Beautiful, beautiful Texas!

It’s springtime, and here in Texas, that means the bluebonnets are in bloom!  I’m proud to bear the name of the Texas state flower, and also wear my trademark blue sunbonnet, which helps shade my eyes on these sunny spring days.

I guess it was all those rainy days, however, that helped us have such a bountiful, bluebonnet spring.  Everywhere MBC and I go, we are finding lots of bluebonnet flowers……as well as quite a few Indian paintbrush and other beautiful wild flowers.

As we travel down the Texas roads, enjoying the lovely spring colors, MBC is likely to break into a song, one she remembers from her childhood:

Beautiful, beautiful Texas, where the beautiful bluebonnets grow,

We’re proud of our forefathers, who fought at the Alamo.

You may live on the plains or the mountains, or down where the sea breezes blow,

But you’re still in beautiful Texas, the most beautiful land that I know.

This song was written by Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, who served as both governor of Texas and a U.S. Senator.

Here’s a link to the song, sung like no one else can sing it……Willie Nelson!


May all your days be filled with bluebonnets!

Bluebonnet Armadillo


Young Audiences of Northeast Texas

MBC and I are pleased to announce our affiliation with Young Audiences of Northeast Texas (YANE). Here’s the story:

Celebrated Children’s Author Brings Joy to Students

Mary Brooke Casad joins Young Audiences of Northeast Texas

            Mary Brooke Casad, author of the celebrated “Bluebonnet the Armadillo” children’s books, will make her first appearance as a Young Audiences of Northeast Texas teaching artist in early March.

            Casad’s program, “The Adventures of Bluebonnet the Armadillo,” features the journey of the title character as she travels throughout Texas and visits the state’s most important historical landmarks. From the East Texas Oil Museum to the Johnson Space Center, Bluebonnet comes from page to stage in the form of a delightfully sweet and shy puppet, who, along with Casad, shares the importance of history with her audience. Casad’s program also highlights the importance of reading comprehension, storytelling, and appreciation of the writing process.

            Casad joins a roster of over 30 teaching artists who perform for schools and organizations across the Northeast Texas region. Since 1997, Young Audiences of Northeast Texas has been using the arts to enrich the lives of students and enhance their education. In addition to performances, Young Audiences’ also provides arts integrated workshops and residencies to enhance learning across the curriculum, as well as professional learning opportunities for area teachers.

            Schools or organizations interested in booking Casad’s program or any other Young Audiences performance can call (903) 561-2787 or visit

Looking forward to our visits with young readers and writers, Bluebonnet Armadillo


Connecting and empowering children

51eKXE72wjL._AA160_MBC and I just read a delightful new children’s book entitled “Elizabeth and Stella Meet ZOE.”

What’s that, you say?  YOU haven’t met ZOE?  This is a special empowerment movement that began in Africa to help orphans learn how to take care of themselves.  Through education, through community-building, through providing basic tools, through sharing God’s love, ZOE helps orphans become self-reliant in three years.  Approximately 28,000 children are participating in ZOE programs in Guatemala, India, Liberia,Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The new book, written by Melissa Harrell, was inspired by her 2012 Trip of Hope with ZOE to Kenya. Melissa tells the tale of two young girls:  Elizabeth from America, and Stella from Kenya.  The story shows that their lives are very different, but connected through the ZOE ministry.  Both Elizabeth and Stella discover they are able to make a difference through participating in the ZOE empowerment movement.

Amy Burkhardt Fetzer illustrated the book with lovely watercolor illustrations.  Young readers are sure to be inspired by this tale of generosity in action.

Proceeds from the sale of the book go to ZOE and can be ordered at:

MBC and I like books that connect children across the globe and encourage and inspire them into action, especially in action that makes a positive difference in the lives of others.  We heartily recommend this book for our young reader friends!

As always, keep reading and writing!  Bluebonnet Armadillo

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:

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:

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  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

Keep reading and writing, and Happy Halloween!  Bluebonnet Armadillo