Carnival of the Animals — Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Always be a poet, even in prose.” 

~ Charles Baudelaire ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

This is kind of fun. A British professor tells us Why We Should Learn to Love the Full Stop HERE from Aerogramme Writers’ Studio. There is a great writing trick in this one.

I linked to a post recently about pulling out your old manuscripts and dusting them off. Janice Hardy at Fiction University has a post HERE about how to decide whether that is a good idea or not.

We all have to write author bios, and it never seems an easy task. Rachelle Gardner has some good tips HERE.

Carnival of the AnimalsThe long and often arduous journey to having a book published, when successful, gives hope to all of us who are writers. When it happens for one’s critique partners, we can take some pride in the product and even bask in the glory just a little. Two of my critique partners have completed the journey, both more than once. It’s exciting to know that I offered some help along the way. This latest success, The Carnival of Animals by my good friend Elizabeth Varadan, is really special. (And isn’t that cover GORGEOUS???) It’s very different from anything else out there that I’ve seen, and it is simply lovely. Let me tell you a little about it.

Composer Camille Saint-Saëns wrote a symphonic suite called The Carnival of the Animals in the late 1800s and this piece is the inspiration for the book. It opens with the composer struggling to write a piece of music to entertain his friends and, as he is pondering this problem, he falls asleep and dreams a fantasy filled with animals and their stories. What follows are fourteen fantastical tales of a wide variety of creatures. The first story is that of Elroy, a circus lion, who, realizing his cruel master is about to pull his teeth, escapes and runs away. He receives help along his way from unlikely animals. This is followed by stories of foolish roosters, a wild donkey that becomes a magical creature, a dancing turtle, and many more. While this is categorized as a book for middle-graders, it will absolutely beguile everyone who reads it, young and old alike.

Elizabeth Varadan
Elizabeth Varadan

Each story is accompanied by a charming illustration to introduce it, but the writing is positively enchanting. I hope you noticed the quote at the beginning of this post. I chose it particularly because I was writing about this book today. Elizabeth’s prose is so lyrical, you might just think you are reading poetry. Every story has that wonderful, old-fashioned feeling of being a fairy tale, and you will be transported to another place and time. This book was truly a labor of love and that shines through on every page.

If you happen to be in the Sacramento area, stop by Time Tested Books on 21st Street this coming Thursday, November 8, at 7:00 pm. Elizabeth will be doing a book signing there. I’m going and will be buying an autographed copy to give to one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. If you are reading this in your email, please click HERE to get to my blog, then click on the title of the post, and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

32 thoughts on “Carnival of the Animals — Review & Giveaway”

  1. Thank you, Rosi, for such a lovely post and review. Your input along the way and that of the others in the Storytellers Writing Group did so much to help make this book shine. I’m so glad you liked the final outcome. I look forward to seeing you at the book signing Thursday. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the review, Rosi. It sounds like a fascinating book. I had a friend of mine that was in my online critique group that had her picture book published. It does make you feel good to know that a book you helped critique made it out into the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed all the links but especially the one on pulling out old manuscripts. I’m working on one now. The cover of this new book is fantastic and I will have to get a copy. It sounds like a great read aloud. Since I recently won, let another lucky reader win your generous prize.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am working on my very first book after not having touched it for years. I do love the cover on Elizabeth’s book. You will enjoy it and reading it to your class. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  4. What a wonderful cover! Nobody will walk past this book without picking it up! I’m so happy for your friend, Liz, getting her labor of love published. I’d love to be in the drawing but just won so will someone else win this lovely book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds really lovely and magical! One of the first books I connected with as an early reader was a collection of animal stories, and I’ve always had a soft spot for them. Congratulations to your CP, and I hope her launch is everything she’s hoping!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello, Rosi ~ I immediately thought of the Camille Saint-Saens music when I read the title of your post because it is a piece of music I truly adore. This book does indeed sound enchanting; and the cover art is exquisite. Thank you so much for sharing this selection for MMGM. Congratulations to your critique partner on this great accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The cover is gorgeous! I have performed part of The Carnival of the Animals with my concert band, so this book sounds extra fun. Plus, the lyrical prose will be something to learn from for my own writing. I shared on twitter, pinterest, tumblr, and google+. Congratulations to your friend and thank you for supporting authors always!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great news for you that you have more and more followers. Finding a blog like yours is treasure for middle grade readers/writers.


  8. I don’t think I’ve checked out your blog since you’ve remodeled, it looks amazing! I love the colors and design, it feels super smooth and fresh and clean!
    I love, love, love the inspiration of a book. I’ve never read a book like that before!! It sounds so fascinating! Thanks for sharing, I’m adding it to my TBR list right now!


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