RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    " A magical tale embroidered with extraordinary beings. Interlaced with mystery, ancestal hoops, the woof and warp of human alignment, Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation whisks us into the tapestry of a child's love, doubts and hopes. Needling dreams (deferred, besmirched, resurrected) cavort with communal and familal patterns of destruction and reformation. Troubles, tumbles and triumphs present as timely companions to choice. An engaging sensory treat affirms the One Heritage: the power of family, friends, cooperation. Imagination struts upon a stellar look to weave and woo the potency of sound." Author of Rain Weavers (poetry) and The School House (juvenile fiction.)
    Judith Hamilton author of Rain Weavers (poetr) and The School House (juvenile fiction) ~ Judith Hamilton

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    I have just finished reading Susan Hale’s wonderful book Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation to my three children. They have been so inspired by Emma and her bravery in this beautiful story.
    Rachel Wood, artist
    ~ Rachel Wood

  • Rise of the Shadow Stealers
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    I really enjoyed reading this book. I think those who enjoy the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books will greatly enjoy this magical adventure. Fletcher and Scoop are loveable heroes you can't help but root for!
    ~ Lily Greer, NetGalley

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This magical tale, aimed squarely at tween girls, explores several important elements -- the controversy surrounding urbanization, the joys and challenges of multi-generational relationships, and the bonds between siblings and peers even in old age -- to name just a few. All those complex relationships are interwoven throughout the story where trees are disguised as old women, where animals talk, where music is the lifeblood of the earth, and where good wins out over evil. The story moves quickly via humorous, age-appropriate dialogue as a family comes together around shared values and a deepening respect for one another. A worldview that clearly sides with the preservation of natural resources is my reason for giving it 4 stars instead of 5. The urban developers are clearly cast as the "bad guys" in this novel, so if your tweener knows family members/friends who clear land or build condos for a living, expect some hard-to-address questions to emerge. Otherwise, I highly recommend this easy-to-read, enjoyable story. My daughter and I read an earlier version when she was about 10 years old, and we both loved it, even in unedited form. ~ Vicki Garlock, Amazon.com

  • Rise of the Shadow Stealers
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    My read over the course of this past week has been, without a shadow of a doubt, the most magical piece of fiction I have read since the last time I browsed the Disneyland travel brochures. Daniel Ingram-Brown’s Rise of the Shadow Stealers has captivated my imagination completely and given me a sense of nostalgia I wasn’t sure I would feel again after the trauma of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

    As part of The Firebird Chronicles series, Rise of The Shadow Stealers follows the fast-paced story of Fletcher and Scoop. What is so great about these two is the realism that is evoked by their characterisation despite the ‘less-than-realistic’ world that they find themselves in. If you put the destiny and the magic aside for a second, Fletcher and Scoop are two very eager, confused and sometimes extremely stroppy young adults. It’s completely believable, relatable and utterly fantastic.

    Ingram-Brown’s attention to detail is second-to-none and the world he creates for us as the reader is exquisite. His use of description and language constantly conjures up different scenes that are pure, unadulterated magical goodness. There’s a brilliant use of made up names and places: ‘Fullstop Island’, the ‘Creativity Craters’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Noveltwist Cordial’. This ability to play with literary terms that can seem so daunting is exactly why these books are so fantastic for children. Without this becoming a lecture, having worked in schools I can tell you that children do not enjoy reading. That’s not a generalisation but, from my experience, they want to read but it fails to excite their lively minds (hence we are living in the generation of iPad children). Anyway, I digress…. because this book is challenging for a young reader as it stretches their imaginations to a limit that cannot be achieved on a screen. I have already recommended it to the local primary school. I’ve recommended it to all my adult friends. My family. Everyone I know. I think I should stand in the middle of Leeds and shout it out for everyone to hear.

    Clearly, I am a fan.

    Being right in the midst of that post-graduation ‘nothingness’ moment, I can honestly say that reading Rise of the Shadow Stealers has given me so much creative drive. It’s the kind of fiction that you read that makes you long to be a writer and, in my opinion, that is the best kind of fiction. I have already gushed about being given these books to review but I am so grateful that I have had the chance to read it. I can’t wait to read the next one! It is a book that pushes the imagination and makes you want to step into this magical world (in true The Pagemaster style).

    Oh, and Mr Ingram-Brown? I really think you should make ‘Noveltwist Cordial’, ‘Epiphany Tea’ and ‘Blank-verse buns’ a thing because they all sound delicious. ~ Dani McDowall, Danireadsx.com

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    A Magical Environmental Story with Fabulous Characters

    I’ve had the best few days of my life reading Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation. In fiction this is my favourite book this year. If I could give it 11 out of 10 I would. The story comes alive in front of you. There are fabulous characters. The tree spirits are comical. That’s probably my favourite part of the book. Emma’s quest is one that any child’s imagination would just love. It’s a wee bit like Harry Potter in that adults can enjoy it just as well as children. It’s very well written and for those who are spiritually minded you’ll see a lot of themes like the Hero’s Journey. I would hope that Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation would turn into some kind of series because the little heroine herself is a cracking wee character. It’s a lovely wee book with a lovely wee message but it’s also a huge book with a huge message that can be absorbed by children about saving our envirornment. This is a book for you and your kids to enjoy together. I’m going to keep it for my grandchildren so I can read it to them.

    Colette Brown, author of Maybe the Universe Just Isn't That Into You!: Spiritual Responsibility in a Fluffy Bunny World and over 10 books.

    For a full You Tube review watch
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEdfbU6u-ps&feature=share ~ Colette Brown, You Tube

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    "This book made me very happy and made me want to start protecting more trees. The book reminded me very much of the trees at school that I named Mr. tree and Mrs. tree. I also liked that she had woven humor into the tree's personalities. It's one of those books that even though it has sad parts it doesn't make you truly sad."
    Isabela R. 11 year old ~ Isabela R.

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    A Book of Joy and Enchantment
    Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is an enchanting book and a joy to read. It will make a perfect gift book for young teens who are tasked with helping to care for a family elder who seems to be lost in the fog of a dementia. Emma's ability to find solace in the oak tree in her garden appears - at first - to be the only way she has to cope with her family's multi-generational turmoil. Little does she know that it is The Doorway into an underworld of mystery and intrigue . Her journey into this strange and fantastical place will prove to help empower her with a strength that can only be delivered to her by the Spirits of her Ancestors and the Trees. I strongly urge readers to buy this book - as well as a second and third copy to share with friends and family. It will bring happiness to anyone who are fortunate enough to read it.
    Author of Symphony of Spirits: Encounters with the Spiritual Dimensions of Alzheimer's ~ Dr. Deborah Forrest, Amazon.com

  • Princess Gardener, The
    Michael Strelow
    PRAISE FOR MICHAEL STRELOW'S 'SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED': ...this novel illuminates the beautiful and mysterious transformation that occurs when we listen carefully to the world. ~ Scott Nadelson, author of Between You and Me

  • Princess Gardener, The
    Michael Strelow
    PRAISE FOR MICHAEL STRELOW'S 'THE GREENING OF BEN BROWN': Fascinating, humorous, and wise, The Greening of Ben Brown deserves its place on bookshelves along with other Northwest classics. ~ Craig Lesley, author of Storm Riders

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    5/5 STARS
    I loved the book,the plot was captivating and engaging. I was hooked into the story from the beginning and it was a one sit read for me. The characters were well developed and the prose beautiful. The book was wonderful and I would recommend it to everyone. ~ Rubina Bashir, Booklove blog

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    A Magical Read for Children and Adults

    Mystical, magical and adventurous certainly describes this charming and important story. Emma Oliver, a 11 year old girl, living in Peachtree City, GA, soon discovers her life purpose, through Annie Oakley, a special oak tree in her backyard – a tree who understands her problems. Annie, and the network of tree spirits, help Emma through her difficulties. This book is written for children; however, it will also be enjoyed by adults. It teaches all of us about the spiritual aspects of nature, trees and song. And, it encourages us to look deeper within our own souls to search for our true callings. Author Susan Elizabeth Hale has written a lovely fictional work, and it should be included in every child’s library! ~ Deborah Lloyd, Amazon

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    I really enjoyed reading this great story. It is written with children in mind but it speaks deeply to me on another level . As an artist who enjoys painting trees I believe trees have a joy that Susan Hale has captured in a beautiful and lively way. Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is a great read and a perfect gift. ~ Sara Bennett, Facebook

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This is a great book. for Adults and Children. An adventure worthy of Harry Potter fame. The Author has a vivid imagination. If you love trees and nature this exciting story will encourage you to think more deeply about the trees and what the do for us. Hard to put down. ~ Gillian Cooper, Facebook

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    A fun read with an important message
    This is a playful romp of a fairytale quest, ideal for readers of 9-11 years old, that sets nature against urban development. It should encourage children to defend their natural environment and to be considerate of trees. As such, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
    We get a clear picture of a lonely girl – Emma Oliver. She is new to her town, is bullied and worries she will end up like her senile grandmother. She seeks solace in her favourite tree, Annie Oakley. Any reader who had a childhood affinity for a particular tree will empathise with Emma and want her to overcome her fears and succeed in her quest.
    The story is well plotted, fast paced and full of humour. I loved the eccentric old ladies in hats! The speaking animals made it reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, and the creative ideas help you to imagine a secret life of trees, invisible to us humans.
    I would class it as plot-led prose rather than literary fiction – I found the -ing verbs a little repetitive – but this doesn't distract from the story at all, and there are some beautiful images. There is plenty of imagination here – I would love to see the book illustrated.
    Harriet Springbett - Author of Tree Magic ~ Harriet Springbett

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    Eleven-year-old Emma doesn't know that she comes from generations of tree singers, passed from mother to daughter. She doesn't believe she can sing. Her ailing grandmother has just come to live with the family. Her father is hardly ever at home. Her mother has been acting strange. To add to Emma's troubles, her mother's great uncle from England is coming to stay. Then, a strange old woman wearing a hat full of feathers appears mysteriously in her garden. She gives Emma a white swan feather that emits a haunting melody. Emma's only solace is the oak tree in her garden, which she names Annie Oakley. What she does not yet know is that Annie is part of a network of tree spirits who disguise themselves as old women. These spirits have come to Peachtree City to help Emma remember her mission to sing the Song of Creation and save the Great Mother tree. An original, compelling, thoroughly entertaining from cover to cover, "Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation" is especially recommended for family, school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 7 to 17. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation" is also available in a Kindle format ($5.38).


    ~ Fantasy/Sci Fi Shelf, Midwest Book Review

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    This is an entirely magical book, a modern Alice, about the Love of Trees, the importance of Trees, about Music, about the importance of caring for Nature, and totally in "tune" with the ethos of this time in her story and his story. I had so recently purchased a book by Peter Wohlleben, The Hidden Life of Trees, a book that does in very scientific and loving ways, tell us, about the vast underground network that forms the Family of Trees, a far deeper connectivity than many knew, and this communications network is vast and amazing, in so many ways. Of course Trees for us, should echo through history, as we have our Garden Story, yes, that Tree, the Tree of Life, and then, the Tree of Knowledge. Back to this book, a rollicking adventure story that throws Emma, our heroine, into a fantastical adventure that involves saving the Mother Tree, that is very much about the Music, about the value of trees, this the poetree, of Life Herself, speaking. I love the imaginative flow of this Story, how the weave is spell binding in many ways, and the joy of Nature comes ringing through. I also Love how language, how Emma's name is reverberant with the ancient Mother tree, how that song is so important, for Nature and Nurture come so beautifully together, to keep what is needed green. Maybe beyond belief, be leaf, is such a Story that does entrance. The uses of Enchantment to speak volumes about our need to hug, to honor, and realize the importance for us all, of that leafy sheltering canopy, how Earth herself depends on Trees. ~ Ruth Housman, Amazon.com

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    EMMA OLIVER AND THE SONGOF CREATION
    REVIEW/ ENSDORSEMENT


    Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is more than a fantasy adventure story for young people. It is a paean to the triumphant power of Nature for all ages. It is particularly a celebration of trees of all shapes and sizes and their subtle, vibrant relationship to humans. Susan Hale tells the story of the eleven year old Emma who, locked within her, has the power through song to rescue and restore the life force of the trees and thus bring about a new creation. Emma has to overcome Esmeralda, representing the force which chokes and saps the trees’ very existence. She has to accomplish what her grandmother and mother failed to do, ensnared as they were by Esmeralda’s constricting powers.

    Hale achieves a completely magical scenario through personifying the trees as human characters that are able to transform themselves into colourful women who can speak. This carries over into squirrels, mice and rabbits that assist Emma in her quest. And the names given to them are humorously precious. This personification is so well done; the interplay of the humans and the trees and animals so homogenous that their distinction disappears. It is a most delightful and scintillating way of storytelling and it has all the essential ingredients of first-rate fantasy – the dialogue between humans and Nature, otherworldly places versus ordinary reality, the struggle of good against evil and magical objects with special powers.

    However, this book is far more than a ripping yarn and a roller coaster ride of thrilling chapters; it is a great parable about humankind’s interrelationship with its environment. For example this is positively symbolized by how Emma treats an oak tree, called Annie Oakley, as a dearest friend whom she speaks to and hugs. This is negatively portrayed as a major theme within the book by the plan of the unnecessary cutting down of trees to make way for a grand hotel. Here Hale appeals to our conscience in the shape of Emma’s father who works for a tree-felling company. Will he, in the face of needed income, carry out the orders of the company’s owner or will he resist such destruction?

    Hale has a natural gift for narrative and the flow of the writing just keeps sailing along through the chapters. The shifting among the scenes from Emma’s home to the protest meeting by the trees transformed into eccentric women, to Esmeralda’s palace, to the site of the potential tree-feeling, to the underground world of the Shining Land and the In-Between is well handled. Despite assuming that it will all end well, this tale is like a thriller, all the more so to a young reader.

    What also characterizes this book is the prominence of the use of vocal sound, something that Hale has promoted in her work as a sound healer and music therapist. She effectively incorporates what might be called “mantras” or incantations and that even includes Emma's name. Some of these incantations take the form of short rhyming poems and are quite charming to recite.

    What is touching and compassionate in her writing is how Esmeralda and Smiley, the tree-felling company owner, are not ultimately punished for their wrongdoing but are redeemed by the sheer loving kindness of the trees themselves.

    In Emma Oliver and The Song Of Creation Hale has managed to stimulate our imagination through superb storytelling while, at the same time, awaken our conscience to the precious , yet often threatened world of trees, our brothers and sisters of Nature. We are exhorted to sing Emma’s song and join her choir.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it ~ James D'Angelo, Author of the Healing Power of the Human Voice

  • Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation
    Susan Elizabeth Hale
    I just couldn't put this book down. I read it from cover to cover and two days later I re-read it! Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation is pure fantasy BUT upon my second reading I realised that it is based upon the factual interaction of trees with one another and their relationship with fungi and animals as described in another good book "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben, Forester and ecologist. Emma makes the whole subject clear not only to children but to adults with a non-scientific base. I feel that this story would make a superb film to reach those who do not wish to read.

    ~ Paul Cooper, Goodreads

  • Firebird Chronicles, The
    Daniel Ingram-Brown
    They say only the dead can cross a Threshold, the dead and those who have faced a Nemesis Charm. When Apprentice Adventurers, Fletcher and Scoop, discover their mother has fallen under the curse of a strange sickness, they prepare to sail for its source, a Threshold, a doorway to the world beyond the Un-Crossable Boundary. But they are not the only ones seeking to cross the Threshold. Their old enemy, Grizelda, has heard that beyond the Boundary lives a woman with the same power as the Storyteller. With the help of a monster made with an undead heart, she plans to cross the Boundary and steal that power for herself. If she succeeds, the Academy, the island and everything in Fletcher and Scoop's world will be hers.
    Absolutely fantastic read with brilliant characters. I love the drawings too. I loved the ending too. Highly recommended. 5*. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book from netgalley. ~ Sue Wallace, Amazon+GoodReads

AUTHORS YOU MIGHT LIKE
  • Marneta ViegasMarneta ViegasMarneta Viegas is founder of Relax Kids Ltd - the UK's leading expert on children's relaxation. She ...
  • Alan and Linda ParryAlan and Linda ParryAlan studied in London at Hornsey and Willesdon Art Schools where he took his degree. He worked i...
  • Mick InkpenMick InkpenNick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen are amongst the successful writers and illustrators of childrens' b...
  • Nick ButterworthNick ButterworthNick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen are amongst the successful writers and illustrators of childrens' b...
  • Tiffany PoirierTiffany PoirierTiffany Poirier lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she shares her passion for philosophy as...
  • Andy RobbAndy RobbAndy Robb is a committed evangelical Christian, whose two children have taught him how to express hi...
  • Daniel Ingram-BrownDaniel Ingram-BrownBorn in East London, Daniel now lives in Yorkshire, in a house built from the stones of a ruined cas...
  • Paul HarbridgePaul HarbridgePaul Harbridge is a speech-language pathologist who works with adults with developmental disabilitie...
  • Paul SymondsPaul SymondsPaul Symonds has spent the last fifteen years writing about the Bible in one way or another, perform...
  • Dawattie BasdeoDawattie BasdeoDawattie Basdeo children's yoga teacher and founder of Holistic World Ltd, is a passionate promoter ...
  • Angela CutlerAngela Cutler
  • S.Y. PalmerS.Y. PalmerSue Palmer studied German and International Studies at the University of Warwick, before taking up a...
  • M.E. HolleyM.E. HolleyM.E. Holley studied English and Old English at Aberdeen University, becoming fascinated by old legen...
  • Susan HollidaySusan HollidaySusan Skinner is an author, artist and ecumenical Christian living in the south of England.She belon...
  • Helen LawsonHelen LawsonHelen has always written. When working on an American Summer Camp in summer '92 she wrote a poem at ...
POPULAR TOPICS