‘Ariel Bradley’ weaves the tale of boy spy for Gen. Washington
Bath Township resident Lynda Durrant, who specializes in historical fiction for teen readers, has a new storybook for younger children. Ariel Bradley: Spy for General Washington is the fact-based account of a 9-year-old Connecticut boy who provided key intelligence in an early battle of the Revolutionary War.
Ariel’s two older brothers come home on a short leave with surprising news for him: General Washington needs his services. Posing as a “Johnny Raw,” a country bumpkin looking for a grain mill, Ariel reconnoiters the British camp on the banks of the Bronx River, counting the enemy’s troops, arms and horses. There are some tense moments when General Howe interrogates Ariel, but he is able to convince the British Commander in Chief that his mission is innocent.
Ariel returns to White Plains to consult with General Washington, who plans his strategy accordingly.
The story takes place in late autumn, and the watercolor illustrations by Joe Rossi of Akron show the russets and golds of the Connecticut and New York countryside. Howe is depicted as menacing; Washington as patrician and leonine.
In her acknowledgements, Durrant cites a 2007 article by Beacon Journal columnist Mark J. Price for inspiring her book: After telling of Ariel’s heroism, Price goes on to relate that Ariel Bradley came to the Western Reserve as an adult and was the founder of Mogadore.
Ariel Bradley (49 pages, hardcover) costs $9.99 from VanitaBooks. Durrant, sponsored by the Mogadore Historical Society, will sign her book at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Mogadore branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 144 S. Cleveland Ave.
Birthday Fairy visits in ‘Pinklejinx’
We know the elves help Santa at the North Pole. Who helps out at birthdays? Why, the Birthday Fairy, of course. In Pinklejinx, a storybook by Tish Dahlby of Hudson, we learn that all the trimmings of a child’s birthday, like the cake and the candles, come from a village called Jubilee, where every inhabitant contributes to the festivities.
The most important part is the cake, and the baker’s daughter, Joy, loves to help measure and stir the batter. Only her father can add the special, glittery “Pinklejinx” that helps wishes come true. What Joy really wants is to be a birthday fairy like her father, to appear at children’s homes before they wake to deck out their breakfast tables with colorful dishes and balloons. One day it is Joy’s birthday, and her dream comes true.
The bright illustrations by Utah artist Kory Fluckiger explode with color. Joy’s springy red hair is barely contained under her chef’s toque, and the transparent balloons and confetti look realistic.
Pinklejinx (34 pages, hardcover) costs $17.99 from www.pinklejinx.com.
Tiny ‘Tommy’ serves big purpose
The Legend of Tommy, the Tiny Christmas Tree by 75-year-old Strongsville resident Sidney Louis Fleishman is a storybook in rhyming quatrain about a little tree who finally finds his purpose.
All the other trees become tall and beautiful, fulfilling their promise to bring Christmas joy to families, but Tommy just doesn’t grow. He is standing forlornly in a snow-covered field of stumps when there is an accident — a sleigh accident. Santa has crash-landed nearby. Dusting himself off, he notices Tommy: “I’ve found a fine tree and it’s just the right size.”
Right size for what? For the elves! Santa returns to the North Pole and presents his find to his helpers, who delightedly decorate their new tree.
The trees look elegant as they stand in the snow in the illustrations by Jeanne Carr of Medina, and the elves’ workshop is cheery.
The book includes craft instructions. The Legend of Tommy, the Tiny Christmas Tree (26 pages, hardcover) costs $14.99 from http://luckymissypublishing.com.
Little ‘Schnootzi’ saves the day
Ernie Stadvec says that the theme of his new picture book Schnootzi: The Little Hero is “Just because an animal looks different, it shouldn’t be treated differently.” If Rudolph, a reindeer with a funny red nose, can lead Santa’s sleigh, why can’t Schnootzi, a dog with outsize, floppy ears, save a little girl’s life?
Schnootzi moves to a new house and wants to play with the other dogs on his street. The big dogs laugh and tell him that with those big ears, he should be able to fly. Schnootzi gives it a try, but takes a nosedive, drawing more ridicule from the big dogs.
Schnootzi’s chance comes when a panicked neighbor lady rushes outside with her baby, who has a dangerously high fever. Schnootzi’s able to cool down the baby with the flaps of his great ears, earning a medal for heroism and the admiration of the big dogs.
The real Schnootzi belongs to Stadvec’s granddaughter. The lifelike illustrations are by Bob Henry.
Ernie Stadvec is an alumnus of the University of Akron and a retired pilot. Schnootzi (13 pages, softcover) costs $6.95 including postage; it can be ordered from Stadvec’s company Essco, 378 S. Van Buren Ave., Barberton, 44203, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shaker Historical Society (16740 S. Park Blvd., Shaker Heights) — Gail Ghetia Bellamy gives a presentation and signs her book Cleveland Christmas Memories, 3 to 5 p.m. today. Program fee $5.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Nordonia Hills branch, 9458 Olde Eight Road, Northfield) — Northfield resident Linda Lehmann Masek, author of the romantic suspense novel Soul Dance, talks about writing and the publishing process, 7 p.m. Monday. Registration requested; call 330-467-8595.
Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath Township) — Akron native Renee Rosen signs her novel Dollface, about a Chicago woman who gets mixed up with mobsters in the Roaring Twenties, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (Mogadore branch, 144 S. Cleveland Ave.) — Brimfield police Chief David Oliver talks about social media and signs his book No Mopes Allowed, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.