Learning about computers


MBC and I are well aware that children today know a lot more about computers than we do.  It seems that they start their computer education at very early ages.  To help them along, Dede Casad has created several books to help acquaint children with computers in a fun and compelling way.

Henry the Hard Drive and his friends, Monica the Monitor, Kelly the Keyboard, Mortimer the Mouse and Pete the Printer are a fun way to introduce young children to computer parts and how they interact.  Three different picture books offer adventuresome tales!

For older children, “The Oracle of Eden” chapter book follows the wanderings of Gail and Toby as they explore the inner workings of the computer—from the motherboard to cyberspace—and then find themselves trapped in the adventure of their lives fighting Visigoth, the Villian Virus, and his minions before the Oracle of Eden comes to their rescue.

The illustrations for all four books were created by Rod Keitz, and the books can be ordered on Amazon, and are available in both print and e-book format.

Children are learning to read and write on computers, so what better way to introduce them to the world of computers than through the fun and fantasy of these tales?

As always, keep reading and writing!  Bluebonnet Armadillo



The day the new books arrive!

FacebookBanner_Basic  The day the new books arrive at MBC’s house is always a BIG day!  This week, three new books were delivered to the front door, but they were not books about me and my Texas travels.  While MBC hasn’t forgotten about me, she’s most recently turned her attention to a series of a different kind.

MBC and her brother, Clayton Oliphint, pastor of First United Methodist Church, Richardson, Texas, co-authored the three books—Citizens of Hope, The Road to Amazing, Get in the Game—as a part of a Christian discipleship study, The Basics. The three-part series explores the basics of Christian identity, practice and service.

Designed for busy people, both new and maturing disciples, the books are written on a practical and personal level.  Each chapter is based on a scriptural passage, and is illustrated with real-life stories that help connect faith and action. Chapters are followed by a “reflect” session that gives readers an opportunity to write about the scripture passage, the major points of the chapter and their “take-away:” what they will most remember about the chapter.

The books can be used for small groups, Sunday School classes, all church studies, or for personal devotionals.  Leader Guides are also available for each of the three books to assist group facilitators and class teachers. Published by Abingdon Press, all six books are available at:  https://www.cokesbury.com/forms/search.aspx?txtSearchQuery=the%20basics%20series

I’m excited for MBC in this new writing endeavor.  However, I am happy to report that she has also been working on another book for the Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure Series!  Check back on this blog in the next few weeks for an announcement about a new Bluebonnet book, coming soon!

In the meantime, remember……”Keep reading and writing!”  Bluebonnet Armadillo




Sleep tight….the Marines are on duty!

518XI4kctBL._AA160_One thing that makes MBC and me super happy is reading the books of authors who grew up reading the Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure Series!  The latest one, “Goodnight Marines,” was written by Major David R. Dixon, and illustrated by Phil Jones.

Inspired by the popular children’s book, “Goodnight Moon,” this beautifully illustrated book highlights symbols of the U.S. Marine Corps that give both a historic and current view.  It’s a marvelous way to introduce children to the proud Marine traditions! The story centers on a young boy whose Marine father is serving in Afghanistan, which makes the book especially meaningful to children whose parents are serving in the military.  All children should receive a greater appreciation of those who serve to keep us safe.  The soothing, bedtime tale offers reassurance through strong ties of love and security.

“Goodnight Marines” is available at: http://www.amazon.com/Goodnight-Marines-David-R-Dixon-ebook/dp/B01A7YG0C0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452301011&sr=1-1&keywords=goodnight+marines

MBC was thrilled to consult with Major Dixon as he began his journey of writing, since she’s a life-time friend of his mother, Bunny, and has known him all his life. And not only has Major Dixon just published a book, but he and his lovely wife, Jackie, became the proud parents of baby Juliette TODAY!  Congratulations to all the family!

We can’t wait to see the pictures of Major Dixon reading “Goodnight Marines” to his own daughter!

Keep reading and writing……and Semper Fi!

Bluebonnet Armadillo






Raindrops on noses!



51itjBlk4+L._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_We’re getting a lot of rain here in East Texas!  Which makes Pamela Haskin’s book, “Max, the Boy Raindrop” a very timely read.

Max is a shy raindrop who finds the courage to jump from the clouds by holding hands with his friend, Tony.  Max first lands on a man’s nose! But thanks to Tony, he learns that “the sun always helps us get home,” so that he can continue to have more adventures (rivers and waterfalls!) before it’s his turn to encourage other shy raindrops.

Pamela is both author and illustrator.  The illustrations were entirely created by paper shapes, showcasing Pamela’s artistic talents that she also uses in creating cards.  Published by Westbow Press, the book is available on Amazon.  AND….this book received the 2014 Writers’ League of Texas Book Award as the Discovery Prize Winner.  Congratulations, Pamela!

Now, MBC met Pamela last year when she was a featured speaker at a writer’s workshop.  Pamela liked MBC’s armadillo puppet (that would be me!) who was shy and whispered in her ear.  So she created a Max the Boy Raindrop puppet to use for her author/illustrator presentations.  MBC and I were thrilled and honored to learn we were the inspiration for this.

Yes, the “Max, the Boy Raindrop” book will be under MBC’s Christmas tree to encourage some young readers she knows to “keep reading and writing.”  Hope you’ll consider adding this book to your library, too.

Merry Christmas! Bluebonnet Armadillo







A Home for Abigail

frontsmallcoverMBC and I are partial to stories that have happy endings.  Thus, we were pleased to read “A Home for Abigail,” with an ending made happier by knowing that it is based on a true story.

Written and illustrated by S. Marriott Cook, the nine chapters follow the journey of a dog named Abigail.  A kind lady finds “Abby” alone and abandoned, in need of a “forever” home.  Thus begins a new adventure for Abby and the delightful new friends she comes to know:  Mr. Buns, Cosette, Chloe, Gus, News, and her new “Mom and Dad,” Sandy and Richard.

The book is especially helpful in educating children about responsible pet ownership, including the need for spaying, neutering and microchipping. The interaction between the animal characters and their humans is humorous and delightful, woven together into a touching and inspiring story.

And best of all? The happy ending takes place at Christmas time, making this book especially appropriate for Christmas gift-giving.  As the back cover says, it’s “A timeless tale for animal lovers of any age.”

A Home for Abigail” was published by Jabberwocky Books  www.Jabberwocky-Books.com  and is also available on Amazon.

Yet another book I’ll be putting on my Christmas wish list……hope you will, too!

As always, keep reading and writing!  Bluebonnet Armadillo



Just in time for Christmas!

untitled (2) 51AnjNw5DBL._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_Alphie the Abecedarian has been busy!  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may remember reviews about Alphie, who is featured in “The Abecedarian Book for Kids, ” and “The Texas Abecedarian Book for Kids.”  Now, just in time for Christmas, Alphie stars in “The Christmas Abecedarian Book for Kids.”

For each letter of the alphabet, Alphie shares special Christmas stories.  Many are legends from around the world. Some letters feature Christmas poems and carols.  Twenty-six stories, illustrated beautifully in bold colors, with an emphasis on THE Christmas story…..the birth of Jesus Christ!  What a delightful Christmas gift for families to read and enjoy together!

But that’s not all.  Alphie also offers “The Folklore Abecedarian Book for Kids.”  This book highlights myths and legends from American history.  Twenty-six folk tales take us across the country in its early days, offering history with a little whimsy!  Once again, Alphie proves that it’s fun to learn your ABC’s!

The “Alphie the Abecedarian” books are written by Texas author Dede Weldon Casad (MBC’s mother-in-law) and are illustrated by Mark Stokes.  They are available on Amazon.

I’m adding the “Alphie” books to my Christmas wish list, because they will help me to “keep reading and writing!”

Wishing you A Blessed Christmas……Bluebonnet Armadillo



The Scary Hair of Sarah O’Shea

photo (45)     It’s that time of the year when the scary things are creeping about…..ghosts and goblins and witches, oh my!  But have you ever heard of a hairstyle that is just…..scary?

Young readers of the Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure Series, here is a special book for you!  “The Scary Hair of Sarah O’Shea,” written by Sharon Feldt and illustrated by Heather Karstens, tells the story of a cute red-haired girl with large red glasses. Sarah has bright red, scary hair….and lots of it!

It seems that Sarah’s out-of-control hair is becoming a problem at school.  She tries hats to hide her hair, but none of them can quite contain her giant curls. (Perhaps she should have tried a sunbonnet!!)

Sarah’s hair may be scary, but readers will have lots of laughs as they read about Sarah’s attempts to tame her unruly red hairstyle.  Fortunately, a friend has a helpful suggestion for Sarah that saves the day! Heather Karstens’ illustrations are delightful and comical, sure to bring a smile and a laugh to all readers.

Author Sharon Feldt, a retired kindergarten teacher, wrote a lovely Christmas tale last year, “The Stable.” (Check my blog archives for a review.)  MBC shared this book with her young friends who live in Africa.  So, Sharon is an internationally-known author!

MBC and I are pleased to recommend this latest book from Sharon. (After all, MBC is partial to “red-heads!”)  Order your copy from www.sharonfeldt.com

Keep reading and writing, and Happy Halloween!  Bluebonnet Armadillo





Visiting the “M” Cities

I’ve never visited Midland, Mineola or Mexia, but I hope my travels will take me there someday.  MBC, however, has a college classmate who is visiting lots of “M” cities and writing about them.

Author Jeffrey Eaton www.jeffreyeaton.com has created a charming character, Dalton Lee, in his first novel, “Murder Becomes Manhattan.” Now MBC was new to murder mysteries, but she was quite taken with Jeffrey’s writing style and his elaborate weaving of this tale.  As she wrote in her Amazon review of the book, “Was intrigued with the many levels of characters and complexity, and kept turning the page to see how it would all be resolved.  Now I am eagerly awaiting the next book to continue on the journey with Lee.”

This book is only for the parents and grandparents of Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure Series readers, but MBC can certainly recommend it to them. It’s available in paperback, hardback and e-book, which is peppered with links of pictures, music, etc., a fun and fascinating way of bringing the reader into the setting.  www.murdermanhattan.com

Jeff and MBC, fellow journalism students at SMU, had not seen each other in several decades.  Jeff recently visited MBC in Sulphur Springs (not an “M” city, but a great place to live!) He made a presentation to her book club, the Bright Star Literary Society (Texas trivia:  “Bright Star” was the original name of the city of “Sulphur Springs!”)  and also visited the downtown Celebration District.

But back to the “M” cities……Jeffrey Eaton’s second Dalton Lee Mystery, “Murder Becomes Miami,” will soon be available.  www.murdermiami.com Hopefully, Dalton Lee will keep visiting those “M” cities, to the delight of MBC and many readers.

As always, “Keep reading and writing!”  Bluebonnet Armadillo

P.S.  MBC is proud that she helped inspire a part of Jeff’s book.  She once visited an “M” city…..Moscow….when she was a college student, and ended up in the police station, not unlike one of the characters in “Murder Becomes Manhattan.” Getting into trouble and finding her way out of it…..sounds a lot like my adventures!


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Of Books, Birthdays, Family and Football


MBC and I, through some strange coincidence, happen to share the same birthday…..September 15.  This year was an especially poignant one for MBC, one of those with a “zero.” It was also the only birthday she and I will have when our birthdate matched the year:  9/15/15.

Not only that, but this birthday was also the release date for a very special book, The Last Season, by Stuart Stevens. Stuart and MBC are cousins, and she’s been looking forward to reading this book for quite some time.  She’s very proud of her talented cousin, who is an author, screen writer, columnist and political consultant.

Seems that Stuart, upon reaching that special “zero” birthday MBC just celebrated, decided to spend the 2013 football season with his parents at the Ole Miss football games.  His father, Phineas Stevens, was 95 that year, the oldest living member of the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame. The Last Season is a beautiful telling of their time together, a wonderful weaving of past and present as father and son celebrate the strong bonds formed in Stuart’s childhood at the football games.

MBC began reading the book early on the morning of her birthday, and devoured it faster than birthday cake.  She discovered that Stuart’s story is also her story, a story about family members she loves and adores. But even more than that, Stuart’s story is “our” story.  It’s a story of family, and the strong bonds of love across the years.  It’s a story set in the South that chronicles the tumultuous times of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the current racial tensions of our day.  It’s a story of college football and the intense loyalty and pride of its fans.  It’s a story of coming to terms with loss and regrets, and finding gratitude for the memories, joy in the moment and hope for the future.

If this sounds like your story, you will love reading this book!


One more thing: as MBC was reading the book, I looked over her shoulder and saw the dedication of the book:

“For all the wonderful teachers who taught me how to read and tried to teach me to write.”

That should be a word of encouragement to students and teachers, and sounds a bit like my motto:

“Keep readin’ and writin’!”  Bluebonnet Armadillo



Travelin’ the Texas Trails!


It’s summertime, and many of you have taken off for family trips and vacations.  No doubt, quite a few of you will be traveling through and about the great state of Texas, just like I do.  MBC and I are always excited to hear tales of where the books of the Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure Series can be found.  So we have a request.  As you are travelin’ the Texas trails, and you come upon the Bluebonnet books in various stores and libraries, please take a “selfie” of you with the book, and send it to us at mbc@bluebonnetarmadillo.com   With your permission, we’ll post it on the Bluebonnet Facebook page.  Be sure and include your name and the name of the store and city where you found the book.  It will be fun to see who finds the books and the various places they show up!

Pictured above is MBC’s niece Katy, who found a copy of “Bluebonnet at the State Capital of Texas” in a Texas tourist store in Round Rock.  Thanks for sending this to MBC, Katy!

Don’t forget to “keep readin'” on your summer vacation! Perhaps you’ll purchase a book from one of the stores you visit.  Also, the Bluebonnet Armadillo Adventure Series can be ordered on this website, as well as a special offer for a CD of three Bluebonnet stories, read by MBC!  Great for car trips!

Hoping to see you as we travel the Texas trails together!  Bluebonnet Armadillo