Interview with Roe De Pinto, Author of “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!”

INTERVIEW WITH ROE DE PINTO


TooMuchJunkInMyTrunkTOO MUCH JUNK IN MY TRUNK!

The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba, Book 4
Roe De Pinto
Outskirts Press (2017)
ISBN 9781478789604
Interviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/17)

Roe De Pinto has received fourteen awards for her The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series and hopes to continue the accolades with the new release of this adorable little episode, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” Through her sweet characters Zealy, a baby seal and Whubba, a baby orca, Roe continues to embark on her journey and dreams of bringing back the morals that she was taught many years ago – respecting yourself, one another, and the entire world around you. Giving, sharing and caring is her lifelong campaign, starting with the birth of a newborn all through their developmental years. Giving to someone else before yourself, and always protecting one another are the simple life lessons, she feels, can restore peace and non-violence to a very jaded world.

RoeDePinto2017.jpg

Hi Roe, and welcome! It’s so nice to visit with you again. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Previous to writing I was a realtor, administrative assistant, manager, travel agent, notary, etc., for career purposes but have been writing for as long as I could write, starting at the age of 10.  I am a mom of two beautiful children, and Nana of three precious grandchildren, who light up my life with joy and love. They have inspired my writing during my retirement years after countless hours of watching my favorite TV viewing- animated cartoons.

I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to since we last talked! What’s going on with your series, The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba?

Well, I have been working on the series, The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba for 3 years now and with the new book release, which is book 4, “Too Much Junk in My Trunk,” I have received 14 awards thus far, so I am so happy that the audience is receiving my books anxiously!

I have recently been picked up by publishers, Austin-Macauley, for my first three to be revised under their house format with hopes of their marketing bringing my work to the next level.

That’s so exciting, congratulations! And, what is “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” about?

My fourth book is about our two little characters exploring a food adventure, which develops into an eating extravaganza, with some newly made friends as they wind up with tummy aches that only their Mommy can make better by giving her best advice.  The book ends with a wonderful lesson learned as they dance happily to the chant which you will see when they feel all better.

I love the lessons in your books!  Great for adults as well – I can relate all too well to the message in “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” What inspired you to write about eating too much?

I am constantly telling my grandbabies to try new foods, but they have a tendency to overeat on foods that they prefer to eat, so I decided to write about it – and now they remember what Zealy and Whubba did and will recite the chant whenever I remind them they are eating too much.

What do you love about writing children’s books and what is the hardest thing about writing children’s books?

The hardest part I feel is getting inside a child’s mind and knowing how they will react to the words and the lessons you are trying to convey.  Children are so easily impressed and one needs to be very careful how the wording is done and keeping it simple for them to understand.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started writing your first book?

How tedious the marketing really is when one is self-published.  I prefer to expend the energy on writing!

How active are you in promoting your books?  Tell us about some of the things you are doing to spread the news about Zealy and Whubba .

Social media, book signings coast to coast, award submissions, review submissions, book fairs and trade shows are all what I do – I am a one man band.

How do you feel about writing groups and critique partners?

They are beneficial in exposing to you things objectively rather than as you see them, subjectively.

Do you attend literary conferences? If so, what is your biggest takeaway from these events?

Absolutely, exposure is the key there as well as networking and seeing what works for other writers and industry experts.

Looking back, did you ever imagine your series would receive so much recognition and accolades?  What does that validation mean to you as a writer, but also as a mother and grandmother?

I am completely in awe with each and every award, and it does validate everything I am expressing in my writing for parents of young children to relate to as well as the children.

What were Zealy and Whubba doing 30,000 feet in the sky in an airplane? I thought they were sea animals?

Oh my, the ad aired on national TV as an interview on Talk Business 360, Fox Business Network and it was extended on Talk Business 360 which airs on certain American Airlines flights (27000 in all) in October and November.  I cannot express my heart throbbing when I actually saw it myself on the flight as well as the TV because my quest and dream come true is to see it on TV in an animated format someday and that was sheer delight for me to see my characters on the screen!

What’s next for The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series?

The fifth book is yet to be started for production, although I have the next 8 scripted, but not edited.  I hope within the year, Book 5 will produce.

Knowing all that you know now about the writing and marketing and, the whole process for that matter – what information would you pass along to someone wanting to break into the world of childrens’ books?

Prepare yourself for spending time and money, but the rewards are much greater when you see children relating and happy and smiling from reading what you created.

Where can readers interact with you on social media and learn more about you and your books? 

My website: www.zealyandwhubba.com has it all.  I’m also on Twitter at @doctaroe and Facebook at www.facebook.com/zealyandwhubba/.

The books are available on Amazon.com, Outskirtspress.com, BarnesandNoble.com and all bookstores nationwide can order for you. Or just email me at doctaroe@aol.com and I can order it for you as well.

Roe, as always it was such a pleasure and an honor to talk to you today.  I am inspired by your enthusiasm and ambition and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Thank you.

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Posted in Author Interviews, EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8, PRESCHOOL - UP TO AGE 5 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee” by Erin Petti

ThePeculiarHauntingOfThelmaBeeTHE PECULIAR HAUNTING OF THELMA BEE

Erin Petti
Mighty Media Junior Readers (2016)
ISBN 9781938063725
Reviewed by Ciara Stout (age 10) for Reader Views (11/17)

“The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee” by Erin Petti is about an 11-year-old girl Thelma Bee and her best friend Alexander, who join up with Riverfish Valley Paranormal Society after a ghost visits her one night saying only one word: “RETURN”!

To find out what happened to her father, who was mysteriously sucked into an old box, Thelma will have to communicate with a ghost and face a demon that is 200 years old. With her mom on an expedition looking for Mega-Deer on the Appalachian Trail, Thelma Bee will soon find out that searching for her father with only the help of her friends, will take her into a world of dark magic and connect her with a long-lost relative who reveals that Thelma Bee is not just a normal girl. She will also find out the truth about her mother and the expeditions that are always keeping her away from home.

“The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee” by Erin Petti will be a favorite to readers who enjoy the John Bellairs and Junie B. Jones series. The characters are super realistic, you feel like you are right there with them. I wish the pictures had a little more detail so you could envision the story line more as you are reading the book. I enjoyed this story and think middle school age and up would enjoy it, too. I hope the author will continue this story as a series. I noticed on the cover that the author was giving the readers a chance to vote for the cover they like the best which is a neat idea. I like the one they chose, with the evil eyes watching you over a spooky shack in the woods.

Will Thelma Bee and her friends, Alexander and the Riverfish Valley Paranormal Society, help her find her father? What is the secret about her family and the connection to the ghost with the spooky message? “The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee” is a ghostly page turner and I cannot wait to read more books by Erin Petti.

Posted in YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” by Roe De Pinto

TooMuchJunkInMyTrunkTOO MUCH JUNK IN MY TRUNK!

The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba, Book 4
Roe De Pinto
Outskirts Press (2017)
ISBN 9781478789604
Reviewed by Russ Cramer (age 6) for Reader Views Kids (11/17)

“Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” is Book 4 in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba series by Roe De Pinto.  It is about two friends named Zealy (a seal) and Whubba (a killer whale) who ate too much. They went to Zealy’s mom and told her that they had a bellyache. The book says they had too much junk in their trunk that made them feel like funk. The book taught me that it is good to have other nutrients in our bodies and to try new different foods.

I liked that Zealy and Whubba had to have water and they ate some food. I liked that Zealy’s mom helped them feel better.  I did not like that they went into the deep end. It should have been against the rules. There were sharks and bad things in the deep end.

I thought the art was good! I really liked the cover because Whubba is hugging Zealy. On another page, the pictures showed the food that the friends were going to eat. I also liked that the pages were colorful and that all the pages had a blue background because blue is my favorite color.

I really liked this book because it is a good book and it is all blue! Other kids will like it because they can learn that they shouldn’t eat too much food or their bellies will hurt too.

Parent’s Note

Russ really seems to like this book. He runs around saying, “Too much junk in my trunk makes me feel like funk!” When I asked him about it, he said that if he feels like he is eating too much, that he won’t because it will make his belly feel bad. He also knows he needs to eat a variety of foods and take his vitamins. I think “Too Much Junk in My Trunk!” by Roe De Pinto is perfect for little boys in the “potty talk” stage where they make up words anyway.

Posted in EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Talk to Me” by Donna M. Zadunajsky

TalkToMeTALK TO ME

Donna M. Zadunajsky
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781541098442
Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (11/17)

Carly Boyles has gone through more at age fifteen than most adults have through their entire lives. The reader is thrown into Carly’s turmoiled head as she struggles to survive a deeply traumatic situation, while obstacle after obstacle is thrown in her face. “Talk to Me” by Donna M. Zadunajsky tells an important story in a simple and engaging format.

Zadunajsky does an excellent job of portraying not just one important issue, but two. Teenage suicide and sexual violence are some the largest crises our country faces today and not enough people are educated about them.

Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor, and Carly is a strong representation of that statistic. She is bombarded by a series of triggering events, some she doesn’t even recognize until much later. The hopelessness and despair she experiences pulls the reader deep into her tragic life.

While Carly’s experiences and the ways she handles them are plausible, her voice is sometimes “wishy-washy.” There are short sections where she reads as much older than fifteen, and while it is certainly possible for a teenager to sound older than they are, it is at odds with the rest of her character.

There is also an unnecessary supernatural element that appears half-way through the novel and is never explained. It is not needed to further the plot in any way and could be edited out of the novella entirely and replaced with another realistic experience without sacrificing any part of Carly’s story.

One major issue prevented me from giving “Talk to Me” the four stars I had originally planned.

The ending is incredibly sad and powerful. It is a fantastic conclusion that leaves the reader wondering and trying to fill in the “afterwards” on their own. Or it would, if it wasn’t for the epilogue, which reads more like an author’s note and tells the readers exactly what happens after the ending. There isn’t any real story provided, but instead a summary that ties up the few loose ends left in Carly’s short life. Leaving the ending messy would have fit with the rest of the novel much better.

Overall, “Talk to Me” by Donna M. Zadunajsky accomplishes what it is set up to do; provide an emotionally draining story about a teenager struggling with suicidal thoughts and extreme grief. The epilogue significantly weakens the story itself, but the message is still there. “Talk to Me” is not for readers triggered by suicide and sexual violence. Those who are not will be in for an emotional journey of a young girl who life has treated more than poorly.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The 4th Breed: Ramanuk” by Mark Ihada

RamanukTHE 4TH BREED: RAMANUK

Mark Ihada
AuthorHouse (2016)
ISBN 9781524615123
Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (11/17)

In “The 4th Breed: Ramanuk” by Mark Ihada, readers follow fourteen-year old Dwendel Williford as he searches for a cure to an ancient curse, frees a nameless unicorn, and saves the lives of his friends and family. Along the way he makes new friends, parts with old ones, and struggles through a series of setbacks and trials.

The setting is easily the best part of this novel. Ihada has painted an intriguing and expansive world for both his characters and his readers to explore. The various races and political goals are interesting and make the readers hungry for more. The level of work that went into it is evident throughout.

Unfortunately, readers must view that world through Dwendel’s eyes. Compared to the rest of the cast, he is the least interesting character by far and the most unlikable. Choosing a different narrator would have made the overall story more engaging.

Dwendel is one of those protagonists that suffers from Perfect Hero Syndrome. His only flaw is that he is a terrible liar, which most people wouldn’t consider a flaw anyway. He is rude to most of the other characters and that is played off as both normal and expected. I found myself more invested in the fates of various side characters than his throughout the entire novel.

The writing style itself weakened the story considerably. Every minuscule action is explained in detail and the excessive use of dialogue tags is extremely distracting. Various typos are present throughout the text and character names are often confused with other characters who are not present. Another round or two of editing could have solved a lot, if not all, of these problems.

Though it targets a young adult audience, I would recommend “The 4th Breed: Ramanuk” by Mark Ihada for younger middle grade readers. The oversimplified writing would be less distracting to a younger audience. The positive elements of the story are overshadowed by the negative ones and that drags down the entire novel. Exploring such a fascinating world with a mundane and unlikable protagonist is the largest issue in my opinion and, unfortunately, I cannot offer much praise beyond the creation of the story world.

Posted in TEEN/YOUNG ADULT - AGES 12 AND UP | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Neuron Galaxy” by Jay Leibold

NeuronGalaxyNEURON GALAXY

Jay Leibold
Morphonix LLC (2016)
ISBN 9780692747667
Reviewed by Rose Whitacre (age 7) for Reader Views (11/17)

“Neuron Galaxy” by Jay Leibold is a brainy book that was really, really fun to read. The author’s goal was to excite kids about their brains and help them to understand how wonderful their brain is. I think the author was very successful in writing this book. I learned a lot about how neurons form your brain and communicate.

It was very, very well written. It was not a hard book to read, and it was very enjoyable. It has a lot of real facts, but it’s also very fun. It is a great way to learn about your brain. I like how the story is written. I don’t think they should change anything about this book.

There were lots of cool facts that amazed me as I read this book. There were some made up things in this book that made it more fun. The neurons had eyes and talked to each other, which made it more like a story than a book of facts. I like how the neurons found their friends. Neurons do not talk like people do, but do connect and communicate by sending messages to each other.  Because of my neurons, I can write this book review!

I think it is called “Neuron Galaxy” because lots of neurons connect into something like a galaxy to form your brain. I like how it shows the parts of neurons and what they are. It was interesting that the author told how many neurons are in people’s brains. I learned that the axons of neurons can be as long as three feet! It’s amazing to think that grownups’ neurons would circle around the earth 4½ times if you put them end to end!

The illustrations are very, very fun and colorful. I like that even though they’re simple, they communicate a lot. I really like all the pictures.  This book was written for ages 5 and up, but I think it would be good for everyone who is interested in how cells work and learning more about their own body. I think it would be a very good book for getting people who aren’t very aware of how their brains work to get interested in understanding their brain.

“Neuron Galaxy” by Jay Leibold is a good book for people who like science. I like that it is not very much like other science books. It’s not like any science book I’ve ever read before!

Posted in EARLY READER - AGES 6 TO 8, YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

“The Frog Who Was Blue” by Faiz Kermani

TheFrogWhoWasBlueTHE FROG WHO WAS BLUE

Faiz Kermani
Troubador Publishing (2017)
ISBN 9781785899959
Reviewed by Willow Cramer (Age 8) for Reader Views Kids (10/17)

“The Frog Who Was Blue” by Faiz Kermani is about a frog named Biriwita who is blue.  He goes to Croak College and no one else likes him because they’re all green. The green frogs laugh at him and sing a very mean song. Then the blue frog saves the green frogs from a crocodile. The green frogs then love him and they sing a much nicer song to him after that.

I liked that Biriwita learned that no matter what color he is, he is special. The green frogs learned that no matter what color they or someone else is, they can still be friends with them. I think it’s cool that everyone in the story learned something.

I did not like that the green frogs made such fun of the blue frog, or that they didn’t learn to like him until after he saved them. What if he had never had the opportunity to save them? Would they ever have liked him?

There weren’t very many pictures in this book, but there were a lot of words. I don’t think the pictures always matched what the words said.

I would recommend “The Frog Who Was Blue” by Faiz Kermani to other kids so that they get the lesson in the book to learn to be friends with kids who are not the same color as them.

Posted in YOUNG READER - AGES 8 TO 12 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment