Smoot A Rebellious Shadow by Michelle Cuevas. Illustrated by Sydney Smith. Book Review.

Smoot, a shadow, is tired of the boring, depressing existence he is trapped in and breaks away from the boy who never laughs, leaps, or does anything wild. Free at last, Smoot skips in the park, rides the merry-go-round, climbs a tree and engages fully with the world. His actions inspire others shadows to also fulfill their dreams. As Smoot creates his adventure, the boy follows and watches.

Newly inspired shadows find the courage to perform in public, create fearsome and magical alter egos, and reached the clouds. Smoot becomes concerned that the shadows of wild animals may create havoc. Through creative thinking, Smoot persuades the shadows to return to their origins. When he returns to his own boy, the child has changed. He improved now laughs, leaps, and acts wild. Both their lives are changed.

This feels like a book written for adults more than for children. As a rule, it is adults who’ve lost the ability to laugh and leap. I would interpret the boy as representing adults and the shadow representing the forgotten inner child. Quite often there are things in our life that are beyond our control. But just as often our attitude determines our happiness. The boy in the story has disengaged from life. He’s forgotten that the simple joys are the sweetest.

Although children would enjoy this story, I think the parent reading it to them will actually get the most benefit.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

An Attitude of Gratitude Creates Happiness

The second edition of Rayne Shines is now published. The characters are people instead of frogs and the text has been tightened. Here are the first few pages.

Rayne is bored with life, until a new family moves in next door. Why do they look so happy? Rayne wants to know their secret. Rayne Shines is a humorous and thought-provoking picture book for ages 5-7.

In a subtle and humorous way, the story shows how attitude and perception create either happiness or misery. Rayne learns that gratitude, playfulness, optimism, and simplicity bring joy.

Buy link

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages





Red Light Ponderings (Recycled Sundays)


(Every Sunday I am going to post a recycled article/blog post/writing experiment that I believe my new followers haven’t see. Here is number one.)

I was a passenger in a car with a stressed driver. This person, I’ll use she, hated red lights.

“That’s a minute I’ll never get back,” she said. “I hate wasting my time.”

I understand where she is coming from and wasn’t that different myself at certain points in my life. Now, I try to see waiting periods, whether they are stop lights, line ups at the post office, or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, with a more positive outlook.

Every minute is one you will never get back, so how you spend it is your choice. You cannot choose to drive through the red light, but you can choose how to react to it. You can spend that minute fuming and fretting, driving up your blood pressure, increasing your stomach acid, and possibly causing unnecessary adrenalin to be released, or you can accept it as a gift.

Many of us rush from one task to another, often overwhelmed by duties and demands, without a single minute to ourselves. However, if we open our eyes, the universe gives us minutes in spite of our hell-bent nature to drive ourselves to exhaustion. Take the minute and use it to your advantage.

At the stoplight, breathe slowly and deeply into your belly. Roll your shoulders back. Stretch your head to the left, right, and up. Give that minute to yourself as a break. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude to your higher power for trapping you into focussing on yourself.

During longer periods, such as in a waiting room, treat it like a small vacation. Most importantly, pay attention to yourself. How are you feeling? Why? Do you have to feel this way? Can you change your attitude? Can you rethink what you are taking on. Are you upset about the wait or are you really upset because you are feeling overwhelmed? What can you do to care for yourself?

As well, while you wait you can do something you enjoy but seldom have time for.

Meditate, listen to music on your ipod, read a book, or, best of all, sit and do nothing. Doing nothing is a lost art and an important part of distressing. Take the time to simply BE. You have no where else you can be, so BE where you are.

 Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages