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Learn To Tie A Tie With The Rabbit And The Fox: Story With Instructional Song by Sybrina Durant

Sybrina Durant's "Learn to Tie a Tie with the Rabbit & the Fox: Story with Instructional Song," illustrated by Donna Marie Naval, is a clever mnemonic story intended as an activity book for families with children.

The story describes the encounter between a carefree white rabbit and a ravenous gray fox.

One afternoon, when the rabbit is foraging for food far away from his cozy, underground home, he stops to enjoy the tastiest shoots.

But soon, the aggressive fox, hearing the rabbit chomping loudly on the grass, stuns the little rabbit into a shocked state with his approach.

With a racing heart, the rabbit quickly comes to his senses and bounds off to avert the fox's attack.

At this point in the story, simple diagrams on how to tie a tie are included that parallel the chasing patterns between the fox and the rabbit. For example, just as the rabbit slides under the bush, the tie blade slides under the neck loop.

Children and parents alike will delight in the tale's creativity, the hands-on practice of tying a tie, and the illustrator's energetic and bright designs, as well as the accompanying song that helps commit the skill to memory.

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"Queen Darkara" by Renn McWolfe

Renn McWolfe's "Queen Darkara" is a brilliantly written fantasy novel for teens with an engaging plot and a fascinating world.

The story follows the young, beautiful enchantress Queen Darkara after she is summoned to a distant land rife with death and destruction.

When Darkar learns that the land is being overtaken by a powerful, cunning witch, she agrees to do her best to hunt the witch, with a team of equally dedicated warriors, including the dashing, headstrong General Dominik the Brave.

As engaging as the plot is, it is the writing that truly makes "Queen Darkara" shine.
It is one of those books where you forget you are reading, and instead feel as though you are a transient observer in a far-off world.

The well-developed characters and otherworldly creatures, such as the Trickster, a creature with a hunger for human hearts, feel tangible.

The humor in the book adds a light-hearted element to the book, despite the somewhat dark plot.

Unlike humor in many books aimed at teens, the humor does not feel forced; it feels like a natural part of the situations.

Because of the writing, humor, and world, the cat-and-mouse game between Darkara and the evil witch is continually interesting, and the reader finds his or herself not wanting it to end.

"Queen Darkara" is a must-have for any teen craving an accessible, fast-paced fantasy novel.

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Jayden & the Mysterious Mountain by Katrina Cope

“Jayden & the Mysterious Mountain," the first book in the Sanctum series, is a young adult novel with a fantasy-themed plot that will have readers on the edge of their seats.

Katrina Cope's 222-page novel begins when Avando, a mysterious old man, makes Jayden, a homeless youth, an offer that seems too good to be true --  food and shelter in exchange for academic performance.

The plot takes off when Jayden takes the offer, enrolling at a mysterious school called The Sanctum.
The school itself is interesting for the reader, hidden in the mountains and filled with imaginative technology.

One of the strongest points of the novel is Cope's descriptions of the characters' backgrounds, which add a layer of characterization that helps the reader understand their decision-making.

Cope also does a wonderful job describing scenes and action, giving the reader a vivid picture of what is going on.

The plot is paced well and will have the reader eager to learn what will happen next -- there are even a few twists along the way.

Overall, "Jayden & the Mysterious Mountain" is a good read for anyone looking for an imaginitive, fast-paced YA book.

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