selling book, Dead Sexy: The Unofficial Walking Dead Fan Guide to Zombie Style, Beauty, Parties, and A Ghoul-Lurching UNlifestyle.

“12.4 million people watched the season three finale of THE WALKING DEAD last year, so this weekend is a zombie-themed weekend,” said Riverdale Avenue Books Publisher, Lori Perkins. “I wanted to give our readers a chance to curl up with a good zombie read in anticipation, and as well as after the finale. We have so much to choose from among our titles, from zombie romance to military action.”

Customers will be able to receive the 50% discount on Riverdale Avenue Books’ website, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and Kobo from March 28th, 2014 through April 1, 2014. The discount applies to:

· Dead Sexy: The Unofficial Walking Dead Fan Guide to Zombie Style, Beauty, Parties, and A Ghoul-Lurching UNlifestyle. by Paula Conway

· Blood Burn by J.E. Fletcher, a tale about werewolves in the zombie apocalypse

· EvoluZion and RedemZion by Axl Abbott, military zombie fiction

· Still Hungry for Your Love, further adventures in zombie romance, edited by Lori Perkins

First 12 Chapters of NOT YET RELEASED “Dorothy Must Die” FREE – New Twisted Tale From Oz

I’ve been trying to make a little more time for myself lately and I’ve been trying to do a little pleasure reading. That sounds so easy, but we all know in practice… it takes some work! When I heard about this new tale from Oz, I was pretty curious. Then I found out I could preview it and share it with all of the MomStart readers and I knew I couldn’t say no.

Dorothy Must Die is a new book by Danielle Paige available for purchase on April 1. By the time I had read the first few chapters, I was hooked. You will see the magical land of Oz flipped upside down. You will be immediately connected to Amy, the “new girl from Kansas”, as she tries to sort out the differences between wicked and good. You will start reading, and want to keep turning the page just to see what happens next.

dorothy preview

 

From the Back Cover

I didn’t ask for any of this.
I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

 

The publishers have actually released the first 12 chapters for you to preview! Follow the link to get the first 12 chapters of Dorothy Must Die so that you can get a sneak peek of a highly anticipated literary debut!

 

Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and former teacher working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at @Momicles2010.