Finding My Way to Zendoodle Calm

A Review of Zendoodle Calm By Felicity French and Lauren Farnsworth Zendoodle Calm is a fantastic new kind of coloring book for adults. You color designs with doodles, not solid color. This makes coloring more of a meditative activity, and thus the name, Zendoodle Calm. Coloring with doodles is a lot like the pattern shading that Albrecht Durer made commonplace in his famous rhinoceros woodcutting in 1515. I actually tried an art project with my kids once to recreate their own versions of that Durer rhinoceros, but it was a disaster. The kids were too young for the concentration required to make the detailed patternsRead More →

Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz (a Review for Penguin Random House) This action-packed story for older teens starts with a James Bond-style theft on the coast of England and a seemly-unrelated mystery. Alex Rider, the hero of a series of books from Anthony Horowitz, is recovering from the death of his nanny-guardian and adjusting to his new life in the family of a journalist friend. After four weeks in California with his new family, the orphaned teen gets an email which simply says, “ALEXX I’M AL,” and the adventure to discover if his nanny is still alive begins. The story is an exciting one.Read More →

Saving Marty

Saving Marty appears on the surface to be the story of a boy and his pig. There are so many of these stories in the world, but this is not really the tale of a pig. Yes, there is a pig in the story, but this story is about the boy. Summary of the Story Renzo lives with his mom and his Double (grandpa) on the family farm. His mother tries to keep everyone fed by raising pigs and puppies and one particular pig ends up joining the puppy pack, bonds with 11 year old Renzo, and never looks back. This fantastic pig is lovedRead More →

A Review of “SMOOT the Rebellious Shadow” & “The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole” by Michelle Cuevas ​I was recently given the opportunity to review SMOOT – A Rebellious Shadow, and The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas. These two wonderful books are my first introduction to the author, Michelle Cuevas, but now that I know her writing I will be tracking down all her other books. These Books Turn Shadows & Darkness Into Comforting Places Both books are absolutely beautiful. Michelle Cuevas has a gift for turning shadows and darkness into not-so-dark and comforting places. ChildrenRead More →

Chapter 11 of The Adventures of Fanny and Newt One afternoon, a few weeks after Fanny joined *had Newt and Keeper Karl in the cozy little house behind the zoo, the two small bears had taken to wandering through the zoo. On this occasion they visited the Aviary to look at all the wonderful tropical birds. Fanny was talking with Buzz, the red Macaw who recently joined the zoo from a rehabilitation center in Brazil. Buzz explained to the two little bears that he grew up in a beautiful tree on the banks of the Amazon river. As a chick, he never left his nest and spent hisRead More →

The first three Doodles Do Algebra books in this unique curriculum series, covering pre-algebra through division of polynomials, are now available in paperback. The books are printed on 8.5 by 11 inch paper so that your child has plenty of room to write and the text is large enough to easily read.  Topics Covered in Starting Out With Mental Algebra (Book 1) This first in the Doodles Do Algebra series is focused on Mental Math and is designed as the first step to learning Algebra for your child. The philosophy is focused on helping your child to think about abstracting and grouping items in orderRead More →

Chapter 10 – Introductions and a New Game This is a story I told my children when they were little and I now have the time to sit down and turn it into a book that I will publish through our family business, West Technology Research Solutions LLC Click HERE to start with the first chapter of the story. The next day Newt and Fanny awoke early, had a light breakfast of fish with Keeper Karl, and set off down the path outside the house that led to the zoo long before it was time to open the gates and let in the day’sRead More →

Holiday preparations always seem to catch me off-guard – no matter how many lists I make and plans I concoct. And this year is no exception. I woke this morning and realized that we only have 2-ish weeks until Christmas… Aaaak! And so I decided that instead of posting a brand new chapter in The Adventures of Fanny and Newt, I would post a summary so you have one spot with links to all the chapters (that is until I publish the book in 2017). Chapter 1 – In Which We Meet Newt Chapter 2 – The Name of the Man in the Blue CoverallsRead More →

Years ago, my kids (the original Doodles, the real-life characters from my Doodles Do Algebra math book series) were having trouble getting the rules for arithmetic with decimal numbers down solid so I made a game to help them: Decimal Derby. Decimal Derby is fun to play and since each player chooses their playing piece out of their personal collection of toys, the game becomes personalized to each child. My little secret is that the game is so much fun that the Hub and I play it when the kids are not around… but now that I think about it, maybe that just simple meansRead More →

It is so important for kids to realize that math is not a dreary, dull subject. There are a few mathematicians who stand out as math heroes, truly loving mathematics, and provide engaging explanations that make math understandable and fun for all ages. Vi Hart is one such mathematician. A young woman with a wonderful sense of humor and a wickedly smart sense of math, Vi graduated from Harvard and joined the Khan Academy. She also has a tremendous volume of youtube videos and additional information on her web site at  Using Vi Hart’s material is a great activity to enhance math lessons on aRead More →