Thought for the Day:

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
~ Henry Ford ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Lynn Cullen has an interesting article HERE in Writer’s Digest about something I’d never really thought about, but it’s important. In How To Acknowledge Uncomfortable Facts When Writing Historical Fiction, she tells her fascinating story about writing her story.

Dialogue is such a great tool for story writing. HERE is an article from the Institute for Writers by Lynne Smith, aka Lynn Michaels, called Dialogue: Putting Words in Your Characters Mouths. It’s a good one.

We all hear over and over and over how important the first line is for our novels. HERE is a great article from Writer Magazine by Josh Sippie on Writing Powerful First Lines: 6 Common Strategies. I love his examples.

We had our little Oscar party last week, and it was a lot of fun. We munched on a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres and sipped lemon-lavender prosecco. My daughter and granddaughter prepared everything, and I got to just sit with my feet up and enjoy. The movie Every, Everywhere All at Once was certainly a creative, fun film, so I had no complaints about the winners. I thought Jimmy Kimmel did a pretty good job, with a few notable exceptions (Malala? Seriously, Jimmy???). It was good to see Women Talking win in virtually the only category they were nominated. Such a great film. The woman in the swooping white dress should have been seated in the last row. I’m sure the people sitting behind her would agree. There was a lot going on in the news this week, but my meme makes a promise, so I will say no more.

I have to admit, I am somewhat obsessed with hedgehogs. I think they are perfectly adorable, and I can’t resist anything to do with them. I’m also pretty obsessed with books for emerging readers. I really hope to try writing one someday. So when I ran across OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG: A PLACE TO CALL HOME by Lauren Castillo on the review list for the Seattle Book Review, I put my order right in. Look at that cover. How could anyone resist spending some time with those cute characters? I’m always in awe of author/illustrators. I have trouble just getting the words down. I can’t imagine having to come up with supporting illustrations. Ms. Castillo certainly did a great job. Here is the review I wrote for SBR.

Lauren Castillo

It’s autumn, and Hedgehog, walking through the woods in Hedge Hollow, sees something she has never seen before—another hedgehog! She is curious and wonders if she belongs with others like her rather than in Hedge Hollow with Mole, Owl, Mutty, Beaver, Annika Mae, and Hen and Chicks. Her friends help her travel upriver to find other hedgehogs. They find Hedge Hideaway, a place filled with other hedgehogs. They are preparing for a feast before hibernation. Hedgehog has never hibernated, but she stays while her friends go home. Everyone is welcoming, but none of them like to play in the snow, and Hedgehog misses her friends.

Lauren Castillo has written a sweet story about the importance of friendship and what family really means. Youngsters will be delighted to get to know these lovely characters, and they will be engaged by the excellent writing and enchanting illustrations, whether they are emerging readers reading on their own or pre-readers still being read to. This is a wonderful gateway book that will help to carry youngsters into reading on their own with short chapters, a captivating story, and accessible but challenging vocabulary.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.


  1. One of my good friends fosters hedgehogs who were damaged in a former home. I’m sure she would love this, so I’ll be tagging her when I post on Facebook. I’m glad you had such an enjoyable night at the Oscars!


  2. Thanks for the links once again. Loved the one on first lines! I’m always on the lookout for books that would appeal to new readers. This charming story sounds like an excellent choice. Looking forward to giving this a read myself.


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