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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Right Stuff: Teacher Pens Fantasy for Elementary School Kids

Tato
By Kathe Gogolewski
Red Engine Press
Fantasy children’s adventure (Suitable for ages 8-13
Author’s Blog: http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/A21V32M89BJ4ZD/104-4354575-4721548
Publication date: November 2005
ISBN: 1-59088-486-8
Length: 119 pages
Format: Paperback, eBook (Available in formats of pdf, .html, .msr, Mobipocket, and Hiebook).

Review by Tracy-Jane, owner of Alternative Read Reviews


Refusing to believe his beloved grandpa, ‘Gankum’ had passed away, never to return, Michael Tate claims Gankum is still around, and they share regular chats together in his bedroom closet. No one believes him. His bossy sister, Nicole, thinks he is pretending that the imaginary visits are real because he is having trouble accepting Gankum’s death, but as she is only thirteen she is not sure what to do to help him.

Later, when Michael overhears his Mama talking to Nicole about special babies being born from potatoes, he decides he wants one too. Michael thinks a potato man is sure to love and understand him better than any of his family do, and most importantly will believe Gankum is real.

Eager to help her little brother get it out of his system, and take his mind off his pretend Gankum visits, Nicole decides to help Michael make a potato man. Together they gather the ingredients and prepare the mixture to the precise formula, unaware of the real dangers of getting the formula wrong. Unfortunately, Michael oversleeps and the formula is left for ten minutes longer than it should have been, and alongside the adorable talking Tato he creates, a second cold, evil creature is made by mistake!

To make matters worse, both Michael and Nicole are horrified to discover the bad creature has kidnapped their parents and is not going to give them back. In order to save them, the children begin a brave journey through an unknown world full of gigantic insects and other strange and magical happenings. Soon Michael and Nicole learn that their mission to save their parents is not going to be as easy as they thought. If only Gankum was still around to help, he’d know what to do!

Tato is not just an exciting family adventure, it also tackles the sad truth of a close relative dying, and how a seven year copes -- without being morbid or off putting to children reading. This sensitive issue is gently dropped into the storyline as a reason to start the adventure, and before long, you are whisked into a magical world where a family’s love and understanding for each other is a central theme, and the inner strength and courage of the children will determine the ultimate outcome. For the fantasy lovers, Michael and Nicole’s exploration into another world will entertain young readers, whilst the storyline delves into the more serious issues in a heart-warming, child friendly way.

My son and I read this together during one sitting, and we both enjoyed it so much we read it again the next day, which I can happily say I didn’t mind doing at all! Kathe Gogolewski is an adaptable writer, who can turn her hand to creating a children’s story with ease. It’s not surprising she trained as a teacher! I enjoyed the ending tremendously, and when I asked my son what he thought, he told me, ‘I liked the ending because it was happy, but kind of sad at the same time!’

This is a captivating adventure of magic and mayhem, where one child’s yearning for adult recognition throws him into an unfamiliar fantasy world, where he discovers his true inner powers – love and courage – are held within. Tato is guaranteed to thrill the younger audience and comes thoroughly recommended by us oldies too!
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About the Author:
Kathe Gogolewski has taught upper elementary school grades for a long time and now enjoys both writing and teaching in Southern California. Kathe continues her passion of reading stories to children. Teachers interested in an author visit to their classrooms my find out more information at http://www,tri-studio.com. She is also host of The Mother Daughter Club radio show
www.byforandaboutwomen.com and edits The Fiction Flyer: www.tri-studio.com/ezine.html

1 comment:

Sassy Brit said...

Hey there! Just popping in to say hello :)

Thanks for posting my review. Take care, and speak to you soon!

Sassy
:)

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