Children’s Book Review: Jack the Kitten is Very Brave, by Tabitha Smith

[Reviewed by J’Rie B. Elliott]

If the word ‘adorable’ was looked up in the dictionary, it would have a picture of Jack the pirate kitten as a definition. The children’s book, Jack the Kitten is Very Brave, written by Tabitha Smith and illustrated by Mindy Lou Hagan is a winner. The story begins with a small tabby kitten named Jack who longs to be a brave and fierce pirate. His only problem is his distinct fear of the water. How can Jack be a brave pirate and be scared of the water? His brother Machu loves the water and his brother too and while taking a bath decides to end his brother’s fear. This is a wonderful tale of courage, brotherly love and how to overcome what ever fears you are facing.

The illustrations in the book are ‘spot on’. They are detailed and colorful with a childish flair that makes children want to read the story to go along with the pictures. One picture that I found to be cleverly done is a reflection picture in the middle of the story. The reflection in the rippling water is beautiful even from an adult standpoint.

I was asked to review this book, and eagerly accepted the task. However I did not feel completely qualified to review it alone as I have not been a child for years. This being the case I shanghaied some of the intended audience to assist me in this endeavor; my own son and daughter. I gave them Jack the Kitten is Very Brave before they retired for bed and let them read it; without telling them any details or reasons why. The next day I asked “What did you think of the story?” My son–whom we call ’Professor’– began to tell me the story and how he liked the details of the illustrations within the book. He liked how the letters changed colors–half white, half black–when printed across a pirate flag. After my son’s explanation I turned to my daughter, who told me the story–again in amazing detail–and then asked me a question of her own, “Can I keep it?” From other children this may not sound like much, but she changes library books weekly and rarely wants to keep a book after she is finished with it. I asked her why she wanted this particular book. Her answer spoke volumes, “I liked it.”

The reviewer, J’Rie B. Elliott, may be reached at dixiepoet@gmail.com. Please see the below links to purchase the book.

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/htRaSw
Save 10% at CreateSpace (code: D9A8XUZU): https://www.createspace.com/3509191


Tech Buzz from Metaio’s corporate mixer held in San Francisco

[Article by Bart S. Alvara]

On Thursday March 27th, a bold new vision of the future was being unveiled at the staff offices at Metaio. While music played and drinks were shared visitors to the San Francisco outlet of the independent company were captivated by a new visual recognition software that may change how we view reality.

Augmented Reality combines the real and the visual world in real time 3D placing the viewer in the center of an interactive digital world. In non tech-genius speak, a camera is programmed to look only for a certain image, when this image is recognized, a stored illustration is activated and the display reflects that overlapping illustration on screen. Or as the staff at Metaio can state better, “we connect any object to additional, digital information. Our vision is the seamless and easy integration of the virtual into the real world.” Essentially it’s a private green screen, like a movie special effects studio, that can be run from an something as small as a cell phone.

While that might be hard to understand, the applications are not. Imagine if your cell phone could simply look at a product and suddenly on screen all the information relating to it popped. Or your cell phone could display whose trending on twitter or Facebook in your immediate area. This digital interactive advertising was once thought up only in sci-fi movies, yet with the technology provided by Metaio, it may become the standard for the 21st century.

You can contact Bart S. Alvara at bartalvara@gmail.com. Click here for Metaio’s Website.

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Children’s book illustrations by Elena Caravela

Elena Caravela has worked as an illustrator, instructor, and fine artist. Caravela’s illustrations were featured in award-winning children’s picture books, The Birds of the Harbor and A Night of Tamales and Roses.

Caravela states, “My inspiration comes from the challenges and promises of growing up and I want to acknowledge and respect the confusion, wonder, pain, and magic inherent in the process.”

Learn more about the artist and her work at www.elenacaravela.net.

Poetry by David Cicerone

Selections from poetry collection, “Read The Book–See The Movie–Shoot The Hostages”

By
David Cicerone

Worldwise

They’ve engineered a manhunt for my alter ego!!!
I’m running on the fumes of reason & being force-fed sanity as supplement to a steady diet of nothing
Watching myself regress to a hippie in toenails only as necessary illusion replaces reason as that which sets man apart from beast
As Stephen Hawking reads the Kama Sutra to audiences awestruck to the point of lockjaw
As those who want to “find themselves” begin to look down shotgun barrels
As talkative parents are spoonfed the same laxatives better used on international playboys in full fertility mode
As people slowly but surely come to understand that the only naivete in this world is thinking it’s ever possible to be certain of anything, & that the point of life is to avoid at all costs becoming that which you have always hated-
As the grunt recedes into the death mask
As personal sins stack themselves high as houses of cards
As the condemned man demands carrot juice & applesauce for his final meal
While world leaders cannibalize gangrene & tarantula cupcakes in lieu of dolphin fondue,
Having hunted the world’s most dangerous game since they were old enough to refuse dessert–
As the line to the fountain of youth remains as long as the one to the movie theater’s latest celebrity slasher
As the great woman behind the great man becomes the man in drag
As germ warfare remains as incomprehensible as a midget’s voyeur tactics
As teenage atheists confuse “rapist” with “one who murders monks”& as the best answer to the question “what have YOU done for the human race lately?” becomes “I’ve removed myself from it,”
The most depraved among us stalk ever-onward into tombs of our own making,
Scrawling decadent epitaphs in as unforced a prose as a death letter–
Encyclopedic as any faulty lobotomy & as collaborative a will as any used to defeat a common enemy

David Cicerone is a poet based out of North Carolina. Cicerone may be reached at dpc0729@hotmail.com.

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Poetry by Dave Douglas

Cold Shoulder

My mind’s eye burns up the road,
Until it hit a blind cold shoulder;
My focus spins out of control
Onto a thin sheet of icy candor.

Storms in my brain lose their power,
The flames in my heart drown out,
As the gravity of forged caution signs
Drops a detour of a deadly route.

No laws will dodge the washout,
No amount of cunning is enough,
The only hope to save this thought
Rides in the bones of the risen Sheriff.

I accelerate over streets too rough,
The tarmac, an extension of soul –
I do not dread a curve of sarcasm!
Skin is not of concern, but my role.

Dave Douglas © 2011

Dave Douglas may be reached at carpevelo@gmail.com.

Book Review: In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez

[Reviewed by Bruce Roberts]

Once we have taken care of life’s essentials—food and shelter—life can be a lot of fun. The day-to-day patterns of life can get comfortable, enjoyable, rewarding in all their small pleasures.

Sometimes, however, we must risk losing these comforts.  Sometimes, we are pulled to think not just of ourselves, but of our friends, our neighbors, our whole country. And we must rise up out of our familiar, comfortable lives and fight for a greater good.

This is the premise of In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez, the novel selected for THE BIG READ in 2011.  Based upon a real event in the closing days of Dictator Raphael Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic, this fictionalized version traces the growth and development of the Mirabel sisters, four girls of a middle class, yet rural family, who have a good life.

Yet day by day, from their teen years on, friction develops between this good life and their whole country’s life under a brutal dictator: people informing on their neighbors,   people being jailed, young women taken for the whims of “El Jefe” Trujillo, people disappearing—never to be seen again!

Their good life of planting and harvest and cooking and celebrating ends when their father is suddenly arrested—presumably because Minerva, the most rebellious, the most politically active of the sisters, has refused El Jefe’s advances. The need to fight against Trujillo before he destroys the country spreads through everyone they know like a wildfire.

Bruce Roberts is a poet and ongoing contributor to Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Roberts may be reached by at brobe60491@sbcglobal.net.

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An Inspired writing from the reading of Matthew 26:67-68, by Blanca E. Jones

An Inspired writing from the reading of Matthew 26:67-68

Matthew 26:67-68 (from The One Year Bible for Women NLT, New Living Translation)
(67) Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists.  And some slapped him, (68) jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”
(From the NIV, New International Translation)
(67) “Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists.  Others slapped him (68) and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ.  Who hit you?”

Oh my dear Heavenly Father,

The Sadness

The Pain

The Anguish!

That you loved us so much

That you sent us your Son Jesus

To bear the weight of our sins!

These people you created

With such love and longing

With such care and unfathomable wisdom!

These people who questioned your commands

This race, so easily persuaded

To look away from the One

Who sent us His one and only beloved Son

That whoever believed in Him would be so blessed!

That they not perish but have eternal life!

Oh my Lord God,

As I read these verses,

The realization of what these people had done!

Striking out at You

Spitting at You

The devastation

The loss

The gain!

Oh my Father God!

That yet today mankind continues to do the same!

My sweet Heavenly Father

I am at a loss for words.

How can we be so blind!

So confused!

So twisted!

So lost!

Oh my sweet Lord,

Forgive us

Bless us

Those who fall at your feet

Whose hearts know the truth

Whose Spirit is alive

With your presence!

Those whose Spirit radiates your light

And conquers the darkness

Who thirsts for your love

Hungers for your teachings

Delights in your touch

And yearns for your kingdom!

Bless us my Lord

That we shall not waiver

But remain rooted in faith

That we shall not fear but rejoice

Not question but know

Not be silent but sing in worship!

That we shall not hang our heads

But gaze upward with outstretched arms

The Day You Take Us Home!

Blanca Jones is a past contributor to Synchronized Chaos. Jones may be reached at blancaejones@gmail.com.