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/


Surprise in Auntie’s Garden! by Ann Morris


Erin makes a wonderful discovery in her auntie’s garden.









This beautiful book is a wonderful way to teach children about nature, and the main characters in it are the author and her niece and God-daughter Erin.

Erin and her auntie have shared a special enjoyment of the garden since Erin was a baby, when looking at the lovely flowers settled her.

.A little older now, Erin discovers a ‘worm,’ and quickly calls her auntie over take a look. There sitting on some milkweed is not in fact a worm but a caterpillar, and the milkweed is its food.

Eagerly they look at the bright and colorful caterpillar and wonder which sort is it.

Well, when they look it up, and find out, they are so excited! What’s more, they learn that the milkweed, although a weed in human eyes, is very important to the caterpillar, indeed, the reason it can be so brightly colored, is because it eats it!

As the summer goes on, and autumn sends the butterflies to their winter feeding ground, Erin’s caterpillar remains, yet it has changed into something else.

What could it be, and why isn’t it a butterfly yet?

Well through Erin’s experience, children learn that that circle of life, and evolution can take time. It is the following spring before Erin and her auntie finally watch a beautiful young butterfly emerge and spread its wings for the first time. However the wait is worth it because the butterfly it becomes is one of the most beautiful and well known.

To discover which type it is, you will have to read this beautiful story with its bright and wonderful illustrated by Heather Varkarokas.

I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I read it with my granddaughter and the look of wonderment on her face was priceless. I am sure it will be a firm favourite for many years to come. Highly recommended.

About the Author:









Ann Morris lived most of her school days in Humboldt, Iowa, USA. She graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, which included over a year of living and studying in Pamplona, Spain, where she attended la Universidad de Navarra.

Morris has loved to write since she was young, inspired by her mother. In different capacities through work and volunteering, she realized that there was a need for healthy learning stories for children that would also have a message for any adult sharing those books with them.

Ms. Morris remains in Iowa, where she has dedicated her talents to writing children’s books in English under the name of Ann Morris and a Spanish version of the same story under her Spanish name of Ana Morris. She also writes poetry and was published as early as ten and twelve years of age through a children’s magazine called Wee Wisdom.

She is equally proficient in English and Spanish and visible in the city of Des Moines, Iowa. She champions various minority causes, especially those that involve education. Her contribution in two languages serves a dual purpose. It provides reading material and positive interaction potential for young readers of each native language and it provides a reading challenge for those learning the other language.

She has participated in many author fairs and readings, has read to and addressed numerous elementary and junior high school students, which she enjoys dearly.

Her ultimate goal is to provide a positive adult role model for a curious child and a learning experience, which may be a learning process or a new outlook for the child in the story.

Mommy and Mikel Go for a Walk/Mikel y Mami dan un paseo was her first pair of books released by AuthorHouse Publishing. It has been republished by Mascot Books and is a wonderful improvement to the original.

Her second pair, illustrated by Heather Varkarotas, was published by Mascot Books. Surprise in Auntie’s Garden!/¡Sorpresa en el jardín de la tía! adheres to the same goal as her first pair.

Her third pair, recently released, Everything Is Different/Todo es distinto is illustrated by Melissa Wright and deals with a young boy from the USA visiting the UK with his father. She has several more books in various stages of drafts, editing, and rewriting the Spanish version.


About the Book:

Surprise in Auntie’s Garden!/¡Sorpresa en el jardín de la tía! is Ms Morris’ most recent publication. The digital illustrations are by Heather Varkarotas, a children’s author in her own right. Auntie ̣(the author) and her niece Erin spend much time observing Auntie’s flower garden. One day, Erin discovers a colorful “worm” in the garden, which turns out to be a Monarch caterpillar. Auntie shows Erin how to use the Internet to learn what the caterpillar is and to see it’s life cycle. It is a book of discovery, of learning, of beauty, of adult-child bonding, and of learning how to find information.

Surprise in Auntie’s garden in available from Amazon in Hardcover https://www.amazon.com/Surprise-Aunties-Garden-Ann-Morris/dp/1620862247/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_pdt_img_top?ie=UTF8

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Surprise-Aunties-Garden-Ann-Morris-ebook/dp/B00EUIDA9G/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=;


and Barnes & Noble in Hardcover https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surprise-in-aunties-garden-ann-morris/1116376723?ean=9781620862247

and as a NOOK Book https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/surprise-in-aunties-garden-ann-morris/1116376723?ean=2940148474296



Surprise in Auntie’s Garden!

Este libro bello presenta una manera magnífica de enseñarles a niños sobre la naturaleza, y los protagonistas principales del libro son la autora y su sobrina y ahijada, Erin.

Erin y su tía comparten un gusto especial del jardín desde que Erin era bebé, cuando al mirar las flores bonitas le calmaba.

Un poco mayor ya, Erin descubre un «gusano», y rápidamente llama a su tía para que lo vea. Allá en el algodoncillo hay, no un gusano sino en realidad una oruga, y el algodoncillo es su comida.

Con curiosidad, miran la oruga de colores vivos y se preguntan ¿a ver qué tipo será?

Bueno, cuando lo buscan y se enteran, ¡se quedan entusiasmadas! Aún más, aprenden que el algodoncillo, aunque sea hierba mala del punto de vista de los humanos, es muy importante para la oruga, hasta ¡el hecho de que pueda ser de tantos colores vivos, porque lo come!

Al pasar el verano, y el otoño les manda a las mariposas a su tierra invernal de comer, la oruga de Erin se queda, aunque se ha cambiado en otra cosa.

¿Qué pudiera ser? y ¿Por qué no es mariposa ya?

Bueno, por la experiencia de Erin, los niños aprenden que el círculo de la vida, y la evolución cuestan tiempo. Es la primavera siguiente antes de que Erin y su tía por fin observan que una mariposa hermosa emerge y se extiende las alas por la primera vez. De todos modos, la espera merece la pena, pues la mariposa que sale es una de las más bellas y bien conocidas.

Para descubrir qué tipo es, tendrás que leer este cuento bonito con los dibujos estupendos y de colores vivos de Heather Varkarokas.

Recibí una copia de este libro de la autora de intercambio por una crítica sincera. La leí con mi nieta y fue de lo que no se puede expresar la mirada de maravilla que apareció en su cara. Estoy segura de que será favorito definitivamente durante los muchos años que llegan. Altamente recomendido.

Amazon.es Tapa dura https://www.amazon.es/Surprise-Aunties-Garden-Ann-Morris/dp/1620862247/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=TY1DSQBX0TGQC7SC7RSH

Kindle https://www.amazon.es/Surprise-Aunties-Garden-English-Morris-ebook/dp/B00EUIDA9G/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=


NEIGHBORS: The Yard Critters, Book 1 by George Held


A wonderful way for children to learn about the critters in their yard.









As soon as I received this book I knew it was going to be something special. I sat with my little granddaughter who loves animals, and together we enjoyed this wonderful selection of poems written by George Held, and beautifully illustrated by the talented Joung Un Kim.

Yard Critters: Book 1 is an enchanting way for children to learn about the animals who live in their own back yard or neighborhood. The author has cleverly incorporated into each lovely poem, in a fun way, a wealth of information about some of the creatures the reader could come across.

Without even trying, and with a smile on her face my granddaughter learnt about squirrels, rabbits, deer, raccoons, possums, robins, earthworms, bats, garter snakes, and groundhogs. She also discovered another animal in the book, one which wouldn’t fit in her yard, but, I’m not going to tell you what it is, you will have to read the story and find out for yourself…

As a parent and grandparent, what I really loved about this book is that it teaches children a very important lesson, one which tends to be forgotten these days, that this earth is for all creatures and every one of them has a place on it.

I would recommend this wonderful children’s book to parents, grandparents, and care givers, to read to their children, and for the children themselves to read when they are able to.


About the Author:

GEORGE HELD, poet and writer, is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He has published seventeen poetry collections, including a trilogy of chapbooks on nature themes, and has served on the board of the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, New York, since 1991. His work appears in such publications as The Philadelphia Inquirer, Notre Dame Review, Confrontation, and The Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keillor). Educated at Brown (B.A.), University of Hawai’i (M.A.), and Rutgers (Ph.D), he was a Fulbright lecturer for three years and is a former professor at Queens College, City University of New York. He lives in New York and Sag Harbor


About the Illustrator:

JOUNG UN KIM, illustrator and designer, is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She has illustrated many picture books for children, including The Grasshopper Hopped [Golden Books/Random House] and Hen Hears Gossip [Greenwillow/Harper Collins]. She lives in Southern California.


About the Book:

Children’s picture book with collaged illustrations and short, accessible poems about the wild animals we often find in our suburban yards, city streets, and country house landscapes.Included are the Squirrel, Possum, Deer, Raccoon, Bear, No Elephant, Bat, Rabbit, Turtle, Garter Snake, Earthworm, Robin, Groundhog — with collaged illustrations and a special poetic form for the Raccoon: the Racku. Primary age group is 6-7 — but children as young as 3 can be read to and can appreciate the illustrations. This is the first book in the NEIGHBORS series. A companion, NEIGHBORS The Yard Critters TOO is also available. The underlying message of both books is that all creatures have a place in nature.


NEIGHBORS: The Yard Critters, Book 1 is available from Amazon in Hardcover https://www.amazon.com/Neighbors-Yard-Critters-Book-1/dp/0916754251/ref=sr_1_sc_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513083834&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=The+Yard+Critters+by+geore+held 


Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/neighbors-george-held/1113012751?ean=9780916754259


Bon Voyage! by Susie Kelly

Product Details

About the Author: Susie Kelly was born in grey post-war London, and spent much of her childhood and young adulthood in the beautiful country of Kenya.
She now lives in south-west France with a menagerie of assorted animals, and is passionate about animal welfare.
Her first book “Best Foot Forward” was published by Transworld Publishers in 2003, followed by “Two Steps Backward” in 2004, and “A Perfect Circle” in 2006.
Since 2011 Susie’s books have been published by Blackbird Digital Books, whose theme is strong, adventurous women living life to the full. Blackbird Digital Book people love birds and animals, travel, history, romance, natural health and environment, resourcefulness, humour, the surreal and magic.
If her house caught fire and she could only save three things (apart from her animals, of course), they would be courage, compassion and a sense of humour.


As the cover says, this book is a sampler of some of Susie Kelly’s amazing books.

The chapters titled Travels with Tinkerbelle and Best Foot Forward will entertain you as you learn about her adventures in a campervan, and on foot as she discovers different areas in France. In true Susie style, you find yourself experiencing her trials and tribulations, on these epic journeys. France as you will never have read about it before.

Perhaps you are interested in history and would like read about the last few days of Marie Antoinette and Louix XVI as they desperately tried to escape the revolution, and visit, many years on, with Susie, places on their journey.

Do you fancy running a gite in France? Do you wonder why people do it, and what it is really like, you can read about Susie’s  experiences in the chapter titled Swallows & Robins.

And for those who love a little glimpse into  other peoples lives, learn a little about Susie’s childhood and life in the U.K. and Kenya, in I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry…

Entertaining is an understatement! Susie’s honest, direct, and very funny style of writing will captivate you, as you read these samples. I hope you enjoy them, and become, like me, totally hooked on all her books.

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Bon-Voyage-Susie-Kelly/dp/1495221733/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403264657&sr=1-1&keywords=on+voyage+by+susie+Kelly

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Bon-Voyage-Susie-Kelly-ebook/dp/B00D0FWUGY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1403264657




Alpaca Relaxation Guide by Nina Faust

The Alpaca Relaxation Guide by Nina Faust



Stress is a big worry these days but not if you are an Alpaca!


A delightful book, the Alpaca Relaxation Guide is a playful look into how Alpaca’s relax and how, by studying them you can gain inner peace.


This is a light-hearted guide and a wonderful introduction into the characters of these beautiful animals. As we are treated, by Nina, to glimpse into what it takes to care for these beautiful animals on her wildlife preserve in Homer, Alaska, we learn snippets of information about them.  Whether you are an Alpaca fan or just plain curious about these beautiful animals, I’m sure you will be totally captivated by the end of this book.


Full of bright colorful photographs of the author’s own animals it is a joy to read and a lovely insight into the joy and harmony, which can be experienced by both alpacas and their owners.


Nina Faust is a retired high school math/English teacher, amateur videographer, and author.


The Alpaca Relaxation Guide can be purchased from: http://homerbookstore.com/orders.html