Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove – a book review

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove – by: Sandra Harvey

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove is another example of Ms. Harvey’s non conventional, inspired, and creative approach to storytelling.   The main story of the book is told in a wonderful poem that spans over 76 Full color pages to tell that story of one magical moonlit night in Woods Cove.  Some people say rhyming books are easy to write, and this may be true to an extent. Everyone can find a rhyme for Sun right? -Did you just think Fun?  But,  every once and a while an author really comes through with a story that is told in Rhyme with no typical or forced rhymes.  This is  one of those books, the pace is almost hypnotic, there are no extra syllables, there is not a trace of the story being driven in a direction for the sake of keeping the rhyme alive, and their are no typical easy rhymes.  This is just FUN to read, it’s easy to get in the flow and to absorb all the humor, magic, and adventure while rhythmically flowing from page to page.  This book is great when read out loud, and did I mention it is FUN?
Some of the  other aspects of this book worth noting are: The Hand drawn cartoon art  matches the characters and story very well. The entire book is colored in blues, purples, and greens on black paper and is very soothing to look at and also creates a real feeling of night.    While the main story is written in rhyme, the characters also have non rhyming dialog with each other through the use of comic book style captions… What?  … Yeah you read that right! Comic Book style dialog and thought bubbles that tell a story all of their own. And in addition to that there are subtle words hidden in the background on some pages, that are not only fun to look for, but also convey a general message related to the story.  This combination of elements works amazingly well without one ever stepping on the other. This is distinctively a Sandra Harvey creation. How Sandra keeps  pulling out fresh and brilliant ideas I’ll never know.  I am currently trying to get her to sit down with me  for a YouTube interview.

In a way it is also a bedtime book, but it is a bed time book in which the children stay up and play all night, get lost in a scary fog, end up at a mysterious  tower, and actually do not go to sleep until the sun starts to come up.  This is yet another example of Sandra and her deep understanding of children.

 Another aspect of this story I found to be fresh  is through the Characters Annie Blue, and Lily. Through these 2 characters the book briefly  touches on abandonment and loss but manages to keep it light and comforting.
Trizzella has magical powers, she can talk to animals,  and cast spells but to her it is just part of everyday life.  Where Trizzella’s real magic power is, is in her heart and her sweet gentle soul.  She has a magic sewing needle that has the power to mend hearts and sew stars into blankets. Trizzella doesn’t  hesitate to use her magic to help out a hungry caterpillar who arrives at an apple tree before apple season, or to clear a scary fog.  This story has pirates, ghosts, adventure, food, fun, and an devious little kitty cat (with an amazing hat collection) who has decided his purpose in life is to destroy any chance Trizzella has for finding love.
Like every Sandra Harvey Book I’ve reviewed so far, this book is intended for children, but adults will love it too.

Trizzella The Witch of Woods Cove is available here.

There is also a collection of Free Trizzella cartoons available at
This is one of my favorite Ryhmes from the books.
Underneath the bookcase lives her strangest little cat
his room is full of pirate things like skulls, and books, and maps.
his name is Edward Villain.
He eats birds, and rats, and mice.
Trizzella calls him E.Vil because he’s really not that nice.
 He goes on vast adventures in his vivid little dreams
to destroy Trizzella’s chance for love
he plots and plans and schemes.
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The Half Hearted Girl – a book review

The Half Hearted Girl is a skillfully written and superbly illustrated children’s book about a little girl that is born missing half of her heart. As the girl grows up she seeks out all things that are whole hearted, but never seems to be able to fill the empty part of her heart.  On the other side of the world is a boy that was born missing half of his soul, as he grows he tries to fill his life with soulful things but never fully feels whole inside.  When one day the two of them set out on their own journeys, each seeking to find something in the world that fill the part of them that is missing.  Their journeys lead them to the very  same spot at the very same time. The middle of the earth.  The girl and the boy go on many adventures together and in the end they both find what they were looking for…  This is a book that transcends age , race, and gender and has a very strong appeal to a much a older audience.

What is hidden deep in this book past a summary, is more than just a story of a boy and girl. It is more than just a coming of age tale, and more than a story of hope and love.  While the story is not written in rhyme the book has this amazing poetic flow, each page playing a perfect parallel with the next, the book is what I would define as “perfectly symmetrical” but what amazes me even more than this brilliant writing style is that no where in the book does it feel forced, the story flows from page to page so well that you may not even notice the symmetry at first.  The black and white art style and the lay out of the book also ties into the symmetry of the writing  flawlessly.

The book is a quick read, with large print and being under 80 pages, but it is deep, it evokes real emotion of longing, sadness, wanting, discovery, friendship, fulfillment, acceptance, and love.  It is a great coffee table book, a great book for swinging in a hammock, a great coming of age tale, and a tremendous accomplishment by Author Sandra Harvey.
The short Q&A section and Mini Journal in the back of the book are wonderful editions.

The Half Hearted Girl is available here:

https://www.createspace.com/4884015

Who is the Half Hearted Girl?

The Half Hearted Girl

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I want to tell you all about an amazing project I have been fortunate to observe from conception to  completion, It has been so much fun for me  to be behind the scenes and watch this all come together.

doorhalf

 

The Half Hearted Girl ( 2 words not hyphenated) is a black and white fully illustrated book. The story, writing style, and art are relevant to people of all ages, however I think the target audience is probably around 11-20 years of age.   I wish it was easier for me to classify this book, but it simply stands alone. I want to be clear that this book is by no means some Obscure novelty book. With a page count of just under 100 and with so many illustrations it is hard to classify by modern literary classifications.  I think of it more like a modern fairy tale. This is a book you would have seen in books stores 70 years ago.  It is similar to some of the works of Hans Christian Andersen as far as word count and art. I call it a modern fairy tale because their is no physical antagonist in this story. The challenge our Protagonist has to face is that of an internal nature.

QUESTIONS

The main theme of this story is about love and soul mates and how meeting another person can sometimes help us become a more complete person ourselves. The story follows the life of The Half Hearted Girl and her quest to seek out wholehearted things.  When one day she discovers something special.  ( I do not wish to be more detailed about her discovery for Spoiler reasons) This discovery sends her off on an adventure.  The author now tells a  parallel story of The Half Soul Boy. Who one day also discovers something that leads him off on an adventure of his own.   Layered inside of the main story line is a  coming of age tale with some very significant and meaningful  insights about life, the emptiness we all feel inside at times, and the great mortal coil . There is a real  longing so many of us feel to try something new, to meet someone new, to go someplace new, and to find out what is over the horizon.  We often think that somehow we will find what ever it is we are missing if we just keep looking, but somehow  it’s always just one more step away.

signtop400dpi

We choose the path that leads to the right, and after we have been on it for a while we think we should have gone left instead. So we go back and go left, and after being on the left path for a while we think we should have probably stayed on the right path all along.  Often times as humans be do not appreciate who and what we have around us, and how amazing our lives are until we seek out the unknown. What do most of us find out there beyond the rim of the world?  Well, some of us do find our Soul Mates,  but we also find  the answer to our own unique question, the same question that set us on our journey to begin with.  The answer more often than not is that all we need, all we love, and all that matters was always there all along we just needed to see the world and to gain knowledge; we just needed to meet new people to gain experiences, so that through comparison we can see who we are, where we come from, and what matters most to each of us.

Adventure-Book

We often get restless and start feeling trapped. This is something a lot of us deal with all of our lives. Perhaps we feel like the daily routine is like  living with half of a heart or half,  of half of a soul.    Sometimes we just have to get far enough away from those things, those people, and those places  and to realize there is nothing out there in the unknown that we will find under some rock that will somehow complete our lives and make everything perfect. Even when we find the one thing we seek it always comes with a choice.  After all isn’t life often about giving up something you want, for something you want more?

That is my own interpretation of the story,  I do feel the author may have had a more literal meaning in mind,  but that is one of the wonderful things about every story I have read from Sandra Harvey.  Ultimately it is for you to decide.

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Do not miss out on this incredibly wonderful and life changing story, with amazing illustrations by Calum Jones.

available on amazon 1

 

 

 

 

Who is the Half Hearted Girl?

The Half Hearted Girl

hhg

 

I want to tell you all about an amazing project I have been fortunate to observe from conception to  completion, It has been so much fun for me  to be behind the scenes and watch this all come together.

doorhalf

 

The Half Hearted Girl ( 2 words not hyphenated) is a black and white fully illustrated book. The story, writing style, and art are relevant to people of all ages, however I think the target audience is probably around 11-20 years of age.   I wish it was easier for my to classify this book, but it simply stands alone.  It is by no means some Obscure novelty book. With a page count of just under 100 and with so many illustrations it is hard to classify by modern literary classifications.  I think of it more like a modern fairy tale. This is a book you would have seen published in books stores 70 years ago.  It is Similar to some of the works of Hans Christian Andersen as far as word count and art. I call it a modern fairy tale because their is no physical antagonist in this story. The challenge our Protagonist has to face is that of an internal nature.

QUESTIONS

The main theme of this story is about love and soul mates and how meeting another person can sometimes help us become a more complete person ourselves. The story follows the life of The Half Hearted Girl and her quest to seek out wholehearted things.  When one day she discovers something special.  ( I do not wish to be more detailed about her discovery for Spoiler reasons) This discovery sends her off on an adventure.  A parallel story of The Half Soul Boy is told and of course one day The Half Soul Boy discovers something that leads him off on an adventure of his own.   Layered inside of the main story line is a  coming of age tale with some very significant and meaningful  insights about life, and the great mortal coil.  The emptiness we all feel inside at times. The longing so many of us feel to try something new, to go someplace new, and to find out what is over the horizon.  We often think that somehow we will find what ever it is we are missing,  but it’s always just one more step away. 

signtop400dpi

We choose the path that leads to the right, and after we have been on it for a while we think we should have gone left instead. So we go back and go left, and after being on the left path for a while we think we should have probably stayed on the right path all along.  Often times as humans be do not appreciate what we have around us, and how amazing our lives are until we seek out the unknown. What do most of us find out there beyond the rim of the world?  Well, some of us do find our Soul Mates,  but we also find  the answer to our own unique question, the same question that set us on our journey to begin with.  The answer more often than not is that all we need, all we love, and all that matters was always there all along we just needed to see the world and to gain knowledge; we just needed to meet new people to gain experiences, so that through comparison we can see who we are, where we come from, and what matters most to each of us. 

Adventure-Book

Often humans get restless and start feeling trapped. Perhaps like we are living with half of a heart or half of a soul.    We just have to get far enough away from those things, those people, and those places  and to realize there is nothing out there in the unknown that somehow makes our lives perfect, because even when we find the one thing we seek it always comes with a choice.  After all isn’t life often about giving up something you want, for something you want more?

That is my own interpretation of the story,  I do feel the author may have had a more literal meaning in mind,  but that is one of the wonderful things about every story I have read from Sandra Harvey.  Ultimately it is for you to decide. 

as

 

Do not miss out on this incredibly story, with simply amazing illustrations. 

available on amazon 1

 

 

 

 

Corazon of the Outer Banks :: A book review.

The Spanish meaning of the word Corazon is Heart.

Corazon of the Outer Banks is a heart warming story of friendship and courage and is exactly what you have come to expect from the amazing Storyteller Sandra Harvey.  Adding to the story with his incredibly detailed and expressive full color illustrations  is the amazing London artist Calum Jones.

Sandra Harvey has a way of creating incredibly organic, real, and original characters.  Ms. Harvey’s stories often break current publishing trends,  and this is just one of the things  that I personally love about her writing.    Her current switch from novels to Picture Books is really shaking up the picture book industry and making some very real and very important changes.  This book being the first I have seen with a main character that has an Hispanic heritage and is in no way being portrayed with any of the stereotypes of the Mexican culture.

So many authors fail when trying to create ethnically diverse characters by type casting them based on their race.  It has always been my opinion that a strong non white character would not be any different than a white one in the way they act and behave.  I do not believe that an African American child wants to read a children’s book about segregation  They want to be casting magic spells, saving the world, and going on adventures just like every other child does.

Corazon of the Outer Banks features the two main characters  Corazon and Jose.  Corazon is a wild horse that lives on the coast of North Carolina but does not feel or act like the other wild horses do.  Jose is a boy from Mexico who’s mother brings him on vacation to the Outer Banks for the summer.

On his last day of summer vacation a storm approaches and Jose does not come to see Corazon. The friendship and love that has been built between Corazon and Jose all summer long will test both of their courage, and change Corazon forever.

I love this story,  it’s appropriate for all ages and I think adults will love it just as much as children.  I myself – a 38 year old man cried when I read the last page.  Remarkable storytelling and remarkable art work.  I can see this book being picked up by Scholastic and being read in schools.

    {This section added 7-12-2014} Something I feel is worth mentioning. The organization WildHorseEducation.org contacted me through twitter after reading my review.  I was made aware by the Founder Laura Leigh that both Ms. Harvey and Mr. Jones  donate a sizable percentage of their own profits from each sale of this book.  This is a foundation set up to help save and stop the capture and slaughter of the American Wild Horse in the mid west.  Apparently this is not mentioned on the cover of the book or anyplace in the interior because they wish to keep the book 100% kid friendly. I think it is pretty awesome to see an author giving money to a worthy cause and not using that fact for self promotion.

Today I  requested an e-interview with Ms. Harvey, if she accepts I will transcribe it here on my blog.

Also earlier today The Spanish version was confirmed for release in September.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Corazon-Outer-Banks-Sandra-Harvey/dp/1500385719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405018089&sr=8-1&keywords=Corazon+of+the+outer+banks

Corazon of the Outer Banks Cover

THE WRITING PROCESS BLOG HOP – Aaron Winterhalter

Invited by: Author Sandra Harvey

http://sandraharvey.blogspot.com/

What am I working on?

I just finished the art on Trizzella’s Bedtime Picture Book ( Release date May 8th.) not to long ago.   This week I am starting Trizzella on the art for Trizzella in the Deep Dark South this week.  I am also working on some Trizzella cartoons.    More information is available at www.trizzella.com

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Well, I have a very heavy hand with color, and a really soft hand with hard lines. I like to use very  dark colors and environments and balance that out with almost neon like heavily color saturated blues, greens, and purples.  I have a cartoonist / comic book approach to art, I like my characters to be memorable even if they are just background characters.  My style is pretty unique for the children’s picture book genre.  As I do not use 3D software to create environments and characters,  nor do I use watercolors,   I draw everything on a sketch pad with a regular number 2 pencil, then apply digital color.  I have tried a lot of the fancy pencil sets. The thing is when i first started drawing,  it was like most kids.  at my desk in school with a number 2 pencil, and a piece of notebook paper when I was supposed to be taking a test.  And all these years later I still get the best results that way. 

<Cover Art Trizzella’s Bedtime PictureBook>Image

 

Why do I draw this way? 

This style of drawing and coloring evolved from 4 decades of being a child and refusing to see the world as an adult.  Being a huge fan of classic Disney. You know real Disney, the pre-Pixar hand drawn, character driven art that really spoke to people.  I am also a huge fan of  Comic Books, and Children’s Cartoons from every decade.  I Never really grew up, I tried to make a point to hang on to my childhood.  I can remember hearing my parents having conversations when I was a boy about how they wish they could be children again.  Then I lost my mother at a very young age, and I think the combination of losing her, and knowing how important her childhood was to her and my father both somehow allowed me to just Freeze myself at 11 years old.  I still don’t relate to adults very well.  I don’t watch shows or movies that are violent, or sexual, or intended for people over 18 years of age.  I do not watch the news, I have no interest in Main stream music.  So my view of the world and my influences have not changed much since I was a little boy.  I have a great comic book collection, a great toy collection.  I love all the same things at 38 years old that I loved at 8 years old, and I love them for the same reasons.  My art style is simple, fun, heavily character driven,  and appealing to children. Simply put I drawn what I want to see in children’s books myself,  not what I think other people want to see, or what the current trend is.

 

How does my creation process work? 

Typically I start on a sketch pad.  Sometimes a piece of notebook paper.  Its very rare that I start in a digital format.  I usually do a very rough sketch of scene,  So I don’t forget any of the details.  Then I will revise that sketch. Sometimes making changes and additions. Sometimes removing objects, or changing characters expressions, or body language.  Once I am happy with the way it looks,  I will convert it into a digital format.  From there I use my drawing tablet.  I put down the outlines, then start adding color,  next comes textures, then shading, then special effects.  The process takes 2 and sometimes 3 different pieces of software.