As most of you probably know, the third book in the Cousins In Action series takes place in England! Today my aunt got the cover art for CIA – Operation Jewel Thief (drawn by her friend Han Randhawa who I interviewed a few months back), so I wanted to share it with you. I just love it – the fire, the corgis, the expression on Cagney’s face! Check back soon for details of the release date. Lissy Puddleton.
It was really great to see two women make history last week when Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver became the first two women to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School.
This is pretty amazing. To graduate, the officers (already a military police platoon leader and an Apache helicopter pilot), had to complete a really tough course including completing a twelve mile foot march in under three hours, carrying full military load, participate in three parachute jumps, four air assaults on helicopters and twenty-seven days of mock combat patrols, plus many other tasks too many to list. At the end of the course they then walked the distance from New York to Boston wearing heavy packs. Wow!
The only issue is, that unlike the men who complete this course, neither Grist or Haver are able to apply to join the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, as currently it is restricted to men. Regardless, I want to say congratulations to these two amazing trailblazing women.
Hi guys, Aidan here with the first of my summer reading recommendations.
Chained, sounds like it might be sad, especially when you see the picture of a young Indian boy standing by a small elephant on the cover, but it is a book about friendship, courage, kindness and not giving up.
We are introduced to ten-year-old Hastin when his sister is sick and his mother is forced to work for a family that is unkind to her. To free his mother Hastin takes a job far from his family as an elephant keeper.
I felt the author did a good job of bringing both the marketplace and the jungle to life and really liked the way she gave descriptions an Indian twist, like “it feels like a python is squeezing my chest” and “she grows smaller and smaller, her face just a dot of cinnamon.”
I also liked that the author gives you lots of interesting information about elephants. While we were in India we learned a lot about elephants, including their teeth wearing down and also, of course, all about the tiger trade. I think it’s great that there are books like Ms. Kelly’s who help bring these issues to the attention of children and do so in an entertaining way.
There are some chapters that are hard to read, but the relationship between Hastin and Nandita and Hastin and Ne Min made me want to keep reading. In fact, I read the entire book in one day, it was that good.
If I had any criticism, it would be that I kept wondering if this was set now or in the past as it was hard to tell. I also wish I knew what part of India Hastin came from originally – a part that had desert and camels. However, I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in India, or anyone who enjoys a story about a boy and his elephant.
Something you may not know about us cousins is that we are all musical.
Cagney sings in the school choir, Aidan plays the guitar. Olivia plays the flute, Tess the clarinet and they both play the piano. I play the violin. See Tess’ drawings above.
At Christmas we got together and played Christmas carols, which was actually more fun than it sounds!
Happy February, my friends. Hope you are all staying warm and dry – Lissy.
Hi Guys, Aidan here. The holidays are coming and I’m sure we are all giving serious thought on what to buy those loved ones on our shopping list. Here’s my top ten reasons why buying books as gifts for Christmas is a smart idea. Happy shopping everyone.
- It’s cheaper to send books through the mail than regular gifts.
- Books are easy to wrap.
- No one has to return a book because it’s the wrong size.
- Books smell good, plus they make you smart.
- No batteries required.
- Compared to other gifts, books are cheap.
- Books are easy to store.
- Books can be passed to others when you’re done.
- Books do not go out of fashion or have a use by date.
- You can get presents for everyone in just one store.
- Do not leave it to the last minute to buy a costume – else you’ll be going as a penguin or even worse, a pumpkin.
- Okay, so my friend, Ella, had this mermaid costume that was super cute but she couldn’t actually walk in it and had to hop everywhere. The rule is, if you can’t walk in it, don’t buy it. Nobody wants to be trick-or-treating with a hopping mermaid!
- Make sure you have a big enough bag! Make sure the bag has sturdy handles.
- Make sure you can be seen in the dark (okay, Lissy made me put this in – but there are some super cute stickers that glow in the dark and let’s face it, getting run over on Halloween would be really annoying).
- While we’re talking safety, don’t run (of course if you’re wearing a mermaid costume you won’t have to worry about this). It’s way too easy to trip in the dark – believe me, I know about this.
- Don’t bang at the door if the light is off – no candy for you!
- If the candy is not wrapped don’t eat it – you never know if anything icky got in it.
- Remember, dogs are allergic to chocolate – make sure your pooch is kept well away from all treats.
- Make sure you know who is meeting who and where. There’s nothing worse than not being able to find your friends in the dark and no-one wants to trick or treat alone, or worse, with your brother.
- No matter how ridiculous they look – do not laugh at adults in costumes – I’ve heard it can get you in serious trouble.