Monday, March 16, 2015

DONKEY'S KITE, by Liana-Melissa Allen

Please welcome guest blogger and author Liana-Melissa Allen to Hello, My Name Is Alice!

Guest Post by Liana-Melissa Allen

Music is magic. It can put you into another world and inspire you to be creative. It can fill you with wonder and joy when you were once feeling sad or uninspired. Horse Valley has been largely influenced by music because all through my life I have marveled at musicals like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady. Every time I hear the songs I imagine my characters singing or dancing to it and often it motivates me to write a story.

I love to make musical cartoons involving my Horse Valley characters, where (like in Disney movies) I draw my characters singing the songs and I'll make some sort of story out of it. I also compose my own themes on the piano for Horse Valley, which I use in book trailers like the one I made for Donkey's Kite. When creating themes for my characters, I feel like I have to completely understand who my character is in order to make a theme about them. It's like a test to see how much I know my character, and if I have trouble with it, then maybe I need to take a little more time to know them better.

Listening to or playing music is like adding fuel to the fire. It can send your creative mind spinning into another world, and because of this I'll often make playlists and choose particular songs or pieces to listen to that capture the spirit of whatever world I'm writing about. I believe music is like magic because it helps bring life to characters and can transport you into their worlds. It truly is a powerful influence on the imagination.

My Book Review

Donkey's Kite is actually a sequel to The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey, and both are from A Horse Valley Adventure series. It is a short book illustrated by its author, Liana-Melissa Allen. I thought about incorporating the review of the first book into this post, but I really think The Three Little Horses deserves a separate post, so please watch out for it tomorrow! I strongly recommend reading the first book to get a better sense of continuity and to better understand the characters. Having said that, there's nothing stopping readers from reading Donkey's Kite as a standalone.

This is the Kindle edition and the start of a wonderful story...

At the core of it, this is a story about friendship and lending a helping hand. In this second book,  Jack, Max, and Lax together with their new-found best friend, Donkey, decide to go kite flying. Well, Donkey was a former bully and the three little horses were once his victims. So how did they become buddies? That is why, my dear friends, you need to read the first book. 

In this story, we are introduced to a new character called Gusty. Gusty is a white goose and she has a big heart. She makes her appearance when Donkey is being picked on by other geese and rescues him from his situation. He finally understands how it feels like to be bullied and he does not like it at all. But why is Donkey being bullied by these geese? Why isn't he with his friends Jack, Max, and Lax? Gusty also helps Donkey with his kite and she is such a subject matter expert!

This is a fun read. I loved the illustrations and I'm sure young readers will appreciate and like them. I also liked the little blue bird that showed up on almost every illustration (do try to spot it in the two pictures I included above...). The book format is conducive for reading aloud too. Donkey's Kite is a pleasure to read and is a fun platform for discussion by adult readers with their young readers. Fantastic work, young Miss Allen!

Book Synopses: The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it's a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey's kite doesn't work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

About the Author: Liana-Melissa Allen is a young author and illustrator of children's books and books for youth. She has written, illustrated and published six books. Her most recent one is the colorfully illustrated children's book "Donkey's Kite", the second book of "A Horse Valley Adventure" series. The first was "The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey". The lovable cartoon characters, Max, Lax, Jack and Donkey makes them a favorite of first and second grade students. She is now working on her third book of "A Horse Valley Adventure".

The magical world of fantasy has inspired Liana's imagination since as long as she can remember. Part of this was fueled by her dad reading aloud to her every day when she was younger. As a result, reading is her primary passion along with music. These two passions feed her imagination into stories and drawings, which she joyously sketches out into storyboards for a potential book.

Liana-Melissa is also a dedicated classical/jazz pianist, and mostly enjoys older music, especially from the big band era and the 1940's, 50's and 60's. While playing the piano, her imagination often leads to a great amount of improvising. Frequently, Liana will improvise a theme for one of the stories she is writing. Capturing this improvised music became a priority, which ultimately resulted in theme music for "A Horse Valley Adventure". The "Horse Valley" theme will be used for a short animated video featuring her Horse Valley characters.

Liana-Melissa loves to hear from her young readers. Please visit her website at for more information, and to contact her by email. Visit her on Facebook too.

Where to buy the book:
On Author's Website
Barnes & Noble

Many thanks to Laura Fabiani from iRead Book Tours for sending me a complimentary copy of this book. I'm proud to be a part of this book tour!