Book Review: The Green Ember

My place beside you
My blood for yours
Till the Green Ember rises
or the end of the world

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Where are the all books about heroic acts and brave deeds? Why have we stopped feeding our children stories of brave knights and daring princesses? Few tales have been produced since the days of Tolkien, Lewis, & MacDonald that reveal the endurance of the human (or rabbit) spirit, tales that demonstrate the strength that always arises from a fallen people and a broken nation.

In S.D. Smith’s The Green Ember, I am shown a world that is broken and in need of mending. A world where many are fighting for a freedom which only their parents once knew. The book opens with brother and sister, Heather and Picket, playing a sweet game in the meadow, but events quickly unfold, and Heather and Picket are entangled in a fight for a world - a warren - that they barely knew existed. Their bravery is tested and their loyalties questioned.

Author S.D. Smith takes Watership Down and The Lord of the Rings, two enthralling tales of bravery and triumph, and weaves them into a single masterpiece that is an entity all its own. Smith has given us a tale that will make us cry, cheer, and fist pump when events turn and battles are won. The Green Ember is such a refreshing story where the outcome is not straightforward. The story constantly tugs between good and evil and who will triumph. Your heart will soar one moment and shatter the next. Though there are times when darkness seems to envelop the world, no matter how much light is snuffed out, there is always a faint ember glowing in the depths.

For those who have not yet ventured into the marvelous world of S.D. Smith, you are missing a tale, a community, and a practice that isn’t appreciated anymore in this world . . . chivalry, bravery, acts of mercy and of love.

Read, marvel, and most importantly . . . hope.

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S.D. Smith at The Story Shop

S.D. Smith, author of The Green Ember series, will be at The Story Shop on Tuesday, October 2. Keep reading for more details!

 S. D. Smith lives with his wife and four kids in West Virginia, because it would be weird to live with someone else’s wife and four kids in West Virginia (or anywhere else, right?).

S. D. Smith lives with his wife and four kids in West Virginia, because it would be weird to live with someone else’s wife and four kids in West Virginia (or anywhere else, right?).

Summary from the publisher: 

The Green Ember is a new adventure with an old soul. #RABBITSWITHSWORDS

"A captivating story with sword-bearing rabbits, daring quests, and moments of poignant beauty, The Green Ember is a tale that will delight and inspire young readers to courage and creativity and would make a perfect book for a family to read aloud."

- Sarah Clarkson, author of Read for the Heart and Caught Up in a Story

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About The Green Ember

Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world. 

Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend. 

Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?


We will have two separate ticketed events:

1. An intimate presentation, followed by a Q&A and book signing

2. A public book signing.

Click the descriptions below to register!

We can't wait to see you there! 

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Staff Picks: Lauren and Andie

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to the wide world of children’s literature, we’ve got your back! Reading staff picks a great way to find a variety of books curated by devoted bookworms. This week, manager Lauren and bookseller Andie share some of their favorites!

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Lauren's Favorites

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Little Leaders: Bold women in black history

I love how this book showcases important people we probably didn't learn about in history class (at least we didn't in mine). And those illustrations! Such a delightful little book. I can't wait for the others in this series to be released (coming in October).

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The Serpent's secret

Typical teenager who wants to fit in trope meets snot covered demon. What's a girl to do to get her parent's back from an inter-dimensional prison? Kick some monster butt! 

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The jackaby series: the dire king (#4)

This series is fun right from the get-go and ends with one of the best books ever. Seriously, if I could only read one book for the rest of my life it would be The Dire King. It has everything you could ever want in a book. 

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Andie's favorites

Moby-dick: a babylit storybook

Moby-Dick is one of my all-time favorites, and now little ones can embark on the adventure, too! With fun and beautiful illustrations, this book is begging to be taken off the shelf for story time - or to be put back up for display.

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The digger and the flower

This story's tenderness is perfect for a book aimed at boys. It teaches kids to notice beauty and cultivate love, and to let their vulnerabilities show, even if it might feel silly sometimes.

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This book has so much of what I love: fierce girls, magic, and a Southern Gothic feel. It's a story about commitment to what is true. (If the word "Hawthornian" doesn't scare you off, it has notes of The Scarlet Letter. If it does scare you, then this is nothing like Hawthorne, and you should definitely read it.)

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Book Review: Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse

Marcy Campbell's first picture book is fun, touching, and energetic.

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Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse is the picture-book-debut of dreams. Campbell's writing is artful, vivid, and poignant, and Corinna Luyken's illustrations capture the swirling tenderness of the story.  

Here is a description from the publisher:

Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse--the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn't get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.

Right away, the title and premise were enough to intrigue me. But the most interesting (and my favorite) thing about Adrian Simcox is that it's a picture book told in the first person. And that person is NOT Adrian Simcox. 

Chloe, who is skeptical of Adrian's horse stories, is our narrator. Chloe herself is another highlight of this book. She is impatient with Adrian, and impulsive. She is a little harsher than she means to be when she feels the truth is at stake. This sort of imperfect protagonist, like Campbell's first-person narration, is unusually complex for a picture book, and even more impressive is that it works. Chloe's story teaches kids that it's okay to make mistakes, as long as you work to better understand those around you. 

This book would be great for reading aloud, not only because of the beautiful cadence, but because its humor manages to be both matter-of-fact and whimsical. Campbell's dialogue feels natural and rhythmic, and every character's lines practically pop off the page. The story contains a variety of emotions that would make for a lively and entertaining story time. 

Corinna Luyken's illustrations are stunning and organic with pops of color. Her wild lines and earthy tones provide an energetic and free-feeling setting for the story. She perfectly captures the world as it looks to us when we are children, imagining, learning, reacting, and trying to understand.  

So basically, I love this book, and I think you will, too. We have a small supply of signed copies available at The Story Shop, so come by and grab them before they're gone! 

As always, happy reading. 

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