It is Friday again, and time for First Line Fridays. Today’s first line is from blogging friend, Colin Chappell’s and CarolynShelton’s Odessa Chronicles, which I plan to start tonight.

Introduction    We’re Going to be in a Book!

“There was a familiar whoosh-whoosh sound as Odessa flew down from her roof beam, and landed on the floor very close to Jaxon. ‘Where are the others,’ she asked.

Jaxon rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. ‘I told them to be here for an important meeting at seven o’clock this evening.'”

The characters in the book are gathering to discover that Colin and his partner, Carolyn have been observing them and are going to write their stories/Chronicles down for children and their parents everywhere. Colin describes the book of stories about a Barn Owl, Odessa; a magical Jackalope, Jaxon; Dewey, a cat, and a “Manservant,” Joshua, as “a collection of short stories for children of all ages.”

Having followed Chappell’s blog, for several years now, and purchasing both Who Said I Was Up for Adoption, (Ray’s story told in alternate chapters from the German Shepherd/Rottweiler’s point of view and Colin’s), and Just Thinking, (Collin’s lovely book of poems that make one do just that–think), I was really ready for his children’s book. I have barely opened it, but I am already excited about what is obviously going to be a really good read.


Review: Each Little Bird That Sings

Deborah Wiles’ 200+ page children’s book that also speaks to adults was a National Book Award finalist when it came out in 2005.  Scholastic published it, and as the author tells us in the Acknowledgements, it was written at a time when the author “experienced many deaths in the family” and was “suffocating in grief.”  Her successful catharsis provides the reader with the same and demonstrates “the power of story.” She describes her warm, sometimes humorous, always uplifting novel as a “hymn to family; to kin well-known and kin yet to come.”

And what a family stars in this delightful tale.  Comfort, the protagonist, with her mom and dad, older brother, and baby sister are all engaged in running a family-owned and operated funeral home in the deep South whose motto is, “We live to serve.” Every family member is expected to “serve” and to put the town’s families’ needs ahead of their own needs, especially in times of grief. Comfort’s process of growing up, experiencing first-time feelings of intense anger, compassion, love of family and loss is thoroughly covered. Her relationships with her best friend, Declaration, her “weird” cousin, Peach, and her faithful dog, Dismay, are explored as the story unfolds.  It is a sweet story, full of Southern Grace and family love, a story the reader might find comfort in as well.