Articles

Swampwise by Okefenokee Joe

 

In this amazing book the author treats his readers to his incredible recollections and observations about the animals who lived with, and around him in the Okefenokee Swamp Park in the south east of Georgia.

When I finished reading this incredible book, I turned to my husband and said, “WOW, how can a review ever give this book the acclamation it deserves?”

The author had his first real taste of nature and the natural world when he was sent aged 9 to the YMCA Camp Carson, in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. At first he missed his mum and dad, however, before long, it was the wildness and natural world of Camp Carson he craved when back home. He loved being amongst the natural world, discovered a fascination for it — especially snakes. With this came, a deeper understanding of God’s work in giving us the wonderful natural world, which is all around us.

After a successful career as a singer/songwriter/entertainer for over twenty years, burnt out and tired of the Nashville scene, his marriage in tatters, he cancelled his remaining shows. A broken man, at the age of 41, in desperation, while others would have started on the way to ruin, he remembered those years he had spent at camp in childhood, and the love he had of camping. Searching for answers and with only a tent and other essentials provided by a friend, he set off in his jeep into the swamps of South Central Florida. Alone with his thoughts, he began to ask God for guidance and became one with nature. He learned how to trap and sell snakes, surviving by his skills, he was beginning to find inner peace.

It was the offer of work by another friend who managed the famous Okefenokee Swamp Park near Waycross in Georgia which was to take him onto the next stage of his life.

The great Okefenokee Swamp is in the south east of Georgia. It is not really a swamp and contains many small islands. Covering about seven hundred and fifty square miles, it is a large designated wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, and is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with all its wildlife protected by law. Heaven indeed, and the place which the author would call home for the next nine years. And what an interesting nine years they were.

Through the vividly descriptive writing of this talented man, we the readers are treated to some amazing stories and observations about the animals who live with, and around him. We discover how he befriends the abandoned dog, who is to become his canine companion Swampy before he moved to the park in South Central Florida, and how the next day Swampy appeared in the jeep ready to go with him on the adventure to his new home. Indeed, it is Swampy who finds the little calico kitten Skeeter, who becomes part of their small family, in the picnic area of the park.

However, we also learn through these tales of the animals, which are truly wild and live alongside him, and through his example realize that their territory is not automatically ours to walk over and claim. As he says, true wild animals are born to be self-reliant and self-sufficient; it is the way God intended them to be.

I loved the way that throughout this amazing book the emphasis is on understanding nature, living with it, respecting it, and recognizing that the creatures around us have just as much right to be on this earth as we do. There is so much to learn at the turn of every page, and even more if you read between the lines and take away from it the understanding that the natural world is out there for all to enjoy.

However, in the natural world there is also cruelty, and the author doesn’t hide this side from his readers; after all, ‘nature is not cruel, it is just sublimely indifferent’ as anyone with a pet cat will tell you.

After over nine years at the Okefenokee Swamp Park, ‘Okefenokee Joe’ as he had become known decided to spread the word, and for over four decades he has done just that. He has delivered his “Earth Day Every Day” message to school children of all ages, bringing along with him a selection of native venomous and non-venomous snakes, to help as visual aids, and in teaching the children to be ‘swampwise.’ He has written, recorded and sang songs praising all God’s creations, and now he has written this truly amazing book, and I for one am in total awe of what this man has achieved.

The author has also released an audiobook “Swampwise Secrets Songs and Stories from the Land of the Trembling Earth!” and will soon be releasing “Snake Hunter Snake Talk.”

In Summary: Throughout this amazing period of his life the author learned how to be ‘swampwise’ – really looking at, studying and taking notice of his surroundings. In this modern world, where ‘Mindfullness’ is very much the ‘in’ word, how I wish more people could be like the author and learn to appreciate the amazing natural world around us the same way. Highly Recommended!

About the Book:

Experience the thrill and amazement as Okefenokee Joe uncovers and explains “The Golden Rule of Nature”! Share with Joe the love & faithfulness of his two best friends in the swamp; Swampy the Dog & Skeeter the Cat! Come along with Joe step by step, as he plays momma’ & nursemaid to ‘Streak’ the Bobcat Kitten! Learn with Joe as he discovers the Character Lessons all wild swamp plants & animals so clearly demonstrate! Enjoy Okefenokee Joe’s Enlightening “Earth Day Every Day” message taught by, believe it or not, The Snakes themselves!

Author’s website: https://www.okefenokeejoe.com/

Swampwise is available in Paperback from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Swampwise-Okefenokee-Joe/dp/0997337109/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1567413824&refinements=p_27%3AOkefenokee+Joe&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Okefenokee+Joe

and the Author’s website https://www.okefenokeejoe.com/

 

The Plastic pollution Adventure (The Rescue Elves 1) by Monty J. McClaine

 

Teaching children the dangers of plastic to our world, and what they can do to help!

 

This book must be the best way ever to get the message across to children about the dangers of plastic to wildlife, the amount of items of rubbish it accumulates, where it is dumped, and also how important recycling is.

I recently read Santa’s Rescue Dog, Super Speed Sam, Book 5, by the same author to my granddaughter and we enjoyed it so much that this story caught my eye. You see, it is in Santa’s Rescue Dog that we first meet the relves. These are special rescue elves tasked with rescuing Santa, should he have a catastrophe on Christmas Eve, and their names are Sparkle, Holly, Jack and Charlie. Of course, everyone knows to be good at rescue like Firemen you have to practice, and the relves do the same. Mrs. Claus sends them, on special missions around the world throughout the year, just to keep them on their toes.

Their mission this time is to go to the beautiful Pacific Ocean and explore it, and the creatures which live near and in it. After all, you never know, one day Santa’s sleigh could break down going over the sea and they would have to know what to do if it was stuck under the water, wouldn’t they?

Now the Pacific Ocean is so different from the North Pole that the relves didn’t know what to expect, but being relves they are well prepared for anything. However, they can’t believe their eyes when they arrive and see a mysterious grey island. As they draw nearer they realise that it is made from all things plastic.

“How strange, I wonder where all this came from,” they ask themselves as they climb over it. Then suddenly they hear cries for help, and find some very special baby creatures in real distress. Luckily for them, rescue is what the relves do.  The incident makes the relves wonder how such a terrible thing could be in the middle of a lovely ocean. However, all is explained when the babies’ mommies arrive they tell them what is happening to the environment and our beautiful planet.

Something must be done, the relves decide. So they demonstrate to the reader what can be done, what a difference recycling can make, and how everyone can play their part.

This beautifully illustrated story was listened to avidly by my two grandsons and was the perfect way to explain to them that the environment is everyone’s responsibility, the dangers caused to wildlife by rubbish, and how important it is to take care of our world.

I think this book should be read to all children wherever in the world they live, the message it contains is so important and it will empower them with the knowledge that ‘they’ can make a difference!

 

About the Author:

Proud winner of the 7th Annual Beverley Hills Book Awards (2018) in the “Environment category The Rescue Relves – Plastic Pollution Adventure.

Proud winner of the 5th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards in the “Holiday” category for Super Speed Sam – Santa’s Rescue Dog.

I feel that some of the natural interactions between family and friends are gradually eroding, if not already completely worn away for some. And I was reminded of a C.S.Lewis quotation –

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

It also feels like the simple joy of laughing or crying among family and friends is being replaced by beeps, bops and demands to ‘add new features’ or ‘why doesn’t this work?’ or ‘who’s hogging the Wi-Fi?’.

So I set out to create a fun and exciting series of children’s short stories, with lots of adventure and splashes of humor, all paced to hold children’s attention whether reading or listening… at least that’s my hope!

Stories that will delight both boys and girls, the young and old, and, of course, moms and dads! Tales that allow a return to simpler values, kid-like imagination for both children and adults and, I sincerely hope, bring families closer together.

Website: http://relves.com/

 

About the Book:

“This beautifully illustrated story was listened to avidly by my two grandsons and was the perfect way to explain to them that the environment is everyone’s responsibility, the dangers caused to wildlife by rubbish, and how important it is to take care of our world.”

From high above the clouds to the depths of the sea, the rescue elves, or Relves for short, are ready for anything! All year they practice to make sure they’re sharp. They travel the world swiftly and quickly to ensure that Santa makes it safely to your home each year.

When the Relves take on their latest mission to the deep, dark depths of the sea, they find a lot more than colorful fish. For it appears that Santa’s sleigh isn’t the only thing stuck out on the high seas, as the Relves discover a man-made island full of plastic and trash! So what else can highly trained Relves do when they find that the ocean and many of its animals are in danger? They get to work!

Follow along with the brave little Relves as they make it their mission to save the animals, the ocean, and get to the bottom of this plastic island. Learn about the dangers of plastic waste and the sad state of the world’s oceans as the Relves explore the effects of humans on our gentle, beautiful world.

 

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Pollution-Adventure-plastic-pollution/dp/1973899523/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

and Kindle Format https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Pollution-Adventure-children-pollution-ebook/dp/B07582DKN5/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=